Monday, July 20, 2009

Tehosekoitin Back on Stage

This summer, one of the biggest names of Finnish 90s/2000s rock has been playing a six-gig series of reunion concerts, five years after the band broke up. Tehosekoitin returned for the first time in Helsinki on June 18th – I was there, of course. A few weeks later, I saw them again at Tammerfest. These gigs were my first and last time to see this awesome, legendary band live, and I wasn’t let down.

The two gigs were both good. The set lists were identical, I think, but there wasn’t after all a reason to alter them. The band played songs from all of their albums, except for the first, which was a bit disappointing. Still, I have to say that this band has a plenty of other good albums and songs as well.. But I would’ve loved to hear Syön sipsejä, or Ulkona.

There was some true rock’n roll fun going on the stage – and groovy dance moves! Otto sang really well and performed all his trademark maneuvers, including releasing his Marc Bolan-esque hair. That was a sight, I can tell… Otto didn’t seem to know what to say between songs during either of the gigs but he did talk, and so did the other guys. In my opinion, even thought it’s music, a gig, a band has to talk to the audience. If I were to find faults in the two gigs I witnessed, I would say I wasn’t completely pleased with the instrument solutions. I was expecting a more rocking sound but it was more keyboard-oriented and included only one electric guitar. However, the keys were really good so it didn’t matter that much. The gig at Tammerfest was a bit better soundwise. The band must have gotten their sound balanced by then.

You don’t often have the luxury of seeing your new favorite broken-up band live. I guess I got lucky - it was really cool. I wish other broken-up bands would do this as well.. Now there’s something more I’m going to blab about. As I was in the middle of this new craze a month or two ago, I of course had to find out some things about my favorites - the important being what these Tehosekoitin heroes have been doing since their old band disbanded. Levy-yhtiö’s forum revealed pretty much everything. Otto, in addition to releasing a poetry book, has been singing in a punk band called God Given Ass. I’m happy to know that Otto has continued with singing activities. He has surely made it to my gallery of favorite singers. Another thing Otto could do is sing on a solo album.

God Given Ass at MySpace

Checking out Tehosekoitin’s albums resulted in the band turning out to be more than just your average straightforward rock’n roll band - in many ways, actually. In addition to being energetic, Tehosekoitin is a true musical blender. Matti Mikkola’s knowledge led Tehosekoitin to record songs in a big variety of styles, everything from jazz to disco, punk to Motown-funk. After Tehosekoitin’s end, Mikkola founded a band called Saimaa.

Saimaa, named after Finland’s largest lake (a very national romantic name – although Mikkola’s Saimaa is not the only band with that name), might be the next big thing in Finland – at least in indie circles. Mikkola has convened a number of Finnish musicians to bring his latest vision to life. Some of the attributes that have been combined to Saimaa are symphonic/progressive rock, showtunes, and schlager. There are only a couple of samples of unfinished recordings at Saimaa’s MySpace but those clips sound really convincing. I’ve listened to them many times. The samples give evidence of big sounds and easy-going feel. Mikkola hasn’t lost his touch. On the contrary, he continues realizing his genius. I can’t wait hearing this music on a full-length album.

Saimaa at MySpace

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