This past weekend I performed in Moscow. I am starting to realize the places I find the most interesting are the ones I have been the most apprehensive to visit. I flew direct from New York JFK on Aeroflot which is the main Russian airline. It’s the oldest airline in the world yet some people think you should avoid it. Apparently they have a history of crashes? The airplane itself was modern with video entertainment on every seat. Most people on the flight were Russian and I noticed a few cultural differences right away. First off I was really glad to have my Sky Team Gold Card and was able to board first because many of the passengers really brought a lot of stuff onto the plane with them. They packed the overhead bins. Another thing I noticed was there wasn’t constant snacking going on. Usually on flights I am keenly aware of everyone eating Gummi Bears and such things non-stop. I looked around a few times and didn’t see anyone eating anything.
I landed in Moscow and was a bit nervous. I never had to use a work Visa before. The Passport Control area was a giant concrete coned shaped room with some modern wood accents. I passed through easily without any incident. The promoter Evgeny Erokhin was there to greet me and to the car we went. The entire time I was in Russia is was dark, snowy, icey, foggy and smoggy. The roads spewed dirt all over cars and trucks from their tires to roofs. Before moving and every thousand yards Evgeny had to use windshield washer fluid. There was massive traffic letting me know I was about to enter a huge city. The first thing I saw on the highway was a natural gas power plant. Obviously I have seen power plants before. A power plant is a few buildings, cooling towers (these look like nuclear reactors things) and smoke stacks. However the one I saw outside the airport in Moscow was huge. When I say huge I mean the size of the entire sky! I couldn’t believe it. This image set the stage for the rest of my trip because everything in Moscow was enormous. Every building, monument, hotel or church was on a scale hard to imagine even for someone coming from Manhattan. With Russian writing everywhere and the futuristic aged buildings I felt like I was in the movie Metropolis. This was a real superpower and I was far from home.
We arrived at the Cosmos hotel which was once part of the Russian space agency. I was able to sleep a couple of hours and then it was off to the venue. We arrived a Moscow Hall and I was pleased to see it was a really nice club. There was a huge LED video wall and a large stage. After the usual “that buzz is coming from your USA powered video output” soundcheck concluded and I went backstage. I met Rob Gee who is from NJ and I have know since the early 90s. He is an interesting and crazy person so I ended up watching him drink a few red bulls in succession and talk to people. Since Napster all my albums have been available for free on the internet via illegal downloads. I honesty don’t care too much if people steel my music. Russian download sites always used to seem to come up on the top of Horrorist search results. I assumed no one actually bought my music there. It was really interesting to discover I was wrong. Backstage several people showed up with fairly large collections of my 12’s to sign. Before I knew it it was show time. This event was mostly a hardcore party so I was a little apprehensive to play a lot of my slower music. I was really happy to discover that most of the people in the audience were singing the lyrics not only to the hard stuff but a lot of newer slow songs. To my joy and surprise I think my song Modern was the best received song of the night. Since there has been a lot of news in the USA about Russia hating on gays I left my diamond flower hat at home. I also figured my vintage Nazi helmet with an American flag on it wouldn’t be so good either. I wore a plain green army helmet with an old TTC Future sticker has a kinda mohawk on it.
After the show I talked with DJ Angela who I met in Paris in the mid nineties. I tried some Russian Vodka. The stuff we get in America is a lot more harsh and not as alcoholic. After a few sips I made some new friends. The next day I got to see how some real Russian people live. I went to the amazing Red Square and received a nice history lesson. I took the cliche photo in front of Saint Basil’s church. I had some very tasty Russian food. Everywhere I went the “huge scale” feeling was present. The lights on the road were twice as high as on American roads. The escalator down to the subway was on an eighty five degree angel and went super deep taking more than minutes to ride. It took me a long time to get a proper booking there. I can’t wait to go back.
To see the full set of photos: click here
“Event will support two musicians from the United States , about whom no exaggeration to say – “They were at the origins , They wrote the history of Hardcore .” First time in Russia !” – Sonic Impact
For more info: facebook.com/events/229951670499825