VATRA 15. GODINA – Zagreb, Tvornica Kulture, 17.10.2014Vatra_17102014-5289
In the past year we were “attacked” by anniversaries: Elemental, The Bambi Molesters, Jinx, Vatra – they all celebrated… The indie rockers from Virovitica mark their 15th anniversary this year. Wow. Wow because when I watch them I always think they’re younger (OK, the “new” bass player Franj Šušak helps there, but the team of “old rockers” not only sound different but exactly the opposite). However, it would be a mere quarter of the work done.
What delights me when it comes to Vatra is that they still sound like 15 years ago. Fresh, modern, new… and yes, firey. And the fact they haven’t “sold” their name to this day.
Kudos to all the rest on the Croatian scene, but with Urban&4, there is no other band who proudly wears the label of alternative and indie like Vatra. That’s how I thought about them in 2006 – 2008, even though they reminded me a lot of Ekatarina Velika (which was a compliment), and the same thing is what I think today.
With the difference that I was sure that Vatra will reach the top 5 band position in Croatia way sooner. However, since nothing in this absurd country goes the way it should, so Vatra had to wait for its time despite its many hits.
Vatra_17102014-5277With “Tango” which is a heavy alternative song with the most out there lyrics possible, with the reputation of the most megalomaniac hit ever, Vatra sold out Tvornica Kulture and gave itself the best present for the 15th birthday.
However, the writer of these lines expected a sold-out Dom Sportova, which was obviously something a bit too optimistic, not for this band but for this sad reality of ours.
I would’ve liked a hundred times more to be able to write that they filled Dom Sportova to the brim, because Vatra deserves it much more than the majority of the few bands who have been able to do it befire, but I still like more this memorably birthday in the smaller Tvornica with a regular ticket sale, than filling the Arena with a ridiculous cut of sold tickets and a bunch of sponsor packages and hitting the chest like something big was filled up, well, when it’s for free, of course it will be filled up…
That is another reason why Vatra is one of those special bands of ours… they haven’t sold themselves.
The audience sees it and knows it and hears it, and that’s why Tvornica was brimming on Friday night. As it should have.

Vatra_17102014-1655Many performes fall on the “live” component even if they have a totally undemanding audience in front of themselves. But having both great albums and songs and be even better live from that is the top of the world scene. A similar experience I had last summer with Pearl Jam. Great albums, but it’s nothing until they jump on you live. Then you’re absolutely finished. By the way, I say that as not too big of a fan of the band.
And now you might ask “what does Vatra have with Pearl Jam?” Nothing on the surface. Except they have the goods of a world band but the misfortune to be at the wrong place and at the wrong time, and working in Croatia where nothing is working, but Vatra still makes it somehow here.
Perhaps you expected the usual memory list from the gig in this report, but for that I’ll attach the setlist with a comment or two.
Because, Vatra’s show on Friday wasn’t one of those “great exciting birthday shows” – it was the crowning of something lasting for the past 15 years and putting a setlist with moments is not the most important thing.
Recapitulation of the show:
It started off acoustically with Ivan on the guitar and with slow arrival of each member on stage, with the guest horn blower Stipe Mađor (Kawasaki 3P, ex-Hladno Pivo) on “Želim biti ti”, then one song stronger than the previous one: “Ti znaš gdje se krije milost”, “Bilo je dobro dok je trajalo”, then the entirely knew single, song “Saturn” which the audience already knew inside and out ”JohnTravolta”, “Privatni pakao” and “Mornarska majica”.
The audience already sang its heart out to all of them. On “Anđeo s greškom” we again heard the amazing Stipe and his former bandmate Mile Kekin – that sonf cannot go wrong even if it was sung by R2-D2 i C-3PO.
“Eskim”, “Vojska od terakote” and another guest, their producing guru Jurica Ferina from Svadbas on “Alkohol” calmed down the heated atmosphere so that both the audience and the band could take some air for another ascent.
Vatra_17102014-5289“Kamikaze”, “Gorim”, “Svjetla i sirene”, “Sunce”, “Dva akrobata”, “Limunova kora”… Vatra walked through their entire career. Up to “Ima li budnih?” and another guest, Ljubica Gundulić who is also from Svadbas. Generally, I have to say they picked their guests perfectly, no overly pretentious superstar (if we don’t count Kekin there, who would die anyhow to read the “superstar” part) and they added a maximum into the mood.
Of course, “Tango” with delirium for the regular end of the show. On encore No. 1 “Ruska” and “Plima adrenalina” Irena was brilliant on the keyboards.
The bomb with “Tremolo” in which Ivan expertly replaced Urban’s voice, and the encore No. 2 with “Oproštaj” and “Vrati se”.
On the full two-hour show, there was also singing by the audience to “Happy Birthday”, cake and drawing of the lucky winner to go to a festival in France with the band…
It sounds corny, and often the shows with the mark “birthday” “Valentine”, etc. actually are. This was anything but.
Vatra, happy first 15th birthday from Venia-Mag! Another 15th we expect on Maksimir…
Report and photo: Anastazija Vržina