From the archives: KIDNEYS TO THE LIMIT – LIVE REPORT
This report was first published on Allmetalfest.com.
On Wednesday 17th October a tough time for Finnish kidneys all over the country began as Swedish Pain joined forces with Finnish Turmion Kätilöt (Midwives of Destruction) for the “Kidneys to the limit”– minitour which started on that evening in Helsinki to continue the following days in Jyväskylä, Mikkeli, Kuopio and Turku with all gigs being pretty much sold out. Eventhough Wednesday is traditionally the evening of the week where Finns go out for the occasional beer during the week it was still quite a surprise to see the concert being sold out. It seems that Helsinki was ready to put on their dancing shoes on this Pikku Lauantai (Little Saturday) as Wednesday is also called. Although looking back on it, there should have been no surprise as Turmion Kätilöt is quiet a phenomenon in Finland: no matter how often they play they nearly almost always sell out. And Pain is not to be sneezed at at all, always a crowd favourite.
The concert took place at Virgin Oil Co. which is located just a few steps from the Helsinki railway station and holds about 500 guests in the concert floor. Virgin Oil Co. is definitely not the cheapest venue but the ticket prices were at a fair 18€ in pre-sales and judging by the crowd queuing already half an hour before the announced play time of Pain at 21 p.m. quite many had made use of that option. It turned out that one reason for the queue was that the age limit of the concert was 18 and some of the most passionate Turmion Kätilöt crowd consists of youngsters of lower age so the security at the gates had to control IDs quite strictly.
After having made it inside, the usual wardrobe fee of 2,70€ had to be paid. Skipping the downstairs bar and restaurant floor of Virgin Oil it was time to go quickly up the stairs to the concert hall where untypical for Finns quite a crowd had gathered early on. Most tables both on the ground floor and the balcony were occupied and the first row places were taken. For those that wanted to take the tour’s motto seriously there was a table where you could buy Fireball shots – this dangerously delicious and increasingly popular cinnamon whiskey that after personal experience should have a 4 shot limit. Drink prices at Virgin Oil Co. range in the upper half for Helsinki centre venues with the price of 6,40 € for a beer. But Virgin Oil Co. certainly provided the needed disco atmosphere for the concert with the “dance floor” in front of the stage where the lacking photo pit allowed to be close to the band and the huge disco ball created the perfect atmosphere.
Not that there was need for more atmosphere, the crowd seemed energetic and excited even before Pain started and did not get restless and impatient even when the show was delayed 30 minutes – more about the reasons for that at a later point. Pain then finally took stage and if I ever have seen a concert where the term “warm up band” was absolutely and completely wrong it was this one. Putting the kidneys to work, most of the crowd had warmed up with pre-drinks already and was ready and set to go once Peter Tägtgren who had dressed up for the occasion in a white straight jacket and his Pain crew started their set off with “Same Old Song”. And despite having seen both Pain and Turmion Kätilöt many times they never get old. It was really amazing to see how every song seemed to be even more of a crowd pleasure than the one before, “Dirty Woman” being topped by “Walking on Glass” and on to “The Great Pretender” and “Dancing with the Dead”. Not only the audience was in a good mood but also the guys on stage seemed to enjoy themselves and there seemed to be a good chance that Peter’s promise of this becoming a yearly event if it worked out would come true although one might have heard the one or other kidney utter a little gasp of shock and worry at this announcement. After one hour it was time for Pain to leave the stage and give the very happy crowd a little break before the party continued with Turmion Kätilöt.
It was hard to believe that the crowd could get even more excited and energetic but the closer the starting time of Turmion Kätilöt came the more atmosphere grew and the denser the crowd got, every how ever small gap in the front row was filled with more people and already taken places were defended.
The Turmion Kätilöt-audience tribe had arrived and the tribe leaders were longingly awaited on stage. And once they started and asked their fans for the next dance there was no holding back for the crowd – disco fingers in the air, chanting, dancing, hair flying the crowd took the party to another level. On stage Turmion Kätilöt brought their unique energy, all dressed up in their finest clothes, singer Spellgoth even had put a special tribal style corpse paint for the evening. From “Verta ja Lihaa” to “Usch” and “Ihmisixsixsix” the crowd went completely nuts as on all Turmion Kätilöt gigs that I have experienced, singing along with MC Raaka Pee and Spellegoth, being under their spell and following their every command. As a good ceremony master MC Raaka Pee also was concerned with the crowds well being, asking who had to go to work the next day and personally providing them with some refreshing beer poured directly from the stage into one lucky guys mouth – Turmion Kätilötreally is a full service band, always interacting with the crowd which made the benefits of this minitour at smaller venues clear as there was no photopit or barriers separating the band from the fans. They even provided a little breather when lowering the tempo slightly with some funky tunes and Finnish Humppa which led to a spontaneous Humppa conga line making its way through Virgin Oil. Though it did not seem that the crowd needed any rest but rather that they could have gone on forever. One cannot really say much more than that they played all the crowds favorites and the audience loved every nanosecond of it, knew every word of every song!
