Those last two weeks almost made me feel like Moscow had turned into a real city. You know, some place like any reasonably-sized city in the U.S. or Europe, where you can go check out a decent band any night of the week in some dingy indy bar. Oh, wherefore art thou Bottom of the Hill? Knitting Factory? Empty Bottle?
But everything that seemed good in theory tended to suck in practice. THE TIGER LILIES were boring, and Klub na Brestskoi needs to install an air conditioner. SERYOGA was horrible—even the copious eye candy couldn't get us to stick around until he played his hit—although the New York DJ B-Club had an opening for him that was pretty great: he almost made me feel like I'd stumbled onto an unreleased FUNKMASTER FLEX mix tape. I was going to check out ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION, but the absurdly-priced (1500R!) tickets kept me away. The true highlight was checking out WE VS. DEATH at 35MM. They play the sort of music that all those bands on Constellation Records do, and that label manages to always make the purchase price worthwhile with some oversized freakish packaging.
The prospects for the next two weeks don't look too good. Well, unless you have lame-ass taste in music, which you just might.
Probably the "highlight" is RONNIE JAMES DIO (September 23, DK Gorbunova, 19:00, September 24, B2, 23:00). I mean sure, he really shredded when he was in BLACK SABBATH (although I would rather listen to modern bands like DEAD MEADOW do the style better), but Dio must be approaching 70 these days. Oh well, at least he's not starring in some reality TV show and losing whatever cred he has left. I guess if you like metal, the show to catch is the second night at B2—although when I saw FRANZ FERDINAND there earlier this summer, you kind of had to choose between getting a spot at the bar or getting a spot where you could see the band: fuck that.
I hear the E in this town isn't all that, but if you're able/willing to score it, you may as well check out the GODSKITCHEN party (September 23, Club XIII, 23:00), featuring some “famous” DJs like JUDGE JULES and GUY ORNADEL. I honestly don't know anything about these guys, except that they look reeeealy kewl in their fotos.
Before or after either of these events, make sure to check out PLATINUM'S THIRD BIRTHDAY PARTY (September 22-23, 20:00). Now, my cashflow situation doesn't really let me check out the strip clubs, and I’m not totally comfortable with the misogyny of strip clubs, but I understand and have to accept that a lot of readers like this, even women.
I, on the other hand, have been spending a lot of my time at Help bar lately, as it's a welcome respite from most of the Moscow scene—it's totally the sort of place I could see me and my friends at back home, sporting ironi mullets and tacky mustaches, drinkin' $1 PBR or Old Milwaukee. In short, a good bar; one you're not afraid to air guitar to Queen at. Well, Dima, the guy who owns it, invited me to the OPENING PARTY FOR TEMA (Potapovsky Per. 5, September 24, 22:00), which he promises will be Russia's first show-bar. I have no idea what that means, and he wouldn't elaborate, but as long as he keeps things minimal and rocking, I'm sure it'll be at least as kewl as its neighbor Proekt OGI.
One thing that is most definitely worth checking out, though, is CHRISTMAS IN SEPTEMBER (September 25, Boar House, 19:00). Now, I've never spent a Christmas in Moscow, but some of the attorneys I work with have, and they tell me that the Boar House is definitely the best place to spend it. The Boars are promising plenty of Bing and Booze, which really are the only things that make Christmas bearable. I'm taking Monday off, just to be safe.
One of the few DJs in the world I've actually heard of is PAUL OAKENFOLD (October 1, Club XIII, 23:00). Oakie is one of that breed of SuperDJs, you know, the kind that get all sorts of glossy magazine profiles, and all the top remixing gigs. Again, if I wanted to dance, I'd go see !!! (the band that’s so cool that they use punctuation marks) or THE RAPTURE or something. There will probably be better looking girls here too, but I absolutely fail to understand how anyone can enjoy this crap.
Without a doubt, the best event on my calendar for the next two weeks is MARK AMES' 40TH BIRTHDAY PARTY (Boar House, October 3, 20:00). And I'm not just saying that because he's paying me for this column. Because, frankly, the 1,000 rubles can barely even pay for a couple beers at a bar (now if they had some good cheap-O shit like PBR here, I could rock it, but come on! 100R for a Stary Melnik!). No, Ames’ birthday party looks to be the event of the fortnight simply for the gratuitous debauchery it is sure to entail. Or the general sadness of it all.
It's so rare that anything interesting happens on a weeknight, I feel like I've got to say something about the BACK IN JAPAN party (October 5, 16 Tons, 21:00), even though I'm not too familiar with the bands that are playing. From what I gather, though, headliner COW'P sounds pretty cool—a 23-year old Japanese dude who creates music from his Gameboy. Also performing is D7GON, the project of some Canuck living in Tokyo. I can't find much information on him, which suggests to me that he is so far underground he's simply got to be kickass. Filling out the bill are Australia's LEGS LE BROCK and KIKI.ILL, who both seem to be more on the performance art side of things. I don't know if this'll be quite as good as my favorite Japanese exports MERZBOW and the BOREDOMS, but it's the closest we’ll get here.
What else is new . . . looks like Avant Club nights are moving from the not-ready-for-prime-time 35MM to the oppressive Klub na Brestskoi, with SILENCE KIT and SLEEP TALKER (October 6, 21:00) opening the season. I managed to catch Silence Kit over the summer, and they were incredible. They actually made me think that there might be a future in Russian rock music. Think Mogwai and other bands of that ilk. I haven't heard of France's Sleep Talker before, but Avant's promoter has had a good track record. If I didn't have to go to the Baltics for a visa run this weekend, I'd definitely be there.
Finally, B2 is celebrating its birthday with an appearance by MICHAEL GIRA'S ANGELS OF LIGHT with AKRON/FAMILY (October 6, 22:00). I remember all the goth kids around campus were really into Gira's old band SWANS, but I could never really get into them. Angels, on the other hand, I'm more into. The band relies mostly on Gira's baritone vocals, mixed with a lo-fi almost folkish music.
I dunno what it is about this time of the year and openings, but just a little advance warning of two that are coming up: SHOWGIRLS (16/1 Olimpisky Pr., October 7) is a new strip club that looks to be more reasonably-priced of things and has some unusual attractions that could make this cool – even private rooms with karaoke, which is something I still can’t get enough of (and yes, I would try strip-karaoke!). Also, Nash from Blast is opening the CAFE FORMERLY KNOWN AS KRIZIS ZHANRA (Pokrovka 16/16 str. 1, October 7-8, 21:00), with the musical support you'd expect (BLAST, MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPERS, FRENCH WHORE, etc.), as well as special guest LOVE BRIDGE from the UK—I'll try to find out more about them for the next issue.
Coming soon: PHIL COLLINS! APOCALYPTICA! JUDAS PRIEST!
Not coming soon: PIXIES! ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS! GANG OF FOUR!