What the hell am I doing here – was the first question popped up to my mind, when standing in the front of the Nosturi club. Kiss hasn’t been my ultimate passion, even though they do have a number of great songs in the repertoire, unlike the opinion of my partner in crime, Marko Syrjala, who literally worships the ground where Kiss members have walked. However, this Expo had to be taken in and considered as some kind of challenge and exploring the minds and the world of the hardcore Kiss fans.
The Finnish Kiss Army has one hell of activate a group of Kiss fans here in Finland. The club organizes all kinds of events and trips and other interesting Kiss related activities. Arranging Kiss Expo is one of the main events arranged every year as that event definitely attracts and appeals to Kiss fans. The annual Kiss Expo was held in the Nosturi club and it definitely turned out to be an utter successful night in terms of the general atmosphere and a nice amount of people. The funniest thing that was evident was the average age of the crowd, as it was more between 30-40 and a bit over. The oldest generation of the Kiss fans from the 70’s obviously spends a more peaceful retirement life at home.
The event was basically divided into two sections. The meet & greet, Kiss-related market, and after sellers were earlier in the day, the concerts were in the evening and nighttime. Both the events definitely draw a lot of attention and are interesting. The tribute concerts seemed to draw more interest.
When waiting to get in the line, it was funny to see these kinds of tribute, expo nights seem to draw the attention and interesting and some “fans” were a little bit in the non-Gene-admired feeling. Especially when a cap arrived at the yard of the venue, a bunch of drunken Kiss fans literally crawled out of the taxi and the taxi driver was blasting the 80’s Ozzy Osbourne with the bloody loud volume.
In attendance was Bobby Rock who gained fame and glory by playing in various bands such as Vinnie Vincent Invasion, and nowadays plays with Lita Ford. He arrived at the Kiss Expo to chat with the die-hard Kiss fans, give some drumming hints and of course playing some songs with the Finnish Kiss tribute bands along Bruce Kulick. However, he demonstrated his playing style in various forms of the drumming. Bobby, aged 54, turned out to be in one hell of a fit. Some Kiss attendance should take lessons from him to keep up their fitness.
After the small roadie break, the Finnish Kiss All-Star outfit got on the stage with various members. The setlist of the night mostly consisted of the more obscure Kiss material not heard or played anywhere for decades. Recognizing these songs being on these demands, the members of the crowd being ultimate Kiss fans know every song on every album. After three opening songs such as “Strangeways”, “Room Service” and “All American Man”, Lordi stepped on the stage. As it is known, Lordi won this European song contest approximately 10 years ago and got catapulted into the starlight of the celebrity and played at every European metal and rock festival. Some time has passed by since then. However, Lordi’s character and appearance were so dominating and funny that brought some electricity to the performance of the backup band. Lordi with the backup band did five songs in a row. The audience got Radioactive Man, Ladies In Waiting, Sweet Pain, Two Timer and She’s So European. Lordi stepped aside when Bruce Kulick got the stage to play together with the Kiss tribute band.
Even though the band members and Bruce Kulick never had time enough to rehearse, but it was truly obvious the band members and Bruce Kulick had a lot of fun on the stage.
Once again Lordi stepped behind the mic to do a couple of songs more. The audience was totally into Lordi’s performance. The whole great event got crowned when Bazie, the guitarist from 69 Eyes, Bobby Rock, Bruce Kulick and bassist Gary Shea hit the stage to do the “Lick It Up” song. Something odd happened when the song got interrupted Kulick’s outburst was obvious. As some drunken hassle in the front caused some technical failures. After it got fixed, the song was finished. The audience went totally wild and kept singing the song from the heart. Bruce Kulick was overwhelmed and totally praised for the reaction.
The whole evening was tremendously funny and enjoyable indeed. The audience appeared to be extremely satisfied, so were the guys of the Finnish Kiss Army. If they are going to expand and have the bigger crowd, they are forced to finance the club and these events with a larger budget. As Vinnie Vincent is reportedly activated after being under the rock for years, how about bringing him to the next Kiss Expo ?