MOLCHAT DOMA + RHUMBA CLUB – CHALK, BRIGHTON 21.11.21
Molchat Doma (Молчат Дома) (translated as “Houses Are Silent”), founded in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus, stands at the intersection of post-punk, new-wave and synth-pop. Dark yet danceable, and with a heavy dose of goth ethos, their music is reminiscent of the masters that predate them, but make no mistake: Molchat Doma creates a sound and meaning that is immediately recognizable as all their own.
The band is comprised of Egor Shkutko, who sings the Russian lyrics in his deep monotone, Roman Komogortsev on guitar, synths, and drum machine, and Pavel Kozlov on bass and synths.
When their debut album ‘С крыш наших домов’ (‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’)’ was released in 2017, it announced a bold new voice in underground music. The album found a passionate audience on Bandcamp and other streaming services and was released on CD and cassette.
Second LP ‘Этажи’ (pronounced ‘Etazhi’, meaning ‘Floors’), was first released in 2018 on Berlin-based Detriti Records. It became a viral hit, garnering over one million views on YouTube and becoming a legitimate phenomenon on Bandcamp. Six separate vinyl pressings of the album sold out before Sacred Bones signed the band in early 2020 and brought both records back into print for good. The signing was celebrated with the band’s first ever London show, which saw tickets sell so fast that the venue was upgraded twice and eventually had the iconic Scala packed to the rafters for a rapturously received show, mere weeks before lockdown came into force.
The song ‘Sudno (Boris Rizhy)’ hasn’t left the global top viral on Spotify since April 2020. Despite playing to packed clubs no matter whether it’s in London, Warsaw, Helsinki, Belgrad, or Berlin, they are still flying under the radar in their native Belarus. Their third album dropped in November 2020 and tonight they are appearing live in Brighton. Word certainly got out about tonight’s Molchat Doma concert, as it was upgraded from Patterns to the larger CHALK venue.
After their initial ‘intro music’, the trio performed no less than 20 songs, which are all found on the three albums. Of which five were culled from 2017’s ‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’, six from the 2018 ‘Etazhi’ album, and the remaining nine can be found on their current ‘Monument’ platter from 2020. There are only nine tracks on this album, and so they entertained us with the lot.
Prior to them hitting the decent stage at CHALK, the punters, who virtually filled the whole venue were considerably younger than I had anticipated (the wonders of YouTube no doubt) were put in the mood by several Depeche Mode tracks being played on the sound system, including ‘Black Celebration’.
The layout was relatively minimalist with four columns of vertical standing lights on stage with each one consisting of ten round bulbs and an additional larger light bolted on the bottom of each. The lights went down at 8:13pm and the band entered amongst a barrage of dry ice and moody rumbling sounds. The trio all dressed in black.
Roman Komogortsev was to our left (stage right) and was in charge of a Prophet-5 Sequential analog poly synth, with AMT EgoGig EG-4 (4-channel WAV player) as well as a glam rock style Gibson guitar. Egor Shkutko was centre stage and solely concentrated on his vocals and saying “Spaseebah” after virtually every tune. Pavel Kozlov was on our right (stage left) and played Rickenbacker bass guitar and a trio of synths.
Roman was sporting a shaved head look along with a goatee beard, thin moustache and sideburns. He notably had no shoelaces in his black shoes and was the master of the 1000 yard stare. Egor had longer than shoulder length hair and a more than full grown moustache. Pavel on the other hand was arguably the coolest looking dude of the three with his dreads put up into a ponytail and was sporting a pointy beard and several tattoos.
As with many bands these days, quite a proportion of their ‘live’ music is stored in sequencers, drum machines, on tape and the like. Molchat Doma are no different. Thus these sounds do not burst out at you as much as say a live drum set would, therefore the music this evening isn’t thankfully going to give anyone tinnitus and that includes us at the very front. The prepared in machine music is slightly muffled, but arguably this does tend to suit their style of music. They remind me of Antipole, Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure and Clan Of Xymox. Think thudding Europop meets goth and synthwave. Thus if you are a fan of any of these acts, then you simply must check out our friends from Belarus.
If you like ‘Dominion’ by the Sisters Of Mercy, then Molchat’s fourth tune of this evening ‘Lyudi Nadoyeli’ will be of interest to you. The Cure fans would have enjoyed Molchat’s following number ‘Toska’ for it’s twangy guitar work and synthetic drumming beat. One of tonight’s tunes even reminded me of Morrissey on the long drawn vocals. All compositions are sung in Russian and with a slow sexy drawl, so I haven’t got a clue what Egor is singing about, but we did manage to get a setlist and were able to translate this for you as some reference point.
Their overall sound did get the young crowd going and looking around us, I noted that everyone was having a good time. Roman and Pavel tended to mainly concentrate on their bass and guitar work, as opposed to manning the keys. But when they both did switch to keys on the rare occasion, the sound became a more enriched deeper heart pounding affair. I would have most certainly preferred more of these, but that’s not to say that we didn’t hear any electronics as they were programmed.
