------------Our trip to Sweden to play with Dinosaur Jr.------------
-----------------and our show with them in Helsinki-----------------
Mikko - guitar, Jussi - drums, Vellu - vocals, Lasse - bass and writing this, Tommi - soundman.
August 8th, Mo - Studio and the trip to Stockholm
Somewhere during summer of 2005 we got the news that confirmed the rumors that had been floating around for a while: the reformed Dinosaur Jr. would be playing a show in Helsinki on August 10th. Needless to say we got our tickets the moment they came out for sale. It was a good thing we did because the show sold out in a couple of days, like we expected.
The weeks went by and the anticipation for the show grew, I hadn't been this excited about seeing a band in a long time. After all Dinosaur Jr. was pretty much the soundtrack for me growing up as a weirdo in a small town.
Then one morning about two weeks before the show I woke up to my phone beeping, indicating that I had just received a text message. I looked at the clock. It stood at 9:17. "Who the fuck...?" I mumbled as I unlocked the keypad and opened the message. It was from Mikko. "I got an email from the tour manager of Dinosaur Jr. Would we like to open for them in Helsinki?" I wasn't sleepy at all, all of a sudden! Does the pope shit in the woods? A couple of days later they asked us to be the opening band in Stockholm as well and we agreed, eventhough at that point we had no idea how to get a backline for the show. The only way to transport ours would have been on the ferry, which wouldn't have been fast enough for us to do both shows. But eventually it worked out when Vellu and I went to see a Swedish band called Imperial Leather in Helsinki, and got to talk with them. They gladly agreed to borrow us the backline in exchange for names on the guestlist.
So that pretty much sums up what led up to the events described here. I woke up early Monday morning. The ferry wouldn't leave until six pm, but we had to record a song before that. A rapper called Steen1 wanted to have a hardcore song on his record and we had agreed to work together on one. The recording was pretty uneventful, first we ran through our set for the show, and then got the song done in about eight takes. After that we drove to the ferry and left for Sweden.
After getting on board I went to the bar to watch us leave the harbour with Tommi, our soundman and ex-bass player. Tommi doesn't drink at all, but seems to find a lot of amusement in witnessing other peoples drunken hijinx. After a while in the bar we went to our cabin. It was an expensive one, equipped with a window. We hadn't paid a penny for it though, I had won a free cruise in a music trivia quiz a couple of months before. Vellu, Jussi and I started working on getting stinking drunk on some Vodka, Jägermeister and beer. The plan worked flawlessly. Well, actually it wasn't all that planned, I had said that I would keep it together on this trip and not get too drunk. Mikko and Tommi kept making fun of us alcoholics, all in good humor though. It wasn't long until I started getting so drunk that my recollections are somewhat hazy and I was probably talking a lot of shit and having trouble understanding what the others were saying. But if there's one thing I remember, it's that nothing funny happened during the night, no matter what anyone says.
The correct ferry procedure: First you drink, then you karaoke, then you brush yout teeth, then you wake up and nothing funny has happened. Afterwards you can throw an acoustic set at Stockholm harbour.
August 9th, Tu - Mondo, Stockholm w/Dinosaur Jr.
I woke up in my bed, still very, very drunk. I don't remember how long I had stayed up but it was probably until about seven am. Good thing nothing funny had happened. Then I went for breakfast, where the others congratulated me on my fine, non-funny behavior during the night. We ate well, and it all stayed down.
The ferry stayed in dock for almost the whole day so we could rest some more. We left for the club at about 2 pm. We got our stuff there and met the Dinosaur Jr. crew as well as J Mascis. We had already met J when he came to see one of our shows in the US and it was nice to see the man again. Tommi and Mikko went with the Americans while Jussi and Vellu decided to go to Folkets Kebab for a falafel. I was in bad shape, so I just lied down for an hour or two and finally started to feel fine. After that it was time to meet the bass player from Imperial Leather and get the backline from their practice space.
We watched the Dinos do their soundcheck before doing ours. I sent a text message about this to a friend who's also a huge fan, and couldn't make it to see either show.. The reply: "Fuck you! I hope they break a string breaks and it hits you in the eye!". After that we got some incredible Lasagne at the restaurant of the club. As time went by the venue started slowly filling up to it's capacity of 800.
We were on at nine, but the club was already full. Some people were still hanging on the restaurant side but I'd estimate there were about 500 people in the hall when we played. I'm sure the people were surprised to see a Finnish hardcore band open for Dinosaur, some positively, some less so. I heard later that a bunch of people in the back were holding their ears and appearing less than thrilled, but the people up front appeared to be kind of into us. Playing was fun and it went well. After we were done with our twelve song set I heard AJ's, the Dinos tour managers voice on the talkback. All I could hear was "That was great guys, you really should..." and that was it. I was picking up my stuff when Mikko returned and said that we absolutely must play more, our set had been less than thirteen minutes! (I personally think that 13 minutes is perfect length for a punk rock show, but apparently things don't work like that in the real world...) So we just got the stuff back up and played four more songs to a puzzled crowd. After that they let us go. J hung out at our backstage before they went on. Their show was amazing, and loud as fuck! All the songs I wanted to hear from their first three records were on the setlist and they performed them just great. One of my favorite shows ever.
Backstage action at Mondo
J. Mascis of Deep Wound
After the show we hung out for a while more. We loaded our stuff into a large cab and rode to the Imperial Leather practice space, unloaded the stuff and proceeded to Vellus friend Nemanjas place. We always sleep there when in Stockholm. Slept very well on the floor.
August 10th, We - Tavastia, Helsinki w/Dinosaur Jr.
We ate the best falafels in the world before heading for the airport to fly back to Helsinki. I couldn't finish it all, I guess I was getting nervous about flying again. It's a stupid trait that I hate about myself, the fear of flying. I heard that Finland had stormy weather and a chopper had gone down with all the passengers presumed dead. I think I ate two or three sedative pills, the most I'd ever had. Needless to say I took the flight pretty easy after that.
Mikkos wife Nea picked us up at the airport and we drove straight to the club. While unloading Tommi asked me if the sedatives were kicking in. My ultraflegmatic "Yeah..." seemed to amuse everyone.
We did our soundcheck at once. The sound system and acoustics of the club were way better than the Mondos, where the echoing sound of the room had made our fastest songs a blur. Tommi did sound again and got good results. There was a stupid riot fence in front of the stage, otherwise it was perfect. Also present was our old singer Pentti, it was great seeing the guy again!
We were shown the opening bands backstage, fed and after that it was pretty much time to play. The venue was sold out again, with a capacity of 800 like last night. The hall seemed to be pretty full when we played and it was a good show. A lot of friends in the audience with some good heckling both on and off the stage. We did a longer set without encores this time. When we got to the backstage we were met with AJ, Lou and Murph clapping their hands going "Hero Dishonest! Hero Dishonest!" One of the highligts of my music "career" was when Lou shook my hand and told me that we fucking rock. It's a pretty nice thing to hear from someone whose music you grew up listening to!
I took a shower before Dinosaur Jr., whose set was even better than the one in Stockholm! The riot fence made the crowd a bit tamer than it could have been but otherwise it was a blast.