Finnish alt-rock prodigies The Rasmus make a triumphant return to UK shores tonight at the intimate Islington O2 Academy with Cambridge upstarts Mallory Knox in support. Fans from across the UK have been lined up outside the venue since the day before in anticipation, and this hungry crowd are not about to be disappointed.
Mallory Knox set the night off to a roaring start with their fiercely unique brand of pop punk. Opening to an audience of devoted Rasmus fans doesn’t daunt them for one second during a pitch perfect performance that certainly makes them more than a few new friends. They combine raw talent with genuine passion to great effect and with a setlist of brilliant songs they bring some much needed invigoration to a tired scene. By the time they close their set with the excellent ‘Oceans’ the audience is well and truly warmed up for the night’s main act. Make no mistake, Mallory Knox are going to be huge.
By the time The Rasmus take to the stage for their first show in the UK since the Black Roses Tour in 2009, crowd anticipation is electric and the atmosphere ready to explode as Lauri Ylonen launches into hit single ‘Stranger’. Throughout the performance the band go on to demonstrate themselves not only as talented and skilled musicians but as an extremely experienced band – it might not seem like it but they’ve been around since 1994 and haven’t aged a day. Although Lauri is contending with a fever after losing his voice a few shows earlier, it is impossible to tell, with classics like ‘Living in a World Without You’ and the pounding ‘Time To Burn’ continuing to drive the crowd wild.
The setlist is, of course, accompanied by a hearty helping of songs from their new self titled album, and while the pop element of their style is much more dominant in the newer songs, they are effortlessly blended in with favourites from their discography, going as far back as an acoustic ‘Funky Jam’ from their very first album. The band ditch all their electronic instruments and sit cross legged on the floor for a mini acoustic set which is completed by ‘Not Like The Other Girls’ and a soulful rendition of ‘October & April’. The wide range of music on show is reflected in the hordes of the band’s devoted fans in the venue – people of all ages and styles are singing along to every word. The Rasmus are, at their heart, a rock band, but they’re unafraid to experiment with some of the elements that make pop music so successful, and this lends their live performance an unavoidable charm and makes it easy to sing along with every song. The band are relentlessly energetic and a really lovable group of people – there’s no arrogance on display, just sheer love of what they do.
They bring the night to a close with fan favourites ‘F-F-F-Falling’ and of course their breakout hit ‘In The Shadows’, along with a two-song encore – ‘I’m a Mess’ and ‘Sky’ drive the exhausted crowd into dancing yet again after hours of nonstop motion.
In short, the band give their devoted fans much more than they have been waiting for, and are the very definition of crowd-pleasers for all the effort they put into connecting with the audience throughout the entire show, doing so much more than just heading onstage and speeding their way through a setlist. They’re an alternative rock establishment, and this intimate but explosive gig just proves that they’ve still got so much more to give. They hint at the possibility of a multi-city UK tour throughout the show, and if that becomes a reality, it is one not to be missed.
Reviewer: Laurence Braddow
Photographer: Sarah Seal