Thursday, March 18, 2010

Zagreb, Thursday Night Music Scene

I began the night strolling down my favorite street of cafes. I heard live Croatian music floating out of one bar and a chorus of people singing along. I had to check that out. It was a private party, so I was told to stay at the bar. Stayed I did, for a good half an hour, as I listened to this wonderful band belting out old Croatian standards (with accordion) while the patrons sang along. Here is a recording of some of it.

Spacemen 3 had a terrific album title: "Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To." I suspect many years ago that a lot of Croatians got plenty drunk before writing these wonderful songs to get drunk to. They are perfect drinking songs because they are bittersweet. You feel the love, but you also feel the tears just below the surface.

After that I sat at the bar of a cafe that was playing good house music, including Dennis Ferrer's groovy "Hey Hey." Then it was on to another bar where the sounds of classic disco were offered, including "The Hustle."

The club proper that I visited was Saloon, a legendary Zagreb venue. Live music was on tap; the video above is of that, and shows Tena Vodopija (on right) performing with Domino Effect Band. It was the first time they had performed together like this, but they sounded like they had been working together for years. The song is "One Way or Another," one of the great Blondie tracks. My dad had the album this came off of, Parallel Lines. Parallel Lines also contained the legendary "Heart of Glass."

For the curious, other songs in their set list included "Bitch," "I've Got My Mind Set On You," and "Proud Mary," which served as the finale. Some Croatian songs were tossed in as well. Here is a longer bonus clip of them tackling "Umbrella" and a song I did not recognize.

Everything shut down at 2 AM, so at 2:30 I wandered through a nearly-deserted Zagreb. A few minutes after I got back to my hostel, three dorm mates, guys from Italy, entered the room. They had been to the Rammstein show and must have been drinking after that because I saw lots of fresh Rammstein T-shirts when I had arrived at Saloon hours earlier.

For many visitors to Zagreb, Rammstein was the music event of the night, but I was very satisfied with my own music experience.

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