Poets of the Fall – Thekla, Bristol; October 10th, 2018
So! What do you do when your favorite band releases and album that you don’t like and you have already purchased tickets for 22 concerts on their upcoming tour? You take a deep breath, go to the first concert and hope for the best. That happened to me with Poets of the Fall’s Ultraviolet tour. I had loved ‘Clearview’ and I’d loved ‘False Kings’ from the moment I first heard it so I had high expectations for ‘Ultraviolet’. Sure, ‘Dancing on Broken Glass’ was a lot more Pop, but I liked the lyrics and hey, nothing wrong with a good Pop song once in a while. Well, this is not the place for a detailed album review, so let’s just say I am disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a good album, but by their standards and my expectations it sadly failed to convince me. Sure, I like some of the songs, but overall, this one is not for me. So I have to admit I was nervous about the first concert of the tour. Knowing my luck of jinxing things I never said out loud which songs I did not want to hear and told myself to trust them. So far, the band has always convinced me live. I did not care for ‘Jealous Gods’ all that much either, but still loved that tour so in my heart I knew it was going to be OK. My doubtful mind told me a different story though. So I went, threw myself into the concert as if there was never going to be another one and soon realized that it does not really matter what they play as long as they do. Despite all my doubts I had a great time and by the end of it I as soaked in sweat and carried a happy smile on my face. It was heart over mind in the end. My love for Poets of the Fall is still there and it carried me through, made me forget what I don’t like and focus on what I enjoy. It was fun, I think I can do this a few more times. 😉
Travel to Bristol was easy, but exhausting. Having come straight from a concert the previous night I did not get all that much sleep at the airport and on the plane. From London Heathrow I went straight to Victoria station and took a bus to Bristol where I dozed off soon. The city welcomed me with beautiful summer weather and I enjoyed walking around until my hostel finally allowed me to check in. Some food, more walking and arrival at the venue around 4:45 where about ten people were waiting already. There was no box office, apparently we were going to get our ticket at the door. Fine with me. 🙂 Someone in line asked how we liked the new album and it turned out that I am not the only one who doesn’t. There seems to be a tendency to either like ‘Clearview’ or ‘Ultraviolet’,but not both. Too small a sample to tell though. 😉 Tiia and Satu arrived and we said hello. I was worried about my photo pass and Tiia took care of it. Thank you! <3
Shortly after 6 they let us in and now I’d find out how the “new” meet & greet format was going to be. Reading about it didn’t sound all that appealing, but I was willing to give them a chance and see how it panned out. We were told to wait for the guys to come out in the same order we had come in. They all sat down at a table signing prepared cards for us. Special thanks to Jani for the nice drawing on the back. 🙂 Nobody I saw did try to get anything else signed instead, so I don’t know what would happen then. Anyway, there was no time to say more than a few words to them as we walked by and soon everyone was done and had their spots at the front. Tiia gathered us all to one side to take group pictures with us and the band. It had some funny moments as Captain said “tall guys to the back” and then realized that he should be at the back as well. Tiia made sure she saw everyone so I’m sure the pics are going to be fine. 🙂
The guys stepped up onto the stage, where four bar stools where lined up at the front with the keyboards and drums behind them. The stage was tiny so this was the only setup possible. Marko asked us if we wanted to hear some music and we agreed. First one was ‘Desire’ and Marko explained they hadn’t played that in a long time and he wasn’t sure he’d remember the lyrics. *cough* I am pretty sure I just heard them play it last tour, but maybe two years is long in their world. 😉 Edit: ‘Desire’ was last played on the Jealous Gods tour in 2015, so hree years ago not two.
