SIMULACRUM & Burning Point, Klubi, Turku 19 September 2015
Well, little did I know that this would be my last visit to Kiubi, at least under its’ current name… The most important live music venue in the city of Turku was declared bankrupt mere days after this gig, leaving a major hole to be filled by other entrepreneurs.
It was Saturday night, the town was alive and it was (still) all right, when the RockUnited.Com team arrived to Klubi. Okay, it was just me but anyway. The opening act had already played, and people were shouting the next band’s name in unison. Okay, the weren’t exactly shouting but at least they had purchased tickets and made their way to the venue. It’s not always the case - a few weeks ago Dan Reed played in the same venue for a couple of dozen people. Now there were at least a few dozen people present.
BURNING POINT from the Oulu area were the special guests or co-headliners on this tour, showcasing the band’s new line-up. Last year the band announced that they had recruited former Battle Beast singer Nitte Valo as their new vocalist. Former vocalist/guitarist Pete Ahonen decided to concentrate on guitar. The band also hired a new bass player Sami "Sammy" Nyman and keyboardist Jarkko Väisänen. They may be new faces in the band but have been playing with Pete in one of his other bands, Ghost Machinery. However, in order to keep things seriously confusing, Pete Ahonen was nowhere to be seen and his parts were played by a stand-in guitarist Hemma Timonen. Pete did have a good reason for his absence, he just became a father and is on a ”Dad Holiday”. The young hired gun played well but was pretty much in the shadows for the whole gig. Not because of his status though, the lighting situation at Klubi’s smaller stage is/was somewhat challenging.
Nitte Valo is a natural stage performer, great singer and a good frontwoman for the band. She’s been away from the metal scene for a few years but I’d say she’s has only improved with age. She seemed very confident on stage and worked the crowd quite well. Due to Pete being away, bassist Sammy was also in the ”frontline”, singing backing vocals and taking care of some of the between-song-banter.
Naturally the setlist was pretty similar to the track listing of the latest Burning Point album, which includes 5 new songs and 6 re-recorded ”golden oldies” with Nitte on vocals. Only ”Manic Merry-Go-Round” had been additionally rehearsed for this set, along with the band’s cover of Kirka’s ”I’ll Be Yours”.
Local prog heroes SIMULACRUM were the headliners in Turku and rightfully so, as the size of the crowd increased when their stage time approached. They had some friends and relatives in the audience, and a significantly large number of female fans, at least for a prog metal band. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are young fresh-faced guys, not some hermit-like prog geeks…
Having just released their second album ”Sky Divided”, the band had decided to play it from start to finish on this gig. A rather adventurous move but isn’t that what Progressive Metal is all about anyway?
I have seen the band a couple of times before, and each time they have been more impressive than before. This time the joy of playing in their hometown to an enthusiastic audience was noticeable, especially vocalist Niklas seemed particularly overwhelmed about this ”homecoming”. Overall, despite the complexity of their songs, the band wasn’t just staring at their instruments, they were having fun on stage and really performing. Especially vocalist Niklas has really found the ”showman” inside him, and he took charge like a frontman should. He’s a good, versatile singer too, able to pull off the almost Lemmy’ish rough parts yet also the angelic, soaring high notes.
I won’t deny the fact that Simulacrum’s music is a bit too progressive for my taste, but their live shows are entertaining even for a non-proghead like me. They have passion for their art and superb skills, and I have no doubt that they’ll go from strength to strength.
Review & photos by Kimmo Toivonen