Counting Crows….and dolphins, and horses, and sheep…..

Had my first taste of the Czech music scene last night courtesy of a band that’s been around since 1990! Sto Zvírat, which translates as 100 animals are legends of the Ska/Reggae scene in the Czech Republic and last night they played to a full house at Zlutý Pes (Yellow Dog).  Ska is such an upbeat genre of music, you could bring a whole group of depressed clowns to a ska gig and I guarantee you within minutes, they’ll be smiling, bopping along and feeling happy.

The venue was spacious but cosy with various instruments decorating the walls. Sound proofing above the stage came courtesy of many egg crates, hey…if it works right? I’m a big fan of D.I.Y. decorations and the simple approaches, if an egg crate does the same job as some expensive carbon fibre lined thermosetting polymer sound suppression technology™ then why not use it? The D.I.Y. theme continues with other elements of the decor, on some of the walls there is what I gather is the metal frame from an old couch with paper stuffed into the springs. Perhaps they’re from old furniture and rather than throwing them out they were recycled into some funky wall decoration.

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The place was packed to bursting point with lively fans.

Sto Zvirat are just as quirky when it comes to stage antics, the lead female vocalist Jana Jelinkova changes hats and feathery scarves between every song, from her own hat stand set up on the stage. What the significance of this is I’m not so sure, but the crowd cheered every new item with glee. Lead male vocalist and percussionist Jan Kalina had a menagerie of instruments ranging from your usual drums and bongos to what can only be described as a toilet plunger, which he stuck to his head and “played” with another stick…..as you do.

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Jana Jelinkova with one of her many hats.

From the first note the crowd lapped it up and band fed off their happy vibe, playing every note with a smile on their face. Initially only a choice few hands were held aloft, but by the end of the night everyone was jumping up and down,  clapping and cheering. The songs were in Czech so although I didn’t have a clue what they were about, the music was really great with the trumpets and saxophones working in tandem with the bass and guitar creating that classic ska sound. Everyone was singing along including the many photographers documenting the show. The band finished up their set and left to the raucous and it would seem universal chant of “one more tune, one more tune” albeit the Czech equivalent. They came back out for a quick encore and then called it a night and left the stage to a rapturous applause. It was a fine introduction to the live scene here and I look forward to checking out more bands in the future.

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Bassist Wilco Versteeg gets his chance to sing a few notes.
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The appreciative crowd really enjoyed the show.
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Sto Zvirat in full swing at Zluty Pes
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Lead vocalist Jan Kalina, one of three original members since 1990.
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Jan waves a grateful goodbye to the crowd at the end of the show.

The Band’s Website: http://www.stozvirat.cz/


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