A tour of the coolest music venues in Athens, courtesy of avant-pop band Kid Flicks
Athenian avant-pop band Kid Flicks is the brainchild of composer and keyboardist Nickos Dervisis. Since 2011, Nickos has released two albums and an EP of forward-thinking pop music — super catchy songs with adventurous sonics. A couple of years back, he beefed up his sound for his live shows with the addition of new members Danae Palaka and Haris Neilas on drums/percussion and Themos Ragkousis on bass. He hasn't lost his knack for bending the pop template, but his voice sounds more open and free with the support of the new players, who stuck around to record the group's upcoming self-titled album, which will be out in spring 2016 (here's a teaser). Times may be tough in Greece, but Kid Flicks and their ilk are a testament to the scrappy tenacity of the Athens music scene.
Here are some of Nickos's favourite places to see and play live music in the Greek capital.
1. Romantso — Anaxagora 3, Athina 105 52, Greece
One of the bigger gig spaces in Athens, it's less of a music venue and more of a music complex, with multiple floors, each one its own dedicated music space. It's enough square footage to accommodate the creative community it supports through its in-house incubator. On top of mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and hosting exhibitions, Romantso still makes time to do at least one show per week on its big comfortable stage. Oh, and it also has one of the best PAs around.
2. Velvet Room (f.k.a Lust)
This gig/art space is owned by the musician/artist/brothers duo The Callas, who've been heralded by the likes of Vice and MOJO, and collaborated with Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo. It was actually the offices of their arts magazine Lust. Their events are always carefully organized and the vibe is perfect.
3. Knot Arts
This space was recently closed, but it was definitely one of my favourites. It looked like an abandoned office floor-turned-recording studio. Its shows were mostly avant-garde and improvisational music-oriented, but also included quality pop, rock and electronic stuff. The vibe was amazing and you could feel the audience was there to actually watch the event.
A really nice and well organized squatter theatre in Psirri. It normally works as a theatre/lecture/art space among other things, but also does some great gigs and festivals from time to time.
5. Somewhere totally random in Athens
You can find many cool gigs and festivals around Athens, from electronic to indie, to punk, to experimental, to metal (and from DIY to marketed), organized in places like rooftops, abandoned buildings, squatters' houses, outdoor parties, beaches — the list goes on forever! Explore!
To find out about live shows, new tunes, underground venues and what's going on in Athens's music world, follow @kidflicks on Twitter and listen to them on SoundCloud. Here's "Textiles," the first single from their upcoming album:
Catch more of them and some of the other artists keeping the Athens music scene alive and kicking on Interrupt This Program: Athens. January 4 at 7 p.m./7:30 p.m. NT.