Kiuas in Tokyo - May 2005
Tuesday, 10th of May 2005
The bags are packed, the instruments are tuned and we're heading for Tokyo!
We'll meet the other bands at Spinefarm Headquarters at 2:00 pm and then we all take a bus to the airport. The Finnair flight will take off at 5:20 pm. Unfortunately we will not (yet) be travelling in the business class like Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen who will probably be on the same flight. Let's hope they let this big noisy crowd of metalheads on the plane.
The flight takes about nine and a half hours and it's probably
impossible to sleep when there's more than twenty musicians ordering
drinks and talking. We should arrive at Narita Airport in Tokyo on
Wednesday the 11th at 8:55 am Tokyo time.
Check back here every day and follow our adventures in Japan!
Atte is ready for Tokyo, but is Tokyo ready for him?
Watch out Tokyo, Kiuas is heading your way.
Wednesday, 11th of May 2005
Arrival and Day 1
The flight was horrible. Nine and a half hours in a crowded plane full off drunken musicians, no sleep for me and it was tough to make the hours go by with nothing to do. Sure a crappy movie or two was displayed on the flight but we couldn't have cared less. All there was to was to mingle with the other musicians, which is impossible to do without a few advice-giving beers.
Finally we arrived to Narita airport and there was an awful lot of foreigners there, including us. Onta from Creativeman (the organizer of the gig) was there to welcome us to the East. And needless to say, a crowd of fanatic japanese metal fans was there to greet us with howls of lust and fury. We realized our sense of worth. We mattered.
From there airport we had a busride to the hotel which took about an hour. During the busride we were totally amazed by the enormity of Tokyo and the chaotic and diverse number of different scyscrapers, weird houses and buildings. Our hotel was right in the middle of Tokyo's center, or at least one of it's centers. Tokyo is HUGE! Anywhere you look there's something amazing, weird or just enormous. This is a city where the football playgrounds are on top of buildings.
Soon after our arrival we had a production meeting of our oncoming gig and the rest of the day was free for all bands. Naturally we wanted to hit the streets. Atte's sister Henna, who is studying at Waseda University in Tokyo, acted as our guide. Thus we wreaked havoc upon the innocent little japanese schoolgirls.
In the evening we were supposed to rest and have one or two beers for a night cap. But you know how these things go. After atleast 12 advice-giving beers we found that we were in a small japanese metal club Current doing what metal musicians do best. The evening reached its climax when Mikko, Ilja and Twilightning's Ville did a surprise appearance as bluesmusicians and threw an acoustic jam gig there.
This is the life we were born to live..
Here we come Tokyo
Ms. Nelli Ahvenlahti took good care of us
Going crazy on the bus
Our hotel, Shibuya Excel Tokyu
View of Shibuya
Football field in the sky
Mikko checking out the sights
Singin' some good ol' blues
Thursday, 12th of May 2005
We woke up and ate breakfast and took a busride around noon to the venue. Liquidroom is a real cool place. Everything works like swiss clock and all the equipment is top end and they know how to use it. We just did the soundcheck and the sounds were great! Mikko was posing in a photoshoot for Young Guitar and Burrn!!! Magazines. Now where hanging out in the backstage and our gig is about an hour away. We'll write later after our gig. Stay tuned 'cos were not.
Ensiferum was first to hit the stage and when we went to catch a glimpse of their set we were thrilled to see the place packed ( about 700 people ) with excited metal fans. The crowd was crazy, and to be honest, made our pulse start to rise a little! The sounds were superb, as the man behind the mixing board was the very experienced Kimmo Ahola, who also works with Nightwish.
As our set commenced, we were pretty soon "in the zone" and the crowd was with us. The Japanese fans are crazy! Just one small gesture, and an army of metallers raise their fists in a euphoric state. The half an hour set went in a flicker. We threw the following songs: Warrior Soul, Winter in June, Across the snows, The Spirit of Ukko and On Winds of Death We Ride.
After the gig we hung out at the venue for a while, watched a little of To/Die/For and Twilightning, and shook hands with some really nice local metal fans. Then we were taken back to the hotel, were the partying really started. Also with us was Tommi Kuri known from Virtuocity and his new live metal site called Encoremetal.com.
