The first snow - depening on whether you are 9 or 34 years old, this is either extremely exciting or rather depressing. Luckily, the calendar has not yet gone into winter hybernation. In fact, there is, once again, such an offering as to give us constant worries that we may be missing out on stuff if we are not out every night of the week, which we are not. First World problems, for you, on The Craze:
Lower Dens at Kantine am Berghain: Lower Dens = Jana Hunter with band: Wavey music with a good beat and Miss Hunter's deep but melodic
vocals - special to many people and a highly anticipated gig.
Les Trucs and Cat'n'Guyen at Schokoladen: Les Trucs do what I call "Nintendo noise". It will probably blow your mind and challenge you, but hey, that's what we are here for. Be there for 7:30 pm - it's Schokoladen
Tim Hecker and Monolake at HAU1: Pitchfork gave Tim Hecker their highest ranking, so naturally, we are intrigued. And it turns out that this is indeed interesting. As J. put it nicely: "creepy ambient drift music for those who like postrock without the rock". Monolake = dark minimal electro, at times in a cut up collage style with a lot of ambient samples, probably appealing to fans of Pantha Du Prince or to those who want to like Autechre but then find Autechre that little bit too challenging.
BEAK> at Bi Nuu: Beak> is a UK based band featuring Geoff Barrow from Portishead, who also plays in Anika (review of their last Berlin gig here).
They play experimental and dubby music and are pretty much awesome! For fans of Anika, Excepter,
or Peaking Lights and for J., who went in July and still hasn't stopped talking about that gig.
The Pyramids at Roter Salon: No, of course the 1960s surf rock legends are not playing at Roter Salon this week. Sorry if we got you excited there. But these guys have been around some time, too, since the early 70s to be precise, playing psychedelic jazz with African roots elements in a respectable fashion. It's quirky yet rocking and certainly mind-expanding. Be there if you want to see legends in action.
Zammuto at Kantine am Berghain: Fans of The Books listen up! The band's very own Nick Zammuto is performing with this solo project and it's weird and wonderful. Drum heavy with electronica elements and vocals that sound like Japanese computer games from the late 80s.
Sewn Leather and Dracula Lewis at West Germany: J. and my favourite genre must be "weirdo noise with electronic bits and jazz influences" - it's what gets us well excited. And oh what surprise, that is exactly what Sewn Leather do. They convinced the crowd at bei Roy last year and they will kick ass this Tuesday, too. Dracula Lewis is doing his mystic slow dub and the Soft Moon guys, who are throwing this party in the first place, will be your DJs for the night. C*'s gig of the week.
Jeremy Jay and Oum Shatt at Ritter Butzke: K Records protegé Jeremy Jay is making another appearance in our town, gracing us with his pop pearls. Why this man is not a superstar is beyond me - musically pleasing to just about anybody, he is also a sterling performer. This is going to be special, be there!
Peter Brötzmann, Marino Pliakas, Michael Wertmüller and Chris Corsano & Clayton Thomas at Festsaal Kreuzberg: besides Beak>, this is J.'s choice for gig of the week. Chris Corsano and Clayton Thomas alone got me excited enough to be looking forward to this show for a while now. Their last appearance at Festsaal Kreuzberg was pretty amazing, read about it here. The main act forms around Peter Brötzmann, after 40 years of being active as a musician still one of the most influental musicians in what you could call new music and free jazz.
Adrian Crowley and Cyann at Monarch: The melancholic tunes and deep, warming voice of Irishman Adrian Crowley are the soundtrack to many people's rainy days. Beautiful and relaxing, he brings to your home the quality of a big hug, a woollen throw and a hot cup of cocoa, all the while making you that little bit sad that actually feels good. Many are exremely excited about this gig, and rightly so. Let's hope it's raining, or even better, snowing on Thursday, so that you can look at Kotti in through Monarch's windows while Mr. Crowley's voice will embrace you.
The June Brides + MJ Hibbett & The Validators + Eddie Argos & The Lo Fi Punk Rock Motherfuckers + Michael Knight at Marie-Antoinette: The June Brides should be known to fans of 1980s indie pop, bringing to you that typical British sound reminiscent of the time. They are still going strong, giving a rare performance at our cosy Marie-Antoinette this Saturday. With them, there will be sterling, predominently British, support line-up, for example Eddie Argos of Art Brut fame and his friends. Party of the week - expect some serious late night dancing to 80s classics and the likes.
Crystal Castles at Postbahnhof: Truth be told, I am a fan. Not only do I love their collaborations, e.g. the one with Health. I love the musical concept and the results of this group. Coolness to the max, yet so punk. The gig is sold out, and I think rightly so. The last time I watched them was at Maria years ago, and it blew my mind. This is going to be grand, so if you have a way of getting in, do it!
Chinese Man at Bi Nuu: It is not often that we feature live DJs on The Craze. But how could we resist when someone combines jazz and electronica in such a skillful manner? Chinese Man is a master of electronica, with not just jazz but hip hop, funk, folk, and experimental elements thrown in. A maze ing.
Eine Welt aus Hack are presenting their THEE AUSSTELLUNG II and again and they have put together a pretty special program. Matana Roberts, saxophone player and improviser on Constellation records will perform live, there will be a theatre play and a movie. Also there will be "something else" and something else is always nice!
Pinback and Will Simson at BiNuu: Pinback regularly visit Berlin to play concerts while on tour. Yet I still haven't managed to actually attend one and I always ask myself afterwards why. They come from the surroundings of bands like Black Heart Procession and Three Mile Pilot and if you are into that, you'll definitely like what Pinback do.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Jon Spencer is still going? What? Yes sir! And word on street is that he is as great a dancer as ever. Oh, and the music rocks, too. I am old enough to remember when he first hit the indie scene with his blues, funk and garage mix, uncommon in indie music then, but these days the word legend is probably appropriate. Many people have been influenced by the music of Jon Spencer and his Blues Explosion, as much as by his performing manners and skills - think James Brown meets Johnny Lydon. F'real.