It’s been a good few years since I last saw Lordi. It was just after they’d won the Eurovision Song Contest for their home country of Finland. That time, they played at The Carling Academy in Birmingham, with support provided by a young Finnish band called Turisas.
That night, despite a storming set from the support band, culminating in a breakneck version of Rasputin (which they eventually recorded), Lordi still managed to come out on top. This time, at the much smaller Wakefield club, would the masked Finns still be able to pull it off?
Unfortunately, thanks to a parking issue (as in the lack of it within the easiest distance of the venue), I missed the first few songs of the openers, Hollywood Groupies, but what I did see certainly made me want to know more about them. The Italians certainly won themselves a few new friends on the night thanks to their obvious enthusiasm and very nice line in traditional, proper Heavy Metal, very much in the vein of their fellow countrymen, Arthemis. These guys are definitely worth watching for the future.
Next up were Sweden’s very own Dirty Passion.
This is a bunch of guys who definitely know what they’re doing and what they’re about. They also happen to do it very well. It must be really only down to the vagaries of fashion that these guys aren’t a lot bigger. With the seeming resurgence of this type of music, and the usual Swedish flare for doing this sort of thing right, it can only be a matter of time before these chaps become much more well known. On that night’s performance, they certainly deserve it.
Onto the main event, then. The Finnish Monster Squad, kicking off with new single, Nailed By The Hammer Of Frankenstein, which was the first of five songs unleashed from the new album, Scare Force One, including the title track and the instrumental track, Amen’s Lament To Ra. Somewhat surprisingly, Hard Rock Hallelujah was the third song in the set instead of it being saved for the encore (which was made up of Scare Force One, Who’s Your Daddy? and Could You Love A Monsterman?)
The set itself was very well balanced. There was literally something from everything, to twist the old phrase. Since this is Lordi, the vast majority of the songs are the best ones Kiss never wrote. With some lyrical modification, virtually anything Lordi have ever recorded could slot into almost any 70’s album from their back catalogue. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the most recent Kiss albums had co-writing credits featuring an obviously Finnish name.
Anyway, special mention has to be made of both the theatrics (this is a Lordi show, so there has to be some showmanship and some gore), which were always spot on and just the right level so they didn’t overshadow the music, and the musicianship, especially from Amen (guitar) and Mana (drums). Being able to play that well in full costume makes what they do even more impressive.
As for Mr Lordi himself, he was in fine form, striding the stage in total command. The venues may have become smaller, but The Monsterman hasn’t. Could we love a Monsterman? Yes. We did, and we still most definitely do.