Swedish Pain has been a rare sight lately in Finland. After releasing a new album this September, Pain finally paid us a visit, touring with Turmion Kätilöt. The Har Du Horat Runt på Campingen Tour consisted of six gigs, one of which took place at Nosturi in Helsinki on November 19th.
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Looks like each of my reviews includes a short memoir of my early metal days. This time it considers Pain, Peter Tägtgren’s one-man techno metal band, which originally caught my attention around 8 years ago when Cynic Paradise came out. Short story short, I listened a couple of songs, ended up buying all the albums and thought Tägtgren was awesome. Fast forward to this year. I still think Tägtgren is awesome, but when I heard that Pain was releasing a new album and touring in Finland I was not sure if this was for real. You Only Live Twice came out in 2011 and I had given up all hope of another album ever being released – partly because the aforementioned album sounded a bit like Tägtgren had run out of energy and ideas for the project (despite being awesome).
Pain’s newest release, Coming Home, did not quite convince me either. Still, I remember enjoying the band the last time I saw them live in Turku (incidentally, also with Turmion Kätilöt) some years ago. Thus I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity to see if Pain still had at least some of that old magic left that I once so enjoyed.
I had to wait for some time, though, since the evening at Nosturi was opened by Finnish new(ish)comer Ember Falls. The band was signed by Spinefarm/Universal Music Group last February and their debut album is set to be released next year. They were a new acquaintance for me but fellow Musicalypsers told me that the band was definitely worth checking out.
Even though the sold-out Nosturi was still quite far away from being full, the front of the stage was nicely occupied before Ember Falls started their set. Once the band hit the stage, they captured their audience straight away. I dislike labeling bands by their genre, but electronic rock/metal might be the best way to describe Ember Falls. Strong clean vocals backed up with some growling, melodic keyboard riffs and heavy guitars combined formed a nice entity that works both live and undoubtedly in the studio as well.
Ember Falls has obviously done some touring already. The members were relaxed and energetic on stage, focusing on the performance and dropping any unnecessary chit-chat. I think this is just the way to go if one is playing as the opening act – let the music talk. The 30-minute set convinced me that the upcoming album is something worth waiting for.
After Ember Falls’ good start to the evening, it was time for the one and only Turmion Kätilöt to take over the place. Turmion Kätilöt is one of those bands that are hard to describe – you pretty much have to experience them personally. But I’ll try my best.
Imagine six men on stage, wearing some sort of corpse paint. One of the singers is wearing a long leather jacket and pants that seem to have a gas mask attached to the knee. The other vocalist is wearing a leather vest and somewhat glittery green shorts. Now imagine the band playing disco-like metal (industrial might be the politically correct genre), singing about how the butcher shakes his ass to the rhythm of the music. And people in the crowd are dancing and singing along to it as if they were at a rave.
Needless to say, the show was as absurd and awesome as one could imagine with a band like this. Songs like “Jalopiina,” “Verta ja Lihaa,” and “Suolainen kapteeni” made sure that the audience got what they came for: grotesque lyrics, techno beats, and singalongs. I also heard my personal favorite “Grand Ball”, though without Peter Tägtgren, even though the band tried to lure him out from backstage.
I’ve seen Turmion Kätilöt a couple of times but this was the first time I can say I got the full experience. Not only were the middle speeches full of sexually explicit jokes (which was to be expected), there was full nudity (which I didn’t expect). Well, you know how the saying goes, there’s nothing more beautiful than a naked Finnish man… though I must admit, I prefer my gigs with fully-clothed artists.
Finally, it was time for Pain. Quite literally, since at this point my feet were hurting from all the dancing and jumping I did during Turmion Kätilöt. And I just knew I couldn’t stay still if Pain would play any of the older songs I liked.
The gig started with “Designed to Piss You Off”, the opening track from Coming Home. This removed some of my doubts, since it seemed like the new material would work live just fine. Other songs from the newest album were “A wannabe”, “Pain in the Ass”, “Coming Home”, and maybe a bit surprisingly, “Call Me.” The last one featured Sabaton’s singer, Joakim Brodén – as a background track since the head of Joakim we saw on stage behind the band’s roll-ups looked unnaturally big and hollow.
Apart from the newer songs, the gig had plenty of older material. “Zombie Slam”, “Monkey Business”, “It’s Only Them”, “Dirty Woman”, “Same Old Song”… it was definitely a nice hit parade. All of the albums got covered except the first, Pain. Unfortunately it seems like the norm that the first album is forgotten once the band has enough material.
As the encore, the band played “Shut Your Mouth”, which definitely lit the audience for one final round. Despite being tired and about to lose my voice, I still found the last bit of energy to sing and mosh to the song.
The night got its own special twist after the encore, when first the bassist, André Skaug, decided it was a good idea to do some crowd surfing. I was surprised that there was no attempt to intervene on behalf of Nosturi’s bouncers. As far as I know, crowdsurfing is prohibited basically everywhere in Finland for security reasons.
This was not good enough for guitarist Greger Andersson, who decided to climb to the second floor of Nosturi and jump into the open arms of the audience. My heart probably skipped a beat when he jumped, but everything turned out fine. At least for Andersson, as he got back to the stage in one piece.
I left the venue without my voice but otherwise feeling quite happy. Even though the years have left their mark on Peter Tägtgren, he still had that crazy charisma on stage that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.
Also, it was nice to notice that the next generation are well on their way – behind the drum set, covering for David Wallin, was Tägtgren’s son, Sebastian, who looked young enough to make me feel older than I would like to feel. But I guess that is just something we all have to come to terms with – our idols are getting older and at some point, so are we. But that does not mean they couldn’t deliver a good gig at Nosturi, and we moshed and shouted the night away with them.
Turmion Kätilöt’s setlist:
2. Silmät sumeat
4. Hyvissä höyryissä
6. Sinä saatana
7. Verta ja lihaa
11. Grand Ball
12. Pyhä maa
13. Suolainen kapteeni
14. Lataa ja varmista
1. Designed to Piss You Off
2. Suicide Machine
3. The Great Pretender
4. A Wannabe
5. Zombie Slam
6. Monkey Business
7. End of the Line
8. It’s Only Them
9. Pain in the Ass
10. I’m Going In
11. Coming Home
12. Call Me
13. Dirty Woman
14. Same Old Song
15. Shut Your Mouth
Photos: Janne Puronen