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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Needs More Kantela

This is the greatest concert I’ve ever heard of. It makes Woodstock look like Monday night in a Chinese restaurant lounge in Milford, Mass. Don’t ask me how I know what that’s like.

This video gets pulled from YouTube faster than I can keep up with it. The video quality in this one is set on Etch-A-Sketch through a periscope, but you get the idea. The whole thing is sublime.

The main performers are a spoof. More to the point, they are a metaspoof. There’s layers to it. They are pretending to be Russians who are pretending to be American. They’re actually Finnish. If you know anything about Finland, you know how extraordinary this performance is. The concert in the video is from 1993. Think of that. Some Finns in a band called Sleepy Sleepers started mocking Mockba when the Soviet bear starting losing its fastball. Not long after, the Berlin wall came down and the world was a better place for everyone, especially Russians.

Finns and Russians fought some wars, I tell you what. What you’re watching is the implacable becoming placable. That’s a real Russian military band performing with Finns in downtown Helsinki. It’s glorious, every which way. To return to my comparison to Woodstock, it’s as if the National Guard from Kent State sang backup for Hendrix with Nixon conducting.

The band is the Leningrad Cowboys. I adore the description of the band in Wikipedia. Genre?

  • Comedy rock
  • Rock and roll
  • Hard rock
  • Heavy metal
  • Glam metal
  • Alternative metal
  • Industrial metal
  • Folk metal

That’s a lot of attempts to avoid admitting you have no idea what to call it.

Rock music is stupid. Stop blustering. Admit it. C’mon. You know in your heart I’m right. You just don’t want to admit it. Repeat after me: It’s stoopid.

Why can’t you just embrace it? It’s dumb, but it can be dumb fun. There’s no dumber fun than Happy Together by the Turtles. You can tell The Turtles were trying to stretch the limits of banality they could pawn off as a pop song. Me and you, and you and me… The Fluorescent Leech and Eddie knew rock was dumb, and they loved it, and they took it up a notch or three.

Finland’s a big place without many people in it. Essentially, the entire country went to this show. No one was claiming they were going to save the world with three chords and some caterwauling. They simply noticed the world had already been saved, and had a party. And that party was a stone groove.

8 Responses

  1. It is a glorious concert. Still largest one ever in Finland.

    See if you can find the opening of it. First, the Red Army choir sings "Finlandia". A year or two earlier the Soviets would have decried that very song as being too nationalist.

    Second song is a very raucous version of It's Only Rock and Roll. And some of those Good Soviet musicians have been listening to a great deal more of the jazz horn sections than might have been wise a year or two earlier.

    OK, it's only a gig. But I was living and working in Moscow at that time and I regard it as one of the signal events that really said the world had changed.

  2. Good find! I know you love these guys and I think it's the existential event that counts.

    The Soves spent much of the Cold War spying on Helsinki from the inside, and in plain sight. The way they got out of WW II created too many strings for the Finns. The way they got in (The Winter War) was the best moment for them.

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