JYRKI 69 – Slidebar, Fullerton, CA: March 10, 2018
Not too long ago, JYRKI 69 announced that he was not only coming to the States, but more specifically, that he was coming to the West Coast to perform for the first time in about 10 years and would be touring in support of his debut solo album ‘Helsinki Vampire’. As someone who was never able to catch THE 69 EYES when they toured here previously, I was stoked! I was even more excited when I saw the tour dates and realized that there would be not one but TWO dates in Southern California. Two chances to catch JYRKI and both at really legendary venues. This review is about the show at the Slidebar in Fullerton, CA, the first of the two.
For those who don’t know the Slidebar – it’s one of the coolest venues in Orange County. Owned by Jeremy Popoff of rock band Lit, they strive to keep Orange County Rock N’ Roll history alive (if you don’t believe me, check out their website slidebarfullerton.com). The venue contains several different rooms in addition to a restaurant/café and the concert venue, which holds about 150 headbangers. Tiny and intimate is how the shows are here. Perfect for a night like this!
Needless to say, the concert venue was packed! It was cold and pouring outside but inside felt like a sauna, which is a coincidence, considering Jyrki is Finnish. Maybe if someone would have taken some salmiakki and a kantele the atmosphere could have been more Finnish. All jokes aside, it was a big mystery what songs he would be performing. Would he do only songs from his album or would he also include The 69 Eyes material? How does a man with an almost thirty-year history as an artist choose his setlist for an endearing show like this?
He kicked off Saturday night with “Last Halloween”, the fifth track of his album, and one of the very The 69 Eyes reminiscent songs off ‘Helsinki Vampire’. Things continued very Goth N’ Roll with “Bloodlust”, another one from his solo album. Everything took a wild turn, because the next one was Danzig’s classic “Twist Of Cain”. Very unexpected, but not surprising. The crowd was into it! After that, my question from earlier was answered because the next track was The 69 Eyes’ “Dead Girls Are Easy”, a fan favourite that got everyone even more fired up.
Just when I thought I knew what was coming next (more 69 Eyes!) we were all surprised by Jyrki once again, with a decrease in tempo and another cover. This time it was The Doors’ “People Are Strange”. Everyone dug it and got a much needed rest from all the headbanging, in preparation for what was coming next. Not much introduction is needed for “Gothic Girl”, an iconic song that got many people I know into The 69 Eyes in the first place. Continuing with the ‘enchanting ladies’ mood, the next song was another classic by a legendary band – “I Just Want to Have Something to Do” by The Ramones.
At this point, we were about halfway through the set. The ambience slowed down a bit to Jyrki’s introduction of the next song, which happened to be one of the most eerie tracks of ‘Helsinki Vampire’, “Spanish Steps”. This is a very emotional song and its deathlike fervor dispersed among the room like a ghost wandering a haunted house.
After such deep sentiment, it was time for something livelier and from several decades past. This came in the form of another cover, this time by English legends The Sisters Of Mercy. “This Corrosion” got everyone moving again. After this, Jyrki moved on to the last song of his solo album that he’d be performing tonight. “In Your Dreams” is another song that has a very 69 Eyes vibe to it.
The last part of the night came in the form of three The 69 Eyes beloved songs. Jyrki introduced the batch by quoting the very famous quote from the film THE CROW. “It can’t rain all the time” he said and made a comment about the weather outside as “Brandon Lee” off the album “Blessed Be” begun.
“Never Say Die”, off the 2007 album “Angels” had everyone still moving and singing, and then the moment came for the final song of the night. “Do you want to rock” was the question Jyrki asked the audience as “Lost Boys” came on. After the song ended, the band quickly thanked the audience and sent us on our way after an amazing night.
Overall, Jyrki chose a very nice variety of songs. There was a total of four new songs, five 69 Eyes songs, and four covers.