Spring gig for the Dirty Three

Returning to Greece for a second time after supporting compatriot Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for a basketball stadium-sized show here in the mid-1990s, the compelling, melancholy, instrumental Australian trio Dirty Three, which has since enjoyed international acclaim in Europe and the USA, has just been booked for two late-spring shows at a far smaller venue in Athens. The band, which is currently recording new material and preparing for a series of European dates, will perform at the pint-sized Small Music Theater (33 Veikou, Koukaki) on May 31 and June 1. The event’s promoter has announced that tickets will be strictly limited to 120 each night. They should go on sale later this week exclusively at the downtown specialist indie record store, Vinyl Microstore (34 Didotou, 010.361.4544). Dirty Three were originally given significant international exposure after Cave had publicly singled the act out as the best Australian group he had «heard in a long time.» Besides being taken on tour as the support act, Dirty Three also had their frontman, the violinist Warren Ellis, recruited as a permanent member of Cave’s Bad Seeds. Last year, Ellis also arranged Cave’s «No More Shall We Part» album. A musician trained in classical music, Ellis plays with rare, uncontrived rock ‘n’ roll spirit, using a guitar pickup on his violin that gives it a distorted signature sound. Backed by the sensitive rhythm section consisting of guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White, Ellis and his two band mates have whipped up emotionally charged material that ranges from fiery to sad, and can be hypnotic, on several excellent albums to date, including last year’s «Whatever You Love, You Are.» Their unadulterated conviction, sensitivity and rare chemistry as a trio makes them a unique act, one worth experiencing, both on album and stage. Even more marked are the similarities in their political strategies. During the 1970s, attacks by both groups were chiefly directed against figures who were hated by broader masses of the people – in Greece, torturers for the junta during the dictatorship and CIA agents, and in Italy, outright fascists preparing a military coup and committing mass slaughters, such as the one at the Bologna railway station. During that phase, they presented themselves as the armed wings leftist movements that claimed broad support and legitimacy, at a time of great political instability and radicalism.

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