SATTA OUTSIDE 2011 - One week later
Such an awesome festival, I had to wait a week to calm down before I wrote this review. Find out why new Lithuanian music rocks the hardest...
Satta Outside was so massive I couldn't write a review straight away. I had too many eargasms and plastic cups of beer in one weekend. Now I'm over the euphoria, here's the most important things I can remember about the music. Fortunately I saw nearly all the acts I wanted to see, so now in the wonderful English language I present the things you should know about how the Lithuanian music scene just totally changed in the space of three awesome days.
Noythe, one of the original signings to Stableface, opened the main arena while I sat dressed in a Union Jack, eating some pizza. He built up the soundscape carefully and pushed sparkling beats all around the stunning Soviet amphitheatre at the centre of the festival. Things were sounding good as the arena filled up, and I can't wait for his album to be finished. We're going on tour for sure.
Then Fingalick, Lithuania's breakthrough pantywetting singer-songwriter-beatmaker, stepped onstage and about a hundred girls started screaming his name before he even got his laptop out. Awesome. You simply cannot argue with that, even though his skills were obscured on the night by bad sound. He's got something special and he's one to watch.
Ritmo Kovos (Rhythm Battles), the series of DMC-style beatmaking tournaments run by my man Vaiper, was underway in the DJ Tent. Last year I came in second place, and only because I didn't understand the rules in Lithuanian. That's my excuse. Also the guy that beat me is a genius. This year the competition was very international and boring. I want to know who the Lithuanian Champion is, not to watch some random guys from other countries. After 2 bars of Style Mistake's first beat dropped heavier than everything else and the home crowd went crazy, it was obvious he was going to win, so I left. Later I heard he did win, and I think he totally deserved it if he rocked the crowd harder than experienced professionals from Western Europe. Molodec.
Unmissable in any Lithuanian festival is Messiah Goes Mad Orchestra, the rockpunkrap band formed by the country's number one poet, who actually does call himself Messiah. And he's worth the name. His performance started below average, before something clicked halfway through and he turned into Jim Morrison on crack. He dedicated a song to the riots in England, I threw my Union Jack onstage and he proceeded to have oral sex with it, stripped off his shirt which he threw on a lamp (it burnt), then he grabbed the guitarist in a headlock while pogoing. Jonas the drummer swapped places with Garo the turntablist and I almost didn't notice. As huge clouds billowed out of the biggest smoke machine in the world and the lights turned red, it actually looked like West Croydon and/or the best Sex Pistols gig ever.
After a show like that, all I can remember is a few very nice minutes of Jinna Morocha. Maybe I saw Robot Koch too. I don't know. I had a very long argument with a guy who thought I was being an unpatriotic Lithuanian by wearing a British flag. I kept telling him I was British but he didn't understand... because I told him in Lithuanian. Then his brain exploded and he asked "are you British?". I went to find my tent.
Saturday was a big day for me and my Stableface boys, the first time we were all together in one place showing people our new music. Due to this, and a bad ankle injury, I missed the legendary Club Tropicana beach party. I knew it was going to be awesome anyway, so I didn't have to go and check. Club Tropicana have been the best promotion team in Lithuania over the past year, going from nothing to literally world famous. The beach party was a well deserved reward.
The beach was so good, and the sun was so shiny, that we weren't expecting many people to come back to the DJ Tent for our early evening Stableface Showcase. As it turned out, plenty of people were chilling on the grass, checking out the new beats, and I got rid of all my stickers for the dancing posse. Much love to the hardcore fans, and I hope more of you will hear our music over the next year. Big respect to Sedentary Birds, Noythe, Morotki and Teffa. Sorry Dragonz couldn't be there but there's always next time...
After some more chilling with the Stableface crew, the sun went down and a girl ran past me shouting "Vaiper's on NOW!" which means I was missing the best show in the history of Lithuanian hiphop. I limped over to the arena and found a huge box, under the soundman's tower, which nobody was sitting on. Everywhere else was packed, including the huge stage rammed with 16 live musicians banging out perfect festival hiphop anthems, 100% Made In Lithuania (well... maybe a bit of Berlin). Many of the originals were recorded in our old studio. I was looking at the perfect widescreen view of Despotin' Fam & The Big Band, watching people I love, supporting people I have seen building their careers over the years with everything leading up to this point - the most perfect moment of any festival I have ever witnessed. This is what music was invented for. Fuck it, I actually cried.
From one awesome Lithuanian act to another, I limped back to the Camping Stage to see the most talented of them all, Domas Strupinskas, with his new project No Dog Barking. After a long, careful and very necessary soundcheck, they played the best alternative rock set in the history of the world. It was bizarre to see such a world-class act, totally off the RADAR, on a tiny stage on the Baltic coast... but trust me, Strupinskas knows his shit and sooner or later he's going to be in front of thousands, not dozens. I would happily delete my Radiohead iTunes folder and replace it with one mp3 from these guys. They're so damn interesting.
