What happens when you put together two men in their mid-forties, one of them Leeds, the other from Montreal (NDG actually), a girl from Kyiv, and a third guy who is just more than half a century old? I myself wasn't too certain myself until Saturday September 27, when I went out to O'Brien's Irish Pub in the centre of Ukraine's capital city.
I had met three of the four before that Saturday, but until you have all the personalities in one place its a hard one to call, especially when the second Brit is the guy who helps keep everything running like punk clockwork.
They're called the C-MEN. Don't ask me why? But I will find out someday! [Blair, maybe you can elucidate us all?]
The band has branded themselves as Kyiv's "oldest punk band" and this is quite clear that they are, just do the math.
The gig was a lot of fun and brought back memories. Songs like Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones but played with such energy that not many people could stay still, and their own rendition of ABBA's Mama Mia... well that was something else!
While this isn't Ukrainian music all the musicians played with a great deal of soul and simply showed that they love music and producing it. But besides, this most of those people in the audience seemed to be enjoying what they were hearing, and the mean age at the gig was probably about 36 years of age... a mix of ex-pats and locals.
You may wonder why I bring up the mean age at the gig. It's quite simple, it stems from an interview I read of a friend of mine, Andriy Riffmaster Antonenko, in a local music trade publication MuzTorg.
When asked if it was difficult to be a professional rock-guitarist in Ukraine, Riffmaster replied:
Here – is more than difficult. The reason – the need for rock music ends with teenagers. In the West concerts are attended by 40 and 50 year old's, there, its part of the culture, and no one considers that heavy rock is the emission of aggression. Here, unfortunately, there is no mass consumption of rock music. Groups grow to their level and... they begin to bend over under the weight of their own mastery. Also here we don't have any interested management, that is capable of bringing rock up to an appropriate commercial level, in the right understanding of this word. For producers – its straighter, and more important, to quickly make money by take the sweet voice of a young girl, or create some “drinking songs”. Slavic mentality is playing a nasty joke with rock music.
Well, it clearly hasn't been playing any tricks on those of the younger crowd at the gig last Saturday night, nor they youngest member of the band Irina, who clearly has a great knowledge of music compared to most 19 year old's I meet here. She can handle her bass guitar pretty well too.
If you are in Kyiv, this coming weekend, and want to hear Kyiv's "oldest punk band", head down to Bochka Khmilna located at 3 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho on Sunday night at 20:00...
Why such an early start? They will be opening for Australia's Asleep in the Park and Kyiv's very own @Traktor, a new project of Oleksandr Pipa's, formerly of VV and Borsch. And there you will see: Mick Lake,David Michael Rothwell Lee, Irina Nalivaiko and Blair Sheridan.