helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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Finland Loves Its Metal!

Today is the first day of Finland's EU Presidency. So how was this marked? By a free heavy metal concert! And where was this held? In the Grand Place in Brussels. Where else?

Of course, getting the incongruity of this relies on you knowing that the buildings of the Grand Place were built from 1444-1697, and are all spiky 16th/17th Century Gothic monstrosities. Not really the kind of building you'd associate with heavy metal, more with classical baroque music - with harpsichord rather than piano.

So how was the gap bridged? By getting Apocalyptica to headline. The band started out playing Metallica covers on four cellos, and now play covers of several major metal bands along with their own compositions. They rock. The poster advertising the gig said something like "You won't believe that these sounds could come out of a cello!", and wow. I mean, I used to play the cello, so I know its range (a lot of people don't realise how far into the treble clef it can go), but even then it's pretty impressive.

RAH!!! \m/ (yes, that link takes you to photos, naturally)

The support band were called Melrose, I think - I've never heard of them before, but apparently they've been going since 1981. I had to admit, when I heard that the support band were Finnish and had been going since 1981 I thought "Hanoi Rocks!!", but it was not to be. They were ok for the price I paid for the gig ;) But Apocalyptica were absolutely bloody amazing. I did not know it was possible to play the cello above your head - let alone above your head while headbanging, whipping your hair around so fast I'm surprised it didn't get caught in the strings, and with vibrato. I could only manage vibrato about half the time with the cello in its normal position, that's one of the reasons I gave up. (Lack of fine motor control - the other reason was back pain.)

I'm sure there were political reasons for the choice - the theme of the evening was something along the lines of "we follow the rules - but we also MAKE the rules", and wanting "solidarity between the European countries". How better to show this than with a band who play modern hard rock music on classical instruments, and whose noise is pleasant enough for people who wouldn't normally go near rock music to stop and listen to?

I rather fancy the one who looks like Richard.

Oh yes! These Europeans Are Crazy Moment I was the Italians stopping traffic because of winning the football. Finland's love of Metal was II. These Europeans Are Crazy Moment III was the French stopping traffic tonight because of, uh, winning the football. But we didn't bother to take photos of that because it was just the same as yesterday, with the hooters and whistles and people hanging out of cars - just the colours of the flags and football strips were different. Seen one set of deranged football fans, you've seen 'em all :)
Tags: music, travel

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