Sauna Open Air 2013 – Tampere, FIN

Nightwish, Sabaton, Volbeat and many more
Ratina Festival Park, Tampere, Finland
8th – 9th June 2013

Sauna Open Air is an annual metal festival held in the city of Tampere. It has been running since 2004 and prides itself in showcasing a large variety of Finnish bands along with some international acts. This year the venue was moved to the Ratina Stadium located in the city centre within easy access of all transport routes.

Saturday 8th June (Day 1)

Stratovarius
I was still in the entrance queue as this band started playing. I can’t say that I’m too familiar with their music but even I recognized some of the hits such as ‘Black Diamond’ and ‘Hunting High and Low’. There’s nothing quite like a bit of power metal to get you in a festival mood. 3/5
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Children of Bodom
The band I’ve been waiting for! I’ve been a fan of their music for many years now and so my expectations for the show were high. Luckily Mr. Laiho and co. know how to entertain the home crowd. They mentioned playing in their hometown of Espoo earlier and called for Tampere to start a mosh-pit and make it’s bigger than the one in Espoo. They played a healthy mix of new songs from ‘Halo of Blood’ such as ‘Transference’ along with some old favorites including: ‘Needled 24/7’, ‘Bodom After Midnight’ (one of my personal favorites), ‘Everytime I Die’, ‘Hate Me’, ‘In Your Face’ and ‘Downfall’. It was an impressive show with lots of guitar solos, fast keyboards and Alexi Laiho’s signature semi-growls. 4.5/5
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Opeth
Hailing from Sweden, this progressive melo-death troupe was one of the few non-Finnish bands in the line-up. There’s not an awful lot that I can say about this band except that I used to like their music back when they played something resembling melodic death metal. I’m sure that progressive rock and metal fans would love it. 2.5/5
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Finntroll
This band of freakish woodland creatures showed up on stage draped in full costume complete with troll ears and scary make-up. I’m not too familiar with the latest album but based on that performance I can safely say that it sounds catchy and definitely benefits from being played live. Lucky for me they also played some of the older songs including the crowd favorite ‘Trollhammaren’ which really got the mosh-pit moving. Overall it was a great show, fun to watch and dance along to. 4/5
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Nightwish (with Floor Jansen)

I’ve seen these guys live before, in Helsinki back when Anette was their singer. That show suffered from a case of bad vocals, which were often drowned out by the guitars, and the singer being slightly ill that night…

This was 10 times better. Aside from the impressive stage decorations and pyrotechnics, the main attraction was the guest singer Floor Jansen (ReVamp/ex-After Forever) whose powerful voice and charismatic stage presence won the audience over. Her heartwarming attempts at Finnish proved a hit with the crowds. Nightwish played a mixture of older songs including: ‘She Is My Sin’ (a personal favorite), a cover of ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’, ‘Dark Chest of Wonders’, ‘I Wish I Had An Angel’, ‘Nemo’ along with some newer material such as ‘Storytime’, ‘I Want My Tears Back’ and ‘Amaranth’. It’s surprising just how big of a difference the lead singer makes to a band’s performance. I really liked Nightwish with Tarja Turunen, hated them with Anette Olzon and really enjoyed them with Floor Jansen at the helm. Let’s just hope that they retain her services and make her a permanent member of the band. 4/5
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Sunday 9th June
(Day 2)

Hardcore Superstar
This was one of those bands I’ve heard a lot about though I’m not too familiar with their music. Based on today’s performance, what I can say is that they played decent sounding rock and drew in a sizable crowd. The music itself was rather catchy at times and had a slight Guns’n’Roses feel to it.
2.5/5
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Sabaton
The Swedish power metal battalion sure know how to make an entrance. They chose to have ‘The Final Countdown’ playing in the background as they come on stage. Nice touch! The last time I heard them was at Tuska festival last year when they concentrated mainly on older material, playing only one track from the new album. This time their set-list included lots of tracks from ‘Carolus Rex’ such as ‘Gott Mit Uns’, ‘Lion From The North’, ‘Poltava’and the Swedish ‘Karolinens Bön’ along with some old classics such as ‘Ghost Division’ and ‘The Art of War’.
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They also played some local favorites, songs connected to Finnish history such as ‘The White Death’ and ‘Talvisota (Winter War)’. Frontman Joakim Bróden even found time to crack a few jokes, comparing the band to The Village People, attempting some basic Finnish (“Terve Tampere!”) and greeting the band’s youngest fan, a three year old boy who had come to watch the show with his parents. A great show! 4/5
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Overall it was a very enjoyable two day festival. It’s great to see that Tampere can host these kind of events and that you don’t always have to travel to Helsinki to witness a good metal festival. My favorite performances were Children of Bodom and oddly enough Finntroll. I was also pleasantly surprised by Nightwish. Sabaton delivered yet another solid performance, not the first but hopefully not the last either.

Iza Raittila

 

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