Tuesday, 30 October 2012


What a weird and disillusioning evening last Thursday was. BODY/HEAD, a new project by Sonic Youth' Kim Gordon and guitar player Bill Nace played the last show on their first European tour at Berghain. Only these facts set me in a crazy fan-boy mood when I first read the announcement. But let me start from the beginning.

I arrived pretty early and was surprised how quiet everything was. Entering Berghain's main hall gave me the creeps. Never seen that place so empty. Some people were drinking at the bar, some were just staring around. A little later Berlin dinoaurs Cobra Killer started their supposedly pumping DJ set by shaking on stage in high heels and ultrashort skirts playing a noisy mixture of dancy songs, weird Schlager and slowed hip hop. I've never understood their live shows and I was glad they didn't pour red wine on themselves this time. Kudos for playing some Silver Apples.

The floor filled a bit but it was still really roomy when Kim and Bill showed up on stage. The moment they started I thought, wow, this guitar sound, this voice, her moves, it's Sonic Youth all over again. I mean the more experimentel stuff, not the song-oriented material. Bill Nace, who is a quite famous guitarist in a certain Free Jazz / Noise scene built up a massive wall of noise and guitar drones while Kim played one chord or used her guitar as a drumset and sang her typical own way. They showed a slowed, old black & white Novelle Vague movie above them. 

After finishing the first song reality kicked you hard. What? That's it? There wasn't any interaction, any dialogue and felt very uninspired. The whole performance with some atonal chords felt so stressed artsy-fartsy, the movie, her moves like lying on stage and raise her guitar. There wasn't any atmosphere and Nace's guitar way too quiet. Don't get me wrong I usually like that stuff, but it has to be done well. They played around an hour and I stayed the whole set and even for the encore, but I was so disappointed afterwards. BODY/HEAD - the name is so ridiculous after this show.

This whole thing makes me really sad, the fact we will never see Sonic Youth live again. But hey, Thurston's new band Chelsea Light Moving sounds very promising and I cannot wait to hear their upcoming record and I think Bill Nace should return to Berlin soon for one of his famous solo shows.

P.S. I did not take any photos because of the Berghain rule, but I saw some from their Leipzig show the day before and it looked exactely the same. See some from Supersonic Festival here.

Review: Holograms + Candice Gordon

It was the most quiet night I have experienced at Kater Holzig so far. Not many people had bothered to make the trek out to the shores of the river Spree. Honestly, with the band being on Captured Tracks, I was expecting the place to be packed, if not at least sufficiently filled. Instead, the crowd that had showed up would not have managed to fill Monarch.

Candice Gordon was opening the evening and positively surprised me. Having listened to some of her material online in the past, I could not really get into it. Live, however, she conveys a great energy and the tradition of blues'n'roll, with a really good support band in tow. A treat.

Holograms suprised me too, but in other ways. Having listened to their album "Monolith" on a daily basis the past few weeks, I had very high hopes for this gig. I even shunned the HEAD/BODY gig in favour of Holograms. You see, on record they wonderfullly combine mid-80s new wave with British punk and throw in some 90s emo guitar references. It's not new, of course not, but the album is well produced and the songs well-written. There is a darkness and so much joy at the same time on there. I cannot stop myself from dancing everytime I put the record on. 

The problem with well produced records is, of course, that it makes it harder to live up to that on a stage. A band like Thee Oh Sees, with their lo-fi records, supersedes expectations everytime. But topping the recording of "Monolith" is another feat. Holograms did not attempt to create something onstage that was not possible, and that is probably a good thing. Trying too hard has never served anyone any favours.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Student bands

We don't always share our competition results. But this time we really thought it worth it. Admittedly, not that many entries for the Doomsday Student competition, but those were priceless. When we asked for your favourite student band we assumed we would get names like Tocotronic or Vampire Weekend. Instead, this is what we got:

Mohasky (student metal)
Knüppel (student noise)
Genghis Tron (experimental student metal)

Without a doubt Knüppel won. Not just because the name sounds like it was generated with an online punk band name tool, but simply because the winner sent us this sweet story and we instantly fell in love with it. Irresistable!

"The best students' band was KNÜPPEL, of course. Ok, I admit, I say that, because it was my school's student band where I played guitars in, but it absolutely relates to Arab on the Radar, too. Well, sort of. Because they had a split with the Locust. In the history of Knüppel, our member Peter managed to put us on the bill with some nice serious hardcore bands like Damnation AD by pretending we would sound like the Locust, which he basically did just because there was one guy thrashing wildly on the stage and abusing a kids' keyboard. Knüppel was not really a serious band and was basically made of all the guys of our highschool age into any kind of music, not so much into playing instruments, but we didn't care and had a lot of fun. Actually, it was interesting to see people beeing absolutely confused if we make noise with any serious approach or really nonsense noise. In our short career throughout the last 2 years of Gymnasium we played 4 gigs I think.

See a video of infamous gig at JUZ Wallerfangen in Saarlouis where people were getting crazy seeing us and  used the chance to destroy their complete interior during the show to get a reason renovating the whole place:"

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Preview: the week ahead (29th Oct - 4th Nov)

Baby it's cold out there. Berlin's music venues are warm and inviting. Come on in!

