Dubioza Kolektiv

support Larica
author MN date 18/12/15 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

As is often the case when bands try genre-melting as a means to originality, the expression is often gimmicky and unfocused, often resulting in novelty bands who both gain and lose their popularity within the strike and exhaustion of a match. Dubioza Kolektiv, a septet hailing from Bosnia, have beaten the odds and are moving towards becoming a European phenomenon, not unlike how Manu Chao managed to reach out every corner of the world. Tonight’s show in the befitting atmosphere of Loppen, Christiania, is completely sold out and as I enter the grounds of the free state, the outer area is brimming with energy and more perceptively, a mix of languages from all around. Dubioza Kolektiv are known to be anti-nationalist, anti-racist, anti-fascist and an endorser of multiculturalism. In fact, every criteria that demand and breed an alternative following. Just like Shantel from Frankfurt, these Bosnians are hugely popular with the Balkan diaspora of every nation, so it comes to no surprise that the crowd is a grand mix of people who all very excited to dance like never before. Opening, however, is our local Danish ska-swing aficionados in form of Larica, a band that recently announced their indefinite hiatus, thus signalling the end of a very successful DYI movement. Rumours have it, however, that members of Larica will continue to produce music, albeit in a different form.


I rarely see Loppen as packed as this and it is borderline uncomfortable due to the amount of people who insist on pulling chairs to the front part of the venue during Larica’s performance. Despite these minor setbacks, Larica are off to an immense start backed up by a brilliant sound calibration. Jonas Lint’s bass is both full-bodied and insistent, he is simply a cool cat who plays a fretless bass seamlessly. Kristian Nielsen still maintains a strong presence filled with the welcoming banter with the audience, sometimes based on weed smoking and drinking, other times hugely political. Kristian is a storyteller in his songs, where his tales of travels throughout Brazillian favelas and of his love of the Nørrebro neighbourhood are both engaging and backed up by a swing-balkan-tinged musicscape that keeps your feet tapping and arms swinging. Usually, Larica's shows are packed with shenanigans that involve getting naked to “Brugs og Champagne”, but this time around, being a support gig, the bands mischievous side is somewhat dampened. Some may see this as a sign of fatigue within the band, I choose to see it as a band who respects their position as a warm-up band and alternatively, provides one of the tightest displays of musicianship I have seen through 6 years of witnessing Larica. Despite a very short set, Larica manage to engage the audience attention and properly loosens the joints of those about to witness the Bosnian maniacs.


Dubioza Kolektiv

Dubioza Kolektiv is a band that I have witnessed twice before. Once as the closing act of the last Arena performance at the Roskilde Festival, secondly at a club show in neighbouring Malmö. Both times, the Bosnians convinced me off their inextinguishable skills at brewing a fierce concoction of Balkan-infused ska music that is blended with elements of alt-rock, hip-hop, dub and reggae. As tradition dictates, the band first announces a public service announcement, which includes the “encouragement” of weed smoking and dancing, as a tongue in cheek request for frivolity. The band enter wearing their signature bee-colored football jerseys appearing like a bunch of Dortmund hooligans before the crowd.

As the drums signal in all members, the band begin to perform a selection of danceable hardhitters, where especially “USA” has the audience moshing and skanking like no tomorrow. Loppen is a very small and airtight venue, which means that people resolve to taking of their clothes to perspire a little more. Dubioza Kolektiv are backed by a very strong rhythm section where the DJ also performs as a percussion player, adding more complexity to what sometimes becomes a bit repetitive, but hey, Ska-music follows a distinct formula. Dubioza do, however, add originality to their mix by the immense skills of their saxophone player, whose name I did not catch. Especially during songs like the rocking “No Escape” and the exotic “Kazu”.

Having very distinct ideals in all realms of life, one thing they always endorsed is that of free distribution and ownership of music, something a song like “Free.mp3” purports. During this song Dubioza hang a massive flag of the torrent site “The Pirate Bay” up towards the audience. Towards the end of their set, they decide to perform a heartwarming version of Frankie Vallie And The Four Seasons’ classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to the delight of the fans and a massive sing-a-long abrupts. At the end of the set, Dubioza invites whoever would like to join on stage and with no discrimination, everyone is invited and rushes the small stage to full capacity before the night is sealed with a clearly satisfied crowd.

Dubioza Kolektiv continue to astound me with their fiery energy. I was totally exhausted by the end of their almost 1 hour and 45 minute set. It truly demands a lot of energy to keep up with these crazy youngsters from the Balkan region. I also noticed that their crowd interaction has improved a lot! Perhaps, the members of Dubioza have improved their English during the copious touring the last couple of years? In any case I hope to see them return as soon as possible.

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