70000 TONS 2017 HIGHLIGHT : STAM1NA
My favourite thing about 70000 Tons of Metal is that there will always be a few bands on board that I truly love but have never had to opportunity to see because they never tour outside of their home turf. This year was a record breaker for me personally. One of these bands was Stam1na; a healthy mix of thrash and Finnish death.
Their album Elokuutio won Best Metal Album of 2016 at the Emma Gaala in their native Finland - which they learned while they were at sea, as the gala was being held on February 4 in Espoo (FI). This is not even their first Emma, having won Metal Band of the Year in 2015, as well as Best Metal Album for SLK that same year. You know there is something to it when the motherland of metal music bestows awards upon them when they are pinned against bands such as Apocalyptica, Insomnium, Moonsorrow, or Lordi. I have a special place in my heart for Stam1na, whom I never thought I'd have the chance to see perform. But this year, the Skipper delivered!
Stam1na was given a rather weak spot for their first set: 10:00 on the pool deck on the Friday morning. Usually, after the first night of debauchery, a lot of people elect to catch a nap around that time. Not I. The stage setup was running late, and for a while I thought it was going to be a repeat of Twilight Force's pool deck debacle from last year. Thankfully, after some struggle, the crew had everything under control, security let us through, and I made a bee line for the front and center.
Stam1na got on stage and immediately showed the sailors that they live up to their name; their energy was through the roof, even this early and under the searing sun. They played an intense 45 minutes for the ever-growing crowd amassing on the pool deck to see who the hell was wailing this hard before noon. In a flurry of hair tornadoes and crushing riffs, Stam1na destroyed their first ever stint on 70000 Tons of Metal.
The band had a meet and greet on the Saturday night, and since I had not run into any of the members beforehand, I took the opportunity to go shake hands and chat a bit. I tend to highly dislike M&G because it's always so rushed and stiff - I prefer getting the chance to chat like normal humans around a drink or coffee - but this one felt more casual and chummy. Maybe because these dudes are so charming. They were obviously all really happy to be on the cruise and having a blast, giddy as schoolgirls, so nice, and fucking hysterical.
On the Sunday evening, Stam1na was given another relatively weak spot: around dinner time, at the Pyramid Lounge (a tiny club and generally disliked venue). Stam1na walked on apparently determined to turn the place into a sweatbox; after 2 songs they all went shirtless and to be honest, had it not been for the obvious dangers associated with being crushed against the rail in the front row, I would have too. The tiny venue was almost at capacity, muggy and hot, but the energy was palpable like static electricity. Once again, Stam1na lived up to their name and delivered a set equivalent to a punch in the face or a violent orgasm, taking you by surprise and leaving you a bit light-headed.
Stam1na - Panzerfaust (2nd set, 70000 Tons of Metal 2017)
It was a real pleasure to see this band live, and I definitely felt the bangover of both shows! I have high hopes they made a lasting impression on the crowds and the Skipper, enough to bring them back. Sooner rather than later, saatana!