Stam1na kicked off the Finnish tour for their eighth upcoming studio album Taival in the first week of October 2018. The second date of the tour found them in the quiet, coastal town of Naantali, Finland.
Situated in the touristy part of Naantali, Naantalin Kaivohuone looks as if it should be hosting a dance or other type of party that might require a more formal attire, not a metal show. However, with the declining availability of proper gig venues in the area, promoters and bands have had to start getting creative (i.e. their show in November in the neighboring city of Turku which will be hosted by a night club). I was a bit skeptical how the venue would affect the mood and overall experience of the gig. I had been to a few other metal shows in odd venues recently, and occasionally the unconventional decor or layout of the venue distracted a bit from the mood and atmosphere of the performance. However, as soon as Stam1na reached the stage, the audience was completely into it, and any distraction the venue might have provided, dissipated with the energy emanating from the crowd and band.
The red and black theme that can be seen on the album cover of their new (yet to be released) album Taival, carried through out the lighting and backdrop/side panels of the stage as well as the bands clothing. Stam1na are known for their uh… unique and eccentric props and costumes, but this time there were no prison jump suites or hula skirts, just red t-shirts and black pants. This followed the color scheme of the album art but I believe it also reflected the more darker and somber themes that will be visited in this upcoming album (more on that in the interview with Pexi).
The intro music came from the first song of the new album (as mentioned in the interview). The crowd seemed to quiet down a bit to listen to the new song before breaking out into cheers as the band came on stage. The band began with the second single from the new album “Enkelinmurskain”. The crowd and band had a steady energy until about the fourth song, “Panzerfaust”. I don’t know if it was the intensity of the drums or just the song itself but the energy of the crowd seemed to grow in time with the beat and unify more almost as a single entity. This intensity continued through to the next song, “Sudet Tulevat”. Though this was a song from the new album, previously unreleased, the crowd did not hesitate to show their passion (even though they probably had not heard it before).
Between the songs, the band interacted with the audience and each other quite a bit. There was some friendly banter (and even small conversation) between audience members and band members. My Finnish is limited but from what I understood, they talked about the venue and playing in Naantali for the first time quite a bit. They joked around with each other, and the crowd, which, in my opinion, is something that really adds to the live show experience. It gives the impression the band is truly enjoying themselves, enjoying their band mates and genuinely interested in connecting with the audience. Through out the numerous times I have seen Stam1na live, whether on the main stage of a big festival like Tuska Open Air or small club gigs such as this, the passion they seem to have playing live and connection they make with the audience never falters, making them one of the best live acts in my opinion.
They played an almost even mix of new and old material, sampling a few songs from each of their albums including the first two singles off the new album”Enkelinmurskain” and “Elämänlanka”,as well as three other new songs that had not been released yet. The second new song they played, “Kannoin Sinut Läpi Hiljaisen”, I believe (but not 100% sure) that Kaikka did some of the clean singing, which was a pleasant surprise. I’m really eager to give this song another listen. Though the audience seemed to still get into it, they didn’t seem as enthused as they were during the first new song they played. One of the highlights of the night was when they played “Elämänlanka”. It’s personally one of my favorite newer Stam1na songs, so not only was it great to hear live, but the audience and the sound really had a special atmosphere different from the rest of the show. There were moments when the crowd seemed to sing even louder than Hyrde, and when Hyrde simply let the crowd sing instead. The somewhat melancholy, chillness of the song was almost tangible within the crowd, but in the best way possible.
It was possible this switch in tempo that lead to the intensity and build of the next song. The first notes of “Eloonjäänyt” were dragged out, which elicited screams from the audience (some of which sounded encouraging, some sounded as if from a horror soundtrack). Either way, the slow dragging out of the well known intro heightened the anticipation of the crowd and provided one of the more energetic songs of the night.
The first encore began with yet another new, unreleased song “Solar”, which seemed to get the least visible reaction from the crowd. The bands energy also seemed to falter in the slightest, so maybe they were not as comfortable with this song yet. They continued with two more songs and left the stage once again but not before Hyrde broke out in a lovely and passionate rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly”.
The second encore brought the band (now shirtless) back on stage as well as the song that seemed to be the most requested from the crowd (they started shouting for it in the beginning of the first encore)”Kuudet Raamit” which was followed by an outro from the last song off of Taival. It was the perfect ending to satiate the crowd, and get everyone even more excited for the new album which would be released about a week from the show.
Though the gig was not sold out as it was the night before in Jyväskylä, the energy from the audience as well as the band made it seem like the venue was packed. I spoke with Pexi afterward as well and he admitted he felt this show was even better than the night before. My reservations about the venue not being suitable for Stam1na were proven wrong, and the only complaint about the gig was that the sound did not seem to be as spot on as it could have been. I heard from other people that they thought the drums were a bit too loud, and after Emil’s keyboards were highlighted during one of the first songs, they seemed to be lowered too much. To me, however, these were just minor issues that were overshadowed by the bands outstanding stage presence, unrelenting energy and tangible passion.
Intro – Hyvää Yötä
3.Valtiaan Uudet Vaateet
7.Viisi Laukausta Päähän
9.Kannoin Sinut Läpi Hiljaisen*
15.Arveton on Arvoton
I Believe I can Fly
*previously unreleased songs
12.10 – Nosturi, Helsinki (Album release gig)
13.10 – WS Arena, Vaasa
20.10 – Broadway, Imatra
26.10 – Graceville, Iisalmi
27.10 – Kerubi, Joensuu
02.11 – Monaco Nightclub, Lohja
03.11 – Shamrock, Tikkurila, Vantaa
16.11 – Apollo, Turku
17.11 – Kahvila Ravintola Leikari, Kotka
23.11 – Kulttuurikuppila Brammi, Rauma
24.11 – Möysän Musaklubi, Möysä, Lahti
01.12 – Henry’s Pub, Kuopio
07.12 – Rytmikorjaamo, Seinäjoki
08.12 – Tuiskula, Nivala
14.12 – Klubi, Tampere
15.12 – Tavastia, Helsinki
Report and photos by Serena Solomon