A cold autumnal evening at the cozy Ykän Pub, with three bands to see with the nominal cost of five euros. Forty or so people were present, at best, which made the audience to warm up slowly and rather focus on their drinks than the artists performing. This gig is a part of LA/TRS-tour (of three gigs, heh), with Varoitus! serving as local support. The other two gigs had Horros as the supporting act.

Varoitus! opened up with traditional Scandinavian hardcore aggression with male and female vocals. Furious drumming, good string-work, and songs that are easy to like if you're into the sub-genre. The male vocalist could've let himself go more, as his tad held-back approach to taking use of the stage and really unleashing his voice made his output seem rather tame. Truth be told, these things might've seemed like greater problems than they are due to the female vocalist's ear-piercingly shrill shouting and jumping, dancing and prancing about. A friend said that it sounds like the vocalists were an arguing couple, and that the man was losing.

This was only the band's fourth gig, if I heard correctly, so it's no wonder there's room for improvement - and who knows, with a larger audience the band might've delivered their punk with greater frenzy. Varoitus! have released just one demo/rehearsal tape, and from what I've heard it's rather lo-fi. They threatened to record something more proper in the near future, so I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open.

After a brief break, the stage was taken over by Lähdön Aika. The band has seemingly gotten acquainted with its new line-up, as they sounded stronger than ever. Their tunes mix slow crust punk with some sludge and metal-influences to create dark and depressed slow-paced music. It has both a rawer, crustier side and a more refined and sophisticated side, a'la atmospheric sludge-bands such as Neurosis and the like.

"Too punk for metalheads, too metal for punks" seems to apply to their music still, as there was some seemingly curious audience but they kept a distance of two meters to the band (do note that we're talking about a "stage" that's on the same floor level and space as the audience). The musicians performed no special gimmicks, they just focused on their instruments and seemed to enjoy their performance, as usual for this kind of less confrontational music. They would benefit from learning new ways of wooing their audience into their music's world and to remove the invisible barrier between the artists and the viewers, but it might be a challenge as their songs are rather "passive" by nature. Two new songs were played, and especially the latter one (which was the gig's finale) made an impact on me with its really tasty flirtations with anguishingly slow sludge.

The Reality Show was the evening's headliner. The trio has released (at least) a demo tape and a 7"-EP to this day, neither of which I've heard, and play extremely fast, hostile and metallic hardcore punk with two male vocalists, and with small twists sprinkled all over the compositions. The trio looked and sounded dangerous, and if one doesn't count the few minor technical issues causing delays between the songs, there isn't much to complain about.

The band's music isn't too easy to get into due to its hostility (ranging all the way to grindcore-tempos), the songs' short lengths and the amount of changes happening during the short bursts. I think it's only a good thing, or at least I found the band's music to sound original, refined and honest. It's not entirely my cup of tea, but I'm still curious to hear their new 7-inch "A Candle in Hell" - even though I have my suspicions on whether a 7" is a long enough format for the band's music to open up and reveal it's true character. Well, I guess I'll find out when I've bought it.

Thanks to Paskakaupunni RY for organizing this event.