Who’s your granddaddy?

Who’s your granddaddy?

Andrei Kurayev on Dusche, the music club he co-owns with other Leningrad members.

Published: May 18, 2011 (Issue # 1656)

Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

Andrei Kurayev, known locally as Ded (Grandpa), plays bass guitar in both Leningrad and Spitfire.

When Dusche, a music club owned by members of St. Petersburg bands Leningrad and Spitfire, opened in December with a gig by Leningrad, few came — out of disbelief, musician and co-owner Andrei Kurayev says.

Billed as an “open rehearsal” by Leningrad, the club’s opening on Dec. 7 featured a live set by the band, three days before a comeback stadium show in St. Petersburg marking its reformation after a two-year hiatus.

Leningrad fans seemingly thought there must be a catch, and did not come, Kurayev says.

Dusche’s forte is that it is one of few local clubs that are actually owned by musicians, meaning it understands the needs of both the bands and the public.

The club’s other co-owners are Leningrad frontman Sergei Shnurov (who previously launched the bar Siny Pushkin) and saxophone player Grigory Zontov, who — like Kurayev — plays with both Spitfire and Leningrad.

Known as Ded (Grandpa) on the local music scene, Kurayev, 38, has been the bassist with Spitfire since 1996 and also with Leningrad since 2001.

“In the beginning I thought there would be more all-night events with occasional concerts, but practice showed that if there is a fully-fledged stage, primarily, there should be concerts,” said Kurayev.

Dusche is a rare medium-sized venue on the St. Petersburg scene that can hold up to 300 people at a popular gig. Concerts by bands like Spitfire and Narkotiki have drawn up to 250, according to Kurayev.

“We don’t have so many venues like this [in St. Petersburg]; we have either large concert venues that hold 700 to 1,000 people, or small clubs that can hold 100 to 150 people maximum,” he says.

“The rest are bars, of which huge numbers have appeared recently. Many bands perform at bars, because they have been opened by the same generation as me.

“Having opened bars, they realize that they need something to attract the public, i.e., musicians. So they have started holding concerts in addition to night parties. But our place is specifically a music club; it has been designed for bands to play there.”

Dusche is housed in a former warehouse next to the railroad. The premises, located in an industrial courtyard off Ligovsky Prospekt, were formerly used by the Moscow Railway Station and were off limits to the general public.

Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

“I had never been here, I was brought here for the first time last year, in the summer,” Kurayev said.

“I came here and was very surprised to find such a place. It turned out that there is a whole new world, teeming with life, inside these courtyards.”

Now opened for commercial use, the courtyard is home to a number of stores, repair shops, bars, rehearsal rooms and a dance studio. V-Club, the city’s only vegan club, operates in the same area, hosting punk concerts and other events, and it is to this spot that Datscha bar owner Anna-Christin Albers recently moved her Dunes, a summer bar that resembles a stretch of beach.

Although the area currently looks rather neglected, the location has its advantages, Kurayev says.

“The territory is in the center, but at the same time, you have no neighbors. Any other club is either located in a residential area or at least faces out onto the street. You leave the club and that’s it, while here, you exit and you’re still in some other space.”

According to Kurayev, there are plans to launch a summer terrace as well.

The club’s interiors have been largely defined by the 19th-century building’s original look — sturdy wooden ceiling beams and red brick walls, which have been washed down.

“There were only four walls in the beginning, the rest has been all done by us,” Kurayev says.

“We had a man in a space suit working here, sandblasting because of all the dust.”

A small mezzanine area has been created to enable spectators to get a better view of concerts.

“We haven’t made a VIP area in the club so far; we consider that those who come here are all VIPs,” Kurayev says.

The bar offers averagely priced drinks, snacks and hot panini sandwiches. The rectangular room is divided into two, leaving an area in which to relax or play table football.

Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

Having toured extensively and played at many Western European underground clubs, Kurayev said he took the idea from there.

“I see it as an authentic typical European alternative club that hosts different concerts, from small bands to big ones, and all kinds of evening events,” he says.

Dusche’s repertoire is stylistically broad, from punk and ska to hip-hop. U.S. rappers The Alchemist and CunninLynguists have played here, while every Tuesday the club hosts an open mike night, when young rappers come to rap against pre-recorded discs.

Rock-wise, upcoming dates include the Moscow indie rock band Sakura (May 26), the local veteran comedy rock band NOM (May 28), Zorge, the band formed by ex-Tequilajazzz frontman Yevgeny Fyodorov (June 2), and U.S. sledge metal duo Jucifer (June 3).

According to Kurayev, occasional drama performances such as “Tales of Ordinary Madness” — a one-man production by Semyon Alexandrovsky based on Charles Bukowski’s short stories and poems and on music by Tom Waits — draw crowds to Dusche. The next drama performance is due on Wednesday, May 25.

Doors open at 8 p.m., except for Monday. Depending on attendance, the club operates until 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and until midnight or 1 a.m. during the rest of the week.

The name stems from the Russian word “dush” (shower).

“It’s because we want to make something fresh and invigorative,” says Kurayev.

“The idea was that we wanted to rejuvenate the current club and bar scene, which had got a little stale. We wanted to do something new.”

Dusche is located at 50 Ligovsky Prospekt (building 6). M: Ligovsky Prospekt. Enter the arch, take the first left turn, then turn left again and look for the sign on the left side.

Tel. +7 (960) 2464 550.


Leave a comment