This gig was held to commemorate the one year anniversary of JKL-DIY, a Jyväskylä based group who have been doing a lot for the underground/alternative culture of Jyväskylä in its short lifetime. Besides the bands, there was a small flea-market, the proceeds of which would go to support the activity of JKL-DIY. And since this was technically a birthday party there was free cake being served which was just awesome.
Musicwise this evening really had no theme other than punk in a very broad sense. The bands ranged from grindcore to hardcore to a lot more melodic stuff with clean vocals. This sort of arrangement has received a lot of criticism with people saying that groups of people show up only to see one band and struggle to get through the rest of the evening. While I get their point I'd rather not see it that way. By promoting different styles of what is virtually the same genre people are exposed to a lot more and I'd like to think that this even might prompt some unity in the largely fragmented punk scene.
The first band to play was Slash Dementia with their modern breed of grindcore. Since this sort of grinding usually calls for a sharp and aggressive sound to boost the riffs and bring out the song structures that in this type of grindcore don't tend to be that simple, it was unfortunate that the bass was really loud, drowning the guitars into the background of the soundscape. I like my grind raw and filthy so I actually found the muddy sound quite enjoyable but I think this was not the way the band intended their noise to be enjoyed. The second guitarist seemed to have injured his arm prior to the gig but that didn't seem to slow him down. The band performed well and the songs seemed to come out with confidence. In general the guys really seemed to have their package together and I'd definately want to see them again, just perhaps with a different live sound.
Next up was Aokigahara. I'd seen these guys before but I can't bring myself to remember when. What I do remember is that the line-up was different and that they didn't sound as good back then! After Slash Dementia, Aokigahara really stood out with a sharp and aggressive live sound and a simpler and more straightforward breed of punk. The performance had a lot of energy and at times seemed even a bit chaotic, but not in the sense that everything was falling to pieces. It was a controlled chaos. The vocals sounded great when they could be heard but at times they were barely audible. You could hear the first line being shouted, the second line you couldn't, and when it comes to the third all of a sudden BLLLEAAARGHH. It's not like this was constantly happening but when it did it gnawed away at the energy a bit.
The third band was Ydinaseeton Pohjola. These guys have been around for as long as I've been interested in the Finnish hardcore scene but for some reason I never really got around to actually listening to them or buying a record. The gig proved that my apathy towards this band was another mistake in my life. Ydinaseeton Pohjola played their hardcore with precision and had an awesome live sound. Especially the guitar tone deserves to be especially mentioned since it was that much sought after chainsaw sound. Unfortunately the performance itself wasn't that energetic. I can't really say if its a good or a bad thing. I found myself paying a lot of attention to the song structures and riffs instead of the band itself. A gig is not an obligation to fuck shit up, but I wish I could've seen some movement at least in the audience that would've manifested the energy of the music.
The last band to play was Presley Bastards. I noticed that a number of people started coming in towards the end of the evening. I assume they came to see these guys. None of the bands were really that similar but I think this band was the odd one out. Clean vocals and lots of melody. Besides the annoying pleas to "come closer" from the vocalist, Presley Bastards played a decent gig that a lot of people seemed to enjoy. As could be expected the front of the stage was a lot more packed than with the other bands. While on the other hand it's weird to start the evening with a grindcore band and end it with this sort of band, I think it actually worked out quite well.
I wasn't timing the gigs so I really can't say for sure, but with every band I felt that they played just a bit too long. A shorter performance can on one hand emphasize the music, leaving the audience wanting to go home right away and get better acquainted with the band, but on the other hand there's the risk of being too brief and not really leaving any impression.
All in all it was a fine night! I think with such a variety of bands everybody got what they wanted out of the evening.