Thursday, 17 January 2013

Review: Anika

There is no doubt that Berghain is one of Berlin's most well-known and unique locations. Unfortunately I don't go there that often, mostly because I'm just not really into electronic dance music in the broadest sense. So this was only my second visit to Berghain, the first being a Bohren & der Club of Gore show some time ago and now again, the occasion couldn't have been more appropriate.

So after waiting in line in front of this massive concrete cube somewhere in between of train rails and huge hardware stores for a while I entered Berghain. Again I was impressed by the architecture and sheer hugeness of the former heating plant. In comparison to other Berlin locations, Berghain really sets the standards quite high.

When I climbed the stairs to enter the main dance floor and concert space, Zebra Katz were already playing. I had not heard them before and, honestly, I was not even prepared for a hip hop act opening this evening. But nonetheless I found this an exhilarant act to start the show with. Zebra Katz is mainly one rapper, this time supported by Njena Reddd Foxxx and an additional DJ. They played a pretty amped queer hip hop set that rested on minimalistic and deep beats. It reminded me of grimey stuff like Dizzee Rascal or probably even something like Missy Elliot. Their show was rather frolic and, well, let's say sexual including their lyrics and their lack of clothing. The audience took their performance really well and went quite wild in front of the stage. So they sort of did a perfect job as an opening act.

They probably did their job a bit too well, because now everybody was totally psyched and craving for more dancy party music. Anika however had something different prepared and when they appeared on stage after some time of rebuilding and just started to play, a huge part of the audience didn't seem to notice and kept on talking and chatting. Like the last time I saw them, it took Anika a few songs to get comfortable and the inattentive audience probably didn't really help with that. It felt as if they played at least the first couple of songs even slower and more staid than they are on the record and to me they also seemed more dark and gloomy. There was lots of reverb on everything and the fog plus the dim lights combined with Berghains industrial ambience did their part to fortify that impression. So basically this was a huge contrast to what happened before and what supposedly was happening after Anikas show. I can totally understand that it might have been hard for people who wanted to dance to simply engage in this change of mood. What I at the same time don't really understand is why so many people had to stay in front of the stage while they kept on chatting pretty loudly. I got decently annoyed to put it nicely.

The show itself was nonetheless great. Anika played most of their songs from the first and, until now, only record plus some newer songs I didn't know (except the great Nirvana - Love Buzz cover that they already played the last time I saw them). Stylistically they stuck to the sound they played before, think of minimalistic and very dub oriented music that lives from repetitive drums, a dry and dull bass and some faint synth and guitar layers. Over everything there's Anikas deep and unagitated voice that strongly reminds of Nico and which really complements well with the music. I was very glad to have seen them in such an amazing location plus I really liked the new songs, so I truly hope they put something out very very soon.

There still was one band more and I guess many people were here just to see them. Now I had listened to Trust before but their music could not get me excited at all. So, since I had seen what I had come for, I decided to leave after Anika had finished.

Oh and, sorry, no photos due to Berghain's no-photo-policy.

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