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Jess And The Ancient Ones / Kuolemanlaakso

Stadt / City Helsinki 
Land / Country FIN 
Web www.jessandtheancientones.com
Datum / Date18.5.2013 
Bildergalerie / Picture gallery jess_kuol13 
Photos: Klaudia Weber 

Two bands that I appreciate a lot, united in one concert and in the legendary Tavastia? What more to wish for to cheer you up – well, also wallowing in the depths of melancholy can give you pleasure...

Kuolemanlaakso - “death valley” - don´t have anything to do with Party. Well, only if you wanna be sarcastic and call that abovementioned gloom “Finnish party mood”...
Initially it seemed that this evening should see more people on stage than in front of it, most likely caused by the simple fact that not everybody had noticed the early schedule (first band started 20:15h, very unusual for Finland). But during the first songs the club filled up, and in the end the band faced a pretty big crowd that cheered and even wanted more.

More photos in the gallery, link in the header
There was hesitation about the applause in between, first because the capitol´s audience is a bit more withdrawn in general, and also because Kuolemanlaakso staged their musical trip through the swamps of misanthropy – following their debut album “Uljas Uusi Maailma” (Brave New World) 1:1 – accordingly: no speeches or audience contact, minimalistic lights, the introverted singer Kotamäki and mastermind Markus Laakso being immersed in his guitar playing fit the picture. Basser Usva´s menacing dreadlock-windmill seemed a central show element – but, as mentioned before, it all worked nicely in the overall concept. My only point of criticism would be that the great chorus part “Uljas Uusi Maailma” wasn´t loud enough for me to shout along with...

More photos in the gallery, link in the header
Jess And The Ancient Ones offered much more groove for dance moves with their Retro-Rock sound, although their lyrics conjuring up a world of mysticism is probably not much less misanthropic ...
Also in this case the stage show seemed to focus on one person – first, with so many band members there´s not much room left for action, and second, Jess is simply outshining everybody around her with her voice, expressions, gestures truly hypnotical, and live on stage this 60s-70s Heavy-Rock style captures you even more than on Cd. This band oozes a certain Hippie-Woodstock attitude, then this magic atmosphere created by this charismatic singer – simply fascinating (as Spock would say). And as I succumbed to the power of the music with eyes closed for a while, I cannot be certain that I haven´t missed crucial exotic show elements, like a burning keyboarder, or albino elephants juggling albatrosses...
The setlist consisted of material from the debut album and the recent EP Astral Sabbat, supported by a real cool light show (which of course used the much brighter spots after I was done with my photo shooting). After celebrating Lucifer one final time, the “morning star” had to give way for the disco ball, the tight schedule didn´t allow any encores. What a pity, but also this band can be seen once again live in Helsinki, end of June, Bar Loose – don´t miss it...

More photos in the gallery, link in the header

Klaudia Weber

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