A SHORT PUNK-GUIDE TO LITHUANIA
some of you may need this fucking sticker in your
passport to enter Lithuania, so take care.
border: be ready for greedy/angry/captious frontier-guards. they may not like your red hairs or nose-piercing. show your passport and it will cool them down.
transport: beware of sly taxi drivers! average price is 25 US cents per 1 km. public transport is cheap, but sometimes you simply can’t get in because it’s overcrowded. it’s possible to use it without a ticket, but beware of control (once impudent passenger was shoot in his leg when control lost his temper). usually it’s enough to say few words in real foreign (i.e. not Lithuanian, Russian, Polish) language to ride for free. public transport ticket costs about 20 US ct.
place: the best way out is to have few Lithuanian
friends and stay with them, cos good place are expensive
and cheap ones are shabby and dangerous. sorry, but no
macho-bullshit: always beware of them when it’s dark. if someone is asking for cigarette or what time is it in a secluded place - be ready for a fight. the most often they are russians. they can be recognized by bald heads, track-suits, turkish made sweaters and fucking violent eyes.
police: dressed in green, because of that they are called ‘cucumbers’. less dangerous than previous, but sometimes violent. usually they don’t like pissing and making noise in public places. appearance and money amount in a pocket are the most important criterions judging about a person. as with control (see above), foreign language often helps to solve a problem with ‘cucumbers’. bribery is almost always common.
you shoud break your tongue by pronouncing Lithuanian
names, ‘cos almost nobody speaks English in shopes. it
is cheaper to buy stuff in so-called “lariokai” -
small kiosk, where you can almost everything, but quality
may be poor. Lithuanian beer costs about 50 US ct. the
best (and one of the cheapest) one is produced in
port-town Klaipeda and it’s called “Baltijos”.
vodka costs about 5 USD for 0.5 l. try local kind of
brandy “Starka” - it kicks ass.
in general food in Lithuania is cheap. a loaf of bread costs from 0,5 to 1 USD. try Lithuanian sour-cream cheese. local dishes are very heavy, fat and insipid, mainly made from potatoes. it is enough 3-4 USD to eat in bar or café in the centre of a town. it’s even cheaper in province.
well, punkrock started in Lithuania in 1986-87, punkrock leaders of these days are playing shabby pop music or sink in alcohol and drugs… but there are always some new people who don't allow the stage to be empty.
it's not the best moment for Lithuanian underground, but there are some good news.
first of all the first real underground club "Bombiakas" was opened in Vilnius. it is arranged in a bomb-shelter, which was built by soviets during the "cold war" era. the club is run by local punks and it is officially registered and guarded by local police dpt. there are unofficial bar (license to sell alcohol is too expensive), where you can buy cheap beer and a small concert place, sometimes a small punk-stuff market is organized. almost all Lithuanian underground bands played there already. Latvian, Finnish, Polish, French, Swiss, USA, Australian bands played in "Bombiakas" as well. the club celebrated their 1st anniversary few months ago. though club owners are not nazi oriented, but they let to give a concert for a local nazi-skinhead band. during the gig, the club was crowded by zieg-heiling skins. sad but true. in general Lithuanian underground movement is quite apolitical, there are no clashing nazi - antinazi gangs.
during one of the gigs, when HC act INVAZIJA were on a stage, lots of skinheads were "ziegheiling" in a hall. the biggest Lithuanian paper wrote, that nazi-oriented youth supported INVAZIJA and it was totally crap. as an answer members of INVAZIJA organized anti-fascist action in a neglected house of Vilnius Old-town. few hundreds people greeted local bands, also international ukrainian-lithuanian project PISCHISMO and two hardcore bands from Latvia KURU KSETRA and NON-SKID. people were afraid of possible attack of skinheads, but only few drunk baldheads came so there wasn't danger. the second ANTIFA festival happened few months ago. few hundred enjoyed ska-whatever act dr.GREEN, hardcorers INVAZIJA, BRAMBORAK, HI-TECH HATE, techno-power metal act SPELLBOUND. the festival was stopped few times because of nazi boneheads on the stage, but no blood this time.
