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You needed sun lotion as well as a raincoat for Ankkarock Festival in this summer, and switching between those two like every 15 minutes. Yet it was only on the first day that weather changes were extreme, on the second day you even missed the rain showers that were announced... Those 17.000 visitors (10.000 on Saturday, on Sunday 7.000) had no problem with that, as well as the ducks that name this festival (Ankka=duck), widely ignoring all those people and floundering around in the park ponds.
Saturday August 14, 2010 When entering the area I received an acoustic impression of Ankkapoikarock competition winners, several musical talents from Korso school accompanied by the bands Fiction and Rockspot, who opened the festival on the Rock stage playing radio hit-coverversions. They played so well that I thought it´s directly coming from radio – until I heard female vocals during Kings of Leon. Pretty good!
When Finnish Power Metal veterans Tarot began their set, the majority of the festival audience was just about to arrive, being welcomed with “I Walk Forever” or “Satan Is Dead”.
More photos here The setlist might have been identical with Tuska´s, just the choir from Kuopio was missing. The brothers Hieatala, Marco and Zach, displayed a jaunty mood (those two can be real comedians, just take a closer look at Marco´s t-shirt) and rounded off their flawless show with “Rider Of The Last Day” and “Traitor”.
More photos here pulled of a Thrash thunderstorm, focusing on the material of their current CD “Viimeinen Atlantis”. As slowly the sun won over, the T-shirts were taken off after Pakkolasku – sorry girls, I could not make photos of that... Earlier during Tarot there was plenty of space in the bar area, now it was almost completely full. Good for the band, bad for me. Moreover, the live-version of some clean vocal parts sounded slightly off, so I went to check out some other acts.
The cute Velmu stage had hosted the Heavy Karaoke crowds in previous years, on Saturday several bands, e.g. Strong Addiction, Ras Henry & Finjam Band and Classic-Rock´n´Rollers Caroline entertained a small but enthusiastic crowd. Photos here
The US band All Time Low on Korso stage attracted mainly the teens/twens who jumped along with the Green-Day-Fun-Punk sound. Hardly anybody jumped as high as the bass player who also had a screaming pink guitar as eye-catcher. The mature audience watched the energetic show from a safe distance. Photos here
Danko Jones is pretty well-known in Finland, despite his 4-year live hiatus. Therefore the area filled up during the gig, although Finnish Pop phenomenon PMMP played at the same time on Rock stage. I saw the band for the first time, and that won´t be the last time, this is for sure. Another Canadian act at Ankkarock that simply blew me away. A classical Power Trio, minimalistic stage show due to singing+playing guitar – but still in an instant “I Think Bad Thoughts”, inspired by stomping dirty Rock´n´Roll shaking your bones, and there is this charismatic-sexy front guy and his crazy comments...
More photos here Danko kept picking on a couple sitting near the stage that seemed to ignore the band, or on “that guy with the Megadeth T-Shirt in the front row” allegedly watching his guitar playing all the time – with a critical look. But he also made fun of himself, an eloquent and passionate man, just like his music. It took some time to get the Finns singing, but finally the “First Date” chorus worked nicely. Therefore, no matter with or without Sugar High – DJ is indeed delicious! (KW)
The Ark Quite happy about being spared from the heavy rainfall around noon, I arrive punctually for The Ark show, which this time I can enjoy in full length, unlike Ruisrock due to the overlaps. And what should I say? It`s worth it to visit a gig of The Ark! They start their show with "Take A Shine On Me" from their current opus "In Full Regalia" and they not only bring on big gun-stagecraft and fancy outfits. No, also the well-done performance includes a lot of audience interaction.
More photos here There`s a confetti rain of hits with amongst others "Clamour For Glamour" and "Prayer For The Weekend" and the audience thanks the Swedes by singing and jumping along diligently and clapping along as well during the brilliant encore "Calleth You, Cometh I". By the way, singer Ola Salo informs us happily that he became father of a daughter four months ago. It seems that this happiness can be topped only by a pack of rye bread which is thrown to the stage by a fan: Ola Salo takes it in his hands repeatedly and comment on it extensively. Usually bras and stuffed animals are flying to the stage, in case of the glamrockers it`s the good old Finnish rye bread. Well, Ola Salo`s connection to Finland is not a secret and so he promises that The Ark will return into the land of thousand lakes. Hopefully SOON!
