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January 10th, The Circus, Hellsinki Finland.
This was the most awesome book release party I have ever attended. Täältä pohjoiseen – Sentencedin tarina is a book written by Matti Riekki, a long-time (lifetime?) follower of Sentenced and a professional rock journalist. Freely translated the title is (of course) North from Here – The Story of Sentenced.
The book itself is a magnificent; at the same time it is a complete history in chronological order from day one – full of little bits of trivia for the die-hard fans. But Matti has also gotten the surviving members of Sentenced opening up about things that have not been spoken of before. Some things have never been said before this. He has also interviewed some people close to the band, and that adds a great asset! I sincerely hope it gets translated, I know there are a lot of people dying to read this! I even read about some crazy Japanese person who bought the book and translated it one sentence at a time on Google translate. I don’t know how that could ever work – in addition to online translators being shit the book also has a strong dialect going on. Which is very Sentenced-like. So with the book not having a translation announced yet, I feel like Im very privileged to have read it and as if it was unfair for me to go on about it more.
DANCE ON THE GRAVES
The evening kicked off with an hour of on-stage interview with Matti Riekki, Ville Laihiala and Sami Lopakka. The interviewer was the event host Stephen Burgess. The very beginning looked like they had dragged a few guys who seriously hate people, in front of bright lights and a crowded audience. The turn out was good already at this point. This was a very rare occasion, I don’t know if these guys have ever been exposed to the public like this. Nevertheless after a few quite mandatory questions the situation got more relaxed and these men surprised us by cranking the whole thing up to what I could only describe as a stand-up comedy spectacle! They laughed a lot and had a good time, we all laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes for laughing so hard. Wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was much more. It was obvious Stephen knew what he was doing and where he was maneuvering this thing.
Before this some people were wondering if they were gonna do public Q&A. Well, this one guy did ask a question, and his question was “at what point did you, as the band, decide whether you were gonna do death metal or HIM?” Yes, he did ask that. And no, not any other question from the audience was submitted. Go figure… ah the stupidity of some.
This interview went on for about an hour and it covered a lot of the early years, nicely underlining that this band was so much more than some people think. By this I mean the whole Ville Laihiala-cult. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan, and he is one of my all-time favorites, but Sentenced is so much more.
Begun shortly after the interview. At this point the schedule was some 30 mins behind from what was announced and we could clearly see if was very close to being sold out. This, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty well from a book, of a band, thats been lying dead for the last 10 years, don’t you think? I know there were some international fans too, and Finnish fans from around the country.
There was a huge line and a little bit confusing set-up at the signing table. All the guys were there, featuring also Taneli Jarva, who was found from the back of the bar. Historic event again!
The line was slow, partly because some people were surprised by the interest people showed, partly because the house was nearly full and everyone had something to say to these guys. For other people, who didn’t go get the names signed to any parts of their bodies (the most disturbing two guys were the ones who exposed their junk and yes, they have some scribbling on them now) this was not the most exciting time. It went on for over two hours, and nothing else was happening. In retrospect there could have been some video footage rolling or something. The audience was just waiting for the tribute performance, that was scheduled to start at 23:00 but at 23:30 the organized announced it would take “just 10 more minutes” this did piss some people off. I know, waiting sucks. Crowded places suck. People suck. Drunk people suck big time.
Maybe they should have signed the books in the beginning? Before the interview? I don’t know.
It is hard to describe what feeling it gave me, when Konevitsan Kirkonkellot came on. Over 1200 people shouting “Sentenced, Sentenced..” just like during the good old days.
May Today Become the Day was a horrific start, we could instantly see the singer suffered from major tech problems and to be honest with you all, it did sound like bad karaoke! People were staring in disbelief and some got very angry, some left right away. Even though the musicians played well (it was a live performance, it can’t and doesn’t need to be prefect on e v e r y note) the first impression was, that they were butchering my favorite band! But, as I said we could see there were some tech problems and the mixer was very busy… The tribute band had been assembled solely for this purpose and they had practiced over two last months. I don’t know to what extend they had the music in their hearts but I don’t think people do tributes unless the reasons are there.
I was very surprised how versatile this set was. It was a good showcase of the entire discography of Sentenced. As you can see attached below, it included songs from every album and demo tape, and I don’t think this has happened before? It was also obvious, that the singer (who we know, was the organizer of the event) is a Sentenced enthusiastic and was enjoying the performance. It looked like he had fun with the old songs. And this was important for me too, I needed just a slight adjustment to my own attitude – man, this was a celebration of one of the best bands in history of mankind! He wasn’t trying to be any of the singers, and that’s a good thing. Maybe the voice wasn’t all that powerful but hey, there can only be one Laihiala! Or Jarva! Or Miika. And by Guilt and Regret the problems were almost solved and the singing sounded way better. Guilt and Regret has always been one of the most meaningful songs to me in my whole life, and it brought tears to my eyes. They were tears of joy and being very touched – by this crowd of approximately 1200 people singing along and having fun, to hearing these notes in such a long time, to just talk about this band again. I had missed it. It was dancing on a grave.
- Konevitsan Kirkonkellot (intro tape)
- May Today Become The Day
- Desert By Night
- Killing Me Killing You
- When Death Joins Us (“edit”)
- Rotting Ways To Misery
- No More Beating As One
- (Stephen medley:) Karu
- Mourn (end Medley)
- Guilt & Regret
- No One There
- My Sky Is Darker Than Thine
- The Suicider
- Ever-Frost (inc. Routasydän shout)
- Awaiting The Winter Frost
- Dreamlands (interlude)
- Forever Lost
- The War Ain’t Over!
- Intro: The Gate (intro tape)
- Noose Dance On The Graves (lil ‘siztah’)
- Northern Lights
- Kaamos (intro tape)
- Epic (outro tape)
The Tribute Band
- Janne Ollikainen, drums
- Aapo Salo, bass guitar
- Sofia Eskman, keyboard
- Antti Halonen, rhytm guitar
- Janne Vähäaho, lead guitar
- Stephen Burgess, vocals
On Monday I asked Sami Lopakka how the evening seemed to him and he replied:
I was surprised to see how many people came to the party. There were so many who wanted to talk to me, that I couldn’t focus much on the tribute performance but I saw they had put a lot of effort to it and it was a new experience hearing other people play Sentenced. It was fun, thanks to everyone who came to the event, thanks to the people who made this possible!
On my own part, I wanna thank Sentenced once again for their music, their lyrics, for all the great moments.