20 Ukrainian bands for quality public: How ІnshaMuzyka festival was held

20 Ukrainian bands for quality public: How ІnshaMuzyka festival was held

In those years when TOL’s debut album has become known all over the country, it was quite hard to imagine that Viktor Priduvalov and Vlad Lyashenko’s record label InshaMuzyka would be successful. But they have completed over time even more impossible task, taking under their wing dozens of high-quality Ukrainian performers, whose alternative works every year would further go beyond pretty shabby pop music.

Last weekend, InshaMuzyka celebrated its tenth anniversary with a two-day festival, held on October 1 and 2. The event, featuring 20 Ukrainian bands, took place at the Bingo club. Thanks to such varied line-up, the past festival was a real live hit parade, independent of genres and music styles. For the next two days, the capital club has become the abode of music lovers, who willing listened to melancholic performances by Krobak and PND, jumped from the heart to bold rhythms by Вагоновожатые (the band’s name means carmen in Russian — Noizr), repeating Anton Slepakov’s gestures and had a plenty slam to crushing riffs by Megamass, Space Of Variations, Septa, Joncofy and many other groups, which on its creative career were noted in the lists of InshaMuzyka.

Saturday, October 1

Start with Fazzer and the guitar riffs competition

The beginning of the first festival’s day was set to 15:15 but after 20 minutes from the start, when the first band’s performance was running out, there still was a big crowd near the Bingo club entrance. The ticket control procedure was going quite slow, whereby Kyiv’s band Fazzer played at the half-empty hall. The reason for this was not only the delay with the tickets and passes at the entrance, but also the fact that many visitors came to the festival being confidence that "everything will start, as usual". However, as it became known later, the timing of all bands was set up minute by minute. It forced the musicians to ignore all requests to perform an encore, but the groups really came on the stage at the specified time. In addition, the visitors fell into real paradise for music lovers, entering the venue’s hall. On the way to the stage, many people were detained near the large sales outlet with the bands’ merch and other stuff. Against the wall, there were the boxes with records, CDs and cassettes, the tables with T-shirts, posters, and souvenirs... Apart of it, there was the huge stand with CDs and the modest jar with "Free price" sign on it which attracted the visitors’ attention during both days.

Also, many people immediately went to the bar near which was a large queue, similar to the one at the entrance. Just after soaking throat or bringing along a glass of cold beer, the guests got to the concert hall, from which Fazzer’s heavy riffs were heard clearly. Nevertheless, gathering two or three dozen people near the stage and approximately the same number of visitors in different corners of the hall, Kyiv’s band Fazzer loudly and confidently opened the first day of the festival. Their performance consisted of very aggressive tracks thanks to which the rockers cheered up the crowd and caused the first tentative applause. Once the band’s performance came to the end, the vocalist Ilya Pesotsky undertook a mission to lead the festival and began to greet all the guests. At that time, Zaporizhia’s trio GALYaK were preparing for the show.

By the way, there was another surprise for all InshaMuzyka’s visitors in the venue’s lobby. During the break, the radio host Denis Dorofeev held a contest of guitar riffs, which lasted until the first day’s evening. Everyone could take one of the guitars, and give some mind-blowing, crowd pumping riff for forty seconds. After all performances and voting, the winner received a guitar as a gift from the musical instruments store Jam.

Shocking Blue by GALYaK, "Brokeback Mountain" performance by The Nietzsche and slam to The machine is busy

Zaporizhia’s rockers GALYaK played the joyful compositions, sounding like more heavier Lyapis Trubetskoy. It should be noted that the guys have a really contagious energy, which is expressed in high-speed, sometimes punk motives and funny lyrics. Many people came closer to the stage, cheered and even started dancing. The band’s best act during the show became the cover for the Dutch classics Shocking Blue’s legendary song "Venus", renamed as "Zaporozhian Cossacks".

Then the Odessa-based band The Nietzsche prepared for all festival’s guests the costume show, called by the group’s leader "Brokeback Mountain 2: Now in the wigwam". The desperate romantics The Nietzsche, interpreting in their songs the poetry of different authors, came to the audience in the image of the Indians and cowboys. Over the next hour, the musicians managed to present their new and second LP "Welcome To Poetry 201", which was released this September. Emotional presentation of the material literally grabbed the attention of spectators to the stage.

