Huhtiniemen Pallokentä, Lappeenranta, Finland
August 1 – 2, 2014
Review by Petri da Costa
Pics by Jetro Staven & Timo Koponen
Although Finland is mainly known outside for its heavy metal bands and for the heavy and rock summer festivals, there’s a great hardcore scene with many bands and gigs around the year. This year it was the sixth time the LPRHC Fest was organized, a fest which started back in 2006 very small and grew over the years. This time around there was a new location for the festival, more bands than the previous edition, a lot of expectations and some bumps along the weekend.
The first day of the fest started sort of early, around 16.30, and since I was only able to leave to festival in the afternoon, from Helsinki, I wasn’t able to catch the first acts of the day, which included a good combination of hardcore and punk bands like Become a Threat, Ydinperhe, No Shame, Kaupungin Valot, One Hidden Frame, Foreseen and Kivesveto Go-Go
Once inside the festival area the mood was great and although it seemed far from being full, there was a good number of fans and I was able to watch the end of Räjäyttäjät, a punk band in the second stage. Next up was supposed to be Misery Index’s turn (which substituted Ringworm after they canceled their gig in the fest), but the organizers changed the schedule and left Notkea Rotta Allstars to take on the main stage. During their near 60min. set they certainly pleased the crowd and kept the good vibe of the festival going.
The last band of the second stage was Laineen Kasperi ja Palava Kaupunki, the second hip hop act of the day, which continued the good “party” vibe from Notkea Rotta Allstars. At the same time, in the bar area, singer Joey Luumäki was doing a short “acoustic” set, but it didn’t seem to get that much attention. It seemed a bit odd to have at the same time two different performances, and not so far away from each other, so the sound wasn’t that great throughout both perfomances, this was a problem that was even more noticable on the next day.
So it was finally Misery Index’s turn to close the first day of the festival. Promoting their lastest release, The Killing Gods, the band was as usual on top form with songs like “Conjuring the Cull”, “Manufacturing Greed” and “Traitors”, which closed their set, displaying their powerful death and grindcore sound. It was however a bit strange to notice that towards the mid of their set some people leaving the festival area. Well, those who witnessed them during the entire 60min. set left extremely satisfied and wanting for more.
The second day of the festival seemed promising, after all H2O was finally going to play for the first time in Finland and many people were coming to the festival just to see them. Unfortunately around 14o’clock word came out that the band had missed their flight to Finland and wouldn’t be able to come to the festival. This sent a shockwave of disappointment and frustration for most, especially those who were coming from far just to seem them. The organizers then had to come with a substitute for them, which would be Pää Kii, a “new” punk band who has been getting a lot of fans over the last two years. There was nothing else to do but try to enjoy the festival, even though during the whole day there was still a certain bitterness over the very late cancellation of H2O.
On the previous day there was a good combination of hardcore and punk bands, plus the hip hop bands, but Saturday seemed like it was the “punk day”. From Relentless to Rejected to The Heartburns to Anal Thunder to Terveet Kädet and many more, the punk overtook the festival and many were wondering why there weren’t more hardcore bands on the schedule.
Regardeless of that, the music was good and the fans were enjoying the last day of the festival. It was noticeable to see that there were less people than Friday, but the bands gave their best and kept the crowd entertained and if there’s one band that fits that description well is Ratface. Their hardcore/thrash/punk short set on the main stage got everybody moving in the circle pit and moshing. One problem that occurred was that when they were still playing, the band who would follow them on the second stage, Bloodlands, started to do a bit of sound check and since both stages were very near, you’d hear a sound mixture from both stages.
Bloodlands took on the second stage a bit after Ratface and kept the intensity of the previous circle pit with their hardcore and death metal approach. It has to be said that their drummer was the “MVP” of the day having played earlier drums for Rejected and then in Ratface and right after in Bloodlands, not many could have pulled that off! During Bloodlands, Joey Luumäki was again on vocals/guitar in the smaller stage of the beer area and the sound was too loud, once again causing sound problems for those who were in the second stage watching Bloodlands.
One of the most famous punk bands from Finland, Terveet Kädet, showed that they still got a lot of energy unlenshing their old school punk and the fans kept that pit moving. Right after came Hammertime and was also one of the bands that had more fans in the pit. From beginning to end they showed that the Finnish hardcore is strong and alive. The day was coming to an end and Anal Thunder was the one which closed LPRHC Fest 2014 in a very humorous way pleasing the fans.
It wasn’t a perfect weekend, as mentioned there were some problems regarding the location and sound of the three different stages in the festival area. It’d have been also better to have more hardcore bands since after all the festival is called Lappeenranta Hardcore Fest, but I’m sure in the forthcoming editions of the festival these little bumps will be solved and the fans will come in greater numbers.
Full Friday and Saturday picture gallery: