Last night was a Thursday night, and Thursdays are Helatorstai-klubi at Henry’s Pub (located on the opposite side of the square to Kamppi shopping centre’s main entrance). The venue was comfortably full with a good audience; the kind of audience that isn’t afraid to dance or stand near the stage to watch the bands. And the bands were good. Entry to the venue was free (I think the cloakroom was free, too, but I payed the gentleman anyway) and they sell earplugs, which were necessary in the enclosed space. The event is well-planned enough to have announcers, too, and a DJ for when the live music is over.
This band must be among Kuopio’s best. They perform pop music that can not really be entirely branded as ‘suomi pop’ (Finnish pop), in spite of the Finnish lyrics. That’s a good thing, by the way. I’m no mainstream suomi pop fan. Lasmatics’s full line up is as a 5-piece band fronted by female vocalist, Annika Tepponen, who has a fantastic clear voice and professional demeanour. Their tunes are upbeat and musically interesting, their songs have individuality from one another and it’s hard not to tap a foot to them. They’re also easy to dance to. By the time the encore song, Rakastellaan, came around, Lasmatic had induced the audience into a writhing ball of hugging hippy-love dancers with their hands in the air. Here’s the photographic evidence:
The songs in their soundcloud profile have been produced in a much more electronic style than the live performance, which I consider detrimental to their quality and appeal and, in the case of the higher pitched songs, a little grating on the eardrums. Maybe it goes down well with teens? I really liked the live performance a lot, hence the exaggerate impression of disappointment with the recordings. I wouldn’t want anyone to take a listen to this band online and write them off. Here’s a link to their Soundcloud profile in case you are curious.
I should also mention that Lasmatic were at one point in the UMK (‘new music competition’) that selected this year’s Eurovision entry for Finland. I don’t think they’re corny enough for Eurovision. I guess the judges didn’t either, because the final selection was the subdued, family-friendly Pernilla Karlsson.
Okay, first up an apology. I have no crappy phone photo or video of these guys to call my own. I’m sorry. Of my numerous lame excuses for this quite frankly inexcusable omission, the biggest was that I was busy filming for Soffa TV, because soon Karvapääkuninkaat will be performing at the upcoming Soffa Rock festival and we’re gathering material on a lot of the bands that will be performing there already. So here’s a textual sneak peak for you.
This trio is not just a strange name (fur-head-kings). The two singers (a guitarist and bassist) seemed to emulate flies by wearing lumberjack hats and large dark glasses. At least I think that’s what they were doing. Their outfits were delightfully costume-like. Their sound is big enough for all that they’re a small group. It’s alt-rock with Finnish lyrics. I’m sure they are masterful lyrics, but I didn’t manage to make out a word of them. Feel free to donate me a transcript in the language of your choice if you have on and if it is not English, I’ll run it through machine translation for optimal hilarity.
I can provide you with a link to Soundcloud so that you can listen to them. There’s also a Finnish language review you might like to read, written last autumn in blog ‘Singing Drunken Lullabies’. It looks like a good blog, so by the time you read this it will be on our ‘Blogs we like’ list. While I preferred the live performance of Lasmatic to their Soundcloud tracks, I slightly preferred Karvapääkuninkäät’s soundcloud to the live show for one reason only – in the recordings the vocals can be heard clearly. I already stated the importance of being able to hear the singer in live performances when I reviewed Cykles. I reiterate it here. For the portion of music listeners who, like myself, are of the lyrics-first persuasion, the importance of clear vocals in a live performance is paramount. Vocal obfuscation aside, it was a good show. People continued to dance and have a good time, albeit with considerably less hugging. Both bands were energetic and engaging and worth scoping out if you get the chance.
EDIT 20.05.12: Corrected translation of karvapääkuninkaat.