CULTURE

Pioneering Rodon club enters final stretch ahead of closure

Now just a few weeks away from closing down following nearly two decades of business, the Rodon club, Greece’s first venue to systematically host performances from the independent rock scene, is well into its final stretch of shows. The historic venue’s agenda runs through May 29, when it features UK acid-jazz act the James Taylor Quartet. Until then it includes performances by Morcheeba, the Wu-Tang Clan, the respected local electronica figure Constantinos Beta, and the Stranglers. Club representatives said a grand-finale party would also be thrown, probably early in June, but no details have yet been given. The Rodon, whose concert activity has waned in recent years, announced earlier this year that it was closing down because the downtown property’s owner wished to take over the premises once the lease’s contract expired. The club’s management has said it will soon reopen the venue elsewhere, but has not offered any details. What will become of the current 1,800-capacity club, an old theater that was converted into a rock venue back in 1987, also remains unknown. Morcheeba’s two nights, on May 13 and 14, rank as one of the highlights of the venue’s expiring agenda. The laid-back yet dance-friendly British act, whose appealing work has generated album sales of over 5 million copies since 1996’s debut release «Who Can You Trust,» will be appearing with a new vocalist, Daisy Martey, following the departure of Sky Edwards. Martey, who joined Morcheeba following a spell with a far less established act, Noonday Underground, sang on her new band’s latest album, «The Antidote.» It comes three years after its predecessor, «Charango,» which had included a guest vocal appearance from Lambchop’s frontman Kurt Wagner. Besides drawing masses of fans, Morcheeba’s work has won over scores of colleagues, among them Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and hard-rock legend Ozzy Osbourne, while David Byrne invited the act for collaboration on his «Feelings» album back in 1997. Apparently, a dolphin center in Hawaii has reported that Morcheeba’s music ranks as the favorite for its dolphins. Members of extremely popular hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan will be at the Rodon for a performance on May 20. The collective, which emerged with 1993’s «Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),» a contemporary classic, has intentionally spun out into various side projects over the years, and also released albums as the Wu-Tang Clan. Local artist Constantinos Beta, who emerged as frontman of the groundbreaking electronica act Stereo Nova in the early ’90s and has pursued a fruitful and active solo career in more recent years, will perform his final show at the Rodon on May 19. The Australian-born Beta, often considered one of the country’s more creative artistic forces over the past decade, contributed music to the opening ceremony of last year’s Athens Olympics. Beta has performed at the venue on numerous occasions over the past decade or so, both with his now-defunct band Stereo Nova and a solo act. Other local performers on the venue’s agenda include the veteran Greek rock group Socrates Drank the Conium, which had achieved considerable foreign acclaim in the ’70s, on May 6. Two of the group’s original members, guitarist Yiannis Spathas and bassist Antonis Tourkogiorgis, have reunited for a series of revival shows over the past few years. A night later, on May 7, Diafana Krina, one of the country’s strongest-selling Greek-language rock bands, will play its final show at the Rodon, a venue it has packed on numerous occasions since the mid-’90s. Diafana Krina, which released its earlier work on a local independent label, Wipeout, has put out more recent material on its own label, This is My Voice, a line taken from a Leonard Cohen song. The James Taylor Quartet, a regular performer at the club since exploding onto the trendy – at the time – acid-jazz scene of the early ’90s, unleash their sizzling musical magic for one last time at the Rodon on May 29, the venue’s final scheduled show, not including the grand-finale night, expected days later. A couple of nights earlier, on May 27, punk and post-punk band the Stranglers play a career-spanning set at the venue. Despite the departure of original frontman Hugh Cornwall in the early ’90s, the group’s remaining personnel, heavily reliant on classic older material, have continued touring. Cornwall, who apparently departed after feeling that the band’s creative run had dried up, has based his recording and touring activity on newer solo work. However, in more recent times, old Stranglers songs have begun appearing on Cornwall’s live sets in greater numbers.