With this heat, we should be basking in high-powered open-air festivals, with beer flowing freely. Instead, we've got mediocre indoor gigs with poor A/C and overpriced booze.
Exhibit A is American castoffs SPARKS (June 1-2, Apelsin, 20:00) who last summer played a pair of gigs in Moscow. The play quirky pop and are pretty tight at it. Nearly 40 years into their game, the Mael brothers are back in town for another two-night stand. Lots of Russians who think the band sounds like QUEEN will be in attendance.
You could also check out the MUZ-TV AWARDS (June 1, Olimpisky, 19:00) featuring short performances from every shitty Russian band in existence, as well as shitty foreigners like CHRISTINA AGUILERA, the PUSSY CAT DOLLS and TOKIO HOTEL. If you can't get enough of them, the Dolls are playing a "secret" show at Opera Club (Trexgorny Val 6, 23:00) later that night.
Also, if you were so impressed at JAY-JAY JOHANSON's (June 1, Ikra, 23:59) live set a day ago, you might want to see what he does when he gets behind the decks. Yes kids, Ikra has decided to grab your money two days in a row: first by taking 1000 rubles to see him play live, second by taking another 450 to see him spin. You'd think that for nearly 40 bucks they could get him to do both, but....
Even I know that Berlin is pretty much the center of electronic music these days, so it's a pleasure to welcome that city's APPARAT (June 2, Ikra, 23:59) to town. Apparat, AKA Sascha Ring, runs the venerable Shitkatapult record label with another crazy Berlin electronic guy, T. RAUMSCHMIERE. The label and his music started out as straight-ahead techno before developing into what is now more akin to glitchcore or IDM.
As for AIDEN (June 4, Tochka, 19:00): although most bios and reviews seem to make some allusion to "emo," they sure as shit sound like a pop-punk band to me. I dunno, maybe it's because they all dyed their hair black and look like goth kids. In any case, they're an American pop-punk band that epitomizes the victory of image over substance. They've gotten a lot of shit for ripping off AFI, but it's understandable, since they are just a second-rate AFI rip-off. This is why the all-ages show was invented: to keep teenagers from drinking and smoking in my dvor.
Another band that will achieve the same goal for me, no doubt, is LINKIN PARK (June 6, Olimpisky, 19:00). Although the band is in its purest essence laughably cheesy metal, I find them bearable. Maybe it's that silly "mash-up" disc with JAY-Z, maybe it's just their earnestness, or maybe it's just because their singer looks like such a nerd (and is named Chester). In any case, they're pretty much the only band of the nu-metal era that I can even stand. Not that I'm going to the gig.
DJ Kid Koala.
If you were wondering where old anarchists go to die, the answer is: Moscow! Yes, folks, CHUMBAWAM-BA (June 7, Le Meridien Moscow Country Club, 17:00) return, this time to headline a WWF (that's World Wildlife Foundation, not World Wrestling Federation) benefit party. Somehow the sight of a bunch of anarcho-punks milling around an expensive buffet at an exclusive Moscow country club doesn't sound that odd in this city. If you think they're going to play their hit, you've got another thing coming: this gig will be all acoustic, mostly songs from last year's folk record "A Singsong and a Scrap." If there's such a thing as an "average" DJ, KID KOALA (June 7, Ikra, 22:00) would most definitely not fit the profile. First, he's Canadian. Second, rather than just get up on stage and spin records, Koala tries to have his records tell stories. To that extent, he's started releasing albums with comic books and other detritus. I saw the Kid a couple years back at Tinkoff and was less than impressed, but having heard some of his records I have to conclude that it was more due to the lameness of the venue than anything the turntablist was doing. This gig should find him in a much more natural habitat, with a much more realistic crowd.