The musicians performed the lines from verses by Ivan Franko, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Edgar Allan Poe, veiled by bold metalcore motives. Between the songs, the band’s members made jokes, chatted with the audience and also congratulated the label on its anniversary. Despite the fact that The Nietzsche have impressed the crowd by their sincerity and lively show, the half-set sound did not allow the Odessites to fully reveal themselves. Sometimes the music was so loud that the vocals, drowned by powerful bass, wasn’t heard properly. Nevertheless, the band was enthusiastically carried from the stage by the audience which increased at least twice. At that time, the festival’s guests continued to walk from the scene to the hall where was holding the contest of guitar riffs, increasingly turning into a jam session and gathering a dense ring of the listeners. Someone was playing alone, someone was formed duets, showing his technique and skills.

"Odessa’s festival block", so called by Ilya Pesotsky, went on and the enough heated crowd greeted the new band The machine is busy whose songs, full of fury and even some madness, provoked real chaos in front of the stage. With the first chorus of "The planet song", in the middle of the fan zone formed a circle of wishing to slam people that further only increased with the next song "Mass Media", the eponymous track "The machine is busy" and other compositions. After playing such energetic set, "the machinists" gave the fans drumsticks and picks.

Beer from Joncofy, performance by TOL's vocalist project and Vagonodrivers' taking audience by storm

The Odessans were replaced by Kyiv’s band Joncofy, who took part in last year's competition The Best Ukrainian Metal Act, treated the crowd with the brutal hits "Xibalba", "Rorschach Inkblots", "The Speed Of Darkness", as well as a cold beer taken from their own fridge on the stage. The band had a warm welcome, the musicians gave their all, no matter that their set lasted only half an hour. However Joncofy were also among the victims of many technical problems. Their performance from time to time was interrupted by short pauses, during which the band talked to the audience and hastily set up the moody electronics. After that the extreme genres part temporarily receded into the background and the festival’s guests were expecting for the performances by the project Pisni Nashuh Dnіv (PND) and the irrepressible Vagonodrivers.

Apparently, in the crowd you could find a considerable number of like minded people, associated ІnshaMuzyka label with TOL’s first major success. The hall immediately plunged into a storm of applause as soon as the host of the evening mentioned PND leader's name Vasily Prozorov, who also had been the vocalist of the alternative band TOL in former times. The musician’s new project has brought melancholy notes in the festival’s program. Vasily came on the stage escorted by his colleagues, who accompanied his guitar with cello, violin and acoustic bass.

The hall drowned in a blue light, and the quartet performed a series of the lyrical songs, willingly sang along by the first rows of the fan zone. Prozorov’s deep meaning lyrics and soft parts of stringed instruments created an enchanting atmosphere which stood the band out among the fest’s line-up. As soon as the band announced the last song, the audience began to demand the encore, however, the host was forced to disappoint the displeased fans because, according to the timing, Vagonodrivers was already actively preparing to totally rock the concert hall.

It’s noteworthy that Vagonodrivers became the first band during the evening, which not only jam-packed the fan zone with the listeners, but also rocked the crowd so badly with the hits from their debut album "Wasserwaage" as it wasn’t able to do the previous groups. Anton Slepakov’s contagious energy reigned in the hall: "What is the color of the hat? What is the color of the pyramid?". "Obabelye" (It means "both of them are white" in Russian — Noizr) — the audience echoed in some aesthetic ecstasy.

The charismatic frontman has become the real source of energy on the stage, and enthusiastic listeners willingly repeated his movements. "Shlemofon!" (Headset in Russian — Noizr) — and the crowd made the waves like the football fans. Drive live drums in tandem with the bold electronics parts and Slepakov’s branded recitative took many listeners by storm that evening. The fest’s guests for a long time after the band's set continued to say, "Damn, Vagonodrivers really rocked". The trio have pleased the audience by their groovy songs "Obabelye", "Shlemofon", "Upast' s tandema", "Dispetchera", as well as a new track "Ogon'" ("Fall down from the tandem", "Controllers", "Fire" in Russian — Noizr) from the upcoming EP, which will be released this December.

