CULTURE

Spring fever hits concert circuit

Springtime is here and with it comes a blossoming agenda of upcoming performances by visiting artists as well as local contemporary acts. The recent unusually heavy snowfall may have forced concert promoters and performers to revise certain touring plans such as the postponement of shows by Primal Scream, but the current month promises to make amends. The local DJ, songwriter and producer Nikko Patrelakis, one of the local circuit’s leading electronica acts whose activity includes a recent collaboration with Paul McCartney, ushered in the activity last Saturday night with an audiovisual show based primarily on his latest album, «Time,» a commendable effort. One of the current week’s best proposals would have to be renowned DJ Felix Da Housecat’s appearance at the U-Matic club tomorrow night. The Afro-American DJ who helped popularize electronica will be returning to a loyal local fanbase following previous visits. Next week, on April 15, there will be two worthwhile acts to choose from, but their differing styles should not trap concertgoers in a dilemma. Fans of hard-edged rock are most likely to head out to the Rodon Club for the first of two performances by cult group Monster Magnet. A second performance, at the same venue, has been scheduled for the following night. Also on April 15, the highly popular local pop-rock group Raining Pleasure will perform at the capital’s Free2GoClub 22 club on Vouliagmenis Avenue. The Patras-based group, which enjoyed runaway local commercial success with its third album, «Flood,» two years ago after spending several years on the fringe, will play its first show since the recent release of a new album, «Forwards + Backwards.» Its breezy pop sound, injected with discreet layers of jazz and electronica, amounts to a fine follow-up to the band’s breakthrough third album. Concertgoers who have yet to discover this fine Greek English-language band ought seriously to consider catching Raining Pleasure on stage. February’s last-minute postponement of shows by Primal Scream, due to heavy snowfall that affected travel plans, was a disappointment, but the band has rescheduled its agenda for two performances at the Rodon Club on April 23 and 24. The month of April should go out in style with two highly regarded visiting acts, the Violent Femmes and Lambchop. The Violent Femmes are scheduled to perform two shows beginning with a night in Thessaloniki at the Mylos club on April 28 and the Rodon Club in Athens the following evening. The Violent Femmes emerged in the early 1980s with a now-classic self-titled debut album whose extremely infectious tunes swiftly drew a considerable fanbase. The trio was founded in 1980 by bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor De Lorenzo, who were joined by singer and guitarist Gordon Gano a year later. Besides possessing a unique chemistry for quirky and catchy material, the trio also shared a common dislike for practice. Instead, they kept their work fresh and spontaneous by taking their work to the streets as buskers until Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders ran into them and was sufficiently impressed to invite the then-unknown trio to open a show for her popular band. Over the years, the trio has continued putting out records and maintained one of the most considerable cult followings in rock music. The oddball act has taken its work to a wide range of places, including gay bars, Carnegie Hall, schools for mentally handicapped children, the Royal Albert Hall, Woodstock ’94, and the North Pole for a show that went down as the northernmost concert performed in rock history. All in all, the Violent Femmes have performed in over 400 cities in 40 countries. Lambchop, set to perform one night in Athens at the Gagarin Club on April 30, set off as an alternative-country group from Nashville, Tennessee that earned an early reputation both for its interesting, almost unclassifiable sound, as well as for its controversial lyrics. Now, some 15 years later, the multi-membered group, whose sound has continued to evolve from album to album, ranks as one of the most renowned and respected acts on the contemporary circuit. Back in Athens approximately two years after their first performance here, the nine-member act led by Kurt Wagner plans to perform material from its last two albums.