Saturday, 30 July 2011

Preview: the week ahead (1st - 7th Aug)

Summer is always slow. But surprisingly, the calendar for August is filling up nicely. Given that summer has decided to stay absent this year, we may as well go into the autumn gig season early, right?

Best Friends Forever, The Middle Ones and The Wiggins at Bei Roy: BFF = sweet pop played by two girls. It's almost twee. The Middle Ones = more of the same. The Wiggins = the exception. Lo-fi guitar rock. This is a really neat bill and well worth your attendance!

Electrelane and Vivian Girls at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Electrelane are back and this lady is excited about that one! I've already announced this awesomeness a little while back, so I don't need to say too much about this. Also, by the time you read this, this gig will be sold out for sure. But what a double bill!! We could not not feature it, could we?

Algernon Cadwallader at Schokoladen: The band with the unpronounceable name is back! They play nice quirky indie punk and they're SO good live! I mean it!

Thursday - Friday
Puschenfest at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Last year, Puschenfest was one of my favourite events in the gig calendar with a sterling line-up and it's another amazing line-up this year: Yacht, Washed Out, Star Slinger on Thursday, and Polvo, Oneida, Chad Vangaalen, Suuns on Friday. Puschen is a Berlin based booking agency that books a lot of the concerts featured in this blog. Their taste is second to none. So this is a high recommendation from us. I'm particularly excited about Yacht, Washed Out (currently hyped like crazy in the UK) and Polvo, who have been around since the early 90s. However, I discovered them in the late 90s and fell in love with their magic instantly. What a treat. Yum!!

Abgas reunited and play bei Roy this Saturday! They were one of Austria's first Deutschpunk bands are they haven't played in a while now (like about 25 years). I wonder if they still play naked with bodypaint on... Anyway this is going to be a special night!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review: Aids Wolf + Cotton Ponies

Yes this was good. I wasn't really sure how this will turn out but I didn't leave disappointed after all.
I arrived at a not so filled West Germany and headed straight to the balcony as it was warm already without many people in there. It was a nice night so hanging out outside until Cotton Ponies started to play was quite good.

I haven't listened to Cotton Ponies before and I was positively surprised. They played a very nice instrumental mix between noise rock and edgy no wave stuff like Ex-Models and these kinds of bands. I think they were a more than worthy support and I hope they play Berlin again some time.

After I got some fresh air, Aids Wolf were ready to play. The room was pretty packed by now and I elbowed my way to the front as they started to play. What followed was an about forty minute wall of hectic and oddly rhythmic noise under tropical temperatures. I've seen Aids Wolf before several times and they were always pretty good. They were very different this time but they were still great. After some line up changes they play with just one guitarist now and they use way more experimental guitar noise elements in between their songs. They also did more stuff with their singers voice, like running it through some effect stuff. This was the first show of their ongoing tour and I think they could have been a bit tighter. Probably they will be on future shows so if you have a chance go see them!

Monday, 25 July 2011

oh we forgot

Viv Albertine, former guitarist for the Slits, is playing a solo show at Monarch on Wednesday (27th). Se released an EP on Ecstatic Peace, Thurston Moore's label, and is supposed to release a record this year.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Preview: the week ahead (25th - 31st July)

A friend suggested to Summer today that he may not return next year because Spring and Autumn are going to take over his job instead. This seems like a reasonable approach. In the meantime, we need good entertainment to take our minds off the weather. Unfortunately, this week is super quiet in Berlin. Nevermind, let's just go wild and dance all night at those few events that there are, making up for those that there aren't. Know what I'm sayin'...

AIDS Wolf at West Germany: For those following this blog this gig needs no preview and no introduction. For all others, be prepared for a noise fest from Canada that might be so good it might change your life. I have been looking forward to this for 1,5 years and I'm looking forward to Wednesday the way little children look forward to Christmas.
Christy & Emily at Schokoladen: Because of Schokoladen's new opening times you may actually go and see this beforehand. Christy & Emily are two lovely ladies, on guitar and piano, who play beautiful tunes and sing with full voices we like our singers to sing. Reminds me of some of some old LA hippie folk. Sweet.

Eeva + Tyran Tyran at about:blank: Miss the days of 1996. Go to this and get nostalgic. An emo-evening the way we used to do them back in the days of Simba fanzine, Krishna beads and college haircuts.


