Wednesday, 29 August 2012

My favourite Leo!!

Of all the musicians of the Leo family, Ted is my favourite. I ran an interview with him 15 years ago in my zine when he toured with his band The Sin-Eaters and it was one of the nicest conversations I have had with anyone ever. We have bumped into each other a couple of times since but his European appearances have become rare. So how excited am I to see his name and that of Rebecca Gates on the Monarch programm for 24 September? Well, you have to take a wild guess, but let's just say The Pointer Sisters are blasting from my stereo right now.

This is not his best song *but* the video features a fantastic cast and a few minutes of really good fun!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: Wooden Shjips + Michael Chapman

Ok, so really, it has been two months since Wooden Shjips brought out the beardy ones to Festsaal? You know what they say: time flies when you're having fun. Anyhow, I will give you the lowdown anyway, even if it is now a little dated.

Basically, I categorise music listeners into two: There are those that like to be constantly challenged within a song, through tempo changes, unusual elements thrown in or multiple singers. Those people generally go wet when hearing jazz or The Blood Brothers. And then there are those that like to get into a song, immerse into the song, through long repetitive patterns. These folks are appreciative of electronic music and not seldomly like Isis. I am sure I have laid this theory on you before. And needless to say, I belong to the former type of music listener.
So I never gave Wooden Shjips a second thought. Let's say I did not even give them a chance. Psychedelic, repetitive music with doodly guitars? That could not be my kind of thing. Then I saw Moon Duo last year and it gave me a revelation. There is repetitive music and there is repetitive music. A doodly guitar can drag and a doodly guitar can suck you in. Moon Duo's Mazes album quickly became my soundtrack of the year. Naturally, this drew me to Wooden Shjips, given these are both Ripley Johnson projects. And would you know it? Wooden Shjips, loved so much by beardy guys in their 50s and progressive rock listeners of all ages, took this little girl's heart by storm. To cut a long story short: I was as excited to go to this gig as I was when going on a first date.

Norwegian Saturday

Hey y'all, here is a nice event for you that just reached us here at the craze. This Saturday, there is going to be a tribute to Norwegian singer-songwriter Thomas Hansen at Kantine / Berghain. The evening will premier the documentary film made about his life (in English) as well as an array of interesting live music. Check out the event website - this might be for you.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Monday's DIIV show is NOT sold out

The folks at Puschen agency are the best! Not that we needed any proof, but they've gone ahead and booked a second night of DIIV at Monarch tomorrow, Monday 27 Aug, doors 9 pm. So if you were unlucky and didn't get a ticket for Tuesday, now is your chance to see this hyped band in the cozy setting of Monarch. Make sure to reserve a ticket at, just to be sure. More information can be found on the facebook event page.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Preview: the week ahead (27th Aug - 2nd Sep)

There is no reason for me to wish summer would leave us early. No reason, except the offering of live music in this town. I cannot wait for all the amazing gigs autumn will bring, festivals and music weeks. So I salute you September. You are finally here.

DIIV at Monarch: Sold out and highly anticipated. DIIV are the new hip post-punk indie rock band to be listening to. And I am into the hype, embracing it, and dancing in the living room called Monarch on Tuesday. If you like Crystal Stilts, The Drums, Wild Nothing or other recent wave and shoegaze revival bands, you'll dig this. It's good old indie music, made with instruments, and we have been missing this lately, what with all that newly found electro-indie scene in the U.S.. Gig of the week, y'all!

206 at SO36: If I was given a cent each time someone says "there is no good German music" I would be owning a house in LA with that swimming pool my son desires so much. Well, I rent a flat in Kreuzberg and there are lots of good German bands, even those that sing in German. 206 is one of them, sitting somewhere between Deutschpunk and Deutsche Welle, defying critics of German music. Go to this and be enlightened because this group is well worth your every attention this Thursday.
Moralens Väktare and The Brunettez at bei Roy: If, despite my above plea, you still don't feel like going to see German punks, Swedish garage rock may be more your thing. Head over to bei Roy.

