Live Review: Blind Channel – Wolverhampton

Live Review: Blind Channel - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton
30th March 2024
Support: Ghostkid and Rock Band From Hell
Words & Photos: Scott Clarke

Pulling up at KKs Steel Mill this lovely evening as the sun was setting and with signs that the weather was definitely finally on the turn, I watched the light fade as the queues developed outside the doors. With The Hives playing just down the road and Slash and Myles Kennedy playing a train ride away all at the same time, the people here tonight had opted for an evening of Finnish metal.

KK’s would prove to be a perfect choice for tonights entertainment, not only because of it being the midlands top music venue usually boasting great sound, great lighting, great times and great tea, but also because of its industrial aesthetic that only added to the overall atmosphere for the acts.

First thing I shall say is that from my understanding, KK’s usually great lighting techs weren’t in control tonight as the bands were providing their own setups and I didn’t realise so much red light existed outside of Amsterdam until this evenings gig. The lighting for all 3 bands this evening shone very little light on any of the band members, don’t get me wrong there were plenty of backlights and strobes and they looked cool but a majority of the musicians were either in darkness or bathed in deep reds or blue lights making them little but silhouettes and it was a shame because they looked good. They had great styles and energy but a lot of it was lost.

I also noticed that the stage was pretty packed with gear, its not uncommon for bands and supports to share certain rigs and bits of equipment during their performances, however it looked to me like there were 3 total sets, drums, backgrounds etc given the number of bands performing tonight, all on the stage that only diminished as each band performed and subsequently removed their stuff. It was a bit of a tight and cluttered stage setup I must say.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

Warming us up for this evening is a band I’m not familiar with, Rock Band From Hell, oddly named as they’re far from the heaviest sounding group. Definitely hard rock, their tunes are pretty good and surprising, they’ve got catchy numbers and definitely grab the attention of more than a few members of the crowd who were already pressed tightly against the barriers.

The three piece of Mikko Nykanen on Drums, Jere Siivikko on guitar and Jani Tillman doubling up duty on guitar and vocals, boasted that this was their first time performing out of Finland, but you wouldn’t tell, they seemed very comfortable on the stage in front of the crowd, there were no static positions as the members interchanged and crossed the stage making use of all available space to them.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

Each member of the band performs admirably, they’re excellent musicians and have a definite stage presence which is 60% of the battle with live performances. This is the great thing about these kinds of events, stumbling onto the unknown and learning of new bands and hearing new music that you may have otherwise not known about.

Rock Band From Hell are definitely one to watch and were a great warm up to what was to come that was promising to get ever so heavier.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

After a change over of set bringing on some pretty cooly decorated light up boxes, Sebastian Biesler brings a few friends to KK’s tonight, along with Steve Joakim on Drums, Jan Marco Heinz and Chris Kisseler on Guitar duties and Stanislaw Czywil on Bass, GhostKid were set to take the stage.

GhostKid showcased their signature blend of heavy riffs, melodic hooks, and fiercely passionate lyrics. Each member of the band brought their unique energy to the performance, creating a unified sound that was both powerful and emotive. Taking inspiration from some Marilyn Manson and Bring Me The Horizon, the band bring together a blending of styles that create their own unique, dark sound.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

It was a gritty, hard hitting performance featuring tracks such as; Hollywood Suicide taken from the latest album of the same name, Crown, the second song of the night saw both the bass player and guitarist make their way over the barriers and into the crowd, at first I thought they were off to the bar for an early drink, but as they went out into the middle of the venue, the crowd was parted and a maelstrom formed around both members of the band as they played away before they rejoined the stage for the culmination and beginning of Start a Fight. You and I was up next followed by a 5 track barrage from the Hollywood Suicide album, FSU, Ugly, Heavy Rain, Murder, Dahlia, showcasing their latest material before closing out the set with Supernova from their 2020 self titled album.

The band went down a storm with the audience, the crowd interactions were particularly enjoyable, again another reason that makes live music so special.

One thing I will say is that the band had taken time and effort to develop their on stage persona, their style, dress, appearance, the corpse paint, it all played into developing the band, however it was so difficult to make out at times due to the lighting choices, I can understand the choices to a degree but when you’re putting on a live show it seemed a shame to have the theatrics go a little to waste in my opinion as the whole point of a live concert is about much more than just the music.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

Headliners for this evening Blind Channel, part way through what is undoubtedly a mammoth tour which sees them cover Europe and the US, make their presence known tonight in what is only the second UK gig of the tour.

