The Ment showcase festival/conference in Ljubljana is slightly older than Kontakt, but unlike the regional focus, it is aimed at musicians and music professionals from all over Europe. The geographical and cultural position of Ljubljana provides a good insight into both, making Ment a platform where each year some of the regional stars in the making amaze European music industry professionals. Thus, this year too, while moving through the crowd at performances of regional artists, one could hear the excited “Who are these guys, what is their name?”

On the second day of the conference, in the Gromka club, within the legendary Metelkova, the hosts, Analena, opened the regional performances. The cult Croatian-Slovenian quartet led by Ana Franjić (bass, vocals) was founded back in the nineties and rarely performs today, so this performance was filled with emotions and smiles in the audience as well as the band on stage. It meant a lot to them. Especially since Miran Rusjan, the head of Moonlee Records and one of the spiritus movens of the Ment festival organization, plays the guitar in Analena. After them, the trio Nikki Louder performed, a major noise attraction from the small towns of Kamnik and Lukovica, near Domžale. I have watched them countless times and they never disappoint. Drummer Luka Cerar is one of, I claim, the best in his job in the region, and together with his brother Peter on bass and Blaž Sever forms one of the best and longest-lasting bands in Slovenia.

Between Nikki Louder and Seine’s performances in Gromka, in the neighboring club Menza pri koritu, Vagina Corporation, a young quartet from Skopje, performed. They recently stormed through Belgrade on their way to Ment, presenting themselves in a brilliant performance at Jugošped. A somewhat reserved audience this time conditioned a somewhat reserved start of the performance, but as time went on, the debauchery of their performance grew, reminiscent in the best way of Black Lips, or in the local language, Klotljudi. Compared to other bands mentioned in this text, Vagina Corp is by far the youngest group with the least experience, which did not prevent them from making an impression that stands shoulder to shoulder with their older colleagues.


Then it was time for sounds from Zagreb. First, the brilliant Seine, a trio born from the ashes of the band Vlasta Popić, which over time found its unique sound and style. The electro-acoustic magic that this group creates, along with the vocal bravura of Ivan Ščapec, hypnotized the audience. The fact that Dimitrij Petrović is on drums and the way he plays requires a DNA check to see if John Bonham had adventures in these parts. Vatroslav Živković on bass hits a groove that, together with the drums, makes swaying hips impossible. At festivals of this type, the audience is mostly participants, festival organizers, music journalists, various professionals, so it is usual that when a band plays quietly, the noise of so-called mingling and conversation does not stop. Usual until someone like Seine charms and makes every tone and minute of the concert precious. One of the three best performances at Ment without a doubt, at least for the author of these lines.


After Seine, the Zagreb band Žen performed, providing an audio-visual experience where projections on the wall behind the band, for which former member Tanja Minarik is responsible, and the vocalizations of Eva Badanjak along with the groove rhythm section comprising Sara Ercegović and new band member Jelena Božić, take you on a spacey post-rock journey. A fitting end to this fantastic evening.

On Friday, the Hali Gali collective was a guest in Gala Hali. If that wasn’t a clear sign from the heavens of what kind of night awaited us, then it was the crowd outside the club. After 45 minutes of waiting and pushing, we entered when Koikoi had already started. It was Ivana Miljković’s last performance with the group, it was a performance where Marko Grabež as a cult leader controlled the audience, it was a performance where emotions poured from the walls along with sweat as Emilija Đorđević and Ivan Gizmo Pavlović impaled us on rhythm and groove. Koikoi is a group that has matured on the scene through concerts over the last two years and now is not just the ruler of the stage but also of the audience, timing, and atmosphere in the club. Koikoi is destined for success, and they showed it in Ljubljana. The crown performance and the pinnacle of Ment without a doubt.


Vizelj was next. Another group I know and have watched from the beginning and another company that just grows. They came like matadors to a wounded bull, preparing the final frenzy and rampage in an already overheated club. Jelisaveta kills it on the drums, and with such a foundation, the guys have room to mess around and create an atmosphere. But Veljko is serious when he plays guitar; the guy simply knows how. Vocally they are better, and they have found a way to effectively incorporate a new style into a live guitar performance. Directness is the main characteristic of Belgrade, which also characterizes the local rock scene. And when posing, emotions jump out, let alone when performing most sincerely… This surplus of feelings is a characteristic we have, knowingly or not, and that’s what, when delivered at a concert, magnetizes the audience and raises the temperature to the level of a melting pot… Vizelj is an attraction even within that tradition. Guaranteed fun, people’s rock music in the best sense. All this was transferred to Hali Gali as a collective now characterized by the same features. If the author of these lines influenced that even a bit, I can only feel pride and glory for this entire generation of bands gathered under the name Hali Gali.

And Zagreb is yet to follow…

Noć kad je gorela Ljubljana - Regionalni izveštaj sa Menta

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