TUSKA OPEN AIR – Suvilahti, Helsinki, 28-30.06.2019

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Another year has passed us, which means that another Tuska Open Air was upon us. Musicalypse has been at Tuska and its events since 2007, and this year was no different. Taking place yet again at Suvilahti on June 28th to 30th, we had bands ranging from Arion and Fear of Domination up to Opeth and Slayer to look forward to!

Check out the galleries here for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3Day 3, and the Festival Extras!

 

Day 1

It is a rare occasion when we can get ourselves together in order to arrive early, but lo and behold, we were able to find our way downtown to collect our wristbands at a reasonable time. This year, they had adjusted the festival area thanks to the opening of the new Redi mall in Kalasatama, which meant that you could now pick up your wristbands from the mall in advance, or just go straight to Suvilahti. It also means that there’s another metro station very near to the exit of

As we approached the festival area from a new angle, our first impression was positive. Firstly, there was a long entrance area with bars and food and sitting places for the people between bands who hadn’t shelled out for the VIP tickets. Merch was immediately to your right once past this area, near the main stage but still out of the way. More of the buildings were put to use, with the Black Dining still present, and Solumisali hosting a small expo. This year marked the debut of the K18 ticket restriction, so there were no more guarded gates, allowing free roaming and the even spread of bars and food stalls.

Arion, Tuska 2019

Arion came out on the main stage right around 14:15 to warm up the festival with great tracks like “No One Stands in Our Way,” “Punish You,” and “Last of Us.” They bounced pretty evenly between their first and second albums and it’s hard to complain about their music on any fronts because it’s just so well-written. The bright afternoon sun worked well with their energetic performance and great sound.

Not only do these guys play some of the best new power metal, but they have great stage charisma, from bassist Gege Velinov’s nonstop swinging between looking cool and metal and grinning like a joyous idiot (and I mean that as a good thing) to keyboardist Arttu Vauhkonen’s shy smiling and Iivo Kaipainen’s stylish guitar shredding. Even though they’re a smaller band, vocalist Lassi Vääränen makes use of the whole space, fronting the band with skill and flare, while Kaipainen solos like someone well over twice his age.

It almost seemed like their set might already be done after they played “Seven” because it was so big, but Vääränen went on to hype up the crowd for “The Last Sacrifice.” Fortunately they had a full hour set, finishing up with “Unforgivable” and “At the Break of Dawn.” There were no complaints about the show at all.

Marko Hietala, Tuska 2019

We jumped immediately to the tent stage for Marko Hietala, starting up to a very psychedelic, proggy intro and went right into the track with the long, awesome vocal parts,”Tähti, hiekka ja varjo.” Like the seasoned professional he is, Hietala was immediately having fun with the songs and playing with the vocal lines as if he’s been performing these songs all his life. Switching straight from heavy to 80s synth was a bit of a shock, but “Kuoleiden jumalten poika” sounded amazing and Hietala then chatted with the crowd and greeted all the foreigners in English and mentioned that the English version of the album would be out in a few months.

The guitar sounds in “Isäni ääni” sounded equally cool live, and was kind of a psychedelic, dynamic eargasm. Hietala then put down his bass to focus on singing for the next track, “Laulu sinulle.” The great marching beat of “Vapauden kuolinmarssi” meant I was going to get my favorite song, along with “Kiviä,” which ended the set; in fact, if I’m not wrong, they played the whole album during the show. The overall stage performance was pretty chill, with the keyboardist doing some kicks and Hietala messing around with the guitarist a bit, but it was mostly about playing good music, and that they did. While the lighting wasn’t awesome, the soundscapes were still really clear and powerful.

Battle Beast, Tuska 2019

We took a quick break to refill our water bottles before Battle Beast came out on the main stage. Vocalist Noora Louhimo seems to have adopted some sort of pale, demonic form these days, which is arguably really cool or way too over-the-top for their particular style of music. The classics hits like “Familiar Hell” and “Black Ninja” were the best moments, with their newer music remaining catchy and suitable for a sunny festival day, but not particularly memorable. Overall though, if you like Battle Beast, they’re a solid bet for some summer energy.