Dad Rocks! at St. Oberholz (Rosenthaler Straße 72a): This is a little special thing here, an early gig (starts at 7 pm) ahead of Torstraßenfestival. Dad Rocks! may sound like the name of a fun punk project or maybe hip hop. Wrong! This gentleman quite obviously likes Elliot Smith but doesn't mind some Beirut either. It's singer-songwriter music with a nice twist. 
Sons of Noel and Adrian at Roter Salon: There is folk music and there is folk music, if you know what I mean. This is the good kind, with virtuous guitar play, choral singing and classical instrumentation. Sounds hippie? It somehow manages to stay cool and accessible all the while. If you like Beirut you are bound to love this, too. Roter Salon = perfect venue for this.
Felix Kubin, On+Brr, Broca Areal and Gelbart at bei Roy: I loved Kubin's "Filmmusik" and its weird fake 1960s space music when it came out in the late 90s. Felix Kubin has now ventured into doing a label and is doing a night of it at bei Roy. This can only be amazing.

House of Wolves and Mez Medallion at Madame Claude: The soft-spoken tunes from Mexican-Italian LA native House of Wolves will provide the perfect atmosphere for those of you who have had a rough week and can do with some relaxation. Cute indie disco pop support from Mez Medallion.
The Magnificent Brotherhood at Roter Salon: Surf rock in the classic sense. These guys must be so frustrated to be born 50 years too late, because they are good at this 60s stuff but, presumably, nobody buys those paper-cased 7"s anymore or watches the Monkees on TV. But nevermind, don a big hairstyle, a stripy top, some boots and shake those hips at Roter Salon on Saturday.

Friday to Sunday
Indie Pop Days at Marie-Antoinette: For the first time at Marie-Antoinette's but for the third time in Berlin, the Indie Pop Days festival promises another array of talented twee music artists from all over Europe, as well as one group from Canada. It's a sweet little fest that we like to support on an annual basis. The selection of artists is always good (look at the linked website) and Berlin could do with more of these type of events. Support and enjoy it and do a little jig while there.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Support the Maze

We already mentioned the You Are Here aka the Maze festival here a couple of times. It's going to be a two week long festival taking place at West Germany from Sept 15th until Sept 29th. The program is gradually getting completed and it already looks pretty neat!

Now the Maze still needs some help and you can play an important part in that by supporting them on their Vision Bakery crowd funding site. You can find the Vision Bakery site here and you'll find more detailed info on the Maze on their tumblr blog, where you can also find a tentative preview of the full Maze program.

Please help them out if you can, this is going to be an awesome project that deserves to be supported!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Preview: the week ahead (20 - 26th Aug)

Another rather slow week, summer hole apparently now arrived at full impact and I'm definitely spending some good amount of time at a nearby lake or in some swimming pool. But then again there are some pretty interesting shows taking place, so here's another small preview for the upcoming seven days.

Aidan Baker at Mme Claude: Although Aidan Baker plays pretty often in Berlin, this is a nice chance to see him in a small and cozy venue. You might want to take it if you're up to some drony post metal guitar music.

JEFF the Brotherhood at White Trash: C*s hopes to see JEFF The Brotherhood again soon in a more appropriate setting sadly have to go unfulfilled, as they play at White Trash again. After C*s experiences from their last gig there you might wonder why they even want to play the same venue again.

Terror Bird, Molly Nillson and DJ Marcelle at bei Roy: this is going to be a pretty good mix between two heavily 80s influenced synthi pop bands/musicians and one of the best DJs I've ever seen performing. Definite party and dance guarantee for this Friday bei Roy show!

Messer and Trümmer at Monarch: Messer are being hyped an awful lot right now. They play something like clever poppy punk with german lyrics. Of course that's not new, but then again what else is? I've heard they're good live as often as I heard they suck, so why not check it out first hand?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Preview: the week ahead (13 - 19th Aug)

This must be a record low: we have exactly four live music events in our calendar for the coming week. Any additions by pro-active readers are welcome.

