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When one is to define what kind of music Shortparis is playing, one might use the terms avant-pop or pop-noir. But neither of these terms can fully render the true sound of the band . One has to experience the music live, with all of Shortparis’ originality in its purest – or harshest – form.  The band played at D.K. Luksus in Wrocław on January 31st.

Nikolay Komiagin, the vocalist of Shortparis /photo: Łukasz Aleksandrowicz

xDZVØNx, a sacral noise pop duo from Wrocław, played as a support. Their debut album TAPE 01 was released on cassettes and in digital format in July 2018. At D.K. Luksus they played the songs from the album: very fine tunes, with a powerful beat and, at times, overwhelming bass sound. It was almost completely dark in the room, with black-and-white visuals (for example one showing a falling spire of an Orthodox church temple) behind the two musicians, BØRA and SNUFKIN (who both wore dark glasses), being the only source of light. The visuals added much climate to the already atmospheric concert. One can commend BØRA’s beautiful vocals. They greatly connoted with slavic folklore. At times she seemed to sound like a super talented church choir member. The audience seemed to be in a peculiar trance caused by xDZVØNx’s music. The duo maintained silent until the gig end – a part of the performance, as though they did not want to break the somewhat mystical silence. People were very pleased with the show, and those who heard the duo at the concert for the first time, declared their love for their music. It was a good warm up before the most anticipated show of the evening.

fot. Łukasz Aleksandrowicz

Shortparis started playing a few minutes before 10 p.m. and bewildered the audience with their electrifying show. Some people were in awe or felt unease. The band’s shows can be incredibly theatrical and scenic – it’s much more of a performance than a casual concert. Amazing performance. All of the band members are charismatic, but it is the vocalist Nikolay Komiagin who catches most of the audience’s attention. Komiagin oozes raw masculinity and impermeability. There’s something hypnotizing in him as well. People felt a discomfort and some women even said they were afraid to look him in the eyes and turned their heads or looked down whenever he was standing on the edge of the scene, or when he was looking at them. He acts onstage, playing a role of – who? It’s hard to say who exactly, but his theatrical gestures and expressions, characteristic falsetto and a fierce, piercing glance certainly seem to leave people stunned and in awe. All of that, combined with a fantastic and energetic music, guarantee a wildly intense experience. What a skillful musicians they all are! And besides their talent, the other band members can also catch the audience’s attention. Bassist and accordionist Aleksandr Ionin wore gaiters with something of underpants on which looked like buttocks of a dummy. Danila Holodkov who plays on drums and sampler, was dancing quite well. His moves can be viewed as a way of relieving while playing the instruments.

Shortparis/ photo: Łukasz Aleksandrowicz

photo: Mateusz Stypuła

Danila Holodkov /photo: Łukasz Aleksandrowicz

Songs from Shortparis’ two studio albums, The Daughters and Пасха, were mixed on a concert setlist, but the band also played a couple of yet untitled new songs. Among songs played that evening were Любовь, Что-то особое во мне, ТуТу,  Раз, два, три (such a beautiful accordion sound) Новокузнецк and French/English songs like Amsterdam, Pink Whale and St. Tropez. Two of the latest band’s singles, Стыд and Страшно were played as well, and it seemed like Страшно was the one song that the audience sang most loudly. The gig was very much energetic and the majority of people pogoed or moved their bodies to the original and powerful rhythm.

photo: Łukasz Aleksandrowicz

Fans from other countries who came to Wroclaw shared their impressions and emotions: Guys, this was a mega concert! I advise all-all-all to visit the concerts of Shortparis! It was awesome! Emotions, energy, dancing – everything was incredible! I want and I will dance like this myself …!  Others commented on the crazy energy of the band and the particularly successful live performances of Shortparis: Choose them, as they give all of themselves during the performances! When the musicians finished playing, the audience did not want to let them go and demanded to perform more songs. When the musicians finished playing their regular set, the audience did not want to leave, demanding more songs to be played. Shortparis went onstage again to play just one song and the show ended wonderfully,  in the most theatrical way possible, with Komiagin standing at the edge of the scene screaming Stop! and The end! in Russian. Then, he bored into the audience with his fierce glance and threw a cymbal of the drumset off onto the floor as he was leaving the stage. Such a memorable way to end a great show!

photo: Łukasz Aleksandrowicz

The end/ photo: Mateusz Stypuła

The mystery atmosphere of xDZVØNx’s concert hypnotised the audience. It warmed up the people to the much intense experience – the Shortparis performance. One can even say that it was an exhausting experience but only in a good way, as despite the physical consequences of pogoing and dancing most of the time, after the show ended, one wanted to smile and experience it again.