1 Week, 5 Concerts

It started on a Saturday night with The Toasters. A couple weeks prior I had been surprised to learn that they would have a show here in Sarajevo being that they are a ska band from NYC whose notoriety had faded along with the ska resurgence back in the 1990’s. I was a fan back then and continue to be today, so needless to say I was excited to see them while here in Bosnia. The venue was small, which suits my preference, and the tickets were unbelievably cheap at only 5KM. It was a good show with a very small crowd that kind of made seem like they could have been playing at someone’s private party with only some friends in attendance. After the show the band stayed at the bar for a couple beers and chatted with the audience. I got to speak with the singer for a bit and mentioned to him that it was really cool to see them play here in Sarajevo and it brought back memories of the first time I saw them play 17 years ago back in Tampa, FL. He thanked me for my support and in response to my mention of that first time I saw them so long ago he replied, “That’s called continuity, son!” I left after having a great time and thought that it was at least nice that I got to go to one concert while here in Bosnia. Little did I know the amount of live music that was in store for the week to come.
As part of a cultural program taking place in Sarajevo throughout the entire month there were events held every night that were free to the public. This great program (a wonderful idea for other cities, I might add) provided me with the opportunity to go to three more live shows to see Bosnian groups from different musical genres throughout the week. On Monday, I made an impromptu journey back to the venue where I saw The Toasters and caught the last 4 of 5 songs of a Bosnian band called Skroz. It seemed like a totally different venue as it was completely packed full of people singing along faithfully with each song. The band was good and leaving very sweaty was also a sure sign that the show was a success. Tuesday night it was off to a different venue (in an old socialist youth center) to see Bosnian rapper Edo Maika. The place was much larger and there were a lot of people there, but we could watch this one from a much less sweat inducing distance. It was interesting to hear the Bosnian rap and see the crowd enjoying the hip hop show in its own distinctly Bosnian way. Thursday night it was back to the youth center to see another Bosnian band called Zoster. The band had been described as reggae and jazz on Wikipedia, neither of these titles seemed to be accurate in hardly any way. Although they did not match their internet description, the band was really good and entertaining, which made their show the highlight from the lineup of Bosnian bands for me throughout the week. Of course, it probably helped a lot that we also had the largest group of friends attending this one together and just generally had a good time experiencing it together. The 5th and final show happened by accident in Banja Luka when we went to a local pub for a couple drinks and a live band called Tuplas Mene played. They were a rock band who had a good guitarist and a singer with some interesting facial expressions. I was told that being that it was just a live band at a pub, this does not count as a “concert”, but seeing as the place was packed (not necessarily with people coming for the band) and it seemed like they were playing original songs, I am counting it as the 5th show of a really good week for live music.

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