Shows by the finalists of GBOB and BUMA, and the heaviest band at the festival

The turn to perform was coming to the rockers Sinoptik who won the international music contest The Great Battle Of The Bands 2016 in Berlin. The band, of course, has become the second most anticipated group of the first day. And I must say that the guys highly met expectations by very big crowd. In short, Dima Sinoptik went home without a guitar...

The performance was impressively powerful and energetic. Sinoptik stood out by pleasant, harmonious sound, and already familiar sincerity. Like all of their performances, the trio went headlong into the music, taking with them the few hundreds of fascinated listeners. They performed "Alex Is Her Name", "White Cats", "Wait For Me", but at some point, something went wrong. As it became known later, the band also didn’t manage to avoid the technical problems with electronics, in addition, Dima Sinoptik snatched the ear monitors by his shirt, playing one of the songs. On the last track, the full interrelation reigned between the musicians and the audience. The band was able to convey so strong drunken state caused by their music, these bottomless, cosmic synth motifs and solo parts so when Dima Sinoptik, holding the neck of his Fender, swung it over his shoulder, seemed like the whole crowd was waiting for that.

The dull hit, shriek of the smashing guitar and a new wave of the audience’s delight. Then the other two hits over the shoulder. In the end, the guitar neck was almost broken, its flinders and strings were flying all around... Moving out the stage, the bassist Dima Sakir said: "I gave him this guitar for his last year’s birthday".

Later, I managed to spill a few words with the guys behind the scenes and find out what really happened.

"That was the second Dima’s guitar, one of those about which I know and which I then pick up from the remains", the bass player Dmitry Sakir said, "Yeap, this is the second one. The next one will consist of this and that guitar which he had broken last time [smiles]. He pulled something like this in Khmelnytsky, but it wasn’t so criminal. That time, something had happened with the monitoring on the last track."

"It’s some kind of crap... It's a good thing that there weren’t the keyboards because it would have been sadly. The radio system has disconnected... Apparently, something went wrong. In general, I’m very pleased with the public, everything was great, but... I think it's not very cool to break the guitars, but honestly I do not know how and why it happened. In some moment it turned off, then it happened again...", Dima Sinoptik commented on guitar's crushing, holding the piece of the deck, brought to him from the stage.

While we talked with Dima, the powerful sound rocked the hall. There was the beginning of the show by Kyiv’s band Megamass, which last year also competed for the title of the best Ukrainian metal band within The Best Ukrainian Metal Act. I was managed to catch only last two compositions "To4ka." and "Kolya", but it was enough to see once again how exactly the band's name conveys its essence. There was the total chaos in the fan zone, the active slam and less successful attempts to create a wall of death captured the entire place in front of the stage. Those, who didn’t want to mosh, were forced to move away. Meanwhile, Megamass simply gave the crowd tons of rage. This time, the sound was good and it allowed the band to give their all with the full power and brutality.

The frontman Alexander Gridin forced the audience to do a moshpit, for which the group has created all conditions. Before the final track, the band’s leader asked the fan zone to sit on the floor, then to jump and destroy this very venus at the specified moment of the composition. The new insane slam covered the spectators with even greater force and it was hard to tell where there was a girl or a boy. Perhaps the passing near me poor fellow with a broken lip brings the palm to Megamass as the heaviest festival’s band, which, moreover, can boast about such desperate fans.

Before the winners of The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015 Space Of Variations (who were the first day’s headliners) coming out, I managed to find out what the opinion about the event Vinnytsia-based metallers have and what they have prepared for their fans.

"It’s very cool, we really didn’t expect so big crowd. We wish to see all these people live at our performance, because we're the last one today. And, by the way, the quality of the public is very good. All people are so progressive, and all of them understand what’s going on. We’re presenting our new album today, it will be the second time after its first presentation. Hopefully, the new tracks will rock people not worse than the old ones", the band’s members commented.

