W.A.S.P. – Live at House of Culture, Helsinki, October 9’th 2015

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REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ

W.A.S.P. received their first gold album from Finland (LAST COMMAND, 1985). Their popularity has remained stable here since then. The band are regular visitors to Finland and have played here annually over the last ten years. W.A.S.P. released their fifteenth studio album, GOLGOTHA, just a few days ago, and now the band is on a four gig tour in Finland. Maybe four gigs, at this time, is too much because House of Culture was not sold out. There were an estimated 600-700 people, only about half of the venue’s capacity.

The opening act was a new Finnish band called Free Spirit, but I missed their show because of my late arrival time. It was announced that W.A.S.P. would start their gig at 08:00 PM, and so they did. The band opened with the familiar medley, including “On Your Knees,” “Inside the Electric Circus,” and the Who’s “Real Me.” The classic “L.O.V.E. Machine” was played next, and it got the audience wild.

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The band released their latest album, GOLGOTHA, just a few days ago. It was positive that the band now played no less than three new album tracks. The first single of the album, “The Last Runaway,” worked out great live. It’s becoming a new W.A.S.P. classic. The massive album title track “Golgotha” brings to mind the CRIMSON IDOL album in a good way. “Miss You” is also a pretty good song, but its lyrics are perhaps too much for many heavy metal fans. I do not like it; when I’m at a metal concert, I hear someone singing about missing God. Some things should not be mixed, and my opinion is that heavy metal and religion don’t belong together.

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The setlist always shares opinions for sure. Sure enough, three new album songs in the set was a great thing, and it was good to hear the BABYLON album hit “Crazy,” but otherwise, the band played only the familiar and safe hits with no surprises. The band has released 15 studio albums, and there are tons of great songs. How about adding some “obscure” songs like “Mean Man,” “Fistful of Diamonds,” or even “Kill Fuck Die”?

Unfortunately, there is no blood, skulls, or naked women at W.A.S.P. shows anymore. Originally the band gained its notoriety because of its shock rock-themed image, lyrics, and live performances. The image has now softened, and the lyrics are very different from early years. There are no special effects or tricks used anymore, but the current stage setup looks pretty cool. There are several screens around the stage to show the old W.A.S.P. videos and live clips in sync with the setlist. It looks good and works great.

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W.A.S.P. in 2015 is highly entertaining and a good-sounding band. The show lasted 90 minutes which is way better than the usual 60 minutes they’ve been doing for years. Everyone can see that Blackie Lawless is not a young man anymore, but his vocals sounded still as good as ever. Bassist Mike Duda has been in the band for over 20 years, and he’s now the most energetic member on stage. Guitarist Doug Blair gets his work done with style, and he can easily handle any W.A.S.P. song you can name. The band now has a new drummer. After nine years, Mike Dupke left the band, and he’s now replaced by Randy Black, who has previously played with Primal Fear and Annihilator. Randy was great behind his kit, and I think that many didn’t even notice the change. It’s not been confirmed if he’s a permanent member or not, but hopefully, he stays because he is a perfect fit on this band.

All in all, this was another strong performance from Blackie and the boys, and they’re welcome to come back any day!

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WWW.WASPNATION.COM

SPECIAL THANKS TO TONI TÖRRÖNEN FROM THE DAMAGER

AND SILKE YLI-SIRNIÖ FOR PRESS/PHOTOPASS

MORE LIVE PICTURES FROM HELSINKI BY MARKO SYRJALA

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