Dom Helsinki 25.02.2011
Teatria Oulu (w/ Ghost Machinery ) 26.02.2011
The Danish hard rock veterans Pretty Maids returned to Finnish soil after a 19 year absence. Pretty Maids still featuring the surviving original member Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer visited the legendary club Tavastia back in 1992 when grunge was raging and traditional hard rock was basically dead meat. Back in 1990, Pretty Maids did the most memorable outdoor festival performance along with such names as Sodom, Running Wild and Uriah Heep at the Giants of Rock in Hämeenlinna. Well years have passed by since then and Pretty Maids have been gigging effectively during all these years. Therefore getting the Danish rockers to Finland was definitely about time for sure. Having two gigs booked in a row in Helsinki and up in Oulu was definitely an unexpected and above all pleasant surprise and also suspicion if people are still interested in Pretty Maids. Both the agents and the bands must have been utterly surprised to have app. 400 people at each show. That was far beyond than expected in the first place.
Both DOM and Teatria with the club environment were outstanding places for Pretty Maids. Besides the audience was capable of buying drinks, and above all, enjoy from the bottom of their heart the classic 80’s hard rocking stuff. Pretty Maids didn’t have any opening band at the show in Helsinki. Instead the local heavy metal group Ghost Machinery had been booked to support the Maids in Oulu. The Ghost Machinery line up consists of members from Burning Point and the Finnish singing metal band Kilpi. Seriously, Ghost Machinery presents traditional metal by having excellent catchy riffs in the songs. The melodic parts would definitely catch the attention and the interest of the diehard metal fan for sure. The sounds had been managed to reach the great quality. Taake Laiho’s voice has always been excellent, and he deserves more recognition in the metal and hard rock world. All fans digging traditional hard rock and metal should pick up both the albums by Ghost Machinery.
When the Danish five piece got on the stage, the audience went to authentic rocking pieces. People were constantly raising their fists in the air. It is obvious that classic rock never dies though it disappears time to time, but it always seems to return to the limelight. The Teatria club was quite packed by the mid aged hard rockers, who have been digging the Pretty Maids stuff back in the day.
The set opened up with new album title track PANDENOMIUM. The new album has got some good reviews, it’s even been played on Finnish radio, so it wasn’t big surprise that the crowd seemed to recognize new material quite well. As mentioned, new material did work fine, but when the band put out such classics as “Love Games”, “Red Hot and Heavy” or an acoustic version of the JUMP THE GUN track “Savage Heart” the atmosphere changed tangibly. People always do like classics and it truly did seem that some of the crowd re-lived their puberty again during those 80’s classics. The lead singer Ronnie Atkins was still in really good form. For sure there are now some more wrinkles on his face than before but he truly is an entertaining front man and his vocals are still as good as ever. Guitarist Ken Hammer hasn’t changed too much either during all these years. Perhaps there’s some extra weight nowadays but that’s nothing spectacular for a man in his 50’s. Ken looked really stylish on stage and he seemed to have great time there. It must also be mentioned that former King Diamond bassist Hal Patino is a great addition to the ranks. Although it still feels a little strange to see him playing with a band besides King Diamond, he clearly seemed to enjoy playing with his new band. Hal’s energetic stage presence does bring some great extra kick for Pretty Maids shows for sure.
All in all these two shows proved that there’s still plenty of life left in old Maids. The performance was really strong and crowd for sure got what they expected from the show. The set list was a great mix of new album material, there was altogether five tracks from PANDENOMIUM, old classics and even a couple of tracks from bands 90’s era like excellent “Walk Away” from 1997 album SCREAM and Phil Lynott cover “Please Don’t Leave Me”.
There’s certainly still a great demand for bands like Pretty Maids in Finland. Hopefully the concert organizers will now get some more courageous to arrange more acts like this in here in the future?
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