Friday, April 17, 2009

Live action round up: Ice Cube, 65 Days Of Static & The Subways in Athens

No, this is not a review of some weird rap - post-rock- punk-pop festival, just a brief look at some of the gigs that took place in Athens in the last month.

You may have noticed that we haven't been posting any live music reviews lately and that's simply because nothing really exciting is going on round here in 2009 so far (apart from that evening with Greg Dulli & Mark Lanegan in February). It could be a result of the global economic crisis or just poor decision making on the part of concert promoters regarding the names they choose to bring in Greece. Anyway, this situation is about to change as an impressive number of good bands are about to pay us a visit in the next months. Actually, with the kind of prices that concert tickets cost here, it won't be easy for most people to attend all the gigs that they would like to, and this means that we cannot predict success for all the upcoming live events. Some of the names that have been announced so far include Ladytron, Franz Ferdinand, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Horrors, Mercury Rev, Paul Weller, Nine Inch Nails with Jane's Addiction, Rockwave Festival with Killers, Placebo, Moby, Foals, Eject Festival with Pixies, Editors, White Lies, Royksopp, Jarvis Cocker, Klaxons, Synch Festival with Tortoise, Friendly Fires, Junior Boys, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Bug, Merzbow. As for C.M.C., we will do our best to go to most of these events and bring you exclusive photos, videos, views & reviews. There are also talks about a trip to Barcelona at the end of May for Primavera Sound Festival. We'll keep you posted, but until all these wonderful things happen (or not), let's take a brief look at what actually happened in Athens lately:

Ice Cube - Live @ Fuzz Club (April 12th)

The last time that West Coast legendary rapper Ice Cube actually made a great record, Bill Clinton was the newest occupant of The White House and the thought of a black U.S. President still seemed like something out of a Hollywood script. Still, there is no denying that even after 25 years in the rap game, the former N.W.A. star can still rock the mike like very few can and even if the latest material is no match to his '80s and '90s output, there are plenty of old classics to spice up his ace 90-minute show (his first in Athens)
with his Westside Connection cohort WC. Greatest moment of the night: the "Straight Outta Compton" / "F... Tha Police" N.W.A. medley that you can watch below (courtesy of Cool Music Central TV):

Ice Cube with WC - Straight Outta Compton / F... Tha Police (Live @ Fuzz Club)

65 Days Of Static - Live @ Gagarin 205 (April 4th)

To be honest, I am not a big fan of post-rock. The endless noodling and "atmospheric" experimentation of some of the bands in this genre, not to mention the lack of lyrics, leave me cold. But there are, of course, exceptions to my anti-post-rock stance and 65 Days Of Static have managed to win my interest thanks to the injection of heavy doses of explosive electronica to their post-rock amalgam. The result was an entertaining hour-long high-energy performance based on material from their new live album "Escape From New York" (a title inspired by the John Carpenter movie, I am guessing), that ended with a ceremonial thrashing of the stage. A taster here:

65 Days Of Static (Live @ Gagarin 205)

The Subways - Live @ Kyttaro Club (March 19th)

Here's a band that under normal circumstances (i.e. if there had been any decent gigs in Athens recently) I wouldn't go to see simply because I find their punk-pop to be a little too derivative, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by their live presence. Their energy on stage is simply unbelievable and what The Subways are lacking in originality they make up for in wide-eyed enthusiasm and good looks. The young crowd's participation in the night's shenanigans was also commendable, shouting back the lyrics of the songs and happily pogoing about. The finale of the show was a truly memorable performance of the band's biggest hit, "Rock 'n' Roll Queen", with Billy Lunn crowd-surfing around the club like it was 1991, and even managing an impressively reckless jump from the club's balcony onto the adoring crowd. So, even if you are not a big fan of the band, you should definitely check out the video below capturing the whole entertaining mess:

The Subways - Rock 'n' Roll Queen (Live @ Kyttaro Club)

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