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E-an-na - Alveolar Release Party, Bucharest, Romania, 16.03.2023

Event: E-an-na - Alveolar Tour 2023
Written by: RaduP
Published: 17.03.2023


E-an-na - Alveolar Release Party / Bucharest, ROM by RaduP (32)

The release of E-an-na's new album is something that was quite anticipated, even if, at this point, Alveolar feels like a compilation considering how many of the tracks were made available in advance. I mean, just look at how many news I had to add of each newly released song, and I even missed a couple of them. But even so, it was exciting to see E-an-na continue with their own brand of folk metal after two detour EPs. A detour that was quite wild for E-an-na, complete with trying to qualify for Eurovision, winning the popular vote but being dismissed by the juries, getting banned from venues for detouring from rock music with taboo music genres. By that I mean the Balkan folk/pop inspired EP, not the tango one that no one but me and SSUS talk about. You can hear more about it in my interview with the band.

This is not a review of the album itself, even if the album is out, and they already played most of the album live. You'll have to wait for SSUS to find the time to review it himself. But even before the concert, listening to Alveolar, I had the feeling that this concert would be something else. But that's not exactly the reason why I traveled all the way to Bucharest in the middle of the week, having to take two days of mobile work and working from a hotel (and definitely not writing this during my work schedule), when I could've just waited for them to tour somewhere closer. But this release party promised to be a bit more of a unique event, mostly due to the special guests involved. Sure, some of it did end up feeling like one of those state-sponsored TV shows with "special guests", and I'm sure none of these guests mean anything to anybody who is not Romanian and even so very into a specific niche of Romanian music.

First up we have Dora Gaitanovici. Rock singer. Also was on Eurovision. Also released an album this year, pretty good, saw the album release party but on tour in my city. The one that made the most sense for E-an-na to collaborate with. She was also guesting on an acoustic performance that E-an-na played in a library the day before (and I wasn't there).

Then there's Sex Pula Pistol. Name literally translates to "Sex Dick Pistol". You didn't need a translation for most of those words, but at least now you know why Romanians find that one Croatian city funny. Post-ironic all genres music, a lot of vulgar/absurd/tongue-in-cheek lyrics about gambling, coffee, shawarma, and original characters, that are funnier than I can ever describe them as, but would be cringy or stupid to people who are not in the know. A band I try to catch live as often as I can. They're the only Romanian band post-2010 that managed to play in an arena in Bucharest, with E-an-na as an opening act.

And finally Paulina. Trying to describe the music to non-Romanians is tough as hell, but the best I can come up with is a more modern and slightly psychedelic take on Balkan wedding romance music. Sort of an update of that style for the internet age, with plenty of psychedelic synths. The only one of the bunch I hadn't seen live before, mostly because she only seems to have played live in Bucharest live so far. E-an-na guested on her latest album.

Now with the context in place, I hope it's obvious why I was compelled to see this specific concert, and why it's also extremely difficult to explain it to anybody not in this specific niche. I was also not certain whether the guests would just perform the songs on which they collaborated with E-an-na or if they would also get to play one or two of their own songs as well. I wouldn't have minded a longer concert with the second option, but I understand why that wasn't to be. The fact that most of the collabs were left towards the end of the setlist also increased anticipation tenfold.

The setlist was, expectedly, very focused on Alveolar, with 11 of the songs played being from that album, also leaving just three songs from it not played. Their other full length, comparatively, only had one song, "Apele Îngheţate", representing it. The M.L.R. EP also had a huge representation, with 4 out of 6 of its songs having been played. The band also played three of their earliest songs, some officially on the Jiana EP, some appended as bonus tracks. This left the Fascinathanatango EP as the only release not to be represented at all in the setlist, but then again the band never played anything from that album since that seems to be more of an Andrei Oltean project than a full band thing. Even so, the show was pretty evenly split, with the M.L.R. songs, the older songs, the acoustic set, and the guest spots all being allocated quite evenly.

1 Călăuză
2 Necaz
3 Bun la Toate
4 Toropeală
5 Suit în Nor
6 Cenuşiu
7 Ies
8 Fântânile de la Capătul Lumii
9 Biba (acoustic)
10 Dulce (acoustic)
11 Apele Îngheţate (acoustic) (feat. Dora Gaitanovici)
12 O, Romaniţa (acoustic)
13 Tinca Popii
14 Sârbă Ciobănească
15 Mioritic Metal
16 Floare De Fer
17 Codru
18 Colo 'mbia (feat. SPP)
19 Bassu' si cu Toba Mare (feat. Paulina)
20 Malere (feat Dora Gaitanovici)
21 Colo 'mbia
22 Toropeală

From a sound point of view, it was excellent and I really can't complain. It was pretty clear that they took the soundcheck seriously, there weren't any glaring technical errors, and even if sadly I lost my earplugs right before the show (tragic, I know), it wasn't that loud to really require ear plugs (though they're still recommended). I was a bit more focused on taking pics than actually paying attention to music, but there were a lot of great moments musically that just left me speechless, like the acoustic rendition of "Dulce".

From a visual point of view, there was no shortage of lights, and even if the red lights are the ones that usually the most annoying, it was actually the projection that was the most annoying this time around. The grid like image that was projected ended up making all the pics seem very low-res and pixelated, which I almost thought was the case until I some of the more zoomed in pics came around. I mean, look at this shit:

I doubt I'm gonna travel all the way to Bucharest to see E-an-na again, unless something really big happens, but I definitely don't regret catching them in this specific context this time around.

Now go listen to Alveolar:

Written on 17.03.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.

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