CULTURE

The Cure to swing live in Athens

As incredible as it may seem, British New Wave band the Cure have been around longer than most younger rock music fans can remember – or have lived, for that matter. Just to highlight the act’s lasting power, when the Cure formed back in the mid-1970s, the King, Elvis Presley, was not yet dead. And that seminal punk band the Sex Pistols were preparing to unleash their short-lived yet dynamic and (for some) shocking, attack on the complacency that had stifled rock’n’roll. The Cure have been making music that long. Even so, the act has kept attracting new flocks of young listeners from one generation to the next on the strength of a steady supply of fresh-sounding pop. Frontman Robert Smith has no doubt carved out a distinct songwriting style and smartly refashioned it over the years. A frequent visitor to Greece over the past decade, the British act will be returning to headline a one-day festival, Terravibe, on the outskirts of Athens, in Malakassa, this Thursday night. Prospective concertgoers should keep in mind that the open-air venue is located some 40 kilometers north of Athens. The evening’s bill will also include top-selling Cypriot singer-songwriter Alkinoos Ioannidis – a seemingly incongruous selection probably added to widen the event’s overall appeal – as well as English trance-pop band the Cranes and local outfit Film. The one-day event takes its name from the Terravibe venue, a relatively new home for Rockwave, the long-running annual rock festival in Athens. The Cure first performed in Greece in 1985 at the country’s first major rock festival, Rock in Athens, on a bill that had included the Clash, the Stranglers, Depeche Mode, Culture Club and Nina Hagen. Since then, the band has undergone numerous lineup changes over the years, with frontman and songwriter Smith always at the nucleus. At present, Smith has reunited with his group’s original members, who will be performing at Thursday’s show in Athens. Formed almost 30 years ago, in 1976, the Cure’s moody sound and image, as well as frontman Smith’s characteristic frivolous vocal style, distinguished the band as a unique underground force with prospects for a place in the mainstream. The band’s fluid lineup was matched by an equally fluid songwriting approach. Extreme, drunken-sounding pop melodies marked the Cure’s early work. The more sullen work that followed linked the Cure to the gloomy «goth-rock» scene. By the late 1980s, the band’s fame had spread beyond the UK and Europe to the USA. The act’s Athens show this Thursday will feature a career-spanning set. Preceding the Cure will be compatriots the Cranes, a band from Portsmouth that was formed in 1988. The Cranes gained wider exposure after Smith invited them to open the Cure’s shows of an extensive tour back in 1992. Film, a local English-language pop-rock band, has attracted a modest following since its relatively recent emergence. Tickets, priced at 40 euros, are available at branches of Ticket House in Athens (42 Panepistimiou, tel 210.360.8366) and in Thessaloniki (20 Ethnikis Amynis & Tsimiski, tel 2310.253.630).