You get out of Old Street station. Old Street, the (once) cool area of London where all the bankers and wanna be cool people like me now hangout.
I’ve always struggled with finding the right Old Street tube station exit. I think I get it this time, walk past Bounce and turn left into another road. It’s a strangely quiet, empty, “residential” street away from the busy Friday night buzz.
What the hell is going on? Where am I going?
Ah. I found it. The Courtyard Theatre. Cosy, warm atmosphere. Good bar. Nice music venue. No exposed ducts, no cold Shoreditch warehouse design. Good acoustics. Does not stink. Floors don’t stick.
How about the line up?
The most effortlessly rock’n’roll punk rock band in the most unexpected place: Sasha Ilyukevic and the Highly Skilled Migrants.
This concert is part of the Dash Arts events. “Dash Arts??” On their website, an artistic journey through the diverse lands, people, stories and cultures of the Post Soviet States.
On the 7th October 2016, the band delivered an astounding show which recalls the magic of the Pixies, Arcade Fire or Joy Division.
The guitars paint haunting, collapsing sounds. The musicians don’t use their guitars to show off endless solos. Instead, they use them to create an odd atmosphere, a particular feeling.
The bass and drums are magnetically controlling the moves of the dancers in the crowd.
Sasha, the lead singer has a unique presence on stage. He delivers a mesmerising performance, with dance moves à la Ian Curtis and looks like a possessed Jesus asking the audience to be crazy.
The guitars are meshing, words are slicing, bouncing to explode suddenly into strangely enjoyable screams to hear.
HOLOGRAM! HOLOGRAM! He shouts uncontrollably at some point.
People in the crowd shake their head like no tomorrow.
The band is joined on their last song by Hungarian accordionist Gábor Halász to cover a Russian folkloric song which starts slowly before continuously accelerating, making your feet move uncontrollably to the spiralling rhythm. The dancing audience is left to sweat and breathe heavily like they just ran the marathon.
That’s what you call a great show.
Listen to Sasha and the Highly Skilled Migrants on bandcamp here.