in the end of 1999 few big festivals were arranged. first one was "Kitoks" festival, which replaced legendary underground festivals "Durniu Laivas". this time the festival was international event: painful crusty guys INFEKCJA came from Poland, anarcho punks BROTHER INFERIOR came from the USA and local scene was presented by tribal metalcore BRAMBORAK. something like 300 crowd enjoyed the show though foreign bands came late at night. "Kitoks" took place in a huge stage of a big empty hall - there was arranged a small stage and people danced there as well. few years ago Canadian jazzy hardcore heroes NOMEANSNO didn't shared the stage with people - there were too many of them, so they filled the hall.
there was a nice club "Rockmerge" run by local underground and REQUIEM band leader Psichas. nice atmosphere, nice girls and you can always try local "whiskey", which is quite strong. it is one of rare underground oasis in Lith. province. unfortunately REQUIEM became a "big" band in Lithuania, so they moved to the capital and "Rockmerge" didn't survived without them. there was a nice squat/bar/club "Babilonas" in Klaipeda, one-summer-squat-club "Juodoji Skylute" in Palanga, also few alternative places in Siauliai. in general Lithuania outside Vilnius is almost dead…
new releases: the most outstanding releases of 1999 was INVAZIJA's tape "neziurek atgal". (intensive, raging, but melodic hardcore) and LIPNUS MACHARADZOS PIRSTAI "molines sraiges ivaizdis" (honest reggae with lots of diferrent influences). trio LMP recorded their second album during a break when their lead singer/guitarist came back from the USA. soon he left to Germany. local ska/whatever heroes dr.GREEN are going to release their long-waited second album "the sounds of black & white radio" in the beginning of 2000. the album is going to be released in Poland, Finland, Australia as well. "greens" are going to tour Europe for the 2nd time. Lith. punkrock godfathers TURBOREANIMACIJA released their "greatest hits" in the biggest local label. it seems it was the last TR album, 'cos its leader is making shit in his dance project N-14. Vilnius Oi! punks TORO BRAVO (who run "Bombiakas" club) released their debut stuff with powerful catchy punkrock. they played few successfull gigs already, performed at Lithuanian bikers meeting, big hard music festival. one more quite fresh band is BRAMBORAK, playing really hard tribal hardcore. it contains members of SPELLBOUND, INVAZIJA, dr.GREEN. they released minialbum "Scream" which was reviewed quite well in Lithuania and abroad.
though zine scene is almost dead, there are few unofficial, but professionally made fanzines. first of all it is "Kablys" zine. it was begun as metal-oriented press, but at the moment it is devoted to so-called "underground culture", mostly covering hard stuff. everything changed, when "Kablys" editor Krilas, true metal-head, heard INVAZIJA's stuff. now Krilas is hard into vegetarian hardcore movement with his fanzine and BRAMBORAK band. very fresh alternative press is monthly paper "Ore", published by ex-editors of the most popular local zines. "Ore" is interesting because of it design, writing style, but covering mostly "fashionable alternative stuff". there are some zines in province as well, but they are not so interesting.
lots of punks at breakneck speed run into drug stuff. it became a big problem especially because of lack of money. less money - cheaper and worse quality stuff you get. that is why the most popular drug is ketamine - it's very cheap. some people using the same syringe got very serious disease, caused by blood-poisoning. some of them are dead already. smoking stuff comes to Lithuania mainly from Asian ex-Soviet Union republics. it's not very good and expensive enough: dope (1 g) costs about 15 USD, hash - 15 USD, so some people started already to grow their own cannabis, which is officially forbidden, as well as poppies. fuck, enough about drugs…
few punks have moved to live in various European squats, because Lithuanian people aren't very tolerant to a person who don't afraid to express himself. one more reason to leave native country was to escape from army service.
check out Vilnius HC homepage at http://www.hardcore.lt/
cheers - dr. DOMAS
po box 790 / 2050 vilnius / lithuania