A very warm and sultry night for the first night of Slap Back In The Face (Kioni Music Festival). Luckily the opposition to this night didn't win out because it's such a great event to have on Ithaca, let alone Kioni. All the restaurants packed out and there were still people in the street until the very early hours. How is that not good? It is of course. Anything that puts a dent into the Greek economic crisis is a big tick of OK! Anyway, George Gaudy and Sun started the festival with some blues riffs and guitar heroing, awakening the sleepy out of their siestas and getting them down to the Kioni car park where there was a bar set up for refreshments and huge stage with a great sound this year, and of course a ripping light show. I'm a little partial to feedback guitars so Jimmy Hendrix style guitar solos are quite ok by me.
Last year the show started a little late so this year I thought I'd take my time to get to Kioni, but as would happen, everything was running completely on time so I missed quite a few numbers by George Gaudy and Sun. The audience was very receptive to this band, which I'm certain is not so well known around the music traps of Ithaki, but with the cheers and adulation, you could easily think that wasn't the case and they knew them and their repertoir very well. George Gaudy and Sun are: George Gaudy - vocals/guitars/keys, Tom Yosi- acoustic & electric guitar, Tolis Mpournias - percussion, Giannis Voutsinas - bass, Dora Tsigka - backing vocals, Ashley Hallinan - drums. This 6 piece is definitely worth watching out for. Lots of energy and a great raport with the audience.
Next up was Dustbowl with one of my favourite Greek musicians, Panos Birbas, to whom I was originally introduced at the Kioni Music Festival a couple of years ago and have since been a huge fan! Anyway, this year his band, Dustbowl played mostly originals with a couple of Bob Dylan tracks thrown in. They have that dark alternative vibe which gets me in irregardless of musical style. Everything is cool.
Dustbowl may be led by Panos Birbas, but all the musicians are very stong and full of style and character, making them all stand out individually under the array of stage lighting. Dustbowl are - Panos Birbas - accoustic guitar and vocals, Lydia Grammatikou - bass/vocals, Nick Fysakis - lead guitar, Nikos Panayiotou - drums, Makis Dremetsikas - electric guitar and John Hardy on Pedal Steel.