The Sounds of Tri-City

Musical Tales on the Baltic Shore 

There is something special about living here in Tri-City; this place is more than just coordinates on a map. Nestled on the Baltic Sea, it’s got this captivating charm that sets it apart from the city crowd in Poland. The geography here is like a love affair with the sea, and you can feel it in the scent of distant shores and the promise of untold stories.  

But it’s not just about the waves; it’s the beating heart of Tri-City, a heart that has been tuned by its history. You see, this place didn’t just stumble onto its cool identity – it was moulded by a history that echoes with the footsteps of revolutionaries. Remember Solidarność? The beacon of freedom that ignited the flames of change. It’s like Gdańsk passed on the torch of freedom, and Tri-City is running with it, setting the whole city on fire.  

This spirit of freedom is reflected in Tri-City’s vibrant cultural diversity and explodes in the city’s artistic expression. Various festivals and events further amplify this cultural celebration, honouring different genres and cultures. The open-mindedness contributes to a cosmopolitan atmosphere, making Tri-City a unique and inclusive place to live and visit.  

Over the 10 years of our webzine’s existence, I’ve been fortunate to witness the thriving local music scene, observing not only the continuous activity of established bands but also the rise of new talents swiftly etching their names onto the musical map.  

So, while the musical scene in Tri-City resonates across many genres, I have carefully selected 15 bands to showcase the best of what Tri-City has to offer, with each band chosen for its unique contribution to the city’s musical identity. This selection is a celebration of the music that resonates deeply with us at We Shoot Music, embodying the very soul of our peculiar tastes, recognizing that the city’s musical diversity extends far beyond the boundaries of this chosen list. Maybe one day, there will be a second part on this topic in the future.   

That choice encompasses a symphony of styles, a selection of sounds, from the artistry of Żurawie’s post-punk to the rebellious Zespół Sztylety, through the mesmerising melodies of Trupa Trupa‘s psychedelic rock or the dreamlike shoegaze of Alfah Femmes, landing with the innovative post-jazz of Nene Heroine, just a few among the many.  

Living in Poland for over 16 years, I’ve come to appreciate the richness of the local music scene (a special thanks to the Fląder Festival). Some bands have stood the test of time, while others have faded away and got replaced by other talented ones. Language might challenge most of you dear readers, and me, but music transcends linguistic barriers. It’s about tapping into the emotions conveyed, creating a universal experience that resonates, even if we don’t grasp every lyric.  

Challenges and Triumphs

Each venue in Tri-City boasts its unique charm, contributing to the eclectic music scene that defines the region. Whether you’re into the Lynchian ambiance of Drizzly Grizzly, the industrial vibes of B90, the Alternative cave of Desdemona, or the punk attitude of Wydział Remontowy (where I once badly bruised three ribs), there’s a spot tailored to every music lover’s taste.  

Parlament, Pub Torpeda, Paszcza Lwa, Spatif, Czudner Spot, and Podwórko Art further enrich the musical landscape, offering diverse settings for music discovery. 

Despite the plethora of venues, local bands often struggle to promote their concerts in the media or find a place to play, as Adam Piskorz from Czechoslovakia notes, “Access to information about local bands is also very dispersed, and the media are generally not interested in this activity. As a result, bands do not really know how and where to promote themselves to reach potential listeners, and most independent music does not leave the rehearsal rooms”. He adds, “Concerts are divided into those attended by 20 people and then immediately by, for example, 500 people. There is no second league – only the first and fifth.”  

Tri-City doesn’t just stop at its venues; it hosts numerous festivals showcasing local talent alongside established acts. Inside Seaside and Mystic Festival provide stages where local artists share the spotlight, creating an inclusive space for musical exploration.  

One standout festival is the Flader Festival, a unique celebration dedicated exclusively to Polish bands. Here, these artists take the stage for a one-time-only performance, adding an element of rarity and excitement to the event. It’s a testament to the festival’s commitment to shining a spotlight on the wealth of talent within the Polish music scene.  

