My brand new stress management technique can be summed up to something like this: “Avoid stressful situations, bitch”. It works intriguingly well in most of the occasions. But last week, during the traditional alternative New Year carnival “Velniop”, even with all the positive attitude I don’t have, something was concerning me, but I was not able to figure out, what.
Was it the fact that I missed the first two bands and couldn’t get in the mood? (Lol, no).
Was it the innovative lighting decisions – basically trying to blind everybody?
Was it some PA problems? (though I was standing near the stage most of the time, so wouldn’t put all my chips on this one).
Or was it just because the line up of OBŠRR, RUMUNIJA and VILKDUJA seemed really good, but there was too much good memories because of the previous performances of them, so it was a big possibility that I started to compare their previous performances with that on VELNIOP’12 and feel unhappy because things change and I feel old?
I put my vote on the last one.
A couple of years ago, hearing RUMUNIJA guys for the very first time was a love from the first sight. Drunken, darkish, chaotic orchestra, very lovable, with lyrics which ask to sing (shout) along. It was a phenomenon, that sincerity – honestly.
And one of the things which made them so special was unconditional communicating with the audience. Arūnas talks something about his village, Anton lies down and rolls over, beer flows down the stage, somebody lights up a cigarette. All the gals, including me, shouts that we want their BABIES STAT, people start taking out their belts. There was a performance even when they were not doing anything special, just talking randomly.
While in “Velniop”, those good vibes were still there, but way too little of all of that – or everything was already seen and seemed staged. Not that much talking, not that much sincerity. Truly artistic and joyful moments were when Arma joined them for a couple of songs. When they were alone, they seemed just tired or scared and a bit too much (or too little) drunk. I missed the fun stories.
Other thing would be the change in the structure. Now they have pretty nice (even though too long) instrumental improv intro and outro with a new guitarist and saxophonist, whom also joined for a couple of new songs. But introducing new band members also killed a bit of the overall vibe of RUMUNIJA as an eclectic trio, which, even if seems to always have some kind of technical problems, are outstanding with their lyrics and natural charm and chemistry between each other. The new guys, no matter how cute, just walked in and walked out, creating an unneeded chaos and not making that much of an effect.
And with five musicians on stage, phonogram and obvious lack of preparation seemed just not right.
What I can say. It was pretty fun, still, but after two years you either want to see some real progress, or to conserve everything in it’s best form. Now it was neither of it. Do not fix what ain’t broken?
Haven’t listened to all of them, but I would say that “Patogi gelmė” was one of the most interesting Lithuanian releases of 2012. And it is always a pleasure to hear OBŠRR playing live. Somehow, mostly it happens once a year, on “Velniop” – last year we were lucky enough to see him in a fancy bunny costume.
(Sadly, nobody dresses up for the performances anymore except for the power electronics guys; and they basically just take their clothes off and put some blood on. Not sure if :( or YES about this one. )
Anyway, OBŠRR mixed some of his title songs, like “Karnavalas”, with new ones from “Patogi Gelmė”, then had some problems with “Jeronimo Malda”, after which turned to vocal-less territory of synthesizers and noise/drone. Actually, enjoyed that loopy second part more, than the first. Yet still, it would be nice to see at least some kind of emotion (seriously guys, do you all seem so bored because some cruel people made you perform your music to those 300 appreciating fans?:) ) and don’t hear the lack of logical wholeness – for me, there was too much of different directions put in one performance, and they didn’t seem to click with each other.
The last performance of the evening by VILKDUJA had both changes from the usual routine and variety, mixing old and new, which actually worked and saved the evening for me.
I started to like VILKDUJA as any other teenage girl – by listening repeatedly when being sad and drunk and adoring the lyrics which create unexpected images from hidden parallel realities and since I liked weird poetry at the time, it worked just fine. Cool story.
And for recent years, VILKDUJA for me was that – strange worlds with carefully crafted texts on top of trance-y loops. That is why I looked suspiciously to what they were doing recently; they were evolving, and in that sense going away from the thing which for me was an essence of the project. Less text, more heavy soundscapes, much like moving from short stories to epic novels. During VELNIOP performance, you could still hear the old and well-known… er.. hits? of VILKDUJA, yet still – the direction was changing for quite some time now, and building up those brave new sonic worlds seems to be the new and very interesting phase.
It is strange how after some time it seems that you have seen it all and know every possible turn-out for the evening. For me, it is the case for me with this year’s VELNIOP. It wasn’t a lousy evening. The line-up was truly exciting. It is a nice tradition to spend pre-New Year with all the right people. The new stuff of my appreciated bands and projects were pretty good. Yet still, what I miss is that primal, obsessive excitement, which was a case when I saw RUMUNIJA for the first time. Or that magic, which was around during XIth or XIIth Mėnuo Juodaragis fest, when VILKDUJA was playing during a heavy rain, and the green light was mixing up with fumes from our cigarettes and late autumn fog.
I know that it is stupid to bitch about this, because everyone creates their own magic, and if you do not want to be impressed by something, you will not be. So no, Music – it’s not you, it’s me.
I should go to see Nurse With Wound more.
And buy a boat. I should definitely buy a boat.
Poster art by Shaltmira.
Pics by SielojRamu.