28.4.2018 Mara Balls & Shiraz Lane @ On The Rocks, Helsinki


During the fall, On The Rocks had the unfortunate news of having an incident. Their plumbing exploded and thus they had to cancel gigs for the rest of the year and beginning of the new year. They worked hard to renovate the whole place and finally it was time for the opening weekend. Some bands were scheduled, among them Shiraz Lane. A show that would also be sold out. There was plenty to do around town, but I always like to follow bands that I have already written about and interviewed, because it’s nice to see them under different circumstances and after their very successful sophomore album “Carnival Days”, their music started to grow on me. Check out the full gallery here.


Opening for Shiraz Lane was Mara Balls. Unfortunately, due to a queue a only got to see like perhaps 1 minute of the band. At least I got to take 4 photos or something in total of  them. I had a very good overall 1 minute long first impression though, which makes me think that I should definitely someday go check out this band. They had a very strong 70 vibe to them, reminding me a bit of Led Zeppelin.

Anyhow, a little while after 21 it was time for Shiraz Lane, “We Built This City” by Starship started playing loudly through the speakers, marking the beginning of the show. Soon the band came on stage and they were received by much enthusiasm and joy from their fans. First song was the opening track from their new album “Carnival Days”. The show in general had less of a grant show-factor than the one in the one in Nosturi, but the intimacy went up a level or two, as On The Rocks is a smaller venue.

Performing in smaller venues also suits the band quite well, I get a positive feeling from seeing them play live. Somehow it’s very heartwarming and it puts a smile on my face. I think it’s just because they radiate happiness and warmth, it’s not a “job” for them, it’s a dream. When I look around, I see more smiles on people’s faces, I wonder if they share the same mutual feeling. Even someone who wouldn’t like hard rock or heavy metal at all, would still enjoy a Shiraz Lane show in my opinion.


All my praising aside, I can say in general that these guys really do have a bright future ahead. For me it’s really clear that they live for music. And in everything they do, every note they sing or play, every movement they make, every time they engage with the fans, it shows. This genuine positive attitude and cheerfulness is nowadays often hard to find within the scene, so hopefully they will keep this going as they continue their road down to success. If you haven’t seen Shiraz Lane yet, you have been quite missing out on something, go haul your ass over their shows. I’m sure they’ll be rocking in your town, quite soon.

The setlist contained some new songs, as well as some old songs. It was the first time for me to hear a song like “Money Talks” live. Throughout whole the setlist and some technical problems, the band maintained the same energy. As I was standing in the front row, I could both feel and smell the sweat coming down from their faces. From a to z the band was jumping, headbanging and smiling. Do these guys ever get exhausted?

Personal highlights for me this time were “Tidal Wave”, “Money Talks”, “Reincarnation” and “Wake Up”. Although it was really hard to pick a few. The setlist was a bit different than the one in Nosturi, it was also a bit shorter. But it’s nice to hear some different songs, or a different order once in a while as well. I was really positive about their release show, but perhaps I even dare to say this show was even better? There was just something about the atmosphere during this gig, that made it even better. Although the quality of the live songs, was equally outstanding.



1. Carnival Days
2. The Crown
3. Tidal Wave
4. Begging for Mercy
5. Gotta Be Real
6. Money Talks
7. Reincarnation
8. Wake Up
9. Shot of Life
10. Harder To Breathe
11. Shangri-la
12. Mental Slavery + People Like Us