Le Corps Mince de Françoise (LCMDF) + D E N A at Prince Charles: The Finnish girls in LCMDF are releasing their new record this week. Electro clash for the masses. Go out and support.

Doomsday Student, Don Vito and Mommy Boys bei Roy: Read our competition piece to know what this is about and to see a video that will wet your apetite. In a nutshell: Arab on Radar back on the road with a different name and new songs. Absolute mayhem will ensue. Last bei Roy gig of the year. Party hard.
Chromatics at Berghain: "Gothy italo disco with the guy from Glass Candy". Those are not my words but they describe this outfit perfectly. Unfortunately this gig has been cancelled "due to unforeseeable / private issues." Berghain is trying to put up another date.
Grizzly Bear and Villagers at Astra: When you enter Grizzly Bear into google, the band comes up before the actual animal. Funny. I am not too fussed about the band, though I like the bear. I am, however, very fussed about Villagers, whose dark songwriter material soundtracks grey days for me on a regular basis. So I might just head to Astra for Villagers only, before making my way to Roy.

Death Grips at Festsaal: This is Death Grips' first Berlin show ever and apparently they're everybody's favorite Hip Hop act right now. They play experimental and pretty harsh beats (with Zach Hill from Hella on drums) combined with forward and pissed vocals/raps. Expect it to be fully packed and get your tickets while you still can.
Phoebe Kreutz at Schokoladen: Phoebe Kreutz steps into a long tradition of songwriters with a beautiful voice and an accoustic guitar. And a sense of humour. You will enjoy her mellow songs with clever lyrics. Recommended. Be there for 8pm sharp, Schokoladen and all that.


Dirty Projectors, Doldrums, Callers and Ballet School at Berghain: NYC night at Berghain this Thursday. The line-up is very impressive indeed. Weirdo indie poppers Dirty Projectors return to Berlin and with them a host of neighbours. Doldrums do dark dance. Callers do experimental disco with theatrical vocals. Ballet School are probably my favourite in this list and play romantic indie pop, somewhere along the lines of Dum Dum Girls, but maybe more 80s and less 60s if that makes sense.

Hudson Mohawke at Gretchen: Warp records protégés Hudson Mohawke might just sell out Gretchen. There is a dance music hype in the indie scene you know. Blame !!! (Chk Chk Chk) or MGMT. Or just go along with it.

Dean Dirg, Modern Pets, About:Blanks, Blank Pages, Out on a Limb, Erotic Devices and Latex Lovers at Cassiopeia: I am a big Dean Dirg fan and got well excited when I read that these punk rockers' 10 year anniversay tour brings them to Berlin. The fest also includes a chunky line-up of local stars. A good fun night.
Lambchop at Apostel Paulus Kirche: Heroes of orchestrated folk playing in the perfect setting. Beautiful. Wonderful.

Shearwater at Kantine am Berghain: And if, after your Lambchop experience the night before, you yearn for more beautifully crafted indie folk music, head over to Berghain's Kantine on Sunday to watch Shearwater play. You will get your fix.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Final birthday competition - the BIG one

October is drawing to an end and with that the month of our two year anniversary. And of course we have saved the mightiest for last. 

Berlin based booking agency Puschen is as excited about our two year existence as we are. Therefore, one lucky winner gets to choose one concert from the Puschen Berlin gig listings in November and December. And you get to take a friend of course. Email us by end of day Wednesday, 31 October 2012, and tell us your favourite song about Berlin.

Bands on Puschen's roster playing in Berlin in November include DIIV (see our review), Hundred Waters, Deerhoof, Chris Cohen, Destroyer, Misssion of Burma, and more. It's not hard to decide whether to enter the competition or not. It's hard to decide which gig to choose should you win.

Review: Quintron & Miss Pussycat

Quintron & Miss Pussycat is a set format with which you know what are going to get but which will never disappoint. It is comforting and reassuring. You are going to dance, you are going to laugh and you are going to feel that little bit more liberated than you did before.

We arrived way too early when we entered the playground that is Kater Holzig at 10 pm. The room was deserted, so with a drink in hand we hung out for a while. In hindsight it was the perfect start to the evening - a hang out with good DJ music and some chatting. It served a purpose - we really got into the mood for puppet theatre followed by a crazy dance party. Luckily, by the time the show started an hour and a half later, the room was
sufficiently filled.

It is hard to describe a puppet show by Miss Pussycat, but you can check out
one of her videos on the internet for you to comprehend what I am talking about. It is certainly adult humour, usually involves the quirky characters experiencing something out of this world and almost always ends with a party. This night's Halloween themed show was no exception. My favourite parts are always when the actual stage hut becomes a character in itself or when characters in the show blow up with confetti. Wonderful.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Shabazz Palaces kinda day

Only 19 sleeps until Shabazz Palaces will transform Festsaal Kreuzberg into experimental Hip Hop heaven. Until then check out this link for one of my current favourites, Battles' "White Electric" remixed by Shabazz Palaces. Oh yum!

Review: Dope Body

Of course I knew Dope Body was going to be brutal and loud. But whoa!!

I said it in my preview: Over the past few years, I have been missing bands like Karp or Helmet to shake up the scene. Dope Body have changed this. Signed to Drag City, a label I somehow associate with tamer acts, the band are causing a stir with bringing back brutal noise yet adding rhythmic elements that allow for a dance-hungry crowd to get its fix.

