My goodness… The same thing happened again. I remained silent for more than a month. And I promised I was going to write something during that time (didn't I..)! Oh no. You should never promise anything – especially if you’re not going to keep the promise. Well… There are reasons to my being silent. For starters, my life has undergone a major change during the last month or so. That is big enough a reason alone? Thanks, everyone, for your understanding…
Now comes the news section. It is going to contain some very old news and some very new news. Because I enjoy lists, this news section is going to be a list. How long a list? My guess is about 10 news items. (Edit: Ended up being only three..)
1. Gigs, gigs – powerpop from Finland LIVE!
Just a couple of hours ago, I witnessed two gigs by two Finnish bands. The first one was Ben’s Diapers, a very powerpop-oriented rock/country band from Turku. This was the third time I saw them, and I loved every second. In fact, I was utterly happy during the entire set. Everything the band played was awesome, not to mention the harmonies – and melodies! You don’t really hear stuff that melodic too often where I come from… I think I will get my hands on the latest album by Ben’s Diapers: Up in the Mountains, Deep in the Sea.
Hi-Lo & In Between also performed stuff from their new album, The Lonely Bird. I believe it was also the third time I saw then play live. The band’s organic Americana/folk/bluegrass was again a hit. The audience liked what they heard and so did I. Acoustic guitar, double bass, drums, violin/mandolin and good songwriting made a winning combination.
Ben’s Diapers at MySpace
Hi-Lo & In Between at MySpace
2. Three-week Beatlemania
This is very, very old news but I still find it very important. It all began sometime in early February, or maybe late January. A Hard Day’s Night was shown on TV, and the next day they showed a Beatles documentary – one that has John, Paul, George, and Ringo as narrators. The next day I felt like I had to start listening to the Beatles again. That is exactly what I did. By the end of the week I noticed I was in the middle of the most intense Beatlemania I had ever experienced in my life. This was something special. Believe me, my relationship with the Beatles has been anything but free of prejudice and doubt. It seems like this has changed now. After all, it is not such an unexpected thing for me to fall in love with the Beatles having filled my life with extremely Beatles-influenced music during many, many years…
Accidentally, there was also a two-day Tampere Beatles Happening in town in the end of that same week this B-mania started. I attended one concert that had Jan Britten Owen, the Urban Crow and the Overtures as performers. They all played Beatles songs, although especially the Overtures also focused on other 60s music, a lot of stuff from the British Invasion, of course. The Urban Crow was a Finnish band that featured Jiri Nikkinen, the most famous Beatles fan in Finland, as guest vocalist. The guy sings really, really well. Check him out if you like… He has been in a band called Clifters, making Beatles covers as well as other oldies covers and writing original material. The band may still be around – I remember seeing them live many years ago at a Finnish country music festival (there has been one, really!).
Tampere Beatles Happening blog (in Finnish)
Jan Britten Owen at MySpace
--> The Overtures website
The Urban Crow website
This evening was probably one of the best of the whole new decade. The music was so good. I was out of my mind due to all the fabulous 60s and Beatles songs and danced like a maniac. The best party, with the average age of participants being about 60 years, I have ever attended!
During this Beatlemania I listened mostly to Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (which turned out to be a lot better that I had thought!), Beatles for Sale, and Please Please Me - and of course also Rubber Soul, Revolver, and my favorite: Magical Mystery Tour (though its position as my favorite Beatles album has been challenged by both Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper!). I am now officially in love with Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper. Such awesome albums… Larger than life, period.
3. Swinging and Searching
Largely related to my new Beatles enthusiasm I also felt the urge to check out other Merseybeat/beat bands. That is how I became musically acquainted with the Searchers and the Swinging Blue Jeans. Now, they are both among my favourite bands. I really enjoy having these bands in my life... There are so many great songs to listen to! Also, while listening to a two-disc Searchers anthology, a fairly recent purchase of mine, I finally also noticed that this is actually the same band that later appeared in powerpop context. I remember hearing Hearts in Her Eyes before on some powerpop collection.