We are truly in the dead zone. There are so few good events in this fortnight, I've really had to scrape the bottom of Moscow's barrel to come up with a full page of text. At least the weather is great, so if you can bear standing in your dvor with a beer in hand, you might as well just give yourself a personal concert on your iPod. At least you won't be disappointed.
Having ex-members of other bands in your band is a good thing if you're not famous. You know, like when HORACE PINKER got the guy from JAWBREAKER in the band, and suddenly people were all into them again? But sometimes the ex-members thing is just baggage. Case in point: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE QUEEN (July 27, B1 Maximum, 21:00). The band is all ex-members, and some of them are true headliners in their own right: vocalist DAMON ALBARN of BLUE and GORILLAZ, bassist PAUL SIMONON from THE CLASH, as well as the guitarist of THE VERVE and the drummer from FELA KUTI. At first while listening to them, all you can think about is how theoretically cool it is for the guy from Blur to be playing with the guy from The Clash. But after listening to the album a dozen times, I still have no real feelings about the band one way or another. This gig will be packed full of kids expecting the second coming of Blur, but they won't find any upbeat Britpop here.
St. Pete's Ramriders, daydreaming of emo kittens and wounded butterflies...
If you're looking for something more offbeat, check out the Russian group RAMRIDERS (July 27, 16 Tons, 23:00): formed from the ashes of the Kalingrad groups ACID RIAN and THE SPIRITS, Ramriders have been able to use their hometown's proximity to Europe proper to get acquainted with a variety of interesting sounds. Their recent debut EP combines hints of JOY DIVISION and THE CURE with shoegazer rock to sound something like JARVIS COCKER fronting MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Definitely a band to look out for.
If the weather is good and you don't mind being sober, this year's AFISHA PICNIC (July 28, Kolomenskoe Park, 12:00) has a pretty decent lineup. Some of the bands worth caring about this year are the UK's psycho-surf band CLINIC, American alternative hip-hop duo DALEK, Midwestern indie-pop band SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN, and Icelandic experimental electronica collective MUM. Russia's very own MUMMY TROLL will debut their new album (why here? who knows), while eXile party faves DOT DASH also get a chance to tear the kids a new asshole. Basically, there will not be booze served at all, so get fucked up before you go. Or, if you'd rather, the after party will be at Ikra starting at 22:30 no idea if any of the bands will give an additional set, but you never know.
If guitar virtuosity is more up your alley, STEVE VAI (July 28, B1 Maximum, 19:00) has perfect pitch, and can basically sight-read anything you can give to him. He started his career in the 1980s with FRANK ZAPPA before going solo. After a couple albums, he replaced YNGWIE MALMSTEEN in ALCATRAZZ (the extra Z presumably showing how bad-azz they were), and later went on to play with DAVID LEE ROTH and WHITESNAKE.
When teenage angst was still an extremely marketable commodity in the mid 1990s, NINE INCH NAILS (August 1, Luzhniki, 19:00) was at the top of the heap, at least once KURT COBAIN offed himself. Peaking creatively in 1994 with "The Downward Spiral," the band (essentially TRENT REZNOR and whoever he's hired to work with him) became most famous for wanting to "fuck you like an animal," but that only scratched the surface of their demented industrial music. Sadly, Reznor is responsible for the popularity of MARILYN MANSON, but the first couple Nine Inch Nails albums were pretty untouchable, or at least they were when I was 15. Although LIARS were rumored to be the openers, some crappy local grunge band called INTACTO is actually doing it, so you can safely come late.