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Tuska Open Air 2014 - Day 1 - 6/27/2014 - Suvilahti - Helsinki

Another year, another Tuska. For me, this year’s theme was meeting people I haven’t seen for a while. Most of time between interesting bands was spent outside the festival area, sitting on grass catching up, kinda like when Tuska was still back in Kaisaniemi. But, at least for me, it’s already started to feel like Tuska has always been in Suvilahti, and I can’t really say that I’d miss the times when the festival area was small and cramped. What I DID miss was more booths that sell random crap. There was a bookstore, a record store and one store that sold clothes and accessories and that was it. Not a whole lot to go through for three days. A few years ago the market area was substantially larger and more enjoyable.

Ensiferum (Radio Rock Stage): Ensiferum is not new to the Tuska stage, and the strategic move to place them early on Friday makes so that the queue at the entrance is the biggest of the whole festival. The guys are always fun to watch, and they do know how to entertain their fans. Despite the hot weather and the early hour, they manage to get a good bunch of loyal fans with face paint and all cheering for them all the show. Most of their 50-minute set is dedicated to the latest two records, which for me haven’t been all that great, but is nice to hear still some good classics like Token of Time, and of course, Iron.
(by Marco Manzi)

Poisonblack (Inferno Stage): I started the festival with watching Poisonblack in the merch queue. I still don’t get who’s bright idea it is to have the merch booth, the one with the longest lines usually, be right next to the second stage, so that the merch lines and the stage’s crowd merge, forcing one to push through the crowd to even get to see the shirts. Poisonblack were themselves, with self-deprecating humor and love songs that don’t quite reach the level of Sentenced. They even joked about being the non-heaviest of the bands in Tuska. Overall a feel-good start to the festivities.

Cutdown (Club Stage): It was the second time seeing these guys, and I knew to expect a good gig. I’m still surprised that they managed to have, in my view, the day’s best gig with crushing riffs, ultimate groove and overall attitude easily beating the bigger, older bands. Definitely one to catch live, hardcore, Helsinki style!

Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals (Radio Rock Stage): The festival’s biggest let down, no competition. I don’t know what I expected, but whatever it was, I didn’t get it. They started promisingly enough, with “this next song is going to make us bigger than Metallica” followed by a rather extreme song. The new material just didn’t really work, at least not hearing it for the first time. They also played some Pantera, but I think it just made things worse. They played just a few snippets, like a riff from Domination and a rather crappy song (A New Level) and ended their set incredibly anticlimactic with just the beginning of Primal Concrete Sledge and then silence. Add to this Anselmo’s drunken(?) ramblings which made no sense and his attempt to play Raining Blood on guitar, not quite nailing it, and the end result was rather pathetic...

Nails (Inferno Stage): The Californian Nails was one of the bands I was curious to check out today. These youngsters managed well, even if the audience was - in the most Finnish of traditions - more passively listening rather than showing any sort of excitement for the show. The music of the band is a mixture of hardcore/punk, like many bands oversea, one can think. But you just have to give it a listen to get that they have their own style at it, and it’s not half bad.
Due to a guy mistakenly exchanging camera bag I missed most of this and of Battle Beast’s show. The Finns surprisingly performed in the tiny Club Stage, making it pretty crowded. The hall itself was quite full, and the guys seemed as energetic as ever, with the singer Noora Louhimo who had styled her hair into a mohawk. It’s a pity I couldn’t follow the gig for more of a couple of songs.
(by Marco Manzi)

Children of Bodom (Radio Rock Stage): Bodom Beach Barbecue! Bodom have had cars on stage for years, but this time they had a barbecue bar on top of the car with chairs around the stage for the guys in Lost Society and the Radio Rock Queen of the day. Faced with a hard choice I opted to stay and watch Bodom’s energetic party gig and missed Hamferd’s moody doom. Alexi et company managed to hold the spirits high, even if the crowd wasn’t quite with them, not even really launching into the crowd part of Hate Crew Death Roll. However, Alexi’s and Warman’s banter was once again funny to see and the set as a whole was entertaining as could be expected.

Carcass (Inferno Stage): This was the second Tuska for the Carcass guys. They played a few of their new song and also some very old songs, also including most of their ’hits’, like Heartwork. Make no mistake, they played a kick-ass gig, but this being the fourth time seeing them I was just left wanting for that little bit of extra oomph. Compared to their last visit to Finland, last fall in Kaapelitehdas, they seemed to lack that extra intensity. Also, Walker’s speaks were either incredibly douchy and diva-like or I missed the irony on a whole another level.. He kept going on about how great they are, how they invented the b-tuning and Gothenburg-sound and all kinds of pointless ego stroking. I haven’t noticed this on the previous gigs so it left me with rather mixed feelings. But they still have killer songs and they play them well, so no major complaints.

Dimmu Borgir (Radio Rock Stage): I was really looking forward to Dimmu’s set, playing Death Cult Armageddon in its entirety, yes please! Even with a pyro-filled explosive start, it became fast obvious that something was missing. Probably the missing ingredient was the three out of six people who made Dimmu what it was: ICS Vortex, Mustis and Hellhammer (I know he didn’t play on DCA, but he was still quite a crucial part imo). Listening to Vortex’s vocals as playback was quite underwhelming and the band never quite got their act together. The weekend’s first drops of water came during their set, but third time wasn’t the charm, since unlike their two last performances in Finland, they didn’t manage to conjure up a storm. For that we had to wait until Sunday...

Report a cura di Markus Karppinen - Photos by Marco Manzi

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