If it seems like I am going over the top... if it seems like I am just exagerrating and bigging up my friends and my adopted homeland, you're wrong. You live in a country which produces inferior potassium. These people are my friends because they are geniuses I respect. And I stayed here in Lithuania because occasionally, however much I complain, Lithuania smacks me with the musical awesomehammer and I have to admit I love the place.
The only very "interesting" thing left on the night's lineup was foreign act Lumisokea back in the DJ Tent, which I managed to see the last half of. I can't really describe what they did but it was an oasis of goodness, completely at the wrong time of night, and maybe that's why I liked it. Most of the other stuff there seemed to be a mixture of a few things I love, spliced with totally random crap that only a foreigner would think was a good idea in the Satta DJ Tent.
Somehow I missed Kelpe, and I also wanted to check Debruit, but No Dog Barking was worth ten of those. The DJ Tent sound system was the best anyway, with the original crew regulating to the fullest. Finally Simao and Intakz came to fix the music selection situation and I had a good dose of that before bed. Also some painkillers which don't mix with alcohol. Rocknroll.
Sunday was weird. Everything had been so amazing, it seemed like nobody had energy left for another day. The beach was full of sleepy hangovers, the cool Baltic waters being a perfect cure. However, the beach was not full of toilets or beer, so that completely sucked. Needing both, I went back to the festival site for a pleasant afternoon around the bars near the DJ Tent. My damn foot prevented me from going over to the Camping Stage for Bits And Culture, so I was entertained by Home Production and Style Mistake, and a simply perfect two-hour DJ set from Remedy. If he had played that at 2am the previous night, shit would have gone crazy. Just sayin' - Lithuania #1.
I met up with half of Lumisokea and had a great chat about the Lithuanian scene, recommended Brokenchord and went to see Daina D while we waited for the awful SRKP to STFU. I've already gone too far with the compliments here, but anyway, Brokenchord is yet another out-of-this-world talent and if you don't get to know him now, you're gonna feel stupid in about 2 years' time.
Oh shit, now I have to write about ANOTHER Lithuanian act that totally blew me away. You're probably not gonna believe me at this point, but I got back to the DJ Tent in time for 96wrld and Brolis, who are two tiny little children with more talent than a busload of nuclear physicists. Unable to legally drink alcohol, they anyway laid out perfectly balanced future-oldskool-whoknowswhatstep, showing the kind of maturity and bass control you would expect from an old soldier like MJ Cole or Zinc. I simply don't know what to say to them except please will you release at least one track on my label, preferably five albums.
OK it's nearly the end of the festival and finally I can say something good about the foreigners. Machinedrum was absolutely awesome. I saw him in Satta Bar and thought he was good, but I didn't realise how much better it would be in a big arena. I also didn't realise how much the audience would love it. A truly euphoric session of dancing on my painful ankle with my girlfriend by my side was the perfect way to end the festival. Machinedrum finished and then some weird-looking American guy came on and played Beatles records and everyone went insane. I am truly glad they went insane, and it was just the right time for a drunken mashup session, and I love how kids dig sixties music... but my foot hurt and I wanted another two hours of Machinedrum. I didn't need to hear my dad's record collection mixed with 3 dubstep tracks I have heard a million times before. That's all I'll say about The Gaslamp Killer. He was the right choice for the festival, but not for me.
By now, with my foot and the painkillers and the beers for 1 euro each, there wasn't much chance to pay my respects to my best beat buddies Mondayjazz in the DJ Tent, but members Tadas Quazar on the beach and Justas Fresh in The Big Band are two memories that won't go away.
Foreign readers need to understand that the Lithuanian music scene has been domintated by utter shit for years, and the same promoters and corporate sponsors keep churning out the same safe shit. Then along comes Satta with no major sponsor, no advertising around the site, a lineup full of the absolute cutting edge of dance music from all around the world, a stack of ultratalented locals, and thousands of people paid for a ticket. I want to say a massive thankyou to the organisers for being so true to music, to the public for supporting a real event with real money, to the artists for making an awesome weekend stuffed full of memories, and to Pizzaland for the Vegetariana.
I have only one negative thing to say: If I see another festival with so little security and so little respect for safety, I will take photos of everything and report the situation to a thousand authorities until something is done about it. Please, we do NOT want another Love Parade in Lithuania, and I heard too many stories of stuff getting stolen. Too many unauthorised people backstage, nobody stopped me walking in and taking my laptop, bikers are not security guards, they are bikers. Sorry to be boring, but shit is real now, and saying "everything will be ok" doesn't work when shit is real. Simply: A festival is more fun if nobody gets crushed to death.
Now the "alternative" scene is mainstream, you've got no excuses. It's awesome that, thanks to hard work and dedication from beautiful people, this scene is not buried underground and thousands of ravers can enjoy real entertainment instead of crap from the nineties. So don't diss the people who pay for tickets, and don't diss the amazing people who play amazing music. Satta, you're very close to being the best festival on Earth.