Pussy Riot: Riot Days

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Summerhall

 Sunday 19th August, 2018


Seldom have I experienced Punk Rock with such potency and power. Possibly the most famous punk rock outfit in the world. Not famous for the music that they create, but famous for actually being Punk as Fuck. I mean these Girls really suffered for their art at the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church and Vladimir Putin. Imprisoned for two years for singing some of their songs in a church. Pussy Riot became world famous with freedom fighters the World over, campaigning for their release from prison, while also highlighting the Homophobic regime suffered by gay people in the Soviet Union.

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As you can guess, with it being the last of Pussy Riot’s performances at Summerhall, it was completely sold out. Luckily for Divine, He has friends in high places. Thankyou Will McC for making it possible for me. People were crying because they couldn’t get a ticket. The support band Swoon warmed the audience up brilliantly, they reminded me a lot of Modern day Gary Numan, only with a beautiful blond Italian on lead vocals. Indeed they rocked. Pussy Riot were then introduced By a gentleman, Explaining thus.

Alyokhina’s show is poignant, because she very nearly didn’t make it to Edinburgh. Last week it was reported that she had “smuggled herself” out of Russia. She had refused to undertake the community service given to her after she had participated in yet another “unauthorised” protest, and as a result the government had forbidden her to leave the country. In the end she ignored their orders, drove all the way to Lithuania via Belarus, and boarded a flight there instead”

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And thank god she did, because Riot Days is more than just a gig – it’s somewhere between a gripping piece of Putin-skewering musical theatre, an urgent jazz-punk book recital and a film screening that unfurls like a nerve-shredding thriller. With a cast of ever-changing actors. Turning their pain into an art form that vocalises the necessity for political change that is not too distant from the oppression of Tory austerity in the UK. These young people, all of which are under 30 years of age are such a massive inspiration for people to stand up and fight back. But fight back with Art as truth.

The performance is relentless; techno punk, with a story to tell. Projected onto a screen with film footage of Pussy Riots history and the English translation of the Russain Vocals being sung. The Dissection Room at Summerhall was packed to the rafters and every single person was immersed in the experience. Fuck the Spice Girlz. This was real Girl power.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert.

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