Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Friday, August 12, 2022

Review: Live at To Be Punk. Festival.

Label: SKC Novi Sad

Date: May 7st, 2021

It’s kind of hard to write something about a release when all is said in the liner notes within the booklet itself. I could just as easily copy what’s written there and that would tell you everything. Though it’s not like you cannot get the point from the title of this compilation CD anyway. But here I am, being a wise guy again.

The CD is actually not just a collection of recordings from the longest running and likely the most important punk festival in Serbia. It is the jubilee, hundredth release for the label that is actually a non-profit organization called Students’ Cultural Center. Its life as a musical label started with a compilation accompanying an encyclopedia of Novi Sad punk. With one hundred (at this point in time they have more than a hundred) releases under its belt, it was only natural to celebrate the jubilee with another punk compilation. Only this time, it’s not about a geographical region, but a festival they’ve supported and helped in any way possible from its inception fourteen years ago.

Okay, the majority of bands on the CD do come from Serbia and former Yugoslavian countries. But there are also a bunch of foreigners. All of them recorded during their performance on the festival. Most prominent being the legendary Cock Sparrer with “Watch Your Back”, who I was lucky enough to witness back in 2019. Speaking of which, all of the recordings are made in the 2010, 2019 and 2020 renditions of the festival. Yes, the festival took place in the plagued 2020, though being just an online event. What’s more, 2021 didn’t get left behind either. Talk about persistency!

Anyway, the CD contains punk in all of its colors. From basic punk, oi, hardcore, to post-punk, new wave, metalcore… Melodies, breakdowns, singalong choruses, jokes, paroles… Anything one might call punk, down to the artwork of the release itself. Seventeen tracks from seventeen different bands, all of them neatly recorded so that the bootleg effect was completely avoided. The audience is hardly heard anywhere though, but that’s not all that big of a remark. Certainly one I can live with, considering I’ve been there a couple of times and can testify, under oath, that it does get wild there.

Just to namedrop here, you will get to hear, apart of the mentioned Brits, Atheist Rap, Shoplifters, Apsurd, Oferta Especial, Still Bleeding, Kurve, Proleće, Red Dons, All Except One, The Works, Lineout, Fiskalni Račun, Shock Troopers, SNB, Totalni Promašaj and Mitesers.

If you should ask me for my favorites, I will remain silent. I love the festival, so everything about it is my absolute favorite. Including this compilation CD. And if you need a deeper introduction into each individual band here, I would suggest you get this album and then book your ticket for the next edition of the festival. Novi Sad is beautiful in November. Particularly on my birthday. See you there!