While the unlucky ones went home because Thursday morning work was calling and the lucky ones enjoyed a last drink at the bar, your Allmetalfest team had the chance to have a short talk with Peter Tägtgren from Pain and Bobby Undertaker from Turmion Kätilöt. And while these usually are pure concert or festival reviews one does not pass up a chance to have a chat with these guys and ask them a few questions that came to mind with this tour and this gig like why the concert started late, so here goes!
Of course first we had to talk about the obvious topic: kidneys, alcohol and drinking so I asked the guys how their kidneys were doing after the first gig of the tour and if they were prepared for the days to come.
Peter Tägtgren: We have not tried them yet! They are constantly in fights with me…yeah this tour is going to leave scars! But hey, I have been prepared – I am 42 and I have been drinking since I have been 13.
Bobby Undertaker: Well prepared!
Nina: And how did the idea for this tour come to life? I was quite surprised that Pain is warming up for Turmion Kätilöt when globally Pain is the more known band.
PT: No no no! You got it very wrong! Very very very wrong! I mean I am a huge fan of these guys and the whole thing is really simple, we said they go with us on tour in Europe where they are not so known –and I bet they are known now. Since we have a Finnish dude in our band, Johan, he always plays Turmion Kätilöt to me and I was like “Fuck, this is so good!”. I never got a grip on it but he was always playing it. You start waking up from it when you are super drunk and I asked him “What is this ?” and he said “ I told you a thousand times, this is Turmion Kätilöt.” So it took a long time for me to discover them, but the first time I head it, it clicked and that was it. And to make a long story short, anyhow, with the last PAIN album I wanted sound like Turmion Kätilöt so I got in contact with MC Raaka Pee. And he said he would help and we started sending files back and forth. And I think MC Raaka Pee is one of the best producers ever. He might be looking like a fucking hillbilly but he knows what he is doing!
BU: Yeah he does!
N: You played huge festivals, how is it now to play these smaller venues?
PT: It makes you keep your feet on the ground and, hallelujah, it makes you almost Christian. It is insane!
BU: We have played a couple of big festivals too but for me I prefer these smaller club gigs as there is more feeling in them because the audience is not 100 meters away.
PT:…more intimate. Plus they are not there for all other bands.
BU: Yeah, they are there just for you and they want to be there. They are here to see us and that is fucking cool. At festivals there are a lot of people that could be just hanging out and having a good time.
N: I didn’t know Turmion Kätilöt when I moved to Finland and then I went to some concerts and every concert I was at the people went absolutely crazy. Why do you think that Finnish people are so crazy about Turmion Kätilöt?
PT: Because it is the best band in the world, it is very simple.
BU: I don’t know. It is pretty simple actually; simple music, simple songs, cool melodies. That is my explanation for that because it has happened year after year after year. We could play sold out shows in Helsinki every month and it is fucking insane but that is just how it is. You just have to be grateful for that.
N: You play all over the world and also regularly in Finland – what is the Finnish audience like in comparison?
PT: Well, you know we say in Sweden these guys are gay.
BU: Yeah, we fucking kick ass.
PT: Yeah they are gay, they are happy!
BU: But hey, tonight there was W.A.S.P. playing just a few hundred meters away from us.
PT: And you know what the funny part is: do we care?
BU: Actually, no.
PT: I must say I am so happy, so many people – that is insane. I mean it could have been shit.
N: And there was nothing to warm up, people came here already in the mood.
PT: But the problem was, they thought the show was starting too early and came too late so we had to wait.
N: And with this tour, you are organizing everything yourselves?
PT: The thing is: mi casa, su casa
BU: It is really fucking cool to have this combination this time because it is our rules and with ours I mean Turmion Kätilöt‘s and Pain‘s. We decide what happens,when it happens – it could not be better.
N: So you waited that everyone could get in and would not miss any song.
PT: Yeah Bobby Undertaker said: “No one goes on yet, wait. ” And we waited and we were like that with you as well.
BU: Yeah, you were. We are here together, we arranged this together.
PT: We die together!
With these last words it was time to end the official part of the evening and make sure the tour name was honoured and the kidneys were put to work.
Making my way home at 4 a.m. after the last bar closed my kidneys were not at the limit but definitely happy the evening was over and it did not have to make it through the whole minitour like the kidneys of Turmion Kätilöt and Pain. Cheers!