Space Of Variations were warmly greeted by the audience. The band’s performance, which feature was the harmony of brutality and melody, became the good end for the evening. The musicians included to the setlist their most popular tracks, as well as new songs, performing "Flame", "Deadlight", "My lady, you’re bitch" (the original title in Russian is "Миледи, Вы сука" — Noizr), "Where are you tonight", and at the final of their show, the metalheads "pumped" the crowd by tracks "They will be punished", "The Cube" (the original titles in Russian are "Будут наказаны", "Куб" — Noizr) and "Hell In Me". On that loud note, Space Of Variations said goodbye to the listeners, and Ilya Pesotsky closed the first day of the festival. In the lobby, the noisy crowd congratulates the winners of the music contest and the guitar’s owner. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see the voting process, but judging by the audience’s jubilation, the final was held more than active.

Sunday, October 2

Sunday's opening with On The Wane, Krobak and Merva

The festival’s second day gathered on stage no less diverse list of performers. The lineup featured measured, protean performances by On The Wane, My Personal Murderer and Krobak, heavy sets by Pins, Merva and Septa, joyful and cheerful hits by Esquizet and Cherry-merry, as well as the final post-rock block of Somali Yacht Club and Sunday’s headliners Stoned Jesus. In general, the second day was less active, probably due to the large amount of experimental genres. The hall was filled with quite slow, sleepy guests who started a new journey from the stage to the bar, sometimes with no returning back.

After short delay, the crowd was greeted by the noise rock project On The Wane, which stood out as the first fest’s band with female vocals. The group performed a very interesting setlist consisting of alternative rock and post-punk elements, thematically complemented by the voices of the bass guitarist Darya Maksimova and the drummer Anna Lyashok, whose singing was too low to be heard clearly. But despite the sound quality and the half-empty hall, the band confidently opened the second day of InshaMuzyka, setting the right course for the following instrumental project Krobak.

Earlier I have managed to talk to Stoned Jesus’ frontman Igor Sidorenko, who is also the guitarist and leader of the aforementioned Krobak, and find out what the musicians have prepared for their fans.

"With Krobak we’re to play three relatively old stuff, 2013’s tracks and another one that appears on a new album, which comes out in a month. The first single is the track that we’re to perform today, is to be released in a week", Sidorenko said, "And with Stoned Jesus, if we have time, we’ll make a surprise, it'll be a cover for the one Ukrainian band. So... [laughs]. We haven’t played with the guys over half months, and it’s is a big break for our tempos".

It should be noted that it was quite unusual to see Krobak’s instrumental performance among all other groups. However, the project’s members managed to fill the room with a variety of emotions and dip the fan zone into atmosphere of its warm and cold motifs created without any word, but with harmonious quartet of violin, guitar, drums and bass lines. Apparently, the guys were coming up with a setlist on the go, agreed it with each other right on the stage. Thus Krobak performed the compositions "Broken", "It's Snowing Like It's the End of the World", "Last Days of Summer" and, as Igor Sidorenko promised, a new one "So Quietly Falls The Night".

On this day, the host Ilya Pesotsky announced the selfie contest, the prize of which was branded backpack. Anybody who wanted to compete for the grand prize, had to make a picture on the background of the brand wall or at the other event’s locations and posted the photo with the certain hashtags. The key factor, of course, was the number of likes. Meanwhile, there was the performance of Rivne-based band Merva, which released its debut album "Bardo" in 2009 via ІnshaMuzyka. During their set, the alternative rockers played several hits and one new song.

If the crowd was rocked on Saturday by The Nietzsche’s costumed performance, so on the second day, this mission was undertaken by Merva’s musicians. The group cheered the people by very diverse list of songs, singing "We’re coming", "I-Ching" "Let it go", "All am I" (the original titles in Ukrainian are "Ми йдем", "І-Цзин", "Відпусти", "Все, що я є" — Noizr), as well as other songs that had plenty of energy, emotions and lyrics. In this way the team has collected a considerable number of students at the scene. The vocalist Peter Zarudny accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, and later pleased the fans by supported the overall theme with tambourine. Obviously, the crowd was really impressed by the band’s performance and after Merva’s finishing the song "Shaman", lthe isteners began demanding an encore. Alas, the host once again had to calm the fan zone and remind about the schedule, all the more that the bands were getting behind it. While leaving the stage, Merva thrown into the hall their picks and drumsticks.

