Monday, 20 October 2014

Like a blister in the summer sun (a.k.a. No more Pliatsikas)

I noticed the Violent Femmes with their debut album back in the early eighties. And I knew one person in my English class who was a fan. This was the time when we used to write the names of our favourite bands on our school bags. So while looking at his bag it seemed strange to me that among several mainstream pop bands of the era Violent Femmes were in there.
10 years passed and we were now in the early 90's. While frequenting a local bar, I noticed that every night the DJ was playing two particular tracks back-to-back. The first one had a very staccato drum beat at the end of each verse and the second one was saying something like "they do it all the time". I leaned over the vinyl turntable (yeah, DJ's were still using these in the early 90's) and noticed that they were the first two tracks from the Violent Femmes debut album. So I went and bought the... CD! And found out that these two songs were "Blister In The Sun" and "Kiss Off". And that there were other great tracks on that album (like "Add It Up" for example).
Next thing I realized, these songs became big hits in Greece. In the 90's! They were also played at the biggest "rock" club of that era "Camel". This even prompted a reaction from the lifestyle press ("NITRO" magazine) saying that "playing this music in a club brings it down to the lever of our high school holidays". Anyway, these 2 songs were now classics, 10 years after their release.
And more than 30 years after their release, last June, I finally got the chance to hear them live, by the Violent Femmes performing that first album in full in Athens. The gig was at a new indoor venue (Stage Volume 1), although summer was now fully upon us. 

The band came on stage, and after about 4 songs they blasted into "Blister In The Sun" and the rest of the album. 

But the fun was not over after that. More instruments were added:
Violin, saxophone...

...cretan lyra (played by G.Dagaki)...

...and bouzouki.

And to top it all off, Filippos Pliatsikas from the Greek band "Pyx Lax" came onstage (we should have seen this coming, he is very good friends with Gordon Gano) and together they played first a Pyx Lax song and then "Blister In The Sun" once more. 
On this last one Pliatsikas adapted the lyrics of the chorus in Greek, that was not a very popular group with the crowd though...


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