And that is what happened the other night when the quartet from Baltimore played legendary West Germany - a perfect fit. After Novo Line had played his monotonous dance music set with positive reception from concert attendees, Dope Body took over the room with their madness. While the musicians played the songs with precision onstage, singer Andrew Laumann spent the entire set among the audience, dancing wildly with people. And everyone joined in, some even pogo dancing. Though the gig was not sold out, it was attended enough to get a really good atmosphere going with a lot of dancing, smiling and general happiness. Even technical microphone issues could not stop us having fun.

Musically, the band's metal and punk influences were more apparent live than on record. And that was fine. You want it to sound more raw live, you want to feel that energy.

When it was all over, the floor was soaked from sweat, a look into people's faces spelled exhaustion and I felt a contention and ease that only comes from getting all your energy out at a good noise gig. We hung around a bit, chatting to friends about the experience we had just had and listening to some old rock records. A successful night all around.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Review: Liars

Although I'm still not the biggest fan of their newest record, I have to say Liars did impress me yesterday.

I have already seen Liars live three times and have mostly very positive memories of said shows. Even though my favorite show still remains the one in 2004 when they had just released their second record (and possibly my personal favorite of them)  They Were Wrong, So We Drowned and completely blew me away, the two other shows in between then and now (one at Festsaal Kreuzberg some years ago and the one at Volksbühne, together with Health) still were at least pretty good. In the end Liars also seem to be one of our blog favorites (see our last review here), so I knew this couldn't possibly go completely wrong.

Now touring with a recently released new record, it was very likely that they would also want to play these new songs live. As I said I'm still not that fond of WIXIW but I also don't really dislike it. It's a mostly electro dominated record and the thing I really appreciate about it is that Liars do on it what they do best: mess with people's expectations. They have managed to release six records altogether and every single one of them sounds somewhat different than the others. This way they have made many stylistic transitions from something like dancey post punk to experimental and noisy avant garde music, threw in an almost "rocky" record and released another one that was mainly based on drums as the central concept. And I liked every single one of them.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Review: King Khan & BBQ Show + BIKES

King Khan manages to positively surprise me time and again. When I think of the man, I somehow always think of in-your-face antics and insanity. He somehow conveys that idea and image. In reality though, he appears to be an unexpectedly mellow fellow with a good sense of rhythm and an unusual dress sense. When paired with Mark Sultan, aka BBQ, only magic can ensue.

A couple of years back, King Khan and Mark Sultan announced the discontinuation of their project. Having managed to sustain it across continents for a while, it seemed logical that this was not going to work like a regular band. Therefore, the announcement of their Festsaal gig was greeted with surprise and cheer. On the night, you could feel the excitement people felt over this performance taking place.

You know the weather is changing when there are actually people inside Festsaal inbetween bands.  And wow, they were so up for a jig, dancing their socks off to the most fantastic set by DJ Lobotomy. A relaxed and dance-hungry crowd is certainly my kind of crowd and was a nice change from the night before

This played into the hands of support band BIKES, who played nice traditional garage rock but did not have to try too hard to get folks moving. They were willing to dance and this is what they did. BIKES merely supplied the soundtrack with their solid long set and their Kinks looks.

By the time, the stage set-up of Egyptian looking statues was revealed, the lights dimmed and the costumes put on, the crowd was mad for action. The headline act hit the first note and wild dancing instantly set in, on and off stage. My, King Khan is swell dancer, Mark Sultan a great performer (reminding me of Matt Lucas' drumming baby in Shooting Stars), and their audience appreciative. Dancing and smiling, on the floor and on the balcony. A party.

Musically, the duo play garage rock, no doubt, but their unusual set-up (Mark Sultan plays a self-built drum set only with his feet while playing guitar with his hands), their crazy costumes (for this show ancient Egyptian themed) and their apparent fun while playing takes their music beyond just garage rock and into the realms of performance art. Yet, their songs are fun, easy to sing along to, and incredibly dancable.

I doubt that anyone left disappointed that night. We all had way too much fun and I wish I could do it all over tonight, or maybe tomorrow, or how about once a week?

Birthday competition III: Doomsday Student

Do you remember Arab on Radar? No? Well, shame on you! One of the best bands on the infamous Three One G label - and that list is impressive - their mad noise records are still favourites of J. and I. So oh joy! when we found out that there is a new project by those guys named Doomsday Student and they are stopping by Roy next week. 

In fact, we got so excited, we figured this was worth a competition for you. So we present to you our third competition to mark our 2-year-anniversary: Email us by end of day Sunday, 28 October, your favourite student band and you could win two guest list spaces to Doomsday Student's gig at bei Roy on 31 October. Hell, you could even be dancing with us in person. Now take that for an incentive!

You know you cannot miss this kind of mayhem, right?

Preview: the week ahead (22nd - 28th October)

Goodness, what a week it's been and what a week ahead. Berlin's crazy autumn is what we like to call this madness. Enjoy it while it lasts. In January, you will long for those weeks when there was a good gig on every night of the week!

Liars and Land Observations at Festsaal: See my review of their album release show earlier this year. I love Liars, I love their new album and J. and I will be there cheering them on. A great band and this is going to be a great night.

