Joensuu Finland 15th–17th Jul 2016

Haken’s playful music made the Metelli audience go wild

Rock and fun – that’s Haken in short. Music fans unfamiliar with the band’s music prior to the gig are left with their mouths open and clapping their hands as the astonishing jazz solos and choir parts unfold. The diverse musical elements wowed the audience in the Metelli tent on Sunday evening.

The singer Jennings appeals to the crowd. Photo: Sampsa Geijer

Haken, who hail from the UK, blew up the Metelli Stage with their remarkably colorful music. The band’s music is mostly progressive metal with hints of jazz, choir singing and even disco. The band’s instruments are also interesting: both guitarists’, Charles Griffith and Richard Henshall’s, guitars seem to missing headstocks and machine heads. The bassist Conner Green’s instrument still has these parts.

The band keeps the audience enthralled throughout the whole gig – people are dancing and jamming, clapping their hands and shaking their fists in the air. Every time something atypical happens, the crowd screams, jumps and claps in excitement. The audience’s reaction makes the keyboardist Diego Tejeida smile each time.

Even though their songs are style-wise, for the most part, rather serious progressive metal, they have clearly written the deviating parts of the songs with a twinkle in their eyes. Tejeida plays creatively with different sounds on the keyboard and the guitarists nod to the crowd’s reactions after each solo. This band gives the instruments as big a role as for the singing: when the solos begin, singer Ross Jennings runs from the spotlight to the background. The audience gets to focus on the other musicians. The unusual and skillful solos are brilliantly tied to progressive metal – the transitions are natural and smooth and it feels like these music styles are just meant to be together.

Bass and guitar playing in full swing. Photo: Sampsa Geijer

The long songs do not startle the crowd which sings and dances along to the choruses. The gig is not filled with just dancing; at times long chords from the keyboard envelope the audience. Jennings spreads his arms and raises his eyes to the ceiling. The guitarist stands with his eyes closed. Instead of the drummer, the audience provides the pounding rhythm.

Haken plays a varied set including music from all three of their studio albums. A true hit is 1985 which makes the crowd cheer and sway. When the singer asks if anyone in the audience has heard of the band before, about half of the crowd raises their hands. The audience members who were not familiar with the band’s music prior to the gig were not disappointed either – they started dancing to the music straight away after getting a hold of the varying rhythm.

Sometimes going to see bands that are unfamiliar to yourself are definitely worth it. Haken is one of those bands that surprise positively and suit many tastes in music.

Text: Anne Tuovinen
Photos: Sampsa Geijer

Translation: Jenni Rajala

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