Artist: The Rasmus
Venue: Retox Rock Bar (New York, NY)
Label: DRT Entertainment
The latest news is that Scott Ian (Anthrax) had joined in partnership with Mike Diamond of Snitch to open a new club called the “Retox Rock Bar” and tonight I would have the opportunity to check out the place and also enjoy the music of The Rasmus. The group would be taking part in the “Southern Comfort presents Blender Sessions” and while this was new to me, I am always interested in supporting a hopefully cool place and the music that I love to spread the word about. After some inordinate confusion regarding entry into the place which seemed to be based on an overlapped booking of another event we were inside and ready to rock. The Rasmus just recently signed to DRT Entertainment, and for this special appearance the label had invited the first 100 fans attendance if they arrived early enough. Inside the club was is a nice little stage and to be honest the room does not seem sizable for anything more than a showcase or industry gathering of some kind. It does however become the perfect setting for an intimate performance such as this. It was also the last night of the bands tour which made it just a little more special.
It was just after 11pm when The Rasmus came out and by now everyone was locked to the front of the stage with their cameras at the ready. If you had never heard of this Finnish group before, here is a little bit about them. They have been together since 1994 while the guys were still in high school and in 2006, they signed to DRT Entertainment who released their 2005 effort “Hide From The Sun”. It is an album that has a strong and commercially viable edge, and holds some similarities to their fellow Finns over in HIM. The music of The Rasmus is not as brooding or morose as that of Ville, which makes them a little easier to enjoy as a group. Perhaps this can help them generate a larger fan base across a wider demographic range. As I observed the attending fans, I was impressed to find that many of them had traveled here specifically with the intent of being at this show. I met some young ladies from England and Finland most specifically. Nowadays we find people complaining about shows in another state as opposed to their own, so when you meet people who have come all the way from the United Kingdom it really makes you rethink your complaining. Musically, The Rasmus is excellent on the stage and lead singer Lauri Ylonen is a burst of energy during every song and smiled and winked at his adoring female fans as he sang. You could tell very easily that the group was enjoying being in such close quarters to the audience and they would pause between numbers to talk to them. At one point in the night, bassist Eero talked about arriving from South America that same morning after playing a huge festival. He said how nice it was to see the eyes and smiles of everyone in the room, and that it was a very different, yet pleasant feeling for the group.
Everything the band said during the set was genuine, and very clearly non-scripted. To go over the other members of the band, I found the guitar sound of Pauli Rantasalmi super clean and the drum work of Aki Hakala tight and concise. Neither of them talked during the show by my recollection but again every time you glanced at the group it was all smiles. It’s kind of hard to not do this because with the smaller layout of the club, the band could not only see the smiles but also hear the voices as they sang all of the songs word for word. I first experienced this type of occurrence when HIM first arrived in the US. I remember being amazed at how even with limited material available to us that there are always fans that know the scoop well in advance. The crowd was most apparent on tracks like “Sail Away” and “No Fear” and I was happy to find that even though the set was on the short side, that it rocked very much. The set was primarily focused on “Hide From The Sun” which to me was great since it was my own first exposure to them.
After the performance, the group made sure to come out and mingle for a short while with the folks in the club. I know those far away visitors especially enjoyed this. As I close this piece I find myself hoping for their soon return as I think more people than less will also truly enjoy what The Rasmus is all about. Photographer Peter took quite a bit of shots, and we decided to share as many as possible since this was a special appearance. We hope you all enjoy them.
2. Night After Night
5. Keep Your Heart Broken
8. First Day
9. Sail Away
10. No Fear
11. In Da Shadows
12. Don’t Let Go – not played
Official Web site: www.therasmus.com