Live Review: Helsinki Lambada Club, The Dark Horse, Birmingham

Getting the evening off to an earthshaking start are local three-piece Djabbic 3. Like most bands who operate as a trio they create a sound that’s far bigger than their constituent parts, and with a heavy bass rumble powering them forwards a persona of an unstoppable beast is created. There’s a definite space rock vibe to their modus operandi (think Monster Magnet on mescaline) and they generate a lot of love from the crowd, yet it would be nice if the vocalist and bassist became more animated and utilised the full stage to create a spectacle befitting their hefty sound.

Another band proudly flying the Birmingham flag are the Dollcanoes. They’ve a moniker that suggests wild explosions and streams of molten lava, and that’s precisely what they serve up. There’s plenty of attitude and energy to their performance, yet no matter how wild things get musically there’s a constant focus on song structure which ensures that the serious message found in the likes of ‘Game Over’ comes wrapped in a delicious melody. In fact, the band have a cup that’s overflowing with cracking tunes and if proof were required then just check out the closing couplet ‘Make Some Noise’ and ‘Wise Up’, a one two punch that could floor even the hardiest critic.

Contrary to their name, tonight’s headliners Helsinki Lambda Club don’t come from Finland, rather they originate from Japan and peddle a nice line in alternative rock. They do, however, have a sound that transcends borders and incorporates everything from surf rock to psychedelia. As part of their debut UK tour (titled HLC AIRLINES) the band make a stop at The Dark Horse to spread their good vibes in the second city. Opening with the infectious ‘Mitsubishi Macchiato’ the band prove themselves a lively bunch, with bassist Kodai Inaba being particularly animated. Like Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers (with restless leg syndrome) he’s all over the stage like a rash and bounding around with nervous energy. However, each band member has their own unique personality and what really shines through is their individual performance yet, paradoxically, they play together with a chemistry that verges on telepathy and handle all the neat time changes that pepper their songs like consummate professionals. Delivering a set that touches all points along their ten year career ensures that no one leaves disappointed.

Review and Photo by Peter Dennis