Last night I went to see El Stonero programme at Željezničar in Zagreb.
Envisioned as a three band stress relief concert it was advertised as the cure for all present day illnesses: low salary, disconnectedness, lousy work environment - and I was intrigued to say the least. Of course, one of those three bands being brilliant She Loves Pablo I watched play before Been Obscene also pushed me in the direction of "definitely going".
Allthough the gig was supposed to start somewhen after 9 pm, it was a long, loooong wait before first band climbed the stage.
Husta - "Happy three friends from Croatia trying to riff & psych-out their riverside atmosphere.", as they say on their Reverbnation page started just before half past ten and they kicked it off heavily from the very start. It was plainly visible Nino, Tomislav and Igor are good friends that have fun playing together and their well rehearsed bravuras put them right next to any foreign band in the drone/sludge business but it seemed to me that the set-list could use some tuning as it was uneven, chaotic and vapid at times. Nevertheless, they make very good music and you could sample it here, on their Soundcloud profile.
After a short settling in and equipment check, She Loves Pablo started at quarter past 11...
The audience changed - surely quadrupled in number and proportion of women in the crowd skyrocketed - understandable as guys make music imbued with sex and energy.
Confident showmanship at its best; relaxed, in good spirits, fun and funny they played through fiery set-list of mostly new songs in front of a crowd that knew old ones by heart and danced, danced, danced. There was passion and enjoyment all around and their 45 minutes flied by too quickly. At this time they could easily be the best, both music quality and entertainment-wise band Croatian demo/small scale scene has to offer. I feel enormously proud they got even better since the last time I listened to them and that their audience got bigger, more committed, more of something a band can rely on. You can still download their first album for free from bandcamp.
And right after their set, the crowd dispersed.
Three bands are often too much for an evening, but late hour was not favoring Concrete Sun's first live show in Croatia.
Concrete Sun gave its best to show us "how it should be done". Praised by critics they surely delivered for average listeners too. Styled appropriately, with whiff of professionalism around their act, they even came prepared carrying merch; T-shirts and Cds - process that often eludes Croatian band priority lists. You can listen to their music here, on Reverbnation, to get a taste of what we had last night.
El Stonero delivered as promised. I am pleased.