Dec. 13, 2014
Data Group Arena; Kuopio, Finland
“A Hard Rocking Finnish Christmas for an American Southern Boy”
I have lived in Finland for almost three years now and it never ceases to amaze me how
much this country embraces their musical culture and also how the metal/hard rock genre is embraced by the population at large here and in Europe in general. Coming from Tennessee and being a metal fan, metal wasn’t exactly the forefront of people’s playlists. So it is refreshing to be able to have access to shows that I can relate to more here and have opportunities for unique shows I would never have had back in Tennessee.
So what does a country, who has musical icons involved in the metal community, do for the Christmas Holiday? They have a Hard Rocking Christmas tour is what they do!
Raskasta Joulua has been a thing here in Finland for the past several years that has been enjoyed by the people here immensely. I guess one could consider this group of several notable singers from various metal Finnish bands, as the countries version of a Trans Siberian Orchestra except Raskasta Joulua isn’t backed by a classical orchestra, just a group of very talented musicians.
The show I saw here in Kuopio was opened with singer Tommi Salmela (Tarot, Lazy Bonez) followed by Marco Hietala (Tarot, Nightwish) then Ari Koivunen (Amoral). After the first three songs we then get a speech from Marco welcoming everyone to the show. Now I must confess, I am not a fluent Finnish speaker so I can’t really put here what I heard but by the crowd’s reaction everyone was happy to hear what he said.
The show continued on with other various singers, JP Leppäluoto
(Charon, Northern Kings) and Antony
Parviainen changing in and out for various songs and on some songs multiple singers taking part with breaks in between with singers making speeches to the crowd.
As I sat and watched the show in between taking photos I was really impressed with hearing classic Christmas songs in a different language and with a more hard rock vibe to them. On top of all that, the show was done very professionally with pyros, fog and great lights which was very cool to see.
However, I think the thing that I found most moving about this show was that unlike
in America where everyone seems to be offended by the words Christmas or Happy Holidays and you have groups buying advertising space telling people to stop believing in fairy tales like Jesus and Christmas, here in Finland the people seem to go out and enjoy the holiday and meaning of this time year regardless if they believe in the religious aspect of the holiday or not.
Raskasta Joulua put on a tremendous show that embraced the true meaning of this time of year, something I think most of my countrymen back home could learn to do a little more.