ARKHANGELSK. The rock club Koleso [The Wheel] in Arkhangelsk is one of the liveliest music scenes in the Russian Barents. With 22 – 25 live concerts per month, this is the place to get a good overview of the music life in the Arkhangelsk Region.
In Arkhangelsk there are around 50 rock bands, in neigbouring Severodvinsk 15, 5 in Novodvinsk, 10 in Kotlas and 5 in Koryashma, Alexander Vasilievitch Mezentsev counts. Alexander has been director of the Koleso club since the start eight years ago. But we had even more bands earlier, he adds. The draft to the army is more strict today. Earlier youngsters at the university or other higher education could avoid being drafted, but it’s not possible anymore.
Koleso does not only offer hard rock. Reggae, soul, latin music and other genres can be heard from the small scene. Except for the Koleso, Alexander organises the annual rock festival ”Belomor Boogie”, a two-day event taking place in October. Also, he promotes the group Blind Vandals, an instrumental trio including a real virtuoso on guitar – Alexander Firsoff. The band has released four albums and been touring extensively.
Many foreign producers and others in the business have visited Koleso and praised the bands performing. Alexander has grown disappointed, though, after many promises about establishing contacts and arranging tours in Europe for Blind Vandals and other bands. The result of the splendid opportunities are indeed meager. But Alexander doesn’t give up. Russian rock is qualified and should be on the same stages as American or British bands, he insists.
Info: Koleso club
Info: Belomor Boogie
Cover: Alexander Mezentsev. Photo Kenneth Mikko