Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Long haired shirtless Scandinavian Rock Gods!!!???!!!!

There, now does that get your attention???

If you've known me for more than 5 minutes, you know that I have a weakness for men with long hair. (That includes my horse too...him so pretty...) I don't know why and I don't care. It's just the way it is. And I also have a theory that you can put just about any dude on a stage with a musical instrument and somebody is going to fall in love with him, instantly and intensely. (Maybe not permanently, but that's just a technicality.)

Also if you've known me for any amount of time it's pretty obvious that I'm from The Country. The Sticks. Boonies. Not the middle of nowhere, technically, but a spot the highway between two small towns surrounded by farms. And guess what most of us farm kids and small town brats listened to? METAL. I never once bought a Metallica album. I never had to. Everybody else had it. It was ubiquitous.

So right now you're thinking, why are we talking about Heidi?

Where's them Finnish rock stars?

Actually, soon they'll be closer to my neck of the woods for one night.

And my kids are going to see them.

Yes... Baby's First Metal Concert. (Sniff. They grow up so fast.)

This isn't just any ol hard-metal group with high cheekbones and silky hair, oh no. Apocalyptica are a little bit different.

(Watch this video- it's got shredding, and Paavo in a nifty old car, and Eicca walking across a grassy field, and Perttu was blonde, and it's lots of fun in that dark abandoned building kind of way...)

Is this crazy? It is good-crazy. It's so crazy it's totally sane. In the three or four weeks since we discovered this band, in which time they have completely taken over our house and have become The Favourite Band, this whole cello-metal thing doesn't seem so bizarre anymore. It's really making perfect sense.

The guy holding the cello is the drummer. It all makes sense, right?

I've totally enabled this new passion, too. I've read the Wikipedia entry when I should have been washing dishes. I took them to the mall so they could buy a CD. We've memorized the website. We've huddled on the couch and watched YouTube videos -- spooky, gorgeous, eery, slightly eeeeevil nightmarish videos full of flinging windmill headbanging, intense guitar face, sweat and long arms hugging those big curvy cellos. A month ago I hadn't even heard of these guys and now all I don't know is... how to pronounce names like Maanenonenen...fraanjennssen...onenen.

I didn't grow up with classical music at all, but Jethro did. His parents had him playing a wee tiny little violin soon after he figured out the whole walk-and-talk thing. It gave him an understanding that came in handy decades later when he recorded huge orchestra sessions. The cello is a gorgeous instrument. It's deep and rich and haunting. I do think it's the closest to a human voice.

But these guys... they push it to the limits of what you expect. They're whipping off solos that would make a lot of guitar players weep.

And those cheekbones. And that shiny silky hair.

Even Grandpar, classical music snob, was impressed. At first, with the disc grinding away in the other room, I asked him if he liked the music. He made his usual "Bloody 'ell, what can I do, these kids don't know good music" face, and then I told him that it's not guitars, it's cellos.

Eyebrows raised. "Really?" He raised his eyebrows, his eyes drifting off as he listened. "Huh. Are they classically trained, then?"

"Sibelius Acadamy, Helsinki Finland? Heard of it?"

"Really..." More drifting and listening. "They've actually got quite good technique..."

What do I know from technique? My hands freeze into claws when I try to play the fiddle. I read that these guys altered their classically trained technique because they play so hard. I mean, they attack these instruments. They are not taking their 200 year old classics on the road with them. They use Chinese made cellos, modify them, play the heck out of them and buy new ones. Half of all cello strings in Finland are sold to this band. Clearly, all this knowledge shows that I have a sink full of dishes.

Windmill headbanging with a cello. I've seen it all.

And I love it. (Although I'd like to see a bit more schpeck on them.)

My kids are losing their minds with excitement over this concert. They've already seen the White Stripes and Audioslave, but this is different. This is their thing, their own discovery. Bucky's friend Little M from down the street, a budding musical genius, heard one song on a radio show and insisted that he find out more. He got my kids hooked, and they got us parents into it too. Now the boys walk to school humming Apocalyptica songs. My Girl has written lyrics all over her school books. (They are mostly an instrumental band but feature guest vocalists.) She wants to play cello. I told her we have a cello downstairs, except it's very small and you have to set it on your shoulder to play it. All three of the kids are trying to figure out how to play melodies on the piano.

