CULTURE

Fiery Mexican band Los De Abajo returns

Back about a year after their first performance here, Los De Abajo, a Mexican band whose work is propelled by leftist politics, will perform at the Gagarin club on June 7. They are one of several worthy acts passing through in coming days and weeks. A multi-member band whose work fuses styles such as rock, Latin, salsa, ska, reggae and traditional Mexican sounds, Los De Abajo started humbly, limited by the lack of attention from labels. But the Latin American act did manage to intrigue former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who swiftly signed the innovative band to his highly respected label Luaka Bop. Byrne’s label is home for a considerable number of splendid acts, seasoned and more recent, including Peruvian singer Susana Baca, Brazilian fusion band Os Mutantes – a Latin psychedelic act of the late 60s that recently reunited for performances thrilling younger crowds – and Nouvelle Vague, the new wave-bossa nova act that has attracted considerable attention for its totally fresh takes on classic tracks by bands like the Clash, XTC, and the Undertones. Returning to Los De Abajo, the band’s appearances have included shows at major festivals such as Womad and Reading, while, its politically motivated activity has included support for the Zapatistas movement and its backing of the native Chiapas people. The band scored an international hit album last year with its «LDA V The Lunatics» album, whose opening track, «Resistencia,» has proven particularly popular here. Tonight, the experimental collective Current 93, in Greece for the very first time, play their second show at the Dimitris Horn Theater in Athens (10 Amerikis St). The act, which emerged amid the industrial-pop hybrids of the 80s, will present material from a new album, «Black Ships Ate the Sky,» as well as older material. Current 93’s core member, David Tibet, will be accompanied by a further eight musicians, including Baby Dee, a founding member of the currently popular Antony and the Johnsons, who played a superb piano-and-vocals solo show in Athens just weeks ago as part of the lead-up to Current 93’s visit. On Monday, a Montreal-based quartet that calls itself Lesbians on Ecstasy – formed after wondering why «there isn’t any dance music for lesbians,» as the band has been quoted as having asked early in 2003 – plays its first Greek show at the Gagarin club. The four Canadian girls, Fruity Frankie (vocals), Jackie «the JackHammer» (drums), Bernie Bankrupt (laptop, keyboards), and Veronique Mystique (bass), fuse dark techno, dirty pop and electro-punk. Their debut album, released late in 2004, included covers by kd lang, Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls. It was followed by last year’s «Giggles in the Dark.» The Canadian act’s show will also include an opening slot from local electronica act Michalis Delta, formerly of the extremely popular Athens-based trio Stereo Nova, who has just completed work on his latest project, «Timeless Beauty,» a concept electro-tech album. Antony and the Johnsons, one of pop music’s biggest international sensations in recent years, will perform their first ever Greek show early next month, on July 2, at the Vrachon Theater. The Mercury prize-winning act will be performing here just months after countless respected music publications named «I Am a Bird Now» last year’s best album. Admirers and collaborators of the act, led by the English-born Antony Hegarty who later moved to the USA, include revered figures such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, Philip Glass, Marc Almond, Boy George, Devendra Banhart and Tibet, the frontman of Current 93, who released Antony and the Johnsons’ self-titled debut album on his label, Durtro, in 2000. Also in July, two veteran acts, Iggy Pop and the Stooges as well as soul legend Isaac Hayes, have been booked for performances at the Vrachon Theater on July 12 and July 27 respectively.