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Just Another Packed Moscow Weekend

Men’s animated dance troupe, “PROUD,” who will be performing at Sundays’s Marching Bands Festival.

If you are like me and went to the last two big festivals, two weekends in a row, you might feel a little ambiguous about the coming weekend. You've already seen equally amazing headliner concerts from both The Killers at ParkLive and Arctic Monkeys at Subbotnik and hipster R&B performance by How to Dress Well at Strelka, plus a sweaty but extremely satisfying show by Die Antwoord in between. After attending all of the above, a general inertia starts taking over, and you keep thinking "maybe I should stay in, read and ride my bike."

But no, as the famous poem by Alexander Blok goes, "we can only dream of rest." This year is truly special in terms of both the number and the caliber of music acts that might put Moscow on the festival map, right there with Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona. If getting Russian visa wasn't so difficult, we would probably see lots of foreign tourists flocking to Moscow to see their favorite bands. So work on your stamina and get ready!

The tenth Afisha Picnic will take place in Kolomenskoye Park on Saturday, July 13. The headliners were announced several months ago — legendary Brits Blur, Bat for Lashes, and La Roux. With their last album being a decade old, Blur will probably stick to their greatest hits. We will hopefully get to hear Song 2, also commonly known as "the woohoo song", Girls and Boys, and Coffee and TV. There's also a chance that we might get to listen to some brand new material.

Bat for Lashes is touring with her critically acclaimed last year's album The Haunted Man, while synthpop duo La Roux will allegedly present songs from their sophomore album out later this year. Four additions to the main line-up include rapper Aloe Blacc, indie rockers Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, reggae and groove pioneer George Clinton and British 70s punks Buzzcocks.

Apart from the veteran rockers Splin, the Russian lineup includes Zhanna Aguzarova, best known for her Perestroika-era hits Eti Zhyoltiye Botinki (Those Yellow Boots) and Chyorny Kot (Black Cat). Nadya Gritskevich, leader of the electro and trip-hop band Moremoney will finally present her solo project Naadya. It will be one of the more mysterious performances, taking into account that Naadya's presentation was botched due to technical difficulties during the May festival Bosco Fresh Fest and that only one track is currently available.

Kira Lao, originally from Veliky Novgorod, switched from a mix of trip-hop and ethnic folk in English to much darker post-punk in Russian after moving to Moscow. The hottest Russian export, synth-pop act Tesla Boy, will also play, along with Glintshake, the latest project of Zhenya Gorbunov of NRKTK and Stoned Boys fame.

A traditional afterparty will be organized in the courtyard of Strelka Institute (Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya 14, Str. 5A), where both the front man Ariel Pink and the bass player Tim Koh of the Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti will DJ.

On Sunday, July 14, Strelka will host a traveling party, The Do-Over, which outside of the U.S. played in cities like Osaka, Manila and Abu-Dhabi. Aloe Blacc, one of the founders of The Do-Over, will play after his main gig at Afisha Picnic the night before. He's most famous for his song "I Need a Dollar," which became the theme song of the hit U.S. TV show How to Make it in America. Apart from Aloe, there will be London DJ Benji B and duo Nadastrom, famous for their moombahton tunes.

Meanwhile, music and sports festival Prosport-park will take place in Gorky Park. Sports fans will be able not only to engage in their favorite sports, from soccer to yoga and Frisbee, but also take part in workshops led by world-renowned sportsmen. The music program will feature Moscow indie-rockers Pompeya and Poko Cox, formerly of Tesla Boy.  

On the same Sunday, Muzeon Park of Arts, across the street from Gorky Park, will celebrate its 21st anniversary by organizing Marching Bands Festival together with Theater/Club Masterskaya.

The festival will feature performances by various brass bands that mix different styles, including hip hop, funk, experimental jazz, and ethnic music from Africa, Latin America and the Balkans. The headliners are two French bands: Les Chevals, who use seashells in addition to brass instruments, and CQMD, one of the first contemporary marching bands in Europe. Russian participants include Mosbrass and ½ Orchestra.

So even if you are exhausted after the previous festivals you just can't help going to one more this coming weekend. The number and quality of events looks extraordinary for Moscow, but let's hope that soon we will regard it as just another weekend.

Contact the author at artsreporter@imedia.ru

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