Puska Night 1 At Cactus
Featuring... Hylatyt huvilat, Skyjoggers, Sapata and Alabama Kusk Band
A rather fun journey on Helsinki tram number 1 away from Helsinki town centre up to somewhere I wasn't expecting to find a music festival, a Mexican restaurant called Cactus hosts the Friday night part of the Puska Festival.
H Y L Ä T Y T - H U V I L A T
Opening tonight with an interesting monologue intro from a singer in a beautiful flowery dress is Hylätyt Huvilat with their song Tie. In a moderate crowd of just under 50 souls with some dressed in the traditional colours and dress of heavy rock music we are treated to something different straight away from the start. With sounds resembling that of dreamy art rock with echoing guitars and a beautiful droning atmosphere the ensemble welcomes us to.
With applause from the audience we head into Elisabet which is most memorable for what I could remember as having jumpy chords changes and impressive dual guitar parts that were received well by the crowd.
We go back to relaxing mood again with a chilling intro for Punaisiin Valoihin. As the song builds we see a prominence from the string section of the act giving a moving chugging sound in what could be described it as hard rock riffs over the sounds of Fleetwood Mac and Joy Division.
Next we are treated to their debut single Kaikki virtaa. Beautiful Finnish is sung clearly as we follow the melodic lines of the song. The atmosphere within the venue feels spacious.
A jump to a speedy and droning double beat chorus that the audience sways to then soon becomes relaxed again by a half break middle part. Again though, we are fast on the double chorus to a sudden change Solos from the guitars and Tambourine playing from the singer result in a good jam session until the big booming of the final chorus. A satisfying simple fade out comes after.
With the pinnacle of the set reached Hylätyt Huvilat treat us a big jam song to end, Aamu. What begins as a minimalist 2 chord jam jumps to a chorus and then really exciting upbeat middle 8.
Finally we have another jamming / soloing section with a cool chord progression repeating sequence of about six chords and with the Tambourine appearing again as a final treat. A well deserved big reaction from the crowd as the band exit the stage.
Upon the ending of their set I ask the person running the doors and merch stand about the band. They say it's their first gig ever??? Wow!!!
S K Y J O G G E R S
Next up is a Space Rock 3 piece of Guitar bass and drums with heavy Psychedelic tenancies playing songs from their to be released new album. From what I hear entering the room it reminded me of old school British metallers Angel Witch's more psychedelic sound. Jamming between instrumentalists building up. Another Monologue tonight, this time from bass vocalist to begin the set with Andorayd. Metal hits from the drums as the song progresses.
Soon we hit a cool break sequence, with the chords sounding like A C D C (no not the band, the actutal chords played were a c d c at one point). I'm sure of it, it sounded good anyway. The opener ends with a nice thundering ending.
We go heavy with the intro of the song Dead. It seems to casually drift between song parts.
Between song 2 Dead and song 3 there is some good stage banter from the bassist that was in Finnish.
With the crowd relaxed and allowed to breath Skyjoggers take us to our next destination, C M H. A sliding guitar effect begins the song that resembles sounds from BBC Sci Fi Doctor Who.
Heavy bass guitar drives this track along with some cool solos from guitarist. This builds to a large crescendo with a double time speed warp bit and a small cheerful reaction from the audience at the end of the solo.
A slow Pink Floyd style returning home chorus comes after with song/journey reaching it's destination with a drum roll to end.
Skyjoggers play 2 more tracks from the new album, then just one previously released, Journeymen, and another from the new album.
The rest of the has the similar highs and lows as the opening songs. Certainly a worth hearing jam band and they were welcomed by the crowd on the night. I believe four people were SPACE DANCING with the band at the end of their set.
S A P A T A
A droning intro looms once again but this time we're heading for change to something more expected for this metal looking crowd. Sapata a doom metal band with occasional hints of garage rock have taken the stage.
We slow down for the second song and a almost return to psychedelic from earlier tonight with the intro of Styx
The heavier stoner aspect of the band is appreciated the crowd as they have quite the number of head nodders in front of them..
A Drum intro and simple riffs opens up the song MDD. It's simple and powerful. Quite a drifting song but with a charming tension. The crowd moving and enjoying the laid back feel. Eventually a heavier riff develops with powerful long sung words from the vocalist. It's like a dark blues with a slow moving dance that engulfs the room.
Next up we have drumming intro that's reminiscent of black sabbaths Children Of The Grave. A cool riff and feedback floats around over the beat. BOOM We're now into the heaviest point of the night so far as the band blasts in Cyrene with brute force! Lots of headbangers move in front of the stage as the band play. Vocalist, Saara Šamane, sings beautfiully. This is a wonderful cross of "Hypnotic Doom Rock'n'Roll". Deep bass sounds with lots drum rolls, powerful singing and lots of changing riffs. This song and band are at their most exciting tonight.
Lunatic Groove starts with a quick lofi sounding riff before hitting straight into a powerful sounding fast verse
The doom metal sort of reminds me of Heaven & Hell era Sabbath and Scorpion Child. Trance inducing choruses separate the onslaught of blended riffs of metal and stoner rock riffs.
A long jam happens on the fade out with the instrumentalists playing a nice variety of Egyptian or Turkish sounding guitar scales.
An arpeggio chord sequence with monologue from the singer opens up the mysterious song called Circle. Depite the heavy chorus and middle 8 this song of their is perhaps the most softest tonight and confirming of the bands creativity in performance and song.
A beautiful droning atmosphere appears with a final unnamed song. At some points it could be felt you are losing yourself in the wonderful feeling. A strong performance from Sapata tonight
A L A B A M A - K U S K - B A N D
Our final band tonight is Noise rock, (LOUD NOISE PLAYS) woooooooo from crowd) no, heavy noise metal band, Alabama - Kusk - Band. A band mostly of improvised releases and jam sessions according to their bandcamp page which is personally a relief for me as they had only performed 4 songs tonight yet I counted 7 in my notes. They consist of Drums, keyboard and guitar. Hitting the riffs ferociously, they open with (checks bandcamp page)... Old Bucks.
Its a brutal lofi sounding instrumental. Is it a repetitive mass or wonderful mess?
Have I heard vocals. Who knows?? 😂😂😁😁
Big cheers are heard sort of signifying the end of part one
Song 2 or 3.
The band start up going with Delay effects weaving through the venue and strong energy is given off with the jam as the drums kick in. Whether or not it's because of the recurrence of stoners doom there's a familar smell of what can be described as the good stuff from outside the venue doors. Flickering lights inside the venue add to this trans-formative effect as the band radiate their energy.
Kush likes to follow many formats in their world building wall of sound jams. One that sticks out is; droning, then smashing percussive hits and then a cool riff to follow. Though simple it may sound here the complexity of the soundscapes performed saw the band as structured and interesting enough to be not be in simple terms, (winging it). The crowd respects the band and stays moving to the groove.
For the next twenty or so minutes the band provide a similar format with occasional flurries of interesting bits.
There's occasional vocal work on the microphone too. A mixture of screams, spoken word or monologue.
An occasional joke between song/sounds is refreshing for the audience too.
The final song from them tonight is a more delicate approach and personally is my favourite song of theirs from the performance. A repetitive void echo bass filled riffs starts. It gives off very dark vibes suiting the crowd well. It reminded me of my favourite band, The Angelic Process, with the soft drowning bass all around everyone and the booming drums. It truely feels like the band has created another world in the performance here and there is big cheers at the end. .
Thank you for reading. This is the first draft.