In the middle of financial crisis in a rock cafe Tapper on the edge of Tallinn (Estonia), the first Rockabilly Invasion festival was organised. So the bags were packed, airplane ticket was bought and trip started. What should I expect from it – was a big question in my head. Since some time I don’t trust rockabilly festivals neither in Estonia nor in Finland. Somehow all of them are slowly (sometimes not that slowly) turning into drunk (sometimes very drunk) parties, where people can hardly understand what is going on around. Well, and as few of you have probably heard, Estonia used to be part of scary Soviet Union, which was hiding behind the Iron Curtain for years.. so that made even more exciting to see what kind of festival it could be.
Having a small rest in hotel and having taken a taxi, we moved to that rock cafe. In fact, it was cute place with nicely organised stage, very good sound and quite big dance floor. People (mostly, Finnish and Estonian) tried to look stylish and ‘50s-style, which was already a good sign. Unfortunately, the exciting communication which I am used to in Holland, was missing, but still people were friendly and they all came here for the music!
The first band were on stage at exactly 9 pm. Boogie Company, consisting mostly of ex-members of Estonian rock’n’roll famous band The Rockin’ Guys, started to warm up cold Estonian people. Having a good name, they could easily fulfill their mission with quite a success. Lots of local rockabillies enjoyed this band the most. Well, probably they deserve it, but it's not the band of my taste. They cover a lot of “heavy” bands, turning their music to rock’n’roll… not the type rock’n’roll I like. But they have something that probably the fans of billy would like. Andrus Kasesalu, the lead singer and bass player, also made a great job, helping with organizing the festival! Oh, I have totally forgotten, in some songs also the singer of former Rockin’ Guys as well as Baltic rock’n’roll star Pete Anderson joined the band . People loved it!
The next band (with quietness in pause… funny, but no music at all during the breaks) were guests from Poland – the Jet-Sons. I was not that positive about them after listening to their songs online, but they surprised me a bit… with their huge energy and wish to perform. They all are young guys and it was certainly a lot of fun to look at… If their enthusiasm and interest (also wish to learn and develop themselves) in rockabilly won’t disappear, this name you will hear again in some years on some bigger festival.
Yes, finally it was time for authentic rockabilly! The Tri-Tones (also most members are from rockabilly band The Jumping’ Wheels) came on stage. After a couple of songs the Dutch singer RJ (upright bass player and founder of Red Shots) fronted the band with his guitar. That was, surely, the best part of the whole evening… at least it was rockabilly, full of energy and fun, like it should be. Rockin’ voice backing up by this brilliantly co-operative trio brought “wow” feeling. Change of instruments and also appearing of Garik (bassist of the Jumpin’ Wheels), who was jumping, dancing and shouting (it was idea of the song… due to its lyrics), made the act even more special and interesting.
The last band was Rockin’ Paradox… Finnish rock’n’roll band with Finnish rock’n’roll sound. My simple description, but most of the bands from the neigbour country sound this way. It was good playing, it was rock’n’roll… but I love softer music… and seeing how they looked like, I expected more rockabilly… maybe that is why I had some small disappointment. But they were good, really good. And they made last people that were present dance! If you have been there you would understand why they really could be proud of it!
The party came to its end. The good feeling of seeing friends, dancing and enjoying the music filled my heart. And some sense of relief was flowing in my blood – there is certainly future and place for rockabilly music in my small home country – Estonia.