It’s May 2, a regular Wednesday night and I’m on my way to Grindhouse Skateclub for another hardcore punk gig. Last time I was there was two weeks ago to see The Rodeo Idiot Engine play their epic and beautiful show for 11 people (by the way, the band just got back from tour with around €3,000 loss as their van broke down, consider supporting them here).
So, I’m surely a bit anxious how many people will actually show up tonight. It’s been a while since DIY Conspiracy has booked a show in Sofia and honestly things are not looking too bright for the future of underground punk gigs here.
I mean, awesome bands are coming our way and we keep helping them out, but why the fuck did everybody suddenly stop carrying about leftfield punk gigs?
So, I arrive at the venue, late as usual, but thankfully mates Mitko and George have dealt with everything. Bands are happy, well-fed and are ready to start playing. First on stage go Technicolor Lies. It’s been some time since I last saw them live and they are as great as I remember them. Emotional punk, sprinkled with noise and post-rock touches even a bit of garage and grunge. Honestly, nobody on the Balkans plays music like them. We listen and discuss they gotta go on tour with Plovdiv’s ТДК. Don’t know why, it just feels right.
Next up on stage come Canine from France. They feature members from All I Need, whom I’ve booked ages ago with For The Kids Booking but had to travel and couldn’t attend the show I did. It’s great to finally catch up with Adrien, who now sings in Canine, after all these years of not knowing each other’s faces. What Canine are playing is a very sincere and perfectly executed take on screamo with a lot of clean singing, almost spoken-word passages and amazing lyrics about solidarity, taking care of your friends, standing against the police, and in general everything that will help us make the world a more tolerable place for living. I’m blown away by their set. The only thing that keeps me somehow bitter is that there are not more than 30 people in the venue sharing this moment.
Last on the bill are св. Псета, а brand new instrumental duo from Belgrade featuring Nemanja Ćirić from old-time tour mates Eaglehaslanded. Even two dope bands before them couldn’t prepare us for their explosive and powerful set. Св. Псета invite everybody to hang out with them on the ramp because… well, fuck empty spaces on hardcore punk shows and they take us on a 20-minute long journey in crazy guitar & bass driven music featuring hazy southern riffs, spaced-out melodies plus math / noise rock outbursts. Everybody is smiling, everybody is having fun. They stop playing as sudden as they started and we’re left there wanting for more. But that’s a punk show – no encores, only the hope we’ll get to see them in Sofia anytime soon.
When we’re about to leave the place a friend says “It’s been a while since I felt so good at a gig”. Same here, maybe because only the people who cared were there with us. Keep not caring about punk shows, keep staying at home, watching TV is the best.
Many thanks to Ivaylo Totev for the photos, Ivan Shentov for the video, and Yoana for staying at the door during the gig.