If you haven’t heard of Acid Hags yet, where have you been? This progressive outfit from Koprivnica is the latest hottest thing on the Croatian scene, bringing chaos wherever they go and overshadowing main acts when they play as support.
That was the case when opening for All Them Witches a few months ago. The bluesy, witchy and sold out evening was shaken up by the loud and unexpected force that Acid Hags brought upon us. All Them Witches seemed mellow in comparison and I knew this was a band I’d see again and again.
Acid Hags have no vocals nor do they need any. This was proven at an intimate, basement gig they played on Valentine’s day at Zagreb’s infamous Purgatory bar. If you’re one of the lucky, sane people that have never been to Purgatory, let me tell you in short what’s it all about. The pros are that pretty much anyone can play there. The cons are that pretty much anyone can play there.
At a first glance, you wouldn’t think this bar has a stage at all, let alone a pretty neat sound system and good acoustics. The only shortcoming is the microphone that somehow always ends up sounding rough and turns everything to a cacophony. No microphone = no problem. Acid Hags sounded better than ever and the general population of Purgatory was pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t expect to hear an actually good band here.” – a friend remarked.
Yesteday, Acid Hags took over KSET with one of their own kind, an underrated prog-rock trio (un)known as Rens Argoa, who also went vocal-free for this show, but their studio material offers vocals, choirs, guest instruments and more! They’re a multi-layered musical voyage mixing up rock with styles like synth and jazz, adding their own unique magic to make it truly different. Let me preface this by saying KSET might not have been the perfect venue for this kind of concert and an outdoors setting would have made it an infinitely better experience. Why? Well, Rens Argoa wanted to be loud. Really loud. And they specifically asked to be loud. Which you can’t fault them for, I mean, Motörhead said louder is always better, right?
Except yesterday it wasn’t. At times, it was difficult to focus on the music due to the vibrations pulsating through your entire body, making it mandatory to grab some fresh air every couple of minutes. It wasn’t comfortable to sit down or lean anywhere, as that would only increase the intensity. On the flip side, the band could hear each other perfectly on stage, the performance was smooth sailing. The members even switched instruments at one point, which isn’t something you see often. “This is the band’s 10th anniversary and in those ten years, we’ve managed to get five hundred likes on Facebook” – Rens Argoa noted. They deserve more than that for leaving hearts and souls in the music they’re making – check them out and give them a like, you won’t regret it!
You know where I’d like to see Rens Argoa? At this year’s Beerfest, if it doesn’t get canceled due to the pandemic. Last year, a lovely afternoon show by Electric Octopus gave us our dose of instrumental rock, but why import if we’ve got our own thing?
The volume was slightly lowered when Acid Hags took the stage, albeit not a lot and we were still being blasted by the thickest of basses, the guitar ringing inside our heads. A lot more people came to the show than it seemed, but sadly, staying inside for too long was still somewhat uncomfortable. The guys also didn’t seem as relaxed as usual, despite their material being fantastic as ever. Močvara suits them far better and unfortunately, KSET can be pretty soulless lately. I’ve spoken to multiple people about this issue, why is every fifth concert at KSET an absolute riot and the other four turn out tame and sterile?
You know what’s hot though? Acid Hags have a knack for experimentation like no other. Their song pattern is pleasantly predictable up until the point where it just takes off, like a rocket to the sky. The unexpected, yet brilliant experimental parts were everyone’s favorite, we could all agree that’s the juice they need to squeeze. There’d be no such juice if the band didn’t have an exceptional vibe between them, which is what had us hooked in the first place. Their crazy drummer seems to be the band’s frontman, the guitar dad handles complex passages with such ease and the bassist impressed us so much we’ve dubbed him ‘walmart Al Cisneros’. If you’d like to listen to these virtuosos in the comfort of your own home, you’re in luck. There’s still time to grab one of their shiny, new LPs before the quarantine takes effect.
Overall, we’ve had a wonderful, chill time enjoying the very best of local talent. There’s nothing better to do on a Wednesday night while awaiting the cancellation of most planned events due to the apocalypse. Sorry, I mean due to COVID-19, but one can still hope for the final fall of capitalism, right? Stay tuned for news on how the situation is affecting the worldwide metal scene, go get your money back for all the tickets you purchased and don’t forget to wash your hands!