Editors Another Live premiere with an equally good atmosphere expects me at the Editors performance. Singer Tom Smith serves the guitar and the piano by turns and somehow his mimic pretty much reminds of Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
Concerning the music, the presented hits like "Bricks And Mortar" and "Papillon" can be classified somewhere between Depeche Mode and Joy Division. In other words: It`s New Wave at its best, coming from the UK. And also here we hope that the band will find the way to Finland soon again. (SS)
Walking to the Apocalyptica gig I could catch a glimpse of the Finnish Rock phenomenon Don Huonot , who reunited for a couple of festival shows and became this year´s Ankkarock theme. Indeed, they wore this crazy kind of “corpsepaint” ... (see start photo). (KW)
Apocalyptica are one of a few bands in the whole music business who are really innovative. Metal played with celli: That`s a creative idea! A bad Apocalyptica concert or a negative review about one is therefore very unlikely. The stage is wrapped in gloomy black so that nothing distracts from the quartet who is supported by drummer Mikko Sirén since 2005. But the show isn`t only a perfect dream when the stage seems to be immersed in candlelight or excellent to rock, especially for the always gorgeous Metallica cover "Seek And Destroy" where the audience sings the lyrics fervently. There are also many moments where you have to laugh, for example when Perttu Kivilaakso takes off his shirt and causes with that unexpectedly a screaming like at a boygroup concert. Or when the Finns ask explicitly for silence before they perform a very melancholy composition and there is a woman in the audience who nevertheless cannot help singing along, loudly and pretty out of tune. You can either be hacked off of it or just laugh about it. Today, we opt for the latter. (SS)
More photos here It might have been the late hour and a certain fatigue and not so much the Finns´ fault that it took about a third of the performance to win me over. Well, unfortunately also some of my faves (Refuse Resist, Grace) were played when I was still busy to capture them on film... There´s nothing to complain about the program here, a great mixture of old hits (Metallicas Fight Fire With Fire and Seek and Destroy, with Eicca shouting along!) and new songs from the brand new “7th Symphony” album, e.g. Sacra and End of Me. The latter was performed by the fabulous singer Tipe Johnson who also entered the stage again later for I´m Not Jesus and I Don´t Care.
More photos here Emotionally they also kept a nice balance between a heart-rending Bittersweet up to an ultra-brutal Inquisition Symphony – it even seemed that Perttu indeed destroyed his instrument here... but after a short break there came still a visit from the Mountain King – a brilliant gig rounded off the first festival day! (KW)
Sunday August 15, 2010 Instead of that rain which was announced, sunlight and merciless heat dominated this day, and sometimes I wondered how those guys ON stage could survive that, and even pull of a hyper-active show, like the first band of this day Puistolava, welcoming the approaching festival visitors:
Reckless Love give everything as usual! Unfortunately, this sixth gig that I am attending is not the best one, concerning the audience. Punctually at 11 o`clock when the gates open the fans are already waiting in the first row, although the show starts two hours later. With an average age of 12 years, they are probably the youngest Reckless Love fans I`ve seen so far, and considering various signs with "I love Olli / Hessu / Jalle / Pepe" and little hearts on arms, hands, shoes and even in the face you could have expected more than those sheep`s eyes at the bandmembers during the whole show. The ones rocking along are those a bit further away from the stage.
More photos here Supposedly due to their young age, the girls in the first row cannot quite appreciate the hip movements of singer Olli Herman and so he quits it with a "Fuck that!" and starts headbanging instead. But also singing along is not the young ladies´ biggest strength, becoming quite obvious during "Born To Rock". Olli counters with a "You can do that better!" gesture. It`s a pity that today a lethargy is dominating, I`m looking forward to the next club gig in the evening and with a more extrovert audience... (SS)
This bright sunshine wasn´t quite the right scenery for this melancholic Rautalanka-Metal sound of Viikate and their ironic lyrics and statements, focusing on the grim reaper and the fruits of his activities.
More photos here A unique act that somehow makes you smile – rather despite than BECAUSE of their jokes. Perhaps it´s even better that as a Finnish-language-student you don´t quite understand everything? The sound captures your ear immediately, no matter if (un-)merrily swinging tunes (“Tanssi”) or rough Rock´n´Roll with Iron-Maiden-ish riffing. “Kuu kaakon yllä” from the new album with the same title ended a great show. (KW)
More coincidentally I can see a part of Viikate`s performance, and just recently singer Kaarle Viikate claimed in an interview with STALKER that you don`t have to know the Finnish language to feel their music respectively its lyrics. It`s actually true and especially the performance for "Eräs Kaunis Päivä" is quite well-done. (SS)
Many took to the shadow areas, e.g. near Velmu stage, where The Wrecking Queens, The Freza and Suununtai Komitea were playing.
Most of the people at "Velmu-Lava" came to admire the former Hanoi Rocks bass player Sami Yaffa as special guest. Surprisingly, the "supporting band" Philadelphia Dynamite turned out to be four very young boys with nice pseudonyms like Ziggy Queen (Singer and Rhythm Guitar), Tommy T.N.T. (Lead Guitar), Anthony Tony (Bass) and Mike Dynamite (Drums).
More photos here No wonder Sami claims "Rock`n`Roll is not dead!" when he joins the band later for the "Blitzkrieg Bop" Ramones cover. Nice to see how veterans of the Rock`n`Roll support the new generation – no matter young it may be...
Disco Ensemble were a totally unknown to me and probably because of their name I expected something similar to The Ark but neither the stage design nor the performance can keep up with that band.
Despite their misleading bandname, Disco Ensemble have nothing to do with Glam, Pop or Disco. They represent more a rockier category which is shown to advantage with harder songs like "Bad Luck Charm". They could put more songs like this into their setlist. The crowd seems to see it in a similar way `cause during the chorus of that song they jump up and down joyfully... (SS)
The Baseballs Only being totally deaf you could have missed out on the hits of those Germans, especially in Finland they became a overnight sensation. Naturally the area filled up quickly, and you needed earplugs because of all those screeching fans.... I have to admit that I was sceptical, but the surprise was a positive one.
