CULTURE

Doom and gloom not a woe for the black-clad mob

There’s no shortage of doom and gloom to it all, but «dark-wave» alternative music does draw crowds and seems to be holding on to them, as reflected in the steady bookings of events focused on the scene. The Elfentanz Festival, back for a fourth consecutive year, presents a five-act bill this Saturday at the Gagarin club in Athens with popular German band Deine Lakaien as the headline act. Also on the bill are fellow Germans Project Pitchfork, Swedish act Covenant, In the Nursery, as well as one local band, Ding An Sich. Deine Lakaien, the one-day festival’s main act, return three years after their first-ever performance here, also at Elfentanz, the year it was launched. Going a step further on this occasion, the German act will be bringing its full stage show, which includes strings, such as the violin, cello and piano, combined with Deine Lakaien’s electronica sounds. Deine Lakaien emerged back in 1986 with a self-distributed debut album. The duo, vocalist Alexander Veljanov and the classically trained Ernst Horn, did not start performing live until 1991, when they recruited additional musicians for their growing project. By the time of their follow-up release, «Dark Star,» Deine Lakaien had evolved into a cult band, while the act’s third album, «Forest Enter Exit,» made it onto the German charts in 1993. Several releases have since followed. The band, which in recent times has been topping dark-wave popularity polls, will be promoting a new album, «April Skies,» released recently by the multinational label EMI. Backed by a string of club hits, Swedish band Covenant returns following a performance at the Gagarin club two years ago that was voted as the year’s best live show by readers of a specialized local music website, www.synthpopavenue.gr. Project Pitchfork, also on the Elfentanz Festival’s bill, is one of the key acts of Germany’s electro-industrial circuit. It emerged in the early ’90s, fusing dark-wave atmospherics with industrial sounds, and enjoyed a steady rise to become one of the leading acts on Europe’s dark-wave circuit. Career highlights for Project Pitchfork have included a US tour with Front 242 in 1998, while the band’s early shows featured Rammstein – now considerably popular – as the opening act. Though Project Pitchfork has long established a following in Greece, Saturday night’s performance at the Elfentanz Festival will be its first-ever here. It will play a career-spanning set. Besides its solid output of recordings for well over two decades, the evening’s other visiting performer, In the Nursery, has provided music for blockbuster films including «Erin Brockovich,» «Interview With a Vampire,» and, more recently, Martin Scorsese’s «The Aviator.» Saturday’s performance will be the first by In the Nursery in Greece.