R Stevie Moore & BBQ at West Germany: Before the days of Of Montreal, there was R Stevie Moore. And still is. Musical genius and number one pop entertainer, pioneer of lo-fi music in his own right. And as much as I have been raving on about the AIDS Wolf gig, this is probably the one must-go-to gig this week! (so excited about it, you get two videos to play while putting your nicest frock on when getting ready for the night out)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Quick Review: Vocuhila + Ansgar Wilken

Alley & entrance to Bei Roy
I went to Bei Roy for an evening of free jazz last night. Yes, you read that correctly. 

And I had no idea what I was going to await me. Adventure took me and I put up with the rain and headed to Bei Roy to meet J.. The room wasn't nearly as full as it was the time when Digger Barnes played there. Yet the atmosphere was cozy this time, too. The venue draws people from very different backgrounds and age groups, which I find refreshing: youngsters hungry for new music, nerds who want to indulge in nerdy music talk about nerdy music projects, hip neukölln folk, punks and indie kids.

Let's just say I love Jazz but I am not necessarily a free jazz kind of person. Both acts impressed me with their abilities and the variation with which they played a handful of instruments. But overall, I noticed that I lack the patience to watch two hours of semi-improvised sounds. And while Ansgar Wilken, a native solo project on cello, built on sound scapes interrupted by melodic rhythms, Vocuhila, a French free jazz trio, were going for wild ecstatic play. Playing two saxophones at a time or hitting the drums so hard a cymbal fell off made for a great visual experience and some of the songs were rhythmic and danceable. But overall, it was all a little bit too exhausting to endure for me. 

I concluded that it was great to try something new, that I never regret supporting Bei Roy, and that it was good to catch up with J.. But I also had to admit to myself that I am not ready for free jazz yet. And I left early. Give me rock'n'roll any day.

Pantha Art

Here is an interesting project: electronic genius Pantha Du Prince is curating an art installation in Charlottenburg this September. Yum. 

Manalese gallery and installation infos here.

And here is a neat documentary, uploaded by Rough Trade Records:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

AIDS Wolf soon!

Less than a week to go until we go crazy to AIDS Wolf at West Germany. Will you join us??

BTW, VICE are giving away tickets here. No more excuses!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Quick London update: Santigold & The Drums

OK, so I didn't go to more gigs during the second half of my London days. It's summer and there simply isn't that much on. But I got invited to Lovebox festival in Victoria Park on the last weekend of my stay. Because of the weather (persistent rain) we only went for one day, Saturday, kids in tow. 

I was interested in Lykke Li as well but time management didn't work out and the only acts I watched were Santigold and The Drums. I have great admiration for Santigold. She is a great musician and performer but it's her song writing skills that stand out. She seems to be able to switch between genres and somehow create her own sound the way few song writers can. And unfortunately, still very few women make a living from song writing. 

Her performance was good fun to watch, with musical style costumes and a couple of very cute dancers, two people dressed as a horse and hammer action. Wow. Unfortunately, the new songs didn't really convince yet. Maybe I need to get used to her new, more conventional R&B sound. But I think I wasn't the only one who was waiting for old hits really, which was a shame. Still, this was great and well worth the wait in the rain.

The performance I was most anticipating that day was definitely The Drums. There is an indie kid in me that can't resist something like this group. The Drums played Berlin last year but I didn't go and regretted it later when I got addicted to their videos on YouTube. Sad, I know. Anyway, Jonathan Pierce, frontman and chief of the group, came across live exactly as he does in their videos and did some nice talking with the audience. Musically, they played all their hits and a couple of new songs, which sounded really good - more of the same but a little bit more upbeat. The only shame: As soon as they had played their hit "Surfin", half the audience left to go see Snoop Dog. Poor timing. I am looking forward to their tour to promote the new album, released in September.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Preview: the week ahead (18th-24th July)

I'm not going to mention how dearly I wish to be able to see Morrissey this Monday.

Pink Reason and Circuit des Yeux at Bis aufs Messer: Both bands are going to play an acoustic set at lovely Bis aufs Messer record store. Concerts usually start early on time, but you know that anyway.

Future Islands at Lovelite: Chances are good that you missed Future Islands last Berlin show because there were like more people standing outside the Schokoladen and hoping to get in than people fitting in the space. So this is your next chance, but as it seems the show is already sold out. I'm not entirely sure but I think Lovelite still sells some tickets at the entrance, so you might want to be there a little early. Future Islands live are definitely worth it.

Vocuhila, Une Distraction, Stella Veloce and Ansgar Wilken at bei Roy: I'm so looking forward to this! I saw Vocuhila already at their last Bei Roy gig and they were amazing! They're a french Free-Jazz trio and you should definitely give them a try! Une Distraction are a Berlin based experimental "noise rock" band, maybe you remember my euphoric review from last month... Stella Veloce and Ansgar Wilken are both artists that play experimental music with Cellos, check the links above and listen to their stuff.

