French Films: Evening Sun Amidst the Clouds

The Saturday evening is getting cloudy and the front of the Rekka Stage is starting to bustle with people who’ve come to see the southern Finnish French Films. As the young guys climb on stage the clapping and whoops of delight issuing from the audience point to the fact that the band seems to be especially popular with the ladies.

Judging by the band’s appearance and sound one might be deceived to think they’re a British band. You know, something you night hear on the soundtrack of the tv-series Heartbeat. And this isn’t an insult. The young men of French Films play a sunny mixture of guitar pop seasoned with synthesizers, the kind of music that emanates positive energy to audience despite the gloomy weather. People are dancing on all quarters and when the band starts playing Lift me up even your author’s dancing foot starts twitching restlessly.

The early part of the gig is marked by some technical difficulties experienced by both the band and I. The vocalist/guitarist Johannes Leppänen has to change his cord and I have to move to a different position because in my original place at the front I couldn’t hear much of anything except the bass. If the boys’ clear singing voices are a staple part of the songs it would be a shame if one couldn’t hear them. The vocals can be heard much better from further back and the audience is dancing there just as happily as in the front.

In the middle part of the show the band does a few pop numbers that involve background vocals that go like “uu-uu-uu” or “wuu-wuu” and which don’t stir much emotion in me – neither positive nor negative. The band leaves the best songs for last: before the encore they do the hit song You don’t know. Now not hearing the lyrics doesn’t bother me anymore as I know the m by heart. The audience dances and bounces gaily. As the song closes, the band thanks the audience and leaves the stage. The audience is left nonplussed: is the band coming back or not?

To the enjoyment of the writer and the audience the band emerges from backstage. “We got our fucking encore!” Leppänen shouts. I’m especially delighted by the encore as it is my definite favourite. It begins with the bassist’s gentle singing and grows into a nice pop gem and then goes back to the way it started. The set ends and I leave, feeling happy.

Text: Sini Heinoja
Photo: Tuomas Vitikainen
Translation: Juha Peuhkuri

Aihe(et): In English.