The first couple weeks of the year in Moscow are about as dead a season as you’re gonna find anywhere. The oligarchs are all off partying in elite ski resorts with hookers, the locals are on a budget tour to Vietnam or Egypt, and the expats are back in civilization. Rare is the promoter willing to risk his tobacco sponsor’s hard-earned money on a show that would likely include the band, him, his girlfriend, and a local babushka.
|Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz climbing an okhranik during his last concert in Moscow |
Yet somehow last January saw visits by TINDERSTICKS, ART BRUT, MAXIMO PARK and GOGOL BORDELLO. No such luck this year.
Moscow doesn’t have much of a tradition of good New Year’s hangover gigs, although that may change after one-half of the German dance duo DIGITALISM (January 1, Solyanka, 23:00) is set to rock into town, bringing a climactic end to the club’s weekly nu-rave “Thriller” party. These krauts get compared favorably to crossover dance acts like SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO, JUSTICE and MSTRKRFT, so I am down with them, even if this whole new rave thing is way old. Pretty much every local band or DJ that has ever been associated with the new rave scene should be either performing or in the audience. Not necessarily the best hangover cure, but it’s not like there’s anything else going on.
As bands aren’t really touring at this time of year, the next semi-interesting event is minimal techno DJ THOMAS BRINKMANN (January 6, Ikra, 23:00). This German started playing with records in the 80s, but it was only in the 90s that he found success after reworking material by MIKE INK and RICHIE HAWTIN. He even made the productions by playing physically modified records on special turntables.
The first live performance of early ‘08 I can recommend is local post-rock combo SILENCE KIT (January 8, Ikra, 21:00), who are still grooving heavy after the release of their latest album, “The Great Red Spot.” My only reservation is that the ninth is the first working day of the year, so you may see a reserved crowd avoiding the beer.
Then there’s the WINTER ELVIS DAY FESTIVAL (January 11, B1 Maximum, 18:00), which is headlined by Swedish greasers JACKY BAYMOORE AND THE BANDITS. The festival is in honor of what would have been ELVIS’ 72nd birthday three days earlier. A zillion local rockabilly bands like RAWCATS ’88 and BEAT DEVILS support the cause as well.
Go see Perm-based mod-revivalists THE WHITE TRAINERS COMMUNITY (January 16, Ikra, 20:00), who've been blowing up locally. Maybe we'll even do a interview with these guys in the near future (after all, they are from the city of Death Porn) and see what really makes these nice young men tick. I mean, besides listening to old WHO, JAM and KINKS records.
I thought the local aggressive indie combo FOOJITSU (January 18, Aktovy Zal, 20:00) sucked the first time I saw them a year and a half ago. They’ve gotten significantly better since, and now it’s not unusual to hear their name dropped in the voices usually reserved for such stalwarts as SILENCE KIT or BANANA PRINCESS. Omsk-based indie rappers RTUT open.
Given that the foreigners aren’t really coming to town yet, it may be worth paying a little attention to locals still. The first album release party of the year is thrown by REKEVIN (January 24, 16 Tons, 21:00), a trip-hop band thing fronted by a chick. Frankly, I find this shit boring, but in case you don’t, you know what to do.