Rockânâroll is alive and kickinâ in Russia ! Moscow, Russia is one of the fastest growing rock ânâ roll scenes in the world. Like China and India in the global economy, itâs one of the biggest growth âeconomiesâ in world rânâr !
The clientele are mainly younger people. Russia has much fewer older rockers going back to the 50s or the UK Revival period of the 70s: The Communist Party and the history of the Soviet Union didnât encourage such capitalist culture, although rânâr developed here as elsewhere. I left the UK to live and work in Russia in 2004. The contrast that immediately struck me most between the rockânâroll in the 2 countries was the different generations who follow the great music. Here in Russia younger people are joining and staying with it.
The best bands here in Russia are not just cheap imitations of the Western soundâthey have their own style and stand up in comparison with all but the elite bands in the West. The quality of the best groups here is excellent. See what I mean by checking out the following great Russian Bands on www.youtube.com (in the youtube search engine box add âMoscowâ after each bandâs name): CORAL REEFS – GREAT PRETENDERS – VLADIMIR PANKRATOV AND REAL HOT BBQ – BEAT DEVILS – ALLIGATORS – RAW CATS â LEX AND TEAM â HIGH TONES â GAGARIN BROTHERS
The photos accompanying this article were taken at a High Tones concert at the Esse Jazz Cafe in November. The High Tones are a great example of a Russian group which can compete with the best Western bands, in terms of quality. They play red hot rockabillyâsmokinâ !
I know all the above bands personally. As a lifelong Teddy Boy, Iâve been active on the rockânâroll scene in Moscow since I arrived here. At some of the groupsâ concerts, such as the Coral Reefs (best jive and swing band in Russia and Eastern Europe), I run free jive dance master classes for beginners. Jive is the ultimate rockânâroll dance, a partner dance with a great history.
âWhatâs a Teddy Boy ?â I hear some of you ask. The answer is, âitâs a long storyâ ! Descriptions vary from âthe original youth culture rebelsâ (which is true) to âthe first juvenile delinquentsâ (which is a bit unfair !). Letâs just say the Teddy Boy movement is one of the most iconic in rockânâroll culture.
Some venues in Moscow, for example the Esse Jazz Cafe, the Glastonbury Pub, Club Live, Club Nautilus and the Ocean Club, hold rânâr events on a regular basis. Other clubs and venues also organise such concerts every now and then.
Big name rockânâroll bands from the West do come to Moscow to perform. The last 3 such concerts I was personally involved in, from the point of view of helping to sponsor and organise the events, involved top bands from the UK and Germany. They were:
– Black Raven from Germany, the countryâs number one Teddy Boy band
– The Jive Aces, the most famous jive and swing band in the UK
– Furious, from Liverpool, the Worldâs top Teddy Boy group.
All 3 groups put on unforgettable shows in Moscow.
If youâd like to experience Russian rockânâroll by going to see a live band perform, or maybe be very brave (!) and have a go at learning to dance the jive at a free class, you can contact me at [email protected] or via my web-site at www.coopjive.co.uk
So hail Russian rockânâroll, an important member of the Worldâs rânâr family!
Finally, a totally unrelated rockânâroll joke, dedicated to a band that allegedly did rockânâroll no favours â
Q: What were the worst words ever said in rockânâroll ?
A: How about we let Ringo sing one.