The fortnight begins with British jazz cabaret combo THE REAL TUESDAY WELD (November 20, Kinoteatr Khodozhestvenny, 19:00), who will be playing a movie theater to kick off the Creative Moscow Film Festival. DAVID PIPER and CIBELLE will support.
Surely everyone went through a little ALICE COOPER (November 21-22, B1 Maximum, 19:00) stage in their lives? Or at the very least we've all had one of those havin' a beer, smokin' a joint, blaring "School's Out" kind of days? Well, now the original "shock rocker" is coming to town, and since the gig is at B1, you can be guaranteed not a whiff of the devil weed, but maybe a little fun.
Apparently back in the bong-ripping 70s, something called "progressive rock" conquered swaths of FM radio. And apparently some British band called YES was at the forefront. Ah, YES. After helping spawn bands like RUSH, they've either broken up, turned into giant purple marshmallows with piano keys on them, or have gone on extended solo hiatus. All I know is that their vocalist JON ANDERSON (November 21, B2, 21:00) is touring with his own 37-minute songs. Aren't you psyched?
Speaking of neo-hippies, I always considered DEAD CAN DANCE as a sort of lame hippy response to the goth scene. Anyway, their singer LISA GERRARD (November 22, Teatr Estrady, 19:00) is hitting town. Again, I am so fucking psyched!
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: James Murphy DJ's at this year's Nokia Trends Lab
I'm sad to report that the gig that has me most excited this fortnight is an event designed to hawk cell phones, not records. This year's NOKIA TRENDS LAB (November 23, Pavilion Production, 23:00) features LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB and BOOKA SHADE. It's not really an LCD gig, but a DJ set by the band's impresarios, JAMES MURPHY and PAT MAHONEY. The Ponies are a five-piece electro rock band hailing from New York; they hit down riding a wave of critical praise this year. I don't know much about the other performers, but I can tell you that nobody will be going to see them anyway, so whatever.
The key thing will be to try to figure out who is taking the stage at what time, so you can get what you want from Nokia and still make it to see MODEX (November 23, 16 Tons, 23:00), who are playing the unfortunately named MUDDY MOUSTACHE NAKED MISTAKE nu-rave party thingamajig. The duo hails from Argentina, where they have been compared to LCD Soundsystem (if James Murphy had grown up in Buenos Aires, and not New Jersey). They combine a new wave/post-punk attitude with sweaty electro dancefloor. So November 23 is the night to mark in red, basically.
It's been awhile since we've seen any rap-metal in Moscow, but Sweden's CLAWFINGER (November 24, Apelsin, 20:00) are going to change that. Formed in the 90s, the band's aggressive style differs from other meathead rock acts in that they sing anti-racist anthems and tackle political themes instead of just going for the "nookie." Not that I don't like nookie.
Russia's infatuation with chanson occasionally brings something interesting, but you won't hear it on the radio. Instead, hit the clubs to check out France's LES HURLEMENTS D'LEO (November 24, Tochka, 20:00; November 25 - Kitaisky Letchik Jao Da - 23:00; November 26 - Project OGI - 22:00), who have been touring the world continuously since their breakthrough 2001 album Le Belle Affaire. Classifying them is difficult, but they're somewhere between rock and Eastern European traditional music. A French GOGOL BORDELLO? We report, you decide.
Producer, dj, and dance concept pioneer LTJ BUKEM (November 24, Ikra, 22:00) is best known for basically co-inventing drum'n'bass with GOLDIE. But he has a much deeper CV, and as a classically trained pianist, BUKEM specializes in the jazzier, atmospheric stuff, as opposed to the dark and ferocious attack-on-your-soul d'n'b that always sends me running for the nearest bomb shelter. He'll be performing with MC CONRAD.
A rarity on the fogey rock scene is MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND (November 25, Apelsin, 20:00) -- not because the band is putting out anything relevant (their prog rock sounds particularly dated; see JON ANDERSON, above), but because it has two founding members still touring. And one of them is even the titular Mann! You probably remember their BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN cover "Blinded By The Light" if nothing else.
If the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK reunited, would anyone care? I'm not British, but I imagine that the island's residents could ask a similar question about EAST 17 (November 25, B1 Maximum, 20:00). Fortunately, the answer will be clearly visible in the cavernous B1.
It feels like I write about some awful New York tough guy hardcore band every month, and while that may be the case, AGNOSTIC FRONT (November 27, Tochka, 19:00) are worth noting for basically being the founders of the genre. The mosh pit will be warmed up by Floridians EVERGREEN TERRACE and New York brethern SWORN ENEMY. Are you hard enough?
The HAPPY MONDAYS (November 29, B1 Maximum, 19:00) were supposed to play here this summer, but they cancelled. Maybe vocalist SHAUN RYDER is in rehab again. This time they're being brought out by Rolling Stone magazine to celebrate its birthday, so there's a good chance the show will happen. We will most definitely not be in attendance for the band that killed all that was good about the Manchester post-punk scene and mid-wifed rave culture. If I have to say something cool about them, it's that they went to the Caribbean to record an album and spent all the label's money on drugs, alcohol and hookers, effectively bankrupting Factory Records.
It must be a bummer to be in a band that always seems on the cusp of breaking through, but never do. Case in point: British post-hardcore band HELL IS FOR HEROES (November 30, B2, 22:00) have been getting in the van for seven years. They've been on a major label, been pushed by the British rock mags, toured with all the right people, but just never really broke through. That's probably why they're hanging up their guitars after this tour, so keep in mind that this will likely be your last chance to see these fallen heroes.
Turntable heroes DJ Food bring the refrigerator to Ikra Nov. 30
Much more exciting is the record-box toting collective DJ FOOD (November 30, Ikra, 23:59) who made their name in the 90s by providing samples and hooks on the Ninja Tune label, and by mashing jazz, rare groove, and hip hop in live sets. I saw these guys rock a New Year's Eve party in Prague in the late 90s and the ignorant crowd was confused at first, expecting a straight house set, but they eventually came around. Another red ink night.
I listened to ska when I was in high school, but I've got significantly less interest in the genre now, so all I can tell you is that Germany's premier ska musician is DR. RING-DING (December 1, Ikra, 18:30), and he'll be bringing up the Jamaican rhythms for the kids with the help of locals SKALPEL and CABERNET DENEUVE.
Did you know that Slovakia had a progressive goth rock scene? Neither did I until I had to research THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS (December 1, Vermel, 20:00). They've been around since the early 90s, combining old school death rock with new musical sounds and patterns. I guess that means they use a synthesizer.
If minimalist lounge music appeals to you, you'll be glad to know that JAZZAMOR (December 1, 16 Tons, 23:00) is here.
Tarja Turunen will be looking and sounding good on Dec. 1 at B1
I am in love with TARJA TURUNEN (December 2, B1 Maximum, 20:00). She's a babe, she sings in the Finnish metal band NIGHTWISH, and is also an accomplished classical and opera singer. But mostly, she's a babe.
The manager of the PET SHOP BOYS (December 2, Khodinka Ice Palace, 19:00) died with the owner of the Krisha night club when their car skidded off a bridge while doing 150 in the rain. That death postponed this concert, so all of Moscow's large male closet community had to wait a little bit longer. Tonightm the wait is over.