RUISROCK 2006 (Live)

in Turku, Finland, July 7-9, 2006

Mention Ruisrock to people and you are bound to get emotional reactions that are not necessarily favorable, depending on the age of the replier. The further one’s acquaintance with the festival goes, the more negative the reply is bound to be. In this day and age of short attention spans and instant thrill-seeking, who would be in favor of a festival where you have to walk over 2 miles just to get to the entry gate? And once you get to the site, you’ll find that the bands and stages are playing second fiddle to the all-consuming beer area that just keeps growing in size each year, and has taken the center place at the site. So, if you want to find the biggest beer tent of the summer and can tolerate the nuisance of live music being played on stages all around you, then Ruisrock is definitely your place.

Taking into consideration the location and the difficulty of getting there, Ruisrock nowadays does not sound too appealing. Gone are the days when older couples came to Ruisrock on Sundays to just have a picnic and enjoy live music at the same time. These days, you’re lucky if you can find a spot large enough to fit a blanket, and even then, you need to be on the lookout for the drunken teenagers falling all over the place. Ruisrock looks and feels like a huge home party that the teens are having while their parents are away. When did this major shift in target audience take place?

Well, now it’s time to move over to the music…


Sunday at Ruisrock belonged to the true artists. First, fans got the high class wordsmith in the form of the witty Morrissey, who may not be so young anymore, but is still elegant enough to get the fans drooling. And then, at the end of the night, fans were spoiled by the audiovisual treat in the form of Tool. Both artists seem to be such rare treasures in this world full of profit seekers and one-hit wonders.

The soccer finals were the talk of the day, and both Morrissey and Tool commented on the day’s final match. Morrissey boldly stated that the evening’s match was fixed and that Italy was going to win. This brought on some opposing shouts from the crowd, along with a couple of bottles being thrown on stage that only encouraged Morrissey more. Morrissey also congratulated the Finns on the dubious honor of winning the Eurovision song contest. Despite Morrissey’s jovial mood, it was probably due to the heat and the sun draining the energy out of the afternoon audience that it took until the 3rd to the last song (“The First of the Gang to Die”) of the set for the crowd to really get going.

The huge beer area in the middle of the site, and the fact that you needed to go around it if you wanted to get to the other stages, and those strangely narrow pathways that took you where you wanted to go, turned changing one’s location into some kind of survival game. There were tons of sweaty bodies, drunks, vomit, piss, mud, and all kinds of obstacles there to block your path. In the end, it seemed like too much of a hassle, not to mention time consuming, to go see Soilwork and still make it back in time to catch Tool from a good spot. Lots of other eager fans of Tool had made the same decision, and after Backyard Babies ended their set, the fight was on for the good spots in the first rows… and this was a couple of hours before Tool was even due on stage!

Once again the fight for a better view and closer spot at the Tool concert did not end in the front for the entire show. Even though on CD Tool may not sound like a band that makes the crowd act up, that’s how it is in live situation. It did not matter if you were standing still since the squirming crowd forced you to sway along with it. This only added to the surreal, psychedelic feel of the show. All you needed to do was let go and let all your senses enjoy the ride. Watching Tool these days is like taking a ride on a roller coaster. The lights, the videos running on those huge screens, and those hypnotic beats seem to take center stage, and the band themselves seem to be mere instruments through which the music is channeled. Even though this time Maynard has taken on a role more closer to a true rock star with his rodeo ride-like dancing and cowboy looks, which is way more entertaining to watch than the serious art guy he was portraying during the last tour, it’s still the music that steals the show. New songs like “The Pot,” “Vicarious,” and “Jambi” seamlessly fit along the old favorites “Schism,” “Sober,” and “Stinkfist,” Even “Opiate” from the first EP was aired.

Bassist Justin seems to have stepped up to the spotlight, which may be more due to his position on stage left than to his actual antics, although he did get down on his knees a couple of times. Guitarist Adam was more stoic, and surprisingly even drummer Danny, with his stripped-down drumkit, seemed to just be all about the beats. So, it was only Justin and Maynard who took a swing at playing the showman role. Maynard was more talkative than usual, but this only meant that he addressed the crowd a couple of times. His first greeting being the friendly “Wake up Hippies” shout.

Listening to the talk of the masses, it sounded like most of the tired crowd headed back home, happy to have just witnessed such a stimulating tickling of senses in a form of Tool show. How much more privileged can you get?


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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