On the ever-growing list of live streaming shows that we’ve been seeing in the spring of 2020, SHIRAZ LANE was the one that we were perhaps most excited for. Their show in support of “Vibration I” was cancelled a mere handful of hours before the show was set to take place on March 13th, 2020. This stream on April 3rd, 2020, was meant to make up for the loss; since we had been planning to attend in March, we naturally tuned in to Magnusborgin Studiot in Porvoo where the show was streamed!
Prior to starting, the streaming page had a short reel of their upcoming shows and then, oddly enough, had a 5 second countdown timer that led to… a 5 minute countdown timer for the show? That was a weird moment. As showtime rolled around, the stream opened with an MC, we assumed from the SemiLive streaming service who was hosting the show, who was fully muted at first but eventually turned up just enough that we could hear her introduce the band. She didn’t beat around the bush too long and it was only a few minutes past 20:00 when the band came onto the studio stage that was set up with some tall blue lights for atmosphere. The band opened with “Keep it Alive” and while the energy was there, the sound balance was not and there were a few stanky notes and some rough backing vocals as they began to iron out the kinks. Despite the technical issues, this is a great new track and it was awesome to hear it “live,” so to speak. Ana Willman even got to show off on the drums towards the end. They moved on to “Mama’s Boy,” which had vocalist Hannes Kett feeling a bit more in his element, despite the song having considerably more high notes.
The cut was fairly well-done, neither lingering too long nor clipping too fast, and the artsy shots were well-done without being over-the-top. After the first two songs, Kett mentioned that this was a totally new thing for them but nevertheless it’s always a fun experience to go out of their comfort zone. He began to talk in a strange voice as he mentioned that they should move on to the next song, which turned out to be the title track from their second album, “Carnival Days.” These guys are definitely not glued to the studio versions of the songs and certainly play around and have fun with the songs. When it works it works but due to the wavering mix at times, when it failed it was a bit cringey. They followed with the classic “Mental Slavery,” one of their original hits that’s always great to hear, though trying to get the crowd to sing along was a bit awkward and Kett talking to a non-present crowd became a bit of a running joke for the rest of the show. Willman played around on the drums for a moment and then Kett spoke about the trials and tribulations of a low-testosterone fellow trying to grow a mustache and how much their manager dislikes it.
“Tidal Wave” made me close my eyes and imagine having the crowd around as the song’s fun energy really came across. The band was able to scroll some comments between songs and played a golden oldie in “House of Cards,” which is a personal favorite and I’m thrilled to hear that they’re still playing it, as one of the heaviest songs from their debut album and we were definitely singing along (sorry, not sorry, neighbors). They did leave out a couple of great songs like “Wake Up” and “The Crown” though… at around 70-80 minutes’ total run time, I wouldn’t have hated a few more songs.
Miki Kalske on “lead rhythm guitar” was introduced before the groovy and melacholic “Paljain jaloin,” a from a compilation album called “Mullan alta,” which appears to be a music-based Finnish television series, or something of the sort. Kett gave a little speech about togetherness and the current situation and taking the step into a new way of living, and encouraged people to forget about money and believe in love. The band then played “You Will Remain,” another highlight as the new EP was fantastic and we had been looking forward to seeing these songs live last month. “Do You,” was also great, naturally, and after some talk about potatoes and some general weirdness, they played their awesome cover of SAVAGE GARDEN‘s “To the Moon and Back,” which was released at the end of 2019. They began to wrap up the set with one of their most high-energy, fun songs, “Harder to Breathe,” but because people had requested “Story to Tell,” it acted as the final track to long-time fans who know the song from way, way back.
Having really looked forward to the live show in March that was postponed, this was a highly-anticipated stream for us and the band delivered. While the MC was a bit soggy and wooden, her screen time was minimal and SHIRAZ LANE put her to shame with their energy, despite some clear amusement over talking to an empty room of imagined viewers. Still, it was great to get to hear some of the new songs at last (though, ahem, where was “Revolution”!?) and we look very much forward to the next club show, which will hopefully take place on July 9th, 2020, at Tavastia. See you there!
1. Keep it Alive
2. Mama’s Boy
3. Carnival Days
4. Mental Slavery
5. Tidal Wave
6. House of Cards
7. Paljain jaloin
9. You Will Remain
10. Do You
11. To the Moon and Back (Savage Garden cover)
12. Harder to Breathe
13. Story to Tell
Written by Bear Wiseman
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”