We left their set early to say hello to Marko Hietala at his signing session before rushing to the indoor stage for Wheel, the next big thing in Finnish prog. Wheel had just begun when we arrived and were tearing up the Kattilahalli stage with one of their heavier tracks. Their English speaking vocalist, James Lascelles, greeted the crowd, saying it’s good to be playing in their home town again, before introducing “Tyrants” from their debut album. The band was on stage in dark hoods and torn jeans, smoothly grooving to the the heavy prog soundscapes.

It felt like the blink of an eye from when we walked up to the stage to the entire indoor stage area filling up. They pulled in a phenomenal and enthusiastic crowd and the front rows were all grooving to the rhythm. Lascelles thanked the crowd for coming out before introducing “Where the Pieces Lie” as a song about overcoming adversity. Similarly to Marko Hietala’s show, they focused mainly on playing well, and the proggy style of music both bands play allows you to enjoy the show from the crowd or from afar.

Anthrax, Tuska 2019

We ran to grab a quick bite from the ever-popular Papa’s Smokery while Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” played as an intro for Anthrax. The song choice made sense, since a hypothetical Venn diagram of Anthrax fans who like Iron Maiden would probably be close to a circle. Following that they started out with the intro from “Cowboys from Hell” from Pantera before breaking into “Caught in the Mosh.” This combo left no-one cold. As a performance however, it was a bit sloppy, as they focused more on getting the crowd to join in than being on time themselves. The audience ate it up; it seemed like the whole crowd was pumping their fists up in the air. The next song, “Got the Time,” didn’t bring the mood down much even though it was a Joe Jackson cover and nobody’s favorite. They tried have the crowd sing the chorus but there was a lot of confusion as to what the cue was and it came out a bit lackluster. Keeping up the barrage of hits was “Madhouse” and “I Am the Law” wherein they sang with the crowd instead of leaving them on their own. It worked a lot better. They still had the “Among Kings” backdrop referencing the (to-date) latest album from 2016, For All Kings and the classic Among the Living which celebrated a 30 year anniversary two years back. Why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? Though… it would’ve made more sense had they played something from the latest album.

They dedicated “In the End” to a lot of great men who left us too soon, including Ronnie James Dio, Dimebag Darrell, and Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. The song was a phenomenal anthem and an underrated modern classic, even though it ran a bit too long. They made up for it to the old schoolers with “A.I.R.” which inspired a moshpit – albeit the laziest one I’ve seen in years. They did remedy the situation eventually with “Antisocial” and “Indians.” The set was satisfying but criminally short. It almost felt like their set was over when they were just getting warmed up.

Brymir, Tuska 2019

Meanwhile in Kattilahalli, Brymir was starting their set. It was hard to get in or our of the indoor stage for most of the weekend due to the massive crowds. Unfortunately, the ventilation was nonexistent and it was stuffy as hell. In fact, it was so packed that we weren’t able to see the stage, thus relying on the audio performance. I’m shamefully behind the times on the Brymir front, so this was a perfect time to try them out. Much like Frosttide back in Tuska 2016, I was left wondering why haven’t I been listening to these guys already? They had very Finnish pagan/folk soundscapes, moving between a lighter, more melodic folk metal to harsher, blacker styles from song to song. Some of their more ambient music was truly fantastic, and even though I couldn’t see the stage, I was left wanting more.

And then, in the blink of an eye, it seemed as though Suvilahti was full to capacity. What had before been a beautiful, vast open area was now a chaotic mass of intermingling queues. It seems that the bar areas in previous years had actually done the festival a favor by keeping the drinking-focused attendees separate from the music-watchers. It was almost impossible to have a conversation with anyone because the drinking area had fused with the aforementioned music area, and there was nothing to control the size and position of the immense queues. The toilet queues, for example, were massive and the cloak room didn’t have enough space. It seemed they weren’t quite prepared for everyone who showed up.

