So I’ve officially been living in Bucharest since October, and in all honesty I haven’t done all that much during my time here, well it doesn’t feel that way anyway. In short, I’ve worked, walked around the city, visited a lot of bars, visited a few parks, and been to quite a few shows.
Before I left Vama Veche I was offered a job in a hostel and as my career options were completely open, I decided to accept this offer. As you know, I’ve worked in a few hostels before so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, turns out I was wrong. There were numerous problems on the administration side of the hostel, too many complaints from guests and I had a lot of problems with the owner, so unfortunately I only lasted a couple of months there. I don’t want to criticize it too much as I would rather just forget these issues that I had there. I did have some fun with the staff though and am still in touch with most of the crew.
During November, a woman I’ve known all my life came to visit me, my mum! I took her around the city and we participated in a walking tour learning all about the formation of Romania, the history of the city, and some tidbits about Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Tepes. We also went up to the Village Museum by Herastrau Park as I wanted to introduce her to some of the cultural history of Romania and show her how people lived through the centuries. That was a really good experience for me too as I got to see how the country grew and how difference cultures formed from different regions. We also had some traditional Romanian foods, for the first time I tried Papanasi and I enjoyed it, felt full for the next couple of days though as it’s a very heavy dessert, very rich and sweet; we also went out for drinks and I introduced my mum to some proper beer, none of that weak British stuff she is known to drink. I really liked having my mum visit, and I hope she enjoyed visiting me.
Over the winter I didn’t exactly do much, I spend most of my time inside as it was absolutely bitterly cold. If you didn’t see, I actually uploaded some videos and articles on helping others to travel, check out that YouTube channel right here if you haven’t seen them already. I did visit Carol Park with my housemates though and we recorded this little skit:
I also got the chance to be in a music video, my housemate is in a band and he asked if I would like to join in with Riot Monk’s new release, so of course I jumped at the chance. Hidden away in a basement studio we moshed in front of a camera and pogo’d our way through countless replays of the same song. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out here, and if you enjoy the music, don’t forget to smash like and subscribe.
As the spring came back around, I started to get out a little more, and as a good friend of mine was in the city, we went out a lot. We went to various bars around the city and even went to a light show that was displayed throughout the city. This was really good as I got to see some fantastic interactive displays including Pinball on the Odeon, a wave effect on the Palace of Telephones and some other simplistic displays. I also visited other parks in the city; Lacul Moril, and Cismigiu. Unfortunately, as I’m known to do, I got pretty sunburnt whenever I left the house.
One thing I did do during my time here was to go to shows, rock, metal, and punk shows really. I’m going to try and remember them all, and going to try and do it chronologically for you. The first band I saw in Bucharest was a Romanian Rock band called COMA, they weren’t my favourite of all the bands I’ve seen, the music was very artsy and the crowd interaction seemed too safe for my liking; they had crowd surfers but instead of actually surfing it was a more like a parade carrying royalty, they would walk a crowdsurfer around and then back to the front of the stage, quite lackluster in my opinion. I’ve listened to some of their older songs and I really like them, somewhat of a shame they’ve matured as artists. The next band I saw, the first of 2019 was a band called Roadkillsoda, but this was an acoustic show so I didn’t get to really hear their full sound, I still really enjoyed the show though and it was easy to hear how they should sound. I did get to see them perform a full show eventually, but I’ll talk about that later on.
Then in early March, my housemate asked me if I wanted to go see a punk band that evening so we went to see Barackca and Slicer. Slicer opened the show with their brand of horror punk, it sounded very much like Misfits with the sound and lyrics and even imagery. Barackca on the other hand were straight up classic punk rock, they had songs about the school system, revolution, the government and even alcohol, I got to chat with the vocalist afterwards too which was pretty cool. That event even got me into more punk bands that I’m still listening to today. A few days later I went to see a very strange lineup. There was a Trap Metal/Djent band called High $tatus who I only wanted to see as I had previously seen their guest vocalist (Mistah White – who also performed with Guerrillas in Cluj-Napoca), they weren’t bad but probably not a band I’d choose to see again. Why Cat, Why?! then performed and once again, I wasn’t too impressed, they seemed to be a brand new group and were still trying to figure out their sound; they were only so high up on the lineup was because it was their event. The real reason I went to this show was to see Ska-nk who are a band I’d heard quite a lot about but never actively listened to. They were a fantastic band to close the show with a nostalgic 90’s pop punk vibe, and although the crowds were mostly pubescent, they still encompassed the spirit of the music and I had a great night.
