The grand rivet and mohawk assembly of Ilosaarirock at Töminä I

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines punk as “a usually petty gangster, hoodlum, or ruffian”. Their less hostile fellow outcasts were seen in this year’s Töminä.Previously unfamiliar Relentless didn’t leave a very good first impression or gain a vote of confidence: a grease-haired rockabilly guitarist accompanied by an equal remnant of the 1950’s playing an upright bass. Weren’t these supposed to be a party with leanings towards punk? From time to time, their music reminded of the more famous I Walk the Line and Manifesto Jukebox, although these guys seemed like a more honest and less pretentious version of the aforementioned two. In addition to melodic nods towards psychobilly, some influences of old schlager were audibile and the level of playing was very professional. However the bottom line was somewhat uncertain, maybe because of the too big space of ice hall. Until the band finds popularity among masses, smaller rock clubs might be the correct place to leave an unforgettable impression.

Doomsday clock is a neat little gadget which is set either ahead or backwards depending on how far mankind is from a total annihilation due a nuclear holocaust. Armageddon Clock performed in equally jolly conditions. The group plays heavy, melodic and fast hardcore, and so far has never failed at their gigs. And they didn’t fail now either. In addition to politicallly conscious lyrics, anti-fascist action was called for. Their stage performance is wild and very talented, and if the vocalist wasn’t bald, he’d surely lose his hair from the intensity of his screaming. Excellent.

For Unkind we need a short lecture of history. “Crust” is a sub-genre of punk, which developed from the British anarchopunk of 1980’s, featuring very bleak lyrics and occasionally very heavy and raw music. This kind of end of the world prophesying was served by Unkind, possibly one of the best names in the scene at the moment. Somewhere along all the dark hopelessness, distress and distorted music I almost could sense a slight glimpse of hope. Unkind is damn unforgiving on both record and live, maybe this was the best performance in Töminä this year?

Text: Juha Ekholm