The Taste of Chaos tour, sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink, has been rattling around Europe and the States for quite a few years, offering the hardcore and metal fans an exquisite selection of ear-candy. In 2010, ToC was replaced in the States by Uproar Festival, which boasted a more diverse line-up than what ended up coming to Europe. However, we can’t really complain as the world’s greatest festivals take place on European soil, and our American comrades in heavy music deserve to get at least a faint taste of what the festival life is all about. The invasion begins as Europe slowly goes into winter mode and this time, the Taste of Chaos was brought to us by Halestorm, Buckcherry, Papa Roach, and Disturbed. The tour kicked off in Helsinki on the 15th of November, 2010, and we were lucky to get to check out the first show.
Having four bands play on a Monday night means an early start in Finland. The doors opened at 18:00 and at 18:40, Halestorm already came on stage. It was the band’s first visit to Finland, as well as the our first encounter with them. While Lzzy Hale’s vocals can be considered quite impressive, there was nothing in the band’s performance that hasn’t been said, done, and played time and time again, up to a point where it became, frankly, boring. Hartwall Areena was still mostly empty at that time, but the small crowd that was there gave Halestorm a fairly warm welcome. A couple of little girls sitting behind me were clearly fans of the band as they knew all the lyrics and kept on cheering really loudly in between the songs. It seems that I’m simply too old and unable to appreciate the efforts of a yet another up-and-coming band with a female vocalist and whiny songs about the taste of poison, while holding a glass of wine. Seriously, even Gaahl did the glass-of-wine thing, get over it already. A few songs later, a drum solo followed, which was quite a surprising move for a 30 minute warm-up set. After a short while, the rest of the band returned to the stage, each with their own drums and continued the solo. This was easily the best moment of the whole performance. Although the band’s setlist consisted of seven songs, it seemed as if there were less. The last one was called “I Get Off,” where Lzzy yelled, “I get off on you, Helsinki!”
Up next was a highly underrated band in Europe: Buckcherry. Surprisingly, their backdrop was smaller than that of Halestorm, but it didn’t matter because their performance kicked ass. This band is not trying to be someone they are not. Buckcherry mix the essence of the best traditions of good ol’ rock ’n’ roll with a badass rockstar motherfucker attitude! They are great party starters and the energy they exude during their performance is enough to get you going for the rest of the night. Songs like “All Night Long,” “Lit Up,” “It’s A Party,” and “Crazy Bitch” are merely appetizers to the debauchery this band’s solo show could be. Sadly, their set was too short to go wild, but quite appropriate to get the audience pumped.
Once Buckcherry went off the stage, the Papa Roach drumset was carried in and a big white backdrop was raised behind the stage with the band’s name, which had some kind of a 3D effect on it because of the light. By that, time Hartwall Areena was quite full and once Jacoby Shaddix took the stage, the crowd roared in response. Even though my musical taste is far more extreme than anything Papa Roach has ever done, their performance was rather impressive. It was obvious that the band gave everything they had to the audience and people appreciated it. The pixel boards in the back enhanced the dynamics of the show even more with various moving images, adding to the overall picture of a high quality performance. They opened the show in a very fitting way with “Kick in the Teeth” and took everyone for a ride with all the jumping and singalongs. Some of the stops along the way included “Scars,” “Getting Away with Murder,” and of course, “Hollywood Whore,” at the end of which Jacoby put on rubber breasts while impaling the audience with his dissecting “Wake up!” shriek. Papa Roach ended the set with “Last Resort” and left the stage, thus becoming the biggest positive surprise of that night.
The longest changeover naturally occurred before Disturbed. Peeking behind the black curtain that covered the stage, one could see that these guys mean serious business. It’s noteworthy to say that probably for the first time ever, the music from the speakers during the changeovers was in fact better than what could be heard on stage, as the “speakers” repertoire mostly consisted of Faith No More. As such, the waiting was easier to endure.
Once the curtain went up, we saw huge pixel screens hanging above the stage and smaller ones going on both sides from the drum set. Disturbed started their performance with a short movie shown on the screens, where the band’s vocalist, David Draiman, was pictured having clinical death. The band kicked off the show with “Remnants” and the crowd went insane. Through the whole hour-long set, people didn’t stop jumping, yelling, and pumping their fists in the air. I confess that I didn’t really share this jolly atmosphere. Disturbed’s stage set and some of the new material was the only thing different from their performance seen at Ruisrock Festival 2009. Draiman still wore the same boiler suit and still lacked any charisma, simply going from one side of the stage to another. However, obviously his thrilling vocals are enough to make the crowd go in an instant frenzy. Yet, despite all the high-tech settings, great light work, flames on the pixel screens, if what a band is trying to deliver transmits on a different wavelength than yours – everything is useless. And that’s the deal with Disturbed, we don’t click.
So there it was, we were once again reminded what chaos tastes like and it was delicious!
Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Jana Blomqvist | Ed: Amy Wiseman