TALLINN - Tallinn's Von Krahl Theater knows how to throw a party. For three years now, the modern drama house has hosted "Operation B." This year, the music festival features some of Northern Europe's funkiest musicians and D.J.s.
The two-day event will open with Aavikko, Finland's electronics-groove guru. Since the trio emerged in the mid-'90s, their quasi-psychadelic music has been described as "demented," "emphatically out of character," "exotic" and "ingenious."
Blending a 1960's spaghetti Western sound with popular Slavic pop songs, the teenagers soon became the talk of Finland's club scene. In 1996, the country's individualist label, Bad Vugum, pulled the three musicians, along with their cheap electronic organ and a drum set, into the national spotlight. Since then they've become one of Finland's quirkiest music icons.
Perhaps Aavikko's music is best described in their own words: "Supergroovy, supermarket party music from hell." If this doesn't give you a taste of what "Operation B" has to offer, than nothing will.
The festival gives hope for Estonia's teenage garage bands and amateur D.J.s. Not so long ago, most of the groups playing in this international event were just that.
America's Groovski, for example, were no more than nerdy high schoolers ten years ago, inspired by the alternative band "They Might Be Giants." Today, Groovski has a fan-base that spans from New York to Warsaw.
"Groovski is not a groove band," states the group's website. "Groovski is made up of Polish-Americans who play intense weird pop on account of their diverse influences, in particular Polish and Eastern European punk and new wave bands."
Clearly, the group's Eastern European influence has warmed over the Baltics as well.
As for local bands, Estonia's Roovel Oobik could possibly be the weekend's main attraction. It was one of the first in the Baltic states to experiment with electronic music, inspired by sounds from Great Britain. The group's founder, Raul Saaremets, came from the 1980s punk generation. In 1987, Roovel Oobik had its debut performance but didn't reach popularity until the mid-90s, alongside Estonia's independence.
Today, despite an explosion of electronic followers, the group has not been forgotten.
It's hard to believe that 90s music already carries a hint of nostalgia, and that its gawky teenage followers are now gawky 30-year-old accountants. But that's not to say that 90s electro and alternative is dead. At least for two knights, "Operation B" will keep it alive.
Von Krahl Theater
Tickets: 250 kroons (16 euros)
For more info:
(+372) 626 9090