The highlights of their set came for me near the end with ‘Discoteque’ living up to its high BPM stomper name. This was followed by ‘Na Dne’ from their 2018 album, which sounds like ‘Living On Video’ by Trans-X and it featured a decent Numanesque synth break from Pavel. They left the stage after this and returned for one more tune ‘Sudno (Boris Rizhy)’, which was greeted by the biggest cheer of the night. It had a fast racing beat. Their 106 minute set concluded at 9:59pm.
We have managed to decipher tonight’s setlist and as a result the tracks are listed below in Russian, then Cyrillic and then in English.
Molchat Doma setlist:
‘Uнmpo’ = ‘Интро’ = ‘Intro’
‘Kletka’ = ‘Клетка’ = ‘Cell’ (from 2018 album ‘Etazhi’ = ‘Этажи’ = ‘Floors’)
‘Zvezdy’ = ‘Звезды’ = ‘Stars’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Lyudi Nadoyeli’ = ‘Люди Надоели’ = ‘People Fed Up’ (from 2017 album ‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’ = ‘С Крыш Наших Домов’ = ‘From the Roofs of Our Houses’)
‘Toska’ = ‘Тоска’ = ‘Yearning’ (from 2018 album ‘Etazhi’ = ‘Этажи’ = ‘Floors’)
‘Otveta Net’ = ‘Ответа Нет’ = ‘No Answer’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Udalil Tvoy Nomer’ = ‘Удалил Твой Номер’ = ‘Deleted Your Number’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Ya Ne Kommunist’ = ‘Я Не Коммунист’ = ‘I Am Not A Communist’ (from 2017 album ‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’ = ‘С Крыш Наших Домов’ = ‘From the Roofs of Our Houses’)
‘Obrechen’ = ‘Обречен’ = ‘Doomed’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Leningradskiy Blues’ = ‘Ленинградский Блюз’ = ‘Leningradsky Blues’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Lubit’ I Vypolnyat’’ = ‘Любить И Выполнять’ = ‘Love And Fulfil’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Doma Molchat’ = ‘Дома Молчат’ = ‘Houses Are Silent’ (from 2017 album ‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’ = ‘С Крыш Наших Домов’ = ‘From the Roofs of Our Houses’)
‘Volny’ = ‘Волны’ = ‘Waves’ (from 2018 album ‘Etazhi’ = ‘Этажи’ = ‘Floors’)
‘Krishi’ = ‘Крыши’ = ‘Krishi’ (from 2017 album ‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’ = ‘С Крыш Наших Домов’ = ‘From the Roofs of Our Houses’)
‘Utonut’’ = ‘Утонуть’ = ‘Drown’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Tishina’ = ‘Тишина’ = ‘Silence’ (from 2017 album ‘S Krysh Nashikh Domov’ = ‘С Крыш Наших Домов’ = ‘From the Roofs of Our Houses’)
‘Tancevat’ = ‘Танцевать’ = ‘Dancing’ (from 2018 album ‘Etazhi’ = ‘Этажи’ = ‘Floors’)
‘Ne Smeshno’ = ‘Не Смешно’ = ‘Not Funny’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Discoteque’ = ‘Дискотека’ = ‘Discoteque’ (from 2020 album ‘Monument’ = ‘Монумент’ = ‘Monument’)
‘Na Dne’ = ‘На Дне’ = ‘At The Bottom’ (from 2018 album ‘Etazhi’ = ‘Этажи’ = ‘Floors’)
‘Sudno (Boris Rizhy)’ = ‘Судно (Борис Рыжий)’ = ‘(The Ship (Boris Ryzhiy)’ from 2018 album ‘Etazhi’ = ‘Этажи’ = ‘Floors’)
Egor Shkutko — Vocals
Roman Komogortsev — Guitar, Synth & Drum Machine
Pavel Kozlov — Bass Guitar & Synth
Support on the night came from Rhumba Club who entertained the crowd for half an hour, with tunes from the ten song debut album ‘Welcome to the Rhumba Club’, which has just dropped (12th November) with the assistance of Arts Council England.
Vocalist Tom is dressed all in white, and his chum is in charge of the Prophet-6 synth and also guitar (which is plugged into a box to give it a synth sound). Cheesy danceable 80s disco is very much the order of the day and as music goes around in cycles is either way behind the times or arguably ahead of the game.
Highlights of the set were 2017’s ‘Lucifer’ with its early to mid 80s vibe akin to a mixture of Simply Red, Erasure and Pet Shop Boys, and also final number and new album title ‘Welcome To The Rhumba Club’. The crowd enjoyed the performance that concluded at 7:45pm.
Find out more about the Rhumba Club HERE.
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