Chain & the Gang and K-Holes at Festsaal: Read our previous review. Show up. Dance your little butts off. See you there, yeah yeah!
Rocky Votolato, Chuck Ragan, Cory Branan, Emily Barker and Joe Ginsberg at SO36: Ex-HC folks turned singer-songwriter evening at SO36. This could turn out real cosy and fun. We have featured Rocky Votolato and Chuck Ragan before - the others fit into that world, too.
Gerda Blank and The Summer Rebellion at Knochenbox: Gerda Blank are clearly influenced by Fugazi, but they seem to call garage rock their home, too. Danceable guitar music for your attention.

BODY/HEAD and Cobra Killer at Kantine am Berghain: Remember the long doodly experimental guitar bits in Sonic Youth? Well, Kim Gordon has made a project of it named BODY/HEAD. Exciting stuff. This Thursday in the cosy Kantine.
Talibam! + Marrow Mandler + Urge at Loophole: Noise hip hop mash-up project Talibam! are a curious act I always try to have on my radar. I don't really know what to make of this duo to this day but I can't deny I continue to be intrigued. Go see for yourself.
Holograms at Kater Holzig: Captured Tracks are definitely my label of the year. Every band on their label that has passed through town has managed to give a fantastic performs and make live music exciting again. So here comes another, this time from Sweden. Holograms definitely like early 80s British punk and wave. So do I. Meet me there.

Strange Forces and The History Of Colour TV at Naherholung Sternchen: Strange Forces nicely fit into the new wave of wave music that's going around just now. They add some atomspheric soundscapes to their version of it. A hip night for hip people with good music. Sounds like my kinda Friday night.  

Digger Barnes w/ Diamond Road Show at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Regular readers will know J. and my love for Digger Barnes and his side-kick Pencil Quincy. Or is it the other way round? Anyhoo, read our review I and II and enjoy the magic on the big screen at Festsaal this Saturday.
Nadja and Bee and Flower at West Germany: Nadja (search the craze for a million pre- and reviews) are releasing their record this week and have made West Germany their venue of choice. Support from American-German project Bee & Flower.
Bye Roy with Robotron, P.U.F.F., SFTSTPS, Debmaster, Grrranschinuts and Zentralheizung des Todes: It's that time of year again. Winter is approaching and heatingless bei Roy has to go into hybernation until the spring. Naturally, they are celebrating this in style with a grand line-up. It's going to be a big paaaardy.
Cut Hands at NK: Ok, so I get excited easily. But this is exciting stuff. Cut Hands is a rhythm project by William Bennett of Whitehouse. He explores African drumming and mythology with the help of a variety of equipment and his songs are bound to get more than one person into an exstatic trance. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Review: Man Forever

Sort of exactly matching my mood, Man Forever was or were pretty good yesterday at West Germany. I didn't know much about Man Forever before except that it's the "solo project" of John Colpitts aka. Kid Millions, when he's not busy playing with Oneida. But since I have a deep affection for all things Oneida related, just because they're an incredible band (read our review from them playing last year's Puschen Fest here), I had high hopes in this being good.

It took a while until anything eventually happened and West Germany was actually full enough. Before the concert there were some visuals and videos shown and the show itself was also introduced by a video of a music/dance performance piece by Man Forever.

A part of the concept of Man Forever playing live is that he invites local musicians to join him on stage for the evening. So besides himself on the snare drum he gathered around two more drummers on the exact same snare drum, a bassist and guitarist and a key/organ player.
The show started with two drummers playing a constant drum roll that lasted throughout the whole set. By and by, more of the other instruments and the third drummer joined in and everything formed a single pulsating drone. There was no melody, no recognizable structure and no real "beat" in the literal sense. It was more a repetitive and ruminant wall of feedbacks and hum, accompanied by the uninterrupted and constant drumming of three people on the same snare drum. It somehow had a very relaxing quality to me and I wish I had been able to sit down while watching. I have no real idea how long the show lasted, I'd guess something about 30 minutes and it ended with a relieving final stroke on the drums.

My 'Oneida plus related things' affection has once again been confirmed, this was a pretty intense and worthwhile experience.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Crystal Castles at Platz der Luftbrücke

Crystal Castles' latest video off the forthcoming new album (III) is set at Platz der Luftbrücke of all places. How about that. I am a little disappointed with the song - it's not quite as raw and powerful as some of their older material. You can watch them play at Postbahnhof on 8 December btw.

Man Forever competition result

Ok, honestly, when we asked for "the manliest man in rock history", we thought we were going to be getting names like Bruce Springsteen, Henry Rollins or maybe even someone like Ian Svenonious. No sir! 

From what we got, the winning entry turned out to be Guy Piccioto of Fugazi fame, though he does a lot of things and was spotted a while back performing with Mt. Zion. A worthy choice. The winner has been notified - have fun at the musical improvisation project Man Forever at West Germany tonight. 

