Usually, random Močvara gigs during the week can be a hit or a miss. Either you’ll see a show so amazing it knocks your socks off and you talk about it for another week, or you’ll go home regretting you haven’t killed yourself back when your first girlfriend left you in fourth grade. This Monday’s program had two promising bands in tow, plenty of people came to try their luck at the Močvara wheel of fortune. The grand prizes were Ultha, a German death metal outfit that introduced themselves to the Zagreb audience around a year ago with a fantastic gig in AKC Attack, and White Ward, a relatively fresh post-black metal act from Odessa, Ukraine, special for their use of keyboards and…wait for it… A saxophone!
Jazz metal attracted quite a bunch. The club was already handsomely populated when I arrived. Can’t say I’m surprised, I can count myself among those who excitedly hurried there to see White Ward’s magickal sax in action. For a brief moment, I was afraid the saxophone won’t actually be there live, but I’m glad I was wrong. There it was, in all it’s glory, blasting along a storm of drums and the melancholic sounds of fury and anguish coming from the singer/bassist Andrey Pechatkin. Honestly, I don’t exactly know what ‘post’ in post-genres means, but I can hear it’s vibe perfectly. So if anything in this world is ‘post-black metal’, it’s White Ward. Make sure to give the studio versions a listen too and check out their last two records, especially “Futility Report”. The curious saxophone and other assorted instruments in the background track could only be heard so much in a live setting. Put some earphones in to fully experience all dimensions of this band.
It’s safe to say White Ward shook everyone to the core. This intense concert ended precisely when it should have. We’ve had just enough, not too much, but not pulsing for more. The applause was relentless. It was not a call for an encore, no. Nobody was screaming ‘We want more’ or ‘Sviraj mejdene’, not this time. This was just a hundred people adamantly clapping, woo-ing and woohoohoo-ing…for five minutes straight. I swear, the band was starting to get uncomfortable, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. They could only bow and wave so many times, now they’re awkwardly rolling cables, looking over the shoulder to see the first three rows in a trance, holding back from throwing money directly on stage. The band had to leave sight for the crowd to dissipate. This was one damn good show if I’ve ever seen any in Močvara on a Monday
Bad news is, I’m not the only one who experienced this as intimately. I’ve witnessed people walk out, say “Nope, it doesn’t get any better than this” and straight up go home. White Ward was so orgasmic that, by the time Ultha came on, we were already rolled to the other side, sleeping soundly and with NO room for round two. I spent the first half of their set passively listening while catching up with friends outside. When I walked in for the second part, the audience had halved. Some people were definitely here for it, but the shift in mood could be felt, probably by the band too. The singer looked disgruntled and very punchable. Ultha would be fantastic and refreshing in a setting with two other sorta-generic death metal bands, but next to a band like White Ward, they fell through the cracks. We lost them, they lost us. A shame, Croatia was a positive memory since the grand time in AKC Attack, I hope they try again and don’t start omitting us from their future tour plans. And choose the next tour partners VERY, very carefully.
The Močvara wheel of fortune really had our backs this time and we all won splendidly. To many more evenings like this! Also, when is White Ward coming next?