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Hässäkkä-Päivät IV

The fourth annual punk-based festival Hässäkkä-päivät was held at one pub, Ykän Pubi. Two stages, one inside an opened truck and the other within the cozy pub itself. The festival lasted for two days and consisted of 32 gigs, each lasting for half an hour. As you might guess, this festival is not one of the biggest ones out there, but when one walked to the festival area (meaning the pub's yard) and was overtaken by the relaxed feeling, it was instantly clear that things are meant to be this way.

Before I get to the bands themselves, I must thank the whole bunch of people that took care of the festival. Everything from moving around, sound checks and mixing, paramedics, food, water, alcohol, schedules, informing people and the sales booths were taken care of with no room for complaints. Some people complained about the plastic pints, but at least no-one needed to walk on glass shards.

DAY ONE

The festival started on friday at six p.m. with Local Spiders, a band with three years worth of history and just one 7"-EP released recently. Their melodic and somewhat modern hardcore was surely energetic and rather catchy, but didn't present anything too new or unique. Maybe more of the street punk -elements should've been present to give the music some more edge which it would've needed. Nonetheless, it was a good listen in the sunshine.

Tuhkaus, a crust band with a short history and one released demo, was up next. Their music seemed a lot more energetic and catchy live than on the EP, and brought out a bigger deal of the band's potential. The performance itself didn't offer much and wasn't too charismatic, but the gritty music and it's raw appeal was enough to keep me listening. I hope to hear more from the band soon.

I only watched a portion of the Siistit Jätkät ("Cool Guys") gig, but what I saw was rather entertaining. Alternative rock with some punk attitude and elements, and a "story-like" song progressions that go where ever they want during their play. Their performance was full of arrogance, not caring and underlined insanity, with some really decent rhytmic hooks. The band is entertaining and amusing live, but I'd be curious to know how their expression works in a recorded form. Extra points for the vocalist's highly energetic performance.

Moral Front was up next, and sadly I only watched a portion of their gig too. Their music was really aggressive and energetic raw hardcore, and the band really gave their all to the audience - no sweat and no vocal chord was spared. The band was so unrefined and unchained that I was instantly convinced. I recommend you to check them and their demo tape out.

At eight p.m. the outside stage was taken over by Speedtrap. The band's relatively young and they have only one demo and one EP released, but their music is straight from the 80s. They play authentic heavy Speed Metal with too fast guitars, simple beats, high male vocals, and high energy levels and joy of playing. The band suffered greatly from their guitars being rather back in the mix for some bizarre reason, but even so the audience was taken by the band's attitude and energy. The band's split with Death with a Dagger should be coming out soon, and I can only recommend you to get it along with the band's "Raw Deal"-EP if you're into 80's heavy metal, and especially speed metal. It doesn't get much better than this.

Next up was Burn Again, but I skipped it to go through the sales booths. At nine it was time for Rotten Sound, a rather famous grindcore band with 17 years worth of experience in their art. Even though I'm not the band's biggest fan, their gig was a really pleasing experience. They had perfectly raw and gritty sounds that they're known for, and they really seemed to enjoy their time on the stage and delivered a good dose of energy. The vocalist must be congratulated for his charismatic performance and fitting speeches between the songs, but it was the whole band that really showed that the band has really rehearsed and refined their style and performances. Now I understand why they're so well known.

Skipping No Kids, the next one I saw was Hemminki P. I understood that they were mostly active sometime in the 90s, so this gig was a very nostalgic and big thing for some people in the audience. The band played some rather simplistic and slightly humorous but still very interesting rock/punk with a good dose of catchiness, some rather bizarre psychedelic synths here and there, and drunken and raw but still very audible vocals. It took me a while to get into their music, but when I did it was very clear why the organizers had tried for years to get Hemminki P to play at the festival.

I skipped Unkind and checked only a bit of Nitad, as I was too anxious to get to see Seksihullut. Nitad came all the way from Sweden, and based on what I saw they really know how to play highly aggressive and gritty hardcore-based music. The band had some noticeably influences from American hardcore too, so if you like song-based HC this one is for you.

At midnight it was the time for the last band of the day: Seksihullut ("Sex Maniacs"), a band that has made two demos, one EP and two splits. They play simple, raw, and rocking punk songs around a minute of lenght each, with humorous sexual themes. Their gig was just a blast of energy, with especially the female vocalist and her raw voice going crazy throughout the gig. Crazy, drunk, and extremely positive, those words could best describe the gig and the whole setting. Certainly a good way to end this day.

