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Royal RepublicTavastia, Helsinki, Finland
15th February 2020
Royal Republic & The Empire Strikes

Swedish Rock band ROYAL REPUBLIC were playing the last show of their current tour, promoting their latest output ‘Club Majesty’, in Helsinki. Whoever witnessed the four Swedes playing live will agree that their live performance is well worth waiting for, as they put all the energy and emotions into their gigs. And songs such as ‘Tommy-Gun’, ‘Everybody Wants to Be an Astronaut’, or ‘Full Steam Spacemachine’ just deserve to be heard live in a sweaty, beer-laden environment. That’s where the true beauty comes out.

The Empire Strikes

The Finnish Rock’n’Roll band THE EMPIRE STRIKES was founded in 2012. In autumn 2019, band released their third album ‘Charm’. “We are band from Valilla” - that’s what I heard first from the stage when Tommi Tuoriniemi took his place on the microphone. This means that the band is positioning itself as a pretty local, Valilla being a certain district of Helsinki and this introduction would sound like “we are from Köln-Innenstadt”. Despite this humbling intro, the band demonstrated very strong stage abilities.

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It would lack the state-of-the art appearance of ROYAL REPUBLIC front man Adam, whose performance is really extraordinary, but it was solid. Rock’n’Roll stage in Finland seems to be small, but composed of quite strong bands, and unlike the cases, when warm-up band is entirely passable, this one provided exactly the warm up needed. The band, maybe, could use some level-up in stage moves.

Performance: 7
Light: 5
Sound: 7
Total: 6.5 / 10 

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Royal Republic

ROYAL REPUBLIC is a Rock band from Malmö, Sweden. On 31 May 2019 ROYAL REPUBLIC released the ‘Club Majesty’ album and the show was the last in the tour. First of all, if you never heard of the band, you are missing a lot. This is a true Rock’n’Roll gem hailing from Sweden. Group knows how to make engaging tunes and apparently is never tired producing more and more of them. The lyrics and presentation is not deadly serious, but instead, deliberately frivolous, and Adam Grahl simply shines. Besides being a strong vocalist, his speeches have lot to do with stand-up genre, and nothing helps to energize the crowd ever more than a well-delivered speech. Nothing is safe from the frivolous humor that band transmits in many of its songs: even their very own sound mixer got a story told about him being drunk the night before. Not sure whether it was appropriate in front of the crowd, or was even made up, so I just hope this was ok and consented by the person in question. Apart from that, it is very hard to find a comparable example of such a fluency on stage as Adam shows.

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Music & Performance
ROYAL REPUBLIC has a bunch of good hits that were played year over year, but due to the release of their new album in 2019, naturally, the focus moved and some old songs left the setlist for good. Having sometimes been disappointed when a strong band releases a weaker material, I was, of course, wary of the same possibility here. Not the case. While old hits still remain my favorite, I had simply a very good time on the gig. Hard to say about other gigs, but a highlight was made that since this gig is in Finland, it is necessary to play some metal tunes. After some choosing from METALLICA vs IRON MAIDEN, the band played a cover on MAIDEN’s ballad ‘Fear of the Dark’. Not the full song, but still, felt as a very refreshing part and change of pace. ROYAL REPUBLIC will play several major summer festivals in Summer 2020.

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01. Fireman & Dancer
02. Can’t Fight the Disco
03. Make Love Not War (If You Have to Make War - Make Sure to Make Time to Make Love in Between)
04. Under Cover
05. Getting Along
06. Underwear
07. Full Steam Spacemachine
08. Like a Lover
09. Also Sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss song)
10. Stop Movin’
11. Boomerang
12. People Say That I’m Over the Top
13. Walk!
14. Tommy-Gun
15. Anna-Leigh
16. When I See You Dance With Another
17. Flower Power Madness
18. For Whom the Bell Tolls / Fear of the Dark (Metallica and Iron Maiden covers)
19. Baby
20. The Man in Me (Bob Dylan song)

Music: 8
Performance: 10
Light: 7
Sound: 8
Total: 8.2 / 10

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All pictures by Askar Ibragimov
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