Back on April 2nd, 2015, melodic death metal fans were devastated to find out that myGRAIN decided to end their 11-year career, mainly due to what seemed to be inspirational burnout. They promised, however, that before they left us for good, they would throw a couple parties in Pietarsaari and Helsinki to commemorate over 10 years together, complete with the return of a few past members. Bear and Lene couldn’t miss the last opportunity to see them live, so they headed to Nosturi together on May 8th, 2015, to see how it’d all go down!
Bear: My first thought on this, was, is there a dreadful pattern starting? Kiuas called it quits a few years back and when they had their epic finale, myGRAIN opened for them. We really hope this means that Profane Omen won’t leave us in a couple of years too…
In all seriousness though, myGRAIN was a pretty great local act. I know Lene was really fond of them. Myself, I’ve always liked them a fair bit and enjoyed listening to their music, but I can’t say I’ve exactly gotten into them, so to speak.
Lene: True, I was pretty shocked to hear that they are calling it quits. Along with two other bands that have left us in past few years, Kiuas and Ajattara, myGRAIN was one of my favorite acts to go see and really let loose. It’s a shame the best dance orchestras always go first, right? So yes, I definitely hope Profane Omen will be around still for, say, at least a decade. But seriously speaking, it’s always a pity to see a band go that has been a part of many fond memories, so it was a no-brainer to see the very last of them.
As we arrived at the venue, we noticed that, for whatever reason, the upstairs of Nosturi was closed off. The whole place was actually set up very strangely – they opened up the bar area so it covered most of the floor, but the both stairways were blocked and the upstairs bar was closed. At first we thought that, since Toni Salminen was videotaping the gig, maybe they were protecting the video equipment, but this theory was later debunked. Honestly, to this day we don’t really understand why they chose to arrange the venue in this manner, but we think it was a bit of a disadvantage to the show. The lower level was overcrowded and there were about a hundred people in line for beers at any time with only two or so bartenders.
Not knowing much about Less Than Three, other than they’ve been sharing Tuovinen with myGRAIN for some time, and knowing nothing about Magenta Harvest, we skipped the first two openers but showed up in time to see Profane Omen.
Bear: I’ve always liked their particular brand of melodic thrash metal live more than most thrash, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to an album of theirs. I think the last time I caught them live that wasn’t at a festival was back in 2009 when they were touring around with Insomnium, so it’s been a while.
Lene: For me, it hasn’t been that long since the last Profane Omen gig – I was able to catch them in Nummirock last summer, which was one of the best I’ve seen from them. I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the two latest albums, with the vast majority of my favorite tracks being from Beaten into Submission and Inherit the Void, but at least in Nummirock that fact didn’t bother me a bit, so my expectations towards them were high as usual. Also, this would be the first gig I got to see of them with both bassists, so it was something to look forward to as well.
Bear: Not being an expert on Profane Omen, I was amused by their disco-esque intro track and likewise impressed by the enthusiasm of the people in their pit, even if there weren’t that many of them. It is pretty ideal music for a pit, and they called at least once for the wall of death. They’ve got a shit-ton of energy on stage and some of the most questionable hair in Finland as well. Their set was, as I recall, split fairly evenly between the old and new, but hadn’t gone with the best from those eras. It was a good enough show, but it would be a stretch to say that they were at their strongest, which was probably mostly related to their choice of songs overall.
Lene: I agree with this; it was decent, but definitely not the best I’ve seen of them. The set was actually split three versus five between two first and two last albums (the “Wild Child” cover not taken into account), and as biased my opinion is in this, that probably was the reason that put me off a bit. But, to be fair, “Disconnected” still gets me every time and if something is guaranteed at a Profane Omen gig, it’s a good shot of energy and craziness.
During the break between songs, it was nice to also see that a lot of the local bands had come out. We saw most of Finntroll lurking around, as well as a few other well-known Finnish guys. You have to love the local support here. At this point, the part of the upstairs that’s directly across from the stage opened up, but the bar stayed closed and an unnecessarily large portion of the upper level was reserved for medias and special guests. Oddly, at any given point there probably weren’t more than ten people there, so it really did seem like an enormous waste of space.
