Looptroop Rockers

Richie Spice was originally set to perform in this time slot, but as he cancelled his visit, the Swedish Looptroop Rockers got their chance. I’m glad they got it. I have to admit that among the various types of my expertise, these rappers belonged firmly to the section “never heard of”. Looptroop Rockers are a three-man rap group with a melodic, reggae-influenced style. The reggae vibes are further strengthened by the dreadlocks and beard donned by one of the men. As the Looptroop Rockers start, it may not be quite as packed in front of the stage as with some better-known artists, but the audience is moving and grooving to the happy vibes.

The first song sets the mood for the whole show: happy lyrics about sisters and brothers encourage listeners to unite. The melodies are catchy and easy to dance to. In contrast to all the happy vibes, the group takes an angry stance against racism and fascism. The Rockers turn out to be very political, too. Their second song focuses on racism and the ways in which history repeats itself. The Looptroopers remind me of a kind of reggae version of Rage Against the Machine. The Looptroop Rockers may have been totally unknown to me just a few minutes ago, but I’m pleasantly surprised by the catchy and meaningful songs. The rappers jump around like mad rabbits, and their energetic performance only adds to the good mood.

For a moment, the madness gives way to a mellow mood as the rappers ask their audience to hold hands. I take a long look at the guy next to me, who ashes his cigarette towards my way.  I notice the audience has grown larger. Hands are shaking to the robotic beats, and people have started to sing along. The Looptroop Rockers reveal that some of the songs date back more than a decade. Why haven’t I heard of these rappers before?

Half-way through the gig the Rockers dedicate a song to Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boy who passed away earlier this year. I am not sure whether that song is a Beastie Boys cover. But hey, the Troopers sound like Beastie Boys in any case, and they, too, tell the police to go to hell. And then the first sounds of “Fight for your right” ring out and the audience gets to sing along to a Beastie Boys hit they know. Next, the audience is grooving and moving again, as Beastie Boys are followed by some fresh Rockers’ songs. Looptroop Rockers give their support to revolutionaries, yet make their dancing a joke – but soon they are paying homage to another deceased idol of theirs. “This is like a tribute show”, one of the men quips.

The gig is about to end. The men thank their sponsor, as well as the Ilosaari festival for providing them vegetarian food. I think they mention that in addition to meat, they stay away from alcohol and tobacco, too. Time has flown by; it is time for the last song, which the rappers dedicate to graffiti artists. The audience is hungry for some more, however, so the rappers keep the party going with an encore.

Text: Petra Linden
Translation: Tuulia Nieminen
Pictures: Terhi Hytönen

Aihe(et): In English.