Tellurmonster + HarshMannas: 12/04/18

After nearly three months away, Riga Music Bar is finally back up and running!

You know how it is: you start one small job and then that job leads to another…and then another.

We only intended to close for a week and somehow that week turned into three months! Since we’ve closed we’ve had tonnes of time to re-evaluate our situation here and that meant ramping up the changes that we were originally planning on making. Although we knew that we’d be disappointing our audience by staying closed for so long, we knew that our most dedicated fans would want us to take our time so that we could re-open better than ever.

Thanks to our mates over at The Raj, we’ve been able to hos a number of truly unique performances in a great space that has kept interest in our music nights going whilst also boosting the popularity of what has always been our favourite Indian restaurant. Now that the work’s completed though, we’ve been happy to break in the venue once more with a few of the best solo artists performing at the moment. We’ll hand it over to our features writer, Jolene Fitzstewart to tell all…

It feels strange being back in the Riga after such a long time away.

As the doors open and a bunch of familiar faces start to flock back in, I get a chance to appreciate how different the space really feels.

Now that a number of windows have been created in the bistro area there’s a lot more light in what used to be a bit of a squalid canteen room. It’s now a social environment with the late Spring sun beaming through the skylights and the beer flowing freely, it almost feels like Summer…almost.

Once you move into the gig area though, it’s back to business as usual. The darkness envelopes the punters as they enter with only their expectant faces illuminated by the newly added neon strip lighting, a nice touch that oozes an 80s retro sensibility which will serve tonight’s performers well.

HarshMannas is the stage name for Norman Hooper, he’s a local lad and has built quite the following over the last few years. Only 24-years old, this performer spent 2017 going through a rather dramatic change. HarshMannas started as a grime artist back in 2005. Fresh out of college, he had big dreams of heading to London and claiming his fame amongst his heroes, but things didn’t quite work out the way he planned. After struggling to gain traction in the capital he had to return home and find a new path.

The blissed out electronica and spoken word diatribes that HarshMannas is now known for have served him well and proves to be popular with the crowd here. Heads nod in approval, but there isn’t much in the way of dancing, they’re saving their energy for the main act.

After squirelling himself away in a studio for Winter, it’s a joy to see Tellurmonster back at the Riga Music Bar. In this new age of shape-shifting songwriters, his brand of deceptively complex music making is a welcome reprieve from the norm and soon has the audience shuffling in appreciation. It’s a stellar night at the Riga Music Bar and one that has hopefully reminded the punters why they loved this venue in the first place.