Finland might know a thing or two about metal, but when it comes to hardcore, our friends from overseas definitely do it better. With an overflowing supply these days, a really brutal hardcore band is not that easy to find. The kind of a band that the popular kids in your school will definitely hate. A band in which there is no place for bullshit. A band like Sick of it All.
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On the 25th of August, we went to Nosturi to watch the Americans from Sick of it All explode in our faces. Naturally, there were mostly teenagers in the audience, mixed with those who still have that teenage angst pulsating in their veins. A few Jamey Jasta doppelgangers were also spotted here and there, except they were too young to grow a beard. Once the gig started, I decided to go upstairs as I wanted to have my bones and face still in one piece after the show. This was arguably one of the most insane moshpits I have ever seen. The most surprising thing about it was that stage diving for the crowd was allowed. So far only the band members were allowed to do that and if you wanted to do some crowdsurfing, security would put you back on the ground. But this time, keeping with the best traditions of hardcore, kids couldn’t be happier to jump off the stage.
I realized that if I wanted to grasp the true essence of this gig, I would have to be in the crowd to feel this outrageous energy gushing out of them. So I left the safe spot on the second floor and stepped into the abyss. Mr. Lou Koller (vocals) kept on invigorating everyone to go more and more insane and I could already see the horror in the eyes of the security guy. “Built to Last,” “Lowest Common Denominator,” “A Month of Sundays”… every following song was like headbanging into a wall. It was really hard to believe that Sick of it All have been going on for 24 years already. Their flame is still burning high and unyielding, as if all those years had never happened.
About half an hour into the show, I spotted the first bleeding face and surely it wouldn’t be the last. Yet it didn’t stop anyone from slamming about like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, Pete Koller and Craig Setari – the two axemen on guitar and bass respectively – were tearing up the place, slaying each and every person simply by playing those strings. It’s not that often you get to see how united the band can be on stage and how the audience becomes a part of this unity, driven by the boiling feelings the music brings up in them.
“Take the Night Off” was an exact description of that event – people took the Wednesday night off to celebrate not giving a fuck, and a hell of a celebration it turned out to be. “My Life,” “Push too Far,” “Die Alone,” “Dominated”… as the setlist went on, the kids were already high on adrenaline and performed a remarkable wall of death in the name of one of the most brutal hardcore bands there is. Genuine and true to their style, Sick of it All were like a fistful of madness thrown into a tranquil Finnish routine, and they shattered it good and proper.
Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Jana Blomqvist