Experimenters with sorrow My Personal Murderer, elegant Pins and brutal Septa

Speaking about the next member, for the first time I was lucky to see Odesa’s avant-garde band My Personal Murderer last year, when the trio performed as the opening act at Stoned Jesus’ gig. I have to admit that at that time the guys didn’t give their all as they did it at the ІnshaMuzyka Festival, performed some diffident, unnecessarily emotional, and too lengthy show. All this time, the musicians from the sunny city on the Black Sea hadn’t sat on their hands. My Personal Murderer have appeared on different events’ posters and even presented their third LP "Cauchemar", which Noizr Zine reviewer has called "a painfully gloomy release". And yet, the music, so oversaturated with negative, melancholy and suffering notes, became the branded style of My Personal Murderer, who define their genre as "experiments with sorrow". The band played a 40 minute set, performing the full tracklist of the latest album without a single song "Dear Pigeon". I was greatly impressed by them and in the first place I would like to note the confidence of the musicians who created such dynamic show, during which the hall was plunged into darkest motives so hard that the listeners just just stood there frozen to the spot and watched another melancholy song’s following up.

For the next half hour, after the light oblivion that engulfed the crowd, the audience was rocked by the bands who are far from beginner status — the alternative and progressive metal musicians Pins from Kremenchug and the brutal act Septa from the city on the Black Sea. Probably, Pins were remembered by their vocalist, whose appearance in a white suit made him the most elegant musician during that evening. Joking apart, the band pleased the fans with already familiar songs "Magic sign", "My pressure", "Like it’s the last time", "Fire and Ice" (the original titles in Ukrainian are "Магічний знак", "Мій тиск", "Мов останній раз", "Вогонь і лід" — Noizr), and the last track to which the crowd willingly sang along "Laura, Laura" ("Лора, Лора" — Noizr).

As for Septa’s performance, the musicians stood out by truly unique in the band’s history show due to their setlist, special prepared for the festival. The set featured the track "The Rats In The Walls" from the upcoming album "Sounds Like Murder", as well as a complete series of compositions "Destroyer 1-5", which fifth part was performed live for the first time. In addition to the foregoing, Septa’s performance remembered by the band’s absolute feedback to the public, as well as the vocalist’s dyspnea in the pauses between the songs. It was like the grim mixture detonated on the stage and its contents scattered all around the hall, touching everyone who watched the heavy set by the Odessites.

During the break after Septa’s performance, the festival’s guests light tiredness became very noticeable: Sunday evening, at nearly 8 p.m., and it seemed that most of the visitors preferred to have seats at the bar and at the tables in the hall. Meanwhile Ilya Pesotsky continued to cheer the audience with jokes and remind all selfie contest’s participants about its soon finish.

Discovery of the evening, the Ukrainian Machine Head and sickly melancholy by Somali Yacht Club

The real discovery of Sunday’s program was the Kyiv-based group Esquizet, incredibly charismatic, easy listening and very confident quartet, who became not only a breath of fresh air in the fest’s line-up, but also a certain bright puzzle in the big picture of nowadays Ukrainian alternative music. And the special paint was undoubtedly given by the charismatic frontwoman Nastya Shvidenko, who riveted the attention as soon as she came on the stage: she was cheerful, confident, real and wore the glowing sneakers. The quartet performed a lively rock setlist, which sometimes seemed to be not handled by the girl with such harmless appearance. Here you got the fireworks of emotions, the set of great riffs, and the crying guitars, in general, there was a true energy flow.

Esquizet’s torch of the crowd cheerfulness was picked up Esquizet by Mykolaiv-based band Cherry-merry, which were often called the Ukrainian Machine Head that day. Well, what should I say, the groovy show by this trio led the fan zone in ecstasy even before their performance of the hits "Cooca Coolah", "Rock'n'Rolla" or "More Fire". Also, the band pleased their fans with a new track "Fever". The musicians set the pace and ran around the stage like a mad thanks to which they managed to rock the audience so much that the host had to use all his eloquence skills to pacify somehow the fans who asked Cherry-merry for an encore. But, despite the fans' asks, the band left the stage and the host announced the final post-rock festival block, the representatives of which were Lviv’s group Somali Yacht Club and the second day’s headliners Stoned Jesus.

