DAY ONE: Crack, cocaine, karaoke? Don’t remember. (AKA interesting stuff in plastic bags)
Friday: Cannibal Accident, Ceaseless Torment, Freedomination
As a fledgling member of the badass crew of Enslain, I’m more than honored to write my first gig report for the magazine. Read on if you’re curious; enjoy if possible!
I have to admit I was beyond excited on Friday evening, even before the bands started playing. The overall atmosphere in Bäkkäri was already promising – dark clubroom, preparing the gear and instruments, metalheads everywhere, you name it. Oh, and some insanely good beer too, courtesy of the festival’s namesake, Humalove Brewing. Don’t forget the beer.
What made the evening even more enjoyable was the fact that there wasn’t even time to get impatient for the gigs [and believe me, I’m very impatient]; they couldn’t have been more punctual. Freedomination from Helsinki started playing on time at 11pm and, what’s even more important, they started with a great, punchy intro. The fast, quite heavy beginning contrasted with the melodic sound of the band, and this melodic feel to their music made the songs unbelievably catchy. Looks like I wasn’t the only one with this impression, because the band had the audience headbanging as early as during the very first song. Respect! The headbanging went on, of course, and at one point a courageous lady attempted to create one-woman mosh pit – I have to say she succeeded quite well!
There was more to Freedomination’s performance than the appreciative crowd and well-performed melodic songs. I didn’t notice earlier (probably because I focused mainly on their music), but those guys really looked like they were having great time together. The gig wasn’t just about a bunch of individual musicians doing their thing, but there was a real collective band spirit onstage, a really strong and noticeable one. Another thing to appreciate was Freedomination being an excellent band to warmup a night – they could just get you into the mood of a concert, which they did very well. One could easily feel the gig’s atmosphere much better AND enjoy it. Enjoy quite a lot, I would say.
Getting into the right mood of the first Metallihumala night was important and, as I’ve noticed, this atmosphere was getting heavier, faster and darker with every band. I have to say I liked the change from just a bit slower, but definitely more melodic sound of Freedomination to Ceaseless Torment’s more powerful and fast music.
The band’s interaction with the audience is something worth mentioning. My timing as I was scribbling in my notepad, seated comfortably at the merch stand with a beer (what’s not to like?!), probably couldn’t have been better. At the very same moment I wrote down ‘pretty good interaction with the audience,’ a chanting came from the stage and the crowd went crazy again. And when I thought it needed some more moshing, there it was, a two-man mosh pit. It didn’t grow any bigger later but hey, those guys seemed to have a great time anyway, especially thanks to the music getting faster in that exact moment. The ending was pretty fucking heavy as well which was quite good before the third band, the loudest and the wildest of whole evening.
What else could you expect from a band called Cannibal Accident than loads of crazy and insanely good shit happening onstage? I can’t give any reasonable answer to this one, just like I couldn’t answer a person asking me at the very beginning of the first song by Cannibal Accident ‘what the hell is that?’ and succeeded by ‘Is he wearing anything?’ the latter concerning one of the band’s vocalists, H. Raisio. I think these questions speak quite a lot about the gig and the band in general.
What’s more, Cannibal Accident’s show couldn’t be described without a very special contest giveaway which included a shirt, a few albums and, uhm… a suspicious plastic bag. Since the bag’s label ‘Ritual Paprika’ wasn’t the most helpful description ever, we had to scrutinize the bag’s mysterious contents on our own. We failed spectacularly. My bet was blood vomit, and one of the guys there guessed it was period blood, which is why I really wish there were more people with us to guess and share more of their speculations and stupid ideas. I wonder how the winner liked his ‘Ritual Paprika’ ‘cause he disappeared so quickly I had no time to ask [he seemed happy anyway].
After giving this, well, thought-provoking prize out, there was time to focus on the madness onstage again and try to gather thoughts to describe it as it was. No doubt about the band having very good contact with the audience. The crowd was going completely crazy and were thoroughly engaged in the show. Stagediving included, performed in quite a new way (I don’t think many concert goers could say they were dragged along the stage by their pants by the vocalist himself). Long story short, Cannibal Accident’s outrageous gig was an amusing one!
I felt like the night’s weirdest and heaviest stuff was saved for the last. What was saved for the time after the gigs was karaoke too. [And Freedomination’s backstage beer which they didn’t drink. Thank you, how cool is that? You should seriously consider changing your band name to Freebeer, that’s catchy]. Hevikaraoke at Bäkkäri is never disappointing, and this time it was just as fun and entertaining as always. Singing a duet of “Can I Play with Madness” with Lady Enslain herself was an epic experience, I can tell you!
