Mumiy Troll is the real thing, though, good ol’ fashioned R&R, Russian style. Appropriately enough, they’re from
Remember the Russian submarine incident? Listen to ‘Smog,’ i.e. smoke, “cold and dark underwater, I’m feeling drunk, it’s getting hotter… once more chance to kiss my sweet baby daughter.” They can also get semi-philosophical, as in ‘Mothers and Daughters’ about the futility of war and human plans in general- “go through this world in peace, where oceans rage and roar, lighting darkness with our dreams, we still can’t see the shore.” And of course sometimes they can be just plain silly, as in ‘Polar Bear’-“… you polar bear, me Eskimo.” The title song probably sums it up best- “you gotta’ like it… this planet is fun, yeah.”
The live show is even better. I saw them do a one-hour set last night at The Casbah in San Diego and it was… f***ing great. They opened with ‘Nuclear Station’ alternating in Russian and English, and took it from there. Most of the set, in fact, was in Russian, and if that seems strange, you have to consider that the entire Russian ex-pat community (under 40) was probably there. How do I know that? Did I check ID’s? No, but the fact that the audience could sing along to nearly every song was a clue, that and the fact that they presented the band with flowers. That’s not normal. There were plenty of blondes and their green-card husbands in the crowd, too, some with word bubbles over their heads reading, “What the fu…” Real live Russian girls! How often do you get that at your local club?
Frontman Ilya Lagutenko, in addition to being a good vocalist, is a natural-born showman, though more of the cutesy cuddly silly kind than one of Gogol’s dead souls re-born (imagine Dana carvey fronting a band). The band is no-nonsense, though, kicking ass at speeds sometimes approaching warp. I was afraid someone might lose it (his mind, that is). It was impossible to sit still, and surveillance footage showed that even Hardie K’s feet both left the floor simultaneously more than once, and that doesn’t happen every day, I’m tellin’ you, son… Alas, it all ended too soon, and without an encore, boo hoo. I intended to stay up and watch them on Craig Ferguson for that, but… you know, zzzzzz…… Forget the PR rap about the ‘Russian Rolling Stones.’ I’d say… maybe… Talking Heads? Check ‘em out.