We are taking part this year to FirmaRock (www.firmarock.fi) , which is an annually held competition between companies and associations to be the best “corporat- rock-band-of-the-year”. There are (were) 44 candidates and the qualifications are held during the springtime. During half a dozen sessions, 7-9 bands play a 10 minute set; the performance is judged by a panel of critics and 3 bands are selected from each heat to the semifinals.
Bilot’s band The Insultants, or parts of it, have been playing together for a couple of years, but as the company has grown, the line-up has also changed. The Insultants 2012 are Panu Kangas (guitar), Otso Lyytikäinen (bass), Ilkka Pyykkönen (keyboards), myself (guitar), Mika Taskinen (guitar & vocals), Janne Torppa (drums) and Juha Tretjakov (vocals). Firmarock rules dictate the maximum number (7) of people on stage and 40% of the group entered to the competition must be employed by the company.
Our qualification gig was on Friday May 11th at Apollo Music Club in Helsinki. Our set-list was two classics, the Ataris’ punchy cover of Don Henley’s hit Boys of Summer and a robust and crunchy version of Tina Turner’s monumental Simply the Best. Despite butterflies and thanks to a surge of adrenaline, we took the stage and audience by storm. Our colleagues gave us amazing support and turned the qualification event into a real rock’n’roll extravaganza. What a thrill!
The critics gave us balanced and encouragingly positive feedback (one of the critics dubbed our show a “rock opera”, in the positive sense of the word) and after contemplating for 30 minutes on who goes through to the semi-finals, it was announced that The Insultants are among the top 3! Even though we knew we had a solid set and thus a fairly good chance of qualifying, the other bands were extremely good – hearing the news was admittedly relieving and a well started celebration was fuelled to last.
The semi-finals are in September, check out the Firmarock website for details (you can also give your thumbs up for our group). And come see our ‘critically acclaimed’ show at the semi-finals!