Sunday, 10 March 2013

How to Skank in St Petersburg + Gig Review: Alai Oli

Lazy Lois speaking, leaving a gig review till 2 days after the gig :$

It seems to me that, much like in London, if you want to know where the good ska, punk and reggae gigs are going to be you've got to find the clubs that put them on and go trailing through their listings. So far I have found:

These seem to be the places putting on the almost majority of the bands I want to see (with the exception of Leningrad playing a show at the Ice Palace arena, which is a bit big for most alternative music I'd guess). If you know of any others please let me know in the comments!

Oooh, thanks to researching this article I've discovered the St Petersburg Ska-Jazz review! Wow! I know what I'll be doing next Saturday now :D


SO! I went to an incredible gig on Friday night, on International Women's Day. There were 2 female-fronted bands playing, I don't know if that was a deliberate Women's Day thing but if not it was a good coincidence.

I didn't know there was going to be a support act, so I got a nice surprise when I turned up to find Monroe already on the stage. They call themselves punk-rock, but I think they're more pop-punk-rock. Think like a Russian Paramore, but not shit like Paramore (Oh alright, Misery Business and some of their singles are ok, the rest is dreadfully boring filler). They seem relatively new, only having an EP out and an album release show at the end of the month, but their songs are slick, catchy and fun. They're energetic, fun stuff and I have high hopes for their full-length release - for now there's a few songs for free download on their site here. Plus they did a cover of Against Me's I Was A Teenage Anarchist and that won my heart a bit :P

I had never heard of Alai Oli (Алай Оли) until I came here and went looking through Club A2's listings, which is ridiculous because they play exactly the sort of Reggae-Rock which is ludicrously listenable at any time of day, in any kind of mood. They've got fast songs, slow songs, funny songs, super-sarcastic songs, anti-racist anti-nazi songs, happy songs, sad songs. Everything. Which makes for an excellent gig when the band know how to get all of that into an evening and put on a great show. The lead singer Ol'ga has a great voice and is a very energetic front woman despite being heavily pregnant (heavily pregnant and still jumping about on stage, that is baby is going to learn to skank before it can walk!).

Picture by Alina Pasok, more here
Highlights of the gig for me were jumping up and down with the vast majority of the A2 hall; the mass fist-pumping (or what do you call that when you all bop your open, face-down palms up and down in the air? You know what I mean) during Воруй-Убивай Регги; and the touching ballad during for which Ol'ga got everyone to go deadly silent.

An audience member pointed out "Where's the trumpet?": the regular trumpet-player was in Germany as he's emigrated to live with his family. As far as the gig went the music still sounded great and not too much lacking - there was one song during which everyone was singing the trumpet part which was cute. They said they'll get a fill-in in future, but who knows when that'll be because the band is expected to take a break for what is effectively maternity leave.

***** - 5 stars, or a swear-word censored?

If every gig is like Friday night, and I go to one a week, I think I'll get by here just fine!
*dances off*

Edit: For those interested I found the link to this torrent on their official website, they give all their downloads away for free or pay-what-you-want. Or you can go clicking around on their website's music section and clicking "Скачать альбом" where you see it, which will give you a normal download if you don't like torrenting. I asked their merch guy where I could buy CDs but he said "Only in this one shop in Moscow", gutted!

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