A new club concentrates on the quality of music
Published: March 7, 2008 (Issue # 1354)
Musician Svetlana Surganova has opened a new music venue called A2.
Svetlana Surganova, frontwoman of rock band Surganova i Orkestr, has opened a club orientated toward live music this week. Launched with a concert by the Minsk, Belarus-based cabaret act Serebryanaya Svadba and the Moscow-based pop-rock band Undervud from Ukraine last Friday, the club — called A2 — aims to showcase some of the better-known bands and provide an unusually good sound system, Surganova said.
“I want a place in the city where totally diverse musicians can show their work, giving pleasure to both themselves and listeners,” said Surganova in a recent phone interview.
“The accent is on sound quality, for which we installed a state-of-the-art Turbosound system. It is balanced, quite powerful, and has 16-kilowatt sound for a relatively small room that allows us achieve a crystal clear sound.”
According to Surganova, the room has also been equipped with fine sound insulation, with the use of Ecophon acoustic materials.
“We have put a special emphasis on it. Club managers usually don’t pay much attention or put money into this aspect for some reason, at least in St. Petersburg,” she said.
The club’s specialty will be live performances, said Surganova, although a late-night program of DJ sets is being formed as well. There is also a jazz concert once a week.
“The policy behind the repertoire is ‘musical cosmopolitanism.’ By that I mean totally diverse genres, an eclectic, musical medley designed to satisfy totally different tastes. Different music lovers enjoy themselves under one roof — fans of lounge, ska, jazz, disco, funk or singer-songwriters will all find something interesting.”
Surganova said she had the idea of starting a music club due to the lack of places where people can enjoy listening to or performing music.
As a well-traveled musician, first with the band Nochniye Snaipery that she originally co-formed in Magadan before moving to St. Petersburg later, and later with her own band, Surganova i Orkestr, she has had quite an impressive experience of performing at all types of venues.
Conveniently located in the city center, in the “pyat uglov” area (“five corners” where Ulitsa Lomonosova and Zagorodny Prospekt intersect), A2 occupies the second floor over a wine bar called Assemblage Actuel shared by the same owners and forming part of the complex — hence the name A2.
The building on the corner of Razyezzhaya Ulitsa and Ulitsa Pravdy is a dull concrete 1970s dom byta (public services center), a socialist combination of a laundry, hairdresser’s, repair shops and other services, now largely turned into offices and shops. The club and the restaurant — which have a separate entrance from Razyezzhaya Ulitsa — have inherited their premises from a children’s store.
“To be honest, this building is a little shocking in its appearance, but there are some benefits — the most important is that it’s not residential, so we won’t disturb anybody and nobody will disturb us, which will allow us to stay open all night,” said Surganova.
Designed by local artist Ilya Levi, A2 looks a bit bourgeois yet it avoids “new-Russian” excesses. The club can hold up to 500 people, but, according to art director Yelena Zhukova, it only issues 350 tickets or less to avoid overcrowding.
With shows held daily, performances on Monday through Wednesday are free, while tickets for the bands playing on Thursday through Sunday usually cost between 200 and 700 rubles, though there are two ticket types and prices.
For instance, for popular ska band Markscheider Kunst’s concert this week, standing tickets were 300 rubles, while tickets for the sofas and tables in two rows on the sides of the room were 500 rubles. Beer costs 90 to 150 rubles per 0.5 liter glass.
Zhukova said the PA system is the finest in the city, while the lights were installed by well-known theatrical lighting designer Yevgeny Ganzburg from Moscow.
“We have a better idea about Russian rock than about anything else,” said Zhukova, who also works as Surganova’s administrator and a concert promoter organizing Russian tours of the country’s rock acts. “But here we aim to have a very diverse repertoire, including international acts.”
A2 club is located at 12 Razyezzhaya Ulitsa, Metro: Vladimirskaya.
Tel.: 984-3690. www.a2club.su.