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Just a day after the release of the much awaited third Brother Firetribe album, Diamond in the Firepit (review here ) , it was time to put the band into test on stage in Virgin Oil, Helsinki. Nearly five years had passed since the previous gig and the vocalist Pekka Ansio Heino and bassist Jason Flinck admitted to the audience that a solid 102% (!) of the band had been terribly nervous backstage. I can well imagine the feeling. The crowd had technically only had a day to listen to the new material and I suppose the band members were slightly worried that the years in between the albums might´ve caused some fans to forget the band.
That was clearly not the case. Virgin Oil was packed full, perhaps even sold out. And everyone was buzzing with excited expectations of the return of this super positive AOR gem of a band. As midnight and showtime drew closer, there were no more chances for a photographer to get anywhere near the front of the stage. Hardcore fans had parked themselves there already two hours earlier and there were quite a few of them!
When the band emerged on stage, the crowd went wild from the very first moment. It was a very warm welcome to the band, by an audience that had clearly been eagerly waiting for this reunion.
The setlist was a smart combination of old, familiar BFT hits and new material. It became obvious in just a few minutes into the set that the band was totally blown away by the reception. They seemed to be positively chuffed by the whole situation. Vocalist Pekka was beaming, as the crowd sang along to the first single cut song of the new album, For Better or for Worse. "You guys knew this song! Whoa!"
After a solid 1,5 hours of simply superb rock, the roof of Virgin Oil was blown to smithereens when the last encore song, I Am Rock, got everyone going nuts. I think it´s fair to say that Brother Firetribe made a stellar return. No doubt about it.
One major piece of news was also confirmed on the gig. The band´s original drummer, Kalle Torniainen, isn´t able to fit BFT into his full schedule of other projects, so he was replaced by Hannes Pirilä. Kalle did, however, make a farewell appearance on the gig as Hannes made way for him to play the last song of the show. Whereas I´m sure Kalle´s undeniable skills behind the drumset have been a valuable asset to the band, it seemed that Hannes will be an excellent replacement and he seemed to fit right in.
Only one thing left to say. If you can catch a live show by Brother Firetribe this summer (or in October in Firefest in Nottingham), do not hesitate. Go! The new album is good, but the live show is pure hard rock gold.