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Porispere 2012

Stadt / City Pori 
Land / Country FIN 
Web www.porispere.fi
Datum / Date3.-5.8.2012 
Bildergalerie / Picturegalerie Fotolinks im Text / the text contains photo links 
Photos: Tina Solda 

Once upon a time, some greedy promoters came up with the idea of touring festivals featuring big-name bands a couple of decades past their prime. One infamous example is Sonisphere, whose first two Finnish instalments were staged in Pori, a small town on the west coast. Last year, however, Sonisphere was relocated to Helsinki, where it continues to suck happily ever after. Instead of joining the oft-heard lament about the capital draining the countryside of every last source of income, however, Pori countered the move by setting up a brand new festival all of its own – Porispere was born! And let me state right from the start that making the trip there all the way from Helsinki was totally worth it…

FRIDAY August 3, 2012
On my way to the area, I was greeted by hiphop beats, but fortunately the band on stage had much more up its sleeve than that. Jätkäjätkät is a nine-musician ensemble cooking up a veritable mix of styles, including greetings from the Balkan here, a nod to Jamaica there and in between a bow or two to Finland’s own musical heritage, from old-time crooners to the great Kingston Wall.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
With liberal sprinkles of jazz, they also paid homage to the venue itself, the very island that has been home to the world-famous Pori Jazz festival since 1966. Jätkäjätkät’s good vibes even reached the powers above, for the rain that had been going on for at least a couple of hours eventually stopped during their set.

While the ground outside dried, Kakka-hätä 77 entertained the well filled tent with some good-natured old school punk rock.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Despite their name and sound, they were formed as recently as 2006 and since then have already managed to split up. This summer they have played a few gigs again, but no further activity seems to be planned at this point. Whatever personal or musical differences may have caused the split was not evident from the gig, which was a lot of fun. Somewhere between “Elämä on huora”, “Näillä mennään” and “Tornionmäki - Vaasankatu All Night Long”, singer Teemu Bergman took a moment to promote the latest vinyl album by colleagues Abortti 13, who reformed three years ago after a hiatus lasting nearly three decades. Punk’s not dead, it just likes a good long sleep sometimes.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
More than a bit sleepy, in fact, is what the following punk legend looked like: Marky Ramone. As my friend, a long-standing Ramones fan, sarcastically remarked – any Finnish Ramones cover band would have delivered a more inspired set. I watched for a few songs – “Psychotherapy”, “Do You Wanna Dance” and “I don’t care” – but then quit for a while to have dinner. Upon returning, I was told that Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock had joined the band for “Blitzkrieg Bop”, but not to much avail in terms of excitement.

In contrast, nothing was boring about Turbonegro, who played their first gig in Finland with new vocalist Tony “Duke of Nothing” Sylvester, former President of Turbojugend London.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
We were a bit skeptical as to what to expect from him and actually wondered if his voice would last throughout the gig as he belted out “Hello Darkness” and “Wasted again” like no tomorrow. But no worries, if anything he kept getting better, and the huge tiger tattoed on his belly was a sight to behold. Happy-Tom and Euroboy were all smiles, and the remarkable Turbojugend contingent in the crowd – who had loudly chanted “I Got Erection” before the band even appeared on stage – appeared equally satisfied, for good reason. Despite blending perfectly with his Norwegian bandmates, Englishman Sylvester was not denying his roots – for the encore, “Age of Pamparius”, he came dressed in Union Jack cloak, not to mention a crown on his head. Fair enough – the Duke definitely was king of the big stage that night.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
The undisputed queens, of course, were PMMP. Before them, there was still Pariisin Kevät on the tent stage, but I couldn’t really find much in their harmless Softrock. Ok as a backdrop for chatting with friends, though, which is by far not the least important ingredient of a good festival experience.
PMMP in turn are one of those “pop” artists that are easy to like even if you’re a Metalhead – their positive energy on stage, combined with intelligent and versatile songs, makes them a perfect festival act. To build the atmosphere slowly, the first song was accompanied by an almost static choreography with the stage bathed in dark blue light.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Before long, of course, Paula and Mira danced and clowned around the stage as usual, and the reflective moments were few and far between (“Lautturi” being one of them). After watching from up front for a while, I went for a drink and found one of the lovely hammocks in the beer garden unoccupied and took up residence there for the rest of the set. Swaying softly under the trees and the almost full moon with a cold beer in your hand may not me the most metal way of concluding a festival evening, but I swear it’s one of the most comfortable.

