REPORT: Pussy Riot with the Thurston Moore Band, The Jack Wood, Scofferlane at Village Underground

Masha Alekhina and Luke Harding
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2015. All Rights Reserved


Pussy Riot with the Thurston Moore Band, The Jack Wood, Scofferlane
(Village Underground, 1 July 2015; review and drawings by Geoff Winston)


Zona.Media is the platform created by Masha Alekhina and Nadia Tolokonnikova, two members of Russian feminist punk-protest group, Pussy Riot, to critique the political establishment and champion the causes of political prisoners and media freedom, after being jailed for 21 months for their high-profile, anti-government protest in 2012 at Moscow's Orthodox Cathedral,

Masha Alekhina was interviewed by Charlotte Church at Glastonbury a few days earlier, and to open this event at Village Underground, a Pussy Riot guerrilla performance announced only the previous morning, she continued this theme in conversation with the Guardian's Luke Harding, who, as Moscow correspondent, had also experienced the sharp end of Russian politics, on which he has written at length in his book, Mafia State.

This was also the opportunity to showcase two hard-edge, high-energy Russian bands, Scofferlane and The Jack Wood, both also hotfoot from Glastonbury, before The Thurston Moore Band rounded off the evening in style.

Moore, expressing solidarity with the aims of Zona.Media, had stated, 'It is an honour to participate with Pussy Riot ... one of the most radical and uncompromising movements of punk', which was why they'd taken the unusual step of playing the night before embarking on tour.

Alekhina's discussion with Harding was wide ranging and pulled no punches. She made no bones about the gender roles in violence experienced in Ukraine and further afield. 'All this war made by men, no women there, they're all trying to stop them.' 'Over the last three years our country has become a f***ing monster .. [it] looks like prison', as democratic institutions are crushed by the state and the Church is appropriated to become a symbol of political power. And, in the current climate, she said that 'the problem is [that] young people are not so politically involved.' 'Politicians are imprisoned or under house arrest ... politicians steal money, buy property abroad ...' The harsh reality was brought home effectively.

Then on to the music. Scofferlane, down to bassist and vocalist for this gig - ‘the others are in Moscow’ - were sharp, dramatic and moody, with echoes of Nick Cave's delivery, their dark side given extra presence with high end lighting that threw out beams with sculptural intent.

The Jack Wood, a raw, post/proto-punk trio from Tomsk in the depths of Siberia, loved being over here: on Glastonbury, they twittered 'Best place ever - Wango Riley Stage!' Fronted by hyper-energetic singer, Sasha Klokova, who has an unrelentingly powerful voice and stage presence, they were telepathically tight, churning up an instrumental storm with just guitar and drums - no need for a bass, while Klokova, skinny, hyper-athletic, braced herself against the power lighting to appear in silhouette like a Javanese shadow puppet.

Moore's band, including bassist Debbie Googe, ex-My Bloody Valentine, made the case for guitar rock and songs, in a post-Sonic Youth vein - a contrast to Moore's left-field excursions in Dalston, but no less engaging, and their presence put a strong seal of endorsement on the event.

Geoffrey Winston is a design consultant for arts clients. His reviews and drawings have been a feature of LJN since 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment