Last Saturday, a few friends invited me to a concert in Moscow for a band called Карл Хламкин & Давай Забухаем Оркестр (Karl Hlamkin and Let's Get Drunk Orchestra). It had been a while since I've had a big night out or since I had seen live music, so, without bothering to look up any music (or even the name of the band), I agreed. The location was called Сады Вавилона (Gardens of Babylon), a small bar tucked away in an alcove near Тверская улица (Tverskaya Street). As we approached, the walkway was dark and fairly deserted to the point where I began to wonder if we had the directions right. But then I began to hear something. It sounded like some type of brass horn, maybe a trumpet, and it grew louder and louder. Then came a booming raspy voice, full of energetic intensity. Excited, I pushed open the door, not quite sure what would be on the other side. I stepped in.
Suddenly, my entire surroundings came to life. In front of me stood a room full of people, drinks in hand and dancing their hearts out. But the people weren't the center of attention. That glory belonged to the band on stage. They seemed to have a style and form of showmanship similar to Gogol Bordello, but with powerful brass horns to back it up. Two bearded skinny guys each on a trumpet and saxophone stood near the sides while a drummer, a bassist, and a girl with short, dark hair, holding maracas, performed with a joyous, edgy intensity. Then, of course, there was the lead singer: Карл Хламкин/Karl Hlamkin. He was by far the oldest in the group, singing with a deep voice, wearing a winter cap, gray stubble, cigarette in mouth and a shirt with a face that resembled Jack Skeleton from Nightmare Before Christmas. He was giving the energy and performance everyone came to see. There was nothing to prove, the room was already his. He knew it, and he delivered.
Naturally, before I could fully take it all in, I got caught up in the excitment and jumped into the fray of the crowd. There I remained as the band blasted out their music relentlessly, interacting with the people nearly every chance they got. This continues into the early hours of the next morning, and by the end, I had sweated out just about every ounce of hydration my body once held. That said, it was totally worth ever bit of it. Anfer about eight months of winter, this brought me roaring into the spring and summer, and, not to mention, the music was pretty awesome as well. I didn't spend much time recording since that involves standing still to the side, but here's their page on vkontakte (Russia's social network) where you can check out their music and more: https://vk.com/karlhlamkin