A night to feel alive – Moon Shot live at Tavastia, Helsinki 05.08.

Author John Wins - 8.8.2023

A hot Finnish summer night was the perfect setting for what would happen inside the legendary Tavastia. A little over a year since the last performance in Helsinki, the supergroup Moon Shot was preparing for another round of energy and intensity.

A bit before the scheduled showtime, it was possible to notice a huge number of fans taking all corners of the club. When the clock reached 20:30, the musicians began to arrive as an instrumental intro settled the audience while blue lights illuminated the stage.

As soon as the first chords of “Confession”, title track of the first work, could be heard, red lights colored everything. It was already possible to see people dancing timidly, while Jussi Ylikoski‘s guitar dictated the rhythm, with the highlight being the contagious energy of the charismatic vocalist Ville Malja.

“Agony Walk” brings another beautiful work by the guitarist and it was noticeable to see and hear fans singing the verses ‘You are not dead, Not dead yet’, and indeed, Moon Shot is an injection of life for the witnesses on that Saturday night.

The instrumental part of the band is another highlight to be mentioned, like on “Blood Looks Cool”, when drummer Mikko Hakila (ex-Disco Ensemble as well as Jussi) and worldly-known bassist Henkka Seppälä (ex-Children of Bodom) show the consistency and musical chemistry of their partnership. This quality is also perceived in “Street Guy”, which has an incredible guitar solo. A beautiful example of a ‘true 21st century rock band’, as the band describes itself. 

While the color palette of lights changes according to the setlist, it’s during the flashes of “Big Feelings” that we can see a very emotional and powerful performance from the former Lapko frontman. Ville can be running across the stage, jumping while lassoing his microphone or even holding the moon replica that illustrates the band’s backdrop. It’s impossible not to be positively infected by his live presence.

Regarding the future of the band, soon we will have the release of the second album, and as an appetizer we had the chance to listen to the first preview with the new song “Shadow Boxer”, which has a powerful chorus and a strong message.

Some live songs have backing tracks, and “Into The Trouble” is one of those cases, but luckily Moon Shot stands out in the rock scene with the quality of its musicians and here we have another excellent work by Ylikoski and Mikko. When the stage turned green and the distortion of “Kiss The Ghost” could be heard, it was another moment of intensive performance from Ville, settling the mood for the song, in addition to Jussi’s beautiful solo.

We are closer to the end, but there’s tons of energy, ’cause when we look at the stage, the smiles on the faces of those four guys are always visible. During “Marlboro Man” we can notice Henkka’s precise bass lines, and witness the synergy between Jussi and Jesse Kataja, the second guitarist who accompanies the band during the shows. Talking about the two guitarists, the mirror effect that the two guitars provide when playing face to face is very mesmerizing.

The way in which Ville sings his verses at the top of his lungs and manages to connect us with his lyrics is sublime, as in the track “Big Bang”, which closes the first part of the show.

Leading up to the encore is a short speech by Malja, talking about how grateful the band is to see so many people come together on that hot night of August. The ballad “Uno, Dos” was an excellent choice to slow down mind and body, while the band recharge their energies for the last act.

With shades of green and yellow, good backing vocals and with Ville walking among the audience, “Caterpillar” ended the night with a very perceptible feeling when we looked at all sides: the certainty that everyone was having fun, both in the audience and on the stage.

In a Moon Shot show we have a perfect rock performance with high doses of energy, but we also have lyrics that make us reflect, melodies that stick in our minds and the feeling of knowing that we are witnessing something unique. While a joyful quintet waves goodbye, we can think about how they manage to change our lives for a moment, even if for just over an hour. That’s magical. There is no limit to what these musicians can achieve, but they made us believe that we can too.

You can listen to Moon Shot‘s first album “Confession” here: