I’ve lived in Lithuania for nine months. For six of these, I have wanted to go to a ba. concert.
Along with Garbanotas Bosistas, it isn’t news that I’ve been shouting ba., (real name: Benas Aleksandravičius) with his post- punk, alternative rock sound, is one of the most exciting musicians to come from Lithuania.
On December 6, 2015, ba. played a live-streamed, hour long set for the LRT Opus radio station. The set consisted mostly of songs from his debut album, RASTI/PASIKLYSTI (English: Find/Get Lost) which was released in February this year.
Aleksandravičius then revealed to the 100 or so strong crowd whose demographic was largely teenagers and 20-somethings, that he would also be playing three new and unreleased tracks: L2, Saulės užtemimas, Nepatikima, and Byru iš Lėto.
Aleksandravičius also announced a bassist had joined ba. and by the time the threesome had finished the opening track, Aš Pats Esi, it became apparent the bass is a much welcome addition to what are already heavy, Grade A tunes.
As this enormously talented 19 year-old switched tempo during songs, shredded his guitar and created an atmosphere so intense that this review was almost not written, it didn’t take long
to work out how he managed to achieve this electrifying vibe.
The other day, I admitted “my Lithuanian is s**t,” but Lithuanian is what makes Aleksandravičius exceptional. Singing in Lithuanian is why the audience put their entire focus on him. Singing in Lithuanian is why I listen to him. He isn’t trying to copy anyone.
By the time he’d got to the track JuodaEsi, he’d unquestionably demonstrated he can hold a note. During JuodaEsi, he fully unleashed the power of singing in his native language.
While softer than say Klaidos or Spaudžia Iš Aplink Laisvė Iš Vidaus that came before it, JuodaEsi showed that by embellishing the nuances and intricacies that only a native speaker understands, the artist is capable of expressing emotions and ideas that would be otherwise lost should they have chosen to perform in English
The decision, then, to sing in his native language is what elevates ba. from being “decent” to “outstanding”. JuodaEsi was just that.
Dressed in a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt, Aleksandravičius also chose to play the track alone in the middle of LRT’s small stage with neither a bassist nor drummer – there were goosebumps, and his cutting of a solitary, wiry figure made the performance even more powerful.
As ba. finished the set with Saulės Užtemimas, I looked up and noticed the orange lights hanging from the studio’s ceiling were an amusing hangover from Lithuania’s Soviet past. As the threesome took to the stage to thank the visibly pleased audience, only one thought sprung to mind – ba’s music is uniquely Lithuanian alternative rock for a post-Soviet generation…
You can check out some of the fan pics from ba. at LRT Opus here.