Category Archives: concert photos

PHOTO REPORT: KÆLAN MIKLA AND KANGA


Kanga (US) and Kælan Mikla (IS) graced Tampere’s Klubi with their ethereal and mystifying presence on May 4th  . I was introduced to  Kælan Mikla the last time they were in Finland, opening for Alcest right before the lockdowns in 2019. One of those bands who were way off from what I typically listened to but stuck with me afterwards and ended up being one of my favorite gigs of the year. They released a new album Undir Köldum Norðurljósum later that year, which turned out to also be one of my favorite albums, so it was needless to say I would at least attend one of the two gigs they had in Finland (though I actually ended up attending both, so I may sneak in a few comparisons).

Kanga, much like Kælan Mikla the first time around, was not music I would typically find myself searching out and getting into. It was also quite a different style gig than what I would naturally attend or write about. From what I’ve gathered, Kanga is an accomplished producer and remixer who has worked on many well known films, and is quickly gaining popularity in the darkwave and electronic scenes. My interpretation of her music would be, kinda…West Coast Pop meets the grittiest corners of dark industrial. Her performance conveyed just that. Dark, mysterious and almost melancholic while also constantly emanating the pulse of both the trendiest night club and most raw underground rave. I did enjoy the the vibe of the gig and the audience (more so in Helsinki, since the floor was packed and it contributed to the dance club vibe vs. Tampere where people were still very slowly trickling into the venue) though, at times I got more DJ vibes than performance, as if I should not really be watching her, but focusing on the music and dancing, which is a bit unfamiliar to me.  

My first thoughts of Kælan Mikla’s gig was that they had matured so much in their performance from the last time I had seen them. More polished, more in sync and seemed more confident with themselves as musicians and people. Of course, their newest album is quite a bit darker than their previous music, which was also prevalent in their stage presence, attire, and the whole atmosphere of their show.

If you aren’t aware of the meaning or source of the name “Kælan Mikla”, it is the Icelandic name for the Moomin character Jäärouva or The Lady of the Cold. This knowledge tinged my perception of their gig with a touch of frost. Laufey (vocalist), moved around the stage at times, as if she was skating on ice (and only when I got closer did I realize she was barefoot in stockings, which totally fit with the witchy aesthetic they had going on!). Her nails were also long and clear and, when caught in the light, resembled icicles. Her presence, stoic and queen-like, otherwise perfectly portrayed the mystical yet powerful essence their music provides.

The performance of “Sírenur” particularly stuck out to me, the mood and the lighting made you feel as if we were all swimming underwater, peaceful yet melancholic (not to mention the sound of waves in the background  and the fact  that the song is indeed about, you guessed it, the Sirens of the ocean). The other most memorable moments where during “Sólstöður”. There is this intense guttural, banshee type screaming on the album and honestly didn’t expect them to do it live but they did and it was soul shattering and inspiring all at once. As exhausting as it must be to do that night after night, I truly appreciated it and was in awe by its affect live! The other thing that stuck out was Sólveige (synth/keys) playing flute live during “Stormurinn”. That also gave me chills and went beyond expectation. Margrét (bass) was also incredibly inspiring to watch. I can’t really put it into word but she seemed to really connect with the music and put great energy and emotion into playing, as well as when she sang backing vocals, or contributed to screaming. I kind of wish these two would be highlighted a bit more though they all have their spotlight moments. They are all incredibly talented and passionate musicians and I am super eager to see what they do next and catch them live again!

Photos and report by Serena Solomon

PHOTO REPORT: AND OCEANS, FROSTTIDE AND KUOLEMAN GALLERIA


Words about the world opening up again part 2? Part 3? Hopefully the last part anyway… ah to be at a club gig again! The Frozen Oceans Abyss tour played in Tampere’s Olympia-Kortteli on March 18th. Local band Kuoleman Galleria opened with full energy and edgy yet funky energy, followed by the fan favorite Frosttide and the black/industrial headliners who had their comeback right as the epidemic was birthing, And Oceans.

The club gigs post lock down these past few years have all had a similar “getting back on our feet” aura about them… people are happy to be out but it feels a bit rusty and unfamiliar. Although there were not restrictions on time, or capacity, people tended to stick to the sidelines and came and went through out the gig. It felt there were more people in the audience in the beginning than the end, and the crowd wavered through out the night.

Kuoleman Galleria had a surprisingly solid and enthralling performance. With no previous knowledge of the band, they left me wanting more, or more like a “what did I just watch, I need to see that again” kind of lasting impression. Unexpected, unpredictable and a unique twist to the evening wit their dark yet groovy sound, and somewhat eccentric stage presence. Hope to see again soon!



Next up was Frosttide. Familiar faces and sounds all around! Somewhat comfort food of the evening. The audience was obviously full of hard core fans, and it felt like an intimate family gathering. Although the band seemed to take a little while to warm up after the all to well known hiatus of live performance, the crowd was pleased and they definitely woke the venue up for the final act.