In the meantime, here is a video in which Guy Piccioto not only shows off his dance moves (yum! if there was ever a better dancer...), but also tends to an audience member who is not well. What a man!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review: Jason Lescalleet + Stephan Mathieu + Valerio Tricoli

Ausland on Lychener Straße is one of the last remaining cultural spaces in Prenzlauer Berg. Alright, there is still the Duncker Club, Wabe and the more touristy locations around Eberswalder Straße. Nevertheless, Ausland is a place with history, opened in the early 90s as Lychi 60 and renamed to Ausland in 2003, specialising in experimental music since the beginning. I think I saw The Flying Luttenbachers 3 times there. Always fun.

Last Thursday a big line-up in dark ambient / drone was on their program. This could be good or really bad. I hate to watch some dudes behind their laptops (checking e-mails) pretening to play live music and not just pressing Play. Well, this night was different. We got something to see. 

Berlin-based Valerio Tricoli started, operating a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Crackling, fragmented sounds mixed with low frequencies. Someone said afterwards it sounded like a horror movie. I guess he was right. 

Stephan Mathieu was next, playing a composition by Japanese composer Yoshi Wada. A piece originally written for 2 celli was now performed by him with a zither and 6 E-bows. A very challenging gig with slowly changing drones. To be honest, I was more concentrating on his shaking hands than on the music. I think it was pretty good. 

Jason Lescalleet from the States got my attention just recently by releasing an awesome record with Aaron Dilloway. He played last on a massive table with keyboards, a tape recorder, effects and much more. Very impressive and his sound was much noisier than the other ones before. A dark soundtrack to a late evening. He ended his (maybe 15 minutes too long) set with a creepy slowed version Q Lazzarus' Goodbye Horses.

We left Ausland tired and exhausted, but happy and promised to return soon. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Competition overload: Man Forever

Here is another competition, not directly related to our second birthday but rather because we are nice people like that. Or to be precise, promoters in this town are nice people, offering us these gems.

Send us an email to win @ thecraze dot de by end of day Thursday (18 October), stating who you think the manliest man in rock history is, and you may win two tickets to the musical performance project Man Forever at West Germany this Friday, 19 October. A night to blow your mind - check out our preview for more information.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Birthday competition numero II

Y'all! While we are still running competition I (ends tonight - get those Dope Body tickets!), we have crafted the next one for you already. 

This one is a little less work on your part than the last one was. Just tell us your favourite party song by end of day Sunday, 21 October in an email to win at thecraze dot de. We choose a winner and that lucky person gets to party hard with us at the Chain & The Gang gig at Festsaal on 24 October. You can bring a friend, too. We are going to celebrate in style. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Preview: the week ahead (15th - 21th Oct)

No rest for the wicked. Orchestra of Spheres tonight. The Jay Reatard documentary night tomorrow. And then a packed week ahead:
Noveller, Aidan Baker and Sferics at Loophole: Noveller = atmospheric and ambient sound scapes produced by one lady with the help of a computer set-up and a guitar. It's high eyebrow kind of stuff. No vocals. Support from two familiar local faces.
Why? and Balam Acab at Volksbühne: Intelligent crossover post rock from celebrated alternative group Why?. I have no idea whether this is sold out or not but it is most likely going to be a good show. 
Dope Body and Novo Line at West Germany: I used to listen an aweful lot to brutal groups like Helmet and Karp and as much as I still listen to those old albums, I miss a modern equivalent that just pumps me when I need it. So thank you Dope Body for coming along, who are just that little bit more weird, dancable and add unexpected elements here and there. I have very high expectations for this and invite you to join us by entering our competition, which ends tomorrow night. We are giving away two tickets, so give this a go.

John Cale at Passionskirche: This musical legend turned 70 earlier this year. A possibly rare chance to see the man at a relatively cosy venue. A truly special night.
Simon Reynolds lecture/reading at Monarch: The great Ventil Verlag just released the German translation of Simon Reynolds latest book Retromania and they are presenting it with a book tour through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxemburg. First stop will be at Monarch and will "involve a new talk + readings from the book + Q/A with the audience." Also you can read an interview with Reynolds about his ideas and theories here.
Seams at Bi Nuu: Music for dreamers - that pretty much describes Seams. With elements of folk, beat and sometimes electronica, some songs are dancy, others relaxing, but all of them mellow and an invitation to let your mind wonder. Pretty neat. 

Steve Gunn at Monarch: Guitar virtuoso with a bluesy folk voice in the cosy setting of Monarch. Sound like a relaxed night.
Patrick Wolf at Passionskirche: We almost missed this one. Passionskirche gigs don't always show up in our research results. Mr. Wolf from Souf Lund'n is a wonderful camp dance genius. I do not actually listen to his music unless it plays on the radio and I honestly doubt I would ever buy a single track. But I mean c'mon, where are those pop idols these days? Who are the Duran Durans or the Marc Almonds of our time? We need people like Mr. Wolf to keep pop alive. For fans of 80s over-the-top pop.
Knifefight! at Ma Thilda: Folk music project by members of Glasses and Trainwreck. A neat evening with nice people.
Man Forever at West Germany: Thrill Jockey pretty much always is a guarantee for quality acts and bands and Man Forever is no exception. Probably better known for being a drummer for Oneida (read our review here), John Colpitts aka. Kid Millions realizes a pretty interesting concept with this project. This is no band in the traditional way but "a participatory yet not improvised project. A new type of band that requires no traditional 'growing together' but a workshop prior to the performance." Local musicians participating will be announced, so prepare yourself for something unique this Friday.

