In the following paragraphs, I’ll try to summarize my humble account of one of this year’s best gigs we’ve put on: SOUL GLO ❌ Lord Snow ❌ Spoiled.
The concert took place at a club called Urania Palace, whose owner is lending us his support by providing a space to organize shows in. He started helping us out way back in the early days of DIY concerts in Cluj, when he owned a different club called Roland Garros.
The three fellows of Spoiled from Cyprus had arrived in Cluj a couple of days earlier before the date of the show. They came straight from Berlin where they had attended the amazing Miss The Stars Fest. They all had vivid memories of what had happened there and were pretty psyched to play alongside two of the acts that were also on that fest’s lineup: SOUL GLO and Lord Snow.
On the day of the gig, the weather in Cluj was pretty much rainy, almost up until the time when the bands arrived in the evening. Rain has always been somewhat of a bane for some of the people coming to our gigs so, we were really hoping it wouldn’t mess up our evening and folks would turn up. We were lucky as they did so.
Despite this, there was a slight inconvenience that kept us wary. Another event was going on at the venue at the time we were around, which required us to keep quiet as it was dedicated to musical meditation and the interaction between the participants.
The meditation practice took place in the main room, while the concert was planned for the building’s basement as usual. The bands had loaded in after arriving and after having a bite of what we had prepared for them, most of the band members decided to go for a walk until the meditation circle finished their activities.
In the meantime, we were just hanging outside and told people who had started to show up that they also had to patiently wait outside for a while. In the end, that took longer than expected and we thought that people might decide against staying up for the gig. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case as all were eagerly awaiting to see the bands on the bill that night. Some of the folks that came for the gig were people we hadn’t met before at our shows and we were pleasently surprised.
The delay had gathered quite a big crowd outside and the anticipation had been welling up among all of us. As soon as the participants of that circle were gradually leaving the building, we rushed inside as things would shortly get real.
After a quick soundcheck, Spoiled were the ones who would get to open up the skramz festivities. From the get-go, I was really surprised to hear that the youths sounded way different than on the recordings present on their bandcamp as of this writing.
They blasted away with a more abrassive and cathartic approach. Spoiled surprised me with swift drumwork and the vocals delivered in a way that reminded me of early 2000s screamo bands. Their youthful energy seemed boundless and the crowd was swayed by it. Don’t be detracted by their earlier demos and go see them play if you have the chance. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Hit them up for their newest tape, which was released a few days ago.
After Spoiled finished their set, people quickly got out for a breath of fresh air or for a quick smoke. Everyone was in high spirits, but still I don’t think anyone was prepared for what was about to follow.
It was time for SOUL GLO to take the reins. People rushed inside, and right off the bat, the band simply exploded with a barrage of razor-sharp lyrics delivered at a neck-breaking pace. Self-reflections of social and political commentary on the current state of affairs in the US regarding racism, social inequality, gender, bigotry, depression—it was all there.
Their way of playing is a more hardcore-tinged approach of screamo, and it suits them perfectly well. The crowd went absolutely wild during their set and it was just a given that it would happen. The band was relentless and people felt the urge to dance and climb the ceiling, swaying in all directions. Everyone was having fun, bands included.
The songs were usually short, pissed off and gave off almost kinetic like energy. By the time the band finished their set, they had gone through most of their current discography. The crowd cheered them up in awe. It was glorious. I can’t overstate SOUL GLO’s importance in the so-called screamo scene today, especially in relation to the struggles people of colour go through in their daily lives presented through this very personal point of view.
The band has been around for a few years now, but it was their first time coming to Europe. I’m surely glad this came to be. They will release a brand new album called “THE NIGGA IN ME IS ME” next month. Can’t wait to hear it! Keep an eye out on SRA records’ bandcamp page for updates on that.
As soon as the Philly’s band’s set had come to an end, it was time for the people to take another break outside or elsewhere. The eventful evening was about to reach its conclusion: Lord Snow were up next.
I’ve been a longtime fan of the band and had previously seen them play at Fluff Fest in 2015. When I found out that they were planning another Euro tour and bringing SOUL GLO along, I jumped at the opportunity to have them play here. Once we discussed and agreed about putting on the gig, I’ve started to eagerly count the days ’till their visit.
The final set for the evening was about to start. The crowd was back in position and was just waiting for the band’s starting cue. And it went off. Lord Snow played a different game than the previous two bands before them.
They play screamo in a technical, jazzy manner something one might not expect given that their songs are so short. But the intensity they had unleashed gave an emotional, almost melancholic vibe to the performance. Lyrically, the way they express their take on society’s ills and mental health issues through video game and pop culture references.
In the crowd, even if the mood was not as spazztic as during the previous set, we kept on dancing and enjoying every last moment. But then it was time for the band to finish up. They had gone throught their setlist. It featured both older hits as well as tracks from their latest effort “Shadowmarks”, all of which painstakingly reproduced to my greatest delight.
So, basically that was it, a wild night to remember where everyone contributed in a certain way so that it would turn out great. I’m grateful we were a part of the “Hands Across Europe” tour and I’m sure, that once the opportunity arises again, the bands will come visit us again.
As a sendoff, my recommendation to whoever reads this post is to go check them out live if they have the chance to. And if you’ve already done this, why not do so again? Otherwise, just go listen to what they have to offer on the various interwebz platforms. And support them directly whenever you feel like it.
Words by Mihai. All photos by Szili, thanks a lot!
Oh, and never forget: