Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Don't Stop Skanking / Homesick

I've been feeling rather sad and out of it all day, and have come to the conclusion I'm currently experiencing the comedown from the Reel Big Fish show on Sunday night.

Avrora, located inside an oddly cylindrical frontage out the front of the Saint Petersburg hotel, is a pretty awesome concert hall. Compared to A2 it's smaller but still a mid-sized venue, but by a long shot more fun - the walls are covered in Jack Daniel's branding, the stage is a damn sight lower, and the circular standing space just begs for circle pits. The long bar has a pleasantly lethal-looking cocktail menu that I didn't dare sample on my own, and the loos are predictably hilariously rubbish (was playing the old game of 'Lock? Loo roll? Not too disgusting?'). The sound is rather good - I was very naughty and didn't keep my ear protectors in because it wasn't that loud.

The support act were Riot Gang, they're Russian but have a few English songs too. They play punk-rock with a pinch of off-beat ska guitars in a very energetic vein. Ok, they're far from polished and shiny but then again that can be a very good thing in these days of over-production. The vocalist adopts what seems to be the Russian equivalent of a bratty American accent, makes me laugh a bit and reminds me of Allister (don't shoot me, I like Allister, but you've got to admit the accent's a bit over-the-top). Riot Gang have a bandcamp here where you can listen to their music and download it for free.

Do I need to say anything about Reel Big Fish? Just... go see them live. They are just about one of the most fun live bands I've ever seen. Even if their new album Candy Coated Fury on record doesn't really do it for me, they played 5 of them live and I won't say they were low-points in the set. They fit very well into RBF's live repertoire, and they still played those compulsory numbers that everyone loves: Beer, Sell Out, Take On Me, Monkey Man, She Has A Girlfriend Now to name a few. My feet barely touched the ground as I skanked away the hours they were on stage. I'm pretty sure that I forced a guy to barn-dance with me at one point (you know, where you hook arms and swing round, then unhook and swing to the next partner). I bagged a set-list by pointing at the floor of the stage repeatedly until the roadie handed them out, and bought myself an obnoxiously bright yellow t-shirt that doesn't suit my complexion in the slightest, but caring about that isn't very punk! Don't tell me you need a link to their music, do you live underground?

Top-notch night really. Had a bit of panic when I thought the metro was shut on the way home but I followed some other people from the show who led the way to the other, open, entrance.


However, the comedown bit is that I feel really rubbish today. My old pal homesickness is back with a violent vengeance making me miss all my friends and family, and the cold, snowy St Petersburg climate with its filthy air makes me feel pretty down. There's a ton of scaffolding being put up on my street, think this means noise and inconvenience for the foreseeable future.

Lesson for all future year-abroad people out there

DO NOT go to a city you know you don't like. Seriously, me and Piter have never been the best of friends; I wasn't the city's biggest fan after my 2-week trip here in July 2011. Don't glamorise the White Nights: it's no fun being unable to sleep, covered in mosquito bites and sweat with no breeze for relief. I find Piter annoyingly large and poorly laid-out (why is every junction at an angle?!), the streets too wide and smoggy, and the climate revolting (I might be used to the minus temperatures now, but the slippery icy streets and constant feeling that I might fall over any second still gets to me). You can tell me that the old-fashioned buildings are beautiful and quaint or whatever, but I totally agree with Dostoevsky on the front that painting an entire city yellow makes it look sickly and jaundiced.

Right now I want London back with its silly glass phallus, giant snail-paced funfair ride, sweet little back-streets and all. I want Enfield, with Trent Park a few minutes from my house. I want Nottingham with all its rock bars, pubs, clubs and Uni Park campus.

It is a big but, and I cannot lie...
My parents are arriving in St Petersburg on Saturday and I am pinning literally ALL of my hopes for sanity and getting out of this terrible sad mood on them. I am praying that a week of being around them and sightseeing, going out for dinner and all that will make me think there's some redeeming features to living here.

Now I'm going to eat curry and watch Adventure Time and try to feel better if I can,

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