Doin’ the Letkis with Tundramatiks

Tundramatiks’ debut album hit the stores in the autumn of 2006 and the band played on the Rekka Stage at the following summer’s Ilosaarirock. Now they’re back, touring for their second and much awaited album Roinan rodeo.

Tundramatiks had the challenging mission of being the Sunday’s first act on the Rekka Stage. It isn’t easy to get the tired and hungover rock crowd to be very responsive at 1 pm in the morning. But the band pulled it of. At one point Janne Masalin, the singer and guitar/accordion player even advised the crowd to sit down, hold hands and avoid taxing physical exertions to minimize the risk of heart attacks after last night’s partying. There didn’t turn out to be much sitting around though: the audience was dancing, clapping, waving hands and at one point some even started doing the letkajenkka!

The band’s music is a feverish mix of punk rock and folk music from the Balkans with the songs and tempos ranging from slow and dragging to frenzied all-out attacks on the listeners’ eardrums. Masalin’s singing and screaming is accompanied by Mikko Lohenoja on bass and Ilkka Tolonen on drums.

Even though Tolonen’s bass drum pedal died on him, and the band had to stop playing for a while, the problem was dealt with stylishly and the set rocked and rolled forward with the momentum of a steam locomotive running on vodka and intense emotion – positive and negative.

The band’s exceptional energy was infectious by itself, but the overall audiovisual extravaganza was taken to the next level when the lovely ladies of the go-go dance group Kuumat putket (Hot Pipes) joined the band on stage. When Lohenoja displayed his bass playing chops by banging out riffs with the instrument behind his neck, a steady drizzle of unmentionables started pattering on the stage. Masalin even announced an undergarment throwing competition – men vs women!

The show ended with a bang as the dancers shot pink confetti on the rock crowd. The underwear shedding competition seemed to end unresolved, but the audience’s, and the writer’s opinion of the set was anything but. I’ll head out to get their albums now.

Text: Juha Peuhkuri
Pictures: Risto Kuittinen

Aihe(et): In English.