Review and live pictures
by Luxi "Chick Magnet" Lahtinen and Niko "Jerk Magnet" Karppinen
Unlike a couple of other metal festivals that are annually arranged in Finland, Tuska and Jalometalli festivals in particular, Sauna Open Air Metal festival´s main focus has been on more traditional sounding hard rock and heavy metal bands for the last couple of years. Last year the organizers of S.O.A. managed to book such acts as Sebastian Bach, Airbourne, the Scorpions, Graham Bonnet & Joe Lynn Turner and Whitesnake to the festival, to name a few.
This year, some of the most talked and hottest bands of today on people´s lips, shared the 2 stages at the S.O.A. festival (Amorphis, Apocalyptica, Bullet, Stratovarius, Nightwish, etc.), but on the top of them all, were the bad boys all the way from Los Angeles, USA – the one and only Mötley Crüe, whose "Crüe Fest" had also arrived to the beautiful city called Tampere, for the very first time.
2 more or less distinguished journalists from the Canadian Metal-Rules.com webmagazine were also there, trying to document some of the most worth mentioned acts from that event – and here´s a little write-up that we managed to squeeze out from S.O.A. 2009. Now keep on reading, dear folks…
Friday 5th of June
: The Finnish metal pioneers marched on stage as the second band on Friday. The weather was cold and cloudy but this did not stop Amorphis from performing one of the greatest set at Sauna Open Air in 2009. The setlist was naturally built around the latest, very well received SKYFORGER album, not forgetting completely some of their true hits from their earlier albums either.
"Majestic Beast" was the first song to kick off this brilliant set. Overall the sound was really well balanced and good, and that was one of the many reasons why Amorphis did sound so great, no doubts about it. I don’t know why Amorphis was chosen to be one of the starters at S.O.A. this year. It might have been something to do with their tight touring schedule or something… I don´t know. But after seeing their well done show, I would rather have watched them later on in the evening. I mean, the band did warm up the entire crowd nicely for a festival mood, and I bet that if Amorphis would have played a bit later that same evening, the crowd would have also welcomed them more wildly than they did now.
As an even more unnecessary side note, probably some of you dear readers have also noticed that we’ve been doing S.O.A. reports 5 years in a row thus far? I feel an urgent need to curse once again that this year’s weather was miserable: Freakingly cold and two rainy and windy days without even a glimpse of sun. I gotta believe that this was also one of the reasons why people in the crowd reacted so mildly to Amorphis´ damn fine performance. (Luxi: Hey dude! Niko: What? Luxi: You don’t fucking focus! Niko: Uh, you are right about that, man!)
Hmmm… ok-kay. Let’s get back to the business again, shall we? Anyway, like I said earlier, Amorphis played really well and overall, a damn tight and pro set, so to speak. The sound situation was one of the problems in this year’s S.O.A., I think. That’s of course just my sincere opinion, but I am sure many of the attendees noticed the same thing as well that bands did have some problems with the stage sound. Some got a better, more balanced sound – some were destined to sound inbetween either bad or even worse. However, Amorphis was lucky enough to have a topnotch stage sound, which naturally is a great thing. They even played a couple of songs from the TALES FROM THE THOUSAND LAKES album ("The Castaway", and naturally and expectedly "Black Winter Day" as the final encore of the set) that seemingly did satisfy older fans of the band. Amorphis´ set at S.O.A. contained material from nearly all of their previous albums, so there’s really no need to be disappointed at all.
A fuckin´ great band and I´m definitely going to check ´em out next time when Amorphis will be playing nearby. Thanks Amorphis once again. You truly made my day, dudes!
: My hero…
: I am crying….
: We got to hear in advance when we were about to enter the venue that Soilwork had had some problems with their flight to get their asses dragged to Sauna Open Air festival. Basically the band got in the venue and went straight on the stage to play. There was no way to guess that from Soilwork’s set that it was pretty tight. I’ve never been big fan of this type of so-called ´emo´ sound, therefore I probably may not be right person to judge Soilwork’s gig in the very first place at all. It must be said however that the band played an intense and aggressive set though. It also looked like the crowd liked Soilwork a lot. I saw little kids jumping up and down everywhere who were shaking their fists when vocalist Bjorn Strid commanded people to take a part in their set. What else? We got to hear fair glimpses of traditional Gothenburg sound from the band that presumably are one of the creators of the whole genre. Otherwise, I think the Finnish Soilwork fans were kinda lucky this year regarding Soilwork´s schedule for gigging; they had planned to play only two shows in Europe 2009 – and one of the shows happened at Sauna Open Air in Tampere.
: Apocalyptica was the last band playing on Friday. To be honest I had prejudices of my own concerning the performance before band started on the stage. The lightshow was actually great and brought a whole lot more intensity to Apocalyptica’s show – and it looked beautiful when the night started to darken once more in the festival area.
It’s true that cello isn’t necessarily to give a good first impression as a metal instrument when it comes to bands playing in metal festivals in general. I was surprised at how strong the sound of cello could be and how deep the range is. I never thought it could be that heavy. Of course I’ve been listening to Apocalyptica’s records before and heard them played in the radio but the true sound of the band can only be discovered when they play live. It’s actually pretty amazing!
Apocalyptica played a couple of Metallica songs (naturally). We got to hear “One”, “Fight Fire with Fire” and “Wherever I May Roam”. We also witnessed Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica singing “Life Burns” with the band, it worked out well, I think. I started to think during their set how different the approach Apocalyptica takes towards metal music – and how different kinds of feelings their music could evoke. It was refreshing to hear Apocalyptica playing after several metal acts, and it also looked like people seemed to be more relaxed during their set, raising true festival spirit among the crowd. On the other hand, we had a band playing on the main stage that was mostly performing cover songs, and becoming successful worldwide due to performing them with cellos.
The last song from them was Sepultura’s “Inquisition Symphony” which was a somewhat perfect way to end the band´s set. My humble opinion is that it was a cool move to have Apocalyptica to play in Sauna Open Air this year. A well done job from the organizers of the festival indeed.
Friday was (nearly) over, and it was time to walk through a muddy festival area back to the Tampere city and have a sneak peek of what is happening in the nightlife of this beautiful city.