Turbo + Hello Jackie @ Voodoo, Belfast – Thursday December 6th 2012

Things weren’t going too well at the start of this evening’s debut visit to their Irish diaspora of fans by Polish ‘legends’ Turbo.

First of all, local support Bäkken – who less than a week earlier had officially launched their worthy ‘Death Of A Hero’ album – pulled out at short notice;  then, things were running badly behind schedule – so far behind, in fact, that neither band had actually undertaken a proper soundcheck by the allotted door time.

Hello Jackie already were a name familiar to your reviewer when the gig was announced.  Based in Dublin, I had seen the emigrés a year or so ago when they supported fellow countrymen Christ Agony:  I must admit to not having been overly impressed.  However, they made more of an impact earlier this year, when they released their much superior ‘Unspeakable Territories’ EP, a progressive fusion of psychedelia and thrash metal.


Live, they’re much heavier than on recording, and they certainly have come on leaps and bounds since that first occasion I saw them.  ZuZa lays down a mean line in progressive death metal riffs, while her sister, the beautiful Ashka, delivers her vocals with the aggression of Angela Gossow, albeit without the latter’s power…  They alternate their brutality with some nifty ethereal passages, with Ashka also counterpointing the heaviness of both her sister’s guitar work and her own death growls with some Zappa-esque keyboard discordance which adds a distinctive edge to their burgeoning sound.

Hello Jackie official Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/hellojackieband?ref=ts&fref=ts

Turbo are a much different proposition, having 30 years of experience under their belts.  However, during that time, they have undergone more stylistic changes than some members of the PM team have underwear, and this is something which is clear in a set which runs a gamut of sounds from classic metal through to sub-thrash via sleaze and AOR.

The earlier problems continue to plague the band into their main set, as the mics kick out almost immediately – maybe that wasn’t a bad thing, after all – and vocalist Tomasz Struszczyk certainly has a degree of charisma, pulling out a neat range of Coverdale-influenced poses, right down to the open shirt… he also has a pretty decent voice, and probably suffers from the over-variance in  material.

Unlike HJ, however, Turbo don’t acknowledge that there is a small percentage of non-Polish speaking locals in the tiny crowd (only six tickets were sold in advance), with all Struszczyk’s delivered exclusively in his native language, and this makes it impossible for us to understand just what the hell he’s on about.

Musically, apart from drummer  Mariusz Bobowski, who is highly impressive, they’re nothing special, with some fairly standard riffs and basic song structures, although they are tight and proficient at what they do:  however, apart from the frontman, there is no stage presence from any of the other four members, with the two guitarists expecially guilty in this regard.

On this occasion, the kudos goes to the support act for delivering a decent set in extremely challenging circumstances, while the headliners probably should not have bothered turning up…

Turbo official website:  http://www.turbo.art.pl/

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff