Rock’n’Roll Revival à la Kauko Röyhkä & Narttu

Kauko Röyhkä and his legendary group Narttu (Bitch) were the second entertainers at this year’s Sulo Club. The crowd was active and the ages of the listeners varied happily from one extreme to the other with the average age settling somewhere closer to forty than thirty. It was great to see that Mr Röyhkä’s music has managed to grab a hold of the younger folk as well since he is, after all, one of the most important corner stones of Finnish rock music.

What, then, did this great band from the 80s offer its audience here in 2012? Well, 13 songs worth of great music and the unique vocal stylings of ”the asshole of the band, Kauko Röyhkä”, to quote the maestro himself. Even if the provocative edge of the 80s has been replaced with smiles and good mood, Röyhkä’s familiar mannerisms are still there and more potent than ever. Not a bad thing by any means, as tonight fully proved. The man’s stage presence and charisma are still in a league of their own, even after all these years. Like an enchanter possessed, Kauko wrapped the audience around his little finger and they didn’t seem to mind one bit, but enjoyed the act to the fullest. Narttu was on top of their game, even if a bit sluggish at the start. Towards the end of the show the band was grooving with full elasticity.

The hour long set consisted of old Narttu hits picked from albums from Onnenpäivä onwards. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear any tunes from the group’s first three albums, but this drawing of the line is both justified and understandable. The classics we did hear included Talo meren rannalla, Vihaiset miehet, Lauralle, Paha maa and Paska kaupunki, the song that closed the set. For those craving for rougher stuff, Kauko and his Narttu dished out two particularly rocking and rolling tunes, Korsikalainen and Mainostaulujen taakse. The ambiance and atmosphere of the gig, which fluctuated from the ominous, Lynchian feel of Paha maa all the way to the lighthearted fun of Majavalakki, was complemented beautifully by a great light show. A big hats off to the light crew for a terrific and elegant job!

I dare to claim that Kauko Röyhkä & Narttu did in no way dissapoint the Ilosaarirockers at the scene. For me, personally, I came, saw, and experienced everything I was looking for, and that was quite a lot.

Text: Pekka Naakka
Photo: Mika Lehtola
Translation: Jyrki Laitinen



Aihe(et): In English.