Thursday, August 16, 2012

Will I stay or will I Flow?

And at last we came to Sunday, glorious Sunday. We were experts by this point. All wearing layers, all brought gloves (for the inevitable slightly chilly night), all wearing our dancing shoes (which in this case meant sneakers...because no one can walk and stand around for three days in a row and expect not to collapse unless wearing comfortable shoes), and all ready to rock.

And rock we did.

Luckily the line up for Sunday was awesome, and the weather was incredible. We even got a little hot! (Realistically we're only talking like 15-16 degrees C / 60-62 degrees F...but that's like great for the weekend...stupid, I know).

As German K and I walked in, we heard the sounds of Manna playing and stopped to listen as we sipped our first drinks. Ah, the gloriousness of summer music festivals.

After, we headed over to the Nokia Blue Tent (different than the Nokia Lounge, note), and listened to Pepe Deluxe, a Finnish DJ. Good beats all around we continued to the Nokia Lounge to listen to a different DJ and meet up with friends.

Soon, however, it was time to head back to the main stage to see French Films, the band German K and I ridiculously missed (due to a wardrobe malfunction on my part) when we went to Garden Party earlier this summer. Not wanting to miss out on seeing them again, we hurriedly made our way and saw their entire set.

Hilariously, since we didn't know what kind of music they were beforehand, I was a little surprised. Imagine all of the cute innocent love thoughts you had as a middle schooler or innocent high schooler (if you were one of those...I certainly was) and squeeze them into songs you could play at a school dance/mixer. That's what this band sounds like. It was awesome! Remembering what it was like for love to be sweet and kind instead of complicated and full of confusion...ah, those were the days. :)

Generally speaking I'm pretty sure most people would not consider French Films good music, but they put on a lively show and I enjoyed them for what they were and what they did for me. Who doesn't like to be reminded of the good cute times? :)

Next up, after a food run for Hong Kong P, was Feist. I was super excited to see her perform live. I've been listening to her for over a year now (being introduced to her through Pandora and the awesomeness that is the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack), and disappointed I was surely not. She was incredible live. Absolutely incredible. She even gave a shoutout to my people (North Americans)!

Probably one of the most hilarious parts of her show though, was that she admitted this was her first time in Finland and it was apparent that no one had given her the memo on Finnish audiences. They're silent, and not particularly participatory. So when she asked everyone to join in and sing "ahhhh" at a certain point, it was basically silent. You could actually hear her still singing even though she stepped away from the microphone and was dancing all over the stage. That kind of silent. I felt a little bad, but being awkwardly uncomfortable with karaoke myself, I dared not save her from embarrassment for fear of embarrassment myself. Sorry Feist, no give.

A gloriously unintentional part of her show: hot air ballooners that floated up around the stage during her set. Absolutely beautiful.

Just happened that they were there. We never saw them on any other day or during anyone else's set and it definitely wasn't around sunset...maybe the weather was just good. Anyway, those lucky ducks got to see her set from x thousand feet in the air. Must have been incredible...because it was already amazing on the ground.

After her set my friends and I took a small break in the champagne red carpet hallway (we named it something else but I'll not say it here) and I snuck away for yet another food break. This time I ordered a vegan Vietnamese sandwich. Unfortunately nothing like the real banh mi back at home (naturally, since it's vegan), but well, expectations were metered from the start so I wasn't wholly disappointed. It was basically a pita pocked filled with marinated cooked veggies (cabbage, red onions, carrots, zucchini), covered in cilantro. Tasty and filling...guess that's all I can ask for.

And then it was time to line up back at the main stage. Unfortunately I lost my friends at this point because I was shoving food in my mouf and moving through the crowd, but I figured this was my one chance to see this artist and I wouldn't likely get another

Who was it, you ask?


After several cancellations, Bjork had finally made it to Finland. According to various Finns I've talked to since this festival, she'd had to cancel twice in the past (much to their anger and dismay), so this was a long anticipated arrival.

Finally, Bjork had arrived.

And man was her show awesome.

Now at first, the exact opposite was true. Either they were having technical difficulties or she asked specifically not to be video taped (there were rumors that she dislikes having her photo taken and will refuse to step on stage if she sees fans holding cameras), but for whatever reason for the first four or five songs the screens that project what is normally happening on stage were completely blank.

This means, for example, that short people like me, who can't actually see the stage most of the time, couldn't see what was going on. It was like being blind. But kind of worse, since all I could see were the pushy (and mostly drunk) hipsters in front of me.

When the screens did come on a little while later, they showed only the background graphics that were being displayed on stage. Again, still a fail. Although the graphics and videos she chose as background were wicked interesting, what I really came to see was her, not her taste in animations and shorts.

I was this close to walking away and listening to a different artist when they finally fixed the screen problem and projected her show for the world to see. And then it was amazing.

She definitely lives up to her reputation.

She was wearing a black metallic dress completely covered in coils on the front and a wig in purple, blue, and black that looked like an old Victorian bun. Accompanied by an entire female choir (also dressed in sequined sack dresses, who undulated to her beats and dance moves), a guy on synthesizer, and a guy on every weird instrument imaginable, she definitely rocked the stage.

And true to form, she didn't play the songs you would expect. I mean she played "Hunter" and one other song that was fairly popular, but generally speaking she skipped the songs you would want her to play. I was really hoping for "Army of Me" personally, but alas, my wish was not granted. Maybe it's too hard screaming at every show. Oh well, I was not disappointed anyway, so, one's First World Problems can only be taken so far. ;)

She played for over an hour and a half.

You know, if you really listen to a lot of her music, it really is like the craziest rave you've ever been to. Unfortunately the Finnish audience just doesn't have that sort of persuasion. Perhaps I will have to see her in another country, just to have this experience.

After her set ended my friends and I met up again in the champagne red carpet hallway to dance it out for another hour, then headed home. At midnight Cinderella turns back into a pumpkin and needs to call it a night because work beckons the next day.

And thus ends the wonder that is Flow. Thank you Flow Fest, for showing me the best musical time I've had since coming to Helsinki. I can't wait to see what's in store this coming weekend with Weekend Festival. :D

...let the games...continue!

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