Jonathan Richman at Festsaal: The most amazing folk singer-songwriter and comic genius that is sure to make you smile is coming to Kreuzberg and I will be there, laughing and dancing. And when he sings how he most fancies his wife in everyday T-Shirts and cut-off shorts, you might see me storm the stage trying to steal a kiss. It was so mighty hard to choose which video to show you but rather than choosing a current representative one (and they're all amazing, too, believe me) I am going with this really old number because I like a bit of black and white. Do check out his footage from the Conan O'Brian show from the mid 90s. I watch that stuff whenever I feel down. It just cheers you up so much.

Embryo and Masters of Africa at Monarch: A mix between krautrock and world music, Embryo have been around since the late 60s. So how amazing will it be to see them perform at our small living room that is Monarch?

Man Meets Bear and William Kudahl Sorensen at Antje Öklesund: Man Meets Bear is another one of those "one man in his bedroom" kinda projects and there is a reason why he is being championed by Dirty Beaches, among others. This is really good folk music mixed with experimental ambient and drone sounds, albeit surprisingly accessible. Head over to Antje on Saturday.

Oh Zombie

The French cats in Zombie Zombie will play Festsaal in November. I am currently obsessed with this video for their song "Driving this road until death sets you free". Incredible.

Quick review: Patti Smith

I had waited for this gig for oh so long. When the day finally arrived I was not sure I was ready to really appreciate the enormousness of seeing Patti Smith perform live in front of my eyes.

We had gone through the trouble of reserving seats at Tempodrom, we made sure to be early, heck, we even bought a t-shirt. This was fandom unlike us. But this is because this woman has been so inspiring over the years, has shown so many women the way, has stuck to her ideals and roots unlike many other musicians.

And it was that kind of performance, too. There was no stage design as such, just her, her band (whom she has been with since way into the last century) and a cup of tea to sooth an aching throat. She looked wild with her straggly hair and her pirate-inspired clothes. They played all the hits, she corresponded with the audience and near the end she gave her famous freedom speech. All that you expected but better.

This was one of the few shows that I have been to where the majority of attendees was female and many were over 60. During the rockier anthems women would get up from their seats and start dancing wildly, the grey hair flowing, fists raised into the air. It was so inspiring. I have taken away from this to be more myself, true to myself, stick to my ideals best as I can.

As an afternote: I watched A Man Within, a documentary about the personal life of William S. Burroughs, this week and Patti Smith plays a large part in this. It shows her with Burroughs in the 70s and the way she sang for him, how he admired her and edged her on. It says a lot about Patti Smith, as much as it does about Burroughs.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Last minute Camera

For some reason, we didn't get invited or were told about this event until a minute ago, when FB suggested I took a look. Camera, that most famous of Berlin U-Bahn bands, is playing in support of its record release tonight at Katerholzig. The album is entitled Radiate! and you can purchase it there while the band plays. Oh, this promises so much fun, I can hardly believe it!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review: Father Murphy and Mysticats

Okay, sometimes when a venue announces a secret surprise act and for some reason they can't tell you who it is, you should go anyway. Father Murphy alone would have been well worth the visit to bei Roy yesterday, but having Carla Bozulich (Evangelista), Jhno and Aidan Baker (Nadja) playing as support trio made it even better...

Unfortunately, due to technical problems, the first support act of the evening couldn't play. Sometimes it obviously sucks to be dependent on a hard drive to be able to play your music.

Anyway Mysticats, the "top secret super surprise project" started the evening. I had no idea what they were going to do, but having seen Carla Bozulich and Jhno together as support for Thurston Moore (C* wrote about that here) at Volksbühne and also Carla collaborating with some other musicians at Ausland earlier this year, I was sure this couldn't go wrong. They played a mesmerizing and very drony set of experimental and postrock influenced music. You could definitely hear Aidan Bakers influence on this and adding Carlas distinctive and intriguing voice worked very well, creating a pretty dense atmosphere. They collaborated live for the first time ever but seemed to have a deep musical understanding for each other and their different musical backgrounds and styles added up so nicely. I'm glad to have witnessed this.

