Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vox - Rhythm Blues club

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vox is located in Banovo Brdo, a district of Belgrade between two very popular attractions - Ada Ciganlija and Košutnjak. It's very accessible, as there are more than 10 busses connecting this place with different parts of the city.

Vox was founded in 1995 and started as a small pub with music played for Rhythm & Blues and Rock fans, but very soon it has grown into The Rhythm & Blues and Rock Fans Society. The Society enforces development of the Serbian blues scene and helps both famous and unknown musicians in many ways, from selling their CDs to organizing the International Blues Festival Voxstock. Vox is one of very few clubs in Belgrade with this kind of music. It's a membership club with an open-minded policy: everyone can become a member for a symbolic fee of 6 Euros per year. Honorary members of the club are blues and rock music celebrities like Van Morrison, Michael Hill and Ana Popović.

If you are not a member you can still go to Vox, but on nights with live performances you'll have to pay an admittance fee of less than 1.5 Euros. Drinks are sold for very reasonable prices. During the winter period, live performances are on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, and during the summer period, performances of acoustic music are mostly on weekends, but there is no particular schedule, and performances are announced two weeks in advance.

Vox is my favorite club because it's so different in many ways from all other places you can hang out in Belgrade. Everything about Vox has a very special story, starting with the wooden interior, which was hand-made by the club owner Budimir Vuletić - Buda, with a little help from his friends. Most of the decoration - paintings, posters, old instruments, and other music accessories, like the old microphone from the 30's, which is the symbol of a Society - was given by guests so they also took part in shaping up the look of the club. That is what I cherish the most about this club: the really friendly atmosphere that makes you fall in love with this place from the first time you step in it. And not only with the place - 36 wedding ceremonies were held here, between couples who met in Vox and fell in love (and we're expecting the No. 37 soon).

Regular guests are from all horizons: they are professors, workers, musicians, students, people from their early twenties to over 55, parents with children, and they all fit together very well and give warm welcome to new guests. Vox has a nice open terrace, which is open from March to October. The atmosphere in the club is so relaxed that it is not unusual to find a guest on the other side of the bar, helping the bartender on busy days. This is the only place where our teenage daughter still wants to go with her parents (otherwise hanging out with parents is so "un-cool"), since she is a "veteran" in the club, being a "regular" since she was a three-years-old.

Live performances are held at night, but since many bands are rehearsing in the club, you might run into unexpected music performance during day. Live performances are very interactive and it's not unusual that some guests (many of them are professional musicians) "pop in" during performance, or even switch with the band members for a few songs. Even though, performances are very good and professional, leaving no one indifferent.

Sometimes after the official program, musicians who came from other places where they have finished their performance as guests, leaded by a club owner (also a musician), give you a special treat: late night jam session that everyone who's present can join. Many bands from Serbian Rhythm & Blues scene have started their careers in Vox, like Ana Popović. Among musicians who had live performance in club Vox are Pera Joe, Point Blank, Raw Hide, Blue Family and Ana Popović (all from Serbia), Michael Hill (USA), Jazz Pistols (Germany) and Dr. Agrinovski (Russia).

Whenever I have guests from abroad I take them to Vox and it's never a mistake. They're all delighted, not only with the music, but also with the place, people and atmosphere.


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