The Urban Tale guys finally dragged themselves to Turku, and naturally I was there to check them out live. The location was a small club in the heart of the city, comfortable enough for the audience. The band might have a different view about that though, as their "backstage" wasn't exactly sizeable.
I arrived a bit early, but it was okay cause I had time to meet most of the guys and chat with them, not to mention "enjoy" the finnish country music selection that was played to warm up the audience for the night's main attraction. As for the audience, the band had managed to draw in a few dozen people, who mostly seemed to know the songs. I guess it was okay, considering that the gig wasn't too widely promoted and that UT is not a household name yet.
The band played two sets: first one was all-originals, basically most of the songs from their self-titled debut album, and the second was a set of AOR covers. Both sets were highly impressive, and proved that the guys are indeed masters of their craft.
The "original" set was quite well-balanced, ranging from uptempo melodic rock gems such as my personal favourites "Runaway Train" and "King Of Hearts" to pure AOR balladry of "One Day" and "Broken Chains". There were a couple of more experimental, progressive tracks included too (just like on the album), "On The Edge" and the ethreal "Water" - not my cup of tea but credit where credit's due, they were performed really well.
Although vocalist Kimmo Blom promised us a set of "popular finnish schlagers and a Latin show", the second set was classic AOR tracks, again performed brilliantly. Gotta tell ya, there's no better way to open a set like this than with Journey's "Separate Ways"...pure magic. It was followed by a few other Journey tracks ("Girl Can't Help It", "Open Arms", "Send Her My Love" and "Wheel In The Sky"), a few Toto classics ("Rosanna", "Africa" and "Stop Loving You"), Mr. Mister's "Kyrie" and Don Henley's "Boys Of Summer". Total AOR Heaven - can't really argue with that song selection. Well, knowing that the audience was clearly die-hard AOR fans, the band could've slipped in a couple of less known gems, they would've probably been very welcomed too. Actually, maybe they did, I don't know, because I had to leave a bit early.
All in all, a good time was had by all, and if you have a chance to see this band live, don't miss it!
By Kimmo Toivonen, .