Rockfest 2023 - Day 2
Hyvinkää Airfield, Finland
The 69 Eyes knocked off the day number two. Their set was full of hits of the thirty something years past –though I’ve never been a major fan, many of my teenage best friends were and I’ve been exposed enough to recognize most of the titles played. Apparently, they’ve put out a new album recently and some newer sounds made it to the set list too. They fit just right in as the band has kept loyal to their original sound –which has stood the times well. As they played, I got a new makeup; Friday’s look was Aladdin Insane.
Escape the Fate was like a throwback to last year’s Rockfest. Their technical screamo thing seemed somehow generic - though the musicians were talented their thing felt like it lacked imagination. I watched them play for a couple of songs, decided to escape the fate and leave the festival area for a little while.
Anyway, next up Mötley Crüe on the main stage. Tough cookie. I used to consider them my favourite rock group for some time in the past, and they were the first band I went to see live as a growing glam rock youngster. I loved it and this time had controversial expectations. The premise was they would be, neatly put, awkward act to witness – and they sort of were. I mean, there were weird decorations on the stage, go-go girls dancing (they owned it, though), all the screens had super cheesy filters and animations, the backing vocal mics hung from the stage ceiling so they would revolve as wind passes and make it impossible for the singers to hit the right spot when due. Lasers blasting over the audience. Boobie cam appeared, and some dudes took over most of the screen time showing love to Tommy Lee. Playback was surely used on at least a few tracks vocals. They even played ridiculously loud – but the audience seemed to love them, despite all the mentioned. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many black leather biker jackets in one place as on Friday anyway.
Setlist was mostly golden bringing hit after another including a compilation of the covers the band has recorded over time. At least John 5 nailed his spot by playing well and paying homage to Mars’ style (yet remaining distinctively different), as the rest of the band seemed to stumble here and there. Regardless to Vince singing better than I had in mind, he wasn’t very good. Totally against my expectations the band seemed to be aware (though left unsaid) of their underdog position and their presence felt somehow humble, even shy. The show turned out to be rather sympathetic, and I once again had great time with the Crüe. If they just had the balls to come as they are and leave all the silly irrelevant stuff at home.
Testament made playing fast and with precision look like taking a walk in a park. My jaw dropped with the bassist shredding part of the set with a fretless five stringed electric bass. The set was consistent thrashmetal celebration from head to toe. Though they were the act I ended up appreciating most on Friday’s palette, I realized I’ve never much listened to them either. Bound to change next time I crack a cold one open.
Def Leppard threw in a nice party and the stage looked fancy. Their boogie made me smile and kept my foot a-tapping. We had to leave in early to get out of the area swiftly – lesson learned from the last night.