Review: Discharge & Kovaa Rasvaa – Ääniwalli, Helsinki 10.1.2020
DISCHARGE’S last two advertised appearances in Finland were sadly cancelled at the last minute – once due to a missed flight connection when they were billed to play with COCKNEY REJECTS and the second time due to illness – so everyone’s hoping this is going to be a case of third time lucky. Fortunately it is and the venue, Ääniwalli in Vallila, is soon filling up with a decent-sized crowd with what look like plenty of old scenesters coming out of the woodwork to catch Stoke’s D-beat veterans.
Tonight’s support band are KOVAA RASVAA. Opening for DISCHARGE might be a challenge for some but this lot don’t seem in the least bit intimidated and blast their way through a raging set of brutal Finnish thrash. I’m used to seeing them in a more DIY setting so it’s slightly surreal to see them surrounded by Ääniwalli’s slightly OTT laser light show but it doesn’t faze them in the slightest as they power their way relentlessly through song after song. Strong, angry female vocals over intense distorted thrash underpinned by Otto’s cannon-fire drumming – it’s a recipe for success and goes down well with the crowd even if most of them are probably just there to see their D-beat heroes from the UK. I strongly suspect KOVAA RASVAA may have won a good few new fans this evening and they certainly seem to be doing a good trade at their distro stall after the performance.
There’s a bit of a wait for DISCHARGE and the tension builds tangibly. From the moment they hit the stage though and blast into “Cries of Help” from “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing” until their final encore it is one searing wall of raging thrash – “Noise not music” as they say – and the crowd go wild. Sadly bassist Rainy hasn’t been able to make it tonight but the band don’t let that stop them – multi-instrumentalist Tezz (the original drummer and the man who invented the D-beat) moves from playing second guitar alongside his brother Bones to taking over bass duties and does a sterling job. Bones is at the top of his game too, powering out the riffs interspersed with one blistering solo after another. Frontman Jeff Janiak doesn’t say much between songs but he has some set of powerful lungs as he belts out the lyrics while pacing the stage topless like an angry boxer in the ring seeking to land a knock-out blow against the hated system. Original vocalist Cal was always going to be a hard act to follow and many felt that when Rat from VARUKERS had his stint in the role for DISCHARGE it didn’t quite work but it would be hard to see how the band could do better than JJ.
They play for well over an hour and only a “Grave New World” fanatic (and how many of them can there be? 🙂 ) could have been disappointed with the choice of set. Old classics from the “Fight Back” EP like “War’s No Fairytale”, “You Take Part In Creating The System” and the title track, singles like “Decontrol”, “Never Again” and “State Violence State Control”, classics from the “Why?” 12” like “A Look At Tomorrow” and “Ain’t No Feeble Bastard”, loads of stuff from “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing”, new stuff like “Hate Bomb” and “New World Order” and even some tracks from the eponymous LP like “War Is Hell” and “Accessories By Molotov” – it’s all there and the crowd lap it up.
A great set, powerfully and energetically delivered with a lot of real gems I hadn’t expected them to play. I don’t think anyone would have had any complaints about tonight’s gig – quite the reverse in fact. It was a smasher. If you missed this and thought that these old-timers might be somehow past it then you couldn’t be more wrong. DISCHARGE in 2020 are still an explosive live act. Miss them at your peril.
Ps. Got any photos? Send to us please!