LCMDF with Phantom and Wino4ever DJs at Tavastia

Phantom at Tavastia - Photo by David de Young

Phantom at Tavastia – Photo by David de Young

The double bill of Phantom and LCMDF at Tavastia Wednesday night made for a lovely mid-week evening out in Helsinki.

When we arrived, the Wino4ever DJs were warming up the club with their enthusiastic vibe. Their musical selections were from all over the map, but always fun. The energy from the DJ booth was contagious.

The live show started around 9 with Phantom, the electropop duo of sound designer and media artist Tommi Koskinen (effects) and Sibelius Academy-trained Hanna Toivonen (vocals). Koskinen’s gear included a very cool theremin-type device that looked like it was salvaged from a Starship Enterprise model. The device added a nice touch to the live feel of the show, which was nice as there is only so much visible effort you can put into twiddling nobs when working with primarily pre-recorded backing tracks. A third band member manipulated images from a live camera on the screen behind the band.

Phantom video for Phantom’s “Kisses”

Phantom has been hyped this week in Finland and has also received favorable press recently in the UK. They’ve been praised by British band the xx, and their single “Kisses” was premiered by the Guardian. The centerpiece of their show is Hannah Toivonen and her mesmerizing vocals. You get a fine example of those vocals in the much touted video for “Kisses” (which you are advised to watch here, as you won’t be disappointed). Live, the song brings the same shivers up the spine as in the recording. It’s sensitive, beautiful and disturbing at the same time. And it’s a tasteful and perfect use of Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1. Toivonen is still growing into her role as a front woman, but her fluid hand-motions and subtle dancing enhance her impeccably-pitched singing. Phantom’s set was nicely paced and varied. They even slipped in a cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” This act will only get more powerful as they get more experience touring.

You can download Phantom’s 4-song EP “Scars” for free from their website here. For more photos of Phantom’s live show at Tavastia, check out this excellent set of pictures by Eetu Ahanen.


LCMDF at Tavastia – Photo by David de Young

LCMDF is a band who first and foremost knows how to entertain a crowd. They get extra credit from knowing how to appeal to a wider demographic than just young people who like electropop girl groups. Though the band likes to cite ‘90s influences to their music, bands like Weezer, Chemical Brothers and Beck, perhaps the appeal to older audiences (like myself) is the influences of ‘80s groups ranging from dance bands such as The B-52s to the playful tease of fun girl groups like The Waitresses’ (“I Know What Boys Like”).

Primary vocalist Emma Kemppainen wasted no time revving up the crowd as the set began, clapping her hands and wireless mic above her head. (Kemppainen is a singer who clearly can’t be tied down by a cord.) Sister Mia Kemppainen was grounded stoically stage left behind her electric guitar. The duo also features a live drummer who perfectly rounds out both the sound and visual experience with her steady beat. Lack of a live bass player is a non-issue. Once the set began, the energy never let up. Emma oozed confidence and Mia’s steady, sometimes understated guitar provided the perfect accompaniment.

Video for LCMDF’s “Future Me”

This band is also one that seems ready-made for outdoor summer festivals and live TV. As an audience member you feel seen and like you’re a part of the show. At one point Emma jumped from the stage to dance with the audience, literally breaking down the fourth wall she’d been breaking figuratively from the start with her interactive stage demeanor.

LCMDF played most of their well-known songs including “Paranoia” and “I Go Insane” from their latest EP Mental Health Part 1. (Two more EPs are due out soon as part of a trilogy on FAN Recordings.) Also heard were “Ghandi,” “Future Me,” “Take Me to the Mountains” and “Cool and Bored” from 2011’s Love & Nature.

Their acoustic encore of “Beach Life” was lovely (and a sing-along for some in the front row.)

LCMDF is off now on a tour of Finland this weekend and then a European tour this spring.

LCMDF early 2013 tour dates:

  • 7-feb FIN Nuclear Nightclub, Oulu, Finland
  • 8-feb FIN Freetime, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • 9-feb FIN Valoa Festival, Tampere, Finland
  • 13-feb SE Fritzs Corner, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 14-feb NO By:Larm Festival, Oslo, Norway
  • 15-feb NO By:Larm Festival, Oslo, Norway
  • 20-mar DE Comet, Berlin, Germany
  • 21-mar DE Halle 01, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 22-mar FR Point FMR, Paris, France
  • 23-mar CH M4 Music Festival, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 26-mar DE Uebel & Gefährlich, Hamburg, Germany
  • 27-mar DE Beatpol, Dresden, Germany
  • 28-mar DE Zoom, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 29-mar NL Merelyn, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • 01-apr DE Studio 672, Cologne, Germany
  • 02-apr LX Rockhal, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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