Dimmu Borgir was one of the most-awaited bands of the night, having last played at Tuska in 2014. They’re in the middle of celebrating their 25th anniversary with their newest album and brought the party to Tuska. I’ve always enjoyed Dimmu at festivals because they always play in the evening when the sun is glowing brightest, which always contrasts delightfully ironically with their music. While I personally don’t listen to much black/extreme metal (or however you want to define Dimmu these days), I always enjoy them for their outstanding stage outfits, tight performances, and really awesome and epic orchestrations. Classics like “Puritania” and “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” were interspersed with new tracks from 2018’s Eonian like “The Unveiling,” “Interdimensional Summit,” and “Ætheric.” The show closed out with “Mourning Palace,” and the crowd was left thrilled but wanting more.

Dimmu Borgir, Tuska 2019

We then stepped over to the Kattilahalli to check out Alien Weaponry‘s first show in Finland. We had heard that they were a thrashy band, so it was a nice surprise that their first few songs were still pretty melodic. They had great energy and put on a pretty excellent show; we wondered why they were on the small stage considering how popular they were this weekend. We stayed for a few songs before wandering off to find a place to hang out for Amorphis.

Amorphis, Tuska 2019

The regular Finnish festival performers of Amorphis took the stage quite late, as a sort of post-headliner specialty show where they were playing Queen of Time in its entirety. While I’m running out of adjectives to describe Amorphis live – they’re just such natural performers – it was really cool to see their latest album from start to finish, especially as the legendary Anneke van Giersbergen had played earlier in the day and was thus able to perform “Amongst Stars” with them, which was one of Musicalypse’ collective favorite songs of last year. Due to the sheer magnitude of people at Suvilahti, we simply hadn’t been able to get to Kattilahalli for her set, so luckily we were still able to see her gorgeous smile and hear her wonderful voice a couple times.

After the regular set, they then gave us a five-song encore of older songs, including “Sampo,” “Four Wise Ones,” and “Smoke.” The Dutch metal goddess returned for “Her Alone” midway through the encore, which she first sang with Amorphis (to my knowledge) at the Helsinki Juhlapäivät in 2016. They then closed out the first night with the old classic, “Black Winter Day,” which sounded maybe the best I’ve heard it in a long while.

Unfortunately, the first day ended up being a bit of a shit show. The narikka [cloack room] didn’t have enough space, there weren’t enough garbage bins or toilets, and the overall festival space was a mess. But if this year went badly, we remain confident that the organizers would take it very seriously and make some improvements next year.

 

Day 2

Considering how much of a catastrophe Friday had been, it was rather heartwarming to see that the organizers hadn’t waited a moment and had already taken steps to make the festival area work more smoothly, including bringing in more narikka space, toilets, garbage bins, and general staff. So a huge, huge round of applause for Tuska taking their event quality so seriously and working so quickly to make things better.

It was near agony to find our way back to the festival area in time for Fear of Domination on Saturday, but we managed to drag our ragged bodies back to the festival area on time. These guys were last at Tuska in 2017 when guest vocalist Sara Strömmer was publicly asked to join the band permanently. Since then, they’re released the critically acclaimed Metanoia and there have been plenty of opportunities to see them live.

Fear of Domination, Tuska 2019

The band came out, fierce and painted in non-traditional purple, red, and white, with Strömmer’s bright purple hair fitting in perfectly. This first half of their set was made up of older tracks like “ll,” “Paperdoll,” and the ever-popular cover of The Bloodhound gang’s “The Bad Touch.” They then played a few of their livelier tracks from Metanoia, “Obsession,” “Sick and Beautiful,” and “Face of Pain.” One thing that’s always a guarantee with these guys is that they will work to keep you entertained. They’re great performers with awesome stage chemistry, and their sets are never a disappointment.

