Belgrade called: Mnjenje and VVhile in Sofia

‘What happened to Sofia, when did the people get so bored of shows?’ that’s the question that marked this gig and the post show contemplation on the way home. Sadly not having enough people on good gigs is not a novelty so let’s focus on sharing with you what made this (more than) a good one.

Names&Mokdad / photo by Svetoslav Todorov

The first on the bill were Names&Mokdad, a new duo for Sofia’s underground formed by Marg (1000 names) and Maxim Mokdad, who’s been playing carefully selected live gigs here and there and is involved inthe awesome Crooked Cinema collective. The guys were playing their second gig ever and it looked, sounded and felt like that. And I mean it in the most positive way possible. The music was there, the ambiance was getting thicker around the simply structured pieces. Hazy vocals and guitars were layered above minimalist synth work. The duo would play these stretched pieces and they would eventually peak into a few lo-fi, post-punkish tracks driven by sampled drum sequences. However, just when the smoke in the room got enough and the music bulit up sufficiently to capture us a computer voice wished us good night and the duo left the stage in the same way they got there. Low key for life!

Mnjenje / photo by DIY Conspiracy

After a quick setup first guests for the night jump on stage, Sunns and Fenders are cranked, drums are pounding in a hynotizing, yet super Balkan-sounding rhythm and Mnjenje are on. Haven’t heard a single bit of their music prior to the show, but I get hooked right away. Their working class noise rock sounds so local, so pissed off and so honest. No way the guys are singing about birds and bees, they’re instead on a mission to share with us everything basic and mundane that they despise in our shared corner of the world. The vocals have soaked everything that all of us have to actually endure and I wonder if people out of the Balkans would actually be ever able to feel the power of such music as it grew in a place so poisoned by those who’ve reigned here and by ourselves as well for always accepting whatever is coming from above. This exactly feels almost romantic and in a twisted and perverse way. Don’t make my mistake, play this band, breathe the filthy air of the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

VVhile / photo by Svetoslav Todorov

Shoegaze duo VVhile, who recently have abandoned the Facebook realms and you can read stuff about them only on their website or IG, had the pleasure to wrap this sweet night up. Once again, the Sunns were shining, huge pedal boards take up half the stage and the sense you’re watching a small band is gone. VVhile are loud and dreamy and sound like nothing you’d expect to spur out of the Balkans. Their sound is really refined and to the point. I guess that comes from touring hard, releasing records and having to overcome real stuff in order to express yourself in the way you envisioned it. Such powerful music comes from actually having to fight to reach it and then reach the audience that will appreciate it. A slight downside for me was the lack of dedicated sound engineer for the guys. Not every in-house person (no disrespect to the one doing the job last night) can handle such a multilayered and specific sound. VVhile definitely need somebody knowing their tracks to push certain elements back and forward across their set, because what the magic that they play needs perfection. Only like that you’d feel that intimate yet powerful vibe their tunes and records are meant to convey.

Another huge ups to Indioteque for making some of Sofia’s top gigs for nine years already.

Angel S.

Freelance journalist and full-time copywriter from hell. Playing ambient & drone music as Mytrip, teaching Sound Art, booking shows with For The Kids & Amek Collective. Always in for a cup of coffee.