Shiraz Lane have been rocking around Finland since 2011. No stage was too big for them, they have played all over the world and now recently they have welcomed their newest jewel “Carnival Days” to the world. This was seemingly their first headlining gig at Nosturi, which is also where they won third place at Emergenza Festival. After the album review and the interview about “Carnival Days”, the next step for me would quite logically be to attend their album release. Especially because I had never seen the band play live before. I’ve heard rumors about them being a great live band and as I was impressed by the latest release, I couldn’t say no when the opportunity arose. Check out the gallery here.
Warming up for Shiraz Lane, was a band named Blue Eyed Sons. I personally had never heard of them, but while looking at their songs, I can sum up their music as basically your standard Finnish hard rock band. I have not much to complain about, their songs sound great. Their music seems to be more influenced by blues, psychedelic rock and thus their songs are much more slow and melancholic than Shiraz Lane. Which makes this an interesting choice for an support band.
While I enjoyed the music pretty much and felt like these guys have created their own style and sound, and it works, my advice for the future for these guys would be to interact a bit more with the audience. Of course when you play blues rock and not all of your songs are uptempo, it might seem tricky to move a lot. But the engagement with the crowd was a bit lacking and they still could use some improvement on that field. Especially in contrast with Shiraz Lane, who clearly own the stage. Make the show bigger and you will sound more convincing as well. That’s the only thing I was missing in the show and it’s something that groovy songs such as theirs need.
Overall Blue Eyed Sons serves as a great opener. The people seemed to enjoy the performance and seemed warmed up alright. I’m sure we will hear a lot more from this band in the future though, and I hope to stay a bit in tune and look more into their music. They have a bright future ahead of them!
A self-made – or at least I assume it was – banner with “Welcome To The Carnival Days” was hanging from the stage. Some spots revealed the silhouettes of the band behind the screen. And then all of the sudden time came and the curtain dropped, welcoming us to the show with the opening song of their album “Carnival Days”. The guys already had promised me during the interview, that they would make sure that “Carnival Days” would look great on stage. A first step in that process is the curtain dropping and I must say that it is an impressive start to kick off an album release party. The guys looked really excited to be on stage again and playing their new songs for us.
Following a strong opener was the newest single “The Crown”. A very classic Shiraz Lane song, with even more attitude live. The song sounds heavier live than on the album and works very well. We were now warmed up enough for the next song “Tidal Wave”. In my review I wrote that “Tidal Wave” feels pretty much like a song you need to listen to in the car, during summer and pump up the volume. I still agree with that. so far all the songs from the new album work very well live. There is no use of a backing tape, which makes the songs sound a bit different at times, but that’s also totally okay.
After that it was time for some old songs and some typical Shiraz Lane songs passed the revue. All the songs scored very well with the audience. The album hasn’t been out that long, but many people seemed to be able to mouth the words and sing along. The venue wasn’t sold out, but a lot of people had turned up and the ones present, really gave themselves. While being in the photo pit I heard many girls screaming and stating their love for the guys. The photo pit itself was crammed as well, which only shows me how popular these guys are around here. “Story to Tell” and “Wake up” were followed by “For Crying Out Loud”, which made some room again for some new songs. All-in-all I would say that the setlist was well-balanced out. Although, personally I did miss “Momma’s Boy”. I guess that’s also my own fault for not attending their shows before this album got released.
That Hannes Kett is a good frontman shows very much not only in his general energy on stage but also during his speeches. His speeches often sound motivational and often have an inspirational effect. It’s not just like hey, next up is “song name”, it’s about more. That’s something that I really appreciate in bands performing. While announcing “Hope” spontaneity took over Hannes and he said something amongst the lines of “hey let’s put up some lights in the air, I’ve never seen that”. In a way to me that showed how much this show really means to the guys.
Other than speeches, the energy on stage is very great. In their interview they explained how the friendship and the music are like a symbiosis. One doesn’t work without the other. That’s something that is very much visible on stage. You can see that they’re a bunch of friends rocking out on a stage and in the first place have fun. But at the same time they deliver great and don’t disappoint with performance. The songs sound heavier, more energetic live. Jani Laine‘s solo are more intricate than the ones on the album. Their songs have more poise, they don’t sound exactly as they sound on the albums and that’s a great thing. It shows that these guys are true musicians and really good at what they do.
So basically there’s more improv, more solos, more “show”, more groove to the songs. I even dare to say that the albums are great, yes. But we only can see Shiraz Lane‘s full potential while seeing them live. That these guys are great musicians, also for example also shows in the intermezzos between the songs, or even inside of the songs, take for example the drum solo of Ana Willman. I’m normally not a big fan of drum solos if I have to be completely honest, it usually ends up being a game of showing how quick and adequate a drummer is for the job, more than showing artistry. In this case Ana’s solo was groovy, to-the-point and creative. Kudos to that.
A moment I was looking forward to was to hear “Reincarnation” live. I think so far this is the best song Shiraz Lane has to offer us, but I was curious if the song would live up to my expectations live. And yes, it did. It’s safe to say that this was my personal highlight of the show. What did ruin it for me – and this is the only ‘bad thing’ I have to say about the whole show – was the sudden transition to “Harder To Breathe”. This really is a personal opinion, because “Reincarnation” is a tough cookie to crack and I would have needed some room for thought. I felt like I needed a little break in between those songs. Because “Reincarnation” just has an effect of an overflow of thoughts to process on me and makes me some even tear up at times. So more room for thought would have been personally great for me, but like I said, very personal thing.
Engagement with the audience is no problem for Shiraz Lane there’s plenty of songs to sing along with “Harder To Breathe”, “Shangri-La”. Overall the show aspect is great and bigger, even though still on a smaller scale. Next to the curtain drop, at some point there were gigantic balloons going around the audience and of course a mandatory confetti canon. The band came back to perform two more songs for us “Mental Slavery” and “People Like Us”.
Overall, I would say that it was definitely worth it to go see this band perform. Like I said, you get a good picture of what Shiraz Lane has to offer on album, but it’s only when you see them play live when the true magic happens.
- Carnival Days
- The Crown
- Tidal Wave
- Begging for Mercy
- Gotta Be Real
- Story to Tell
- Wake Up
- For Crying Out Loud
- War of Mine
- Shot of Life
- Harder to Breathe
- Mental Slavery (encore)
- People Like Us (encore)