Let me tell you a little story of megaphones, neon masks and confetti. Once upon a time, in a town called Berlin, people started dropping into a cosy little underground bar in the middle of Kreuzberg. The vibe is relaxed and the small crowd of mostly young hipsters is lounging on steps or on chairs during the opening act.
Synne Sanden, a Norwegian indie sweetheart in a bright green dress, launched what turned out to be an unforgettable night. In appreciation of the lovely voice of Sanden and her band made up of a cello, a violin, an electric guitar and her keyboard, the audience has fallen silent. I quietly sat down amongst the listeners. Sitting next to me, just as utterly transfixed by the music are Claire and Beatrice from the Haiku Hands.
The night goes on. Nine o’clock. The stage is dipped into misty blue light and the smoke machine blazes out thick foggy clouds, as three girls march on stage to an all-consuming electronic beat. Haiku Hands are wearing neon masks and perform a foot-stomping choreography as they kick off their Berlin set with pumping beats. From the first minute on the electronic Hip Hop of the Australian outfit echoed off the old brick walls, the crowd rushed to the dance floor. The collective burst into “Squat”, their most recent release. The girls rap the cocky lyrics and rock their booty-shaking choreography without missing a single note and made even the bartender squat down low after their example. The jumpy energy of “Jupiter” and the catchy chorus make for a perfect funky pop track and was welcomed by clapping hands and “air punches”.
For “Not About You”, probably their best known single, Haiku Hands put on the trademark censor glasses from the music video. By now every last person has moved out of their hiding spots at the bar, warmed up and gotten out their dance moves. Claire is brought a megaphone along to give her vocals a special twist, making it sound as if the concert were a riotous demonstration. Mid show Beatrice jumps onto the DJ desk and starts head banging. It is impressive how the band performs with such enthusiasm, yet without hitting a single wrong note or sounding out of breath (which I certainly was by then). The rapped verses, sometimes all together, or one by one, are as sharp and on point as on the record and the lyrics’ social criticism is soaked in cynicism.
The show was the perfect mixture of well-choreographed, synched moves and free styled and straight out crazy dancing. They end on a new single and throw confetti into a crowd who is just as sweaty as the performers. Then Haiku Hands hop down onto the dance floor and go crazy, moshing and dancing amongst the people. The girls disappear just as quickly as they came, leaving behind a cheering, sweaty and electrified audience.
Haiku Hands are a true force of nature. The concert was packed with fierce female energy, danceable beats, and a great performance. Every song came with choreography and the girls go all out, getting their sweat on, to turn the stage into a dance floor. It truly shows that the outfit loves what they are doing, and the positive energy is absolutely infectious. Their show is intimate and they engage with the audience in a way where they make it almost feel like going out with friends.
I left the venue floating on the high the concert transported me to and danced my way home with “Not About You” still blasting in my head. Seeing Haiku Hands live was an experience. Beatrice, Claire and Mie know how to put on a killer show and are incredibly friendly and down to earth, chatting with the audience. They are about to conclude their month-long Europe tour, hopping all around the continent. Next stops will be Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. The European audiences are certainly different from the Aussie fan base they have gathered. Nevertheless, Beatrice says, they enjoyed every single one of the gigs and their generous shows were always well received, by bigger or smaller audiences.
Haiku Hands took a lot of new material on the road with them, so stay tuned, there might be an album coming up soon. As a team, the girls create an incredibly unique and spontaneous sound with rebellious lyrics. This Australian collective was one of the best live acts I have seen in a while and made even a Rock n Roll fan like me add some electronic music to her playlist. Haiku Hands are a band you should not miss when they are in town. (And make sure to bring cash to the show. The girls have funky merchandise with them.)
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Their European tour continues on Satuday 3rd November in Copenhagen, 5th November in Stockholm, 6th November in Oslo and 8th November at Iceland Airwaves. Haiku Hands will then be back in Australia in December where they’ll support Bloc Party and play a string of dates running them into March 2019.
With Bloc Party:
WED 21 NOV – THEBARTON THEATRE – ADELAIDE
SAT NOV 24 – RED HILL AMPHITHEATRE – PERTH
TUE NOV 26 – MARGARET COURT ARENA – MELBOURNE
THU 29 NOV – HORDERN PAVILION – SYDNEY
FRI NOV 30 – HORDERN PAVILION – SYDNEY (SOLD OUT)
SAT DEC 01 – RIVERSTAGE – BRISBANE
Dec 08 – The Pleasure Garden, St. Kilda
Jan 31 – The Foundry, Fortitude Valley
Feb 01 – Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst
Feb 02 – The Cambridge, Newcastle
Feb 05 – University of Canberra, Bruce
Feb 08 – Party In The Paddock, Launceston
Feb 16 – Howler, Brunswick
Feb 23 – Spore Festival, Auckland NZ
Mar 01 – Fat Controller, Adelaide
Mar 02 – Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth
For more details head to the band’s Facebook Page.
The show was attended by the reviewer on the 1st of November 2018 at Maze in Berlin.