Everyone who has toured the Balcan countries will tell you the same thing: get that fucking ATA carnet and tour the Balcans!
It is going to be one of the best experiences in your life. It was the same for us.
I’ve met Kosta two days before our show in Belgrade, we were playing in Novi Sad, he packed a car with some of the coolest guys we ever met on the road and drove straight to our show at Culture Exchange. I have indelible memories of those Serbian nights and I’m pretty sure all the bands playing there will have theirs. Two days later he shared the stage with us with his amazing band Young Housbands, gave us a place to sleep and spent some hours around the city just before we left for the Republic of Macedonia.
Kosta is great. All the serbian guys we met were great, but he’s one of the most honest, genuine and humble person I’ll ever know.
That’s why we’re sharing his guide to Belgrade’s underground: there’s no better guy around to drive you around Belgrade!
Belgrade is one of the largest cities in the region with a population of almost 2 million people. Like every capital city it has a lot of both positive and negative qualities, but as far as culture and entertainment goes, there is always something going on, so keep your eyes peeled!
My favorite venue is MKC Kombinat. It’s located in Zemun, about 20-30 minutes by bus from the city center and it’s an almost ideal place for smaller DIY/underground shows. On nights off it serves as a small indie movie theater and you can also find a bunch of work and merch from various types of independent artists – from books, zines, comics, t-shirts and so on.
Another venue I’d like to mention is called Jazz Bar Centar, and as the name says, it’s located in the very center of Belgrade. Don’t let the name fool you, aside from jazz concerts, you can pretty much hear any kind of alternative music any day of the week.
Last venue you should know about is Klub Fest, also located in Zemun, about 20-30 minutes by bus from the city center, this is the longest-standing of the three and has a long tradition of being one of the main rock-music-oriented clubs in Belgrade. Probably works best out of the three for 100-200 people audience. From cover bands to some of the world famous names to DIY hardcore punk shows, Fest has a cult-like status with Belgrade’s audience.
Technicolor Lies – This is what happens when you collide the raw energy of hardcore punk with some pretty eclectic influences and innovative playing style. Loaded with both melody and aggression, from mid-tempo punk rock jams, delay-laden softer moments to high pitched shrills, this band’s live show is ever-evolving and changing.
Eaglehaslanded – this is a band that everyone who is into screamo, hardcore and a fresh approach to music in general, should check out asap. Short, concise songs with riffs that combine chaos with melody and shrieking vocals are ehl’s trademark. They have several Europen tours under their belt and have released a number of albums, including split releases with bands Foxmoulder and Les 2 Minutes De La Haine.
Crvi – what separates Crvi from other bands in this list is the unmistakable sound of being a band from Belgrade. For some artists, this could turn out to be not so much of a good thing, but Crvi (translates as “worms”) take this approach and elevate it to a whole new level. With nods to bands like Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and local bands like Jarboli alike, these guys have a unique sound of their own and make every song speak for itself.
There’s a lot of people putting in their time and effort into keeping the scene alive… where to start?!
Deki (Zmrzlina Booking) is one of the people who first got me into booking shows for bands, and for a while there we had a booking collective called Destroy Babylon.
Nino who runs Resetor – a booking organization that manages to bring some of the world’s most famous non-mainstream bands to Belgrade.
Jazzayoga is a place that really puts an emphasis on eating food that is both healthy and tasty. It’s vegan/vegetarian food only, but there is a wide selection of cooked meals, sandwiches, salads, desserts and pressed juices to choose from.
Domino Pizza (not to be mistaken with Domino’s) is in the city center and aside from a pretty good choice of pizza, they offer the best vegetarian sandwich money can buy.
Hanan – a Lebanese restaurant with awesome food and fair pricing. Falafel aficionados, take note.
Always go for local distro if there is a chance. If not, some of these places might prove to be useful.
Muzička kuća Metropolis – more of a traditional record store, even though it also doubles as a café.