Winter’s low-key concert scene finally comes out of hibernation in June

Following one of the quieter winter seasons here, in terms of imported concert activity, gig promoters have accumulated a considerable number of shows for the summer. Plenty of the action takes place in June with performances from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, Mark Knopfler and the Happy Mondays at the three-day Synch Festival. Though earlier rumors of a possible first-ever performance here by the legendary American songwriter Tom Waits had subsided in recent weeks, the bleak news for local fans became official just days ago with the announcement of a limited number of European shows that do not include Greece. Waits’s tour, dubbed «Glitter and Doom,» gets as close as Italy, where the Grammy-award winning act performs three nights at Milan’s Teatro degli Arcimboldi from July 17 to 19. Besides Italy, Waits also plays Spain and the Czech Republic, both for the first time, as well as France, Scotland, and Ireland. Interestingly, the unorthodox act’s itinerary does not include any English dates. «I have a stellar band… they play with racecar precision and they are all true conjurers. I’m doing songs with them I’ve never attempted outside the studio. They are all multi-instrumentalists and they polka like real men,» noted Waits, with his trademark humor intact. In other concert news, announced yesterday, the enormously popular Icelandic musician Bjork, who last performed here at the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics in 2004, has, according to a local promoter, been booked for a show in Athens on July 31 at the OAKA basketball arena. Until late yesterday, however, the date had not been added to Bjork’s European tour, as presented on her official website. The July 31 date for Athens is preceded by a show in Verona on July 28 and followed by a day in Istanbul on August 3. As for other upcoming shows next month, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, currently touring with a new album – «Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!» – perform in Athens at the Lycabettus Theater on June 7. The Australian act, nowadays immensely popular following years spent as a fringe-scene legend, also performs at Thessaloniki’s Lazariston Monastery a night earlier. Just a few nights later, the Synch Festival, which has built a reputation as a modern, quality-conscious festival, returns with a loaded agenda from June 13 to 15 at Technopolis in the capital’s Gazi district. Headline acts include American experimental rock act Yo La Tengo, British pop-rock act the Happy Mondays, here for the first time, and rising electronica-pop star Roisin Murphy. A number of DJ sets have been scheduled for June 14, a Saturday. Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler returns to Greece for the first time since 1985, this time as a solo act, for one night at the Lycabettus Theater on June 15. The usually explosive PJ Harvey, who returned with a far more subdued album this year, «White Chalk,» performs at the Badminton Theater in Athens on June 30. Einsturzende Neubauten cancel tonight’s show Concertgoers who had planned to head to tonight’s scheduled appearance by the pioneering industrial act Einsturzende Neubauten must make other arrangements for this evening. The German act was forced to suddenly cancel tonight’s Athens date, which was virtually sold out, because of an ear infection contracted by the band’s frontman Blixa Bargeld, the show’s local promoter announced yesterday. Refunds can be obtained from the original points of purchase, while ticket holders who purchased online through should e-mail [email protected] for refund procedures.