I then took a little trip to Cluj-Napoca and Baia Mare and I wrote about those days in another article to be released soon, so keep an eye out for that.
I came back to Bucharest for a very special reason, I wanted to be back in time to see the Folk & Metal Fest V; and I made in back in time, just. I took the midnight train from Cluj and arrived back into the capital around 9am, had a few hours’ sleep and then went to the venue. I met up with a friend of mine, who was even playing at the show and he gave me VIP access to the gig. I entered the venue and caught the end of Apa Simbetii who unfortunately didn’t seem very experienced on stage, the musicians were all individually talented, but they couldn’t seem to connect with each other during their set. Harmasar were next, and they were my main reason for going. I’d known about them for a while as their drummer is also Riot Monk’s drummer and I’d missed a couple of chances to see them before, so thank you to them for getting me in, and thank you to them for putting on an absolutely fantastic show! The next band on were An Theos who were really enjoyable and I really liked their stage show, they had reenactors at the front of the stage but their downfall in my opinion was the overly extended drum solo that felt like it lasted forever, it did give me a chance to sneak out and get a drink though. Bucovina closed the Folk & Metal fest and just like the last time I saw them, they put on a brilliant show and got everyone in the crowd moving. I had to spend most of the following day lying down thanks to my tremendous neck ache from headbanging.
In the middle of April I went to 3 shows in 3 days and got to see 8 bands perform. On the Saturday I saw Dirty Shirt and Ze Gran Zeft perform. I had already seen Dirty Shirt play twice before so I knew they would put on a good show but I wanted to see about Ze Gran Zeft; and that was unfortunately a bad mistake. I listened to a couple of songs online beforehand and wasn’t too impressed and upon seeing them play my impression went even further downhill. The music was absolutely abysmal and the narcissistic attitude of the vocalist really put me off. Not a band I will ever listen to or watch again. Dirty Shirt put on a great show and more than made up for the bad opening act. The next night I went to see my friends in Riot Monk play and that was fantastic. Due to scheduling issues, the lineup went from 3 bands to 4 but with very little notice so only a handful of people turned up to see Dungaree play, I really enjoyed their show, I just felt bad for the poor turnout. Purple Caravan then played and I really enjoyed their show. Riot Monk then followed, and as always put on a great show, and I adopted a bottle of Palincă from them, it’s a Romanian brandy that gets you very drunk, very quickly. I spent most of the night passing it out around the other attendees. Roadkillsoda closed the show and they put on a very raucous set which was really good, from what I remember anyway, and only the sound differed from their acoustic show, the spirit was still ever present. On the Monday night I went to see a band I’d only ever heard of in passing Jinxy Von’Ders. Their opener band was Coven Clash who had a very Britrock style, sounded like Pulp or Blur which I enjoyed. Jinxy Von’Ders on the other hand were a little different from what I was expecting. They had a fusion of melodic rock with some punk vibes but it wasn’t really my style. I still enjoyed my night though.
The rest of my time, most recently anyway, has been spent writing for another site. I was offered a part time job with Reviews Outdoors at the start of May and I’ve been writing reviews for them, whenever my articles are uploaded I will keep you all updated through the Facebook Page, so keep an eye out for them.
The next few articles that will be uploaded on here are all on little trips I’ve done while still calling Bucharest my home; I went back to Cluj-Napoca for a few days, I went all the way up to Baia Mare, revisited Vama Veche for a weekend, and even hiked up a mountain in the Carpathians so don’t forget to give them a read too.