CULTURE

Rodon club braces for final fiery night

Not long into his first performance in Greece nearly 20 years ago, Steve Wynn and his band at the time, the Dream Syndicate, managed to blow the gig’s speakers. Barely audible to the considerable number of attendees at an open-air Athens park show, the LA band continued playing, leaking out whatever sound they could to the masses through the stage monitors. Years later, Wynn remains just as relentless in his worthwhile solo career. After finding out that the Rodon club in Athens would soon close, the singer-songwriter who has been a regular performer at the venue over the years apparently asked to play there one final time. He intends to burn the place down with his music. Wynn gets to light his flame this Sunday night, the Rodon club’s final night, backed by his sizzling backing band, the Miracle Three, on a double bill that includes the British James Taylor Quartet acid-jazz combo, one of the club’s other frequent performers. Wynn’s adventures with the Dream Syndicate ended in 1989, not long after a great fourth studio album, «Ghost Stories.» They left behind a respectable legacy as one of those spirited, independent-scene fringe bands – long before the arrival of the following decade’s heavily commercialized «alternative» scene – that kept alive the spirit of rock’n’roll in the ’80s. The fan base may have never been huge, but it was widespread and enduring, as is also the case with Wynn the solo performer. Accompanied by various musicians for his albums and tours, Wynn, now into his 40s, has put out one worthy solo album after another. A good snapshot of Wynn’s never-ending and intriguing activity – for the numerous outsiders – would be a recent compilation CD aptly titled «What I Did After My Band Broke Up,» released in March. Wynn’s solo career’s rotating cast of musicians has become less fluid in more recent years, thanks to a solidified musical bond with his collaborators of late, the Miracle Three. On board are guitarist Jason Victor, drummer Linda Pitmon, and bassist Dave DeCastro, a young and musically hungry team that has worked wonders with Wynn on stage and in the studio. Victor, impeccably fluent on the electric guitar, extracts incredible dynamic range from the instrument, stretching from tender to raucous, as he glides through Wynn’s songs. He had initially filled in for Wynn’s previous lead guitarist, Chris Brokaw, after the latter rendered himself unavailable because of coinciding commitments. According to Wynn, Victor «knew how to play all my songs» before he joined. Considering his extensive past here, Wynn makes an appropriate choice for the Rodon club’s final night. The American artist could well hold this country’s record for the greatest number of tours here by a visiting act. There were three shows in Athens with the Dream Syndicate, countless more as a solo act, as well as one with Gutterball, an indie-rock collective project comprising Wynn and members of the House of Freaks, Silos, and Long Ryders. The shows have been engaging and, without exception, fulfilling – usually well over three hours long. Sunday’s club-closing gig could prove additionally adventurous. While in Greece, Wynn and his Miracle Three also take their show to Thessaloniki the following night, at the city’s Mylos club. Back at the Rodon, the venue welcomes the Stranglers for one final time this Friday night. The English group first performed in Greece almost 20 years ago at the capital’s first ever major rock festival, Rock in Athens, back in July, 1985. The Stranglers have persisted despite the departure of original frontman and key member Hugh Cornwall in the early ’90s. Many of these post-Cornwall shows have been held at the Rodon club. Opening for the Stranglers will be the now-defunct local group Yeah, reformed especially for the Rodon’s final days. The club was launched late in 1987 by the telling Australian band the Triffids, but, strictly speaking, it was Yeah who first set foot on the club’s stage as the opening band for the touring Australians. Following 17 years of business as a concert venue, the Rodon’s current lease contract is set to expire. The club’s operator intends to relaunch the concert venue elsewhere, but no details have yet been provided.