Tag Archives: Marco Hietala

Festival report: Thursday 30.6 at Provinssi, Seinäjoki

Provinssi is one of the largest festivals in Finland, and the selection of artists and bands is very versatile. The drawing card this year was Rammstein, who performed on Saturday. Other bands and artists on the festival were Biffy Clyro, Bring Me the Horizon, Action Bronson, Silvana Imam and many others. I was only present on Thursday this year, mainly to see Nightwish, Insomnium, Flogging Molly and Five Finger Death Punch. This report will be heavily textual since I have not been able to find photos that I could get permission to use. I apologize for this inconvenience.

It has been too long since I last got to see Insomnium live, so I made my way to the festival area just in time to see the band’s gig at 5:30 p.m. I was a little worried that they would not draw so much attention, but to my relief quite a great deal of people showed up for the set. Insomnium played five songs from the highly acclaimed album Above the Weeping World for the reason that it is ten years since it was released.

  1. The Primeval Dark
  2. While We Sleep
  3. Change of Heart
  4. Only One Who Waits
  5. Down With the Sun
  6. Revelation
  7. The Killjoy
  8. Devoid of Caring
  9. The Gale
  10. Mortal Share
  11. Ephemeral

I am not absolutely sure if I got the middle songs in right order since I was distracted by the deluge that struck about half way through the set. However, these were the songs the band played. I was really hoping for The Killjoy, so I am very happy that I got to hear it even though I was struggling to get into the disposable raincoat at the same time. The heavy rain caused some problems for the band as well, since their crew had to move speakers and such further onto the stage because a lot of water came down on the front of the stage. Guitarist/clean vocalist Ville Friman‘s guitar was out for most part of Devoid of Caring, and Markus Vanhala‘s for a short while towards the end of the set, probably due to the fact that everything got wet. But as professionals, the band members kept going and they did it brilliantly. For some reason I have always thought that there is something very sympathetic with Insomnium. A great bunch of lads, in other words. Vocalist/bassist Niilo Sevänen is a great front man and he sincerely thanked the audience for staying despite the torrential rain. After all, heavy rain is always really metal, which the circle pit proved. (It always rains at Provinssi when I am there, so I assume it is because of my presence. My apologies to everyone who got soaked.)

As I said, I really enjoyed the selection of songs in Insomnium’s set. The Primeval Dark is a perfect opening song, and drummer Markus Hirvonen gets to shine and set the beat. While We Sleep and Revelation from the most recent release works very well live, and Ephemeral is a song with very good drive that wraps the set up nicely. Furthermore, The Killjoy and Mortal Share from Above the Weeping World are real killer songs live. I believe Insomnium is becoming a better and better live band with time, and they showed the audience in Seinäjoki what they are made of. Now, those of you who have read my previous posts may foretell that I am something of fanboy of this band. I admit this might cloud my sense of objectivity to some extent, but I am still very sure that Insomnium’s gig was great this day.

With soaked shoes completely wet jeans from the knees down, we walked towards the main stage to see Flogging Molly. The band took some of the blame for the weather and said that they brought it with them. I have not really ever listened to these guys, but I roughly knew what kind of music they play. Flogging Molly is an Irish-American band that plays what could be described as Celtic punk. In addition to the usual rock band instruments, the seven members of the band plays instruments such as banjo, accordion and violin, which I find really refreshing.

Flogging Molly entertained the audience with an energetic and cheerful performance. The band played songs such as Drunken Lullabies, The Hand of John L. Sullivan, Saints and Sinners, Requiem for a Dying Son and Tobacco Island. At the very end of the set when the band was about to leave the stage, the sun came out and Flogging Molly decided to do one more song for us just because of that. I believe it was actually a spontaneous move, since they had already thrown most of the beer (Guinness of course) into the crowd. Singer/guitarist Dave King really opened up during the gig, which made the atmosphere very pleasant. Flogging Molly’s set was in every way merry and the songs were well executed. I think everyone felt a little Irish afterwards.

Five Finger Death Punch is a band that I do not really fancy, mostly because of the frequently quite childish lyrics and pop refrains that do not really fit with the usually quite heavy verses. But I will try to be objective here. I  cannot deny that the Americans have quite a great deal of hits (for some reason), and the audience got to hear several of them, for example Never Enough, Bad Company, Wrong Side of Heaven and Jekyll and Hide. FFDP played their songs well, but I think singer Ivan Moody sings a little slipshodly off and on, like a steam engine that is running quite well but there are some pieces of coal that are damp.