For a deep dive into Tri-City’s musical roots, Sea You Music Showcase is the go-to event. This showcase is a dedicated platform, featuring not only concerts but also workshops and debates, fostering a holistic appreciation for the local scene. Tri-City’s music scene offers an unmissable journey for every music lover. This is a much-needed event as notes Mateusz Bartoszek (Żurawie) “We’d love to see more of those events happen around the country, it definitely helps to promote what local bands are capable of pulling off, both as live acts as well as songwriters.” 

A Unique Spirit 

As we wrote in the preamble, there is something in Tri-City that other Polish towns don’t have. “Piotr Pawłowski (I [Michal Miegon – Kiev Office] played with him in the band The Shipyard) told me once ‘How is it that in Tri-City, everybody is playing with everyone, and in Krakow and Wrocław there is not as much cooperation as you have near Gdańsk Gulf’” a friendly spirit confirmed by Adam Piskorz: “I think the prevailing atmosphere is one of support, respect and mutual patting on the back”.  

It’s not an uncommon sight at concerts to witness band members collaborating for a unique appearance, infusing the entire evening with a distinctive charm and a surge of positive energy. This camaraderie is strong and goes beyond just special guests. Take the example of Adam Piskorz, who recently organized “a mini-festival in which all 5 bands from our rehearsal hall played – Gars, Oneoff, Czechoslovakia, Objawy, Dystopian Control, and Where is Jerry. I ended up playing 3 concerts, each in a different style.”  

Tytus Skiba – Danziger

“The local music scene has always been very varied. This is what makes it unique. It has been like that even in the 80s (check out Gdańska Scena Alternatywna). While Poland was behind the iron curtain, the Tri-City music scene has always been ahead of everyone, because we had harbours here and the sailors were bringing records from all over the world. That’s why the music scene here has always been so diverse, and it still is.” 

There is undeniably something special in Gdańsk, a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that Michal aptly captures as “Space, freedom in form and genre, search for truth, open hearts”. This unique atmosphere, according to Adam Piskorz, makes the band “a bit more open to space and experimentation in music. We are also not very good at copying other artists”.  

The distinctiveness of Tri-City and its music scene didn’t manifest abruptly; it’s an inherent trait, inscribed in its roots. As Zofia (Alfah Femmes) says with certainty “There has been, and continues to be, a wealth of music from Gdańsk deserving recognition as “undeniably awesome” and possessing a truly unique sonic identity“. Her sentiment resonates widely, as she’s not alone in perceiving a longstanding tradition in Gdańsk. Many artists feel the city’s rhythmic pulse in their veins.

Defining the distinctive sound of Tri-City becomes a complex task, given the multitude of bands that actively explore and push the boundaries of musical expression. As Szymon Szelewa (Scrüda & Zespół Sztylety) rightly expresses, “[I] believe that there is [a specific sound in Tri-City]” yet he acknowledges the inherent challenge in precisely figuring out its characteristics “it’s very hard to determine”. On his side, Tytus Skiba (Danziger) emphasises that there is not only one sound of tri-City, but a diversity of sounds.  

Maybe that’s where the beauty of Tri-City’s musical identity lives – a constantly evolving, dynamic fusion moulded by the ongoing exploration and boundary-pushing initiatives of its diverse musical talents. 

Reflecting on the ever-evolving musical journey of Tri-City, it’s crucial to acknowledge the transformative trajectory that has unfolded over the years. In the words of Szymon, there’s a notable elevation in the overall proficiency of musicians (not just confined to Metal but resonating across various genres in our opinion), the quality of sound, and even the venues “The overall level of music skills, sound and even clubs have risen up extremely [in 12 years]. We’re speaking about Metal here […]” but he also points out that “not everything is pink, the number of new bands is not as high as before” and for Adam in general the Tri-City scene as a whole is currently in crisis” .

If Tri-City stands apart from other towns in Poland, perhaps it’s the product of its unique localization. Gdańsk’s distance from major cities like Poznan, Warsaw, or Krakow needs collaboration, infused with the distinctive spirit of Gdańsk. This amalgamation creates an exceptional terroir, fostering the growth of incredible bands.  