Next he asked us if we wanted to hear “The first song”, ‘Late Goodbye’. The audience responded with cheers, especially after hearing the song was not going to be part of the regular concert. It lead to some jokes about Olli being ready for it that ended with Jaska very dryly noting “That’s what she said” and a lot of laughter. 😀 The song was played in a beautiful acoustic version and made many people happy. For me personally, this VIP experience was not worth it, because I was hoping they would play at least one song that was actually a rarity in a sense that they had not played it much before or not since the first three tours. I do realize, however, that these meet & greets were not created with people like me in mind. I have been following them for 11 years and seen them 202 times. I remember the early days, i.e. Carnival of Rust tour 2007 and while there is still a list of songs I have never heard live, they are unlikely to ever be played (again). That being said, once upon a time on the ‘Jealous Gods’ tour the Poets did ask their fans at the meet & greets in Saint Petersburg and Moscow which songs they wanted to hear and attempted to play some of them, notably ‘Heal my Wounds’, ‘Morning Tide’ and ‘Dawn’. I was lucky enough to have been there so this is the standard I measure the current VIP experience by. That being said I am sure it was fine for anyone who has not seen the band a dozen times or more and I might change my mind if the songs being played get mixed up a bit at the next ones. I will know more after Glasgow. For now though it is “Thank you, but this is not worth it for me.”
I have no idea how long this all took, I never bothered to check. My best guess is about 30 – 40 minutes since they let us in after 6 and there was still quite some time until the regular ticket holders arrived. Meanwhile, we got to hear the soundcheck of support act Blackout Problems. To my surprise they spoke German. what I heard sounded promising, if a tad too loud with a little too much screaming. As with any support act, I was curious. Of course I want to hear the main band, but I have discovered quite a few great ones because they were supporting someone I wanted to see. 🙂
They started just after 7:30 and I quite enjoyed their set. they had lots of good energy and even got us to clap along at times. Don’t really know how to describe it, but it really had a Prog feel to it, especially because the songs seemed really long. They jumped and moved a lot, their guitar sound was great and overall they were fun to watch. The lead singer even went into the audience twice and sang among us, trying to get everyone to jump with him the second time around. Some of us did and they were generally well received. They did not convince me 100% yet, but they rocked and I’ll enjoy seeing them again. 🙂
I was in a good mood now and hope it would stay that way. The stage setup was changed quickly and soon the waiting would be over. I wondered what the new intro might be like. It was already unbearably hot and we had a slight breeze going at the front. It was worse further back. Then the lights went down and everyone focussed their attention on the stage. The intro started and sounded very, I don’t know, Electro? Marko was speaking the catchphrase from the tour shirts “Whatever you do, don’t scream!”, but as they band walked out we did just that, loudly. I lobed their outfits, especially Captain’s at Jani’s and I immediately felt sorry for some of them, because they were going to be hot in their jackets and long sleeves. The moment I saw the guys again I could not help but smile and from then on in I knew it was going to be OK.
The first song was the current single ‘Dancing on Broken Glass’ and it worked much better than I thought it would. I found myself singing along or rather stumbling over the lyrics, because I did not remember all of them yet and I enjoyed it. Seeing these guys play is so amazing it makes up even for music that does not convince me 100%. It was actually a good song to start with. 🙂 Even better was the fact that ‘Dreaming Wide awake’ followed. It was my first chance to jump and scream along at the top of my lungs and I sure took it. A big smile settled on my face and I got some nice smiles back from the guys during the gig.
Marko channeled his inner Bond for ‘False Kings’ and it was amazing. By far my favorite song on the album (and the only one I know by heart) it brought me to happy land. Yes! This was the concert I wanted to hear and this was still the band I love. <3 ‘Temple of Thought’ followed and once again made me realize how song meanings can change in accordance with your personal life. It made the smile on my face even bigger. There were many songs that night that I related to on a personal level and not only that, but there was a subtle shift in meaning for some of them. One of the many things I have always loved about Poets of the Fall are the layers of meanings in their songs and the way the same song can appeal to totally different people in totally different situations and still feel true for each one of them.
