July, July, July; what did I get up to in July? Well, this article covers the first couple of weeks of the month and then my next article covers the latter half.
So the first happening was that an old friend of mine reappeared in the city, the final piece to the Vampire Beach jigsaw, Darko. We spent a couple of days catching up over a few drinks and got to hear all about his adventures since he last left Romania back in November. To find out what he was up to for yourself, have a look at his site using the link above.
I took a little break from his company on the Thursday to go see the American deathcore band, Whitechapel. They had never performed in Romania before, never mind in the same city I was in, so I was pretty lucky to see them. The show was opened by Crimena, a local deathcore band and in all honesty I wasn’t completely blown away, their set was decent and they certainly had their fans in the audience but it didn’t really capture me; what did capture me was the way Whitechapel controlled the audience, they played a range of their tracks from the heavy-heavy to the more ballad-esque songs and still were able to wind the crowd into a frenzy. After I ran around in a circle a few hundred times, the show closed and I took the metro back home, completely worn out.
Luckily I had the next day off from anything too eventful, just took a walk around the city with my buddy, so I was all fresh and ready for the weekend, in which Darko, Lori and I all went to Vama Veche for a few nights. This place was where we all first properly met so it was a sort of sacred grounds for us. We looked on a ride sharing app, BlaBlaCar and found a driver going direct to the coast, got it all booked and headed to the meeting area. Once we arrived, Lori gave him a call and he’d cancelled our trip, the cheek of it. We sat in the service station and looked online for a replacement, another car that could fit three burly men, and going right to the beach. Luckily there was another one soon enough, but we did have to wait a couple of hours. When our ride did arrive we were very gracious and all bundled into the back seat. After a few more hours, we made it and all of us got out the car and headed to our hostel. Strangely enough, we were actually staying in our old hostel, Vampire Beach (even though it’s been taken over), and even stranger, we were in the same room as some really good friends of mine from last year! Quite happily, the hostel all got together had a BBQ, some drinks, and we partied late into the night.
Unfortunately none of us were able to stay up until sunrise, and none of us were able to get up early enough to see sunrise either. Instead we took the day slowly, waking up around noon and heading to the beach for a swim and to sunbathe… and by sunbathe, I mean cook. After only about an hour on the beach I was red as a tomato! I headed back to the hostel to get a cold shower to try and wash some of the burn off me.
As I said, we took the Sunday really slowly, even had a long afternoon nap, which meant we were all able to wake up at 6am to go catch the Monday sunrise though, so that was good.
Later that morning, Lori had to leave early as he was meeting the Riot Monk lads, I’ll talk about that I’m a bit, but Darko and I stayed to relax with my the rest of the hostel. On the Tuesday morning I awoke early as Darko was walking to Bulgaria so we said our goodbyes and I realised I should probably get packed up soon too.
In the early afternoon, I made my way to Mangalia Station to catch my train back to Bucharest and things were going alright, until we got to Eforie Nord. It was here that the train broke down, and I was not happy. I had to be in Bucharest soon as I was going to see Riot Monk! Luckily, we were able to keep chugging along the tracks slowly but surely and eventually I arrived back home. A quick change and I was ready to see the band play at Quantic. As usual the Baia Mare Band (and Chișinău) played a great set, turns out my headbanging was even included in their latest video, check that out here! Black Stone Cherry were the headliners and they had a great set too. I felt a bit bad for the rest of the audience as even I struggled to understand the vocalist’s southern drawl, so how could the Romanians!
A couple of days later, after a good night’s rest, I was back into Quantic for the third time in less than a week! This time Lexa and I were going to see Enter Shikari, a band that I’d become a massive fan of in recent years. For The Wicked were the opening band and their set was decent enough, but I had more criticism than positive remarks for it. Enter Shikari however, were absolutely incredible and put on an amazing show, including performing their biggest hits in a quickfire medley; highly recommend you go to see them if you get the chance.
In between these shows I also got to sample some great Romanian food with some friends of mine, the same friends I shared a room with in Vamă, they were visiting the capital before heading home so we went out to Caru cu Bere and La Mahala, I do hope you guys are reading this :))
So that was July, well the start of it anyway. In the next article I’m writing about the end of July, when I visited the town of Sibiu, for ArtMania Festival.