Szymon Szelewa

“Gdańsk is kind of a border area of Poland, and getting to other major cities used to be a serious trip, especially back when we started our playing-music-story without driver licences some 12 years ago”

But this unique localization is also what makes it sometimes tricky for local bands to travel to other major cities in Poland. For those who don’t know Poland, travelling can be particularly challenging even if things got better with recent years. As Szymon perfectly notes “Gdańsk is kind of a border area of Poland, and getting to other major cities used to be a serious trip, especially back when we started our playing-music-story without driver licences some 12 years ago. Right now, it’s a little easier, but sometimes you still need to spend the entire day on the road, or take a day off to get to the concert. “ 

The Distinctive Sound of Tri-City 

Żurawie emerged in 2019 and swiftly garnered a dedicated following within the Polish underground music community. They’ve earned my unwavering affection, courtesy of their dynamic stage presence and a distinctive fusion of noise rock and synthnoise. These are the kind of artists I can’t get enough of – the ones I eagerly revisit each time they hit the stage – when I can! And they have just reached a new milestone with their latest album “Nowa Stocznia”, having taken their sound to new heights. A must to be seen in concert.   

In their own words, Alfah Femmes define their sound as a fusion of “new wave, no wave, and cold wave” along with influences from “art-pop, synth-pop, art-punk, post-punk, post-grunge, and general indie, etc.” This results in a mesmerising patchwork of musical styles, creating a captivating and dynamic experience for listeners., complemented by great lyrics delivered in English. With this diverse palette, there really are no excuses for you not to explore their rich and dynamic world. 

Lastryko caught my attention during last year’s Sea You Showcase, and it was an immediate explosion of musical brilliance. With a distinctive touch echoing the essence of Tri-City, they embrace eclecticism and experimentation, and skilfully navigate the intersections of psychedelia, krautrock, and electronic genres. Their music has a transformative quality, inducing an auditory hallucination without external stimulants to a point where I remember leaving my camera alone to just enjoy the music. 

Kiev Office stands as one of the veterans in this lineup, having thrived since 2007. Renowned for their enigmatic lyrics and a continually evolving persona while staying true to their roots in alternative rock, post-punk, and experimental sounds. My most recent encounter with them was at Ziemia (sadly, now closed), a venue that consistently hosted exceptional artists. On this occasion, they shared the stage with Mateusz Bartoszek from Żurawie, resulting in an utterly wild and unforgettable musical experience.  

Trupa Trupa, another veteran in this list. They eventually stand out as the most internationally renowned among them. Being recognized by international media and appreciated by fans from all over the world, they embarked on a world tour a few months ago. Their music carries an uncanny and almost psychedelic quality, utilising vocals as a definitive instrument to convey emotions. 

Czechoslovakia is a band that will lift your mood up towards the sun, and trust me, in Poland, you definitely need that. Especially in the gloomy, cold, and damp days of Autumns and Winters. Contrary to a lot of bands here (in Poland), Czechoslovakia tries to move away from sadness and whining to bring a little happiness into our lives. Their sound is a captivating blend of 90s nostalgia and melodious vibes, firmly rooted in alternative rock. As I navigate through their tracks, I sense a musical rollercoaster – at times explosive, almost grunge-like, and at others, gracefully riding the shoegaze wave. In Poland’s musical scene, where the prevailing mood tends to lean towards the melancholic, Czechoslovakia stands out as a beacon of joy and a nostalgic trip to the vibrant sounds of the 90s.

Sea Saw is a band I saw only a couple of times on stage. They are a wild card, unpredictable, and steer clear of clichés. They are choosing their own musical path, and they are offering us something definitively and totally original. Similar to Trupa Trupa, they employ the voice as a powerful musical instrument to convey emotions to the listener.  

I will be very honest with you; I didn’t know anything about Nene Heroine before drafting this article. But as some readers pointed out, they are worth noticing. And they couldn’t be more right. Nene Heroine has a sound that is very jazzy in its core, a sound that pushes the boundaries of musical genres (notice how many bands in Tri-City create unconventional music), and a sound that is unpredictable and atmospheric. Listening to them keeps you on edge wondering what will happen next.  

