Tampere POP Class of 2006: I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper, The Tigerbombs, Regina
I always thought Tampere's POP scene in the 90s was a bit like some sort of hivemind, but isn't this the same with all scenes? Closely-knit, in-bred, people anxious to belong and to be part of something. I suppose I'm a bit of a chameleon myself, so I had no problem mingling with these people and even to buy some records and listen to these bands at home (my record collection has more closet skeletons than you can ever imagine). But I always thought the 90s Britpop bands were in essence quite derivative; it was too easy for me to recognise their influences since I had already been listening to the "original" artists myself. Glamrock-era Bowie for Suede, mod bands from Small Faces to The Jam for Blur, Big Star for Teenage Fanclub; The Beatles, The Byrds, Love, The Stones and Can for Stone Roses; then the first album of Oasis was really a laugh riot for the "Spot That Tune" fans, a total rip-off of just everything from T-Rex to the ancient Coca-Cola ad tune 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'. This was my ongoing gripe with the cutie-cutie Britpop fans, but my recommendations to listen to the original bands fell on deaf ears, since these acts were so "old", unfashionable, uncool and not heavily hyped weekly on the pages of NME like Elastica, a total Wire rip-off.
Well well well. I guess I should say something about last Friday's "Valotalo" night of Aamulehti that I mentioned earlier. All the Tampere "faces" (as they put it in the days of mod) were naturally there, the new generation of POP, and also some of those belonging to the earlier class: some people I hadn't seen in ages. Probably there inspired by Tero Kartastenpää's story, hoping to get something back from those good old days, in Ye Goode Olde Tradition of Tampere POP. I sat at the bar sipping my beer in my shamanic solitude, surrounded by some members of the kurrent ultra-kool Tampere POP kontingent. One of these girls, obviously a student from TTVO (a local art school) handed out flyers for their exhibition to all the young dudes and dudettes but skipped yours truly since I apparently didn't exude enough New Fresh Young Generation POP Kool. Hey, "don't you know who I am?", etc. But who cares. Gladly soon Minna-Elina arrived, this pocket-sized Princess Leia-lookalike I hadn't seen for some time. In fact she saved my night, being the only person there I exchanged some words with, in the way of an actual conversation.
The showtime. First was I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper with their memorable name, a trio of two guys with guitars and one specs-wearing lady dressed in Goth-cum-Japanese-schoolgirl style with keyboards and drum machine. I know Tuomo, the lanky bespectacled bassist, with whom I have earlier exchanged some words at Yo-Talo and even donated Kompleksi's demo which he seemed to be into. Tuomo played earlier in Suruaika, a local goth band which Kompleksi's Mike Not has produced, but suffice it to say Tuomo is obviously happier with this new band. IWATSW's music is a sort of new wave stuff with synth flourishes. You can hear their song 'Tampere Kicks' -- written especially for this occasion -- here. I don't know if it was a stage fright or what, but at times Tuomo stopped playing and joined the audience, only to be persuaded back to stage. I didn't ask him afterwards why, I guess he had his reasons.
Then Tigerbombs, the band playing a sort of 1979 new wave-Farfisa organ stuff, headed by this guy with a reddish face which makes me think somehow of a Finnish Christmas ham. But I think this just gives additional sympathy points to the band and positively adds to their image. Anyway, if a guy with a face like this can make it work and even look good on stage, it's a considerable feat, and I have to say I found myself slowly warming up and was even jamming to the music of Tigerbombs, which I have earlier thought a bit too retro and "heard-it-before" to my own tastes. There were humorous speaks between songs and a leather-jacketed guitarist posing coolly like one of The Clash in late 70s. Tigerbombs are considered one of the next big Finnish rock imports, so you non-Finns might catch them before soon at a venue before you. Just tell them pHinn sent you (or then, maybe not).
The last act of the night was the feted Regina, two guys on electronics & synthdrums and Iisa, their chanteuse. Regina's music is a sort of sympathetic neo-synthpop with homely lyrics in Finnish; sung with Iisa's girlishly untrained-sounding voice, which undoubtedly is an essential part of Regina's allure. This time they were joined on stage by a bunch of uniformly-dressed American-type cheerleaders, doing their dance routines behind the band. I found these accompanying little pom-pom girls funny -- for five seconds. Anyway, Regina obviously fulfilled the fans' expectations, and at the end of the night everyone went home happy -- even me, when I found I couldn't drink my last beer without getting nauseous, and had to leave -- behind them another essential Tampere POP Experience.