Toby Goodshank and Diane Cluck at Villa Neukölln: I have never heard of this venue before (find it here) but Toby Goodshank is definitely worth a visit. He plays lo-fi indie folk music and is somehow part of this anti-folk thing that's been going on for quite some time now. He played guitar in the Moldy Peaches and toured with Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson. I saw him playing in a bar earlier this year and he's very entertaining and fun to watch.


UV Glaze, Diät, PissBloodygrave & Die Lust! and DJs at bei Roy: Nice package and possibly a very cool evening at bei Roy. Besides the bands that are all worth a listen, there will be self built photo- and videobooths, ghetto tattoos and some trash burlesque and drag performance. More info on the facebook event page.
Quintron and Miss Pussycat at Kater Holzig: AAAAaaaahhh, the Vorfreude is unbearable! Perfect venue, too. Just trust C* when she says it was the gig of 2010 and that you cannot possibly miss this. Be there and dance the night away to Mr. Quintron's organ. Yeah Yeah, whoop whoop!


The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation at Festsaal Kreuzberg: What better way to end a busy week with some dark and doomy jazz. If you like Bohren & der Club of Gore, this might be your thing although The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble sounds a bit more accessible. So now, what's with all these mountains and the dark/doom jazz connection?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Tomorrow! Saturday! Orchestra of Spheres! Yum!

Oh my, we do slack sometimes, don't we! The lovely ladies at Julie Tippex had to remind me of this one today and I realised it was missing from our preview. Shame on us!

Please meet me tomorrow, Saturday, at West Germany, when Orchestra of Spheres will mesmerise us with their weird and wonderful mash up music. You may feel like you are joining a church when the oddly dressed creatures in this group hit the stage and you feel a trance coming over you. But we promise you: you may be enlightened by the time you leave West Germany but you will not have signed your life away.

See you there!

P.S.: Image this in a small and hot West Germany! Can you afford to miss this? I know the answer.

Review: Deep Time

There was a time when every new record on K Records or Kill Rock Stars or Troubleman got me excited. And boy, they released a lot of records in the late 90s. I was part of Kill Rock Stars' singles club and my bf at the time was label managing K Records for Europe, bringing home 7" after 7" of bands nobody will remember today. Admittedly, their output was possibly a litte elaborate and not very selective. But there was a certain feel and community spirit that came with every single release that just drew me in. 

Of course, Kill Rock Stars went on to become a successful label with releases by artists like Elliott Smith and Sleater Kinney, making us all very proud. I am glad to report that K Records also survived tough industry times, though I believe they do not churn out releases like they used to. It sometimes feels like there was a time and place for lo-fi pop, spoken word 7"s and riot grrl punk. Then again, I think so many great bands today would not exist if it wasn't for that scene back in the 90s. And I do get my nostalgic moments for that sound, but then I go to see bands that promise me feelings of a forgotten time, just to realise there was a time and place and it's not coming back and that's fine. Then Deep Time offered me a new point of view the other night.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Review: Jaill

How much does the setting for a gig influence your impression of the performance given? Arguably a lot. 

I fell in love with Jaill's songs a little while ago when researching upcoming gigs for the year. The material I found online invoked nostalgic memories of the music of my mid-90s youth, yet got me excited about the here and now and a wave of good bands rediscovering fuzzy indie guitar rock music. Nothing that they do is new but their sound brings me comfort. Hence, I was very much looking forward to seeing this played live.

I arrived at Comet just when the band was ascending the stage. And the room was almost empty. My heart sank. I have witnessed a few practically unattended gigs at Comet. It does not matter how well the artists perform, there is energy lacking when there is no audience to play to. Sure enough, the first couple of songs felt lifeless. To my surprise, one of the group plays a Korg, something I couldn't really hear but may explain why they feel modern on record despite their obvious references to music played 20 years agos. To make matters worse, there seemed to be technical sound troubles. It felt a little bit like this was a rehearsal with a few folks watching.

The set picked up engery as it progressed and people started dancing a little. A couple more couples (it looked like date night in there) turned up. Things were getting better. Unfortunately, I had lost interest a little by then.

There is American music that does not really translate well to Europe. A lot of classic rock feels that way, and so does college rock. This particular performance implied that Jaill's punked up college rock might fall victim to that problem. But the recorded material convinces me. And so I suspect that the setting tainted my view of Jaill and their music. Therefore, I shall persist in listening to the songs until next time when they hit this town. I shall go again and I shall see what to make of it then. Until then, I shall pretend Monday night did not happen.

P.S.: No pictures as I forgot bring my, ahem, camera.

Review: Dent May

There are times in our lives when we resort to pop music. We all have our Abba, our Whitney, our Madonna or our Supremes moments. Many of us give Mr. Simon's Gracelands a regular listen or cannot live without the Beach Boys. That night on my way to Monarch, running into a punk street fest on Dresdner Straße, I did not even know I needed a pop moment. But that was what I got and I liked it.

