Beat the summer heat with a taste of the Cold War.
On July 19, Port Royal in Park Slope will host the first-ever Brooklyn performance of Kino Proby, a high-energy tribute to the music of Kino, one of the most important musical acts born in the Soviet Union.
The original Kino provided the voice for disaffected Russians during the era of perestroika through its fuss-free New Wave-inflected pop-rock and the raw emotion of front-man Viktor Tsoi.
“The music itself is simple but it has a real power,” said Kino Proby singer and guitarist Adam Kurtz. “Viktor was speaking for a generation of youth disillusioned by the government and ready for change.”
Kurtz first heard the music of Kino while studying abroad in St. Petersburg, where a tribute to the band was held in the local hockey arena to honor the 10th anniversary of Tsoi’s 1990 death.
When he returned to the States, Kurtz and fellow exchange student Jarlath McGuckin decided to start playing Kino’s music around their hometown of Portland, Maine.
“We would go to open mics and pretend that we didn’t speak English,” Kurtz remembered. “We really hoped no Russian would hear us.”
When word of Kino Proby did get out, Russian emigres in the region started flocking to the band’s shows for a taste of home-cooked culture.
The band — Kurtz, McGuckin, and drummer Jess Greer — was also able to pay the ultimate tribute to its inspiration in 2007, when the band travelled to St. Petersburg and played a pair of shows in Kino’s hometown.
“The people there loved it,” Kurtz said. “We had 200 people in this venue singing, dancing, partying, and having an awesome time.”
Kino Proby hasn’t been able to do many shows lately, as Kurtz has been living in Nashville, while his band mates are still in Maine. But the trio isn’t concerned about finding an audience for its shows when they do happen.
“In our experience, if people hear about three Americans paying tribute to Kino, they’ll come,” said Kurtz. “They’ll also make sure other people hear about it too!”
Kino Proby at Port Royal (837 Union Street between 6th and 7th Avenue in Park Slope). July 19 at 8 pm. $10.