Slap Back In The Face (The Kioni Music Festival) is now in it's 4th season. This year the turn out was expected to be too big to be housed in the old school yard in Kioni, therefore it was held in the Kioni carpark. A bigger space which made it a little more comfortable for the masses who attended, although I personally did miss the intimacy of last years space, and the colour on the stage which was always highlighted with the graffiti wall, but with new management, come new ideas and it's all forward from here on in.
I arrived at around 8.15pm and the soundchecks were still in full swing. Although it was publicized to start at 8.30pm, I didn't think that the first band would start at that time, a bit early, but it's always good to catch the bands in their raw forms, going through the motions of soundcheck, figuring out the stage and the sound with the Mixers and lighting guys, also acquainting themselves with the setup. It was a warm, sultry night and there were plenty of nerves from the organizers and managers of this annual event.
This night was a little more 'mainstream' and easy to understand for the audience. Some 70's influenced jazz to start and then the Pano B. Maria K and Goodfellas combo, joined together for an almost sing-a-long experience with Johnny Cash numbers and ending with You are my Sunshine.
The peak for me was Panos Birbas original material. I had not remembered that he played with Lolek in the very first Kioni Music Festival. He has one of those voices that just get you right in the gut. Unfortunately only 2 of his originals were played with the combo, but his songs were MY highlight for sure.
The Music Festival runs over 2 nights. The first has always been a little more laid back and traditional, although I would hazard a guess that the jazz rock quintet which started the night, may not have been seen as laid back by many. Vasilis Lagos and his quintet started off the night.
They ripped through some late 70's inspired jazz rock numbers, showing off his bands tight rhythm section and of course his guitar chops, which were very impressive indeed. The vocalist too, had some vocal prowess. Jazz rock is always quite challenging for vocalists. Double bass was also a great addition.
Inbetween acts, businesses, individuals and advertisers were thanked for their support of this annual event by local girl, Theodosia Dellaporta, originally from Kioni, and a bar on each side of the carpark, kept people hydrated and entertained through the band changeovers.
Eva Loukatou and her band, took the music back to a more MOR Greek style feel with well sung and played songs from this singers repertoire. Eva and her band built a nice crescendo, taking the audience along with them, even if they didn't understand the lyrics of her songs.
The headlining band was Xeimerines Kolimvites, which translates into Winter Swimmers. The band first started in 1979, so you can imagine how deep they are in the psyche of Greece with their songs and the stories these songs tell. All of Ithaki was excited to see this traditional band get up on stage.
There have been various line-ups of this group, but on this night, the line-up was quite stripped down and the bass player was one of Ithaki's own, Aki. Argyris Barkirtzis, singer and obvious leader of this group, is loved and adored by the crowd for his wit and his vocal interpretations.