CULTURE

Concert highlights set for July’s peak

Now heading for July, the local concert circuit’s customary peak before August’s exodus, the summer’s closing batch of shows features some of this season’s most promising acts. The veteran circuit brings in two evergreens that continue to command respect: Iggy Pop and the Stooges as well as Roxy Music. Both have been booked to perform on the same night, July 12, which could pose a dilemma for a considerable number of interested concertgoers. Roxy Music, who last performed in Athens back in 1982, about a year before the art-rock group split, will be at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Neo Faliron, southern Athens. Fronted by Bryan Ferry, the act which emerged from the art-rock scene in the late 1960s re-formed recently with its original members on board, including Brian Eno, one of contemporary music’s most innovative figures, to work on new material. Eno, however, is not touring with the band. Iggy Pop, a regular visitor since his first set of performances in Athens back in the early 90s, will be returning as frontman of the Stooges, the group he fronted for a short but striking period between the late 60s and early 70s, for one performance at the Vrachon Theater in Athens. The Stooges played a summer show in Athens two years ago, which went down as living proof of an aging rock ‘n’ roll’s band’s unwaning power on stage. Hailed by the mid-80s as one of the first punk rock bands, the Stooges were eventually recognized as a pivotal act in rock history. Frontman Pop surprised many by organizing a Stooges reunion in 2003, recruiting Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton to perform four songs on his album «Skull Ring» as well as ensuing concert dates that have carried on. Manchester pop-rock band Puressence will fill the evening’s opening slot. Just days ago, Di-Di Music, the organizer of this summer’s annual Rockwave Festival, added a third date to the event for July 10 with Guns ‘n’ Roses as the headline act. The former supergroup, which exploded onto the international circuit in the late 80s before fading from the forefront not long after, had been booked for a performance at the Olympic Stadium in Athens at the beginning of their demise. Presumably reacting to that event’s outrageous ticket price, which was more than double regular levels of the time, as well as a mediocre follow-up to the band’s hit album «Appetite for Destruction,» only a few thousand fans turned up to the faltering supergroup’s Olympic Stadium show. Time, though, may have worked up the appetites of nostalgic fans for this return visit by the band. An opening act, yet to be announced, will also perform on the festival’s opening day. Day 2, on July 11, will feature the extremely popular pop-rock band Franz Ferdinand as the main act. They will be preceded by the Dandy Warhols, the Editors, Green on Red (the 80s country-rock band from LA whose original lineup has regrouped about a decade after falling apart) Mecano and the Sunday Drivers. The festival’s third and final day, on June 12, will focus on hard rock and heavy metal, with Twisted Sister as the main attraction. Also on the bill are WASP, Celtic Frost, Crimson Glory and Moonspell. Visiting Greece just two days apart, Antony and the Johnsons and Devendra Banhart, performing July 2 and 4 respectively, rate as two of the summer’s most promising shows by newer talent. Antony and the Johnsons, who play at the Vrachon Theater, and Banhart, booked for an indoor show at the (air-conditioned) Gagarin 205 club, rank as two of the contemporary international scene’s more fascinating musical figures of recent times. Antony and the Johnsons, a Mercury Prize winner in the UK last year, are fronted by Antony, whose beguiling songs and visceral vibrato vocal delivery have drawn numerous fans and eminent colleagues, among them Lou Reed, David Bowie, Philip Glass, Banhart, and many others. Banhart, an American with an extensive past in Venezuela, has fascinated a growing number of listeners with several roughly recorded folk-latin-psychedelia albums, all released within a short span over the past four years or so.