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Part 1: Tuska Fest, Helsinki with Type O Negative

By Val Halla, Viking Metal Chick
Thursday, July 17, 2003 @ 12:30 AM

Type O Negative Live in Hellsi

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Type O Negative, Tuska Festival. Helsinki, Finland 7/12/2003

First off, I'm Val Halla, your roaming metal reporter, coming to you direct from the fast lane on the Highway to Hellsinki. That's Finland for you geography class drop-outs.

No, Im not a “VAL” from the Valley and don't EVEN think of calling me Val Halen!

This is not the summer of Love, but it could be the summer of Metal if this festival is any indication.

This is the land of midnight sun in the summer and the endless night in the winter, which might help explain the the extreme attitude, dedication and devotion to the dark side of metal.

The Tuska Fest was an awesome spectacle of rock n roll extremes. I was floating in a Nordic ocean of leather, studs, hot and cold running blonde babes and dyed-black bad boys.

This event was set in the center of town in a lovely picturesque park along the river, just steps from the central station and the fanciest hotels in town. Picture your grandma and grampa checking in to their overpriced hotel room as knights in black leather and maidens in black velvet dragging 12-packs, strolled past en route to the big 3-day black metal meltdown. Watch granny’s jaw drop, watch the hellions rock.

The big headliner of the event was was not a band from this neck of the woods, as were 80 percent of the other acts this weekend, but instead it was Brooklyn, New York's own TYPE O NEGATIVE.

The crowd was moaning, grunting and chanting the bands name, like a pre-show viking battle hymn, before the embarking on the ritual carnage of a helpless village of peasants.

This is something you would never see in the USA. Our sad summer festivals are relegated to fenced off patches in the middle of the 120 degree dessert, miles from civilization, or in small 2nd rate arenas with "Gorillas on Steroids" for security. But here, the backdrop of beauty was a perfect canvas for the Type O beast.

The band came out in a cloud of fog and a rumble of fuzz bass. All the band members dressed in matching green hospital scrubs and blue black hair. Lead growler and bassist Pete Steele looked like a cross between Lurch (Addams Family, kiddies) and Lemmy... and not a bit like George Clooney, thankfully.

The crowd swarmed towards the stage in a frenzied, yet controlled, manor and the trademark Type O day-glow green flag with black cross was waved high overhead by a zealous fan.

All manor of hits where dished out by the dirge doctors, from “Christian Women” to “Kill All The White People," from the classic '90s Bloody Kisses LP also, The Beatles' "Dear Pridence" was torn a new one by Pete and Co. He even broke into a bass and vocal-only rendition of "Hide Your Love Away," another ironically pretty Beatles ditty that might have gone over the heads of a few of the younger heshers in the pit, yet accepted as well as any of their other numbers.

Big Pete even threw out classic bass riffs to "Smoke on the Water," followed by Jethro Tull’s "Aqua Lung" for a few split seconds, then back into another monster from the Type O vault.

Yet another Tease in the form of the opening riffs to "Black Sabbath," one of the best songs EVER written and a song that Type O covered on the Nativity in Black - Vol. 1 Black Sabbath Tribute LP in the '90s. Sadly, it was only a tease and lasted no longer than 30 seconds (sound familiar, boys? Yeah, I thought so...)

The band left the stage and within seconds was yanked back by the crowd for for a dual encore of the band's latest "I Don't Wanna Be Me" (which, by the way, the video for this song is on TV here in Scandinavia. I'm betting I’ll NEVER see it back on the U.S. airwaves) and then, into the classic Goth gal anthem "Black Number One," the entire version, mind you, just like the album.

So, the Type O Negative reaction was very positive here in Hellsinki. Everybody from the Viking monster moshers, pumping their gauntlet-clad fists to the sky, to the fine Finnish femmes in their fishnets and lilly white flesh, had a loveley time and came back for more for the next 2 days of metallic heaven & hell at TUSKA 2003.

More coming, including Arvika Festival, Barbarella Festival, Ruisrock and more... including pictures and up close, personal conversations with bands! Stay tuned...

Val Halla, Via Hell-sinki

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