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TUSKA 2010 - Kaisaniemi, Helsinki (FI), 02.-04.07.2010
Brought to you directly from Hell Sink(-i)!
Gallery link:Tuska 2010
Finland has a worldwide renowned reputation for its metal music. And what does every Finnish metalhead wait for the most throughout the year? Summer festivals, exactly! In Finland every village has its own rock/metal festival. Naturally, one of the most important ones is the festival held in the capital. Dear lovers of all things metal, may I present you Tuska festival: 3 days, 3 stages, a freaky but friendly crowd and the most Finnish type of fun you can ever get. The festival takes place in the centre of Helsinki – Kaisaniemi park. Or should I say took place, because this year was the last time that the metal crowd trashed the city centre. Starting from next year the festival will be moved to a more industrial sight in an area called Suvilahti. Now I assume this doesnt ring a bell to anyone living outside of Finland, so lets finish here with the weird names. This year all 3 days were completely sold out and tens of thousands of crazy metalheads gathered for a celebration of summer, alcohol and the best music in the world. During the recent years Tuska has been accompanied by very hot summer weather – quite unusual for the local climate. Named in a truly Finnish manner, tuska means pain. You know what they say – no pain no gain
July 2 - day 1
Putting a great band at the beginning of the first day is a trick many festival organizers pull out to bring more people as early as possible. It doesnt always work, however, this year it was surely the right move to have San Francisco Bay Area thrashers from Testament to be the first ones to come on the main stage. Despite the merciless sun, there was a massive crowd slamming in front of the stage. The others were simply enjoying the show, hoping not to melt away. The band is a frequent guest on the Finnish soil, fortunately, so Chuck Billy and the guys are always welcome here. Many people from the audience would find themselves drunk shitless by the end of the day, but at that moment they were still full of energy, so they made a huge moshpit. Someones shoes were flying out of this insane mess, and I was expecting to see body parts here and there quite soon – ah, the moshpit-fun. After all, what is a thrash-metal show without a few bruises (and some broken noses)? Especially when its Testament – one of the strongest pillars that still hold thrash at its finest. More Than Meets The Eye, New Order, Practice What You Preach, Over The Wall, Into The Pit and more songs that made Bay Area history were played to make the Finnish audience go berserk. It was great to see that so many years later the current generation of kids still appreciates the grand ones.
Next stop on Sue stage were the favourites of this years Finnish Metal Awards – Insomnium. By the time I got there, the area in front of the stage was completely packed and fists were shaking in the air with full force. Musically Insomnium represents the true essence of Finland, its people, its principles and ways of life, and especially its darkness. Their sound is full of melancholy with a tint of depression, maybe, but at the same time its exquisite, which puts it on a totally different level than all the lets stab everyone and die – bands. Insomniums music is made by intellectuals for intellectuals. The timeless titans of Finnish metal – Tarot came on the main stage afterwards. For those of you who dont know, Marco Hietala (Nightwish bassist) and his brother Zachary are the masterminds behind Tarot. With all due respect to the brothers, I honestly do enjoy listening to Tarot at home. For some reason they fail to get to me with their live performances, though having it all: two great vocalists, amazing guitarists, pure metal music, yet I am bored whenever I see them on stage. As if the band has heard my complaints, they had a special treat for Tuska. This winter Marco took part in a local tv-show Clash of the Choirs, so he brought out his choir on the festival stage. The most entertaining part of it all was the fact that the choirs director actually had a whip.
Tuska 2010 had a couple of double bills for some of the performers. The first one was the Swedish guest Peter Tägtgren, who showed up on Friday with his band Pain. It was getting too hot at Sue stage and even though Pain has some catchy tunes, it was impossible to move or enjoy the set. Going on with the Scandinavian bands, Norwegians from Satyricon entered the main stage to unleash hell. Being some kind of glamorized and overly popular black metal act, Satyricon has never been my cup of tea, so I gladly skipped it, yet I heard the crowd was really appreciative... Beats me. While running around the area, from one stage to another, I spotted people with Metallica and Slayer flags. Slightly wrong festival, fellas!
Headlining the first day was yet another artist to play two shows during the festival weekend. It was Devin Townsend and his Ziltoid The Omniscient musical or whatever this strange performance is called. It was impossible to have mixed feelings about this show: you either thought it was crap or pure genius. To me it seemed more of a stand-up comedy show than an actual gig, yet I would go for the genius part. Simply because its unusual, one of a kind, if nothing else. Have you ever seen anyone having a guitar contest with a green alien on the screen? Devin had a special guest appearance to sing Planet Smasher – Chuck Billy from Testament. There couldnt have been a better personification of a planet smasher than Chuck wearing a black cape and holding something which looked like a coat-hanger. They surely smashed the planet of Tuska!
