Have Athenians lost faith in rock?

The Depeche Mode concert in May had attracted a great number of people but never took place, due to singer David Gahan’s health problems. Franz Ferdinand also canceled their June 3 concert, because of problems in transporting their equipment, according to the press release sent by the organizers, making one wonder how a professional band that has been touring for years cannot bring its equipment to Greece. Could there be other reasons for the cancellation, like poor ticket sales? The three-day Synch Festival (June 12-14) did not go down too well either. The first two days, at the Technopolis Arts Complex in Gazi, did not enjoy the high attendance the festival had enjoyed in previous years, maybe because there were no big names to attract audiences. On the third day, at the Benaki Museum on Pireos Street, following the cancellation of Japan’s Merzbow – the main attraction of the day – attendance was hopelessly low. The Ejekt Festival at the Hellenikon Olympic Complex on June 18 and 19 was rather empty. Despite a quite impressive lineup, attendance was once more low. The Pixies, Royksopp and Jarvis Cocker failed to draw the number of people that turned up for James at last year’s event. The summer concert season did not start in the most promising way. Two consecutive cancellations by two big bands as well as two festivals with unimpressive attendance are disappointing. Is it because local audiences prefer their favorite bands James, Placebo, Depeche Mode and the Scorpions, whom they know well enough to trust for an entertaining music evening? Is it because this year’s music choices are so many that people have to opt for one rather than the other? Could it be that tickets are too expensive? Or does the economic crisis provide an easy answer to anything that does not go well? The Rockwave Festival – a four-day event this year – is up next this weekend, with an interesting lineup that under normal circumstances ought to attract many people. The first day, Saturday, will feature performances by Placebo and Moby, acts that always stop in Athens when on tour and invariably fill the venues they play in. The day’s program will further include performances by Gypsy-punk act Gogol Bordello as well as British band Foals. On Sunday, the Killers are the ones who are expected to steal the show, being one of the hottest names on the international pop and rock scene at the moment. They will be joined by Duffy, who in the past year has become one of local radio stations’ favorite artists, as well as trip-hop’s mysterious personality Tricky. The third and fourth days are more hardcore; they are dedicated to hard rock and metal music, with the band Slipknot standing out for its brutal theatricality. Following the Rockwave Festival a surprise event is in store, run by Coca-Cola. As part of its advertising campaign, the famous soft drink has organized Soundwave, a mini music festival that will take place on July 1 at the Tae Kwon Do Stadium in the Faliron Olympic Complex. The festival will be headlined by Bloc Party, whose explosive dance rock has become very popular, as well as Primal Scream who are coming equipped with a very good new album. DJ sets by members of LCD Soundsystem will keep the show running until dawn, while admission costs less than a cinema ticket.