For those of you that like a little more narrative, here’s the conclusion to my trip to Helsinki for TUSKA 2010 in Kaisaniemi.
I’ve traveled around a respectable amount, and other than delayed flights, have never really had any problems. That being said, I knew that it had to catch up with me sometime soon. Unfortunately it was in Dusseldorf, where my luggage decided to stay for longer than my two-hour layover there. This was especially inconvenient because I was staying in Helsinki for just over 40 hours, before flying to England. But whatever, I’m in Finland, and it would pretty much take Caprica being nuked again to bring my spirits down. Just less stuff to carry around, eiko? Anyways. Like a proper gentleman, my dear friend Aleksi met me at the airport. I’ve known him for two years now. He’s one excellent gent with a fantastic radio show broadcasted from Joensuu, which can be listened to by people in the States at 11AM on Tuesday and a repeat on Friday at 5am (Finland is seven hours ahead of us, hence the early hours) from this link: <http://www.oifm.fi/kuuntele/> One short, direct bus trip later we were in the centre of Helsinki, about a five minute stroll to our hotel and two minutes beyond that to the festival grounds.
The hotel is the quaint Hotel Artur. Completely acceptable in every way. The rooms are quite comfortable, even when sharing them between five people. The beauty of this place is that it is as close as you can get to the festival without having drunk people on the doorstep. I arrive there with enough time to meet the other guys and chat with them for a few minutes.
It’s a good thing we decided to leave when we did, though, because as we were walking we heard the sirens! That could only mean TESTAMENT was about to start! Any festival that *starts* with Testament must be pretty damn sure of itself. Aleksi bounds off to the press entrance, the lucky bastard. My afternoon goes like this:
Devin Townsend- Ziltoid the Omniscient
It’s a good thing that DTP went last, because that would have been a very tough act to follow. This was a world-exclusive performance of his concept album Ziltoid the Omniscient, complete with a costumed Ziltoid, and Chuck Billy (Testament) starring. Search for videos of the performance, because words really can’t describe it. … Yeah I’m not even going to try.
That evening was very chill. Since it was my first time in Helsinki the guys are nice enough to indulge me in some walking about. We stop at Judgement Cathedral (judgement isn’t exactly the translation, but its close) and chat for some time on the iconic steps. Next we take a leisurely walk to their house of Parliament. Our rest there is quite lengthy, as we stay to watch the sun rise at 3:30 in the morning. The last stop of this trip is to a street food vendor, with which the guys are very familiar and quite amicable to. At this hour, a hot dog is exactly what I needed. The assembly is quite a surprise to me, as it comes in very different bread than United-Statesians are used to. This vendor offered a good variety of food, including the Tarja Halonen (a double cheeseburger, as far as I could tell) named for their President. By now, it was definitely time to sleep.
At around 9, we woke up to grab the continental breakfast. Aleksi, the cheeky bastard, can’t come out with the rest of us until later because he has an interview scheduled with Warrel Dane of Nevermore. So the rest of us set off for more wandering until the festival opens. I got a bunch of strawberries, and need to tell you that they are the best strawberries I have ever had. We stop at an Alko, which as I understand it is a state-owned liquor store, so that I can have a taste of something that I haven’t had in years and that you can’t find anywhere in the states: Salmiakki. Wikipedia explains it best: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmiakki_Koskenkorva. I first had this when Aleksi attended my college, and after he left I underwent an exhaustive search for anywhere that sold this on the North American continent. There is none.
The rest of my afternoon:
Sotajumala and Torture Killer
Crowbar and FM2000
Devin Townsend Project
Overkill and Bloodbath
This day I was more excited to see the headlining bands, so I stopped into the other tents for a few songs then got back in the main arena to see Hypocrisy, DTP, Kamelot and Nevermore. Aleksi catches up with us again at DTP, whom he would never miss if he could avoid it. DTP puts on another amazing performance. Not having a female singer with him, he takes care of all parts. Kamelot, however, did, and Elize Ryd of Amaranthe was just brilliant. Nevermore put on a most excellent set, and more than acceptable for my last band at Tuska.
The night is mostly spent lounging around in the room, but for a brief expedition to Base bar and McDonalds. My bus for Helsinki-Vantaa left at 5:20 in the morning, so the guys (very nicely) and I end up just not sleeping. We walk to the bus stop after 5 and say our goodbyes. No tears, that’s not metal.
Oh, and I did get my luggage, about three hours before I left for England (teaser!).
Lastly, I’ll just leave this here…
Again, thanks to Mika Hyvärinen for providing photos of this event!