Next on were Father Murphy whom I already was looking forward to see again. I already saw them twice, so this was nothing totally new for me. But nonetheless I was excited to hear them perform material of their newest record, which just came out pretty recently. They've been on a US tour with Xiu Xiu and Dirty Beaches and also released a split 7" with Xiu Xiu lately. So this italian band is finally getting a bit more attention and they totally deserve it! 
They're getting somehow more accessible musically but that does in no way mean they're getting worse. Quite the contrary. I had the feeling that they got better and better over the time. They play together more harmonically and they sound way more mature. It seems that they've become a totally consistent entity in which every member complements one another. Their deep and sometimes sacral sounding vocals together with a very incisive guitar add up perfectly with the processed synths and drums and create a dark and intense atmosphere. It's really hard to compare their music to other bands because over the years of their existence, they created a pretty unique sound and style. Also they seriously are one of the most unpretentious, friendly and nicest bands I've ever met. I hope they'll be back soon and I'm looking forward to see what they do in the future.

Oh and by the way, you can listen to their newest record in it's entity on their bandcamp page.

Lisboa report I: Sound exhibition, Radiohead, The Kills

I'm no longer doing my reviews in chronological order, I'm that behind on blog work. But I'm catching up, I'm getting there. Here is the first of a two-part series on my musical experiences while spending a week in Lisbon last month.

C* listening intently to Excepter
The most noteworthy experience we had in Lisbon was art-related. We ventured out of the old city centre and took a tram out to the Museu Colecção Berardo, a space built to accommodate the impressive modern art collection of Portuguese millionaire José Berardo. Entry to the museum is free to the public and pretty much all art movements of the 20th century are represented and informatively presented. To our delight, while there, we stumbled into a small temporary sound art exhibition called O Novo Ofício (The New Trade). It displayed pieces of sound equipment and art associated with music and sound collages, starting with Eric Satie and moving up to contemporary musicians like Excepter, Black Dice, and Jandek. It was the most amazing exhibition and I wish it could move to Berlin for all of you to see. You were given MP3 players with songs and you would select the relevant track to the piece of art or musical equipment you were looking at. Some pieces involved the visitor by encouraging play, others were off-limits to the public. We spend a lot of time in those two small rooms. My favourite pieces were those by John Cage, a rondel of record players and literally hundreds of records that you could play as you chose, and by Excepter. They had chosen to transform a hot dog cart into a boom box stand with candy and skulls and bones added. The chosen song was so good I listened to it three times in a row, all too aware that J. had been seeing them at West Germany only the night before. Magic.

Our primary reason for our little travel to the Mediterranean was the Optimus Alive festival, which we had to attend in a work-related matter. The Kills were playing the festival on the stage sponsored by a beer brand at 1:50 am. (On a side note: that brand seems to follow us around. A week later, we would see Moon Duo at another sponsored event, not to speak of the beer sponsored festival that The Kills played earlier last month - when did that beer brand become so interested in sponsoring music events?) Now I seriously lack rock'n'roll credentials since I struggle to sustain stamina past midnight. However, my partner had a lot of work on his plate and I could watch Radiohead, making the time pass surprisingly fast. I was getting into the Portuguese late-night spirit. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Super quick review: Ty Segall, again again

J. and I went to participate in the madness of yet another Ty Segall gig. This time, the man got an upgrade and instead of playing small and sweaty West Germany he played large and sweaty Festsaal. Could he pull it off? Could he! It was full, hot, steaming and everybody was dancing. There was an umbrella, some stage diving, people dancing at the back of the stage and and at some point we spotted a rodent cage. Good fun. Oh, and the music was fantastic as usual, too. Of course.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Quick review: Make Out!

There was me giving high praise to this group not so long ago (or so it feels) and here I was attending their last ever show. In flux. 

Musically, while Make Out! are obviously influenced by girl punk groups like Mika Miko and Erase Errata, their percussionist, a member of the amazing PTTRNS (see review), adds that something to it that gives this group a distinct post-punk vibe and rhythmic edge and reminds me of one of my all-time favourites: Numbers. And who wouldn't want a local Numbers?

The show was fun, as last gigs tend to be: a packed room, confetti, a stage-diving singer, a lot of dancing and shouting - just some deserved mayhem.

So, sad that this group are no more, I have great hope for the future of the individual members and I am sure glad I did attend this last ever show. May the reunion happen soon.

