The biggest news of the last fortnight (besides the shark-jumping article on Krizis Zhanra in the Independent) is that Russia is considering banning cigarette advertising. Why is this a big deal? Because if you've ever been to a gig here, you've noticed that Marlboro, Parliament, Chesterfield's or some other cigarette company has paid for your entertainment. "But wait," you say, "I paid nearly a hundred bucks to be pushed around by B1's bouncers and have to deal with their surly bartenders! Surely some of that money is going to my favorite band!" Doubtful. Promoters here aren't big on taking chances, and the tobacco money ensures they don't have to. Guarantees are met, bands are paid; everything else is cash in pocket. So the indie kids in the know are worried that without the tobacco money, the concert scene will just die out. On that happy note, let's see what Moscow's promoters are spending Philip Morris' money on this fortnight.
You may have noticed that LED ZEPPELIN had a very successful November reunion gig in London. There are even rumors of a huge world tour. In anticipation of this, or perhaps aware of Muscovites willingness to overpay for cheap knockoffs, we get BOOT LED ZEPPELIN (January 28-29, Apelsin, 19:00), who will spend one night covering Zep's 1975 tour, with the second night devoted to '77's tour, aka the bloated rock excess that spurred the creation of punk. If that wasn't enough, Russia's "best" Zep cover band, St. Petersburg's THAT ZEPPELIN, opens both nights.
My impressions of Tver were that of a shitty, dying town, from which nothing good comes. And yet, somehow the indie noise-rock band MIAMI SCISSORS (January 31, 16 Tons, 22:00) was born there. Although legendary German industrial band EINSTURZENDE NEUBATEN doesn't come to Moscow til later this spring, you can get a head start by catching long-time member ALEXANDER HACKE (February 1, Aktovy Zal, 21:00) with visual artist DANIELLE DE PICCIOTTO, who will be performing their audio-visual epic, "The History of Electricity." Sounds intriguing, I know. Probably if you enjoyed the sculptor that FAUST brought along to their Faust gig last year, this is something that will interest you.
Everyone knows that the British music press loves to name next big things and then leave them by the wayside by the time they actually become next big things. The great thing about the internet, is that it allows any band to call themselves the next big thing, such as England's KOOPA (February 1, Krizis Zhanra, 23:00), a pretty average pop-punk band whose main claim to fame is that their single made it into the top download charts in the UK. Their songs poke fun at manufactured pop stars and popular girls. Obviously they're not getting points for originality. Local Krizis stalwarts BLAST and MILANA support.
The best part of the night is GOLDIE (February 1, Propaganda, 23:00). Basically, he's the ELVIS of Jungle/D&B, who famously rejected BJORK's marraige proposal for a life of British club pussy. This gig is a testament to how relevant he's stayed: he's playing a place the size of Propaganda in front of kids that have no idea who he is.
Who said Russians don't understand irony? One of the city's hottest dance clubs is hosting a GROUNDHOG DAY PARTY (February 2, Rai, 24:00) featuring BONEY M. Maybe they really do get it, after all.