LITHUANIAN SCENE REPORT by Domas
Welcome to Lithuania – land of skyrocketing economy, bigger and bigger hypermarkets, wild capitalism, political scandals, and general work-buy-die neurosis – picture more or less familiar to the most brand-new members of EU. Underground movement changed from punk77 destruction to do-it-yourself creativity during the last 10 years. At the moment there are quite a lot of active people in various Lithuanian regions and do-it-yourself open air jam Darom is one of the most interesting examples of their unity and creativity. It's a multicultural festival in nature, organized by former GreenClub crew and their friends. The project was launched in 2005 for the first time and got really honest and enthusiastic feedback of about 1500 people from various countries. Darom is run by volunteers and without any commercial structure support. You can check more about Darom at hardcore.lt/darom.
Though diy booking network is quite strong in Lithuania, as usual for underground, there are no stable places for gigs. Sometimes neglected buildings are rented, sometimes there are deals with various pubs and clubs. Though recent example shows that an open air gig can happen anywhere with a small PA and generator. There used to be underground venue GreenClub in capital Vilnius almost for 10 years, but it seems its' crew is more concentrated on Darom festival now. Similar venues like GreenClub were established in Siauliai and Kaunas, but they were closed after quite a short time.
Talking about squatting, there used to be few in Vilnius few years ago. Barbora squat was evicted by city government and Kablys by private landlords and fire. 3-5 years passed, but both buildings still stand empty and neglected. At the moment it's more popular to find a cheap big flat and to make something like squat for a small rent. Usually these are the spaces to meet peole, share ideas, do some workshops or provide accomodation for strangers. One of these places is used for Pavasaris infoshop (firstname.lastname@example.org) activities, another one, Tilto 29, provides accomodation for travellers.
Following Western example, first Critical Mass and Ladyfest were organized with quite a success. Unfortunately, there aren't so much new ideas and lots of actions seem just copy/paste thing and there is no big difference between it and any „teenage riot“ fashion. That brings one more thing in mind – majority of punks/skins/rastas/whatever leave the scene for other experiences in their lifes, so it's hard to talk about continuous projects – every few years there is a new kids generation in the scene. Of course, most of them get some think-for-your-own education, which is always useful, whatever you do with your life.
Lithuanian underground still can enjoy unity between punks, skins, rastamans, skangsters, emo and hardcore kids and various other subcultures. The scene is quite small, especially in province, so everybody come to all the gigs. There are more popular musical styles like hardcore or ska, but people always support interesting, innovative, honest acts. The artists often get impressed by hot feedback which is quite rare in bored West.
Unfortunately troubles with nazis get bigger and bigger. It's especially actual in Klaipeda and Siauliai, where nazis try to stop every diy event. There some antifa fighters who're able to defend themselves and guard a gig, but usually teenage kids become victims of nazis boneheads. It's difficult to stop this madness, 'cos both sides talk in different languages. Seems that image of tough looking nazi is more attractive than punk or dready rasta in our macho society.
If you happen to hear a Lithuanian underground band, I'd recommend the following: Toro Bravo - tight and powerful oi!punkrock fighters, SC - interesting freakcore, quite known in Europe local hardcore heroes Bora, punky folkrock of Lithuanian Russians Spichki, all-girl band Zimbabwe, new wave of skapunk scene Lagamino Turinys and Va Taip Vat, fresh emo-crust band Anarres, grind/crust monsters Per Kryziu Ir Kancia Tavo, also so-called Baltic ska pioneers dr.Green. Most of these bands and more can be found at the main Lithuanian underground resource on internet - www.hardcore.lt. Check it for mp3s, images, info, contacts.