We had a little rest after that as Lost Society played on the main stage. Their energetic thrash works well in the sun but we needed a little time to gather ourselves after the disco party on the tent stage. JP Ahonen, the author/artist of Villimpi Pohjola and Belzebubs was being interviewed in the Solmusali expo center in one of the buildings. He was asked about how he started Belzebubs and its near overnight success, and it was fun to hear stories about his reactions to Gary Holt [Exodus, Slayer] and Cristina Scabbia [Lacuna Coil] becoming fans of Belzebubs. We managed to get an interview with him afterwards, which you will be able to read soon.

Stam1na, Tuska 2019

While Stam1na was on the main stage, putting on what we presume was yet another excellent live summer festival show, we opted to check out the indoor stage to hear what Mustan Kuun Lapset were like. We were quite surprised to hear their melodies capturing our attention right away. The lyrics were quite Finnish gloomy, but the music was nice and melancholy. It worked well on the indoor stage, as the sun would have likely taken away from the ambience a bit.

Next up was a coin toss between Sick of it All on the main stage and Visions of Atlantis in Kattilahalli. I seemed to have mistook Sick of it All for another band and immediately realized that they were not for me, so Austrian power metal it was. Besides… what an unusual band choice. I may have misheard, but I think the singer said this was their first time in Finland not long after we joined the rest of the crowd indoors.

Visions’ newest album came out last year, so the set focused on allowing new vocalist Clémentine Delauney to sing her own material; the older songs they played included, “New Dawn,” “Memento,” and “Passing Dead End.” While the band is somewhat known for being cheesy, and while they had fantasy-esque stage outfits, their performance was actually pretty fun made me think that it could be time to rediscover this band after a decade-long break.

Delauney got to have a passionate ballad solo under the moving spotlights, and they had to do a belated 30th birthday greeting to their bassist, as they had forgotten the day before because of what I think he said was a power outage in their set stressing them out. I will say that they are kind of an inferior Nightwish, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t pretty fun to watch.

Delain, Tuska 2019

Following the symphonic power metal, we were forced to divide our attention between Delain and De Lirium’s Order. The former play here so seldomly, yet the latter really caught our attention this year but they’ve only played an acoustic show so far, making it hard to commit to one band over the other. In the end, we opted for the new experience and went to De Lirium’s Order, though we caught the first few of Delain’s songs and found ourselves truly excited about the improvement in their live performance (and they weren’t exactly bad before) and excited to hear that they’ll be back to Finland next year.

Long ago, the indoor halls were almost always empty because they hosted smaller bands. Nowadays, Kattilahalli still hosts the smaller shows of the weekend, but was packed full pretty nearly consistently. We wiggled our way up to the sound booth and the wonderfully heavy and technical metal came roaring out from the stage. Kari Olli had returned to his vocal duties and he sounded perhaps a bit more flavorful live than he had on the new album, which was nice.

Mikael Salo materialized yet again for “Piazzolla” alongside the other guest vocalist, Marko Salonen. They played a few of the best songs from Singularity, including “Ayatollah” and “The End of Time” – the latter of which also had Salo on vocals and Salonen on vocals, and ultimately put on a pretty satisfying show.

