Sunday, February 22, 2009


Well, arguably one of my favorite topics, as well as one I know perhaps the least about.

First, a news article some weeks back. You may have read it. It concerned a certain world leader and an ABBA cover band. I don't think the Russian's in general try to hide their love for ABBA (for the record, I have recently come out of the ABBA closet. Super Trouper!) It may, however, not be the best thing for a man attempting to scare people with his stern looks and even sterner policies, to admit to a perhaps unnatural love for ABBA. The story is that Putin may or may not have attended a very private concert of Bjorn Again, an ABBA cover band. How private? There were I believe 8 people in the audience. There was a curtain between the band and these 8 people, though thin and the band has sworn, as there was no non-disclosure contract, that Putin himself was among them. The Kremlin has denied this, and the band says they have been contacted by the Kremlin and asked to stop discussing this. Well, Vlad, it's ok with me if you love ABBA.

Moving on. I've already discussed the Wailers concert. Here are some photos. I had no idea David Cross was moonlighting as a reggae singer!

Then I caught a pretty sweet Russian band at a local club. It's been difficult. Not all the clubs translate their pages into English, my Russian is minimal, and my patience with translating things non-homework, even less. Most of the Russian's I've met are interested only in hip-hop and techno. Through some searching I found a club to see a band called Everything is Made in China. They are from Moscow, but sing in English. Pretty talented trio. Perhaps the scene is a bit dated, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Backstage was bit interesting, in that it was not. No alcohol to be found! Is this Russia? Is this a band? What? Tea and sandwiches? Have I been invited by the queen?

Nadia has been kind enough to take me along to an art house type place to catch some music. Mostly acoustic. Last night was quite the mix though. Before we arrived there was a children's birthday party. I met one of the gentlemen that played in the band for this rather prestigious event. He looked just like Ron Jeremy. I'm sure the kiddies were not frightened.

We came to see an array of artistic endeavors. Some acoustic guitar (which honestly, is not my favorite form of entertainment, as in my experience, usually the artists are neither gifted guitarists nor vocalists), some incredibly entertaining spoken word, and a short film. The guitar was mostly tolerable. The spoken wordster informed me, earlier in the evening, quite matter of factly, that he is a doctor, a neurologist, not a musician or artist. Well, of course, he ended up being the most entertaining part. While I had nearly zero idea what he was saying, he was beautifully theatrical. The film was quite interesting, but then this is meant to be about music.

After this session was over, everyone leaves and a new audience comes in. For such a tiny joint, it is happening place. So the next session of entertainment is...a Russian Zeppelin cover band. Yes. It's true. How could I not stick around for this? The drummer is wearing pants like David Lee Roth, black and white vertical stripes. Unfortunately, because he is overweight and sporting a massive beard, he looks more like Captain Hooks first mate. When they started, the front man rallied the 60 or so audience members with a Russian version of ACDC's "ARE YOU READY??!!" And then they started. Well the band did, the audience did not. As I mentioned in my bit about the Wailers, Russians seem to overly respect musicians, or perhaps just show it inappropriately. They sat still as if they were at the opera. One girl moved in her chair, but she was the youngest there. I imagine these guys (they were older) had this band during soviet times, which I'm sure would have been dangerous. And did their fans rock then, in some form of rebellion? Or even then did they sit quietly with small smiles and nod their head occasionally. Soviet remnants.

Well, so you have an idea of the audience. The location is surreal. The ceiling is covered in various colors of bright fabric, draped like clouds. And Christmas balls hang from that. I'm sure the children's party was more appropriate in this place.

And the band. Well, I'd guess two were in their early sixties. The guitarist in his early 50's. The bass player was young, my guess is the original succumbed to alcohol poisoning, or the disease of the America's, he succumbed to a middle class job. They were decent showmen, though the guitarist would be better suited as Kyle Gas's understudy. I stayed for 3 songs. Make that 2 and a quarter. After the frontman feebly, nay, brutally attempted the intro to Immigrant Song, I packed it up.

Well I'm glad I witnessed it. My next concert date is for some "acid-jazz" bands. People love Tom Waits here, so I'm stoked to catch these shows.

I really should have some witty closing line here...

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