More photos here Live those 50/60s Rock´n´Roll style versions of e.g. Last in Line, Let´s Get Loud or Robbie Williams´ Angels work nicely, those guys have charisma, and it seemed that there was sunshine also coming from the stage, not just from high above. This band is indeed a lot of fun! Not just because of their silly comments – like smattering Finnish “me rakastamme teitä” (we love you), or because of the “Freeze!” game with the audience (it´s like “dancing wildly then somebody shouts FREEZE! - and you have to hold the pose until the next signal) – even the crowd in the booze area joined in. Their inevitable hits Hot´N´Cold and Umbrella (including a Drumsolo) were played in slightly different versions, before they introduced their excellent backup-band. When Roxette´s The Look turned out to be the last song, it seemed that this show was way too short.
Enjoying the full Baseballs-Gig I could not make it in time to Mokoma for the photo pit, but I could document the huge audience they had attracted. The Finnish Thrashers played not only old hits but also some new songs from their upcoming album. (KW) Photos here
Michael Monroe Is there anything left to say about this living legend?!? Maybe that this gig is kind of legendary, too, `cause there are also Sami Yaffa and Nasty Suicide on stage so it´s almost a Hanoi Rocks reunion. However, today Nasty Suicide substitutes guitarist Steve Conte who is tied up with family matters. The last time Michael, Sami and Nasty shared a stage happened 15 years ago.
More photos here The half Hanoi Rocks reunion is only topped by the usual wild performance of Michael and how wild and Rock`n`Roll this guy really is, he has demonstrated the weekend before in Osaka, Japan, where he broke two ribs during his performance with Slash. Of course, that was no reason for him to cancel his performance in Tokyo the very next day and also today he mentions his rib fractures to excuse that he couldn`t give everything as usual. But quite honestly: If he wouldn`t have mentioned it, you would never have noticed anything. This bundle of energy jumps, climbs the stage poles several times and even does his famous splits. Besides "Nothin`s Alright" (where Michael adds the line "You`re a 90`s Baby" for his fans in the first row – who are very creative in their outfit designs), he also presents two brandnew songs of his upcoming live album "Another Night In The Sun", "You`re Next" and "Motorheaded For A Fall". The latter is dedicated to Motörhead with whom he is going on tour in the UK this winter. With all this bright prospects it`s not that bad anymore that Ankkarock concludes the festival season and with it almost the summer... (SS)
"I am Straight Edge but nevertheless I don`t like Hardcore": A saying which somehow suits me, at least I don`t get anything out of Enter Shikari`s gig. But everyone who is into Hardcore would have been very delighted with their performance, including a mosh pit in the middle of the audience. There, they don`t stop their activities until their knees bleed and the elbows hurt. During the last song "Sorry You`re Not A Winner", the audience is going wild totally. Nevertheless no encores are following, even if their fans ask Enter Shikari for it… (SS)
Children Of Bodom
More photos here Once again I was not quite taken over by storm right away, perhaps because those guys took it on so damn “seriously”? Even before those impressive pyrotechnics started I finally joined in with the heavy banging crowd around me, and also in the bar area the party kept going. The Bodom-guys served a nice Best-Of selection (e.g. Follow The Reaper, Hate Crew Deathroll, Needled 24/7, Sixpounder, Every Time I Die, Blooddrunk), and then this damn serious thing wasn´t quite seen through - Jenni Vartiainen and Lady Gaga got their just deserts before they continued with Hate Me! - and then it was over??? What? Really? Once again a show that seemed way too short – let´s hope that COB make another appearance in Finnish clubs very soon!
Therefore bye, ducks, bye Korso-Park, and CU next summer... (KW)
A mosh pit in the middle of the audience can be found also at the gig of Children Of Bodom, but because I`m not a fan of that music genre I rather visit the New Wavers The Sounds who are performing at the same time, just to see which of the two bands has more visitors. The result: Standoff. The two total different bands are delighting their same size audiences equally. The nearby airport Helsinki-Vantaa caters for some "for free" viewers and due to the fact that meanwhile it`s getting dark earlier again also in Finland, especially the lightshow of Children Of Bodom is an advantage. So only question remains unanswered: Is it because of bands like Children Of Bodom that you encounter a group of singing Christians with huge crosses who tries to rescue so-called lost souls?
Summary: A very relaxed festival with a better traffic connection than Myötätuuli-Rock, the other festival in Vantaa, has. The line-up offered something for everyone, from the security to the sales staff everyone was very friendly without any exceptions and the nurses of Coca Cola who charmingly provides you with free drinks and t-shirts during the gigs were like the cherry on the cream topping `cause without them there would have been also free water and for those who disagreed with the fancy prices at the food booths there was a wagon of the supermarket chain Alepa which offered cheaper catering. No reasons for criticism, therefore for me 10 points for the Ankkarock 2010. (SS)