Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun


Have you ever encountered a band and raved, “Where have you been all my life?!” That was my response to meeting Gino Yevdjevich and his fun and furious anti-fascist music collective, Kultur Shock. It seems everyone in town who were up on these guys before me, but I am not going to let my lateness to the game make me miss their next show, this Saturday, March 6, at Seattle’s Chop Suey. From what I heard, and with Balkan brass band Orkestar Zirkonium and Russian folk-ska group Chervona opening, this will be like watching remarkably talented circus performers pranking every sociopathic dictator alive all at once, set to seductive gypsy grooves and roiling Roma rhythms.

Kultur Shock has a brand new album out titled Integration, and it is not just the worldbeat-flavored post-hardcore of certain squatter-punk groups. With alternately elegant and explosive songs about the immoral dangers of violent nationalism, assimilation into societies that don’t respect peace or the individual, and observations about killing and surviving, it is as aesthetically challenging as it is ideologically dialectical. Band-leader Gino works at Cornish and directs and composes local plays with developmentally disabled actors (currently The Little Prince), balancing activism with the arts. Beyond that, though, his musical influences (David Bowie, Nina Hagen, Laibach) make Kultur Shock’s Integration not a white liberal good cause, but a tough and textural work of provocative popular culture.

Balkan-born Gino and some of his international group have lived in Seattle since the turn of the century, starting off as an acoustic collective until they played a special amplified show at The Crocodile one night. Kultur Shock then continued as an electric band (“I was tired of hearing people eat their dinners while we performed!” he says of their roots), garnering respect from the punk and regular rock scene. They gained the attention of Krist Novoselic, who brought Jello Biafra to see them live at The Croc, and then hooked them up with Jack Endino, who has produced three of the band’s five albums. Endino helps capture the band’s wild muse, capturing the frenzy raucous many-genre rants and riffs into recorded works that can be played over and over again.

I am very eager to see the band live now though, after putting previous albums like Live In Europe and We Came To Take Your Jobs Away (with a cover picture of a less bearded Gino plunging a public toilet) have been spinning in the Estey house for the past few days. Gino says it will be a special night, as all the members have come to town for this show, and it is their first after doing an Eastern and Western European tour that would often be performed before up to 4000 people. Chop Suey should be rattled to the rafters in the middle of this weekend.