SATURDAY August 4, 2012
Getting up early on Saturday is not a discipline I’m specialising in, but there were four of us sharing a hotel room and one was a huge Reckless Love fan, we found ourselves in front of the stage as early as 12:30.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
The sparse audience, 95% female, had to wait until the last song until the band members finally stripped off their shirts, but the wait was made endurable by a solid set of hits – “Born To Break Your Heart”, “Beautiful”, “Dance”, “Back To Paradise” and so on. I’m not a fan of glamrock, but you got to give it to Olli – who you’d easily believe to be Doro’s daughter by Michael Monroe – that he puts on a good show. And his pink boots that matched the flowers decorating the stage were quite the eye-catcher.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Visually less spectacular, but musically closer to home for me was the first band on the small stage, Kuusumun Profeetta. Their dreamlike progressive/psychedelic soundwaves at times brought to mind Finland’s pioneers from the early 70’s, Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti. I had not been familiar with them before, but they turned out to be my discovery of the day. The only complaint I could come up with is that the saxophone was almost completely buried in the mix, but I hope to see them at a club gig before long with a more balanced sound.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
The next two bands had a clear nostalgia theme to them: veteran chansonnier Kauko Röyhkä had reunited his old band Narttu after more than 22 years, and local metallers OZ had been most active in the mid-1980s and only reformed a couple of years ago after two decades of inactivity.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
That I didn’t get very much out of Röyhkä’s set was my own fault, as the only song I knew was “Paska kaupunki”, but OZ kicked some serious ass with old staples like “Third Warning”, “Megalomaniac” und “Turn The Cross Upside Down”. Singer Ape De Martinez seemed pleasantly surprised at the large number of young fans, and in turn gave a nod to the next generation by wearing a No Second Thought shirt, NST being a young – and also local – hardcore band whose members probably hadn’t even been born when OZ had already split up for the first time.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
he main reason why I wanted to see Herra Ylppö & Ihmiset was nor Mr. Ylppö himself but his bass player, Janne Joutsenniemi of Stone and Suburban Tribe fame. Suffice it to say that I liked either of those better than his current outfit, which basically went in one ear and out the other. Actually they were more interesting to look at than to listen to, since each band member had donned corpse paint in true black metal fashion. Clearly a reference to the evenings Norwegian co-headliners – or maybe just a form of adaption to the island’s permanent residents, which included a couple of black-and-white goats…

© Tina Solda

Where Kuusumun Profeetta had been an unexpected highlight, Barren Earth was a very much expected one. This is truly a band I can say to have loved from the first demo on, and they just keep getting better.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
As their set sounded like not much less than perfection in my ears, it is hard to pick specific favorites, although “Passing of the Crimson Shadow” certainly qualifies. The following title, “The Rains begin”, fortunately did not prove true at this point – we already had enough of that earlier in the day… After “Flicker”, singer Mikko even condescended to say a few words, greeting some relatives who had come for the show. His only other detour from his infamously static stage routine was his tambourine accompaniment of Sami Yli-Sirniö’s awesome guitar solo in “Oriental Pyre”. My feeling after the orgasmic outro of the closing “Cold Earth Chamber” was that if I had to leave now and catch the next train home, it still would have been a perfect weekend. But there were still a few worthwhile bands to come.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
In the not-too-distant past, it was nigh impossible to visit a metal-oriented festival anywhere in Finland that did not have Stam1na on the bill, but now it hadn’t seen them for more than half a year. Listening to them with “fresh ears” was a good thing in a way, and despite the calm and peaceful landscape depicted on the stage backdrop, the band was as electrified as ever. The dress code was rural with a strong emphasis on denim overalls, while keyboardist Emil had become Emilia and proudly displayed his fake tits in a checkered bra. Singer Hyrde actually complained that the crowd was a bit lame, but from what I saw, Stam1na certainly scored the biggest pit so far.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Red Fang was an obscure name to me, but they sounded good and played to a full tent. Their brand of stoner rock is rhythmically varied while keeping a good groove, at times with a bit of a Mastodon feel to it. Only afterward I learned that Red Fang had in fact opened for Mastodon at the very gig that I had missed earlier this year through a series of unfortunate circumstances. Duh…

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Anyway, back to the big names. Satyricon came, saw and conquered, right from the impressive start with “Now, Diabolical” and “Black Crow On A Tombstone”. Appreciation was mutual – Satyr not only praised the view of Finland from the air when flying in from the west, but also found warm words for the moshpit, and more importantly, for the way Porispere had replaced Sonisphere. As the two opening songs suggested, the focus was on the latest two albums, and my ever-so-slight hope of hearing my personal favorite “Black Lava” live was to no avail, but apart from that, my only improvement suggestion for Satyricon would be to play a somewhat longer set next time.

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Returning to the tent one last time, I noticed that the beer area inside it had been considerably enlarged. Maybe the organizers figured that Sacred Reich would not have many fans under 18? If so, they were probably right, although the Arizona-based thrash veterans had remained active throughout the 1990s and only broken up for a while in the early 2000s. Yet chances that anyone had seen the band live previously were small – before “Ignorance” Phil Rind asked, “does anyone remember the last time we were here?” and answered the question himself, “well, we’ve never been here before!”

© Tina Solda; more band photos here
Not quite that rare an occurrence at Finnish summer festivals are Amorphis, the last band of the night. Like Stam1na, they used to play almost everywhere in the past few years, although this summer the pace has slowed down a bit. Their spring tour as well as a couple of the summer shows had featured acoustic sets, but this show was a standard electric festival set. The only surprise was that the two perhaps most over-played songs, “The Smoke” and “Alone” had finally been dropped from the set, whereas “Castaway” and “Majestic Beast” where back in. But routine or not, Amorphis still manage to make me enjoy myself almost every time I see them. Like Satyr before him, singer Tomi had only good things to say about the festival, which he had already attended the day before as one Turbonegro fan among others.

I can only agree wholeheartedly – organized with love and an eye for visitor-friendly detail (did I mention those hammocks?), Porispere not only beat Sonisphere on all scores relevant to this writer, but also rose to number one on this summer’s overall festival scale. And I didn’t even see all of it – after Punk Friday and Metal Saturday, there would have been Kid’s Sunday with bands catering to children as well as a couple of teenage artists. We missed that part because we had to be back in Helsinki on Sunday evening, but I read afterwards that Sunday about as many visitors as Friday and Saturday combined. The next generation of rock fans is growing strong…

© Tina Solda

Tina Solda

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