Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Plissken Festival 2010 with These New Puritans, Handsome Furs (Athens, Dec. 4, 2010)

The oddly titled Plissken Festival 2010 took place last Saturday in a warehouse located in a fittingly dilapidated, run-down industrial area of Athens. The all-day event featured These New Puritans (the main attraction) and Handsome Furs, two of C.M.C.'s current favorite bands, plus a bunch of others that ranged from the complete unknown (at least to your corespondent) to the slightly familiar.

These New Puritans, the recent winners of NME's album of 2010 and a firm favorite of this blog since early 2008, were the protagonists of the festival. The Barnett brothers brought the ambitious art-punk sound of "Hidden" to life with the help of all sorts of wind and percussive instruments, keyboards and guitar. "We Want War" got things started with its pompous, oppressive beat and for the next hour or so we enjoyed a big chunk of the future classic LP that got the young band from Southend-on-Sea at the top of many critics' year-end lists. "Attack Music", "Orion", "Three Thousand" and "Drum Courts-Where Corals Lie" where some of the highlights from "Hidden", while "Swords of Truth", "Infinity ytinifnI" and "Elvis" represented their equally awesome debut "Beat Pyramid".

These New Puritans, live@Plissken
Earlier in the evening we enjoyed a short (only 35 minutes) but very lively performance by Handsome Furs who combined material off last year’s excellent "Face Control" with a few new ones. Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry (or should I say Sailor & Lula - check out Dan's shirt), a couple in music and life, have an amazing chemistry on stage (and, I'm guessing, off stage as well) and with their combined keyboard-guitar attack delivered a sweaty, fierce electro-punk set that left us hungry for more. Let’s hope that we’re going to cross paths again sometime in the near future.

Handsome Furs, live@Plissken
The line-up of the festival also included Chew Lips who presented us the pleasant, dance-floor friendly, electro-pop of their debut LP "Unicorn", fun Canadian indie hip-hopers The Lytics and UK all-female trio Robots In Disguise who delivered an energetic but rather predictable mix of electro-pop and bubblegum-punk. Other acts that appeared before and after all this included The Longcut, Rykarda Parasol, 23rd Underpass, FM Belfast, Futurecop!, Alexander Robotnick, Danger, Mondkopf  and Poka.

Chew Lips

The Lytics

Robots In Disguise
Overall this new indie festival left us a positive first impression and although it failed to attract a larger audience (hardly surprising, given that headliners These New Puritans may be popular with critics and bloggers but their demanding, experimental sound is rather difficult to crossover to a wider public), we're hoping that it will return next year, as we definitely need an adventurous boutique festival for the winter.

These New Puritans - Attack Music, live@Plissken Festival, Athens (Dec. 4, 2010)

Handsome Furs - Talking Hotel Arbat Blues, live@Plissken Festival, Athens (Dec. 4, 2010)

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