On Thursday, March 24th, Nosturi provided a hefty dose of domestic grindcore and punk: not less than five bands for – in my opinion – the dirt-cheap price of only 15€. The event was headlined by Rotten Sound, the leading Finnish grindcore act, backed up with Raahe-based Feastem, Tryer from Tampere, as well as two local younger bands, Kohti Tuhoa and Crustofer.
I arrived to Nosturi only minutes before the first band of the evening, Crustofer, was to take the stage. When I got to the top floor, there was literally no one in the audience space, and the crowd in the beer area couldn’t have been more than twenty heads strong either. I ordered a beer (Nosturi has raised the price to 7€ – thieves!) and positioned myself next to the mixing booth.
Crustofer took the stage at 20:30 sharp, pulling off a really energetic 25 minutes of quality Crust punk. I hadn’t even heard of the band before, but enjoyed the gig a lot. The band had a nice energy going: they clearly didn’t mind a bit of an absence of any actual audience and their musicianship was admirable – if I had had to guess, I would’ve thought them having more releases under their belt than their first EP, From The Deep, released last year. Everything, from Crustofer’s band logo featuring an anchor, to their introduction in Facebook stating that the band “was formed in a Caribbean prison cell in the end of August 1763,” and the release format of their EP (a real bottle with download codes and patches, etc.) gave the notion that the band has clearly put a lot of thought to their brand. Nice action!
After a short intermission the second band of the evening, a hardcore punk band called Kohti Tuhoa, took the stage. As with Crustofer, I didn’t know a single thing about the band beforehand, and had to actually Google some information, revealing that the band consists of seasoned musicians from Speedtrap, Stench of Decay, and Death Toll 80k, to name a few. The show had a bit of a sluggish start as the vocalist, Helena (?)’s voice wasn’t quite on par, but she got her voice open before the end of the first song, and the rest of the show was tight as any. Kohti Tuhoa trusted in their music and didn’t waste time on speeches, but the show felt pretty short. The band was given 30 minutes of stage time and I was left wondering if they left the stage early. Nevertheless the show was pleasant to watch, although an older not-so-gentleman standing next to me kept complaining to his friend that it’s wrong to have a woman singing in a punk band. We’re living the year 2016 and apparently jerks like this guy still exist.
The third band to take stage was Feastem and the first one familiar to me beforehand, although I’ve somehow managed to miss all their shows. This has to change – it’s been a while since I’ve seen a grindcore show of this magnitude! The band’s tongue-in-cheek grindcore blasted forward relentlessly. According to the vocalist Petri Eskelinen, the band was performing injured – apparently the guitarist, Olli Nokkala, had had back surgery and had to play his parts really statically. Eskelinen wasn’t on point himself either, inviting Crustofer’s Otto Eräjoki to do vocals on a different song that he was supposed to. Despite the accident, the show was brilliant. The band chatted with each other like they were having Sunday coffee, delivering great contrast against the backdrop of their material. Feastem’s drummer, Patrik Fält (also known from the melodic death metal band, Brymir) is inhuman behind the kit – his speed and precision are incredible to watch and listen to. Feastem also got the audience to do some light moshpit action for the first time in the whole evening. If you haven’t seen this band live, do something about it! Their next show in Helsinki is April 7th in Lepakkomies.
After Feastem’s delightful grindcore show, the evening geared back towards a more difficult subject for yours truly: punk. As an avid fan of all things progressive in music, I’ve never found much to listen to when it comes to punk, but boy was I surprised when Tryer kicked off their first song: the band is brilliant! Tryer was insanely entertaining to watch, in spite of vocalist Jussi Kahola thinking that they sound “like elevator music” when compared to Feastem. The band – guitarist Tuomas Mikola, bassist Vesa Ahonen and drummer Jonne Haapa-Aho – functioned like a well-oiled machine; the songs were groovy as hell and Kahola’s eccentric vocals gave the finishing touch to the music. I probably wouldn’t have been so psyched about Tryer without the vocals, but I got the feeling that my view wasn’t shared by the rest of the audience: applause was pretty weak and most of the people at the bar section seemed to just roll their eyes between songs. However, Tryer’s gig at Ilosaarirock in July is a must-attend for me!
It was 15 minutes to midnight and finally time for the main event, when Vaasa’s gift to grindcore, Rotten Sound, was to take the stage. Rotten Sound has a special place in the heart of yours truly. I was 16 when I saw them live for the first time at Tuska 2005, and the gig was something I had never heard before. I didn’t get a hold of basically anything the band was playing, but I was hooked instantly. Since then I’ve seen Rotten Sound live numerous times, even attending their 20-year anniversary show in Bar Loose a couple years back.
As expected, the show was excellent. Rotten Sound’s live recipe just doesn’t disappoint: the band enters the stage, the guitar amp is cranked way up to create feedback noise, and the audience is bludgeoned with bursts of three or four songs for a specified amount of time. The vocalist Keijo Niinimaa’s stage presence delivers great contrast of light chit-chat between songs and vocal work of extreme intensity during. The guitarist, Mika Aalto, bassist, Kristian Toivainen, and drummer, Sami Latva worked flawlessly, as always. The band’s setlist weighed towards their newest album, Abuse to Suffer, released just a week before, but also contained material from the previous four records Cursed, Cycles (“Corporation” & “The Effects”), as well as their most beloved work, Exit (“Slay,” “Western Cancer,” & “Sell Your Soul.”) The set was concluded with the band’s breakthrough album Murderworks’ killer combo “Void” – “Insects” – “Targets,” after which the band left the stage surprisingly fast without any encores. Not that it was really needed: the fanboy in me was perfectly satisfied with the show, and based on Rotten Sound’s output tonight I doubt I can miss their show in Nummirock this summer!
So, what were we left with? All five bands were in excellent live condition, but you really cannot say the same for the audience. Tryer was pure genius but didn’t receive the kind of applause they would have deserved. The audience was almost stale during the whole Rotten Sound gig; maybe the band didn’t do an encore for this exact reason? Crustofer had to crank their tunes to a practically empty Nosturi, and during the evening the venue was half-full at best. There were no other metal events held on the same day, and the ticket price was, as stated, almost nothing when divided by five. I also didn’t get a hold of the identity of DJ Paskadiili –
the intermission music didn’t stand out from the usual stuff that’s played in Nosturi, and I didn’t notice a separate guy playing records anywhere. All-in-all, the night was still a great success and packed with talent, and especially Crustofer is a band to pay attention to in the future!
Text: Atte Valtonen | Photos: Eliza Rask | Ed: Amy Wiseman