Dana Dramowicz runs through this month’s opportunities for getting your groove on and tapping a toe in Krakow’s liveliest dives, dance clubs and lounges of sound.
Juwenalia (Throughout May)
Across Krakow tagged: students, alcohol, predictable rock bands
It’s that time of the year again, folks. The powers that be have once again forced me to write my annual spiel about the copy-pasted line-up of every single Juwenalia that has possibly ever been and will possibly ever be. For those not in the know, Juwenalia is an annual springtime affair held in cities across Poland, when students take over the city with outdoor concerts (either free or cheap), film screenings, workshops, outdoor excursions, DJ parties, and sports events.
Juwenalia isn’t a single event – it’s just a time of year when students are let loose across Poland for a bit of fun before exams. So, without further ado, here is part of the predictable, crusty old line-up of artists performing at the many Juwenalia events across Krakow: Hey, Apocalyptica, Dżem, Illusion, Lipali, Maciej Maleńczuk, Frontside, Coma, Vavamuffin, Kult, happysad, Myslovitz, IRA, Grzegorz Turnau, Lao Che, Strachy Na Lachy, Zakopower.
As usual, the Niepokorni stage is a bright spot in a dark, dark place, with interesting, young acts like Hatifnats and Dagadana on the menu. Another welcome breather comes courtesy of the University of Economics’ events. I never thought I would commend someone for booking British act Modestep, but let’s face it, noisy dubstep is the music grown-ups don’t understand and that’s exactly what students are supposed to listen to.
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the guardians of Polish rock performing, but booking them all in one go, every single year, makes it all look careless and desperately out of touch – as if Poland hasn’t produced any new talent for the last 10-20 years (which, I think we can all heartily agree, it has). On the other hand, attending Juwenalia concerts is like jumping into a crash course of Polish music history. Pick your poison and let’s rock this month out as best we can. More information at krakow.dlastudenta.pl/juwenalia
11.05 Daniel Drumz & Galus
Alchemia, Estery 5 tagged: hip-hop, funk, electronic
Two of Poland’s best representatives in the genre of new generation hip-hop beats come together tonight in Krakow’s Alchemia to perform live. Daniel Drumz has been a permanent fixture on the Krakow scene for over 10 years now, from his first performances as a turntablist to today, hosting the Electric Relaxation Show on Radiofonia. Galus, on the other hand, marked his spot in the Polish music scene most definitively in 2011, with the release of his critically acclaimed album for U Know Me records – Futura. Supporting are DJs Senor Soul and Rewelacyjny Luciano.
Fabryka, Zabłocie 23 tagged: performance, electronic, pop, experimental
Once in a while an artist comes along, that, through their utter originality, defies all attempts at explanation, particularly through words on paper. By combining elements of performance art, chamber pop, weird electronica, and vocal twists and turns, Planningtorock is simply unique. With releases on Chicks On Speed Records and DFA, Planningtorock continues to make a name for herself through projects like her recent collaboration with The Knife and Mt. Sims in the science-opera “Tomorrow, In A Year”. Experience Planningtorock for yourself at Fabryka this month – tickets are 69 złoty.
20.05 Blackbird Blackbird
Rozrywki Trzy, Mikołajska 3 tagged: synth-pop, lo-fi, electronic
Some lovely atmospheric pop music is coming our way this month courtesy of multi-talented San Francisco artist Mikey Maramag AKA Blackbird Blackbird, performing in Krakow this month as part of his European tour. Layering lo-fi beats with sparkling electronic textures and vocal harmonies, Blackbird Blackbird is the happy, pretentious-less cousin of hip-to-the-bone American chillwave. Check out the artist’s Bandcamp page for lots of free downloads and previews of material new and old at blackbirdblackbird.bandcamp.com
Klub RE, św. Krzyża 4 tagged: indietronica, post-rock
Tarwater is Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok, a duo based out of Berlin, Germany. Since their beginnings in 1996, Tarwater has recorded an impressive 11 studio albums on labels like Kitty-Yo, Morr Music, and even Polish indie label Gusstaff, which released two albums by the group in 2007 and 2009. Most recently, Jestram and Lippok (who also records with To Rococo Rot), released Inside the Ships, continuing their sonic explorations in restrained indie-electronica. Combining electronics, live instruments, and improvisation, Tarwater’s live performances are always a treat.
Alchemia, Estery 5 tagged: ambient, drone-doom, ambient-doom
Hailing from Toronto, Canada and currently based in Berlin, Nadja is a partnership between musicians Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. Transforming live instruments such as bass and guitar through heavy delays, distortion, and filters, Nadja create dark ambient soundscapes as can be heard their numerous recordings for labels like Alien8 Recordings. Also performing: French sound artist Mathias Delplanque and Polish experimental performers Arrm and Kepa Yew & Dorota Mortek. Advance tickets available at Alchemia for 20 PLN, rising to 30 PLN on the day of the concert.
23–26.05 Green ZOO Festival
Across Krakow tagged: indie, folk, pop, electronic
After a successful first edition in 2011 (headlined by Basia Bulat), Green ZOO returns bigger and better this year with concerts, talks, and workshops taking place in venues across Krakow. Lovingly curated by local promoters Front Row Heroes, Green ZOO’s guests include an exciting array of international artists playing anything from post-punk to experimental folk. This year’s programme includes: Ben Caplan, Lower Dens, Moonface (the latest project of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown’s Spencer Krug), Katie Moore, Molly Nilsson, Socalled, Swearing at Motorists, Jason Urick, and VUK. More info at greenzoofestival.pl