The Rasmus @ KOKO, London, UK (26th October 2018)

The Rasmus are one of those bands that most people will recognize just by one or two songs, but who mean the world to those who explore beyond the hit singles. Given they were one of the bands that first got me into music, I was incredibly excited to catch the Finnish rockers as they performed the last night of their extended European tour in front of a sold-out crowd at London’s KOKO.

The opening duo of ‘First Day of My Life’ and ‘Guilty’ fired the audience up right from the start, setting up the tone for what we could expect during the set – their distinct brand of gothic pop with tender verses, big choruses, and a dramatic delivery from vocalist Lauri Ylönen, whose voice was sounding in great shape even as he tirelessly ran and jumped around the stage.

The Finnish four are polished performers – their line-up has been the same since 2000 when their commercial success started – and visibly enjoyed playing together. Instrumentally they were a well-oiled machine, while the frequent vocal harmonisation between Lauri and bassist Eero Heinonen stood out as one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal. The metallic ‘Immortal’ was a perfect demonstration of their musical prowess, full of interesting rhythmic choices, topped by a slick guitar solo and a beautiful acoustic interlude.

Midway through the concert, The Rasmus shook things up with a short acoustic set. In order to mark the approaching Halloween, they played a fun acoustic rendition of the Ghostbusters theme. This was followed by ‘Not Like the Other Girls’ and ‘Still Standing’, the latter song providing the most poignant moment of the night as Lauri revealed it’s inspired by an old friend of the band who lost her life to drug abuse.

The setlist had a heavy focus on 2003’s Dead Letters, their most sucessful album, with 8 of its 10 songs performed. The massive riffs of ‘Time to Burn’ and Lauri’s emotive performance of the strings-led ‘Funeral Song’ were particular highlights. Also showcased were songs from their 2017 album Dark Matters – lead single ‘Paradise’ showcased that the Finns can also do electropop, whilst the positive reception made the rockier ‘Wonderman’ stand out as a new fan favourite.

After an hour and a half of music, the main set was closed by smash hit ‘In The Shadows’ which sounds catchy as it was when we all first heard it. An encore was demanded by the audience, and came in the form of their latest single ‘Holy Grail’, and finally beautiful ballad ‘Sail Away’ – an apt way to mark the end of a long tour. Long applause and loud cheers saw The Rasmus off the stage, concluding a memorable Friday night for the devoted fans of the Finnish rockers.