It was hard for me to visit this gig. One of the hardest gigs I went to, because our fallen brother is in my heart, not one damn day goes by that I don˙t remember him and think of him. Yes, the gig was tribute to brother Ivek, the singer of Pičke Vrište, one of my favorite Croatian bands, who tragically passed away a little more than six months ago.
Our mixed expedition from Čakovec/Varaždin arrived to Močvara in Zagreb just prior to the beginning of this mini festival. When we greeted and talked a bit with familiar faces, hugged some people that mean to us a lot, SHIN started with their set. It was the third time I watched them live and I saw that they have a new drummer and the guy killed it on drums. Shin play excellent hardcore, a mix of old school from the nineties with modern influences thrown in here and there. Singer Tea has one of the best voices in the region delivering brutal, yet at the same time melodic vocal lines. Their set was a mixture of their material from both releases plus I think a new song or two and finished in about fourty or so minutes tim.
There was a quick stage makeover and FAST RESPONSE have risen after a long time. I watched them only one time at Punk Rock Holiday in 2017.and was awed how tight they are and energetic on stage. The original drummer Buda is back and Fast Response sounded better than ever. Vocalist/guitarist Pajo fought with emotions all the time when he dedicated their whole set to Ivek and they killed it, I could almost see the physical hardcore energy flowing from stage and back. I think they played most of the songs from their album and e.p.with everyone singing along, dancing and being sad, yet proud at the same time. Bassist Rudi switched place for the part of the set with their former bass player.
I know that ONE STEP AWAY are for me musically a real machine, technically I think they are the best band in the scene, and they have been that for quite some years now. But, they always surprise me again. It looks so easy when you see them doing it on stage and playing, singer/bassist Zoki´s hands almost invisible on bass, how fast he plays, rest of the band, both guitarist and drummer being in the same league. OSA played their usual all hits set from both of their albums. Although the gig was a bit sad, Ivek would not want us to be sad, being a great and good man he was, so Zoki and company made their usual jokes and stage banter which cracks me up with laughter always. Anyway, this was a mighty set and one of their best I have ever watched.
Everyone who reads our zine knows that DEBELI PRECJEDNIK are my favorite Croatian band in hardcore punk scene. I saw them play live so many times in the last 25 years or so, but they always manage to make me jump and singalong to their anthems. Koca was singing great, all the hits like Marionette, Ready To Fight, Another Day Conquered were there, but there was a really emotional moment when Koca announced the new song they have written for Ivek. In combination with Ivek´s photos that were being projected to the wall at the same time, and with excellent song, a lot of us just couldn˙t hold back tears. They finished their set with all the hits in Croatian language, usual Nema me, Subotom Kićo, Zaboravi, Koljena, Puška and obligatory Farmersko srce at the very end of their set.
Now came the moment that I was at the same time looking forward the most and was also dreading how my heart will cope. It was time for the guys from Ivek´s band PIČKE VRIŠTE stand on the stage for the last time. I went to the first row for this one and knew this was gonna be tough one. They started the set with Tko ostaje, one of my favorite songs and everyone was singing along to the lyrics of the man we miss so much and love so much. After playing two songs, the guys from the band asked everyone in the crowd to turn their heads towards the projector screen on the wall and there was a new video, made from all the videos where Ivek and his crew had fun, parties, birthdays, drunk fun and there was a premiere of the new song which the guys of Cunami crew made for Ivek with Deeda from Fraktura Mozga/Saučešće delivering vocals. Listening to the song and the lyrics I think there was not a heart in the club that was not moved by that one. Then the band continued their set with guest vocals Fedja Popov who traveled all the way from Novi Sad to provide his vocals for Sam, former Fast Response bassist sang on Zrno nade and Perica, Mašinko guitarist sang on Boje tuge. Pičke Vrište quickly made way for a mini set of Ivek´s first band Mirabell, who played five songs of a bit rawer, yet fast and melodic hardcore punk and that was fantastic. Then was the time for grand finale, the guys from the band returned and played Večeras odlazim and Dostojanstvo. Then, it was time for finale and it started with special cover of International you day, by No Use For A Name, guitarist Raši barely sang that one trying to cope and pull it through but we helped him. The last two songs of every Pičke Vrište set were always Oprosti and Sjeti se. During Oprosti I just couldn˙t hold back tears anymore singing along, I remember when Ivek and I sang it together on stage in Mansarda, Lendava, their favorite place to play in Slovenia. Sjeti se was special because Koca from Debeli Precjednik came out as guest vocalist, but the end of the song was sung by full stage of people, like suddenly all of us remembered that he actually never went away besides physically not being with us anymore. As I write this lines, blurred eyes with tears, I feel like he is still with us. He is. Rest in peace brother, not a day goes by that I don`t remember you. I promised myself that I will honor your memory in a special way, personal way that I promised myself some time ago. That way you will always be in my heart. Every second. Every minute. Never forget. Thank you Sinke and all the crew who made this possible. It was special, like Ivek was.