By Mark Lear, Rock At Night Manchester
Live Review: Blind Channel w/Lost Society -Rescue Rooms, Nottingham-September 16, 2022
Now, it isn’t often that support acts get reviewed – and there’s probably a good reason for that – but sometimes, only sometimes mind, a support act deserves more than a passing mention in the headline review, and this is one of those occasions because Lost Society are more than capable of holding their own and headlining any gig – and it has to be said that whoever chose them as support for Blind Channel knew exactly what they were doing; and yes, there may be a bit of nepotism there with the Finns sticking together, but does it really matter?
Lost Society are a dozen years and four albums to the good (with a fifth on the way) and have played in the UK on a fair few occasions – and in this very venue too – but all that was 10 years ago now and that is 10 years too long. The good and kind people of Nottingham remembered them enough and gave them a really good reception when they launched themselves on stage and you knew they’d arrived as it was loud, proud and full-on from the get-go, opening with ‘Stitches’ taken from the new album ‘If The Sky Came Down’ due for release later this year (ish). Other singles from the same album ‘112’ and ‘What Have I Done’ also followed, showing that they’ve moved a bit towards the groove metal arena than the thrash metal band that they were in their early days perhaps.
Front man Samy Elbanna, who must win the award for most tattooed man in Nottinghamshire – on that night anyway – went through the motions acting as if he knew everybody in the crowd on a personal basis and remembering them all from the last time. Heavily supported by Arttu Lesonen on lead / rhythm and Mirko Lehtinen on bass, the front-line showed all their experience of having played together for a decade or more, and with ‘new’ drummer, Taz Fagerström providing a thudding and fast paced back beat, they knew exactly why they were there and what was expected of them. 45 minutes later and Nottingham were well warmed up and ready for a headline act.
Oh, one last thing… as an ex-drummer, I must doff my cap to Fagerström. None of this 4 drum / 1 tom nonsense that seems to be the only rule of thumb for every drummer on the planet these days, this man has a seven-piece with twin kicks – and let’s be honest who doesn’t love a twin kick kit.
Now, I have to admit, when my Editor said, ‘go and watch a band that were in the Eurovision Song Contest’, I wasn’t that keen – for fairly obvious reasons. But she said, ‘no, no, you’ll be right, they were Finland’s entry’ and knowing that Finland has a history of turning Eurovision on its head, I agreed. Anyone remember Lordi in 2006 with ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ ?
Anyway, Blind Channel tried to pull the same trick last year and would’ve romped home if they hadn’t have come up against Måneskin from Italy – and let’s be honest, any British entry of the last 20 years would’ve bit your hand off for sixth place. So, 16 months on, on a dark autumnal night, the Finnish six land on our shores as part of a five-night tour of the UK, taking in tonight’s abode of The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham.
By now the place was bouncing, having been suitably warmed up by tonight’s support, Lost Society, but to be lulled into a false sense of security by hearing the strains of Louis Armstrong over the PA, singing ‘when the saints go marching in’, you could’ve been forgiven for wondering what parallel universe you suddenly landed in. It didn’t take long though to realise it was the overture to the opening tune ‘We Are No Saints’ – see what they did there? – and from this moment on you just knew that this was going to be one, seriously high octane performance with a front-four line up of Joel, Niko, Joonas and Olli lauding it from one side to the other and making good use of the pedal guards to gain an extra 12 inches in height.
More track from the band’s fourth studio album, Lifestyles of the Sick & Dangerous, released earlier this year followed, ‘Timebomb’, ‘Alive or Only Burning’, ‘Died Enough for You’ and ‘Don’t Fix Me’ – complete with cheeky drum solo at the end, all came thick and fast before ‘Opinions’ and ‘Over My Dead Body’ – damn near took the roof off. It would appear that Nottingham had come prepared and had learnt the lyrics of everything they were being presented with. Joel recognises this and tells them that “it’s taken nine years to get where they are today and it’s in no small part down to people like you”.
Basically, every track on the new album was covered except ‘National Heroes’ – I have no idea why it wasn’t included, but there you go – together with a few tracks from history, such as ‘Unforgiving’. Everything was well received and appreciated, but then it hit, a stonking cover of ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)’ by Limp Bizkit sorted out whatever was left of the roof, and we were seemingly gazing at the stars.
It didn’t stop there though ‘Feel Nothing’, ‘Bad Idea’ and ‘Balboa’ came before the second cover of the night, Anastasia’s ‘Left Outside Alone’ (you did her proud boys, you did her been proud) taking us up to the end with the band finishing with ‘Thank You for the Pain’, And that was it. The lights went off, the sound went down and there was no more… but of course there was…
A hum descended on the place, A sense of entitlement was brewing, and the crowd were owed. They’d played their part well throughout the night. They’d joined in at every opportunity. Every time the front men said ‘raise your hands’, they did. Every time they said ‘sing with us’ they did – and word perfectly too, it must be said; and I swear, some had even painted their middle fingers red (even though you didn’t have to tonight as it wasn’t a family friendly show like Eurovision is) – so there was only one thing for it…
The sixth best song of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 was called for… and it came with a vengeance, and a 12” version of it too, just for good measure (millennials will need to Google ‘12” version’ or ask their dad). ‘Dark Side’ was what everything had been building up towards and it didn’t disappoint. Everybody in the whole damn place performed this song. Words, tune, hand gestures, headbanging, the whole job lot. It was the only way to finish off an evening like this.
So, at this point there is only one thing left to say (and yes, I really do have to say it, it’s in the rules)…
Finland, twelve points / Finlande, douze points.
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