The illegal music scene in Kyiv

And…… I’m back. Home in Vancouver! A little jet lagged and ready for some rain in my Christmas, just like nature intended.

I’ve been listening to Super Besse on Spotify, an electronic/guitar band that I stumbled upon in Kyiv at a show.

There’s a big underground/illegal music scene there. Errrr… I think it’s more so a rave scene. Promoters won’t reveal the location until that night, and if all goes well, kids will dance the night away without police intervention.

It doesn’t always go as planned. Because what’s youth culture without a healthy gust of oppression by a corrupt government to fan the flames.

Reminiscent of when American (Chicago) Acid House dance music infiltrated England in the 80’s and hundreds of cops would beat and arrest those who *dare* participate in banned music. “Characterized by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” (actual legal quote lol)

I went to a show, not knowing what to expect.. It was put on by a couple of record labels, one had several bands I loved the sound of. I don’t get the impression that this show was hiding anything, but you wouldn’t know it navigating the warehouse maze to get in.

Super Besse took the stage second in the lineup. They were hands down the best of the night. Hailing from Minsk, Belarus – a country north of Ukraine.

Guitar and bass with electronic Cold Wave soundscapes (New Wave.. only.. colder?).. the songs were good, but what sold me was how powerful the energy was in person.

It filled the room, (on a killer sound system) and everyone in the packed venue was on their feet dancing. Their lanky lead singer with a weird mustache and a jerky robot aesthetic somehow charmed the audience.

Dozens were even singing along with the choruses. Maybe they knew the words. Or maybe the lyrics were infectious and easy to sing.. I…….  wouldn’t know the difference, my Belarusian is a little rusty. Come to think of it, they probably sing in Russian.

The other dude’s bass guitar literally shook the building. I still can’t get over how good the sound was at this show! It was like we were all getting hit in the face with a bass cannon. Like the guy in the chair from those old Maxell ads. (Fun fact: the guy in the chair is the singer for the 80’s band Bauhaus)

Nothing I can find on YouTube conveys the energy that was in the room that night, the roof was coming off the building when these guys hit the gas.

But this is the song I remember where things started to get out of control, mainly with the chorus at the 2 minute mark. EVERYONE was singing and bouncing around like maniacs.

After the first 2 bands they had a DJ play a set.. which I thought was a nice interlude between bands. Only it wasn’t an interlude. On a dime – the night had transformed into a full on rave.

Special awards for my entertainment go to “dancing girl in trench coat and aviator sunglasses who actually dances like Columbo” and “girl who dances like she’s about to sneeze but can’t and is also on a continual search for her lost contact lens”.

I didn’t get home until 7 in the morning.

To be fair, I did take forever trying to find my way out of the warehouse maze and across the surprise train yard that Google Maps doesn’t believe exists.

i-D Did a great mini doc on Ukraine’s “underground rave revolution”.