In my high school fanzine days, I somehow managed to get metal labels to send me CDs. That's how I ended up first hearing Norway's THEATRE OF TRAGEDY (October 14, Tochka, 19:00). Although I quickly grew bored with them, I remember initially being impressed by the heaviness of the music coupled with the dual vocals -- one, a gruff male voice, typical of metal, and the other, an angelic female vocal. Since then, they've changed vocalists, adopted more electronic influences, and generally started sucking, but they're still more interesting than a lot of other bands treading this water. Khabarovsk gothic metal duo OTTO DIX and local darkwave artist ROMAN RAIN open.
Just because MUSE (October 15, Luzhniki, 20:00) is one of the most successful bands to ape RADIOHEAD doesn't make them RADIOHEAD. People new to the Muse story who don't hold the Radiohead baggage over their heads can perhaps appreciate the music as decent guitar rock, but I'll forever think of them as the band that bored me with their attempt to copy The Bends and OK Computer. But since Radiohead stubbornly refuses to play Moscow, maybe Muse is the next best thing?
While you don't generally think of Finns as being funny, CLEANING WOMEN (October 17, Ikra, 20:00) suggests they might just get it after all. For fans of experimental rock, Cleaning Women are just what the doctor ordered: three dudes utilizing trash cans, mops and drying racks for instruments. St. Pete's KING OF BONGO opens.
Although DAVID SYLVIAN (October 17, B1 Maximum, 20:00) originally started his musical career aping DAVID BOWIE and the NEW YORK DOLLS with his band JAPAN, he quickly moved on to ROXY MUSIC before coming up with his own unique stylings. For the better part of the last thirty years, Sylvian has been turning music on its head, delving into jazz, ambient, and straight beat-driven electronica. As opposed to lots of other geriatric musicians hitting Moscow, Sylvian is not only producing new music, but is still pushing boundaries.
Is a guilty pleasure guilty if everyone admits to liking it? That's the case with BEYONCE (October 17, Olimpisky, 19:00) and her former outfit DESTINY'S CHILD. Although my indie friends and I claimed to be above the pop scene, we certainly wouldn't talk shit about Beyonce and Co. The last time I went to a stadium gig was last year's semi-awful MADONNA gig, but I am tempted to hit this. Beyonce's poorly publicized visit to Moscow is the first stop on her third-world tour, which also takes her to Addis Ababa, Cluj, Istanbul, Mumbai and Taguig City among other places. You'll never see Christina Aguilera playing Ethiopia.
As the fortnight comes to a close, two dinosaurs of rock take the stage: SAXON (October 18, Apelsin, 20:00) and NAZARETH (October 19, Apelsin, 20:00). You've already decided whether you're going or not. I'm in the latter camp, so let's move on.
The most famous and annoying fucking superstar DJ, PAUL OAKENFOLD (October 19, Gaudi, 23:00), is also one of the most boring. Oakie simply puts a disc on, walks away, signs some autographs, and repeats. Oh, and if Sasha is next to him, maybe he'll give a handjob or two beneath the decks.
Closing out the fortnight is the best gig of all: Canada's FROG EYES (October 21, Ikra, 21:00). The indie quartet hails from Victoria, British Columbia and are notable for their idiosyncratic songs, which have an unhinged vocal style playing out against an overload of guitar, drums and keyboard. Lots of people drop the band's name, since its members have also played in WOLF PARADE, SUNSET RUBDOWN and SWAN LAKE, which was a collaboration with the dude behind DESTROYER. Regardless, the band is worth a listen, as Mercer fronts the band with an intensity not unlike the PIXIES' BLACK FRANCIS or PERE UBU's DAVID THOMAS.