Rescue Rooms, Nottingham ~ Now, I have to admit, when my Editor said, ‘go and watch a band that had been in the Eurovision Song Contest’, I wasn’t that keen - for fairly obvious reasons. But she said, ‘no, no, you’ll be right, they were Finland’s entry’ and knowing that Finland has a history of turning Eurovision on its head, I agreed. Anyone remember Lordi in 2006 with ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ ?
Anyway, Blind Channel tried to pull the same trick last year and would’ve romped home if they hadn’t have come up against Måneskin from Italy - and let’s be honest, any British entry of the last 20 years would’ve bit your hand off for sixth place. So, 16 months on, on a dark autumnal night, the Finnish six land on our shores as part of a five-night tour of the UK, taking in tonight’s abode of The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham.
By now the place was bouncing, having been suitably warmed up by tonight’s support, Lost Society, but to be lulled into a false sense of security by hearing the strains of Louis Armstrong over the PA, singing ‘when the saints go marching in’, you could’ve been forgiven for wondering what parallel universe you suddenly landed in. It didn’t take long though to realise it was the overture to the opening tune ‘We Are No Saints’ - see what they did there? - and from this moment on you just knew that this was going to be one, seriously high octane performance with a front-four line up of Joel, Niko, Joonas and Olli lauding it from one side to the other and making good use of the pedal guards to gain an extra 12 inches in height.
More track from the band's fourth studio album, Lifestyles of the Sick & Dangerous, released earlier this year followed, ‘Timebomb’, ‘Alive or Only Burning’, ‘Died Enough for You’ and ‘Don’t Fix Me’ - complete with cheeky drum solo at the end, all came thick and fast before ‘Opinions’ and ‘Over My Dead Body’ - damn near took the roof off. It would appear that Nottingham had come prepared and had learnt the lyrics of everything they were being presented with. Joel recognises this and tells them that “it’s taken nine years to get where they are today and it’s in no small part down to people like you”.
Basically, every track on the new album was covered except ‘National Heroes’ – I have no idea why it wasn’t included, but there you go - together with a few tracks from history, such as ‘Unforgiving’. Everything was well received and appreciated, but then it hit, a stonking cover of ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)’ by Limp Bizkit sorted out whatever was left of the roof, and we were seemingly gazing at the stars.
It didn’t stop there though ‘Feel Nothing’, ‘Bad Idea’ and ‘Balboa’ came before the second cover of the night, Anastasia’s ‘Left Outside Alone’ (you did her proud boys, you did her been proud) taking us up to the end with the band finishing with ‘Thank You for the Pain’, And that was it. The lights went off, the sound went down and there was no more… but of course there was…
A hum descended on the place, A sense of entitlement was brewing, and the crowd were owed. They’d played their part well throughout the night. They’d joined in at every opportunity. Every time the front men said ‘raise your hands’, they did. Every time they said ‘sing with us’ they did - and word perfectly too, it must be said; and I swear, some had even painted their middle fingers red (even though you didn’t have to tonight as it wasn’t a family friendly show like Eurovision is) - so there was only one thing for it…
The sixth best song of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 was called for… and it came with a vengeance, and a 12” version of it too, just for good measure (millennials will need to Google ‘12” version’ or ask their dad). ‘Dark Side’ was what everything had been building up towards and it didn’t disappoint. Everybody in the whole damn place performed this song. Words, tune, hand gestures, headbanging, the whole job lot. It was the only way to finish off an evening like this.
So, at this point there is only one thing left to say (and yes, I really do have to say it, it’s in the rules)…
Finland, twelve points / Finlande, douze points.
Written for Rock at Night Magazine