Dom, Helsinki & Teatria,Oulu
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. Traditional hard rock was dead meat. 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,,. Many 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 an unexpected and, above all, pleasant surprise and suspicion if people were 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 suitable venues for Pretty Maids. Besides, the audience could buy drinks and enjoy the classic 80’s hard-rocking stuff from the bottom of their heart. Pretty Maids didn’t have an 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 lineup 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 catch the attention and the interest of the diehard metal fan for sure. The sounds had been managed to reach excellent quality. Taake Laiho’s voice has always been incredible, 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 continually raising their fists in the air. Classic rock never dies though it disappears from time to time, 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 the new album title track PANDEMONIUM. The new album has received excellent reviews, it’s even been played on Finnish radio, so it wasn’t a 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 indeed it did seem that some of the crowd re-lived their puberty again when the band played its classics from the ’80s. The lead singer Ronnie Atkins was still in excellent form. For sure, there are now some more wrinkles on his face than before. But he truly is an entertaining frontman, 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 stylish on stage, and he seemed to have a great time there. It must also be mentioned that former King Diamond bassist Hal Patino is an excellent addition to the band ranks. Although it still feels a little strange to see him playing with a band besides King Diamond, he seemed to enjoy playing with his new band. Hal’s energetic stage presence does bring some tremendous extra kick for Pretty Maids shows for sure.
All in all, these two shows proved that there’s still plenty of life left in the old Maids. The performances were solid, and the crowd for sure got what they expected from the show. The setlist was a great mix of newer material and the old classics. It was great to hear five tracks from PANDEMONIUM, plus the old classics, and also a few tracks from the band 90’s era. “Walk Away” from SCREAM (1997) and the old Phil Lynott cover “Please Don’t Leave Me” were just brilliant choices.
There’s undoubtedly still a great demand for bands like Pretty Maids in Finland. Hopefully, the concert organizers will now get some more courage to arrange more shows like this in the future?
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