And Oceans never fail to impress. With a balanced mix of new and old songs…and new and old members… they didn’t miss a beat. They played from start to finish as if there had never been a break in live gigs, and as if they had all been playing together since the start. The energy and chemistry between the band themselves and the audience was flawless and began to fill the void of gigless months. Although the crowd and atmosphere of the gig still had holes and an obvious unsettled, unfamiliar feeling, it faded once they hit the stage. Lets hope it fades all together and we can truly get back to this essential part of life!

photos and report by Serena Solomon

PHOTO REPORT: SWALLOW THE SUN


To celebrate twenty years of existence, Swallow the Sun are doing “20 Years of Gloom, Beauty and Despair” tour. In Finland, their tour consisted of a two set evening. The first set, playing the second album of the Songs from the North trilogy called “Beauty” in its entirety acoustically and accompanied by a string quartet. The second set was somewhat “by request” from the fans. In December, the band asked across social media, for fans to vote for one song from each album they would want to hear live. The setlist did consist of some songs that haven’t been played in a long time, but also surprisingly, a few songs they had been playing live often, and as recent as their last tour. They will continue the tour to North America in April, and I wonder if and how they might tweak the setlist.

I had seen the show in Turku, on the second day of the tour, just as an attendee. The venue was a lot more intimate than the one in Helsinki, and you could tell the band was still getting the hang of the arrangements for the acoustic set (as well as some of the songs from the second set) which also added to the intimacy, in a way.  Not only was the band seemingly more at ease, and comfortable with the show in Helsinki, the string quartet also seemed more confident and able to get into the music more. Although I could tell the difference a few more shows made in the confidence and smoothness of the gig, both nights were equally amazing and unforgettable.

During the first set, the stage was alight with warm bulbs hung and places around the stage. There wasn’t much extra stage lighting so the ambiance was dark and almost ethereal. The guys were dressed up a bit, classy jackets and hats, only Juha had his hood up but it barely covered his face. It was a very unique experience for all attendees, no matter how well you knew the bands music, but it was extra special, and quite emotional, for fans who have been following the band for many years or have a deeper appreciation for the band and their music. I noticed those warm lightbulbs gleaming in many teary eyes and wet faces. The audience was completely enthralled in the charming, intimate gloom of “Beauty“.

The second set was no less unique of an experience than the first, specially the songs that haven’t been played often. I won’t list them here, (although the setlist is searchable elsewhere), but the energy during a few of the songs was so raw and tangible I found myself taking a deep breath after they ended, as if I had forgotten to breathe for a while. I have seen Swallow the Sun quite a few times in the past few years and the air of this evening held something different than the others. The guys all seemed to be into the music on a different level than ever before. The addition of Jaani’s vocals to a few of the older songs gave me chills. Juho and Matti’s energy and interaction with the crowd, Mikko and Juha’s more stoic presence, and Jaani and Juuso’s smooth vibes all concocted a beautiful, geniuine atmosphere that no photo or video could capture (speaking of which, it seemed they were recording the show for something, there were cameras and extra microphones around the stage and in the audience… what is to come?) but that being said, here are a few photos from the evening.

First Set


Second Set


Dates for upcoming North American tour:
stsnm

 

PHOTO REPORT: ALCEST, BIRDS IN ROW & KÆLAN MIKLA


Alcest, Birds in Row and Kælan Mikla played a sold out show at Tavastia in Helsinki on February 18, 2020. The intensity was solid through all three bands in very unique ways. Although Kælan Mikla suffered some show stopping technical difficulties, they put on a positively unforgettable show. Their dreamy and somewhat eerie aesthetic (including incense and glow wands) and chill but intense vibes set a unique atmosphere to start the show. Birds in Row shattered that with a full volume hardcore set that left me wondering how the light bulbs they used in their decor didn’t shatter. It was a very drastic switch genre wise and energy wise, but Alcest pulled it all together. They had a balanced mix of both chill, dreamy and crazy energy. The band seemed real present at the gig, into their music and connecting flawlessly with the audience. Although the gig was sold out, they made it seem like a much more intimate show, connecting everyone. They played mostly songs from the new album Spiritual Instinct but snuck in a few classics. Although they left me extremely content, I cannot wait to see them again at John Smith Festival.

Here are some photos from the evening:

Kælan Mikla –

Birds in Row –

Alcest –

PHOTO REPORT: TALVIHELVETTI 2020


Photo report: Talvihelvetti – January 10, 2020 in Tampere, Finland –
Lord of the Lost, Torchia, Fear of Domination, Vorna, Insomnium and Machinae Supremacy.

This one day festival took place in Tampere, Finland during the darkest days of Winter. Bands included both foreign and local acts, as well as a diverse array of genres. Lord of the Lost, hailing from Germany, opened the night on the main stage, while Machinae Supremacy from Sweden closed the night on the small stage. Other bands ranged from Melodic Death Metal, Industrial Metal, and Thrash. Fear of Domination had a quick lineup change due to illness which also prevented them from continuing on to Seinäjoki, where most of the other bands continued on Saturday for a second night of mid-winter madness.

Here are some photos from the evening –

LORD OF THE LOST –


TORCHIA-

 

FEAR OF DOMINATION –


VORNA –

 

INSOMNIUM –

MACHINAE SUPREMACY –

Photography by Serena Solomon

PHOTO REPORT: MARDUK, ATTIC & UNLIGHT


Marduk, Attic and Unlight took over Apollo in Turku, Finland on December 16, 2019. While Marduk and Unlight delivered a pretty straight forward black metal show, full of power and rawness, filling the venue with an uncommon atmosphere, Attic were a bit different. One of the most unique metal performances I’ve seen at Apollo, complete with a ritual type alter, and candleabra’s alight with (surprisingly) real flame. Though their aesthetic is pure black metal, their sound is largely heavy metal influences, which didnt peak my interest much when checking them out before hand but live, completely changed my mind. Here are some photos…

UNLIGHT-

ATTIC –

MARDUK-