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Open Air Festival Krylia-2006.

Bloodhound Gang: Why Are There More Police than Fans here?

Iggy Pop playing at Krylia in 2002 complained about the same point. Thats true. Mass concert events in Moscow have a notorious tendency of turning every year more and more into bleak paddocks guarded by hosts of militiamen and soldiers. For sure, it has its own sound reasons in our age of terror threat.

The international rock festival Krylia is already sorrowfully experienced in this. On 5 July 2003 two suicide women terrorists exploded themselves in the crowd at the entrance to the Tushino airdrome where the festival was traditionally held. 16 people were killed and 59 were wounded.

In spite of that tragedy the festival goes on living, for better or worse: this year the security cordon really seemed to exceed the festival audience in number.

Our patience ran short at the first of the two days of the festival (29-30 July). The weather left much to be desired on that day: it was cloudy and unusually cold for Moscow summer. The lines of numerous tents selling beer Stary Melnik (the organizer and sponsor of the festival) and toilet cabins, forming additional borders, represented a grim reflection of the militia cordon. It felt as if one is drinking beer under the surveillance of police that watches every sip one takes.

We found refuge in the centre of a big sand circle of unknown origin. Sitting on the white sand reminding of Baltic beaches we pretended to have drawn a magic ring around to protect us from intrusions (but for the all-pervading mega loud music). From there we could peacefully observe the doings: the medley of public, some having fun, some eating and drinking, some already sleeping on the grass and some gazing around with smiles of confusion; the two concert stages by turn hosting musicians; and two huge screens broadcasting the show interrupted with commercials and mobile messages from the audience. It was funny if not annoying to watch the video on screens lagging one step behind the music.

When we arrived at the festival the old rock band Raznye Lyudi (Various People) was rumbling on stage evoking a despondent feeling of weak and boring material: desperate songs of trite protest against nobody-knows-what. Folks, however, were obediently getting a rush, while we felt ourselves duped.

The next band brought some relief: the many years of experience of professional musicians with good taste give Picnic its own charm. The original dramatic face of the soloist was quite in line with dance theatricals during the bands performance.

Then the salvation came the deservedly legendary band Auktyon they were the best, with their ever-amazing energy stirring up some deepest emotions and releasing you from burdens. The freakish showman Garkusha jumping and fervently blowing in a childish pipe was about to outshine the band leader Leonid Fyodorov singing in some passionate trance.

The granddaddies of Russian rock Mashina Vremeni that came next sang its old hits very dearly to public though a bit hackneyed. However, there occurred a surprise as Andrey Makarevich invited Hamish Stuart (known for his playing with Paul McCartney and in the Average White Band) on stage to sing together the ever-young "Cant Buy Me Love" by the perennial The Beatles. But, thanks to the sound technicians the voice of the Englishman was not heard. The block of domestic rock music was completed by Chizh&Co mostly admired by teenagers. For several years already they have recorded nothing new, but the fact did not seem to bother Sergey Chigrakov playing his old blues hits.

The appearance of foreign musicians on stage was probably supposed to make people hear the birdies sing. Yet Mystery Juice from Scotland proved just one of the common club bands, which are as thick as blackberries, in spite of the stylish image of their soloist energetically playing a fiddle.

As for the French band Matmatah it surprised us with their bold plagiarism on the Pixies hit Where Is My Mind. The band is probably used to borrowing other musicians findings. It also performed Iggy Pops song perhaps dreaming to take a bite of his success at Krylia-2002. It seemed strange that this band was opening for the festival headliner - Bloodhound Gang.

Its not a secret that many people came specially to listen to BHG one cannot but pay attention to this commercial yet interesting group of clowns of musicians. The latter tried their best to tire the audience with their bawdy jokes on sex and politics and obscene escapades, and they were a success. We are just stupid Americans. We are as stupid as George Bush is this phrase repeated almost after every song stays with you long after. Is there anything worthy behind this stupidity game?

Kites of various species (bats, eagles, etc.) in the darkening sky were bidding us farewell with their wings as we were leaving Krylia (The Wings), the most large-scale international rock-festival in Russia through a live corridor of soldiers.

August 8, 2006 16:58

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