July 3 - day 2
The second day seemed to be less exciting, at least for yours truly. It was mostly dedicated to seeing old favourite Finnish bands which solo gigs I rarely visit these days being so jaded. The first band on the bill for me was Sotajumala on Sue stage. Even though Im not exactly a death metal fan, these guys never fail to kick my ass. Sotajumala manage to mix the distortions of death metal with pretty cool beats, which actually allow you to do some dance moves other than headbanging. However, this does seem more appropriate if youre a girl. Their vocalist Mynni Luukkainen is a very colorful and charismatic personage. I would even dare to call him the Finnish version of Slayers Kerry King, even though he doesnt play guitar. Sotajumala have released their third album recently, which brought the band to a new step, so be sure to check them out! Going on with death metal wave, it was time for Peter Tägtgrens second appearance with his other band Hypocrisy on the main stage. Always tight, always on top and straight to the point Hypocrisy is just another proof that Swedes know how to forge their metal.
After that the main stage saw the second coming of Devin Townsend, this time with his namesake project. Now this seemed much more like a proper show with music that sent electric shock through your spine, making you feel each of your vertebras separate. I wasnt able to watch the whole set, but I heard that Devin didnt fail to impress people even without the green alien and took off his pants on stage. Back to Finnish death metal, Survivors Zero – another one of my favourite live acts came out on Sue stage. The festival area was like a frying pan by that time and standing in a tent in the crowd of people definitely didnt make it any fresher. But Survivors Zero sound even better when you have to suffer for it! Their music basically pumps energy into your body, but you are absolutely dead once its over. Soon Kamelot brought their drama to the main stage. I kept on thinking that it wont take long for the vocalist to faint due to overheating. He was wearing his usual stage outfit with a long black coat and the burning sun was shining right at him, yet he somehow pulled it through. Must be years of practice. Kamelot were never among my preferences, they are too pompous for my taste, so I went backstage to chill a little.
The thrash metal legends from Overkill came up on Sue stage. Im a sucker for some good old thrash, but all the heat and dust made it almost impossible to enjoy the show properly. Overkill was never a big name in Finland, but the followers of the genre know its most important bands. The 30-years experience allowed the band to throw a fist-tight performance and get everyone going despite such annoying weather conditions. Mastodon was supposed to be headlining the second day and I almost wet my pants out of excitement. Unfortunately, this didnt happen as Mastodon got cancelled and replaced by Nevermore which turned out to be a disappointment for me. They might be a known and respected band, but they dont have what it takes to headline a festival. Hell, even the main stage was too much for them, so there was no point in wasting my time there. As the great E. A. Poe wrote: Quoth the raven, Nevermore. The afterparties were calling!
July 4 - day 3
This day was the most awaited for my part, because it was the MEGADAY! But lets start from the very beginning.
The openers of the day were two popular Finnish bands Turmion Kätilöt on Sue stage and Finntroll on Inferno stage. This was quite unfair as I wanted to see both bands. Going 50/50 was not a solution, because if you didnt manage to enter one of the tents at the very beginning of the show – youre out. As Sue stage was bigger and had a little more fresh air, I went to see Turmion Kätilöt. These guys are by far the most entertaining Finnish band. One of their vocalists – Spellgoth was sporting a full latex suit with a mask on his face. That was no French perfume over there, Im sure. Together with the second vocalist MC Raka Pee they fired up this insanely hot day and gave the crowd one hell of a workout! Or was it rock out with your... No, wait, thats a whole different story. Continuing with the bill of legendary names, we had W.A.S.P. on the main stage. All the wild children gathered around to salute the one and only Mr. Blackie Lawless. The age is taking its toll, yet this man still has the same fire burning inside which brings out tears of nostalgia in the eyes of those who first saw the band when they were still teenagers. Im just glad they are still hanging out there and can pull off a better show than most of the young up and comers.
I had to skip Cannibal Corpse and it was fine by me. The headliners of the last day were the legendary Megadeth and Ive been counting hours and minutes till their set the whole day. Despite Mustaines voice sounding like someone stepped on his balls, musically the bands performance was exceptional! To everyones delight, they played some of their best songs, such as: Skin O My Teeth, In My Darkest Hour, Hangar 18, Trust, A Tout Le Monde, Sweating Bullets, Symphony of Destruction (in no particular order). David Ellefson and Chris Broderick were blazing with their guitars - true masters of their craft they created a wall of guitar riffs crushing the skulls of people in the crowd. Mustaines guitar-playing was also outstanding beyond words, but he was too busy running from one cameraman to another. There simply cant be anyone else on the big screen when Dave Mustaine is on stage with his orchestra. The encore was Pease Sells and Tuska was totally buying it.
The sad part during the last riffs of the encore was that we all knew that one of the most awaited summer events was now over. A dirty, bruised crowd of kids in torn clothes was heading over to Railway Station. Just a moment ago they were riding the wave and now reality threw them ashore – its time to get back to normal life. Thank you, Kaisaniemi Park, and thank you, Tuska 2010. We will rock Suvilahti next year!
Pictures: Jana Blomqvist | Report: Tanja Caciur
Check out our other reports and galleries from TUSKA:
TUSKA 2006 report part 1 | Gallery
TUSKA 2006 reportpart 2 | Gallery
TUSKA 2007 report | Gallery
Tuska 2008 Gallery
TUSKA 2009 report | Gallery
TUSKA 2010 report | Gallery
Tuska 2011 Gallery
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