Last night I was lucky to attend a great concert in Thessaloniki: Konstantinos Bhta (the last name is Vita for our English speaking readers, he just spells it like this) played in the Liebe club in Mylos complex. It was the first time I saw (and heard) him live, and I must say it was about time!
I was outside Liebe exactly at 21:00, the supposed starting time of the concert. But, as usual, the doors were not even open. I got my ticket there (20 Euros, same price as in pre-sale at the record shops, and two Euros cheaper than the internet price) and waited. There were some people waiting outside but not many.
The doors opened around 21.15. I went inside and secured a place at the bar, so that I could stand easily and also not be pushed by people (ha, little did I know).
The venue: Liebe is basically the old Mylos Club, a place where I have seen The Creatures (Siouxsie rulezzz) and others in the past. Now it is a dance club, owned by one of the prominent radio DJs of Thessaloniki, Nikos Portokaloglou. The place could use the help of a decorator, it looks shabby and as if no one actually cared for it's design. From the promotion the place is getting on the radio I was expecting something different, I was wrong. And the prices are exorbitant, I paid 8 Euros for a bottle of beer (on top of my ticket), which I consider a blatant theft. One thing is for sure, I'm not going back for more.
The concert started at 22.15, with Netrina, an Electronica group (with members such as Kostas Giannikopoulos, a long time collaborator of Konstantions Bhta in his recordings), who played three tracks. Then Konstantinos came onstage with his collaborators (Vaios Mahmoundes on keyboards, Kostas Giannikopoulos and Kostas Skaltsas of Netrina plus a young guy on guitar whose name escapes me). They started a bit awkward but soon felt the warmth of the crowd and felt surer about their music, displaying to us all their talent.
They played songs both from Konstantinos' solo works and Stereonova albums, almost all the crowd favourites like "Klemmeno Podilato" (Stolen Bike), "Kyma" (Wave), "Proastia" (Suburbs), "Opalita", "Soma" (Body), "Pornostar", "Exostis" (Balcony), "Astronaftis" (Austronaut), "Taksidi Sti Gi" (Journey to Earth) which was repeated at the encore with Konstantinos playing just his guitar and singing, "Pote Pote Pote De Tha Gino Filos Sou" (I will never never never be your friend) and others. The set was just shy of two hours, but we definitely wanted more - he played only one encore, asking us what to play next. He was in a good mood, smiling and thanking us all the time. It looked like the band enjoyed the concert as much as we did, which is precisely the point for me.
The funny thing is that there were people there that looked totally out of place. There were many times that people passing before me obviously belonged to some "skyladiko" (popular Greek music club of the lowest denominator) and not this concert, all coiffed and high - heeled and wearing cocktail attire (i do not mind this as long as it is for somewhere else and not an electronica concert). Obviously they found out about Konstantinos from his work for Dimitris Papaioannou's "2" or from the heavy promoting of his latest album on a Greek TV channel (Alter), it is so "fashionable" to listen to Konstantinos now. My suspicions were confirmed when these people started leaving the venue soon after the concert had started or, the last of them, after he played the "2" tracks and he was obviously not playing another from that work. That's the price of popularity I guess. Nevermind, I had a great time and so did most of the people present, the ones who know Konstantinos' work and came here for all of it, not just the recent stuff. I hope he comes back soon!
Konstantinos website: www.kbhta.com
His Myspace: www.myspace.com/kbhta