Ahmad Tea Music Festival 27.06.2015

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I had not originally planned to attend this festival. Seeing the lineup from previous years never particularly inspired me. I usually don’t consider a festival worth it if I am only interested in one band but I figured for just 800 Rubles it would be nice to check it out. I had never heard of East India Youth prior to this festival. I was aware of The Libertines primarily due to Pete Doherty’s notoriety with the English press, though their music never particularly interested me. I’ve known The Wombats since 2007 when they released their first album, A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation. I remember playing that album over and over again and really enjoying their upbeat melodies riddled with bitter, heartbroken lyrics. I had attended one of their first gigs in a small club in Columbus, Ohio in fall of 2007 when they were still fairly unknown. I had watched their sound became more commercial when This Modern Glitch came out in 2011 and I lost interest in the band. Once I saw their name on the poster for the Ahmad Tea Music Festival, I decided to give the band another listen. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed Glitterbug. Each song was very catchy and upbeat but contrasted with Murph’s signature rather sad and depressing lyrics. I think this aspect of very honest lyrics of difficult relationships and anxiety is what appeals most to me about The Wombats and what makes them so successful.

The weather was predicted to be grey and rainy, just like the weekend before. But this time, I was prepared with water-tight shoes and a raincoat. Arriving at the outdoor venue at Muzeon Park at 5.30, the rain had temporarily stopped and the atmosphere was quite cheerful. Small booths were preparing a variety of street food including vegetarian falafel which made me happy. There was also an assortment of imported beer and cider, as well as free Ahmad tea from the sponsor. People started filling the space before the stage, as well as the wooden platform to the left with haystack “seats.”

The first performer on stage was East India Youth. It was quite impressive to watch just one man play 3 different instruments at once. It felt like the guy had brought the rave party he has in his bedroom every night unto the stage. His music didn’t particularly move me, or the audience, who showed a much greater preference for rock than electronic music, though I do give the guy credit for trying.

IMAG1292East India Youth

After a short break, The Wombats came on. The stage lit up and so did the crowd. The guys played a selection of songs from all of their albums, though the majority of songs were from their newest album. They started strong with “Your Body Is a Weapon” and kept up the high energy throughout the whole show. They played my favorite song from the new album “Headspace,” as well as older popular tracks such as “Kill the Director” and finished with the crowdpleaser “Let’s Dance to Joy Division.” The crowd had jumped and clapped along and quite a lot of people sang along to the lyrics. It was nice to see that they were truly appreciated despite being a supporting act. They really had not changed in the 7 years since I’d last seen them and rocked out just as hard as when they had started their stage career. Good job Wombats!

IMAG1296 The Wombats

The Wombats had brought up the energy of the crowd, which was now quite large and filling up the whole territory of the Muzeon Park. Much to my surprise, Pete Doherty came out to the left of the stage where my friends and I had been standing and offered hugs and autographs. Many people rushed over and got a chance to meet this idol. How very sweet of Pete.

Right before The Libertines took the stage, the 2 big screens framing the stage flashed some images of The Libertines. This mini-documentary stirred the memories of old fans and provided context to those not so familiar with the band. Once the guys appeared on stage, the crowd exploded with cheering and hollering. It was amazing to see such a positive crowd reception at such a relatively small festival. Just the day before The Libertines performed in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury festival and yet they were just as excited to play in Moscow for a crowd willing to bear the rainy weather. Despite their dark past, each member looked healthy and sober. They played a long set which had the crowd dancing and jumping the whole time. They were not the most energetic of bands and Pete looked mostly disinterred on stage, though that didn’t seem to bother the audience. A part of the wooden platform on which my friends and I were standing had collapsed under the weight of the people, but people kept on rocking out till the very end. Despite not knowing any of their songs, I still jumped and cheered along as audience energy was intoxicating. Pete even managed to say “thank you” and “cheers” in Russian. Once the band had left after their encore, the drummer stood in the front of the stage and yelled “You are all libertines.” No words can possibly summarize the evening any better. Although they were not the headlining act, I do think that The Wombats gave a much more intense and captivating performance.

IMAG1306

The Libertines

The Wombats Setlist
Your Body Is a Weapon
Jump Into the Fog
Moving to New York
Greek Tragedy
Be Your Shadow
1996
Headspace
Party in a Forest (Where’s Laura?)
Patricia the Stripper
Techno Fan
The English Summer
Kill the Director
Give Me a Try
Emoticons
Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
Let’s Dance to Joy Division (with extended instrumental outro)

The Libertines Setlist 
We’ll Meet Again (intro)
The Delaney
Campaign of Hate
Vertigo
Time for Heroes
Horrorshow
Begging
The Ha Ha Wall
Music When the Lights Go Out
What Katie Did
The Boy Looked at Johnny
Boys in the Band
Can’t Stand Me Now
Last Post on the Bugle
Death on the Stairs
Up the Bracket
Tell the King
The Good Old Days
Encore:
You’re My Waterloo
What a Waster
Don’t Look Back Into the Sun

——-

As a sidenote, I would like to mention one major fuck up of the Ahmad organizers. The Afterparty of the festival had been advertised on Facebook as an open event with no charge for the entry. The description stated that The Wombats would be at this party so I naturally wanted to meet them and thank them for an awesome concert and tell them I’ve been their fan since 2007. Unfortunately I never got that chance to talk to them. Once my friend and I arrived at the entrance of the bar, and we showed our wristbands from the festival, we were rudely told that we had to be on some special list and that we were not allowed inside. Talk about false advertising. I’ve been to bars and clubs around the world and have never been “face-controlled” so many times as I have living in Moscow. Discrimination! Fuckers.

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One response to “Ahmad Tea Music Festival 27.06.2015

  • lianawho

    I completely agree with the point about the afterparty: It is supposed to be AFTER the festival, which was supposed to be on a rainy day. Was I supposed to rush home and prepare for it or something? I hate this face-controlling issue about Moscow 😦 and yeah, The Wombats were amazing, I loved their performance more than Libertines’ even though I used to be a Libertines’ fan 4-5 years ago 🙂
    Thank you for the wonderful review

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