MYÖTÄTUULIROCK 2008 Vantaa, Finland, 14-15.6. 2008

There is a festival in Finland directed more for the younger audience. Myötätuulirock, MTR for short, is the yearly interest of hundreds of teenagers, who gather to rock out for a weekend in Vantaa, the neighbouring city of Helsinki. The teens in Finland are very metal oriented nowadays, which makes MTR a very metal influenced festival in the end. The festival continued its two day schedule in 2008, at the same time marking this its 12th year now hosted by Pauliina Tuomola and Teemu Suominen, who also host many other metal events. MTR wasn't very lucky with weathers this year, but eventhough the rain was pouring down the crowd was ready with raincoats, making it sure no weather was going to spoil their fun. Sunday showed a little improvement with the sun coming out.

This year the festival had only one stage, which made the festival experience a bit boring between shows. If anything else, you could meanwhile catch the various non-music related things MTR had to offer, such as bungee jumping, contests, tattoo and other shops. What made this a special year was the Swedish hardrock band HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, the Norwegian glamrockers MALICE IN WONDERLAND and GRAHAM BONNET with JOE LYNN TURNER, who were the first foreign bands ever to perform in MTR. The line-up was as colourful as ever, even something for the older rock fans. The rest of the line-up included iRONICA, RA, CHARON, STAM1NA, TURISAS, TERÄSBETONI, THE 69 EYES, ENSIFERUM, UNIKLUBI, ARI KOIVUNEN, NEGATIVE, YÖ and STURM UND DRANG. All in all quite a heavy line-up this year, battle metal being the hot genre today. RockUnited caught a few of them live. Meanwhile my long forgotten plastic sword was collecting dust somewhere and cried after new battles.


The only female singer this year performing in MTR was the iRonica vocalist Elina, but Turisas is no stranger to female musicians either, their line-up features the accordion player Netta Skog. The youngest band of the festival was RA, the grade school aged boys bringing a new genre into metal they call pharaoh metal. The idea isn't all too new though, Kotipelto, Virtuocity and Iron Maiden have already covered the idea, but RA seems to have found their fans and they received good feedback from the media as well from this show.

TURISAS, the viking metal group happens to be just about everywhere. The past summer took them to Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring in Germany before MTR, and later to Lorca Rock in Spain, Paljassaare Rock Fest in Estonia, back to Germany for Rock Harz Open Air, along with so many other dates and a tour with Dragonforce. This partnership continues in 2009 with several dates. A band that has become known for their furious shows weren't as victorious in MTR because of the weather that was chilly and cloudy, making the crowd less inspired to let it loose, but it warmed up a bit after a few songs. Turisas didn't let down this time either, they were as intense as ever, charming their crowd with an eventful and eclectic show.

The Turisas show is in fact a one big drinking song, one moment you toast to the hectic violins, then you toast to the accordion that is just too wicked and you also have to toast for the Boney M -cover "Rasputin". Yeah, I'll drink to that, but to so many other things as well about Turisas. Their brand of battle metal is played with a sensational vibe, absorbing the barbaric times to the bone, thus giving their show a credible touch hard to imitate.

Having witnessed HARDCORE SUPERSTAR partly in Sweden Rock 2007 and later in Tavastia, Finland, their show in MTR was much waited for. They're an energetic liveband that knows how to have fun, and thanks to their "We Don't Celebrate Sundays" mega partytrack from the 2005 self-titled album, they fast received notable reputation as one of the greatest sleaze acts in the hardrock scene. It took them years to come to this point, and now they're only getting stronger each year. The bands leader and most charismatic person is singer Jocke Berg, who astonishes with his presence, he's a strong entertainer, but the rest of the band was also born on rock'n'roll attitude. As in Sweden, they also rocked with great spirit in Finland, the crowd loving them. The set was closed with the mega partytrack, and a few other covered songs were the set opener "Need No Company", "Silence For The Peacefully", "She's Offbeat", "Bastards", "Bag On Your Head", "Wild Boys" and "Kick On The Upperclass".

