It has become something of a tradition for DIY hardcore punk gigs in Sofia to happen on Monday evenings. Not the best day for a show though, especially being the day after the 2018 World Cup finals that everyone was talking about. However, I’ve been really excited for putting up this show for a very long time.
Founded in 2011, Mexican chaotic hardcore pack Joliette have been touring extensively ever since, despite the huge distances they’ve got to travel or border issues they might have along the way. Last year my attempt to book them in Sofia failed, but here they are in Bulgaria in 2018!
The current tour bonds them for a few shows with a pretty interesting Czech band called Rutka Laskier, and Sofia is the place to face them with our local post-hardcore powerhouse BROND. This seems like a recipe for a great show.
The day is just a nightmare for everyone trying to cross the Balkan borders. Both bands are coming late, but people are just chilling at the Grindhouse Skateclub garden. As usual, before the show there’s a kid birthday going on in the venue. Some more grown-up kids are skating on the mini ramp, while we and the early birds are ordering falafels and have a nice little chat before the gig.
The bands finally arrive. We’re quick to unload their vans and set up the stage for the spectacle to come. First to play are Rutka Laskier, or Ruthless Asskicker as Max from BROND named them during their set. The band plays an emotional blend of indie, hardcore and post-rock. French bands like Sugartown Cabaret and The Third Memory come to mind when we look at each other’s faces with a friend between the songs.
There’s a video projection screen at the background during their set. Some psychedelic pictures merge perfectly well with the cathartic music of the band. There are already around 30 people at the show and a small child is dancing and laughing at her mom in the front.
Rutka Laskier can’t wait to feast on the food that I’ve prepared for them since they didn’t have the time for that before their set. We have a chat with some friends and the Mexican folks while BROND are setting up their gear and are soon ready to start.
I’m rarely that much excited for a local band. The four-piece with each member singing is ready to explode in their signature maniacal rhythm section and full-blown musical chaos that flows through every fibre of your being. Their set is just amazing and the crowd doesn’t spare their local heroes that well-deserved praise.
I’ve been a fan of BROND for a long time but this was definitely the best gig I’ve seen them play. I’m not sure if it’s because of the euphoria for being the one responsible for it. Tonight everything just feels great.
Last on the bill are Joliette. They’ve come a long way and really seem grateful to be here with us. No surprise, they destroy everything with their explosive and powerful set. Everybody is blown out by the intensity of their show.
Their rather small-looking drummer is like an unleashed beast. We’ve already seen Birds in Row here and Joliette feel kind of similar to them in terms of musical influences and their intensity. However, Joliette’s drummer is in his own league and I will remember this show for that.
I’m not sure how many of the 40 people in the venue have expected such an awe-inspiring show from Joliette. Their set finishes as sudden as it started and there’s no encores. Their music is like a dark and violent poem. They struck the last verse and the last chords and then everybody’s left alone with their emotions. No need for more.
Next Monday we have Hexis, their tourmates Woes, and ZilpZalp are coming to play on the same skateboard ramp. We’re still proudly losing money for the sake of dedication but there are even more shows coming in the future. If you are willing to help us promote the shows, cook more plant-based food, and help bands put some more gas in their vans, you can donate a small amount to our paypal account.