Sunday, October 24, 2010

Live in Athens: Future Islands - New Young Pony Club - The Radio Dept.

In an uncharacteristically busy week for live music in Athens, we had the opportunity to see the first ever gigs here by Future Islands, New Young Pony Club and The Radio Dept. The CMJ Music Marathon it ain't, but still it was a good week for fans of new music and here's a glimpse into what happened in chronological order:

Future Islands & Baby Guru, live@Six D.O.G.S (October 17, 2010)

Although I was not familiar with the music of either band, I decided to trust the taste of the folks at Thrill Jockey who signed Future Islands last year and pay a visit to the small downtown club where they made their live debut in Athens with support from local act Baby Guru.

Future Islands' music bears the tag "Post-Wave", a term coined to describe the mix of dark, electronic new wave sounds with post punk aggression. Basically, the Baltimore based band could be the love child of New Order with Henry Rollins but sadly the execution of this concept is not always as exciting as it sounds on paper. The synth-pop melodies seem at odds with Sam Herring's pained, growled vocals and only when he attempts to sing in a more restrained manner, as in "Walking Though That Door" (the opening track of their latest album "In Evening Air"), the music manages to find its balance.

 Future Islands, live@Six D.O.G.S, 17 Oct. 2010

Baby Guru who opened the gig was the real revelation of the night. The Athens three-piece combines krautrock grooves and African rhythms with psychedelic vocals and punk rock energy to create an electrifying sound. If their upcoming debut on Cast-a-blast manages to capture their stirring live performance, it could become one of the most talked about albums of the local scene for years (and if there were any Thrill Jockey A&R scouts in the audience, an international career could be on the cards for them as well). For the night's finale we witnessed an impromptu collaboration between Future Islands and Baby Guru when the latter's drummer joined the headliners for a track, which you can watch below.

 Baby Guru, live@Six D.O.G.S, 17 Oct. 2010

Future Islands jamming with King Elephant from Baby Guru

New Young Pony Club (Oct. 20, 2010) & The Radio Dept. (Oct. 21, 2010), live@Gagarin 205

N.Y.P.C., live@Gagarin 205, 17 Oct. 2010
New Young Pony Club and The Radio Dept. were the headliners of the small-scale, two-day Jumping Fish Festival which also featured local acts Expert Medicine, Playground, No Profile, Travel Mind Syndrome, His Majesty The King Of Spain and Trap.

N.Y.P.C., live@Gagarin 205, 17 Oct. 2010

Londoners New Young Pony Club offered the best performance of the festival for my money. Despite playing in front of a rather small audience, they managed to create a party atmosphere performing an hour-long set which comprised of the best material from their two albums "Fantastic Playground" and "The Optimist". The band wasted no time getting to its greatest hits, kicking off the set with the rousing "Chaos" and moving on soon enough to breakthrough single "Ice Cream". Among the highlights of the night were also "Get Lucky", "The Bomb" and "The Get Go" from their debut as well as "Lost A Girl", "The Optimist", "We Want To" and "Oh Cherie" from their sophomore effort. Not to mention the non-stop dancing of singer Tahita Bulmer which you can also enjoy for yourself in the video for "Oh Cherie" below, where Tahita lets her hair down and really gets loose:

New Young Pony Club - Oh Cherie, live@Gagarin 205

N.Y.P.C., live@Gagarin 205, 17 Oct. 2010

The Radio Dept. from Lund, Sweden, are three self-confessed shy guys who play melodic indie-pop firmly rooted in the early '90s shoegaze scene and the ethereal sounds of Sarah Records. Even when the band decides to write a protest song against the government, it still sounds like a bitter-sweet lover's lament and this lack of dynamism is their Achilles' heel when playing live. In few occasions their twin guitars veer briefly in Jesus And Mary Chain territory, like in the closing "Why Won't You Talk About It?", but their dreamy vocals never allow the noise to take over. Their considerable Greek fan-base didn't seem to mind, though, and their dedication to delicate synth and guitar driven melodies was greeted with loud cheering at the end of their hour-long set.

The Radio Dept., live@Gagarin 205, 17 Oct. 2010

For the show's set list check out this post and watch below our video for one of the night's standout tracks, "Freddie And The Trojan Horse":

The Radio Dept. - Freddie And The Trojan Horse, live@Gagarin 205

 The Radio Dept., live@Gagarin 205, 17 Oct. 2010


Anonymous said...

Why the blog is so little fact about the crisis, you do not care about this issue?

ody said...

Believe me, I do care, but this blog is about music. Escapism? Maybe, but it's good for the soul...