Dent May used to be famous for playing the Ukelele. It looks like he ditched that little beauty for this tour. Or maybe forever, I don't actually know. But he has brought with him a guitar and a very mixed group of fellow musicians. They almost looked like a boy group in that they all seemed to represent a different type of musical genre. Thus, there was something for everyone here, most of all a varied musical night. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Birthday competition I

Darlings of this town! The Craze is turning 2 years old and we like to celebrate in style. Let us present to you our first birthday competition to mark this occasion. Over the coming weeks of October, we will post more competitions in a similar vein, giving you the chance to win an array of wonderful concert tickets.

It's been a turbulent two years, but mostly, we have had an awful lot of fun. We feel it our ongoing duty to document this fun with our reviews. Therefore, we call on you to chip in. Send us photographs of concerts from the past two years. They don't have to be perfect, we're totally fine with your cellphone snapshots or whatever you have! Alternatively, you can also enter scanned flyers, posters, etc. as long as it has something to do with live concerts in Berlin. Use the win @ thecraze dot de address and enter your goodies before 7 pm this coming Sunday night.

We pick a winner from the entries and that lucky person wins 2 tickets to the highly anticipated and brutal Dope Body gig at West Germany this coming Monday, 15 October. This band rocks so hard and we expect some absolute madness. A chance to win over the lady of your heart with your wacky noise nerdiness? An opportunity to go crazy with your bestie? Whatever, we don't care! But we'll meet you there!

Naturally, we credit all entries that we publish. If you give us a website address or similar, we will publish this too, hopefully giving you some well-deserved traffic.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Quick review: The KVB

King Kong Klub - new territory to me. I have somehow never ended up there, in all my years as a live music nerd in Berlin. I am not quite sure what I expected, I suppose more of a classic club and less of a shopfront turned bar. Not that it matters. Although, it does. Because of noise complaints from neighbours, KKK now has to apply muffling on all live music, provoking "Louder!" shouts from the audience during the set. The atmosphere at KKK is a little lo-fi White Trash, though I have been informed that KKK existed before White Trash. Red walls, Chinese decorations, kitch prints, a plastic palm tree. 

I can see garage punk really work there actually. Or some singer-songwriter material. As it stood, it was possibly the wrong setting for The KVB, a young girl-boy duo from England that engage in the current wave of hip dark wave meets psychedelic music played with guitar, drum machine and keyboards. It's the kind of music which requires a dark setting and a loud output to draw in the audience. But the audience was chatting away, the lighting fairly bright and the bar in full swing. The KVB seemed to provide the background sound but didn't manage to make it quite to the main attraction.

The group are not to blame in my eyes. The music is well-written, even if the energy is lacking a little in their live performance. They appeal to the same crowd like Moon Duo but I suppose they are 15 years the Americans' junior and don't have an extensive record collection or Wooden Shjips career under their belts. But I see great things coming for this young two-piece and their well-crafted songs.

The evening turned out to be more of a "hang out in a bar with mates" and less of a revealing musical experience. For this Friday night that was OK. Next time The KVB return to town I shall venture out again and give them another try in another setting. I have a feeling it will be swell.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Preview: the week ahead (8th - 14th Oct)

You could stay in and play Guitar Hero. Or you could go out and hang out with actual guitar heros. Here is where to find them over the course of the coming week.

Jaill at Comet Club: C*'s gig of the week! When I think of Sub Pop I think of a lot of great indie and punk rock in the 90s. Like most independent labels, Sub Pop have widened the musical spectrum on the label and have thus managed to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive market. But Jaill are your typical Sub Pop band, the way they used to sound. They play good and accessible indie nerd rock, a little modernised with some surf elements and a sense of humour, and send me back to my indie pop days. Post punk indie music that I am missing a little these days. I'm up for it. Meet me there on Monday!

Enchanted Hunters and Joe McKee at Madame Claude: Enchanted Hunters' twee folk music has caught my attention and imagination. While Beirut tries to make his music sound Eastern European, these girls deliver the real deal. Absolute magic. Joe McKee is not the Scottish football player, bu the singer-songwriter. In the cosy rooms of Madame Claude, this will be a very nice calm and beautiful evening. Show up!

The Pharmacy, Ill Winds and SFTSTPS at Loophole: This feels like a classical Berlin music night out to me. All bands have played in this town before and almost feel like locals, even they are not. The Pharmacy = surfy and whacky indie rock (for those who enjoyed Jaill on Monday). Ill Winds = local stars that we have featured before (wavey indie pop). SFTSTPS = another local project that experiments with sound samples and knobs and buttons. A varied and interesting night.
White Hills and Expo `70 at White Trash: The three D's. Deep, dark and droney rock music from the talented duo White Hills, a band whose atypical home is the admired Thrill Jockey label. A highly anticipated gig.

Saturday (also called Disco Sat)

Trust and Dan Bodan at Kantine am Berghain: Of course we are not talking about the French metal band. This Trust is essentially techno, though they draw from a lot of genres to make their music interesting. Originally, Trust featured one of the core members of Austra, giving you an idea of musical direction. Kantine is certainly a small venue to play for this much hyped project. If you like your techno rave or just want a really good dance this Saturday, head to Kantine early.
Candie Hank aka Patric Catani at Haus der Berliner Festspiele: Fun performance art with humorous lyrics, some dancable electronic beats and just general weirdness. Be at HdBF for some whacky fun at 10:15 pm for a good laugh and dance.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Quick review: Ted Leo + Rebecca Gates

What we had expected: queues on the stairs up to Monarch, people begging us to sell them our tickets, a smokey and cramped atmosphere with girls taking pictures of Ted Leo. What we got: a half-empty room, only familiar faces (as in: we knew 80 % of the audience personally) and literally not one person in front of the stage when Rebecca Gates started her set. We were surprised and a little shocked.

