Blackstar HaloWell, it was a hot time in Tampere (Finland) last weekend. The hot Finnish
Sauna was full of metalheads and great bands. But that big Sauna Open Air
festival is not everything interesting that was happening in the town during
these days. Some brave Finnish guys decided to make their own great after-party
– in a big way, and they did it. I was excited when I’ve seen the line-up for
three days: it’s going to be the real festival, not a usual after-party when
music is just a background for drinking.
This event took place in Yo-talo,
not the best club in Tampere, but not the worst neither. It is
situated in the centre of Tampere. The stage is not very big, the
light is awful, the style of the club is not rock, the prices in the bar are
quite high, but in a whole it’s a pretty nice place. If there’s a good band on
stage, of course. On Thursday, June 6 we had three good bands on stage. But
let’s start in order…
I came quite early - almost at 21.00
and… I was one of the first visitors. The doors were just opened, the
soundcheck was just in the end, and the concert should have started only after
22.00… Meanwhile on stage staff tried to hang up the background sceneries with
bands’ logos. Obviously they should have done it before the soundcheck, because
to do it now on the small stage with lots of instruments was pretty difficult.
And even funny. But I suspect that bands haven’t given those back-clothes in
time… So that was my entertainment during the next hour, and then – only hard
rock, heavy and power metal classic compilation that played in the club.
At least, time is 21:55. There was nobody in the club. After
20 minutes people started to arrive, but the stage was empty and there was no
movement. 22:30 – obviously the band was waiting for more
people to come. And finally the gig started.
It’s Blackstar Halo on stage, the band from Tampere previously known as Downfall. Maybe it was too early for Finns or they needed more time to get to the club from the Sauna Open Air, but the hall was almost empty. The band’s performance began with the common intro, but after that the guys in black shirts showed what they really can. And they can do a lot; I was wondering why they are not very popular. Maybe not yet… All the musicians in the band know how to move and perform on stage, although it was the small stage. Of course the show could be much better with the better light. The music is powerful, pretty heavy but with nice melodies, the vocalist
is bright and sings in different voices and puts out tongue, the guitarist did
some backing vocals. They have something from power metal, something from alternative and also a bit melodic heavy. It’s a good mix but definitely the band should communicate with the audience more and develop the show. Sometimes it’s really useful to tell the name of the band, or something about the latest album, or
introduce the musicians, or just jokes. With Blackstar Halo that night
sometimes I had a feeling that I’m watching a video, it’s not the real
performance in the real time. The band is not enough vivid and charismatic. Not
yet. Without any doubts they have an amazing music. I’m ready to buy their
album and visit their concert again. Next year.
quite short set because of the tight schedule. The next band was Burning Point
from the North of Finland (
keyboards this time, only two guitars, bass, drums and vocal. I love this band.
It reminds of good old 80-s. And as I saw also other people like this band. The
light was a bit better; obviously someone tried to figure out something proper.
I can’t say that he or she has succeeded. Pete, vocalist and guitarist, free
and easily communicated with the fans and introduced the musicians in the end
of the performance. They had a guest appearance during the show – a vocalist
whose name I missed, unfortunately. As for the rest, the show of Burning Point
was quite usual power metal show – a lot of drive, fast riffs and hell’s
drumming, high clean vocals and headbanging.
Before the last band’s performance
staff tried to take Burning Point’s background scenery off. But it was affixed
so well that they couldn’t do it without stairs! So they tried to hide it with
the black drape and fix with the white tape. It was quite futile.
Finally after the midnight the headliner’s turn came.
Leverage. And they were the headliner not only because they played the last. It
was clear at once, when the audience greeted the band with fervour. The empty
stage was alight with blue lights and orchestral intro played. Then the band
came out… I don’t know how all the six people got on that small stage, but they
couldn’t move well there. Actually I wonder how they could move at all! Despite
this fact, their show was bright and active. It was drive and fun!
At first sight at the band I
expected some pop-sweet-power metal or something of that kind. You know, something
simple, soul-stirring and rock-driving. I was pleasantly surprised with that
burst of sound that followed.
Of course it was power metal. Although
at the moment I’m reading on their website: “we are not a power metal band”.
They are. Just with a number of different music influences maybe. And it’s a
thumping good music. But it’s the real powerful metal, pure energy and entertainment
from really talented musicians, no matter how they look. By the way, these guys
look interesting. Their visual style is neither metal nor rock; it’s a mess and
glamour. And maybe here lies on of their secrets: a kind of surprise. You would
never believe that these cute boys will give you a wall of sound, a storm of
amazing solos (both guitar and keyboard), riffs and rhythms. Check them out,
they are worth attention.
Well, in the beginning of their
performance something went wrong with the sound, but the problem was fixed
quickly. Also in the first half of the show musicians sometimes didn’t know
what to do. The smiley singer, Pekka, was turning his back on the audience when
he wasn’t singing, and like cut off: he wasn’t anymore with us. Then he was turning
back again and again did a great job. He joked and chatted with the people.
Like he asked the audience if everybody has Leverage’s last album, and when
people shouted “Yeah”, he said: “So let’s buy the second one”.
I’d like to see them on a bigger stage where they’d have more space. Definitely it’s a great live band.
So the Day 1 of the NKM Fest was over, and Niko,
one of the promoters, who introduced the bands during the night, invited
everybody to the next 2 days. Let’s see what will happen.