Macedonian underground scene
A single Rock Festival and one compilation
don’t make the situation – pink.
Anyway, rock’n’roll happened.
A real one.
Rock’n’roll (as an universal behavior of the urban population), requires strained strings and “iron balls”… Especially in the case when it’s practiced in ours – Balkan, Macedonian – conditions of living. Considering the natural-born instinct for self-preservation and the rhythm-comprehension ability, we do exclude the question of its real existence at this particular time & space – and we move to the question of its suppression at the margins of the public life here.
But, two recent happenings did stroke a blow on the convictions that claim how the Macedonian Underground Scene went for a nap (by the way, for almost all of the media and their stupid policies which slave to the prejudices, this phenomenon is out of their comprehension!?): the first one is the 19th edition of the “good old” Macedonian Rock Festival, and the second one is the promotion of the “live”-compilation “10. Most”. But, let’s start from the beginning.
Although with the old-fashioned concept that needs reconsideration and re-structuring, Macedonian Rock Festival (signed by the enthusiasts from the magazine “Ekran” and the Youth Cultural Center (YCC) – Skopje through all this years) still remains one of the very rare music manifestations where – primarily – the new hopes and talents are detected, and the manifestation where the basic link is the sincere attitude toward the rock’n’roll and the new currents in the contemporary music. Therefore, the great interest for the participation at this Festival is not extraordinary phenomenon (although it never means better quality of the content). But anyway, the concerts manage to animate quite a lot of guests in spite of the fact that there is almost no advertisement in the media (which is, by the way, the result of the lack of financial means on the behalf of the organization). This means, at least, that the efforts of the organization are not in vain. Also, the fact is that the Festival – almost as a rule – in every edition manages to promote one or two new talents with a healthy concept and satisfyingly aggressive performance (especially the artists from the inner-state, although this is not the general policy at all), proves the absurdity and the meaningless of discussing the very existence of this Festival. But, the questions that concern the above-mentioned young talents, is the question – what next? Namely, the Festival is almost completely ignored by the media and by the label record companies – from reasons known only to them – and which pretensions are, ironically, to produce urban music!?! And we all know that aspirations multiply and the way toward the music documentation starts exactly at this point…
This year’s edition of the Macedonian Rock Festival, if not for anything else, was of worth for three significant issues. As first, refreshing is the glance on the size of the rock’n’roll audience here, and the fact that it regenerates itself from the basis of the incoming new teenage generations that comprehend the essence of the rock’n’roll in its “dirtiest” and the most sincere form completely normally (by birth!). As second: through the Revue-evening of the Festival (held at the end of January this year) – the map of the Macedonian Underground Scene was practically drawn, which is very enlightening and cheerful fact. At that Evening, there were ART CULTURE WORKERS, FLUX, TOTAL RELAXATION, SINIAC, HELLSTRINGS AND PROCESS B.
The inspiring fact is the emerging of the superior VERKA from Delčevo (a band compiled from the ex-members of the bands MODIFIED GODS and NEW AGE MESIAH, and the vocalist Nikola Trichkovski is definitely the “world’s best face” that appeared on our domestic rock-scene after Goran Tanevski from MIZAR and Darko Janevski from CYBORG; then, the there were the intriguing INTERACT (INTERAKT) (Kičevo) and CROSSFADE (Skopje) and the folklore-tradition-researchers named EXODUS TRIO (Struga). More than solid!
After this edition of the Macedonian Rock Festival, we can be sorry only about the cancellation of the traditional concert in Shtip and we can sometimes recall the Pande the Aegean (Pande Egeecot), the collaborator of the Festival from YCC and one of the very few people who cared for this Festival with the elan particular for him during all this years – who went up to the heaven to take care for the anxious and angry young people there…
In spite of everything mentioned above, the published compilation “10. Most” brings out well-noticed materials from the Urban Culture Festival – “I Woke Up in Motion”, held at the Summer Scene of the City Park in Skopje (ideal spot for rock’n’roll events at open), on July 17th, last year. It contains the recordings of the relevant representatives of the existing underground scene: TANK WARNING NET, HIGH QUALITY DISTRUST, SMUT, NEW POLICE STATE, FLUKS, THE NEW MESSENGER (NOVIOT GLASNIK), DIFFERENT STYLE (POINAKOV STIL), PURE COSMETIC (PUKA KOSMETIKA), SINIAC, T. B. TRACHERI, SIDEWALK, 2 SIDES, BRIGADE O. D. and SUPERHIKS. Documented without any make-up, raw and full of energy, these songs are the real testimony of the affinities and the sensibility of the existing self-thinking generation suppressed by the cruelty of the actual conditions at the presence in this pandemonium of ours. Spontaneous and brought to the very margins where they become torn primal screams of the soul, they resurrect to the level of a fresco-painting by which the imperfection of this actual time-interval will be decoded in the conditional future. And that’s why this edition is the brave one. Bravo – for Eleonora Stojanovic, Igor Angelkov, Alen Haxhi-Stefanov, Vladan Drobicki, Bojan Ugrinovski, Sinisha Cvetkovski, Andrej Bartling, H.O.P.S, Open Society Institute – Macedonia, Kanal 103, the Council of the City of Skopje, the Ministry for Youth and Sport… and all others who contributed in its realization.
To be real, these two happenings are quite an omen on “the strained strings & the ‘iron balls’” issue. But finally, because of the non-commercial character and without the necessary & adequate promotion in public by the media, it’s very probable that – unfortunately – they will have the same sorrow destiny of the many of their forerunners. Only the hope remains – the hope that finally, the doors for the allegedly “non-listenable” – will open a little bit…
Let’s hope that someone (some electronic media, some of the small, fragile but agile recording companies, some promoters…) will show some guts. Let the awakening be in motion! And even step-by-step – will do!
Translated by: Petar Volnarovski