sunnuntai 19. syyskuuta 2010

Alexi gets his ducks in a row at Ankkarock

In between recording their forthcoming seventh studio album, Children Of Bodom found time to fit in appearances at 5 of this summer's festivals around Europe, and the Blog felt it was only right to check out one of the shows (yeah, it's a crap job, but someone ... etc, etc). We duly headed off to Finland for the home gig at Ankkarock, a few kilometres outside Helsinki.

Unlike our last Finnish foray in February to see Warmen's record release party show, when temperatures were hovering around a numbing -20, this time the mercury was at the other end of the scale entirely, and on one or two days the thermometer outside our apartment window was showing a reading of 40 degrees! Probably no real need, then, to pack that umbrella on the day of the festival, which turned out to be just as well ...

The Ankkarock festival site is located in Korso, near Vantaa, a short train ride from Helsinki. It's a beautiful setting, surrounded by the familiar pine trees and a small lake, and the weather is perfect: warm, dry and sunny. We join the queue for the bag-check. They're not interested in cameras, but when the existence of the umbrella is discovered we're firmly told that we can't take that in ...??? ( No, us either!) Well, fuck it, there's not a cloud in the sky, so no problem.

Plenty to see, hear, eat and drink while we wait for COB showtime, and even the much-villified festival toilets are, at this festival, clean, plentiful and user-friendly - Ankkarock is very well organised.

K-Man, Neubi and the rest of the crew are onstage, getting their backline on, the COB backdrop is hoisted. At 21:30 the band take to the stage with opener Follow the Reaper and the next hour is filled with a crowd-pleasing set of more fan favourites from the Bodom back catalogue, including Needled 24/7, Living Dead Beat, Hatecrew Death Roll, Blooddrunk and Hate Me. As usual, it seems, when they play on home territory, the band are relaxed and enjoying themselves.

At the end of an enthusiastically received Everytime I Die, someone throws three yellow rubber ducks onstage (well, this is Ankkarock), which Alexi duly retrieves and lines up carefully on the drum riser. Later, there is a shout-out for sound-man Kal from Alexi when he spots a group holding a "K-Man" sign down the front: "you have some fucking fans over here, man", he announces into the mic, trying to persuade K-Man out onto the stage. Finally, they turn up the heat (literally!) with face-melting pyrotechnics to rival Alexi's shredding during Angels Don't Kill and, of course, for evergreen set-closer Downfall - a fittingly explosive end to the show.

Children Of Bodom ... in flames

Afterwards, on our way back to the station through the warm Finnish summer night, we're accosted by a small group of bible bashers, handing out leaflets and obviously intent on saving our souls from the temptations of the devil's music. But it's way too late - the devil has all the best tunes and we sold ours long ago!


Meanwhile, at Brutal Assault ...

Before the band's appearance at the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic, they took part in a signing session

Photo credit: Veronika Hesounová

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