Down By The River Festival feat. Jeffrey Lewis at Kater: I don't know any of the other bands playing but a Jeffrey Lewis gig could definitely be worth a visit to this festival...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The owls are not what they seem!

If you like Twin Peaks you probably should strongly consider to visit Loophole this Saturday! They have a screening of the first Twin Peaks episode with live music! Count me in!

Check out the facebook event and Loophole's website for further info!


If you follow our Facebook group you are aware that I am excited about this double whammy: Electrelane and Vivian Girls, on one night, at one venue. Oh girl!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Preview: the week ahead (11th - 17th July)

While I'm enjoying my time in London, I am looking with envy at the calendar for Berlin for the coming week. DD/MM/YYYY and the Schokoladen Hoffest are events I wouldn't mind attending. Then again, I spent an hour at Rough Trade East yesterday, in a bed and with a cup of tea. No joke. 

Guerre at Bis Aufs Messer: This Australian shoegaze ambient project will fit perfectly into the surroundings of our favourite record store. Show up early - you know the deal.

DD/MM/YYYY at Magnet Club: We thoroughly enjoyed these Canadian indie rockers last time there were over and I recommend this to you. Not 100% sure they can pull off Magnet but give them a try because they do rock.

J Mascis at Festsaal Kreuzberg: You know the deal really and I'd love to see this. But those of you needing to brush up on the indie music history, Wikipedia says: "J Mascis (pronounced /ˈmæskɪs/ mass-kiss; born Joseph Donald Mascis on December 10, 1965) is an American musician, best known as the singer, guitarist and songwriter for Dinosaur Jr.."

Friday - Sunday
Schokoladen Hoffest: This is one of Berlin's most relaxed yet fun events and it's going into its 21st year. And each year we wonder whether it's going to be its last, with the uncertain future of the wonderful Schokoladen looming. So each year we try and make this the best one yet. Have a look at the website to check out all the wonderful music and activities that are one. But you could just show up and soak up the atmosphere and you wouldn't regret it either.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Quick London update: Brian Ferry, Weekend, New Look

OK my lovelies. Three weeks into my London time I feel I could share some of my musical experiences here with you.

Last week, I got to see Brian Ferry at a private event and it was amazing. I'm generally wary of old rockers but I was ever so impressed by this one. He played all the Roxy Music classics with such grace and he is still sexy. Seeing him without a high stage or any security measures was a pleasure I will not forget anytime soon.

I went to another Weekend gig the other night. The venue, Madame JoJo's, was nice but technical problems persisted throughout the show. And the band just wasn't as energetic as the first time round. It was interesting to see "first gig" versus "last gig" of the tour and I am very glad I got to see the first gig in Berlin, even if nobody was there.

Finally, last night I was invited to watch New Look, an electronic two-piece from New York. To me, musically, their mellow dance music was gagging for some change of beat or some live drumming or anything energetic; it was just too chilled out for me. But the band had a great stage presence, the vocals were amazing and I actually really enjoyed the gig. It was free and at a pub owned by Vice magazine (ja, right?), which was very cool. I hated to admit it but I loved the classiness of the venue!

Another 10 days to go in the UK and I'm sure there will be other musical experiences to share with you. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Preview: the week ahead (4th-10th July)

J. is in Berlin, c* is in London. But there is fun to be had. Mind you, there isn't much on this week but make sure you don't miss the following! There's a little more stuff going on, so be sure to check the calendar at the bottom!


Fenster, Martha Rose and Dibs at Madame Claude: Madame Claude have their "Four Tracks on Stage" every Tuesday where they feature mostly acoustic and unplugged singer songwriter music. The forecast says it's supposed to be rainy until Wednesday, so what could be more fitting than watching some nice folky guitar music on a Tuesday evening...

Beyond Pink and Levitations are playing an all girl punk concert at Kastanienkeller. So if you're up to some potential rrriot, go there!

Deerhoof, Tu Fawning and Esben and the Witch at Volksbühne: If you haven't seen Deerhoof by now you should definitely get your ass to the Volksbühne this Sunday. They're SO great live! Esben and the Witch are like another one of these female vocals epic dark wavy electro bands. So if you're into Zola Jesus and stuff you could like them, too! This isn't cheap but three good bands and a nice Volksbühne surrounding will probably make up for the price.