Continuing the booking of Eurovision song contest representatives after Lordi played here in 2006, TERÄSBETONI will be remembered as the Finnish representative for the 2008 contest and the song "Missä Miehet Ratsastaa". Finnish metal fans are more familiar with this warrior metal band which first raised its sword in 2002, but the history of these warriors goes back way further. Vocalist Jarkko Ahola is the best known member in the band, having recorded with Dreamtale and visited various albums in his career. Northern Kings is one of his interesting projects together with a group of other famous Finnish metal musicians, playing 80's hits arranged in symphonic metal style.

Teräsbetoni interested many, despite of the rain that only grew stronger song by song. The band wasn't distracted by the gloomy weather, they played the set through heroicly with very bombastic sounds and great performance. Being very articulate, Jarkko thanked the crowd for being so resilient and for coming to the show. He encouraged people with his words to struggle the weather and managed to keep their crowd, that wasn't too thrilled about getting soaked. From the early days to this day Teräsbetoni has been a spark in the dark, they've lightened the normally sombre metal scene with their humourous testosterone spiced shows, battles as the band calls them. This battle was another victory for them, these warriors are always on stage to conquer and entertain, and Ahola is one of the most charismatic persons in the Finnish metal scene. Although still not favored among the more mature metal audience, Teräsbetoni are the flag bearers (sword bearers?) of a genre, that is as i mportant as any metal genre. They're as good as any metal band in entertaining, if not even better with their vigorous output.

Setlist: Teräsbetoni, Voiman Vartijat, Vaadimme Metallia, Sotureille, Ukkoshevonen, Älä Mene Metsään, Paha Sanoo, Metallisydän, Orjatar, encore: Missä Miehet Ratsastaa, Taivas Lyö Tulta

Saturday was closed by The 69 Eyes, who took the battle spirits to the world of vampires, but we missed this biting adventure. These boys are Finnish goth rock pioneers still going strong, their headliner slot was said to be heartwarming and rocking in true goth style. We'll catch them later somewhere.

SUNDAY, 15th

MTR opened midday again on Sunday with Ensiferum, Malice In Wonderland and Uniklubi. It would've been great to see at least the Norwegian glam rockers Malice In Wonderland in Finland, who have been compared to HIM, but the "piano man" was the opener for us on Sunday. From Eurovisions to Idols competitions, Myötätuulirock had also booked the Finnish Idols-winner 2007, ARI KOIVUNEN, also fronting Amoral now. He has improved vocalwise from the Idols-days, but the show still needs more work, the inexperience still shows well. Ari's fans love him though just the way he is, but the adult audience is more demanding and feels Ari is still a rookie metal entertainer. It was Ari's fortune though, that he had such a young audience in MTR, they were shreaking madly from the moment the band walked on stage and fully participating the show.

Ari's band was blessed with a sunny day, which certainly helped to set the crowd on good mood, and the band was very inspired by the whole atmosphere, guitarist Erkka Korhonen running wildly around on stage and glowing with a touchably cheery attitude. There can happen a lot in one hour, and the band wasn't having its best days today. The equipment was falling apart, and Ari seemed a little down about his rough voice. The equipment problem was solved fast though, and the band entertained amazingly well in spite of what they had to go through, toying around with their instruments together with the fans and maintaining the party spirit. Ari and the band were in a confused state occasionally, the setlist seemed unclear for the band. The last song was sort of selected through the yelling crowd, this worked for Ari's band and the set mostly pleased the fans.

