Rodon club goes out with a bang

Despite bittersweet feelings over the final night of a club that had provided a steady supply of good and mostly imported live music in Athens for nearly 18 years, the club’s final show was celebrated, not lamented last Sunday – both by the performers and attendees, young and oldish. Two incongruous yet commonly effervescent acts, the acid-jazz combo James Taylor Quartet, followed by the elegant and knowledgeable American rocker Steve Wynn and his Miracle Three, provided lively entertainment, about five hours long in total, to a virtually full house of bubbly fans as the grand finale for the downtown Rodon club last Sunday. The venue, its operator says, will soon reopen at a new central address. The Rodon’s lease contract expired and was not renewed. As had been expected, it got quite fiery – in the positive sense – when Wynn and his band hit the stage for an unbridled rock’n’roll show. A smiling Wynn told fans he felt honored to be the very last act to play the venue. The country-tinged Australian band the Triffids stylishly opened the Rodon as a venue back in November 1987. The Triffids were the first of many great acts – most of them plucked from the independent circuit – to play the club. Prior to the Rodon club’s debut, rock concert activity in Greece had been scarce and, in most cases, limited to big names at big venues. This is what made the Rodon’s arrival magical. Athens now offered deep-digging music lovers the chance to see less hyped-up performers more interested in creativity and spirit rather than fame – not that they would reject the cash if it came their way. Not long after the Triffids came John Cale, formerly of the Velvet Underground, then the Gun Club, the Pixies (who had not yet made it big), Wynn’s former band the Dream Syndicate, the Go-Betweens and the Chills. Iggy Pop also played for three nights at this 1,500-capacity club that had originally opened up as a cinema back in the ’60s before being relaunched as a rock venue. As the years passed, the list of great musicians grew with the venue’s legend. On Sunday, in the thick of the frenetic slam-dancing near the front row of Wynn’s show, a longtime Rodon fan named Manolis partied one last time and offered a parting thought that embodied the crowd’s mood: «I don’t think things will ever be the same again – maybe better, but not the same. This was a part of my life, a definite loss, even if the club reopens elsewhere.» 

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