Pakkahuone, Tampere 13 April 2017
All hope is not lost. A combination of two domestic melodic rock bands can draw a decent crowd, this evening proved it. There IS a market for quality melodic rock - some people want to hear music played by talented musicians instead of DJs or whatever...
The sporadically recording and gigging Brother Firetribe were supported by newcomers One Desire, who played their first ever gig. Block Buster started the show, but since we missed their set almost completely, I don't have much to tell you about them. The song and a half I heard was straightforward hard rock in the vein of AC/DC. The guitarist jumped off the stage and played among the audience. Apparently they're supporting BFT on other gigs as well, so more about them when I see them live in Turku later this month.
If you have seen my Facebook and Instagram updates this year, you may have noticed that I've been quite enthusiastic about the first One Desire album. Because of that, when I heard that they'd be supporting Tribe on this gig, I started planning a trip to Tampere. I didn't realise at the time that this would be a historical debut for the band. They've played some gigs as OD but only drummer Ossi remains from those days. The current line-up of the band includes also vocalist/guitarist Andre Linman (ex-Sturm Und Drang), guitarist Jimmy "Neal Schon of Finland" Westerlund and bassist Jonas Kuhlberg. Antti Roslander is the secret weapon on keyboards.
If the band was nervous, it didn't really show when they hit the stage. Starting the gig with their first hit single "Hurt", the band threw in their biggest ace right away. A lesser band would have struggled to maintain the momentum afterwards, but One Desire just carried on and played one great song after another. "Turn Back Time" was one of those, and actually after the gig I met Tuomas, a former member of OD and the writer of this song. He's been a Facebook friend of mine for some time but I wasn't aware of his OD past.
The Erik Mårtensson-penned "Apologize" worked better live than on album, maybe because of it's chant-like chorus. The same goes for "Love Injection", it was pretty good although it's one of my least favourite songs on the album.
The power ballad "This Is Where The Heartbreak Begins" has all the makings of a major hit, and I hope it'll make it to the radio playlists. Very sophisticated songwriting from vocalist/guitarist Andre Linman.
Mere days before this gig, Linman had a severe throat infection and he had no voice. He had been well medicated for this important gig and did pretty well generally, but the soaring chorus of "Whenever I'm Dreaming" proved to be a bit too much. Understandable, some of those notes are very challenging.
The frantic, Pretty Maids-like "Buried Alive" closed the set, and if anything, it left a hunger for more One Desire. I hope I get to see them on a gig of their own with a bigger setlist.
This Tribe gig was a gathering of our tribe too. Several of us Finnish AOR diehards were present, which was really nice. Yes, we do meet each other in Finland sometimes, not only in Nottingham... Anyway, after tasting the Brother Firetribe's "Hero" beer and a bit of shopping at Tommi's BFT merch booth, it was time for the headliners' show. Celebrating their 15th anniversary and their new album, Brother Firetribe played a special show that featured almost all songs from the aforementioned album "Sunbound".
The (in)famous tennis intro opened the show, only to be followed by another intro, the title track of the new album. Which lead into "Help Is On The Way", naturally. The crowd was very much into it right from the start, and sang along loudly. A respectable number of people raised their hands when vocalist Pekka Heino asked whether anyone had the new album, and I believe they weren't just being nice. All of the new songs got a good reception and people knew the lyrics.
The first "golden oldie" was the song that introduced BFT to most of us, "One Single Breath". It still works like a charm. Reliable sources close to the band told me that the band had hesitated taking "Strangled" into the set, but there it was. And it was a success.
With "Heart Of The Matter" the band eased the foot from the gas pedal a little, and somehow some of the crowd took it as a sign to get more drinks or take a cigarette break. With the previous album's hit "For Better Or For Worse" the band was back on track again, but then we had a shock... Yes, "Shock" from the new album, a moody, synth-heavy track with plenty of athmosphere. I wasn't sure if it would work as a live track, but it did, relatively well.
Although it snowed outside, when the band played "Last Forever", "Taste Of The Champion" and "I'm On Fire", it was summer in the house. This band has a superb gift of writing songs that bring sunshine to one's life. The main set closer was "Heart Full Of Fire" for which there was no duet partner, if you don't count the crowd as one.
The first encore was a surprise: the new album's epic, orchestrated finale "Phantasmagoria". The second encore wasn't a surprise, it was BFT's biggest rock anthem of all time, "I Am Rock". It was singalong time again!
Not a lot of bands would have the (tennis) balls to play only 5 old songs during a live gig and still get away with it. BFT did just that, but I didn't see any grumpy faces or people complaining. Of course a lot of old favourites weren't played but I really enjoyed the new songs, and there's no way to have it all. Well, maybe with a Springsteenish 3-hour show...
Brother Firetribe is: Pekka Heino - vocals, Emppu Virtanen - guitars, Jason Flinck - bass and vocals, Tomi Nikulainen - keyboards, Hannes Pirilä - drums.
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
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