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This year the scope of numerous Finnish festivals has lost one among its core ”musts”, the Spinefeast, which became a cruise (see STALKER tourdates). Instead, Helsinki Halloween Festival gained more volume and became an annual regular in one of the city´s biggest venues, the cable factory. Organized for quite high attendance, it assumes an actual Halloween party, so have your costume well thought-through and ready, throw your Northern shyness away and enjoy the ball. In this respect, the organizers scored: compared to last year´s boring devil horns and cheap wigs, this year´s event was actually a very decent costumed Halloween with dresses that made your heads turn. And a pair of judges, dressed as old-fashioned musicians, walked around with violin cases and selected participants for the costume competition – a novelty to the festival.
A red carpet at the entrance welcomed all dressed up beauties who were posing for hungry photographers. Right next to it was the booth, where for a price between 5 and 20 E you could have a professional horror makeup done by lovely ‘undead´ ladies, ranging from simple cuts and scars to more complex “third eye” installations. Past that booth, you had a selection of some warm food, which is an excellent idea, considering that the festival lasted until 4 am.
The entire venue was decorated with so much thought and attention: spider webs, skeletons glowing in the dark, bats and ghosts, pumpkins and all the Halloween classics. Needless to compliment the beauty of waitresses-barmen as Zombies, all dressed to match. And a lot more attendants since last year, the factory was getting fuller by the minute, even though the second band had not even started! Yet, on a negative side, this year´s festival was almost half the length of last year´s, only 4 bands and all rather plain, considering that Lordi was the headliner in 2006. This year´s most wanted act was clearly Turmion Kätilöt, but since they had canceled and no suitable replacement came along, Finntroll was set to close the big night. With all respect, the festival´s ticket prices were unreasonably high for such lineup, and on such a special night as Halloween, it was slightly confusing and disappointing. So if last year there were almost no costumes and Halloween-ish feeling as such, but with bands worth the attention, this year the situation was the exact reverse.
This is one of the strongest hopes of Finnish Metal scene, the band that has recently gained a lot more attention and ‘weight´, so to say. The band´s frontman Jules Nevari, famous for his hyper-activity on stage, unstoppable charisma and very powerful vocal capabilities, swept the stage at once, as he stormed onto it, topless and energetically leading his band, all styled like Misfits, with black and slightly smudged makeup and gelled hair. Some serious headbanging and growling that shook the factory on all floors, that kind of voice you just cannot avoid hearing. Although so far the band has only one album out even the short playlist was done with very much passion and volume.
The costume competition presented the 10 best dressed up characters; Finnish famous presenter Jonne Nikula briefly interviewed each one while they were posing before the photographers, and awarded the 3 best costumes. A short but very pleasant sight to spice up the festival.
Die So Fluid
Guests from Britain continued the night and left most audience rather confused. A gothic Lolita´s rock band, with some very angry vocals and hard guitar playing skills in quite repetitive manner of performance, played a what seemed a very long setlist. When the band came to the stage, there were a few people curious in the front rows, but after first couple of songs, there was almost no one left… Seems like not many really figured out what this band was about and if they fitted the festival´s holiday lineup and atmosphere. The money spent on this could´ve been a lot better invested into some maybe local, but a lot more colorful and meaningful act.
If last year we had a bunch of heavily dressed-up and make-upped men headlining the festival (Lordi), this year we had also a bunch, but of mostly topless, sweaty and very hot men, although also not without makeup. The trolls became obviously more aggressive with their new vocalist, but also a lot more stylish and right now are winning their female listeners, over and over again, as you could see the girls flirtatiously approaching the stage, glaring at the topless metallers in long leather kilts, headbanging their gorgeous manes away. On one hand not such a band to fit this kind of event, but on the other, who cares, when it looks this good live?!
Summary: From the atmosphere in the venue you can say that concert-wise it was good, at least two bands delivered quality and caught the eye, but then they play often enough at smaller clubs for a lot cheaper entry fee, so for a Halloween celebration you´d expect something juicier. Party-wise it was slightly better and definitely much better than Halloween 2006, as now we had costumes, photoshoots, competitions and a lot more diverse audience than before. Some have actually confessed that one of the main reasons to buy such an expensive ticket was the opportunity to really dress-up and be creative. So now having the experience of this and last year´s events, we can only hope that the upcoming Halloween event will gain balance and keep the reputation as the most wicked and ‘must´ happening in Europe´s most Metal country