Some new minds and beaten paths – VHS Stereo and DrUm at the Fest

Third time lucky! After the musically rather weak gothic party, on this sunny, then rainy Monday, visitors to the club in Zemun Fest greeted two friendly bands, which could be placed under the broad umbrella of the alternative rock term – newcomers on the scene, Užičane from VHS Stereoconsisting of Aleksandar Hadžić (vocals/guitar), Milan Cicvarić (drums) and Nikola Kojadinović (bass), as well as DrUm (or Doctor Mind), which is the name under which Uroš Vukašinović (lead vocals and guitar), Nemanja Petrović (backing vocals and bass) and Aleksa Parezanović (drums) perform.

But before the first band will take the stage, the singer-songwriter from Užice introduced himself to the small number of people gathered there is. Bard Dago performed three fun numbers about the challenges and hardships of life in the big city, using a fun combination of basic chords with half rapping, half singing. All in all, weird, short and sweet.

VHS Stereo they didn’t leave the audience in suspense, and shortly after the birthday song for the drummer’s happy 26th birthday, they took the stage with real rocker bravado. Their author’s set, which is currently undergoing a lot of studio treatment, demonstrated a strong affinity for all forms of alternative, and it was possible to find something for fans of post-punk revival and new wave in an even newer guise, then scattered krautrocker tapestry in wide bridges, and on end and echoes of the set drive of midwest emo/post-hardcore bands like, say, Sunny Day Real Estate.

Although in the official photos they look like up-to-date students in roller skates, the energy of the live performance was palpable, and well above the rank of a demo band. Yelling and tearing the strings with an intensity that did not match his nerdy outfit, Aleksandar demonstrated an enviable vocal range, while Nikola and Milan, in accordance with the demands of the winding tracks, glowed and ignited, or gave the necessary rhythmic support to the more prominent melodic sections. With this presentation, the recognizable lyrical content turned out to be a little too ordinary, which, of course, does not mean that it is bad at all. The band, all in all, has a very good sense of rhythm and a non-conformist attitude towards the structure of their songs, which is a real refreshment.

Although years of experience on stage testify that DrUm there is no one to prove to anyone anymore, however, it cannot be denied that their performance compared to the previous one was quite pale and unimpressive. Genre incommensurability aside it’s quite strange that a band with a description as powerful and evocative as “Sumadian-Byzantine rock” sounds less explosive than a handful of urban alternatives.

What should have been hardened, massive GRANGE, despite the really technically fine playing, sounds like one average track, multiplied by nine, for how long it lasts self-titled debut (2022) and melted into a single, gray mass. Therefore, what the band does well namely, sections that have a pronounced folk rock influence, as in the fun “Sibirska” unfortunately it is an exception to the extremely monotonous rule. Simply, the whole experience leaves the impression of a band that is loud enough, technical and more than correct in everything they do, solid during their “five minutes” on stage, but in a broader perspective completely unimpressive in the sea of ​​similar bands.

All things considered, however, the evening was not wasted. The interaction with the audience of both bands was pleasant, the atmosphere was “homey”, and the socializing was fun. Finally, a small observation after three evenings spent in the same four club walls two bands, each with a set of about forty minutes, seems to represent an optimum that should be respected in the future, in order to avoid fatigue and oversaturation, and even if it is a question of a combination of a practiced with a newer composition, such an event should be warmly welcomed.

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