The city festival DOWN BY THE LAITURI took over Turku in the last week of July. From Tuesday to Sunday there were dozens of events all over downtown Turku, with the main concerts taking place in a huge tent next to the river Aura. We checked out a couple of those concerts and here's our story...

[[ Thursday July 28th ]]

I had a bit of a scheduling problem. There were two bands we wanted to see, W.A.S.P. and Kilpi, and W.A.S.P. were scheduled to start at 8 pm. My dayjob kept me busy a bit longer, but luckily Blackie and co. were courteous and waited for me before they started... yep, they played their first chords as I was about to enter the tent, some 40 later than scheduled. Perfect timing... and no, I don't think that they were waiting for me!

W.A.S.P. played in DBTL the last time we were there, 2008. Strangely enough, this was the fifth time I've seen the band and I wouldn't call myself a fan - they're just easier to see in Finland than most Finnish bands, they're touring here at least once a year these days. And why not, there's always an appreciative audience here, going crazy for the old hits and even knowing the odd new song they throw into the setlist.

Now that some time has passed since the gig, I must say that it didn't go down as one of the most memorable ones. I don't know why, they played several of my favourites and were rather energetic and I remember thinking that they were alright, but that's about it. Maybe the fact that this was the fifth time has tamed my enthusiasm somewhat. It was a fairly short set, about an hour and 10 minutes of encores I believe. Considering that W.A.S.P. were one of the first "shock rockers", their current show relies on music only, with no gimmicks whatsoever. Even Blackie's monstrous mikestand has been ditched in favour of a standard one.

A fairly surprising omission from the setlist was the song that placed the band on the PMRC'S "Filthy Fifteen" list on 1985, "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)", but it was because of Blackie's newly found religious beliefs. Apparently he refuses to play that one these days.

For what it's worth, I must say that "Crazy" from the band's latest album sounds very much like a future live set staple, it's one of the best W.A.S.P. songs since their heyday. They may be labelled sometimes as an "eighties band", a nostalgia act, but don't count them out yet.


On Your Knees
The Real Me
L.O.V.E. Machine
Live to Die Another Day
Wild Child
Hellion / I Don't Need No Doctor / Scream Until You Like It
Babylon's Burning
The Idol
I Wanna Be Somebody

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)
Blind In Texas

Surprisingly, W.A.S.P. wasn't the last band of the bill (which also included openers STAM1NA who we didn't see), the "headliner" was KILPI. There's do denying that W.A.S.P. were the main attraction, but a lot of people stayed to watch the local heroes' set. The band has been out of the spotlight for some time, although they did release their fifth album "Pirun Merta" in 2009 and played several gigs at the time. The album didn't make much of an impact and quite frankly it was a bit of a disappointment. It seemed like the band had lost some of their indentity, the melodies weren't too catchy and the sound of the band seemed to have drifted towards Kotiteollisuus etc. I believe there's new music in the making, and I truly hope that the band can regain some of their old magic. Now, on to the set...

I didn't take notes as I thought I'd remember what they played, but now that several weeks have passed, the memories are hazy. The band started heavily with several songs from the last two albums I believe. The absence of keyboards has given the band a rougher edge and it has probably somewhat influenced the setlist, but it didn't bother me too much. The good background vocals and the melodic guitarwork added nuances to the songs, and lead vocalist Taage Laiho - well, does he ever have an "off-day"?

The popular hits like "Sielut Iskee Tulta", "Savuna Ilmaan" and "Nerokasta Ikävää" got the expected reception, but it was interesting to notice that latter singles like "Viinapiru" and "Tuli, Vesi, Ilma ja Maa" were hits for this crowd as well, even though they never recieved the kind of radio support as the earlier ones did.

[[ Saturday July 30th ]]

Thanks to the scheduling problems and other things we decided to skip friday's concert, but on Saturday we were "Down By The Laituri" quite early on. The first band we wanted to check out was LOVEX, the Tampere-based band that started out as a very "glammy" band but has since then toned down their image a little. They played on the "riverstage", which was an all-ages area. I guess the organizers thought that they'd appeal to the "under 18" segment more, but for some reason they only managed to draw around hundred people to watch them. Granted, the gig was quite early, around 6 pm, so maybe that had an effect on the turnout. Nevertheless, they played a solid set on a small stage, even though their brand of arena rock would probably work better on a bigger one.

Lovex has a handful of catchy rock hits with big choruses, and they pretty much played them all at DBTL. The first album's breakthrough hit "Guardian Angel", last album's radio smash "Take A Shot" and "Slave For The Glory" and "USA" from their latest album "Watch Out" were all played if I'm not mistaken, and they sounded good. Shame about the turnout.


Queen Of The Night
Take A Shot
15 Minutes
Watch Out
Worlds Collide
Anyone Anymore
Marble Walls
Guardian Angel
Born This Way
Slave For The Glory

Next up was a brief visit to ANDY MCCOY's art exhibition. Not only a living rock legend, the former Hanoi Rocks guitarist/songwriter is an artist too, and his paintings were on display during DBTL. As an added bonus, the "world's largest Hanoi Rocks memorabilia collection" was there to see as well. McCoy's a pretty colourful person and so are his paintings, the use of colours is bold and bright in them. The memorabilia collection was a reminder that there are people who are way more passionate about music and collecting than I am... there were like dozen different versions of one CD. And to think that some people can't understand why I have a thousand (different) CD's...

We entered the main tent area to catch the last few songs by KOTITEOLLISUUS, but stayed away from the heat and humidity of the tent. Even though Kotiteollisuus has some songs I like, most of their material is just too one-dimensional and dull for me. The best part of their gigs is usually the hilarious banter between the songs. We got a taste of that, as we arrived to the area - the band was playing a monotonous riff over and over again, and vocalist/guitarist Hynynen said that they won't stop unless a female member of the audience shows their tits... I guess someone did, as they did finish the song eventually.

I wasn't really expecting much of the next band, but I must say that SUNRISE AVENUE played a really good gig and impressed me greatly. They were full of energy, interacted with the crowd and had some rather good pop/rock songs in their setlist. Surprisingly, they kicked off the set with one of their biggest hits, "Forever Yours" from the first album, but then again, the female-dominated crowd went nuts right away, and sang along LOUD.

Having noticed that Lovex relied heavily on taped backing vocals, it was a pleasure to notice that Sunrise Avenue didn't need such things. There's a lot of vocal power in the band, and their harmonies were really superb. There was also room for some funny stuff in their set, as they played a more or less improvised reggae jam, playing snippets of songs like Bon Jovi's "Born To Be My Baby" and others with a reggae beat. And speaking of Bon Jovi, that some associate of vocalist Samu Huber's said that their recent hit "Hollywood Hills" "couldn't be any closer to the Bon Jovi sound" or something to that effect. Maybe... many of their songs have similarities to the latter day Jovi songs. Anyway, a very entertaining show and the band really had the crowd in their grasp.

DBTL has been criticized for having the same bands in the line-up every year, and surely there's some truth to it. Out of the few bands we saw this year, three played back in 2008 so there was a bit of a deja vu thing going on. One of them was DINGO.

The last time around Dingo didn't leave a good impression, but I must say that they were a lot better this time. Gone were the "extended versions" of the songs and vocalist Neumann seemed to be very comfortable on stage. The setlist was pretty much an "greatest hits"-kind of a thing and the people were very much into it, singing along to those almost "evergreenish" eighties hits. This truly was a gig that did justice to the band's legacy, after all they were the biggest band of the eighties in Finland, selling unbelieveble amounts of albums in three years and then calling it quits.

Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Photos by Mira Suutari-Toivonen
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