As If the evening wasn’t eventful enough, there were more adventures awaiting us downstairs at the backstage. And if you aren’t worried yet, then well, you should be. ‘Cause what we found downstairs turned out to be two guys [the very first time I’ve seen them, and I have no idea how they got there] who were enjoying themselves too much because of a different sort of tiny plastic bag. And, unsurprisingly, willing to share its contents with us and our noses. As you have probably deduced, this one didn’t contain ‘Ritual Paprika,’ but white powder. I couldn’t discern what exactly it was, but holy shit, judging by their moods and behavior, it was working like it’s supposed to work. Of course, that kind of thing sometimes does happen in the context of gigging – you’ve been warned. But a warning doesn’t work well as the last words, so here’s some advice instead: even if the bar closes at 4.00, it’s always a good idea to have a small afterparty with a few [of Freedomination’s] beers. And some cola and whisky [sorry and thanks, Hanski! ~ed]. And Apple Pie liquor. And… use your imagination, it’s still a gig review and not a drink list!
DAY TWO: Metallihumala goes on, with color-changing drinks this time.
Saturday: Silentium, Kuoleman Galleria, Nodding Sky
We survived the first day of Metallihumala, so skipping the event’s second day was not an option. [Even though Enslain’s brave new writer got no sleep following the afterparty, and even managed a daytrip to Tampere to see Mokoma do an acoustic set at Levykauppa-X! Respect! ~ed] Especially since before showtime, many upcoming events and things concerning Enslain were being discussed as a team. Long story short: there’s so much to look forward to next year! Long story not-so-short: I found out there is a bean bag and some squishy balls (don’t ask) in the Enslain meeting room, and we had a long conversation on Korean sword names. Enjoyable as it was, we had to end our discussion and set up the merch table. Ah, the responsibilities. We could definitely be proud of our work though: the merch stall looked pretty good and unusually colorful [Silentium had some olive green tees easy to recognise in the mass of band shirts available in black, black and *gasp* black].
Saturday evening started with Nodding Sky who came from Turku. Since the band’s name was repeated a few times during the first song, I’m more than sure everyone remembered it quickly, although figuring out the genre the band played was not so easy. I’d most probably take a risk and call it hipster metal since the sound overall was pretty interesting. Quite an experimental feel to it which only made it more unique. Another intriguing thing was arranging each song in a new way. Just during one gig, the enthusiastic audience enjoyed both clean vocals and growling and songs ranging from thicker, even doom-ish influenced ones, to those which were very melodic, as well as fast, heavier parts. Speaking of the audience, they were really enthusiastic: good job with entertaining such a crowd! Some very engaged, even passionate fans there.
The crowd seemed to enjoy the second band (Kuoleman Galleria from Tampere) just as much as the first one. I would only say the loud cheering at Nodding Sky’s show was replaced with more headbanging during Kuoleman Galleria’s gig. In contrast to the previous band, clean singing wasn’t heard, and the performance had the overall heavier, more punchy feel to it. I’d say their music was pretty consistent, which is not always easy to achieve and, what’s even more important, the band had its own personality. It always makes it more enjoyable to watch a gig when the band members don’t take themselves too seriously, and this was exactly what happened at Kuoleman Galleria’s show with both the band and the audience having a good time.
The final gig of Metallihumala was worth waiting for. Silentium, all the way from Jämsänkoski, had a performance which was simply great. Always good to see a female-fronted band performing at Bäkkäri, especially with such good vocals that were both strong and melancholic. I felt like the music itself was also quite melancholic at times. That final gig was very melodic as well, and after the first and the second band, each playing with a different atmosphere and having their own feel to it, it was quite refreshing. Just as refreshing as the beer there; the amazing colour-changing drink they sold at the Humalove Brewing stand [not exactly true, but it still surprises me how fun can a glass held against colorful light be] [personally, I think there were just mystical humala forces involved in this phenomenon… ~ed]
A few songs (and a few beers) later, when the last concert was over, we moved our way back to the karaoke room. You just don’t deprive yourself of the simple joy of karaoke late on Saturday night. It really felt rewarding after the whole two-day event filled with work, good company, beer, merch and, needless to say, decent music! Thanks Metallihumala! Let’s do this again next year!