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Friday, January 14, 2005

happy old new years

from my lookout in the highest building of central yaroslavl, i watched as drunk russians set off fireworks in the streets all over the center in celebration of the old new year. and then i said to myself, i forgot to tell everyone about that time i went to moscow a few days ago.

my friends' band was invited to play at a "premier" "famous" "prestigious" "wicked cool" (roughly from the original) rock club in MOSCOW. Moscow, the capital of all Russia, Russians' capital of the whole world. i didn't realize what a big deal this was until later, when i heard them talking about their first performance in moscow and how their name was getting around in MOSCOW etc etc. and sorry guys, if you're reading this - america's getting the straight story.

anyway i was invited along as the manager/roadie/groupie since no one else felt like forking up money to pay for the one day trip. it turned out to be not terribly expensive by american standards for a 4 hour trip each way. about 800 roubles for the whole thing. that turns into bucks when divided by 28 or so. that's there and back, free entrance into this hot spot, this place of all rock places in moscow (my name was on the list. i personally wrote my name onto the list.), a few overpriced beers at the bar and micky d's on the way back. and actually i bought a hamburger and pepsi for the driver too. we had a cool driver.

we rented a little van (6 passengers - 2 in front & 4 in the back) and brought along 5, me and the band. the ride up was pretty calm as the guys in the band were all a little jittery about their first big show in the capital. we got into moscow a few hours before the show and drove around the city for a while, looking for the club. our driver got out at regular intervals as we got closer and closer, asking for directions; after the last stop he turned onto a tram line and drove the wrong way (in his van) up what amounted to low-speed train tracks. well, needless to say a train came along, as they happen to, but there was plenty of room to swerve out of the way and no one was even injured.

the rock club turned out to be a heavy metal club, and (for those of you in yaroslavl) was sort of reminiscent of a really crappy Партизан with way worse music and guys with pony tails. incidentally, the only people at the club were the bartender, a few bouncers, the 'musicians' in the 5 bands that were playing and their girlfriends/younger brothers. everyone assured us that it was a wicked popular club, and everyone was just, uhm, out celebrating...and things. my friends were on the docket as the last show, and after seeing the club they all had a good laugh and felt a lot more relaxed, if not better. and went out looking for a store.

their band, Утопия, had a good show and was wildly applauded by the handful remaining in the club. the music fell somewhere between nirvana and blink 182, thankfully closer to the former. i took a couple pictures.