Anyway, the crowd responded really well to the music and Moody claimed that it was one of the best audiences the band has had. He actually sounded quite sincere about this, so I do not think that it was something he says all the time. Thus, the band members seemed to enjoy themselves, which of course always makes a gig more attractive for the crowd as well. The highlight of FFDP’s set was for me The Wrong Side of Heaven with guitarist/backing vocalist Jason Hook  playing the acoustic guitar, since it was the song that stack out the most. Five Finger Death Punch was quite alright in the end.

Nightwish was the headliner of this Thursday. I have seen the symphonic metallers many times, but they never seize to amaze me live. It is pretty hard to grasp how such massive and epic music can be delivered so well live. Nightwish played many songs from the newest album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which makes sense since it is the first album with present singer Floor Jansen.

  1. Shudder Before the Beautiful
  2. Yours Is an Empty Hope
  3. Ever Dream
  4. Élan
  5. Weak Fantasy
  6. Sahara
  7. Storytime
  8. I Want My Tears Back
  9. Nemo
  10. Ghost Love Score
  11. Last Ride of the Day
  12. The Greatest Show on Earth

Firstly, the sound was just great as usual. Nightwish must have some of the best sound engineers there is, because the sound has been amazing every single time I have seen the band live. In addition, the band members rarely do any mistakes, neither with song nor instruments, so the performance is indeed quite clinical on that front. Jansen’s and bassist/singer Marco Hietala‘s voices fit together very well, and the parts where the two sing together sound marvellous.  It is like a symbiosis such as a mycorrhiza. Jansen is highly versatile, which means that she can sing both the older Tarja songs and the Anette songs without any problems whatsoever. Furthermore, I think she manages to do them to her own in a very good way. All respect to Jansen. Touring drummer Kai Hahto also needs an honourable mention since he does an impeccable job behind the drums.

I enjoyed the fact that Nightwish ended with the twenty-minute epic The Greatest Show on Earth. I would say that it is quite unusual for any band to play those kinds of lengthy songs, and unusual things are usually interesting in my opinion. I was also happy that they played Sahara although I have heard it live before, but it is a great live song and one of the band’s heavier ones overall. Nemo could perhaps be dropped from the set since I am very tired of that song. On the other hand, I understand that the band needs some of the older hits in the set that is otherwise proportionately characterized by fairly recent songs. To summarize I will say that it is almost a crime not to have experienced Nightwish live if you like metal music and live in Finland. The band is a something of a national treasure, and seeing them live should really be in the curriculum of life.

Provinssi was very successful this year. The festival set a new record for visitors on one day when 31 000 people visited the festival on Saturday. I enjoyed Thursday even though I wore shoes that were soaked for about six hours after the flood during Insomnium. My feet looked like those of a dead man when I took off my socks afterwards, but rain is metal.

NIGHTWISH at Hartwall Arena Finland and “Imaginaerum” World Movie Premiere

The long-awaited premiere of Nightwish’s “Imaginaerum” and preceding live show was easily Finland’s music event of 2012. Fans, press, friends of the band, everyone and their grandma travelled from all over the world to be in Hartwall Areena on this past Saturday night. And it was absolutely worth it!

Of course, the movie wasn’t the only matter of interest. As everyone should know by now, Nightwish had undergone yet another line-up change. After Anette Olzon was (not so) kindly given the boot, Floor Jansen has been brought in temporarily to fill in on female vocal duties. This was her first show with Nightwish in Finland, and naturally there was a lot of speculation whether Floor will manage to walk in these shoes.

Photo: Jana Blomqvist

Hartwall Areena was getting filled with people, while the stage curtain was covered with something that at first looked like toilet paper. I am still not sure what this decoration was supposed to represent. When the show started, the black curtain underneath was taken away, it became more obvious that the white things were in fact pieces of cloth (might still be paper for all I know). The wind was blowing through the holes and a projector was going in circles. Through it you could see a shade of Marco Hietala in a rocking chair, singing “Taikatalvi”. After that he threw the chair away and the whole band launched into “Storytime”. The white curtain finally fell down after a short while and the stage was presented in all its glory.

