Helsinki November 25th, 2004

The tickets were sold out in short time for the Sonata Arctica and Kilpi show and it's no wonder, both bands have been doing quite well in their homegrounds, Sonata singing their powerful heavy metal in english and Kilpi doing the same in finnish. Kilpi's music has also been compared to finnish pop bands such as Popeda, who are very ballsy with loads of attitude. The opening act Kilpi might not burst with attitude as much when they're mostly standing still on stage, but they're quite ballsy when it comes to their singer Taage who has a big and versatile sound. The whole evening was recorded for a future tv airing, so the place wasn't only packed with people but with a wide range of camera sets. Even that both bands are succesful in Finland and would've made the place go wild on their own, the cameras must've made the crowd present go even wilder. It's not often that Tavastia goes this crazy with metal bands in the middle of the week, the air was filled with hands, people singing along all the time and getting the best out of it all.

Tavastia had a well-known, professional mixer behind the desk, but still the volume was really loud. Strangely the crowd easily disregarded it this evening. Even earplugs meant for industrial workers were quite useless. But if you could live with it, both bands made it a night to remember. Kilpi played all of their hits from "Nerokasta Ikävää" and "Tie Turvatkaa" to "Sielut Iskee Tulta" and their harmonized vocals make their music even bigger and catchier. So much so, that even when I'm no big fan of finnish lyrics, I found my feet tapping to most of the songs. After all there's not much difference between the music of these two bands. Kilpi's set was shorter than Sonata's, but the set was a tight one.

Sonata Arctica didn't just have to come and play a show this evening, their album "Silence" has sold gold and they received gold disks along with people involved with the album. Mikko Harkin and Timo Kotipelto were among them. Tony Kakko kept a short speach. Short, because as he said he's not good in them, but still made the crowd laugh when he started speaking like an old timer in speaches with a strange, deep voice. One of the things that drew attention in their show was the hair of bassist Marko Paasikoski, it keeps changing its length all the time and his passive behaviour stands out too well from the rest of the groups energy on stage. Jani Liimatainen on guitar and keysman Henrik Klingenberg together with Kakko were keeping the stage spirit alive. Humour has been part of their show as long as I can remember and so Tony sang some Kiss "I Was Made For Loving You" in between a song and other bits and pieces. Their set mostly included older songs, which was a shame really, as "Reckoning Night" is a great album and they haven't yet toured around it much for the crowd to hear them live. Songs "Shamandalie", "Blinded No More" and "Don't Say A Word" were heard though and the latter got a raving response, people were going nuts like in a moshpit. When the show was loud as hell, the sounds weren't exactly the best either, some instruments weren't heard at times and Tony's vocals suffered of them also. The integration of "Sing In Silence" and "The End Of This Chapter" was somewhat a disappointment when both songs are masterpieces on their own, but worked out fine. When the band shared their finest moments, Tony's voice wasn't heard too well, so the songs and the great lyrics lost most of their power. From "Winterheart's Guild" songs "Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited", "Victoria's Secret", "Gravenimage", "Broken" and "The Cage" were played, older material included "Kingdom For A Heart", "Wolf & Raven", "Full Moon", "Black Sheep", "8th Commandment", "Replica" and "My Land". The set didn't make much exception from their earlier ones. The band ended the show in a traditional way, the crowd had to sing "We need some vodka" with them in a fastening tempo. And as usual, there was an international atmosphere with fans from all over the world.

Even that the night was very enjoyable, both bands weren't at their best, which was heard in their playing. But still both of them were taken by the crowd in a same manner, it was true party all night long. And I mean all night, Sonata started their set after eleven p.m. and played almost till one in the morning. The next day was tough for anyone who had to go to work or school, but this is just normal in Scandinavia. People love going to clubs really late, at least during the weekends. I wouldn't mind a show starting at 7 p.m. though, but for now I'll just keep dreaming on and enjoying my seasonal red eyes and zombie look.

Gig report by Satu Reunanen,
Photos by Kari Helenius,