13th March 2019
Musta Paraati - Black Parade
Nearly three months ago I attended my first live-gig of MUSTA PARAATI in Helsinki and by then I came to the conclusion, it was definitely worth the trip. When the band announced a gig a Tavastia, it was time to go back to Helsinki for the show. At Tavastia bands like HANOI ROCKS, DEAD KENNEDYS, HIM, THE 69 EYES, APOCALYPTICA, NIGHTWISH, CHILDREN OF BODOM, LOST SOCIETY performed in the past. If a band is allowed to enter that stage, it’s a kind of award for them.
‘Black Parade’ made it to No.1 in the national album charts in Finland at the beginning of 2019. For me it was a well-deserved No.1 and I was curious if anything had changed and who would show up at the venue. When I arrived, most people were at the bar and none stood in front of the stage trying to secure place in the front row. I really didn’t know what to make of that. The question “You’ve got a No.1 selling national band at a legendary venue but none wants to stand at the front?” was on my mind. About 10 minutes before the gig was announced to start, people flocked in. Many familiar faces from the gig at Nosturi. These people knew they could look forward to fantastic music and a great evening, still there was a sense of reserve in the air even before the band had entered the stage. I wondered why? If they didn't like the gig at Nosturi, why did they come again? Showtime!
Ykä got us the powerful vibes of the drums, then the guitars and keyboards blended in. No vocalist, yet. It might have been due to my position, but I'm quite sure the light enigneer has had a great idea... suddenly Jyrki was there, literally out of the blue. The sound was perfect, the band was clearly visible (no artificial fog this time!) and the lights were good. Still there seemed to be restraint in the air, this time down in the audience and on stage. Again, it seemed as if band and audience did not exactly know what to make of each other and this time it lasted over the first third of the show. I really thought “Could anyone please order an icebreaker from the harbour up here?” According to the setlist ‘Animosity’ would follow ‘Digital Twin’. The song is the opener of BLACK PARADE and had been one of my favourite moments of the gig in December.
That idea of going upstairs and make a video turned out to be a mixed blessing. It was the moment the music worked as an icebreaker and I had to decide if I wanted a good video or rock with the crowd. I opted for the video, but I really had to force myself to stand still. These days more and more people start filming gigs and shooting many pics, I guess it is not a very pleasant feeling to perform on stage and look at cameras instead of happy faces. I rarely do a video and reviews are often more intriguing when they contain some pics of the gig. ‘Animosity’ is a song with deep 80’s vibes and somehow I got the impression, some people wanted the band to make a ‘Peilitalossa 2’ or something like that. It’s likely they want to get back to the sound of their youth, nowadays when the world around them becomes more confusing and they look for something to hold on. Maybe it was easier by then, to divide between “good” and “bad”, “black” and “white”, “Pop” or “Punk”.
‘Black Parade’ is unique at the moment, it combines 80’s feelings and sounds with today’s technical possibilities. It has a concept, that is rare these days, it is not exaggerated and or strictly “Goth” or “Rock” or “Punk”. The world around us seems to go back to the 80’s style of politics and that affects everyone, even the fashion industry. Have a look at the some of the fashion shown on the runways in Milano a few weeks ago. Welcome to the 80’s! Goth, Punk, leather and Biker styles, inspired by the 80’s but transferred to 2019. Back to the show, now that the Goth festivities got started. Compared to the last gig, the songs had developed and were showing more and new facets. The bass sounded less edgy, Archzie has his own style and it suits the songs and the mood of the music. Song by song Jyrki’s performance changed to a more forward and energetic style, which was clearly approved by the audience and he made frequent use of the range of his voice. The restrained had gone.
I thought “There now!”. That was MUSTA PARAATI I had on my mind, when I left Nosturi in December. ‘Chopsticks’ was a real highlight! Some of us were swept off their feet due to Saku’s solo. With the whole thing developing to a real Goth festivity, every member of the band openly displayed their skills and still MUSTA PARAATI performed as one. Saku’s guitar play was cool but never exaggerated or distant and it was pleasure to look at the stage. ‘Nacht der Untoten’ followed suit. It was no surprise that the audience knew the lyrics by heart for the band did a really cool video, directed by Jarkko Tiitinen and the song really has the vines you need on a perfect Halloween party. With this song the band has opened a new page and it will be interesting to see, what will be written on them. Time flew by. ‘If I die tomorrow’ is the last song on the album and I really hoped it would not be the last song of the evening.
We were lucky and the band played three encores. ‘Peilitalo’ placed a lot of smiles on the faces of the “elder generation” of fans while ‘The Leader’ was clearly the favourite song of the younger ones. ‘Romanssi’ left us all smiles. In December Jyrki had told me they had started to put the Finnish songs on the setlist only a few days ago and that it was quite a challenge for him, for he is used to performing in English. Adding these songs to the setlist was a very good idea, people obviously enjoyed the performance, being all smiles, dancing and singing. It seemed they were kind of consoled, that the band had developed but not forgot their roots. This time Jyrki was performing more self-confident in Finish. For a singer it’s a challenge to perform songs most people remember being performed by someone else. Especially when the music is the “ancient” sound and you see and feel the restraint in the audience, which was clearly the case with ‘Kädet’ at the beginning.
Jyrki found a very good way to perform the songs his way, while you still feel and hear the original 80’s vibes of MUSTA PARAATI. The encore was the best example of how much the band has grown together. In December one could see and feel, that Archzie had come to help out (for Panda had left on the q.t.). There were no visible or audible faults by then, but it seemed everyone had to find his place somehow. On Wednesday at Tavastia, it was not Jyrki69 performing with MUSTA PARAATI and Archzie jumping in, it was MUSTA PARAATI “2019”, the gig started good and ended perfect. I saw many people filming or taking pics during the show, so I think they are looking for something to hold on and obviously they think MUSTA PARAATI “2019” being capable of giving them whatever they are looking for. Was it worth the trip to Helsinki? Yes! The band is getting better and better, the more gigs they play and let us really impressed.
04. The race is on
06. Digital twin
10. Nacht der Untoten
11. If I die tomorrow
13. The leader
Jyrki 69 (vocals)
Saku Paasiniemi (guitar)
Ykä Knuuttila (drums)
Karppa Tornack (keyboards)
Total: 9.5 / 10
All Pictures by Munich Vampire