Bucky has been planning his outfit for two days. I had to go to the thrift store and get a BLACK Tshirt. Then I had to cut the hems so that the edges would be slightly jagged. Cuz, like, according to Bucky, that's METAL. Jethro asked me if Bucky was going to put on a little Guyliner for the big gig. Haha. NO.

So tomorrow night, Jethro's taking a 13 y old girl and two boys, 11 and 10, to an all ages show where they'll rock out to some awesome Finnish cello-metal. I'm not going because the show's sold out. I think we got the last four tickets.

I told the kids that this is not the best time to spend the money on a concert.  They looked at me with big round grateful eyes and thanked me and my heart melted just a little.

Am I a bad parent for encouraging this? Will they ever get over the adrenalin surge?  Will Bucky and Little M ever consent to haircuts after this? And the Girl... she's at such a delicate age. Will spending an hour or so soaking up the sight of those angelic pale skinned otherworldly beautiful sweaty musicians permanently scramble her brain? Will this be her Robert Plant Moment?

I asked her about this. She gave me her I'm-wise-beyond-my-years-and-trying-to-be-dignified face and nodded, with a little smile and sparkling eyes. "I'll be okay, Mom." And then she giggled.

A few minutes later I heard her from a different room singing "Breeaaaak this bittersweet spell oooon me..."

(ps- yes they will be wearing earplugs!)


Astaryth said...

Oh Great! Now I have another obsession! {sigh} I'll be out looking for their CD this weekend when I go to town. Another group to make people wonder when they look at my music. I have everything from Mannheim Steamroller to Alice Cooper to Garth Brooks. Eh... I'm nothing if not Eclectic!

Heidi the Hick said...

I think that's a good way to be!

dilling said...

yeah, um....I don't get it...

Heidi the Hick said...

hee hee hee!

I think a lot of people don't get it!

Well, it's late, and I'm home... I was the one who took the 3 kids into the gig.

It was...stupendous.


These guys are the real deal. They had four cellos on the stage and a drummer. No keyboards, no guitar and bass, no Mac running tracks in the background.

Those kids couldn't hardly see a thing, being the youngest smallest people there. I told them welcome to my world. They'll all be taller than me someday and then they can see the stage!

We ended up off to the side and about 15-20 feet away from the stage. Little M had wide eyes for the first few songs. By the end we were all jumping up and down and shaking our hands in the air!

So cathartic.

Heidi the Hick said...

Also the nice Finnish guys didn't cuss, and all bowed after their third encore. And blew kisses into the audience.


HARDCORE! But classy. Dude.

IndieFaith said...

My preference would be Blind Guardian for obscure European Epic Metal but I will definitely have to check these guys out. My mind briefly drifted to the Corey Heart Boy in the Box tour that I went to in grade . . . 3 or 4?

Heidi the Hick said...

David, I have that Corey Hart album! My first concert was Cyndi Lauper when I was 13.

I should have asked everybody about their first concerts. That would be fun.

I don't know Blind Guardian, proving once again that you are the expert on obscure music!!!

billie said...

My gosh - this looks fascinating - I'm off for a listen.

Heidi the Hick said...

It's definitely interesting, that's for sure!

The crowd was varied at the concert too. It wasn't your average metal crowd. Lots of grey haired folks, plenty of young 20s in corduroys, a few kool-aid coloured hair people.

The three kids were definitely the youngest though!

Anita said...

OMG... Are they real?? Surely a whole group of real humans cannot be that gorgeous...

My music collection is similar to Astaryth's... and I will be looking for this CD, too!

Heidi the Hick said...

They are real Anita! And I was like, 15 feet away from them!

They weren't all made up like in some of those promo shots. They looked way better!

The best part is that they really are excellent musicians. They were everything I hoped they'd be.

Plus, nice to look at. Call me shallow. G'head.

Still want the skinny one to gain about 20lbs though. His pants were fixin to fall down. Um....

My daughter is in love with a blonde Finnish man who plays cello in a metal band.

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