Bruno Dorella of OvO lists their top 5 shows played off the beaten track.
The veteran Italian duo’s raw and dramatic sound is a unique mix of primitive industrial, horror-movie ambience, and noise-rock punishment, led by the theatrically demonic vocals of Stefania Pedretti.
Counting Swans and Diamanda Galas as their biggest influences, Pedretti and co-conspirator Bruno Dorella have spent the past 16 years releasing albums on labels like Load Records (Lightning Bolt, Prurient), and performing across the globe with the likes of Godflesh and Thrones for a total of almost 1,000 shows to date.
Top 5 Shows Played Off The Beaten Track
5) Istanbul, Turkey
This was back in the days, an extremely punk tour. We were traveling in a 9-seat van with 7 people and a dog in it, and all the shows were organized by punks in punk venues. When we arrived, we thought these Turkish punks looked a bit too clean, compared to European crust punks. We were wrong. In Europe or in the US there is no real discrimination if you look weird, but there, these guys and girls were constantly insulted by people on the street, even in the very westernized district of Taksim, and one of the girls even told us she had been rejected by her family. These people were really experiencing what being different means. The show was a little disaster, one of the support bands (which pretended to be friends with this and that American band and label and blah blah) took most of the money because they had to rent the amps and drums for their own show, and didn’t leave much for the touring bands like us, but whatever, we felt very connected with all the other people in the Istanbul punk scene. By the way, driving in Istanbul was one of the worst nightmares we’ve ever experienced.
4) Ekaterinburg, Russia
Ekaterinburg is the first important city in the Asian part of Russia, coming from the West. It is also the first city in Siberia. When we were there the first time it was much more Communist-style, everything looked just grey. Shops, venues and restaurants were hidden in big palaces without any sign of activity. You just entered a building, where you were supposed to know there was something: a bar, a club, whatever. Back then we met Vladimir, who would be our ideal tour manager if we’d ever have the money to afford one. He used to tour manage a circus in Russia! He’s really on top of everything. The first time we had no more merch after St Petesburg and Moscow, which is apparently the curse of Ekaterinburg. Bands usually fly to Russia, so they can’t bring a lot of merch and everything gets sold in St P and Moscow. So when we came back we made sure to reserve something for those guys, and it was much appreciated. We had to book a train for the way back from Ekaterinburg to St Petersburg, so we could experience a 36 hours Russian train trip. Not bad at all, honestly.
3) Hanoi, Vietnam and Shenzhen, China
Shenzhen was a fishing village just 40 years ago, and now is a 20-million people business city, just in front of Hong Kong. It’s very clean and not very polluted, though. Hanoi, on the other hand, is a very old Vietnamese city, with more chaos and more pollution than you can possibly imagine. We played these two shows in a row, thanks to the generosity of Tomorrow Festival in Shenzhen, and of a private patron in Hanoi. Completely different feeling (a very well organized festival in China versus a DIY show in Vietnam), but the same feeling of being in an area of the world with a very developed scene, and a lot of potential for bands on tour. People seemed hungry for shows and new music, and very respectful to our weird sound. We’ll definitely come back, possibly on a longer and wider tour, especially because around there you get the best food in the world.
2) Jerusalem, Israel
We don’t want to go too deep in the political part of it, but let’s just say that, initially, we were skeptical about playing in Israel. Well, we were wrong. We had a great time there. And just the idea of playing in Jerusalem is thrilling, isn’t it? We visited the city, which is really interesting, and it could be really beautiful, if it wasn’t a big… well… “religions market”? You can find any gadget you can possibly name if you are Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox… Not much if you’re Muslim, though. Anyway, I think this place shows that religion is a useless poison. We played our gig in a record store called Uganda, which was actually provided with a small stage. The scene there was very developed. For the first time we listened to a drone music DJ set after our gig. I think it was 2006 so it wasn’t totally obvious back then. So, less religion and more noise!
1) Skopje, Macedonia
This is number one even if Skopje is not that far from Italy (where we live), because we played there during the civil war in 2001. We were listening to the news everyday, and it looked quite dangerous. We were on tour with another band, and we had a meeting in order to decide whether to go or not. We decided to go, and it wasn’t that hard to get in. The border police was quite surprised to see a van trying to come in, so they asked us what the hell we were going to do in Macedonia. We said “playing music!”. “What kind of music?” they said and we, all together, replied, “Heavy Metal!”. A big smile appeared on the soldiers’ faces, and they let us in. We could see the trenches on the side of the road, but everything went smooth, we played the show and it was great!
You can pick up OvO’s latest album Creatura now through Dio Drone Records.