Summer concerts in full swing

This is developing into one of the most active late spring and summer concert periods this city has ever experienced. From full-on pop music to some of the contemporary scene’s more spirited acts tucked away on the side and ploughing their way through creativity, the range is wide and the offerings plentiful. Beginning with Mick Harvey – the anchor man throughout Nick Cave’s lengthy, turbulent, and ultimately, heightened career – and continuing with acts such as the Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, the Cuban old-school collective Buena Vista Social Club, rapper Bust Rhymes, Massive Attack, rising underground stars Devendra Banhart and Antony and the Johnsons, this promises to be a banner summer for music. Following countless visits here as a Nick Cave sideman, Harvey – who joined forces with Cave back in the late 70s when the two were still at high school in Melbourne, Australia, to form the Boys Next Door and then the Birthday Party, and from the mid-80s to the present as part of Cave’s long-running backing band the Bad Seeds – will perform his first-ever solo show in Greece this Friday night. Harvey, a multi-instrumentalist who has performed with various instruments for his now-celebrated band leader, has also provided soundtrack music as well as releasing a handful of solo albums, including two tribute albums with English-language covers of the late French provocateur Serge Gainsbourg’s brilliant work. The Buena Vista Social Club’s latest team of fine Cuban musicians has been booked for an Athens appearance on May 19 at the Kerameikos club. A night later, punk-pop pioneers the Buzzcocks will headline a triple-header event being billed as a raw, no-nonsense reaction to Eurovision, the coinciding pan-European bubble-gum pop event which is being hosted in Athens this year. Rapper Busta Rhymes will headline the inaugural Urban Athens festival on May 26 at the Hellenikon complex, site of the city’s former international airport. American band the Walkabouts, a frequent and popular fringe act here for well over a decade now, will return with a new album for a show at the Underworld club on May 25. Two of the summer’s pop highlights, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez, will be performing in Athens this month, both at the Karaiskaki soccer stadium. Lopez performs there on May 17 and Martin on May 31. The long-running experimental collective Current 93 will play its first-ever Greek gigs on June 1 and 2 at the Dimitris Horn Theater. Four-hour sets on both nights, the shows will include opening slots from the collective’s members, including Baby Dee, who played a poignant set in Athens last week as a prelude to the upcoming two-day event. Team-ups Following several previous shows at the open-air Lycabettus Theater, Massive Attack will be at Karaiskaki Stadium on June 9. The concert’s promoter has announced that Liz Frazer of the Cocteau Twins, who provided vocals for one of the Bristol act’s biggest hits, «Teardrop,» will join the act for its Athens show. Following years of strolling about in jazz and pop territory, former Police frontman Sting will be returning with a full-fledged rock outfit for a show at Terra Vibe on the outskirts of Athens on June 16. Just days later, on June 25, the Rolling Stones will play their second Athens show in less than a decade at the Olympic Stadium, where the legendary act last performed when here. Two indie-scene favorites, Antony and the Johnsons and Devendra Banhart, will play shows in Athens within two days of each other. Antony and the Johnsons will be at the Vrachon Theater on July 2 and Banhart at the Gagarin Club on July 4. This summer’s Rockwave Festival will feature Franz Ferdinand and the Dandy Warhols on July 11 at Terra Vibe on the outskirts of the capital, while soul legend Isaac Hayes will play at the Vrachon Theater on July 27. Anxiety over Richards In recent days, Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones’ co-founding member and guitarist, has been the cause of considerable anxiety for concert promoters and fans following a tumble from a coconut tree in Fiji while on holiday last month. Initial reports said that Richards had suffered only a mild concussion, but reports released yesterday said the musician underwent brain surgery in New Zealand to treat a blood clot after sustaining head injuries. The New Zealand Herald newspaper quoted an anonymous source as saying Richards had remained in New Zealand following an operation to treat a blood clot in the outer membranes of the brain. The operation took place soon after he arrived in New Zealand from Fiji for treatment, it quoted the source as saying. Richards, 62, was in the hospital from April 27 until May 2. His US-based publicist has been quoted as saying he was in good spirits and would join the band in Barcelona on May 27 for the next leg of their world tour. The Mercy Ascot hospital in Auckland confirmed last Tuesday that Richards had been discharged but would give no further details. Richards was apparently climbing the tree at the luxury Wakaya Club resort with fellow band member Ron Wood, 58, when he fell and hit his head. Some reports said he was later also involved in a jet ski accident. Later concert dates include Depeche Mode on August 1 at Terra Vibe, Simply Red on September 3 at the same venue, and Pearl Jam on September 30 at the OAKA Stadium. (Kathimerini, AFP)