At this exact moment, while I’m writing this sentence, every single inch of my body hurts like hell, and I’m experiencing one of the biggest hangovers as far as I could remember. How did I reach this point of no return? Let’s try to recall.
It was a warm and quiet Saturday morning while my bandmate Kristian and I were drinking coffee in a local rock pub in Osijek, waiting for the bus to take us to a venue of a unique Croatian heavy metal/hard rock show. After a short period of time, we were traveling towards Zagreb, still not aware how differently coming back the next day would feel. Four and a half hours later, the streets of Croatian capital led us to the city center so we could drink some nice, cold, dark craft beer in a well-known metal bar. After finishing that refreshing and tasty ritual, we summoned our Metal Jacket Magazine colleagues Veda and Mario to make that ritual a bit stronger. You never know when thirst might hit you, so you have to be prepared.
Minutes and liters were passing while we were discussing some serious musical and non-musical matters. From the short air distance, we could hear the soundcheck. My hype was growing with every note. Somewhere around 9:30 p.m. we entered Boogaloo club to catch some nice spots in front of the stage, and we were more than successful because we were one of the first ones that came to mark our positions in the first row. We were quite relaxed, goofing around while heavy metal and hard rock hits were blasting from the speakers. The beginning of the show was announced at 10.p.m., but it started almost hour and a half later. That is not a surprise, because this band has an army full of hungry, crazy fans, so whenever they step outside to play, it’s always the perfect moment to do so.
The artificial fog slowly covered the stage, drums started to pound, and then came the recognizable bass line of “Doktor”, a song which marked the beginning of Živo Blato‘s performance on the 2nd of June, 2018 in Zagreb. Before the General’s arrival, his faithful army experienced a brief warm-up performed by two of his female personal guards in tight military uniforms. In a few moments, General Vasilij Mitu himself climbed on the stage, released the female guards, and started singing. The entire Boogaloo crowd was singing together with him. I was hoping to hear old classics like “Klanje Ljudi”, and “Exploding Sky”, but to hear them at the beginning of the set was nothing more but the biggest blessing since I was fresh and filled with energy to bang my fuckin’ head off while Živo Blato was playing them. After those old Croatian metal classics, nothing could go wrong. The well-known guitar riff of “Estrada” came along, and it’s most famous lines “Rođen sam u Splitu, popuši mi kitu” danced through the air. Just like at “Brucošijada FER-a”, where Živo Blato played in December last year, General was at this venue as well unusually silent between the songs and focused only on bombarding audience with Živo Blato’s hits. No matter how many times you hear them, they always sound fresh, new, and filled with more and more hatred in General’s voice. In that manner, we experienced (mega)hits like “Stranci”, “Objede”, “Pucko”, “Vonj”, “Ne volim te”, “Loš”, and one of my personal favorites – “Ok.” Besides those heavy ones, Živo Blato granted the people that were present with evocation of sensitive feelings, and soul cleansing by playing hard rock ballads under the name of “Kurva” (the improvised part of the song was just genius), and “Oprosti mi”, which flow perfectly one into another. Somewhere in the middle of the set came another ballad “Dođi”, which heavily evolves with each coming verse, and is specific because of it’s “mouth solo.”
As announced before the show, Živo Blato played a brand new song live for the first time ever. It was called “Žena koja će moći da shvati.” The song starts with the guitar recreation of Croatia’s national anthem, then moves into a smooth, straight, but heavy rhythm, filled with lyrics that openly criticize the social, and political situation in Croatia. Despite being announced that Živo Blato would shoot a live music video for the mentioned number, I didn’t see any cameras, but with this band you really never know. Maybe soon a new video will pop out. Just when the band started to play “Ubij se”, two plastic cups filled with beer (or water?) were thrown on the stage. The first one landed on Gospodin Mr. Rabbit, the bass player of the band, making his bass, and amp wet as well. He instantly stopped playing, put away the bass to wipe it and dry it. The other one landed on General Mitu. He stopped the song. Then he reminded the crowd how Axl Rose stopped the show because a bottle was thrown at him during the performance.
Have you heard of Axl Rose? Throw it once again, and find out if I’ll act as same as him. What kind of cunt throws plastic cups around?! If you’re so brave, throw a grenade!
That’s the most similar translation of General’s words I could think of. After issuing a warning, the band started once again with “Ubij se”, and this time they finished it successfully. It was time for “Maloljetna”, a song that is always in the middle of the spotlight because of its controversial lyrics. To make it even spicier, General asked his female personal guards to return, but this time they were not in a military outfit. They were wearing schoolgirl uniforms, and the rest what happened you can clearly understand from the context. Speaking of spotlight, Mr. Rabbit stole it completely with the fantastic and fast bass solo that he played afterwards. Another special moment occurred when Kaplar Tošo Veseli Sir on drums and Gospodin Mr. Rabbit on bass were joined by Siniša Vuco on guitar, who is described as General Vasilij Mitu’s alter-ego. This new trio played Vuco’s famous turbo folk song “Podigla me iz pepela”, but they did it in a hard rock/heavy metal way. We experienced a few crowd surfings, and one failed stage dive. Man, I truly hope you’re doing ok after that fall!
The atmosphere was pumping while the band was playing one of their fastest songs “Kataklizma”, then they did a slower block by playing “Hej, ti” and “Druže stari.” General was thankful to the bunch of us for shouting back vocals while Živo Blato was playing a country/hard rock musical tale “Tex Willer”, and a Cult sounding number “Pas.”
For the encore, the band played “Objede”, “Estrada”, and “Klanje Ljudi.” The audience went totally fucking nuts.
After the show, we had a small chit-chat with General Mitu, took a photo with him, and went to visit a few local Zagreb rock/metal bars. In the early morning, while normal people were waking up and beginning the day, some of us children of the night went to sleep on the bus back to Osijek, and some of us in our cozy beds.
Needless to say, Živo Blato once again proved that they are the heaviest, and most direct power trio of the whole Croatian hard rock/metal scene. Period.