The Opening Night presented all the colours of Finnish jazz

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The first day at jazzahead! 2017 saw eight beautiful perfomances in fully packed halls. 

The jazzahead! fair was opened yesterday in Finnish colours. As a partner country, Finland got to present eight showcases in two Messehalle halls and at Schlachthof, an old butchery turned into a restobar and live venue.

The night began at the Finnish Food Court outside Schlachthof with a bite to eat and some Kyrö Distillery gin to go with it. I don't think anyone anticipated just how popular the Food Court was, so the lines grew long at times. Fortunate to all the sad faces who missed the Food Court opening yesterday, it opens at 2.00pm today and serves the hungry and thirsty until 1.00am!

The concerts were a success, and the vibe amongs the audience hustling between the two venues was electrified. The lineup was constructed just perfectly, so that the bands complimented each other, if you caught all of them. 

First act was the acclaimed, nuanced piano trio Kari Ikonen Trio in Hall 7.1, followed by more rowdy Gourmet sextet, featuring accordeon, tuba, trombone, guitar, saxophone and drums. Gourmet opened the Schlachthof series. Next in line was the young and powerful trio VIRTA in Hall 7.2. VIRTA played their wild and emotional set of highly effected trumpet and almost heavy metal-like beats and bass, to an ecstatic audience. Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy was in their own element when taking over the Schlachthof stage in prime time at 9.30. Pauli Lyytinen's saxophone and Björkeinheim's guitar were like two energetic kids, siblings  who express and let out anything that comes to mind, in an honest and captivating way.  Verneri Pohjola Group mezmerized full house with his father Pekka Pohjola's music, and that was the perfect final show for the Hall 7.1. In Schlacthof the party was just getting started with Tenors of Kalma, an oddball trio featuring Jimi Tenor in the mad saxophone. Hall 7.2 also got its worthy final in Aki Rissanen Trio's heart-warming , lyrical piano tunes.  The night was wrapped up in Schlacthof after midnight by Dalindèo's entertaining Slavic action jazz, and yet again the volume of the audience's applause and appraisal was deafening. One could say that the night couldn't have been better!

Tomorrow, on Saturday, you can catch some of yesterday's acts and more, playing in venues around the city at the Club Night.