Photo: Jana Blomqvist

Decorations around Holopainen’s keyboard stand become more and more elaborate each time. Long way from the boat, now it’s a set of pipes that resembles Davy Jones’ organ. Who knows, maybe sooner or later he’ll be able to fit the whole Black Pearl in there. Marco and Emppu were their usual energetic selves, running around the stage and rocking on their guitars, while Jukka was high up on his drum throne, overseeing all the action. Above the stage was a screen, showing various graphics during the songs: a lot of amusement park themes, merry-go-round, aquatic themes and also eyes were looking out at us a few times.

Photo: Jana Blomqvist

Floor Jansen was the absolute star of the evening. It was such a relief to be able to listen to Nightwish live and not wince from all the shrieking that was there before. She was dynamic, headbanged and was simply quite the sight for sore eyes. While Hietala did most of the talking to the public, she didn’t hesitate to take the mic a few times and work up the crowd as well! I will even go as far as saying that by her stage presence, Floor reminded a lot of Tarja Turunen. In other words, she fits like a glove. Now that everyone saw what Jansen is capable of, the new speculations appeared as to whether she will be asked to stay in the band. Currently nothing is decided, she will continue singing through the next summer and then time will tell. All things given, Floor is the best the band could get in these circumstances.

Photo: Jana Blomqvist

I was hoping that some of the old songs will be played, now that the band again has someone who can pull it off. But the setlist didn’t go further back than “Century Child” album. Troy Donockley and Pekka Kuusisto joined Nightwish on stage for “I Want My Tears Back” and “Last of The Wilds”. There was a little break in the middle of the show, during which pyro dancers came out to the tunes of “Arabesque” and gave quite an incredible performance to entertain the public.

With all the stage effects: images, lights, pyros and overall atmosphere of the show, it was a jaw-dropping experience altogether – some sort of an explosive carnival where you get on the craziest ride ever and adrenaline bursts out of your ears. Unfortunately it had to end. Before announcing the last song Floor, whose Finnish skills haven’t gone any further “kiitos”, finally managed to say “hyvää iltaa” albeit a bit late. She said she learned some Finnish phrases for the night, but it all left her on stage, and we really can’t blame her. The last song was appropriately “Last Ride of the Day”. As you know safety comes first, so Marco put on some pilot goggles, in case it gets a bit too windy up there, when he plays the bass.

Photo: Jana Blomqvist

Obviously, nobody spared any expenses when it came to the fireworks. Once the song was over, Hartwall Areena could be sent to the moon with all the explosions that ensued. When it was finally safe, the band came together in the middle of the stage to bow for the public. After the waves of cheers and applause were done, everyone left for a long break, while the preparations were made for the movie screening and chairs were put on the floor.

About an hour later…

“Imaginaerum” the movie!

Disclaimer: in order to keep this spoiler-free, I will not mention the plot line or any specific scenes.
It is a very deep, dark movie with many autobiographical references leading to maestro Holopainen himself. Call it cinematographic therapy, if you please. It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on during the first half an hour, the seemingly disconnected scenes keep on changing and you will raise an eyebrow once or twice. But at some point the pieces of the puzzle start to fall together and you are able to put everything in place.

Nightwish as a band makes just two appearances, performing “Slow, Love, Slow” and “Scaretale”. You can see Tuomas through the movie as one of the incarnations of the main character – Tom Whitman (this name should already ring a bell).

The quality of footage is amazing. Being a fan of Stobe Harju’s work I expected nothing less. The slow-motion sequences, the fictional characters, everything leaves you in awe. However, keep in mind that there are some graphical moments, and the movie is not meant for children.

“Imaginaerum” is an absolute must-see for any fan of any Nightwish line-up. It is filled with many symbolical tiny details, and the viewer has to really pay attention to see them all. I suspect that in order to grasp it fully, it is necessary to see the movie a few times.
It is hard to tell if “Imaginaerum” could be interesting to someone who doesn’t know Nightwish at all. They might be impressed by the image quality or even relate to the plot, but I would expect them to misunderstand many things that open up to anyone, who has been following the band and their work over the years.

In a true Finnish way the movie ends with a happy ending, yet still a sad one, so don’t expect any Disney unicorns and pink rainbows. Just know that “there forever remains that change from G to E minor.”

Review: Tanja Caciur
Photo: Jana Blomqvist

Show setlist:
Dark Chest of Wonders
Ever Dream
Slow, Love, Slow
I Want My Tears Back
Last of the Wilds
Arabesque (pyro dancers)
Planet Hell
Ghost River
Song of Myself
Ghost Love Score
Last Ride of the Day

Photo: Jana Blomqvist
Photo: Jana Blomqvist
Photo: Jana Blomqvist