Me and That Man hardly needs an introduction. If you’re not settling in the realm of mediocre music, chances are you’ve crossed paths with this band, or at the very least, you’re aware that it’s the brainchild of Nergal, the frontman of Behemoth – a powerhouse in the European metal scene – and a local resident of Tri-City. Me and That Man definitively defies conventional genres, by merging the raw intensity of black metal with the soulful depth of blues and a touch of rock ‘n’ roll swagger. They touch and explore themes of pain and loss while celebrating rebellion, freedom, and the raw power of human emotion. Without shying away from expressing an obvious resistance against the influence of the Catholic Church in Poland. Attending their concerts is an absolute blast! The joy I derive from their gigs is so immense that it could probably be seen from a galaxy far away.  

Ampacity, that is a band that made a sensation a while ago with a captivating blend of space rock, psychedelic vibes, and progressive elements. And they are coming back after a little hiatus. Even playing for the Mystic Festival this year! It has definitively that 70’s vibes. Even sometimes a little 60’g with the organ. In fact, it is all decennia mixed giving us something original and exceptionally modern.  

Punk music shaped my youth, and Danziger continues to fuel my passion for the genre. With two acclaimed albums, their lyrics, like “Poland has the face of a policeman, Who breaks women’s shins[…]” in “Kolce” embody the enduring spirit of Punk – full of protest, rebellion, and raw musical energy. Their latest album demonstrates their growth, surprising us with tracks that remain deeply political yet delve into personal themes. Danziger has matured, solidifying their status as a band worth watching closely and listening to intently.  

Hailing from the crossroads of Tri-City and Warsaw, Zespół Sztylety is a formidable quartet seamlessly weaving through post-hardcore, indie, noise rock, and even metal influences. Since their explosive debut in 2018, they’ve unleashed three albums, including the collaborative masterpiece “BSNT // Odczuwaj Lekki Dyskomfort” with the band Żurawie. Renowned for their live shows, Zespół Sztylety exudes unparalleled dynamism, channelling raw energy and musical jubilation that electrifies the audience. 

Scrüda, same lead singer as Zespół Sztylety, same raw energy on stage, different genre. We talk about black thrash now with filthy riffs and damned vocals. Their debut album displays potential despite its brevity.  

Backhand Slap is a gritty hardcore punk band that brings energy and consciousness to their music. There is no compromise with this band, it’s honest and comes with passion. Their music, a symphony of pure American Hardcore, unleashes heavy, dynamic blows with massive riffs and emphatic percussion hits. Since September 2018, the band has released two EPs: “Walk Your Way” and “Cantona“. For a French guy who really appreciates Cantona, it is genuinely nice to see a Polish band naming an album and a track after him – and for all the good reasons. 

Ravna is a band that is starting to be making waves and garnering attention. While their discography may not be extensive now, there’s a compelling reason to keep a close watch on this emerging band. Their distinct style is a testament to their artistic willingness to defy genre norms. 


We trust that this article has piqued your curiosity, inspiring you to delve into the sounds of these bands and further explore the local music scene. If you happen to find yourself in Gdańsk, seize the opportunity to attend their concerts for a truly immersive experience into the musical heartbeat of Tri-City. And stay tuned for more stories of the Sounds of Tri-City!

As I have received many responses from the bands, filled with insightful details and information, I’ve decided to share them gradually through a series of interviews in the following weeks. So, gear up for a series of exclusive interviews in the coming weeks.

And don’t keep all this excitement to yourself. Share this article with fellow music enthusiasts, and let’s create a ripple effect of curiosity. The more, the merrier!


Zespół SztyletyFacebookInstagram
Trupa TrupaFacebookInstagram
Sea SawFacebookInstagram
Scrüda FacebookInstagram
Ravna FacebookInstagram
Nene Heroine FacebookInstagram
Me and That ManFacebookInstagram
Lastryko FacebookInstagram
Kiev OfficeFacebookInstagram
Czechoslovakia FacebookInstagram
Backhand SlapFacebookInstagram
Alfah FemmesFacebookInstagram

Thanks to all the remarkable bands that have graciously collaborated with me, sharing their profound insights and passion. Your generosity, both in music and words, has been truly appreciated.

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