CULTURE

Fierce female German acts to see the light with ‘Berlin in Athens’ shows

Music, too, has been integrated into the cultural diplomacy effort «Berlin in Athens,» which was launched April 1 with a show by the revamped ’80s pop band Alphaville and runs through April 23. The agenda, loaded with film projections, theater, cabaret, clubbing, exhibitions and gastronomy, includes concerts by three Berlin-based acts, Rhythm King and her Friends, Cobra Killer, and Chicks on Speed. All three will perform at the downtown Bios venue on various dates under the umbrella title «Female Underground Music Scene.» Two of these three bands, Rhythm King and her Friends and Cobra Killer, are scheduled to play a double-header this Friday night. Spurred by a common appreciation of electronic music and politics, especially matters concerning women, Linda Wolfel, Pauline Boundry and Sara John formed their band, Rhythm King and her Friends, in 2000 with the objective of fusing these fields of interest. Their bond led to a fusion combining explosive melody, electronica, pop, hip-hop and punk with lyrics in various languages, including English, French and Bulgarian. The trio’s debut album, «I Am Disco,» released in 2002, was well received, while the band has toured extensively throughout many parts of Europe. On stage, Rhythm King and her Friends back their feminist-driven sociopolitical lyrics with guitar, bass, xylophone and visuals, including videos. Also on Friday’s shared bill, Cobra Killer, a duo, evolved from a childhood friendship between Gina d’Orio and Annika Line Trost. They met in Berlin as 13-year-olds and gradually began experimenting with music, both together and on various solo projects, before their musical bond was formalized as Cobra Killer in 1998. The two have made a considerable impact on Berlin’s alternative circuit. Going beyond the local scene, they’ve also performed around Europe and toured Australia. A national tour of Germany as the support act for indie-rock gurus Sonic Youth prompted the New York rock band’s Thurston Moore to remark: «They blew us off the stage. Just two girls and a sampler, but it was sensational. An inspired show on various levels. I adore them.» With four albums to their credit, Cobra Killer have managed to forge a personal style that takes in electro-garage and experimental hardcore electronica. An impressive live act, Cobra Killer live up to their name on stage with highly dramatized antics that can get vicious, too. «Like schizophrenic go-go girls, they leave behind, through their passing, broken bottles, bruised bodies and bloody faces,» wrote the influential music magazine Wire. The leftovers, if any, of this potentially wild night at Bios should have been swept clear several nights later, but there can be no guarantees of a squeaky clean night when Chicks on Speed return to Greece to play their show on April 14. They had performed here in 2002. A trio made up of three members with disperse geographical roots – Melissa Logan from New York, Alex Murray-Leslie from Sydney, and Kiki Moorse from Munich – met at Munich’s School of Fine Arts back in 1997 and began organizing parties and art projects that gradually developed into their Chicks on Speed musical project. Propelled by a punk attitude that also takes in an electroclash sound and synth-pop, Chicks on Speed made it onto European charts in 2001 with a cover version of «Kaltes Klarres Wasser» by Malaria, and have since gained considerable fame with several dance hits. The trio also runs their own label whose catalog includes releases by Ana da Silva and Le Tigre. They have also filled support slots for tours by major acts, including Kraftwerk, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Underworld. Besides the music, Chicks on Speed have offered graphic design work to some of the world’s biggest magazines and created installations and live performances for galleries and museums. They also market their own fashion through boutiques in New York, Tokyo, and New Zealand. Their first performance here three years ago highlighted the trio’s interest in all these various fields. Friday: Rhythm King and her Friends, Cobra Killer; April 14: Chicks on Speed. Both nights 9.30 p.m. at Bios (84 Pireos, tel 210.342.5335). Admission: 15 euros.