‘Rogue’ gave the rest of the band a chance to shine and me the opportunity to finally snap a few pictures of the guys in the back. I can never stop marveling at their skills and I doubt I’ll ever get tired of watching them play. Tiia came by, briefly said hello and sat down at the barrier to my right to take pictures. He smile was huge, she definitely had her gig face on. Marko was back on stage soon and so were the bar stools. I wondered which song it was going to be and with the first chords I knew it was ‘Standstill’. That one I like and tried to film it, but my camera was set wrong so I failed. Still enjoyed the hell out of it. This one moved me deeply on the album and it kicks ass live. <3
It took me a while to recognize ‘Brighter than the Sun’. I immediately knew it was from ‘Jealous Gods’ and one of the songs I loved, but the title and much of the lyrics escaped me. I don’t think Ive listened to the album since that tour. Either way, it was great and when Marko chose to came to the barrier and step over it right where I stood it got even better. He went into the audience singing and people made room for him to walk through, surrounding him, but barely touching. It was a super nice moment. Eventually he turned around and came back, telling us to focus on the stage, because “I might be wearing a leather shirt, but on stage is where the action is.” I do admit that I did not watch what the rest of the band were doing while he was in the audience. Who knows what shenanigans we all missed. 😉 I remember Jaska laughing a lit at one point during the show and later Jari did the same, but I have no idea what was going on then. Who knows which comments their heard on their in-ear monitors. 😀
“Grab someone dear, or someone near” Marko told us, then reminded us not to grab too strongly. All I could think was “Oh no, please say it ain’t so!”, but it was. ‘Cradled in Love’ made a reappearance and I still can’t really warm up to the song. I do like some of the lyrics and it even has a few lines I relate to, but it have never really worked for me. Oh well, I survived and people seemed happy with it. ‘My Dark Disquiet’ was next and I liked it better than I do on the album. 🙂 It took me a while to figure out which song that was. After all, I had only heard it three times so far.
‘War’ made me fully happy again. It has always been one of my favorites and has so much meaning to me, I never get tired of it. Marko stepped of the stage again and walked along front row, shaking a few hands. He stayed next to me for a while and leaned out, so I took the opportunity to give him a gentle half hug. Back on stage he sat down at the side to watch Jaska play an amazing solo. Before the tour started I had claimed I was going to miss the guitars, but there was plenty of great guitar work by both Jaska and Olli. Only this tour, Captain seems to have a lot more to do as well. Playing keyboards that is, not “only” taking care of all the effects and musical backdrops for the songs. Marko asked us if we wanted to dance. I have no idea how that relates to ‘Daze’, but the song made me happy. More jumping from me, even though m shirt was already soaked with sweat. ‘Sleep’ was the last song in the main set and as usual it felt as if no time had passed at all since they started.
We cheered them back to the stage for an encore and after a few moments they obliged. Jani and Jaska had both gotten rid of their jackets and Jaska even wore different shoes now. I just randomly noticed when I looked down. There was no time to think about it though, because ‘Locking up the Sun requires jumping and turning back t e time, so I did. 😀 I have to say they mixed old and new songs nicely, because ‘The Sweet escape’ was next. I am still trying to figured out which 80ies song that intro sounds like and it is driving me nuts that I don’t know, but I do like the song. Olli was watching me and he clearly noticed that I could not sing along. I did my best to pretend otherwise, but he caught me. Sorry, three times is just not enough to remember the words. *smiles sheepishly*. It sounded great live and they even got a killer guitar part in the end. Yay!
The surefire combination of ‘Lift’ and ‘Carnival of Rust’ carried us to the end of the show. I jumped again and Jani, Jaska and Olli were all smiling when they saw it. Yes, I had fun, I won’t deny that! This time I was the only one who did the “on and on and on” hand movement. UK, you need to catch on! 😉 ‘Carnival of Rust’ was amazing as always and I wondered if they’d end on that note. They didn’t. Marko told us there was time for one more song and everyone cheered. Sadly it was the one song on the album I cannot relate to at all, ‘Choir of Cicadas’ so it didn’t do much for me. It was nice to watch people around me though. Many put on the lights on their phones so the atmosphere in the room was really beautiful and ended on a high note. Before they left, the guys took a picture with us in the background, bowed to us and waved their thank yous. I thanked them too and gave them big smiles. What can I do? I love the band and a few songs I don’t care for are not going to change that. In the end, I was happy to have seen them. It was sure a good start to the tour. 🙂 See you later guys!
Dancing on Broken Glass
Dreaming Wide Awake
Temple of Thought
Brighter Than the Sun
Cradled in Love
My Dark Disquiet
Locking Up the Sun
The Sweet Escape
Carnival of Rust
Choir of Cicadas