Bear: My opinion of myGRAIN is that they’re a standard good live band. As I said, my general feeling around them since I first started listening to them is that I like them, I enjoy them, but they’ve never quite gripped me or stood out against other bands. So likewise, I’ve never really found there to be anything special about their live shows either. There’s certainly nothing wrong with them, but I don’t find there to necessarily be anything particularly memorable about their shows. Lene is not of the same mindset. She really enjoys them and has been able to see that thing many people see that I have not.
Lene: I actually gave this some thought right after the show to figure out what was the “it” factor in myGRAIN for me, and it turned out to be way simpler than I believed. You know, one rarely finds a band that is essentially a delight and leaves one in awe from time to time, but with not too much strings attached – a purely feel-good band, so to say. I truly love the way myGRAIN did their melodic death metal, with just the right amount of groove and hooks. In a way it’s easy, but fresh and not overproduced, and more than a dash of quirky. Apart from myGRAIN, I’ve never been that keen on sci-fi and dystopian themes in lyrics, but I’m always glad to make exceptions. And live, add in a healthy dose of energy and big smiles, shake, and dance. In a way, I think myGRAIN might have been a bit underrated on this front, but the ones who have come out to their gigs always seem to have the best time.
myGRAIN started their set pretty late in the night, around 23:00. They came out strong, playing “Translucent Dreams” and “Shadow People” immediately together. They were well prepared and in great form for the show. Tommy Tuovinen looked and sounded fantastic behind the mic and he’s pretty charismatic on stage. He thanked everyone for coming out of course, and a few songs into the set, caught himself saying, “oh-ho,” after just about every song and made fun of himself for it. Eve Kojo is really fun to watch on stage too. She’s so into it, playing mostly one-handed, and she just lets go and rocks out and has fun. She doesn’t try hard to look cool or anything like that, she just gets into it, and you’ve got to love it. She looks just like what live music should be all about.
Also, a neat little tidbit of information was that myGRAIN had done a special Spotify edition of their self-titled album that had an exclusive bonus track. This is pretty cool, not knowing offhand if anyone else has done anything of the sort. The songs spanned their entire discography. It was a massive set – when they played “Cataclysm Child,” Lene said she thought we must have hit the last song, only to have Tuovinen announce that we had reached the halfway point of the show!
What else was cool? They had what they called “myGRAIN allstars,” bringing back some former members to share the stage for a few songs, like Matthew (guitar) and Resistor (guitar). These finale shows are undoubtedly the best when you get a taste of the old and new mixed in together and it definitely gives the fans a special treat for showing up one last time. They also did a “Master of Puppets” intro to one of their songs.
And the crowd was crazy for them, absolutely losing their shit everywhere. It probably helped that the bar was open nearly everywhere downstairs too. There was one big guy taking the liberty of guarding the pit and keeping the moshers from flying into everyone else. Someone even bought Tuovinen a shot and somehow got it to the stage in tact to give it to him. They finished off their main set with “Darkbound” but weren’t gone for too long before returning to give their adoring crowd a few more.
The encore was great, and Tuovinen thanked everyone again, saying that without their fans, they are nothing, and finished up the night with “Trapped in an Hourglass” and “Final Frontier,” where another vocalist joined in! Unfortunately, neither of us had any idea who he was.
Bear: As far as finale shows go, this was pretty excellent. There was a massive set, guests from the past, and a crazy crowd to see them off. I admit that myGRAIN was never really one of my big loves, but I did like them and I’m sad to see them go. At least they can bow out knowing that they gave their fans something great to remember them by, and hopefully we’ll be able to re-live that night over and over if they release a video!
Lene: I tried not to be too sentimental about it, but I immediately started to miss this band after walking out of Nosturi. It’s a sign of an excellent finale show if the afterglow lasts for days, and this was undoubtedly one I’m happy to tell my grandkids about some day in the future. Maybe in the even more cientists have discovered a parallel universe where all the bands that have quit in this reality are still playing at interstellar festivals we can check them out? Just kidding, but myGRAIN would definitely be there. For now, I’ll use my opportunity to bid them farewell and wish all the best in future endeavors. Thank you for all these years!
1. Translucent Dreams
2. Shadow People
4. Mechanimal Instinct
5. Shed the Second Skin
8. Waking Up the Damned
9. Into the Parallel Universe
10. Cataclysm Child
11. Of Immortal Aeons
12. Ghost in Me
15. Asphyxiated and Inflammable
17. Trapped in Hourglass
18. Final Frontier
Photos: Lene L.