CULTURE

Former club’s pictorial story documented

Now approaching two years since the very last show was held there, the defunct Rodon Club has, as was expected, basked in the memories of nostalgics who spent many a night there. Over its 17-year course, the Athens venue, which catered primarily to the indie rock music circuit without forsaking other scenes, always held a special place in the hearts of local concertgoers. And it still does. Other venues opened along the way, but the Rodon Club has become synonymous with ushering into Greece a previously unknown musical world. Like anything too good to be true – such as the arrival of the Athens metro – the club arrived to the disbelief of many and suddenly put order and frequency to a ramshackle local scene for imported live music. Pre-existing venues were makeshift and concert activity had been irregular, if not scarce. With the arrival of the 1,500-capacity quality-grade Rodon Club, the Greek capital was suddenly open to acts touring the international circuit but had probably never considered spending a night or two here, simply because there was neither the infrastructure nor offers. Thanks to the effective work of a handful of pioneering independent Greek labels, an abundance of fascinating music from the market’s cutting edge was reaching local stores and the homes of local aficionados. But that’s as far as it went. There was little hope of catching your favorite indie act on a Greek stage. That all changed one evening back in November 1987 when the highly regarded Australian indie-rock band the Triffids became the first act to hit the new club’s stage and perform to a packed venue on opening night. From there, the Rodon – formerly a rundown cinema that was refurbished into a gig venue – never looked back, until May, 2005, when the property owner’s refusal to extend the lease pulled the plug on the venue’s life. The admirable long-serving rocker Steve Wynn and his backing band of recent years, the Miracle 3, and action-packed British acid-jazz band the James Taylor Quartet both slammed their way through scintillating sets for the club’s double-header farewell night. A bunch of the club regulars stuck around for final drinks once the show was over. A bootleg recording of the venue’s very first Triffids show played through the venue’s PA. Then, in the wee hours, everybody had to go. The cycle had been completed. For the die-hards, much of the venue’s stage action has been documented in «Rodon: Live! 1987-2005» (Nefeli Publishers), a 256-page color, pictorial edition. Released last month, it includes the recollections of various local music authorities, as well as top-five lists for favorite shows. The shots are taken from the archives of several freelance photographers that regularly covered the club’s concerts. They would bully their way through crowds, often knocking the concertgoers off balance, to capture the moment from the right angle and distance. This title’s accumulated content justifies the pushing and the shoving.