Opeth, Tuska 2019

The next up on the main stage was Opeth. The Swedish prog metal masters had been seen on the Tuska stage before but were welcomed back with open arms. They’ve toned down the death metal aspects of their sound since their heyday but their current sound sat well with the bright blue skies of a summer day. Newer songs such as “Sorceress” had more heart than the gloomy passages of Still Life. They played a few of the older, heavier tracks such as “Ghost of Perdition” and “Deliverance,” but were much more keen on lighter tracks such as “Drapery Falls” and “In My Time of Need.” The newer songs, such as “Cusp of Eternity” weren’t devoid of heaviness, per se, but lacked that metal low-end. Singer/guitarist, Mikael Åkerfeldt assumed a very nonchalant attitude when it came to banter. Is no stage presence a kind of stage presence? – I wondered. He repeated some of the same prods he did last time at Tuska: calling Stockholm “the capital of Scandinavia” and referring to Sweden as “the superior hockey playing nation.” They got a decent laugh but they took it a bit further when they claimed Finland’s latest ice hockey world championship game was “a fluke.” Åkerfedt even told a story about meeting ice hockey legend Teemu Selänne, A.K.A. “The Swede Killer,” that sadly went nowhere.

Heilung, Tuska 2019

One of the most anticipated bands of the weekend, according to pretty much everyone around us, was Heilung. They weren’t a band I personally was familiar with, but they had some of the best shirts at the festival and a lot of people were dressed up in pagan attire with horns and whatnot for their set. And what an interesting set it was! The entirety of the performance was done in low light, while the stage was adorned in old shamanic-style instruments. The entire stage area was packed to the brim under the tent, so if you didn’t come early enough you may have missed an opportunity to get a good seat. It was a bit sad that it’s so hard to see within that tent unless you’re up close, because the whole set seemed to be comprised of the band doing pagan rituals and summonings over the span of a mere seven songs. It was a wild, ambient experience that the crowd was not liable to soon forget. I saw many a’ face leaving the tent looking breathless and overwhelmed after its conclusion.

Slayer, Tuska 2019

And then it was time for Finland to say farewell to Slayer. Their show in Helsingin Jäähalli last December had sold out rather quickly, suggesting that many fans had missed out. That and the fact that any corner from which the stage could be seen was absolutely packed. They began the set with “Repentless” from their latest album of the same name; not all bands dare to emphasize their latest albums on farewell tours (I’m looking at you KISS!). Though, it may not have been an instant classic, it showed that they stand by their work and aren’t has-beens. They already broke out the pyrotechnics in the first song, which made me wonder where they could go from there.

The backdrop was a new piece of art, amalgamating all of the album art from their discography. The new guitarist, Gary Holt, had a shirt reading “Kill the Kardashians”; referencing the time Kim Kardashian wore a Slayer shirt as a fashion statement. After “Hate Worldwide” they switched the backdrop to a graphic of a new hellscape in the spirit of Jeroen Bosch. During “War Ensemble” it became apparent that they had only used a fraction of their pyros during the first song. When they unleashed the full scope of the heat, I felt it from a good 60m away – a massive wall of flames.

During some songs, such as “Disciple” and “Hell Awaits,” they had the flames form an upside-down cross. Among newer songs, they played a number of classics, such as “Mandatory Suicide,” “Seasons in the Abyss,” “Dead Skin Mask,” and “Angel of Death.” They brought the evening to a close with “South of Heaven” (my personal favorite), followed by the mandatory “Raining Blood.” The crowd cheered to their heart’s content as Slayer left the stage, though singer/bassist Tom Araya stayed to bask in the awe for a good 3 minutes. I swore I could spy a single manly tear come down his cheek. It was an emotional and fulfilling send-off to one of the most influential bands of a generation.

Slayer, Tuska 2019

Saturday was a powerhouse of bands and we were thrilled to see that the organizers really put effort into making this festival a good time for the attendees. Thus having our final lust for Slayer slaked, we went to town for our afterparties and then to sleep in anticipation for the final day.

 

Day 3

This might be the only year in history and the only festival in history where we managed to show up so early every day. But with tempters like Leverage and Hevisaurus so early on, we dragged ourselves out to the festival area for the opening of the gates one last time. The tent stage was getting ready for Hevisaurus, and we noticed a fruit & veggie bar for the festival kids, as children were allowed to attend on the family-friendly festival Sunday. Then, since there was some time, we thought we’d check out Kaiser in Kattilahalli.