While the first band hastily pulled up electronics and sound, Ilya Pesotsky gathered the selfie contest’s participants near the stage. He named the winner, who had the highest number of likes under his photo and gave the brand backpack to the lucky beggar.

For the first time, I happened to see Lviv’s trio Somali Yacht Club as a support act on one of Stoned Jesus’s concerts. At that time, the band played a very confident and impressive set. It doesn’t matter that their melancholic motifs with the cosmic guitar passages do not always cause an emotional storm in the fan zone, but their music breathes with intelligence, it’s high and complex. Perhaps, it’s difficult to say why, but this time Somali Yacht Club a little bit disappointed with their performance. Maybe, the reason for that was the frontman’s sickliness, but at the InshaMuzyka fest the band had a lack of coherence. The setlist, including two new songs from the upcoming LP, lost the sense of logical consistency and sounded too dry and chaotic. I got the impression that the crowd was filled with a performance only at the final track "Up In The Sky".

"Millionaires" Stoned Jesus and to hell with comments

So, here we come to the final performance of the two-day festival, which for the first time in Stoned Jesus history began with a truly epic composition "I'm The Mountain". And it happened because the most brightest track of the second album "Seven Thunders Roar" scored more than four million views on YouTube this year and thus has become one of the most popular songs in the post-psychedelic rock genre. The long-awaited headliners were waited by the packed audience, gathering near the stage in a few minutes before the musicians coming on stage.

Stoned Jesus presented a cheerful and unconstrained setlist, which, as Igor Sidorenko has said before, included a cover for "K", the sing of their Kharkiv’s colleagues 5R6. That evening, the band also played "YFS", "Black Woods", "Here Come The Robots" and, of course, the groovy "Electric Mistress" during the encore, and and this time nobody didn’t even try to refuse the enthusiastic crowd’s asking to play more songs. Between the songs, the band’s members talked a lot with the audience, said many jokes and fired up the crowd so badly like it was the first performance at the ІnshaMuzyka.

Summing up the results of these two days, I would like to point out how important such events are. Two dozen Ukrainian bands gathered under the same roof, shared the same stage with the fans — one venue, and once again confidently declared that the domestic alternative music grows and develops really fast. Judging by the people’s emotions, tired but happy faces, the event was a success. As for our big report, Noizr Zine’s team sincerely hopes that we could at least partly take you into the thick of the musical events and give you an opportunity to feel all the drive and energy flow crowding the walls of the concert hall. Although, as Victor Priduvalov stressed, "What the f##ing comment do you need... Go and watch everything that happens in the hall", we strongly suggest you to visit the nest event and to see everything with your own eyes.

Resume

What we liked:

Line-up. 20 Ukrainian bands with played a quality material performed during two festival’s days. The organizers did not relate to one single direction and first of all created a large-scale music festival.

Organization of leisure. Despite the fact that it was only a two-day indoor festival, the promoters came up who to entertain their guests during the breaks between the bands’ performances. The guitar competition on the first day and the brand backpack contest.

Merch. The impressive market took very big part of the hall. The guests had a wide choice: the merch of the festival’s groups, as well as records, CDs, T-shirts, souvenirs and all kind of branded stuff of other bands. Many people liked the large stand with CDs under the sign "Free price".

The concert hall. The big advantage was a large number of seats, which everyone could occupy and have a rest without buying some VIP tickets.

Conditions for journalists. The organizers did their best for quality and convenient work of the media. Before the stage, there was a separate area, to which only journalists and photographers have an access, allowing the press to move and work freely. Also, the journalists had an access to the backstage, on the balconies around the stage, so it was possible to shoot the diversified photos and talk to the bands’ members.

What we did not like:

A large number of technical problems. Quite many bands have faced with the technical problems: crack, noise, and even the complete absence of sound, because of which some groups had to do pauses during their shows.

Loud sound at the venue. This one wasn’t a common problem, but a few bands have just literally thundered, but not played their program. Due to such conditions, as well as very short pauses between the sets, it was really difficult to spend all time in the fan zone. And sometimes the vocals was too quiet.

By Yuri Somov
Noizr Zine thanks Vlad Lyashenko for the accreditation