Setlist: Sweet Madness, Tears Keep Falling, Fuel For The Fire, Sign Of Our Times, Under The Burning Sky, Our Beast, Hero's Gold, Losing My Insanity, Don't Try To Break Me, Stay True, Keepers Of The Night

Continuing on the teen spirit frenzy, NEGATIVE, the young glamrockers with their colourful scarves and street cred rock'n'roll outfits, stormed on stage like they were Hanoi Rocks. They've absorbed all rock clichés in respectable manner, but skillwise they're still average rockers. Their set had a bad start vocally, they weren't heard at all. Vocalist Jonne Aaron has as much challenge meeting the crowd on speaches as Ari Koivunen, although being quite confident on stage and that radiates strongly to the fans, setting a great mood to a gig. An amazing crowd of under ten year olds could label Negative as toddler rockers, but their most devoted fans are the teenagers. "We've come here to have fun, right?!", was Jonne's strike on the somewhat quiet crowd, to which he received the noisy response he was waiting for. This was a very typical Negative show, not as sleazy or explosive as their idols Hanoi Rocks serves it, but had enough action and rock'n'roll attitude.

Negative are actually a very positive band despite of their very melancholic music and sad lyrics. They had a guest in this show, Capri, who has worked with the band on their albums as a background singer. Capri has a very clear voice that sounded fresh live, drowning Jonne's vocals a bit. She starred the song "Giving Up!", beating Jonne vocally. The duet was fun, but could've been more energetic. A few covers were played, Queen a bit and Neil Young's "My My" works with Jonne's vocals and as a great addition for the show. The new songs blend well in the set together with the old catalogue. From show to another Negative is in great demand amongst the teenagers, interesting other ages as well. Their sleazy looks can be deceiving, live this band is actually very steady, and Jonne keeps breaking hearts regardless of his bad days.

Set included: In My Heaven, My My Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) (Neil Young), A Devil On My Shoulder, Frozen To Lose It All, Planet Of The Sun, An Ornament, Giving Up! (duet with Capri), The Moment Of Our Love, Show Must Go On -cut (Queen), The Moment -reprise, Won't Let Go

Musically here in an unequal position was (night), a rockband that sings in Finnish and who's music is moreso targeted towards the mature audience. Their strength was their melodic songs and a professional delivery. Yö has been around since 1981 and has kept a steady place in the Finnish rock scene ever since. Vocalist Olli Lindholm is the only remaining original member, but the latest line-up is a reputable one as well. The bands bassplayer Jukka Lewis, who's also played guitar and delivered vocals, emerged already to the rock scene from the 80's hardrock scene, playing in bands such as Sarcofagus, Oz and what were more acknowledged in the States, Princess Pang, The Chiefs and Skin 'n' Bones. Members of Yö also played in MTR with Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner as the Sunday headliner.

The band pulled the show through with flying colours, they were one of the biggest attractions on Sunday with their radio hits in spotlight, which even the non-savvy listeners knew. Their hits have deserved the radio airings, but playing for an audience as metal oriented as this they did a massive gaff leaving out one of the biggest hits ever in the Finnish charts, the utterly soulful melancholic classic "Joutsenlaulu" (swan song). The reason for such decision might be the absence of the bands original songwriter, keyboardist and composer Jussi Hakulinen, who is considered to be the heart of Yö, also contributing vocals for this particular song on their "Nuorallatanssija"- album from 1984. Hakulinen left the band in 1985, but has again been working as a songwriter for Yö since 1990, also randomly seen on stage with the band. This show was solid and spry, and that's how I remember them twenty years ago.

STURM UND DRANG had an interesting spot between Yö and Bonnet/Turner. Sturm was the youngest band seen on Sunday, and their followers were the oldest. The age doesn't matter much, if you're dedicated to your work though. Sturm shows good spirit in that, but they're still lightyears away from the status of the weasels of rock. Sturm relies a lot on a great lightshow and pyros, but the pair of vocalist-guitarist André Linman and guitarist Alexander “Alex” Ivars have made good strides from the earliest days, which aren't yet in distant memory. The scheme is very repetitive from show to another, and for some they still seem more like music industry puppets rather than free artists. It takes years of crafting good showmanship, but these youngsters have time for that and they've captured the essence of metal well enough so far.

