Robustfellow agency's co-founder Phil Dobrov once has said: "You can listen to any kind of music, but in some moment, stoner catches you on his hook and then you’ll want to dive deeper". The time-tested Robust crew took this bait in 2009. Settling down into new activities, the project’s members began to organize concerts, product merch and produce music and each year they have been taken further and further into infinite depths of the genre and its subgenres. Last Saturday, on November 12, the team, rallied everyone who did not pass "robust" stoner, celebrated its fifth anniversary with a concert at the capital club MonteRay Live Stage. In accordance with the date, the organizers have pleased the audience with five "robust" bands with the well-known headliners Mars Red Sky from France.
The show’s beginning was announced for 16:30, however, the doors to all the guests of this birthday were opened for half an hour before the start. Of course, there is no birthday without the sweets, and everyone who is already familiar with Robustfellow’s events knows how the organizers encourage the most punctual visitors. At the entrance, the first guests got the branded cupcakes together with the event’s bracelets. And yes, these 30 extra minutes you could use to eat the sweets at the bar, and only then enjoy the concert, which the Kharkiv-based noise rockers Soom had the honor to open.
The musicians confidently began their performance with the song "Burning Dryad" from the latest EP "Fear and Loathing", showing a complete contrast with the audience, which has just gathered near the stage and hesitantly shifted from foot to foot. Stunning the hall with powerful bass and guitar effects palette, Soom’s trio played the song "Коляска" ["Carriage" in Ukrainian], a fresh single, "Grandpa", "Forest's Song", "Nagno" and "Forest's Song", gradually infecting the first lines of fan zone with their ethereal mood, where the volume of the band resisted the most desperate listeners. Kharkiv’s musicians definitely managed to set the right course of the evening, after which the baton was taken by the Kyiv’s metallers Ethereal Riffian.
As you can guess, the band’s set was not held without their "shamanic" instruments and detailed thematic decor (to which the musicians always pay the big attention), including the lighted candles on the stage. Meanwhile, taking advantage of a great opportunity, Ethereal Riffian decided to stand out from the event’s program and to present the new video for their song "Drum of the Deathless", on which the band worked in collaboration with "Re:evolution Film" and Viktor Priduvalov. The crimson curtain opened to visitors a large screen, and the hall plunged into the atmosphere of the presented action.
After a short intro performed by Val Kornev on the horn-shaped didgeridoo, Ethereal Riffian literally descended from the screen upon the wrapped in smoke stage, keeping their images. The musicians’ upbeat setlist put the listeners into some kind of a trance by monotonous riffs of "Beyond" and awakened them by the active songs "Anatman", "Thugdam" and final tracks from the EP "I AM. Deathless". The powerful call "Surrender!" during "Drum of the Deathless" performance was like TNT effect, becoming the culmination of the really strong performance of this evening.
Later, the band’s leader Val Kornev told Noizr Zine: "We were able to convey the ideas, energy, we always strive to get out. Of course, there were some minor technical nuances, but they didn’t affect much on the result. Our first performance was at the Robust Fest, so we’re very pleased to be here today and to play at its fifth anniversary. And I, as a musician and a member of Robustfellow team, very glad to see so many people."
After a breath of air and a portion of a cool drink, Robust Gig’s guests again threw themselves on the bands’ mercy. At this time, there was the turn of the Kyiv’s rockers Bluesbreaker and the Monastyryshche-based gloomy doom representatives Bomg. Both groups steal the scene with their completely unique shows.
Bluesbreaker, which stood out from the rest of the event’s line-up, became the first and only band whose songs from "Hermit" to "Hanged Man" was accompanied by the active slam in the fan zone. The crowd was totally rocked by perky rock riffs with a noticeable touch of punk madness. So boldly and naturally, the musicians burst previously woven with monotonous rhythms canvas and "shamanic" atmosphere by their very energetic and aggressive setlist, discarding unwanted nuances.
Unlike the others, the band Bomg performed only one long track "Polynseeds Of Shubin". The quartet has tightly enveloped the hall with gloomy doom, spurring the monotonous hoarse guitars with the really sepulchral vocals. The listeners seemed to be not immediately drawn into happening, however, after some time they appreciated the band’s performance on merit.
When it was the turn of headliners Mars Red Sky to perform, the hall was almost filled with the visitors. A fascinating performance of the French trio, harmoniously uniting a surge of emotion and melancholy, the first and the latest band’s songs, became a valid, final chord of Robust Gig and left a pleasant aftertaste for the rest of the evening. The listeners were captivated by Mars Red Sky’s vocals, clear sounding and performance manner to which the musicians seemed to be very dedicated. The complementarity, which holds the musicians together and serves as the basis of their magnetism, just couldn’t escape the visitors’ notice.
Digging into the bottomless melodic rhythms of "Hovering Satellites", "Friendly Fire", and "Strong Reflection", the fan zone swung to the beat willingly sang along the familiar lines of the compositions. In turn, Mars Red Sky thank Kyiv for another warm welcome and presented "Way To Rome" as the final track, which was performed together with Stoned Jesus’ leader Igor Sidorenko.
Julien Pras shared his impressions with Noizr Zine: "We’re very happy. It’s been five years since the last time and everybody seemed to be very enthusiastic. They know the songs, that’s very exciting."
Pras also commented on the sharing one stage with the Ukrainian bands: "We’ve come from the underground scene too in France and we’ve been touring in Europe, so I feel that we are the part of a little family of the bands, even though sometimes we play with more rock, psychedelic, sometimes heavy stoner. But still, that’s the same kind of people, a very nice family of musicians. And that’s great."
The bass player Jimmy Kinast added: "There is not a lot of bands, we know in this kind of music, in France. I think the way we got stoner in France is a bit bigger because the country is bigger maybe. You know, big cities, more stoner festivals. But it’s pretty close to this kind of music because it’s really alternative in France. We don’t have any headliner bands in this kind of music. So, it’s pretty close."
Summing up, it should be noted that all the bands from the line-up and, of course, the organizers responsibly prepared to the celebration of Robustfellow’s fifth anniversary. And despite some sound problems, each band stood out with the quite entertaining show: the musicians played the diverse setlists, pleased their fans with the fresh tracks, as well as accompanied their performances with interesting visualizations.
Remains only to thank the organizers for such the great event. In turn, we hope that Robustfellow team will have a lot of such anniversaries in the future.
Text and photos by Yuri Somov
Translated from Russian by Anastezia
Noizr Zine thanks Philip Dobrov for the accreditation