Pretty soon the metallic mob of Finns left the hotel to (once again) leave their mark on Tokyo’s nightlife. Party mode ON!
About taxis: even though our driver had gps-devices, maps and a magnifying glass, it was almost impossible to reach our desired destination. At one point we tried desperately to get to a certain bar, but the driver had know idea of it's location, even though he claimed the opposite. Thus we proceeded on foot. You can't win every time!
Hanging out in front of Liquidroom
Backstage getting ready for the gig, Atte is sleeping
Friday, 13th of May 2005
Promo day. Nobby, our host and the main man from Universal Japan, took Mikko and Ilja to do a bunch of interviews for Burrn! -magazine (Japan's biggest rock mag), Captain Wadas radio show, Masa Itohs radio and TV show, Brax? Website, and finally Mikko did one for Young Guitar magazine. That took almost an hour each but it was definitely worth it! In the meantime, Teemu charged his batteries while Markku and Atte went shopping in Akihabara, a.k.a. the Electric Hell. After the interviews the band went strolling around the city.
We found some great music stores, especially one where we saw the most amazing guitars anywhere. Check out the pictures! Our favourite was the one with a Samurai sword which you can draw from the guitar when you need it! The shops owner, Norikazu Ishii, came to welcome us and congratulated us for our show. We found out that he builds guitars for Timo Tolkki of Stratovarius and has visited Finland three times. It's a small world!
Later in the evening we enjoyed a fantastic Japanese dinner a in traditional restaurant, where we ate our stomachs full and also tried a little sake. What's the best thing to do after an enormous and delicious meal? Sing some Karaoke, of course! There are a lot of karaoke places in Tokyo, where you rent your own room which has all the equipment. We managed to destroy our throats and shatter the walls with our lovely voices as we demonstrated how a Finnish metal musician sings karaoke, high and loud! It was almost dawn (again!) when we decided to call it a day.
Oh my god
You need to be some kind of a mutant to play this baby...
"Oooh, I wish all these guitars were mine..."
Enjoying LOTS of great japanese food and beer
"We're the kings of metal coming to town..."
Saturday, 14th of May 2005
Some of us went shopping quite early. When the rest awoke, our guide Henna took us to a great temple area (Meiji Jingu shrine), which was a purifying experience. We did some praying and sacrificed a few yen. And after we had made peace with the divine powers, we decided it was time to pursue earthly matters once more, like sushi! Lot's of it! We filled our stomachs with a variety of weird and wonderful sushi-dishes. Burp!
A quick change of clothes at the hotel, an advice-giver and a taxi to the Astro Hall, where rock night (a part of the Finnish music days-event) had already commenced. We arrived just in time to see Deep Insight and The 69 Eyes. We noticed that some other Finns had popped in as well, also a really tall one... oh, it's Finland's prime minister Matti Vanhanen! We shook hands with "Masa", and gave him our album. By the way, in a headline of monday's Turun Sanomat (finnish news magazine) Masa told that he has always been a metal head! Once again, no need to prove that Finland is THE heavy metal nation. The club's capacity was about 300, it was full and the atmosphere was great. We mingled with the crowd and gave away all our flyers.
After the gig we headed again to the already familiar after-party place - rock bar Current. We were already thrilled, but it kept getting better.
The party at the bar was goddamn electric, and it was fun to be served by the bartender wearing a Kiuas t-shirt. There we met another well-known musician: none another than bass god Billy Sheehan! Now it really gets good. He asked us to jam with him! And there we threw some classic rock songs including Mr.Big's "To Be With You" :) with Billy playing acoustic guitar, Tommi Kuri on bass, Mikko on electric guitar, Markku on bongos and Ilja on vocals. The people of Musex, and the bands of rock night were there too, and Jyrki 69 acted as the DJ for the night. As the morning light came we had just enough time to get back to the hotel, pack and head to the airport. We slept the whole flight.
Sunday, 15th of May 2005
The trip was fantastic, KIUAS thanks our hosts - especially Onta and Nobby, Creative man, Universal Japan, Spinefarm records - especially Riku and Nelli, Musex, the other bands, and all the Japanese journalists, fans and people we met.
The Spirit of Ukko will be released in Japan on June the 22nd by Universal. Let's hope for the best!