DAY TWO

On saturday I came to the festival are early before the first band's gig, because that band was Noituus (one split of theirs is reviewed here). I'm glad I decided to check out Noituus on this particular gig, as they performed their noisy, too fast and lo-fi crust attack with two young extra vocalists and a bagpipe player. It all sounded and looked nicely unrefined and chaotic, and was truly worth seeing.

Next up was Black Mass Pervertor inside the pub. The band has been operating in some form since 1998, have made some smaller releases and are now working to get their first full-lenght released soon. A few years ago the band played highly black metal-influenced fast and crusty hardcore, but nowdays their output seems to be a lot more darker and based on the black metal-elements, and done with a lot slower pace than before. The band seemed rather good, and they even played some of their older songs for the small audience's joy. It was early in the day and people weren't ready for music like this, so despite the vocalist trying to break the ice between the band and it's audience with some bizarre "dance moves". It'll be interesting to see what the band's album sounds like.

As I found The Driven Dynamo's rock to be too poppy and light after watching BMP, I decided to skip their gig along with the gig of Two Beats Off which was after them, so the next band I saw was Yleislakko. The band has got quite some name recently due to their new "Kuka Pelkää Politiikkaa?"-LP, and I don't really wonder why. They have a careless attitude for criticism and know what they're doing, and they delivered their set with full confidence. Even if their highly political song-oriented punk doesn't seem so special at first sight, I know that there are people who will fall in love with it. I don't really know what to think of the band personally, but at least they have their own style and attitude which was appealing. The gig also featured a surprise background dancer from the audience, but the less you know about it, the happier you will be.

Next up was Bad Jesus Experience, who've also gathered quite a bit of good feedback of their debut 10"-vinyl. They performed some really aggressive and rather dark hardcore with a slight artistic touch, mostly provided by the band's really charismatic and relentless female vocalist. She screamed, she shouted, she almost preached, and it all sounded great and very convincing - and lifted the band's music to a whole new dimension. The gig oozed attitude and hate. I hope their music sounds as good on their 10", which I'm sure to purchase.

Next up was Lapinpolthajat, a band I was quite eager to check out due to their highly promising debut 7"-EP. The band plays '82-style hardcore, but with rather clear sounds and a great dose of even poppy catchiness. The gig was following this formula too, the band played a good dose of simplistic hardcore punk songs that are bound to stick to your head. The band is quite young, and the set featured some unintentional repetition, and some of the material didn't seem to find their natural places amidst the other songs. It was nonetheless a good and energetic gig, even though it didn't present anything really new. I'll be waiting to hear the band's upcoming 12"-LP.

I went to have a bite and just wandered around at this point, so I skipped a whole bunch of bands: Dispose, Dick Tracy, Rakkaus, The Over Attacks and Etulinja - although I certainly would've checked out Etulinja if I had heard their 7"-EP before the festival.

Selfish was up next. They're a rather big name, and when listening to their highly energetic and rocking japanese-style hardcore with lots of stuff happening in the songs it's easy to hear why they are so known. Their gig was a bit of a disappointment though, as the vocalist wasn't in an enough good shape to perform, so the guitarist was suddenly left with his responsibilities too. The band performed well as a trio when thinking of the circumstances, but the guitarist's low hoarse vocals and the band's unsurprisingly vanished enthusiasm took the songs' power down a lot. It was still good to see them performing at all, and it wasn't bad.

Yhteiskunnan Ystävät? was up next. I expected the gig a lot, as their newest release, Porojen Maa 7"-EP, is just great raw '82-style hardcore. Simplistic, unrefined, and full of hate. The gig was a success and got the audience crazy pretty much instantly, and even the problems with the drum kit falling apart didn't really manage to slow the band down.

Delta Force II plays humouristic crossover thrash metal. I don't really appreciate listening to them at home from an album, but their underlined redneck-attitude (for example they offered cheap chips to the audience, and to themselves too) and cliché-filled expression works more than well when seen live. The band was in a good mood, and it caught the whole audience too.

Death with a Dagger was my final band for the festival. Even though the band is very heavy metal-based on their album (reviewed here), their live performance was truly a lot closer to a punk band. The band gave their all and delivered their metal-punk convincingly, and got me expecting their Speedtrap-split even more. Hopefully it's out soon.

The clock was ten p.m. and I had a bus to catch. The rather well-known grinders The Arson Project would've performed next, and after them Kylmä Sota, Pahaa Verta and the swedish Mob 47 - and the latter three of those got praised as one of the festival's top performers.