Starting at the ugly early hour of 14:15, Kaiser started with a pretty crushing, heavy stoner rock song before the vocalist greeted the crowd, asked if anyone was awake yet, and then introduced “We Bleed for This.” The vocalist had a winning voice, combining largely clean vocals with a bit of grit and growl, and the stoner riffs and energetic drums made for a nice experience. In fact, we had only planned to stay for a few songs, but we were rather late to Leverage because it was a good time in there.

Leverage are definitely a good time on stage. Last time I saw them was in 2010 at the now-defunct Dante’s Highlight, so it’s been many years since my last opportunity to see them live. Nowadays Mikko Salovaara (ex-Kiuas) is playing guitar with them, so it was kind of a double-whammy of Finnish nostalgia. A decade ago, Salovaara was among the top guitarists in Finland, and to this day he still shreds with the best of them, even if this is a little different from his usual folk metal style. They even had Lotta Pitkänen play guest violin on “Wind of Morrigan,” and live violin is always a treat.

Hopping over immediately to the tent stage, Hevisaurus started with “Jurahevin kuningat” and had some goofy PG stage banter before going on to a personal favorite, “Tahdon maito.” The tent stage was packed to capacity and it was hard to see a thing, so luckily the screens were there. Maybe the best part was seeing all the little generation metalheads on the family-designated Sunday – hope for our cultural future! But songs like “Juranoid,” “Liskodisko,” and “Louhikäärme ja ritari” were nothing to turn one’s nose up at.

Hevisaurus, Tuska 2019

They also slowed things down for “Viimeinen mammutti,” which is a surefire way to get grown metalheads to weep mascara streaks down their face. Herra Hevisaurus let the crowd sing for him in the chorus, which turned impressively loud. Milli Pilli got her solo for “Liskodisko,” and while most of the crowd was pretty chill, when “Räyh!” started all hands came up to clap and Herra Hevisaurus had the crowd chanting “räyh!” towards the end.

We took a food break at Burger (the local food place) and were pleased by the quality of fries if the burgers were a bit overpriced during Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes main stage set. While it didn’t draw me away from my food, I did enjoy their rock-punk music alongside my meal. We then headed back indoors to give Dark Sarah a listen.

The steampunk/Gothic-themed band was already playing when we came in. Vocalist and creator Heidi Parviainen is now blonde, and JP Leppaluoto, now a full member of the band, was present throughout, unlike the other occasions when we’ve seen these guys. I’m currently out-of-date when it comes to Dark Sarah’s storyline, but Leppaluoto and Parviainen have nice chemistry on stage and Leppaluoto is a great performer. Perhaps Parivainen’s vocals are a little dull at times, relying too much on the soprano style over interesting vocal melodies. But otherwise their music is rather decent if you like this “Goth with a touch of emo and a lot of stage drama” kind of music. It was a surprise that “Dance with the Dragon” was played quite early on, but it’s definitely one of their best songs and one of the best performances in their set.

Jinjer, Tuska 2019

We didn’t stay until the end though, because Jinjer was a must-see on our list. They came right out, hard and heavy, and instantly snatching my attention without wasting their time asking my permission. Tatiana Shmaylyuk is immediately as badass as the rumors say. I’d even argue she’s got a smoother growl than Alissa White-Gluz or Angela Gossow [Arch Enemy past and present, and perhaps the most well-known female growlers], as at least by my experience she has a more considerable sound range both in and out of her growls. Matching some clean vocals in there and just generally looking metal as fuck when she was high kicking or headbanging, she was a force to be reckoned with.

I had some concerns that Jinjer might be a little too thrashy for my taste, but while the music was heavy and metal as hell, it still managed to be reasonably melodic and easy to enjoy. The crowd chanted their name and clapped eagerly between songs. Their sound covered the spectrums of melodic, moody, and thrashy – something for everyone! There was even a sort of reggae-pop moment, because why not? It’s past time I move these guys up on my to-listen list.

