New year, new bands, new camcorder and a new venue.
I headed to the Finnish National Theatre to check out their small Lava Klubi (Stage Club) venue. They host music here frequently and when I interviewed Tom Morgan he cited it as one of his favourite places to play, so I was keen to see it for myself. It’s a cozy venue, with nice lounge furniture – embroidered armchairs and a forest of hanging lights – but it’s a bit of an odd shape to watch bands in. It’s long and narrow, and the stage is positioned at the narrowest point, so that there is barely any space to watch from the front and the view from one side is completely obscured by sound equipment and the DJ booth. The entry fee was 5€, but there’s no hidden cloakroom fee. But enough about the venue, we’re all here for the bands.
Minttu & Olli
First up were the cute folk duo, Minttu & Olli, with a set of quirky and humourous songs with imaginitive and somewhat hard-to-follow lyrics. They had the catchiest songs of the evening, although I am not sure what any of them were about, despite them being sung in English. In fact, I think I’d have liked them even more if they had sung in Finnish and they seem to fit the home-music mold better. Part of the reason for it is, I think, that the grammar mistakes and the singer’s accents are a little too noticable and the playful lyricism that they employ would benefit from being performed fluently.
Below is a video sample of a song that I swear they said was called “Peter Andre”, despite there being no clues to this subject in the lyrics. Unless you count the phrase “shameful material”. It’s a perky number.
This band’s Facebook page descibes them as ‘Soul/Pop’ and I was relieved to hear something other than folk pop from the Finnish alternative scene. I enjoyed listening to them a lot, though (pet peeve) the audience became impolite at this point and started talking all over the band. That’s what you get in music clubs with a lounge layout, though.
The band provided the most polished performance of the night and I particularly liked the singer’s voice; she uses the full depth and power of it and can sing above the sound of a full band. Her voice is well suited to soul. One thing I would like is to hear her takes some major risks with it. In fact, a few more experimentations and risks injected into the whole performance could give the band a stronger hook; if they can keep the quality of the performance without taking themselves too seriously, then they could be onto something special. The lyrics were English again, and well-enough written (the odd minor error), but again were very serious. I was reminded of the words of Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker, who discussed he didn’t find success with his lyrics until he stopped trying to be deep.
I think Dylan have a more internationally acceptable style and I enjoyed their performance the most. Of the videos I captured, I have to go with placing a solo performance into this blog post instead of a full band video, because it’s a beautiful song. I do have another Dylan video on my YouTube channel and you can listen to demo tracks on their SoundCloud page as well.
The night headlined with Nok Nok, who we have reviewed before. Since the last review, they have released an EP and a single, Hotti Nätti Nuori Äiti (a romantic song about a MILF), which was voted winner of radio YLEX’s Saturday morning new music show. They have a couple of new tracks in the works too, which they previewed at the gig. The new tracks are a little rough now, but having seen how their song-writing process develops, I know they’ll soon be among the best in the set. Below is the official video for their single.
Also, fun facts: VäinöVaäinö of Kuningasidea fame produced two tracks of the Nok Nok EP and can be heard singing backing vocals in Hotti Nätti... Bet you didn’t know that.