PS: J. has found this flickr link for some really good pictures someone took at the gig.

Experimental Krake

For those of our readers interested in experimental electronic sounds: Krake Festival will satisfy your need for the unusual, starting tonight and running for a week. Check it out and enjoy.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Preview: the week ahead (6th Aug - 12th Aug)

Summer is coming to an end, at least if you are dependent on school holidays. For all others, summer remains here to enjoy. And there are some fine evenings ahead to really make the most of the long nights by hanging out at one of the following:

Ty Segall, 206 and Zentralheizung of Death at Festsaal Kreuzberg: The man Segall is back, this time playing it large at Festsaal. Read our review from last time and the time before and make sure not to miss out. This is going to be garage rock fun with a distinctly punk audience.

Father Murphy at bei Roy: Yes, Father Murphy are back for a last minute show at Bei Roy promoting their newest record. They play weird and sometimes sacral sounding experimental music that manages to be the opposite of catchy and maybe also because of that even more interesting. They recently toured the US and released a split 7" with Xiu Xiu. I'm really excited to see them again!

Listener at Cassiopeia: Listener are pretty cool. I saw them playing open air last summer and they were awesome. They somehow perfectly mix spoken word vocals with postrock music and manage to create an intense atmosphere that somehow keeps you staring and listening in awe.

BATALJ, Hure and St Genet at Knochenbox: We have written about BATALJ so many times before, I would be repeating myself if I praised them to you yet again. Just go to Knochenbox on Wednesday and be noise blasted in the finest of manners. Buy c* a soft drink while you are there.
Damien Jurado and The Dropout Patrol at Lido: Again, not the first time we are writing about Damien Jurado, a talented singer-songwriter, obviously heavily influenced by Neil Young and other great 70s folk musicians. It's a tad pop at times but the man is very likeable, plus you cannot deny the talent behind it. Support from our local starlets.
Chris Garneau and Susie Asado at Grüner Salon: "Chris Garneau is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Garneau's sound combines elements of folk, Americana, pop, baroque, and carnival music." Wikipedia can be useful. In my words: The man is a genius and if you are open to unusual singer-songwriter material, Eastern folk music the way Beirut incorporates it, Of Montreal and French film music, you will appreciate this wonderful music. A truly special night and the perfect venue for it.

Future Islands at Schokoladen: I don't really understand how this happened but Future Islands are playing at Schokoladen again. Even though this time they play open air at the Schokoladen yard, I'm pretty sure there will be lots of disappointed people having to leave a sold out venue. Last time Future Islands played at Schokoladen, there were so many people in front of the door that the queue reached the crossroad to Torstraße. After that Future Islands played shows at Lovelite and Berghain. Both being significantly larger than Schokoladen and suggesting that their fanbase didn't shrink immensely since their last Berlin show, we strongly advise you to be super early if you don't want to miss out on this awesome live band and what will probably be an amazing show!
Light Asylum at Festsaal: Former singer of !!! (Chk Chk Chk) with her dark dance project. We are not entirely convinced but we like those earlier !!! records and Friday night is dance night - and dancing is spelled in capitals at a Light Asylum gig. Which is why this doesn't start until 11pm.

Micachu & The Shapes, Kwes and Urban Mutations at Festsaal: What an eclectic line-up! Mica Levi is playing with her Shapes group, mixing R&B with indie electro clash à la Le Tigre or MEN, deifnitely appealing to that audience, too. Kwes comes from a British hip hop and UK garage background and equally dabbles in performing and producing. Urban Mutations list UK Bass and Mutated R&B as some of their genres. It's all going to be bass heavy but also unusual and fun.

Fair Ohs and Phi at Schokoladen: Another great Schokoladen matinée. Be there for 5:30 pm latest and dance to the Fair Ohs, who sound as if you mixed Vampire Weekend with PTTRNS. Yum and fun.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mission of Burma in December

Nice, one of post punk's pioneers, Mission of Burma, will play at Festsaal Kreuzberg on December 12th. They originally broke up in 1983 and reunited again in 2002. Since then they released more records than during their original active time as a band.

Here's the Facebook event page for the concert.