RIGA - The immensely popular Russian rock band Leningrad will be coming to Riga to help the summer go out with a bang. The concert, which takes place at Kipsala Hall on Aug. 28, should be a very heated affair, as Leningrad is not exactly known for its on-stage timidity.
The band's lead singer Sergey Shnurov can cram more excellent aphorisms into a single song than most groups do in three albums. But it's not just the group's lyrics that have so endeared them to people. It's everything about them, from the music, to the attitude, to the way they helped shape the whole look and feel of contemporary Russian music.
The group was founded in 1997, but started to gain popularity after its third album "Dachniki"(Summer Residents). The song "Terminator" was a smash hit that simply couldn't be escaped or ignored. But the group really hit the big time with the release of "www" in 2002, and then "Manager" and "My Name is Shnur" in 2003.
Leningrad is also responsible for what must surely be the most downloaded ring tone in recent Russian history. The group helped score the hugely popular film "Bumer," the unforgettably distinctive theme song of which is still to be heard on many a mobile phone, two year's after the film's release. Shnurov won the Nika award for best soundtrack, which is Russia's equivalent to the Oscar.
This isn't the first time that Leningrad will be performing in Latvia. Last summer the group performed at the New Wave festival in Jurmala, where it caused a sensation at the nighttime beach party. It wouldn't be surprising if the authorities were little edgy about the concert. The Estonian Foreign Affairs Ministry didn't issue Estonian visas for the group last year, reportedly to avoid problems with drunken fans. Leningrad had previously played in Estonia in 2001 and 2002.
But Leningrad's musical style has changed considerably recently. During the last two years Shnurov has been experimenting with Russian chanson, electronic music and absurdist punk rock, which some critics see as an almost 180-degree turn from the vivid, brainless and easy-going punk and rock music that Leningrad was famous for from 1997 to 2002.
But the show's organizers are promising that whatever the band comes up with on the night, it will be spectacular. So whether you're a true Leningrader, or just a curious tourist, be sure to get your tickets in advance. o
Leningrad, Aug. 28
Kipsala Hall, Riga
Tickets 7 lats
(10 euros) - 30 lats.