Touring Russia – Episode 2

Continue a the story about Alex Kelman’s Russian tour. The second episode begins in Volga region, smoothly flows into Udmurtia and finish in Siberia. Lot of trains, and … hostels.

To read a Episode 1 – plz click here.

Samara – No Name Bar 
Shared stage with: Subway Porno, Твои Друзья Полимеры, Любовь Эмигранта

Trains in Russia have become much more comfortable. You can choose a fast express or a double-decker modern train with doors on electronic chips and TVs in the coupe, that really don’t show anything. Traveling on a Russian train, you don’t feel the time, and even if the journey takes more than a day, it does not bother. A great way to get some sleep, fall into philosophical reflections, write a book or compose a track. People in the trains have become more polite and calm – it is already quite difficult to meet a drunken and aggressive company or some swindlers, as it was before. Hostels are a completely different story – no matter how good the hostel is, each of them has its own Cerberus Admin, a conventional grandmother, who will teach you how to live, forbid something, yell and so on. In general, without going into details – hostels in Russia are the weakest link.

No Name Bar is a multicultural drinking venue that hosts comedy club, cover bands, metal festivals and whatever. The bar is big enough with a good stage and big sound. That evening there was “Season” mini-fest – the first show on tour, in which I participated with a company of wonderful bands. Many thanks to the organizer – Alexey Tilly, who, in the midst of innovations with mandatory QR-codes, was so brave to make an excellent event.

Твои Друзья Полимеры (Your Friends Polymers) is a legendary Russian shoegaze / dream-pop group. For me personally in one line with Aerofall, Blankenberge, Life On Venus. What else can I say – I wanted to play with them on the same stage and finally it worked out. Guys was an opening act – stylishly and confidently mixing familiar tracks and new material, Russian and English lyrics.

Любовь Эмигранта was next. Melodic and effective indie pop. Well performed. A little reminded of Pompeya for some reason. Surprising me was the guitarist from the previous band, Vadim Bystrov was again on the stage. 

The main act of the evening Subway Porno – an energetic mixture of sharp movements, extraordinary riffs and emotions – would highly recommend their live.

Kazan – Biblioteka Bar
Shared stage with: Djinn City

In Kazan there are so many cool places, clubs, bars, art venues have recently appeared, and it is extremely difficult to gather an audience for a concert.

Biblioteka Bar is located on one of the main central streets, a place with an interesting interior, but, unfortunately, not the best artists care. Besides all, I had to operate with the sound by myself, including Djinn City live mix. 

Djinn City are really great musicians. Despite the fact that I made their sound within my small sound engineering experience, with absolutely dry vocals & bad monitoring, guys played in one breath. Funky funk meets Tatar folk roots, dancing and beautiful space sounds. They also run Telegram channel Казанализация, if you are interested in the musical life in Tatarstan – check it out.

Back to the trains – we started at 4am from beautiful Kazan to Izhevsk by one of the best Russian train “Italmas” – symbolic yellow flower of Udmurtia, if you play shows in this cities chain – would recommend you to take this train.

Izhevsk – Dj’s Bar

Izhevsk is one of the most important cities for me, especially musically. Here I played quite a lot shows with my projects, brought there many different bands as a tour manager and, of course, met many incredible friends. Despite the fact that there were few people at my concert, regarding mandatory QR-codes, I got a great pleasure from the concert.

DJ’s Bar is the perfect place for soft dancing, with a DJ stage in the middle of the dance floor. A cozy space located near the Izhevsk city lake. Next morning we had a long journey to Siberia – 36 hours.

Novosibirsk – Бродячая Собака
Shared stage with: Lurve

The second show in my native Novosibirsk was called as the “First Winter Post-Punk Concert”, since it took place on the first day of winter.

Бродячая Собака – an art place with a history, the roots of which refer us to the legendary Siberian 888 and Черная Вдова venues. The atmosphere is special, a bit old-fashioned good for chamber performances, poetry readings, possibly concerts of respected jazz masters from the oldies. But the choice of location for the post-punk party was a big mistake.

Lurve played an acoustic set because their drummer got sick. This was the best Lurve I’ve heard. Two days after the concert, the guys released their debut album on an Australian label, which instantly becomes number one on my playlist in 2021. If you in love with a music of The Jesus and The Mary Chain, Stone Roses, The Raveonettes – this is your must.

Academgorodok – Уютное пространство Чердачок

One of the most pleasant shows  of the tour in terms of atmosphere unexpectedly took place in Academgorodok (Novosibirsk Far District), at the place called Чердачок.

Despite the fact that Academgorodok is considered to be a district of Novosibirsk, you go there for an hour from the city, leaving behind forests and satellite villages. Here is a separate scientific center, which increases the reach of Siberia. People are polite and not fussy at all, as in the big Novosibirsk.

Soon I will be back to you with the last episode, tell you about the shows in Yekaterinburg, Moscow, Ryazan and St. Petersburg – was absolutely the best part of the whole tour.

– Alex Kelman, artist & sound producer