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Piknik, a former Russian rock band, is now on the heart of a tragedy.

On Saturday morning, Piknik, certainly one of Russia’s hottest conventional rock bands, posted a message on their web page on Vkontakte, one of many nation’s largest social media websites: “We’re deeply shocked by this horrible tragedy and mourn with you.” .

The evening earlier than, the band was scheduled to play the primary of two sold-out exhibits, accompanied by a symphony orchestra, on the Crocus Metropolis Corridor in suburban Moscow. However earlier than Piknik took the stage, 4 armed males entered the huge venue, opened fireplace and murdered no less than 133 folks.

The victims seem to have included a few of Piknik’s personal staff. On Saturday evening, one other word appeared on the band’s Vkontakte web page stating that the girl who ran the band’s merchandise stalls was lacking.

“We aren’t able to imagine the worst,” the message mentioned.

The assault on Crocus Metropolis Corridor introduced renewed consideration to Piknik, a band that has supplied the soundtrack to the lives of many Russian rock followers for greater than 4 many years.

Ilya Kukulin, a cultural historian at Amherst School in Massachusetts, mentioned in an interview that Piknik was one of many Soviet Union’s “rock monsters,” with songs impressed by traditional Western rock bands together with David Bowie and quite a lot of Russian types.

Because the launch of their debut album, 1982’s “Smoke,” Piknik – led by Edmund Shklyarsky, the band’s lead singer and guitarist – has grown in reputation, regardless of their music being usually darkish with gothic lyrics. Kukulin attributed this partially to the group’s ingenious exhibits.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kukulin mentioned, the band started performing with thrilling mild shows, particular results and different modern touches. At one level within the Nineties, the band’s exhibits included a “reside cello” – a lady with an amplified string stretched throughout her. Shklyarsky would play a string solo.

This month, the band debuted a brand new tune on-line – “Nothing, Concern Nothing” – with a video that confirmed the band performing reside in entrance of massive screens with continuously altering animations.

In contrast to a few of their friends, Piknik “was by no means a political band,” Kukulin mentioned, though that did not cease him from getting concerned in politics. Within the Eighties, Soviet authorities banned the group – together with many others – from utilizing recording studios, whereas Soviet newspapers complained concerning the group’s lyrics, together with a tune known as “Opium Smoke”, which authorities considered as encouraging drug consumption.

In recent times, a few of Russia’s most outstanding rock stars have left their nation, fed up with President Vladimir V. Putin’s restrictions on freedom of expression, together with common crackdowns on concert events. Piknik benefited from this exodus, Kukulin mentioned, as a result of the band had fewer rivals on Russia’s conventional rock circuit.

In contrast to some musicians, Shklyarsky didn’t act as a booster of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kukulin mentioned. Nonetheless, Ukrainian authorities have lengthy banned Piknik from performing within the nation as a result of the group has been taking part in concert events in occupied Crimea. In a 2016 interview, Shklyarsky mentioned he was not apprehensive concerning the ban.

“Politics comes and goes, however life stays,” he mentioned.

Kukulin mentioned that amongst Piknik’s songs was “To the Reminiscence of Harmless Victims” – a monitor that may very well be interpreted as being about those that have been politically oppressed below communism. Now, Kukulin mentioned, many followers have been listening to the tune in a brand new approach, as a tribute to those that misplaced their lives in Friday’s assault.

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