Misconduct @ Crni Ovan, Novi Sad, Serbia

Words: Miljan Milekić

Punk and hardcore were always more than just music, and chances are, that won’t change anytime soon. This show, in a small pub in the heart of Novi Sad, was just one of many proofs. Crni Ovan (Serbian for “black ram”) is a tiny bar in the town center, run by and for the local hardcore crew. Along with its older sister place Crna Ovca (Serbian for “black sheep”), whose name was inspired by the legendary Minor Threat logo, it serves as a creative hub for local musicians, artists, and activists.

The evening started with the panel discussion about green mining and the future of the mining industry in today’s world. A current subject in Serbia, a country that had many protests in recent months, directed at big mining corporations, opening of the new mines with cheaper, dirty technology, and the potential destruction of the natural ecosystems that would inevitably happen.

But why does it all matter? Again, it’s the first sentence I wrote. An internationally successful band such as Misconduct doesn’t have to play acoustic shows on borrowed guitars at local punk pubs for thirty fans. Yet, they do it. They didn’t have to know about the event for hours later in that same place, thousands of kilometers from their country, and yet, they did it. After all, they are the band that did a song with Greenpeace, tackling very similar problems. And yes, they did play ‘Solution’ among other songs.

Most of the set, however, was in a much lighter tone. The band was in a great mood, constantly interacting with the crowd, talking about the local alcoholic beverages, or teasing their drummer who recently stopped smoking for lighting up a cigarette. They didn’t fail to mention the punk community all around the world and the importance of unity in the scene. Song-wise, the band was focused on the crowd-pleasers such as ‘Side By Side Part II,’ ‘Family,’ or ‘We Are As One,’ taking a bit more time to share a bit of the story about every song.

All in all, this wasn’t some bigger-than-life, ‘MTV Unplugged’-type of performance. This felt more like a gathering of friends with a couple of drinks and acoustic guitars, and I got the impression that nobody present, nor the band or the fans would like it any other way. We even received an impromptu two-song set by local emo/pop punk heroes See It My Way, who actually brought their guitars and made this show possible. One of the two-song was a cover of No Use For A Name‘s ‘International You Day,’ which felt especially on the spot since this month will mark the tenth anniversary of Tony Sly‘s death. rounding up a special evening. Great way to finish off the evening at the pub and kick off the Exit festival.

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