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Venue review: Rock Club

By Alexander Ward
Friday, June 6
Not for the faint hearted

28 Rustaveli (opposite the Opera House)

In a city where any concrete surface is a canvas for rap vs. rock graffiti, it’s no surprise that music-themed drinking dens are a big thing.

So presumably, when Tbilisi’s youthful rockers aren’t professing their love for the “Rad Hot Cheli Pepers” with marker ink outside my flat door, they’re hanging out somewhere like the Rock Club.

It was mid-afternoon on a Friday when we dropped in on this underground cavern, and we weren’t expecting live music.

But no sooner had we positioned ourselves at a small table below a wall-mounted guitar—preposterously claiming itself to have once belonged to Jimi Hendrix—when we were informed that it would be a reasonable GEL 2 for the privilege of a distortion accompaniment.

Somewhere in Tbilisi a high school science teacher must have been puzzling over where her class had got to as four spindly greasy-haired adolescents appeared on the Rock Club stage to whooping applause from 20 or so friends.

What followed was everything a high school band should be: raw, energetic and incomprehensible.

We found the table service not to be terribly good, but then efficient waitressing wasn’t a priority in Liverpool’s Cavern back in its heyday either.

When our tea (it was the afternoon, after all) did arrive it came in mugs, which more than accounted for any complaints we may have been harboring.

On the whole, the Rock Cafe does what it says on the tin. It caters for a young crowd during the day, but past bedtime may be a better bet for less Nirvana t-shirts (live music in the evenings is scheduled for 21.00–23.00).

It’s certainly not a bad venue if there’s a particular band playing that you want to see.

Otherwise, perhaps it’s worth a peek just for the decor. Spray-painted vinyls line the walls, with small plaques, in a masterstroke of deception, proclaiming them to be gold and platinum discs of the greats.

And the piece de resistance, unveiled when the mosh pit filters off to the bar, is the tiled “R O C K” on the floor.

The bathroom appears to have been the victim of a group of sugar-abusing eight year olds experimenting with fluorescent paint—but then if you wanted tasteful surroundings you should’ve got the message with the flying arrow guitar-shaped sign out front.