CULTURE

Promoters gear up for the fall

With September just in and the previous month’s typically dry period of concert activity in main urban centers now over, local promoters have already begun announcing impending performance dates for Athens and Thessaloniki by foreign touring acts, most of them regulars, with some surprises included too. No doubt, an appearance by Blondie – the original lineup fronted by Deborah Harry – slated for early December, ranks as ones of the bigger surprises on the list of shows booked so far. Others scheduled for shows here in the coming weeks and months include the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Placebo, Cracker, Wim Mertens, Peter Green, and Anne Clarke. Blondie, the legendary punk-new wave group that emerged from New York’s arty punk circuit in the mid-1970s to become that scene’s most commercial act by far with top-selling tunes such as «Call Me» and «Atomic,» had brought their raunchy and infectious musical adventures to an end by the early 1980s. But 1999’s unanticipated comeback album «No Exit,» 17 years after its predecessor, seems to have tantalized the aging rockers for more. Blondie will be touring with a new album, «Curse of Blondie,» just released, but fans, young and old, will almost certainly be filling the Rodon club in Athens on December 5 for the group’s enduring, nowadays classic, back catalogue. Returning to the current month, the Belgian composer and pianist Wim Mertens, best known for his poignant music for films, including Peter Greenaway’s «Belly of an Architect,» will perform tomorrow night at the capital’s Ark complex (18 Themidos, tel 210.338.8400). Mertens will also play an additional date in Thessaloniki, at the Lazariston Monastery, on Thursday. This Saturday, at the same venue, Cracker, one of the previous decade’s leading American rock acts, characterized by a somewhat traditional rock style, will play their first-ever show in Greece. Frontman David Lowery formed the roots of rock-inclined Cracker in 1990 following more wayward times with Camper Van Beethoven, a pivotal alternative rock act of the 1980s. The band is touring backed by a new album, «Countrysides,» a garage-country perspective on old country classics. A night later, on Sunday, the stylish pop group Placebo will play one of the season’s final open-air shows at the Lycabettus Theater. The British act’s set list will include songs from its most recent album, «Sleeping With Ghosts,» as well as older numbers. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, a steady supplier, over the past decade, of innovative yet anarchic rock’n’roll that carries mere traces of the blues despite the band name, will perform in Greece for the second time on September 19 at the club Gagarin 205 in Athens (205 Liosion, tel 210.854.7600-2). Toward the end of this month, on September 27, one of the USA’s major electronic and dance music festivals, dubbed «Summer Love,» will stage an event at the former Athens International Airport at Hellenikon. It will mark the opening date of a European tour, the festival’s very first. Now 12 years old and a major attraction on the US west coast, the festival will feature a cast of leading DJs, producers, and remixers, including Armand Van Helden, Sister Bliss, and Dr Motte, the founder of Berlin’s Love Parade event. Next month’s agenda includes garage rock band the Fuzztones, a regular visitor of late, at Gagarin 205 on October 4 and the night after at the Mylos Club (56 Andreou Georgiou, tel 2310.551.838) in Thessaloniki. New Yorkers Fun Lovin’ Criminals, who, ironically, are far more popular in Europe than at home, have been booked for two shows at Gagarin 205 on October 18 and 19, and one night at Mylos in Thessaloniki the following evening. The group, often regarded as one of the contemporary scene’s «coolest» presences, both for its stylish rock-funk-soul-rap cocktail and its attire, put out a new album, «Welcome to Poppy’s,» last week. The month of October will end with performances by rock group Hermano at Gagarin 205 on October 24 and the Canadian collective Do Make Say Think at the same venue on October 30. November’s schedule includes a performance by the old-school Scottish rockers Nazareth. They were left without a contract by the mid-1980s but have resurfaced as part of the revivalist circuit in more recent times. Later in the month, on November 28, the James Taylor Quartet, one of acid jazz’s finest exponents which enjoyed considerable popularity in the early 1990s and have since maintained a loyal following, have been booked for the Mylos Club in Thessaloniki on November 28 and the Rodon the following evening. Besides Blondie’s date on December 5, the year’s final month also includes a performance by Peter Green, the legendary blues guitarist whose personal woes have often overshadowed his work. A member of Fleetwood Mac’s early «blues period» lineup, Green, who returned to performing and recording in recent years after a lengthy absence, has been booked for the Rodon on December 1. Anne Clarke, one of the UK’s more popular dark-sounding electro-pop acts of the 1980s, is scheduled to perform at Gagarin 205 on December 6.