Sunday, 17 March 2019

Monika, live in Athens, 10 years ago

2009 was a very busy year for me in terms of concerts. I don't know if it was the year in which I have attended the most, but it was certainly the one with the most trips abroad (to attend concerts of course). All these were listed on my second ever blog post (which is in Greek, but will soon receive a re-write in English since a lot of the photos and links have disappeared). It all started in January of that year with Monika.
Monika was one of the first Greek artists to become well-known through the internet. Mostly through MySpace which was the most popular social medium at the time. At a time when most Greek artists who wanted to become well-known had to sing in Greek and most specifically the genre that is known as "laikopop", it was surprising that she managed to break through singing in English and playing alternative rock. When she announced that concert at Gagarin, in January, it sold out quickly and there was almost no place to stand while we were in there. And boy, did we have to stand for hours, as she came on stage quite late, while classical music was being played by the speakers. But it was all worth it.

At that time, she had only released one album, 2008's "Avatar". She played most of it that night, plus a couple of new songs, a few covers (the best of which was "Be My Baby" and the most unexpected was The Wings "Let Me Roll It" plus she sung another one in Greek for good measure) and she even repeated a couple of songs at the end.

Even back then she had already received a lot of bad press from traditional media. These were concerned with some unfortunate comments she had made in her interviews, the fact that she didn't go through what were back then the usual channels to achieve fame, but mostly they had to do with the fact that she was lucky enough to be able to fund her musical career while other struggling artists may not have had it so easy because of lack of money. The important thing though, is this: She obviously had (and still has I believe) talent, so why should it have gone to waste? Even if it was much easier for her... And besides, an artist who managed to make the Greek mainstream audience to listen to international music must have done something right.
Anyway, all of us had a great time that night, she was a bit nervous at first (she stumbled on one of the cables and almost fell), she thanked us for coming and making this, her first big live concert sold out, while many people were left out while unsuccessfully trying to find a ticket until the very last moment. When asked by a member of the audience why she hadn't arranged a second gig on the following day she answered that "It's not that simple"
Monika went on to release two more albums, the second one in 2010 just as successful as the first, the third in 2014 not so much. By then albums were not selling that much and that was the last album she has released so far. But recently she made a comeback with a digital single, this time singing in Greek, without changing her musical style though...

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