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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Death of Russian Rock Postponed

As the city's economic cataclysms and political scandals erupt overhead, Moscow's rock underground continues to move forward, staging a growing number of concerts.

The one-evening "Other Side of the Earth" festival Saturday will feature a sampling of styles of non-traditional rock. The string of concerts, to be held at the Armed Forces Academy Club, will offer performances by some of the best of Russia's up-and-coming alternative bands.

"Now that rock has started to move into expensive hard-currency clubs, this festival gives a wide range of listeners the chance to listen to good music in a democratic atmosphere," said Kirill Anisimov, 28, the festival's organizer.

Anisimov said he hopes the festival, which is being held for the second year, will become a traditional staple of Moscow's music scene. Five bands from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Zelenograd will take part in this concert, including Auktsyon, a group that has earned an audience abroad as well as in Russia.

Auktsyon's performance at the festival is expected to be especially interesting, according to Olga Baraboshkina, the band's Moscow director and the administrator of the A-Club, a local rock venue.

"Auktsyon is in good musical shape," she said, citing guitarist Leonid Fyodorov and frontman Oleg Garkusha's recent collaboration with underground poet Alexei Khvostenko, which resulted in the release of "Chainik Vina" (A Teapot of Wine), an album considered one of 1993's best by a number of music critics. "Ptitsa" (Bird), the band's latest recording, is soon to be released on CD.

Another anticipated highlight of the festival is the performance by Nyuans, a hometown band that counts among its past accomplishments a concert of its pseudo-avant-garde psychedelia in English along with the likes of Bon Jovi, the Scorpions and Ozzy Osbourne.

The rest of the festival will include music from Noch Pered Rozhdestvom, a group that can play tough funk as if keyboards never existed in rock music; Tango, a young band of students from the Architects' College; and NTO Retsept, a Zelenograd band that performs a blend of piano and bass in the style of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. According to festival organizers, the concerts will end with a jam session featuring German and Russian musicians, including guitarist Alexander Suchil, whose playing resembles that of Robert Fripp.

Anisimov said he hopes the festival will both call attention to the financial plight of Russian musicians and simply be good listening. "We were pleased with the results of the previous festival, which featured the Moscow band Vezhlivy Otkaz and the group Kollezhsky Assessor from Kiev," he said. "We hope that these concerts will suit the tastes of refined avant-garde music listeners as well as support the musicians in today's difficult situation in Russia."

Nowadays there are a lot of articles in the press predicting a crisis in Russian rock and its death in any alternative form. It looks like these rumors were exaggerated -- next week there will be another festival, this time of punk music, in honor of former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten's birthday. In spite of every thing, life goes on.

The second "Other Side of the Earth" festival of independent avant-garde music will be held 6 P.M. Saturday at the Armed Forces Academy Club, 2 Ulitsa Krasnokazarmennaya. Tel. 287-2128. Nearest metro: Baumanskaya.