The show got a thunderous start with pyros heating up the place and the fast "Broken" being the opener. Sturm was unusually passive in MTR, especially in the middle part of the set, and most of their energy was missing. Linman again showed most co-operation with the crowd, and the bands moshing was impressive. This show had its moments, where they seemed like the rockstars they are for the younger generation of metal fans in Finland, but it wasn't their best shows by all means. Even the Priest cover "Breaking The Law" was just a shadow of its original raw power. The band didn't play any songs from their forthcoming second album "Rock'n'Roll Children", which would've brought something fresh on the table, but their old songs still have the charm, "Indian" and "Rising Son" were the catchiest in their melodic set.

Setlist: Broken, Learning To Rock, Breaking The Law (Judas Priest), Talking To Silence, Fly Away, Indian, Rising Son, Fear Of The Dark (Iron Maiden), Miseria, band introduction, Forever

BACK TO THE RAINBOW -theme was the idea behind Rainbow-vocalists GRAHAM BONNET and JOE LYNN TURNER, who were headlining MTR. The singers weren't in Finland for the first time, visiting our country earlier with bands like Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen and Hughes Turner Project. They've also played here together before and this summer they were booked here for a short seven show tour, one of the gigs being in Helsinki a few days before Vantaa. Guitarist Daffy Terävä from Yö, leader of the backup band for the singers, started this co-operation a few years ago, and his band has been exhilarated to work with the legends.

Like on their earlier visit together, this show also put both singers seperately on spotlight. As headliners of MTR they were clearly just that. Although it was a late Sunday evening, the festival was still packed with people enjoying the whole set. Bonnet started the show clearing his voice with "Eyes Of The World", a song that wasn't too familiar for all. The Alcatrazz song "God Bless Video" works as a humourous number, but after that the guys went for more serious stuff. From "Stargazer" to the end of Bonnet's set it was a nostalgic event, and Bonnet is a frontman with many skills. Even if he first encountered trouble with opening his voice and then forgot bits from "Desert Song", he's a very relaxed performer, who's slap-happy personality infects everyone around him. The highlights of his set were the huge Rainbow classics "All Night Long" and "Since You've Been Gone".

Joe Lynn Turner walked on stage after Bonnet with a small Finnish celebrity, the metal kid Rony Österlund, who's already at his young age seen more metal celebs and metal business than most will ever see in their lifetime. Joe sang a short bit together with Rony and the rock moms were melting from adoration. His set included more rockers, that were also more familiar to the crowd. "Death Alley Driver" was a great and energetic opener for him, and that vibrant touch was there the whole time. The set also included a second guest, Ari Koivunen sang part of "Burn" with him, and I'm sure there were a few jealous metalheads in the crowd watching, who would've loved to be on stage now instead of Ari. Bonnet and Turner are both entertainers, that many look up to. These pros light any night with their sole presence, throwing in their devotion, humour and energy, all good qualities for a performer. "Drive carefully, 'cos I might be on the road", was Turner's wish to the crowd, as he ended his set with "Burn", but both Turner and Bonnet still came back for the "Long Live Rock'n'Roll" duet. It was an uproaring event closer received with loud screams, singalongs and dancing. Classics never die, and we hope to see both vocalists on stage in the future too.

BACK TO THE RAINBOW -band: Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner - vocals, Daffy Terävä and Mika Lamminsivu - guitars, Jukka Lewis – bass, Lacu Lahtinen – drums Pate Kivinen – keys, Päivi Lepistö and Miina Mikkonen – backing vocals

Graham Bonnet on vocals: Eyes Of The World, God Bless Video (Alcatrazz), Stargazer, Desert Song (Michael Schenker), All Night Long, Since You've Been Gone, Lost In Hollywood
Joe Lynn Turner on vocals: Death Alley Driver, I Surrender, Can't Happen Here, Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple), Street Of Dreams, Spotlight Kid, Burn (Deep Purple), encore: Long Live Rock'n'Roll

A big thank you once again from a great festival with great catering to the workers and organizers, especially Merja Halme for guidance and information. We all had fun, and one rain doesn't stop us having that!

Report by Satu Reunanen, satu [at]
Pictures by Kari Helenius, carda [at]

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