Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hardcorepunk show

Rebuild collective presents:

CRITICAL POINT[POR] ///straight edge old school hardcore

listen here


REMEDY[Novi Sad] ///NYC hardcore 

& GRANJE[Novi Sad] /// hardcore /// first show

new band from HCNS all star crew. Members of Furtive Forest, ex-xUnisonx, Ground Zero

Tuesday, November 22 at 8:00pm, 250rsd @ CK13, Novi Sad

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gig review: Downfall of Gaia Eastern European Tour 2011, day two. Novi Sad

18 October, day two - Novi Sad, Serbia

Being wrapped in sheets like a caterpillar and near the core of the source of warmth provided a really good night sleep. "Panta Rhei" was an excellent place to crash and in the morning it managed to get everyone up and running quickly. Morning rituals were done, some of us even washing their hair with cold water despite the existence of a warm batch ("C" is "H" and "H" is "C", isn't that obvious, backwards universe?) and pretty soon we started packing up the equipment into the van. I was given the task to help with packing the merch and I succeeded in not breaking/burning/destroying anything in the process. Once everything was done and we said our goodbyes to the owner of the club and the cuddliest dog on the planet, we went to hit the road.
There was a quick stop at a nearby supermarket and when the first gas station was in sight the parking lot was ours! What followed was a beautiful vegan feast on the sunny concrete and more proof of how much sharing food with people can be astonishingly bonding. After lots of coffee, bread, ajvar and all sorts of delicious food, the open road was hit again...though only for a short while, since the van was stopped by the forces of law and chaos. Of course the high IQ policemen had no knowledge of English, thus I had to quickly jump out of the van and try to save the day. Luckily, they weren't being overtly hostile, so after a confession from one of them that "he can understand everything, except a nose piercing", we were free to continue the journey to Novi Sad. Largely uneventful, except for an instance when I laughed so hard that I started crying (you sexy Bjorn you) the trip was fast and short, thus we pretty much arrived to the venue earlier than expected. We were greeted by Aleksandar, drummer of "Reflections of Internal Rain" and my look-alike brother from another mother, a running joke connected to us in the Novi Sad scene. I was quite surprised and happy to see him, finally being able to talk in person a bit and spend some time together, so the van was closed fast and we set off to guide our German guests through the city.
After a long walk toward the Petrovaradin fortress and surrounding area, we returned to the heart of the city to grab some delicious food from Dule, singer of "Reflections of Internal Rain" who had a perfect fitting job of feeding the travelers. He pretty much managed to make me want to eat the plate itself due to the inexpressibly delicious food, so a quick note to all worldwide bands: if you have a tour over Europe, drop by to Novi Sad if only just to taste Dule's dishes! The band and the rest of the tour companions seemed to be tired and sleepy, so I took the task of washing the dishes and give them a chance to chill out a bit. Later, equipment was set and a sound check performed at around 7 PM, which I had the privilege to attend and offer my ear skills.
Some notes concerning the venue, since I now realized that I haven't mentioned it so far. The hanging out, eating, sleeping and the gig itself took place in "CK13", the famous Youth Center in Novi Sad. I have talked about this venue in some previous gig reviews, but it has been a while since my last visit and as much as I saw the venue changed a lot, in the most positive of ways. Even in the past, this gig space was one of my favorites in Serbia and I was extremely glad to see it evolve even further. This time I got to see the "backstage", as well as the small library connected to the gig room, which is filled with some alternative/underground books and zines, the kitchen and the sleeping quarters/offices which are nested a floor higher. The entire venue provides a really comfortable feel to the visitor, since it is somehow secluded from the rest of the city, despite it being in the heart of it and literally offers you with everything you need. As for the actual gig room, it managed to impress me a lot, radiating with the most clean and excellent sound during the show.
In any case, prior to the concert and during the show, I had the chance to meet up and talk to some friends from Novi Sad, as well as meeting the good friend and colleague on the blog, Luka, with whom I haven't talked in person for more than a year. I also grabbed the chance to get to know some new nice people along the way, especially the youngsters of the scene. Haha, it was so funny when dear old friend Vuk addressed me as "the screamo god of Serbia" and promoting my blog in the process. In any case, I was extremely glad to see new faces, especially younger ones, being interested into the whole underground music, since in Belgrade it is somewhat stagnant and dying.
So, after a lot of social mingling and just having a good time, the gig started, "Reflections of Internal Rain" breaking the murmur of the audience, since sadly "Furtive Forest" couldn't play that night. Most of you know by now that this band is one of the most loved Serbian acts by yours truly and it was a real pleasure seeing them live once again. They recently returned from a tour with "Birds In Row" and I was amazed with how much energy and strength they managed to bring back. The stage was constantly bursting with movement and jumping and dancing around, their music even driving the audience maximally, which was quite cool since I remember the Novi Sad crowd being not much into expressing body movement before. Their set featured the majority of tracks from their latest release, "Answers" and some older songs such as "Resurrection", "My Promise" and "Sunset of the End". I'll be honest here, of course, and repeat myself that the new songs didn't manage to completely impress me, as much as the "Last Flood" material did. Those songs are absolutely top notch and make me really proud that the band hails from these parts, though they didn't grab my attention that much. I really settled down to this band being a bit depressive and with a slightly melancholic, yet aggressive and direct tone, which somewhat changed on the new recordings. "Answers" provides a lot of experimental sounds and extreme amounts of melodic and twisted tones, which I am not yet used to hear under their name. Guess I just need more time, right? All in all, their set was excellent to behold, most importantly because of the amount of passion which materialized in front of your eyes while you look at them and it is really beautiful to see the band being so alive and kicking after all these years.
"Downfall of Gaia" came up next and managed to blow my brains away. I thought that the Backa Topola show was astounding, but this gig just left me stunned and shaking. The venue and its clear sound and acoustic came to aid the band, morphing their tunes into a incredibly strong thunderstorm of tones and emotion. Songs which were performed were the same as on the previous gig, but the sheer experience was increased a tenfold in the most positive of ways. Every drop of emotion that could have possibly been present when the songs were written was transferred to the crowd in the purest of forms, an impact hit that simply can't be forgotten. From the very opening sound and all until the end, I was standing as if on needles from the intensity of the music wrapping around me. The switch between "Prolog" and "Odium" was so powerful for instance, that it made me literally confused at what to do with myself at the given time, creating a wish to just meld myself with the sound and somehow aid it. Their entire set was such a pleasure to watch and it was definitely the best show for me in the duration of these four days. I was so happy with the reaction of the audience as well, everyone just sticking around and being entranced with the soundscape, releasing the deserved ovations toward the band after each song. In the end, the crowd cheered, but went silent quickly and it was so funny how after my initial screaming of the word "more" the audience rippled with more claps and yells, resulting in us getting one additional song.
All around, this was an amazing show, both for the audience and the band. I was really happy that the band was satisfied with everything and it is so nice that they went away with a great experience in their hearts. After the gig, we hanged out around the venue, grabbed the chance to talk to some more friends of mine and FINALLY grasped the chance to get a "Reflections of Internal Rain" shirt and once again being faced with the joke of Aleksandar and me being twins. The funniest thing was that Toni from "Downfall of Gaia" reminds me of Aleksandar, who also agreed on the fact when I told him, so now we are actually triplets! Later, the weary travelers went upstairs into the resting quarters where the possibility to finally take a shower emerged. Caterpillar mode again ensued and a night filled with rest.

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