A cold Saturday night in Helsinki was warmed up by a Mokoma show at the legendary Tavastia, but fans who went there to see the five guys from Lappeenranta delight the audience with their thrash metal got an interesting surprise at the opening act.
A power trio called Stoned Statues brought new colors to the gig with an intense dose of energy and hope that the future of Finnish rock is fully secured once again. The lyrics in English, and the way that the singer Jenna screams her heart out is very pleasant. She has a charismatic energy, and the way that three people are having fun on stage makes totally the difference. The band formed by Jenna Kosunen on vocals, the drummer Allu Tanskanen, and guitar player Markus Hakala are very accurate. They bring a stoner vibe, and while the bass continues to sound so groovy, Markus can show off his growling skills while Allu is in charge of the rhythm section. They played their debut single called “Demento“, which has a beautiful music video, and I can’t wait to hear the studio versions of the other songs they played that night like “Glory Pictures“, and the catchy “Burning Feathers“. The fact they were wearing shirts from Mokoma, Sakara Records, and their own band make the whole packet unique. There’s joy and an urgency to show what they have to offer, and yes, give us more Stoned Statues! The band is already scheduled to play at the Knotfest next year so see you there, guys!
After such a cool experience we had the stage lights glowing green announcing the start of the main event. When Huge appeared with his funny hat, it took a few seconds for the entire gang to blast the first lines of “Nimensä unohtaneen rukous“. The sound was very good but the audio of Marko’s voice was a little lower than the other instruments, which didn’t affect the whole performance. The sequel “Sydänjuuret” from the album of the same name was just the right combination to set it on fire, so it didn’t take more than a few riffs to see a mosh pit painted by smiles, hits and a little beer flying around. The third song has one of the best moments of a Mokoma concert. Every time they play “Hei hei heinäkuu” Marko synchronizes the fans to wave his arms making it look really pretty and reminding us about Finnish summer in the middle of a cold, dark winter night.
“Kuollut kuolleempi kuollein” has one of the best solos in Mokoma‘s discography, so seeing Kuisma “Kuge” Aalto play this one live was really cool. When Marko had fun joking with Tuomo it was time for a few moments of calm. Marko is an amazing writer, and the way he sings some lyrics gives deep meaning to his movements live. But as the saying goes, after the calm comes the storm, so why not bring in some Latin words to exorcise Satan and do a private ritual with another hot mosh pit? That’s what happened when they played “Vade Retro Satana“. From the classic album “Kuoleman laulukunnaat” “Kuu saa valtansa auringolta” is a great song. Too many layers of emotion. Marko waved his arms in waves as I could see some tears near me. A real song that is part of many lives.
Santtu Hämäläinen, the bassist has an interesting approach to running around the stage and smiling. That scene when “Uskalla elää” was playing was quite poetic as the lyrics. Although Mokoma is promoting their latest album “Ihmissokkelo”, it took nearly ten hits to play the first “new” song, which bears the same name “Ihmissokkelo“. It’s very Mokoma, works well with fans and some screams are always welcome!
“Haudan takaa” and “Hujan hajan” were cool songs to recharge your energy and watch a great live band do an amazing job. It is necessary to mention the good mood among the members. After many years this lineup seems stronger than ever and enjoying every minute with the same passion. “Punainen kukko” from the album “Kurimus” has a cadence that makes Huge sound more relaxed, kind of setting the whole group up for another classic ballad with the one and only “Mutta minulta puuttuisi rakkaus” from the ninth studio album “Elävien kirjoihin”. I particularly like this beautiful mix of heavy and calm songs with clean vocals. A few moments of silence to focus more on the lyrics and let the mind flow. It was visible to pay attention to some fans’ eyes closing, fully feeling the mood.
Nonni! Back in growl mode we had another one from the last album, “Syyttävä sormi“. It was really well received with good backing vocals and some funny interaction of Marko with the audience. It’s time to end the show with some demons with “Kesytä perkeleet“. The guys grabbed towels, said goodbye, and we stared at the ceiling waiting for the gang to return.
The encore started with “Sinä riität” and was enough to bring some headbangers on stage once again. I just heard a guy talking loudly beside me “Toinen ihminen” a few seconds before the chords resonate. What a beautiful song! The second single from the aforementioned “Ihmissokkelo” is an instant classic for many Mokoma fans. It was the last moment of pity before the end, so “Sinne missä aamu sarastaa” was the last brick in the huge wall of sound we all built in Tavastia. Asking for help was a thoughtful way of saying goodbye. It made us realize the impact of sharing the same place to enjoy live music after a long, long time. We asked for help many times, constantly saved by art, so the smile on every face there was more than real. It didn’t have a final, classic shot with the crowd raising their hands, but the sweat Marko had to wipe off under his glasses said more than photos, videos or text like this. It shows that happiness is enjoying art together, and these guys are masters of it.