The Finnish nu-metal band consisting of Joel Hokka and Niko Moilanen on vocals, Joonas Porko on guitar, Olli Matela on Bass, Tommi Lalli on Drums and Aleksi Kaunisvesi on percussion and filling in the electro samples, struck a chord with me, I couldn’t place them but I thought I’d heard them before. If you had the same thoughts and feelings then perhaps, like myself, you’re familiar with their 2021 Eurovision song contest entry, Dark Side. It was a popular track and managed to finish 6th in the overall rankings despite the usual politics driven voting of Eurovision.

Here tonight the band were about to take the stage for their own full length set in this, their “Exit Emotions Tour” which is in support of their latest release, their 5th album Exit Emotions that was released at the beginning of this very month.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

It was a packed out setlist that saw the band play their latest album in its entirety plus several others from their back catalogue as well as a cover in there to boot. It was certainly a showcase of what they have to offer and was a treat for those in attendance who were already familiar with the band while also being a great way to draw in prospective new fans alike.

From the moment Blind Channel took the stage, they captivated the audience with their infectious energy and powerful stage presence. The band members, with their distinct personalities and musical prowess, commanded the attention of everyone in the room, their unique appearance further adding to their character.

First off to open things up was the high tempo, heavy hitting Deadzone from the latest album. The room is immediately jumping. I have to say that from the first beat drop it’s clear that this is a band full of infectious energy.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

Where’s The Exit continues the Exit Emotions album before shifting to Over My Dead Body from Violent Pop. A huge cheer from the crowd erupts at the culmination of the opening three tracks, before a little welcome from the band and an intro to the new album that leads into Red Tail Lights, again from Exit Emotions and then to our first visit of the Lifestyles of the Sick & Dangerous album with We Are No Saints.

They have a unique sound, the heavy, dark industrial sound to the tracks is offset with super catchy melodies. Its also a very busy stage with all the band members and equipment filling most of it and yet despite the little space they effortlessly intertwine and parade around the stage with boundless energy all night long. The vocal performances seemed flawless throughout which is a testament to the use of the two signers and their broad range, between the two of them they cover, higher ranges, growls, rapping as well as clean tones with ease. The instrumental accompaniment is also outstanding with such a great depth of sound, complex, layered and powerful filling the venue.

Back to the latest album we go for the next few numbers, Phobia, XOXO and Not Your Bro. Died Enough For You from Violent Pop is a break between the tracks that begins as an almost club like song with the fast pace beats, and breaks down into an emotive chorus before another 3 track barrage from Exit Emotions including Die Another Day which slows things right down and is a superb ballad, Keeping it Surreal and One Last Time...Again. After a brief interlude including a rapping solo by Niko, the rest of the band rejoin to perform a fantastic, hard hitting and very unexpected cover of System of a Down’s B.Y.O.B that gets the crowd singing along.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

Wolves in California continue the Exit Emotions tour before moving on with Balboa and Bad Idea, both from the Lifestyles of the Sick & Dangerous album. Happy Doomsday and Flatline bring the show to a conclusion as the lights dim and the band leave the stage to crowd chants demanding more.

After a seemingly very very very long pause, Blind Channel retake their positions to bring the house down with one final song, their Eurovision entry Dark Side.

Even the ballads are powerful and emotive, this is a band that has demonstrated and fulfilled all the tests they have been faced with tonight and come through with flying colours. Their range of material and abilities and blending of styles cements their quality musicianship and proves they can genuinely turn their hand to anything and produce bangers.

Blind Channel treated the audience to a dynamic setlist that showcased their versatility as musicians. From high-octane rock anthems to heartfelt ballads, the band's repertoire kept the audience on their toes throughout the performance. The latest album is a strong release with so many tracks played across the evening and the quality never faltering. Its an exciting prospect, I hope that the album and the band gets the plaudits it and they deserve and that this tour catapults them further in success, definitely check them out if you get chance.

Photo Credit: Scott Clarke Photography

Photo credits: Scott Clarke Photography

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