Rebecca Gates gave it her all. But she also announced Ted's performance several times. I suppose she knew that people were not familiar with her work and had come to see Ted Leo play. She is very charming and her set was good and varied. However, unless you have listened to her music before, it is a little hard to appreciate her songs when she is playing without a band. She would have definitely benefitted from a couple of fellow musicians and an audience of some capacity. We didn't feel the energy at all unfortunately and I suppose it just wasn't her night.

Ted Leo on the other hand is as good without a band as he is with a band. His signature post-punk rock-pop sound and distinct voice work in any set-up and draw people in. Add his sense of humour and rebel politics into the mix and you have a performer that does not only have a die-hard following but will turn any half-empty bar into a ball. We love this man, and have done so ever since his old Sin-Eaters days. He just never grows old and we never grow tired of his songs that speak to us about life and love.

We had a great night but we left with a little bit of a heavy heart, having hoped that a few more people had made the effort to show up. Until next time.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Quick review: Cave + Camera

.HBC's website may state that the club is currently closed, but I was there last night, confirming that the venue has reopened and not much has changed.

When I went to .HBC in the past, gigs always started early. Therefore, we arrived at Alexanderplatz at 9 pm, not wanting to miss Camera, a band I have been disappointed and mesmerised by on previous occasions. By now I am just so intrigued by this trio. However, not only were we an hour early to the original start time of the concert, Camera also came onstage with a half hour delay, after missing their percussionist. When everyone was already assuming that they were not going to perform, a befriended drummer stood in and played one song with the band. Of course one song is not a set, but at least this group's songs are very long and very good. They gave a sterling performance, albeit a distinctly too short one. All the audience's pleas for more were in vain - the band could not play more without their original band member. Overall, another odd experience with Berlin's most promising local group.

Cave delivered exactly what I had expected. Some of their songs are absolute pearls of instrumental psychedelic wave music, others are just so-so, a little bit on the funky side, and would be well-placed as background film music. And this is what it feels like live, too. Some songs just gripped me so hard, moved people to dance freely in the half-filled cinema room. And others just made you watch on, nice songs but nothing that leads to you to yearn for more. When the already oxygen lacking room started to really fill with cigarette smoke, after about six to seven songs, I had to make my exit. I was actually starting to feel nauseous and was getting coughing fits, which is unusual for me in my career as a die-hard punk venue attendee. 

A good night, though a little odd and lengthy. We got home and wondered what that was all about but were glad to have seen Cave play. I just hate to miss out on a good band, even if the evening unfolds differently than originally envisioned.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Late notice: The KVB this week

Y'all, I have missed this amazing gig off our preview this week. Forgive me, god of music! The wonderful UK group The KVB is playing at King Kong Klub on Friday and I will be there, swinging and dancing to their wave music. You enjoyed the Dead Skeletons gig? This is your cup of tea then! My bf says everything I listen to these days sounds like a variation on Neu! and he might be right there. See you Friday!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Review: Daniel Bachman

Nightlife in Berlin is unbelievable sometimes. Like last Friday. Torche played at Bi Nuu, Deep Time at Schokoladen, Aidan Baker and Noveller had their tour-starting-gig and, well, a couple more concerts I can't remember. Someone called it First-World-Problem, I guess this person was right.

I decided to see Daniel Bachman at Frollein Langner in Neukölln. A young and promising guitar player from the States playing some kind of instrumental finger picking guitar. Before him El Gos Binari tried to get the attention of the audience. It didn't worked out, well, not his fault. To play in the middle of a packed bar in Neukölln on Friday night didn't seem like a good idea. Anyway, El Gos Binari reminded me lot of Dustin Wong meets Animal Collective. One guy, a guitar and a lots of pedals.

After a short break Daniel Bachman tuned his Guild guitar and played like no one was there. Just him and his sound. Not this blues- or folky style of sound, more an attempt to follow Robbie Basho or Jack Rose. I can't believe how good he is at this young age. Frollein Langer was still crowded and only a handful was interested in his performance. Too bad for everyone. Nevertheless I enjoyed it a lot.

Fortunately, he played a second gig on Saturday at Madame Claude's. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to this one, but a trustworthy source told me that it was more quiet this time, but also more reserved. The good news is he'll return in May next year, so mark you calendars. Also, his new record on Tompkins Square is coming out soon. 

Death Grips release new record for free download

Death Grips, the awesome experimental hip hop project including amongst others no other than Zach Hill from Hella, just released their newest record No Love Deep Web for free download!
Apparently they have some strong disagreements with their record label and decided to take matters in their own hands and just put it out for everyone to download.
It's available on their website (attn: nswf), on youtube and on various filehosting sites (here, here and here).

Death Grips are also playing their first Berlin show ever on the 1st of November at Festsaal Kreuzberg (facebook event for that here), it's going to be a blast and I'm so looking forward to this! 
Check out a live video from one of their performances below.