Behemoth, Tuska 2019

The blasphemous orchestral death/black metallers, Behemoth, were up next on the main stage. “Solve,” the intro to their excellent new album, I Loved you at your Darkest, acted as an intro and they began with “Wolves of Siberia.” They had one of the most impressive pyrotechnics displays I’d ever seen – almost as if to challenge Slayer from the previous night. It was awesome seeing them on a large enough stage for a change. The burning hot sun and blue skies didn’t quite match the intended mood, however.

“Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” had a particularly noteworthy stage show as singer/guitarist Nergal waved around flaming torches and they broke out their best pyros. Hailing from the very conservative Poland, we had to give them credit for daring to do as many openly blasphemous themes as they do. For “Bartzabel,” Nergal donned a black headdress similar to that worn by the pope. The song, though simpler and slower than most of their songs, had a hypnotic groove and an easy chorus to sing along with. Songs like “God=Dog” and “Conquer All” garnered a huge response and judging from the attendance the main stage is where they belonged. Prior to this, Nergal remarked that this was the metal capital of Europe and that they were excited to do this – their biggest gig here – to date. They took the time to pop backstage for a quick outfit tune up and to add a bit of (presumably) fake blood to Nergal’s face. They finished with “Lucifer” and “We Are the Next 1000 Years.”

Halestorm, Tuska 2019

We caught a bit of Halestorm on the main stage, but honestly weren’t overly impressed by them. Personally, the band bothers me for having almost the same name as Alestorm, but that’s got nothing to do with their music. While vocalist Lzzy Hale has a pretty impressive voice, and while their music is quite good, the lyrics don’t seem to have much depth and so none of their music packs much of a punch. Live, they likely put on a good show if you’re interested in their music, but from where we were standing, it just seemed like an inferior version of Cold Kingdom, or Pvris, or Paramore.

By the time Sunday’s headliner came on stage, a large chunk of the audience had gone home. The honor had inexplicably been given to Swedish nostalgia rock group, The Hellacopters. Their set was entirely disposable, as their best riffs were hand-me-downs from Motörhead. They seemed to have fun on stage but had no business being on the main stage and would have been more at home on the Rantalava at Ruisrock. The audience seemed mostly bored and bewildered. The most memorable point of the show was halfway through their set when they criticized the bouncers for seemingly being too rough. “We’re just trying to have a good time… I’m sorry. We didn’t hire them,” said singer Nicke Andersson. To say the gig was the blandest in years would be an understatement. There was no character to it other than Andersson’s mighty fine looking hat.

Hellacopters, Tuska 2019

And thus we reached the end of the final day. Sunday this year felt very much like a wind-down, and with a somewhat forgettable closer and the family-friendly atmosphere, it seemed people had tapered down and (predictably) many had gone home a bit early, likely with their children, allowing the fans and party people to remain with a bit more space.

 

Tuska 2019 was definitely something of an experience. The organizers pulled out a few new stops in order to keep the festival interesting, and though the first day was a bit of a chaotic disaster, they stepped up, heard the feedback, and put in some effort to make improvements. The food options were slimmer this year, but for myself, it seemed simpler to pick between burgers, pulled burgers, and vegan food and I didn’t need to run around spending all my money tasting everything (like at Rockfest). Likewise, Tuska has really stepped up the game in their merch recently, with their shirts being really creative, from basic black and camo, to stylized girlie shirts and colored psychedelic styles.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year, after the shenanigans of 2019. While the headliners weren’t anything particularly new or fresh (though Slayer’s last Finnish show was certainly a big event), the rest of the weekend was actually really excellent and the selection of bands was quite varied and not too stuck to one metal genre as it has been in some past years. Overall, we had a blast and that’s the main thing! See you next year, Tuska!

Tuska Open Air Festival, Suvilahti 2019

Text: Amy W., Vincent P. | Photos: Janne Puronen

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