When an album reaches a certain age, it gives an excellent excuse for an artist or band to arrange something special. This year, it was time for Stam1na to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their third album, Raja, which was published in February 2008. The celebrations took place in the Helsinki Ice Hall’s Black Box with Icelandic Skálmöld and Finnish Rytmihäiriö as supporting acts. Musicalypse was obviously there to attend the party.
Going to a concert celebrating 10th anniversary of Raja felt very suitable, since my first time seeing Stam1na was in Rytmikorjaamo, Seinäjoki, soon after the release of the aforementioned album. During those 10 years, Stam1na has released four more albums, and their new single “Elämänlanka” was released just a couple of weeks ago, on May 16th.
The band had announced they would be playing the whole Raja album, and then another set consisting of songs from their other albums. Having two sets in a one night was kind of a dream come true, so needless to say I was exhilarated.
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Before the dream concert, there were two more sets to come. First on stage was Skálmöld, who is apparently the biggest metal band in Iceland. Well, I have to confess my knowledge of Iceland’s metal scene is non-existent, but that made the opening gig all the more interesting. According to their website, Skálmöld’s music is described as battle metal with a dash of epic Viking metal and oldschool death and trash metal. And I can confirm that all those elements could be heard, some more than others.
The best thing about Skálmöld was that they sing in Icelandic. To my ears it’s one of the coolest-sounding languages there is. But unfortunately, that also affected my concentration since I had no idea what the songs were about. In this case, it would have been great to get some information about the songs and their stories. Instead, the band focused on playing and just gave short speeches here and there, which were mainly about thanking the audience and telling the name of the next song.
During Skálmöld’s set, a steady flow of people arrived at the venue. The evening was sold out, and it was great to see so many being there from the start. I even saw some people singing along to Skálmöld’s songs, so the band obviously have a fanbase in Finland.
The second opener for Stam1na was Rytmihäiriö. By this point, the venue was already nicely packed. I have personally seen Rytmihäiriö live before once or twice, and each time has been confusing. Even though the bands’ songs vary, most of them seem to deal with alcohol and drinking, especially Gambina, which is a rather famous Finnish drink. If you haven’t tasted Gambina, I’m not the first one to recommend it, but it’s definitely an experience.
Rytmihäiriö’s trademark is having several bottles of Gambina on stage, and at least some of them will be empty by the end of the gig. On this occasion, it seemed that the consumption of Gambina on stage was surprisingly low, but maybe I missed an empty bottle or two.
Enough about drinking alcohol and more about singing about it. Like drinking Gambina, seeing Rytmihäiriö live is definitely an experience. They have a vast fanbase and in my experience, Rytmihäiriö can be heard frequently at the Nummirock campsite during midsummer. In short, I believe a great part of the audience was excited and ready to mosh with Rytmihäiriö. I allowed myself to be a mere bystander.
After the Gambina-infused set, it was finally time to get ready for a night to remember. During the first half, Stam1na played Raja in its entirety. There were only two minor changes in the set compared to album’s track list: in the middle of the set, instead of “Lääke”, the band played “Yhdeksän tien päät”, as this song was originally supposed to be on the album. Before the song, Antti Hyyrynen explained that they had decided to leave it off of Raja since the song felt too inappropriate at the time. This most likely refers to the school shooting in 2007, taking place in Jokela, Finland.
The band had a couple of guests on stage as well – Tommy Tuovinen (ex-MyGrain, Oceanhoarse) who had also made a guest appearance on the Raja album, accompanied the band in “Susi-ihminen” and “Yhdeksän tien päät.” Some of the songs had also two female background vocalists who gave the songs a nice flavor.
“Lääke” ended the first set, and the band took a 15-minute break before the second act. Stam1na started their return with “Kadonneet kolme sanaa” and a classic, “Viisi laukausta päähän.” The speech in the song was a bit different this time, since Kaarle Viikate from… well… Viikate, came to the stage and gave his monologue. I am not sure if the monologue was improvised or not, but it definitely wasn’t anything like the original.
For their second set, Stam1na had chosen one song from each of their albums (Raja excluded, obviously). I think this was the perfect choice, since it kept Raja in the spotlight but gave the audience a chance to hear their other favorites.
The end of the gig was filled with surprises. First, Stam1na played “Elämänlanka”, their newest single, live for the first time. The song received a warm welcome and sounded promising, considering their next album is to be released next autumn.
After the new single, it was time for something older. To everyone’s surprise, the band welcomed on stage Janne Joutsenniemi and Joonas Koto, and performed a cover of Stone’s “Get Stoned.” This was a suitable choice, since Hyyrynen is known for his fondness towards the band. Before the performance, Hyyrynen told the audience that this was the song that Metallica should’ve played (they performed one Finnish cover during both of their gigs a few weeks ago).
I thought this would be the end of the gig, but luckily the power of the masses proved me wrong. Since the audience would not stop shouting after the outro track, Stam1na came back on stage for one more song. This was “Paha arkkitehti”, from Stam1na’s first self-titled album, and is greatly loved by the fans.
As the gig finally ended, the audience’s contentment and bafflement for what they had just experienced was clearly evident. The only thing that dragged my mood down (in addition to the concert being over) was that during the first half of the first set, I managed to pull a muscle that prevented me from moshing. As time passes by and albums that were just released suddenly turn 10 years old, also my body seems to get older and crankier.
Anyway, here’s to another decade for Stam1na and their music, and to many more muscle strains to come!
5. Með jötnum
7. Með drekum
8. Loki (only first part of the song)
10. Að vetri
1. Sata Gambinaa
2. Totalitääriseen juoppohulluuteen
3. Gambinaa vastaan
5. Paluu raittiusleiriltä
6. Muovipussi päähän ja ruumis suohon
7. Jäljet johtavat ryyppykämppään
9. Olen kännissä
10. Koska saatana sanoo niin
11. akko tappaa ihminen
13. Saatana on herra
5. Voima vastaan viha
6. Yhdeksän tien päät
7. Kädet vasten lasia
8. Luova hulluus
12. Kadonneet kolme sanaa
13. Viisi laukausta päähän
15. Valtian uudet vaatteet
17. Kuudet raamit
19. Get Stoned (Stone cover)
20. Paha arkkitehti
Photos: Janne Puronen