Shura Bi-2 arranged a lockdown rave near the walls of the Kremlin

Manizha, Tamara Gverdtsiteli, Nike Borzov and other stars sang and danced

The finale of the already traditional event called “Night of the Arts” this year was an emotional concert of electronic music. Probably it went a little bit contrary to the academic status of the festival and did not look quite familiar within the walls of the Manege, but the desire to have fun in a situation where everything is almost forbidden clearly helped to close our eyes to conventions.

The picture of what was happening was somewhat reminiscent of the theater of the absurd. Night, the Kremlin wall in the windows, a fancy stage in the middle of the exhibition hall, powerful sound, intricate video projections and fifty people around the action. Initially, the festival was presented as an online broadcast, but in order for it to technically take place, the Manege had to be attended by the staff, the artists themselves, of course, and very few specially invited people, as they say, from the inner circle. Among the latter was the observer of “MK”.

The fashionable musical riot started at about eleven in the evening with a performance by Manizhi. Recently, the singer has been living in the Eurovision loop, where her Russian Woman has made almost a splash, while in Russia almost curses have rained down on the girl, and sometimes at the official level. The singer herself admits that all this inspired her, and surprised her, and a little scared, but on the whole she got an incredible experience that will allow her to convey her musical message to people more vividly. And during her set, such a message was read very clearly.

Manizha certainly found its way in what is called a modern reading of world music, and the way it combines ethnicity and electronics cannot fail to impress. Inevitably, I want to compare her with another ethno-diva – Sevara. Both Manizha and the Uzbek folk sensation of the 2000s are doing about the same thing. However, Sevara is clearly keen on piece production of musical delicacies, while Manija intends to fit into the music of the era of playlists on social networks. It is not a fact that such a musical doctrine sets up exclusively for compliments addressed to Manizhi, but its scheme works, and in our time it is recognized as the main thing.

After midnight, Cobain’s Jackets took the stage, led by Shura Bi-2, and a real dream team that joined them. The guitarist and architect of the Bi-2 musical doctrine conceived of his project as an elective in indie electronics, but the desire to bring everything to the maximum quickly turned the hobby into a real hit factory. And at the suggestion of Shura, a variety of artists were involved in this production: from the electronic genius and the founder of “Guests from the Future” Yuri Usachev to Tamar Gverdtsiteli, from the already mentioned Manizhi to the leader of BrainStorm Renars Kaupers and many others.

All of them that evening were in the Manege and went on stage, as if enveloped in two layers of a transparent curtain, on which bright video projections flashed. The hour-long set was reminiscent of a nineties-style percussive rave, when hypnotic dances could be staged in strange places. In the finale of the show, “My Rock and Roll” was performed, but the classic hit “Bi-2” was repackaged in a sophisticated electronic arrangement, and this, apparently, hinted that rock and roll, as a mood, can sound -different.

Shura wouldn’t be himself if he hadn’t thrown a little party after the show. The purely rock ‘n’ roll desire to embrace people who are close in spirit, of course, was realized taking into account the requirements of social distance, but this did not spoil the general atmosphere. Tamara Gverdtsiteli was politely photographed with the security guards, who turned out to be her big fans. Renars Kaupers gallantly talked about the difficulties of obtaining so-called cultural visas to help get through the pandemic Iron Curtain, but showed determination to overcome any bureaucracy in order to meet with his Russian fans. Shura looked surprisingly cheerful considering that the last night Bi-2 performed at a festival in Dubai. “Now I’ll miss a glass, and the jet lag is gone,” he told MK. Apparently, your own rock and roll is not only a goal and a means, but also a kind of vitamin cocktail that helps in any situation.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 28660 of November 8, 2021

Newspaper headline:
Lockdown rave near the Kremlin walls

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