Before the COVID-19 crisis set in completely and all gigs were postponed or cancelled, we saw one last show at Semifinal on March 11th, 2020. Trio de Facto, also known as the acoustic cover band version of Metal de Facto who once toured with Ensiferum, featuring Mikael Salo, Sami Hinkka, and Esa Orjatsalo, performed at the mini-club behind Tavastia to a small but enthusiastic crowd of friends and fans alike.
In keeping with the traditional Finnish joke of requesting “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath (for you North Americans, I suppose it would be “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd), they played “Paranoid” first. Salo then greeted the crowd in Finnish, but then quickly recognized that at least half of the people present were not native Finns and switched over to English so everyone could understand (bonus points for that).
They moved on to “Future World” by Helloween, with a lot of vocal experimentation and an almost flamenco solo by Orjatsalo. Then we left Germany to our neighbors in Sweden for “Twilight of the Thunder God,” which was great, hearing Salo go from low to high in the verses. This went to Ireland (or Boston) for “Rose Tattoo” by the Dropkick Murphys, before returning to Amon Amarth.
They went on to a “small indie band from the Bay Area” with a bluesy rendition of “For Whom the Bells Tolls.” After that they teased that they were playing a song from (or with?) someone in the room, then jokingly pointed to Tapio “Papa” Wilska [ex-Finntroll] at the sound booth before asking Yannis Papadopolous of Beast in Black fame to join them for “Blind and Frozen,” jumping into “The Unforgiven” briefly before returning to the familiar song – this totally threw Papadopoulos off, but he hadn’t planned on singing anyways, so while it was a bit of a shit show, it was wildly entertaining to everyone present.
The band then encouraged us to make Corona beer great again in the interlude, then played “Square Hammer” by Ghost. After an intermission, they sang a made up jingle to promote Corona (beer) and then played “Wasting Love.” After proving they could do a serious ballad in the form of Iron Maiden, they did “They Suffer” by Napalm Death in proper bluegrass style, and it was perfect (and hilarious).
Naturally, they said that they would cover their favorite band, the handsomest, best composers, and played their own song, Metal de Facto’s “Legionnaire’s Oath.” Then they gave us some Manowar, followed by an interestingly hilarious polka version of “Taivas ja tulta” by Teräsbetoni (or, Finnish Manowar). They then finished the set with a medley of “Wasted Years” and Korpiklaani’s “Vodka.”
Was this a perfect show? Well, yes and no. The playing was casual and fun and, while practiced, the band was goofing around. However, since the crowd was so small and the band was familiar with everyone present, this was not actually an issue. Everything they did, from the acoustic stylization of the music to putting Papadopoulos on the spot was wildly entertaining. This was the last show I saw before COVID-19 cancelled all live events, so I can at least say that I left things on a high note for now thanks to these guys!
1. Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
2. Future World (Helloween)
3. Twilight of the Thunder God / Rose Tattoo medley (Amon Amarth / Dropkick Murphys)
4. For Whom the Bell Tolls (Metallica)
5. Blind and Frozen / The Unforgiven medley (Battle Beast / Metallica ft. Yannis Papadopoulos)
6. Square Hammer (Ghost)
7. Wasting Love (Iron Maiden)
8. They Suffer (Napalm Death)
9. Hunting High and Low / Stairway to Heaven medley (Stratovarius / Led Zeppelin)
10. Legionnaire’s Oath (Metal de Facto)
11. Battle Hymn / Taivas Lyö Tulta (Manowar / Teräsbentoni)
12. Wasted Years / Vodka (Iron Maiden / Korpiklaani ft. Yannis Papadopoulos)
Photo: Laureline Tilkin