Okay, so starting work at 5am, playing a gig at 10.30pm, being home at something like 3am and starting the next shift only two hours later – Tuukka wins "Soldier of the Day" hands down. I mean, somebody pin a medal on this guy. On top of that almost inhuman time schedule he also drove us there and back to our first proper out-of-town gig in Lahti (that's a little under 100km away from our neck of the woods). Gotta say I felt a bit silly complaining about performing with an unrested voice after a whole day of work in comparison. But singers complain. Always. Sad to say I'm no different. Bunch of whiny dumbasses we are.
Anyway, what am I bitching about here, for the love of God! There's absolutely nothing more fun to do on a Friday night than take the car with a couple of your bestest friends on a sunny summer evening, pack a bit of gear and perform for a bunch of people who've never heard of you and have the constant option for the whole of the gig to go downstairs and catch some porn. Yeah, you got that right, there was (attention: rough translation!) a "porn party" in full steam downstairs for the whole of our gig at Tirra. So it probably ain't a big surprise either we performed in front of this remarkable backdrop:
Now, I gotta say that kind of stuff to start off your gig evening puts you in an interesting place. I sort of went to my "Beatles in Hamburg/Reeperbahn" place with this one. I mean, we were booked for this gig kinda last minute anyway (I'm thinking maybe the original band scheduled to appear realized they were up against a "porn party" with striptease shows and the lot and just threw in the towel beforehand). Now obviously I'm painting a bit of a caricature of the whole place here. It's actually a nice little establishment with a profoundly welcoming crew behind the bar and the mixing desk and some local artisan beer they were reasonably proud of (you get a fist in your face when you're OVERLY proud of something in Finland! Not just in Lahti, but generally...)
Started the gig with a bit of slapstick when Tuukka's pedal battery died midway through our first song. Of course we didn't realize that right off the bat so I went into an impromptu rendition of a song I'd never played live or even for the boys before called "Taking Back Thursdays", you know, just to give Tuukka and Pauli, our sound engineer the time to work out the problem. Karza was bored at that point so he just joined in on the drums without ever having heard the song before. But you wouldn't have guessed it, if you didn't know it. There's just some deeper understanding that you have musically when you've played together for nearly twenty years as we have. He just knows what I'm going to do in the next part of the song like second nature. Also, I should remember to tell you, he's a pretty talented guy. So he just kinda nails that kind of stuff like it's nothing.
Anyway, moving on I think the crowd needed a fair few songs of convincing – after our stupendously brilliant start to the show – that we actually sort of did know what we were doing and weren't complete talentless cock-ups. I think 'Hurry' might've been the first song that got a convinced sort of applause. All uphill from there really, although I did sneak a pretty bold jazz chord into 'Trail of Lies' for absolutely no good reason. But yeah, in the end – or actually; towards the end a very friendly patron of the arts came up to the stage with drinks for everyone in the band. Surprising but very cool! We're certainly not above people buying us drinks during our shows and bringing them up on stage. Just saying y'all...
Sold a couple of CDs and chatted away with some of our listeners afterwards. Realized how dead tired and how absurd my ramblings started to get on the drive home. But Tuukka and Karza did have some interesting suggestions about covers and setlists for future shows...
And did I mention there's just nothing cooler than playing music with these guys and taking steps with them into the unknown, sometimes even the almost scary?
So thanks Lahti! You have refreshingly different, warm and excitable people in your midst judging by this first visit. And good burgers.
P.S. Pics by Tuukka
01. A Song For The Hills
02. Taking Back Thursdays
03. Beggar Princess
04. Stuck With A Rhyme
05. The Fairytale Waltz
07. The Funny One
08. Trail of Lies
09. Skinny Dip
10. A Man With No Dance
11. Life In The Service Of Others
(Yes, that is our longest set 'til date!)