Like singer Eric Paul's other band, The Chinese Stars, Arab On Radar are just one of those bands that are purely addictive. When you first listen to either band you think that they must be absolutely bonkers and you are not sure what to make of it. It's not really experimental, nor straight forward and there is this weirdo element you just cannot shake. But once you have induldged in these Skin Graft acts more than once you cannot stop. Sadly, The Chinese Stars never tour Europe and Arab On Radar split up. But did they? Some time ago, bei Roy were offered a concert by a group named Doomsday Student that nobody was familiar with - until they read the small print and found out that it was Arab On Radar with a new name. Needless to say, J. and I got overly excited and were anticipating this last gig of the season at bei Roy like no other.
Not only was this the last event of the season at bei Roy, it was also the first one that XNormanX, J. and I were all going to be at together. Therefore, when I was making my way from Astra, still high from watching the amazing Villagers, over to bei Roy, I was excited like a teenager on a first date: my two blog buddies, a compeitition winner, and one of my favourite bands were all waiting for me. And I was not going to come away heart-broken - that much I can tell you already.
Having tried to assist some lost souls to find bei Roy (to no avail - they did not want to be helped), I was surprised to find that the room was not as packed as I would have thought. To me, Arab On Radar is a sure room-filler. However, though it was far from sold out, by the time Don Vito took to their instruments admist the audience, a decent sized crowd had gathered. The name Don Vito may sound like some cheesy Italian music to you, but of course that is not what they do, this being a gig at bei Roy and all. Instead, this three-piece plays instrumental spazz core, very rhythmic, and I can tell you it was a crowd-pleaser. The group deserved all the applause they were getting. Very well crafted noise, with fun rhythm changes and unexpected elements like random shouting, certainly had me drawn in. A group of nerds that need to be celebrated. Watch out for their next live performances and make sure you go out and support them. You will like Don Vito, trust me.
While watching Don Vito, I noticed a man next to me wearing nothing but black, except for his shoes, which were a bright orange. The look somehow stuck out. It turned out that this was the stage look for Doomsday Student. In classical San Diego HC fashion (I absolutely know that they are not from San Diego, but you get my gist, it's that kind of scene), they actually go through the exercise of getting a stage look and dressing up accordingly. I admire that attention to detail.
I am not quite sure what I actually expected from them show-wise. Musically, Arab On Radar please the ADS music listener in me very much by packing so much rhythm, melody and spazziness into their short noise pearls. As it turned out, in terms of performance, these guys also know how to suck in the crowd. Eric Paul goes insane, approaches people directly, makes sure you are on the ball and you know who's your daddy. Meanwhile, the band rocks so hard. Granted, I am a huge Eric Paul fan, and The Chinese Stars are one of my absolute all-time favourite bands, so it is hard for me to say a bad word about this, even if I tried. But even if I attempt to be objective, this show with this music was absolutely mind-blowing. And nobody in the room was standing still. People were not dancing as much as I had expected / hoped for, however, the atmosphere was electric and some people seemed to, quite literally, lose their minds. Luckily, Doomsday Student played a relatively long set for a noise band and then even came back for an encore. I dare say there may have been riots otherwise, and I bet it wouldn't have been the first ones that they have caused.
I cannot begin to say how amazing it was for me to witness Eric Paul with his madness and magic. But I am also glad the setting was so right, with a very nice light and video set-up at bei Roy, an appreciative crowd, and a good opening act. I regret that in the heat of the night I forgot to ask Eric Paul where I could still obtain a copy of his book of poetry that he has written and that I have been looking for for years. If someone knows, drop me a line. I sincerely hope Doomsday Student will visit Berlin again in the future and I will say a little prayer every night for the The Chinese Stars to finally make it out here. Until then, there is always this here: