Last weekend, Belarusian dark wave band Molchat Doma graced San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall for two consecutive sold out shows on May 27 and 28. 

The band’s name translates to “Houses Are Silent,” a grave nod to the specter of Soviet-era architecture that remains in the members’ hometown of Minsk, Belarus — their country was a republic of the USSR until 1991. 

Naturally, this history informs the band’s music. Molchat Doma’s sound is etched with desolation and disillusionment, an ache felt by listeners regardless of their familiarity with the Russian language. 

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Self-described as “dark yet danceable,” the band is borne of post-punk and ’80s new wave, the sonic kin of Depeche Mode, The Cure and St. Petersburg’s Kino

Guitarist-keyboardist Roman Komogortsev and bassist Pavel Kozlov define the band’s instrumental atmosphere, complemented by synthesizers and a drum machine. Egor Shkutko, meanwhile, leads with magnetic vocals. 

Onstage, Shkutko was the focal point last weekend. Flanked by his bandmates, Shkutko altered the tonal mood at will, surveying the crowd wide-eyed before breaking off into head-bobbing jitters. He then appeared solemn between songs, in awe of the enthusiasm that rippled through the perspiring crowd. 

Molchat Doma performed songs from its November 2020 album, “Monument,” and its 2018 release, “Etazhi,” at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall last weekend. (Photo courtesy Lamia Karic/Sacred Bones Records)

The band was eager to play tracks from its November 2020 album, “Monument,” in addition to fan favorites featured on its 2018 release, “Etazhi.” 

Transfixed, attendees were slow to warm to movement, but by the time the band returned for their encore, many ditched their beer in favor of the mosh pit.