Brit Rockers on a Roll. Rock band the Blast gives a concert at Krizis Zhanra. | Статьи | British Wave



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Brit Rockers on a Roll. Rock band the Blast gives a concert at Krizis Zhanra.

From its beginnings as the resident band at the notorious Hungry Duck club in the mid-1990s to signing with a British record label and playing with some of the biggest names in modern rock, the career of Russian band The Blast has been a roller coaster and one that shows no sign of slowing down.

One of Moscow's most enduring and popular live bands, The Blast serves up a charged blend of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Oasis and has become well known for its raucous and energetic live performances. It plays at Krizis Zhanra on Saturday.

The band consists of lead singer Noshrevan "Nash" Tavkhelidze, guitarist Mikhail Stebletsov, bassist Valio Blagoyev and drummer Avlado "Vlado" Kostov. Its energy and enthusiasm is not just confined to the stage, but also came across in an interview this week. Laid-back and decked out in suitably retro garb, the members possess all the bravado you would expect from seasoned rock 'n' roll performers. This is a band that doesn't just play rock 'n' roll but lives it, playing up to a dozen concerts per month.

"It's my life," said Nash. "Every week, I'm just living for the next show. You never know which one will be your last or how long you're going to live, so have fun, enjoy yourself and bring your music. That's the main thing."

Vlado added, "It's what we love to do most of all. I just can't work from 9 to 5. The only thing I can do is play."

It's an ethic that has gained the band not only a cult following at home but also some notable admirers abroad. In 1998 the band, which sings in English, blazed a trail through Britain, playing a 29-date tour and releasing its eponymous debut album. The confrontationally named follow-up "Fuck The Industry" came out in 2004, and the band's unapologetic attitude and popularity led to it supporting the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes the following year.

After a show in 2003, Blur's Damon Albarn described the Blast as one of the best bands he had ever played with. And when Noel Gallagher of Oasis came to Moscow last year, there was only one show in town that he wanted to check out.

"When he was playing in Moscow, we invited Noel to our show and we couldn't believe it when he actually came. He stayed till 7 in the morning," Nash said.

Despite performing with a number of top acts, the band has never felt it was playing second fiddle. "We felt like we were with them. Rock 'n' roll is one culture and it's huge," Nash said. "I don't think there's a Russian rock 'n' roll, an English or an American rock 'n' roll. It's universal. It's like science."

If rock 'n' roll is a science, then the band certainly appears to know the formula. At live shows, the band seems to connect with the audience and fire it up. "We're simply trying to play your feelings," Vlado said. "What you think about the world, love, happiness, sad stories. It's all of these things together. Just like writers or painters or people making movies. We just do it by playing music."

Nash added, "When we see a few hundred people and make them happy, they make us happy. It gives you some inner force which drives you through your whole life. Think about the Rolling Stones, man. They're, like, 70. They're still rocking and still getting great girls." He winked and laughed. "We truly believe in music."

Neil Davidson
Context. The Moscow Times (March 7, 2008)
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