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Clayskin – CD Release Party

Stadt / City Turku 
Land / Country FIN 
Web www.clayskin.com
Street Bar 95 
Datum / Date24.3.2012 

Clayskin is no rookie band. They’ve played together for years, released demos and singles – and now, they released their first album “Faces”. The band is understandably quite thrilled about it, so it was time for an album release gig.
Clayskin is an unsigned Finnish band from Turku and they swear on heavy rock with melodic singing. According to their guitarist, Jami Takala, they don’t play for a particular crowd or in a particular genre, but instead they aim to play music that they themselves like. And based on what I’ve seen and heard on their gigs, there are people who share their tastes. It seems to me that the band’s wish for perhaps getting a record deal in the future wouldn’t be unreasonable. With a bit of luck they could get to places. These guys do know their stuff.

(from left to right) Veikko Wahlroos (guitar), Eerik Rantapere (bass), Sami Koskinen (vocals), Kalle Saarinen (drums), Jami Takala (guitar)

This release gig was the third time I’ve seen them live. This time around the gig was in a small bar, Street Bar 95, which isn’t exactly one of the hottest rock stages in town. Jami told me that the first place where Clayskin rehearsed was downstairs and that their first gig had been in the same bar. So there was a good explanation why I was heading to an obscure bar on a Saturday evening. I had a few doubts about the place, but when I eventually got there, turned out it wasn’t too bad. Sure, there was the regular crowd of karaoke singers who had begun their Saturday evening in the closest little bar they live nearby, but little by little the place filled with friends of Clayskin. You could tell by the looks of the people who were there for the gig and who would be leaving before the set began. The band members were happily mingling with the people before the gig, clearly enjoying themselves, signing albums and taking pics.

The stage was minuscule and I had to ask Jami if they’re going to fit on it (“It’ll be crowded”, he mused.), but in the end I liked the place better than the place where they’ve previously played. This little bar had a warmer and more intimate feeling to it.
That feeling and the fact that most of the people present were friends of the band made for a more relaxed gig than the previous ones I’ve seen from Clayskin. The guys seemed to have fun playing together and even the tiny stage was, in my opinion, good for them. There was more jovial banter and contact between the band members than on bigger stages where the bassist Eerik Rantapere, for example, has been playing almost hiding in the background.

The songs work well live, the pitfall however is the vocalist, at times. He sings fine and his range varies nicely from the cleaner to the more growling parts, but the stuff he blurts out in between the songs, that’s where I’d like to see some added professionalism. Sure, it’s ok to joke around (especially with a crowd of mostly friends) but just like someone from the audience commented out loud: “You don’t need to curse so much to be more rock!” Plus I’d really like to see him memorize all the lyrics… I was disappointed to see him fumble with Day of Silence, as it’s one of my favorite songs by them.
Having said that, I need to stress that I really enjoyed the gig. The drummer, Kalle Saarinen, is a true backbone of the band, and even I can hear that Jami’s guitar solos are quite skillful. Perhaps it could even work out if on gigs the musicians were given a few more solo opportunities? Both guitarists could well do it, I’m sure.

The gig ended with a previously unheard song, Darkness Within, which sounded good and gave out an inkling of a promise – there could be a second album at some point. According to Jami there were a few great pieces they had to leave out of Faces plus some new songs that have already been made and are now being rehearsed and polished for the possible next album. I for one remain waiting, it should be good! When it comes to live performances, Clayskin may have a bit of work ahead of them. They enjoy what they’re doing and are hoping for more gigs in the future – I certainly hope they’ll get them.

+ photos: Johanna Ahonen

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