Live circuit gears for winter bill

Many of the country’s more popular musical acts are currently touring the domestic summer circuit of open-air theaters and sports grounds around Greece, but most already have their minds focused on upcoming winter season commitments in the capital and in Thessaloniki. Most major venues have already made arrangements for bookings during the winter’s first phase, ahead of the new year, while negotiations are now in progress for the agenda’s second wave of events, in January and February. As has been the case in past seasons, the upcoming season should once again be demanding for both artists and entrepreneurs amid a sector hurting from economic woes. These days, few venues can claim to have had a commercially successful winter season, while the rest struggle to survive. Thessaloniki is beginning to figure more prominently, as the sector looks for less saturated markets to take its entertainment. Many acts have opted to launch their winter-time commitments from this city. For example, singer-songwriters Dionysis Savvopoulos and Nikos Papazoglou, both natives of Thessaloniki, will take their tried and tested show to the northern city in October, at the Fix club, after drawing hefty crowds for an extended series of extravagantly produced shows in Athens last winter. The popular singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki, too, has chosen to begin her series of winter shows in Thessaloniki, again at the Fix venue, but not before she completes making a forthcoming album. She will then move down to Athens for more shows at the Vox club accompanied by relative newcomer Melina Aslanidou. Another artist who has opted for Thessaloniki as his starting point is Alkinoos Ioannidis. He has been booked to perform shows at the city’s Mylos venue during the festive season, before moving to Athens for appearances at the Gyalino Mousiko Theatro. Other acts preparing to launch winter shows from Thessaloniki include the top-selling singers Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Manolis Lidakis, and singer-songwriter Nikos Portokaloglou. Surprises regarding pairings for double-bill performances are not missing from the winter agenda. Seasoned singer Haris Alexiou and the younger Yiannis Kotsiras have teamed up for shows at a new venue – formerly called Pyli – on Iera Odos Ave, one of the capital’s focal points for live Greek music. No doubt, the Alexiou-Kotsiras partnership is intended to draw both younger and older fans to the venue. Another partnership combining experience and relative youth is that of Dimitra Galani and Manolis Famellos, who will team up for a one-month stretch of shows in October at the Stavros tou Notou venue in Athens. This club’s slight change in artistic direction for the new season, from rock-inclined to Greek, will bring to the venue various fine exponents from the contemporary Greek music scene for shows throughout the winter. They include Socrates Malamas, who will follow immediately after Galani and Famellos, and, in the new year, Eleni Tsaligopoulou, followed by Nikos Portokaloglou. Melina Kana will team up with newcomer Yiannis Haroulis for shows at 13 Feggaria, the downtown Athens club where she performed several seasons ago as part of a double bill with Tsaligopoulou. Though no official announcement regarding his winter season’s engagements has yet been made, it is highly unlikely that Giorgos Dalaras will be missing from the action. Savina Yiannatou is preparing for a series of winter shows, during the season’s latter half, but the details remain unknown. Eleni Vitali is considering possible shows at Grammes in Athens, while Petros Gaitanos is planning a limited number of shows for the Athina venue in the capital’s seaside district of Neo Faliron. Cult old-school Greek band Himerini Kolymvites, a group of practicing and non-practicing professionals from the country’s north, are expected to make their customary excursion to the capital a little after Christmas. The details, at this stage, are not known. In the pop sphere, Anna Vissi will be at the Apollon Club in Athens. Despina Vandi, currently based in Spain with husband and professional soccer player Demis Nikolaidis, who switched from AEK to Atletico Madrid over the summer, will not be performing this winter. The newer look-alike act Elli Kokkinou plans to cover the ground.