Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Late review: Teen

OK, so first I hyped that Teen show like crazy, just to then never tell you how that actually went. Well, children, let me tell you a tale from back in March.

I mostly discover new music through my own blog, through The Craze. This may sound weird but that is how it goes. When I enter gigs into the calendar, I always give them a quick listen to see whether I actually think they are worthy of our calendar. Sometimes I like what I hear and I may do a little research on the artist. Sometimes I really like what I hear and I get semi-obsessed for a while. This is what happened to me with Teen.

Once I had listened to "Better" and watched the DIY video the band had made for this, there was no turning back. It was only when I started reading up about these femmes that I discovered the Here We Go Magic connection, another band that I am rather fond of, though maybe not as consistently. Here We Go Magic really do have magically beautiful pop songs, but a lot of fillers too, I guess. Their sound is also commerically digestible enough that even though I do love their records, it doesn't make you feel cool and special for listening to them. This may sound incredibly pretentious - and I am well aware of that - though it's the truth and, I dare say, not just for me. Every band that really fastinates you usually gives you the listening pleasure paired with a je-ne-sais-quoi that helps you feel cool at the same time.

Teen gave me this feeling instantly. The songs on "In Limbo" are catchy yet have a certain beat, guitar grittiness, and organ weirdness, which, when listened to in the car or with headphones while walking the streets, make you feel très special. Every person who I gave a ride to while listening to Teen would instantly ask "Who is this?". How cool was I?

Monday, 27 May 2013

Preview - the week ahead (27th May - 2nd June)

Finally, Teenitus week is here! What else is there to say to introduce this week?!

Chris Cohen at Haus Ungarn: Fluffy and catchy indie rock from an ex-Deerhoof member.

Swans at Volksbühne: The wonderful, the one and only, in a beautiful setting. ‘Nuff said.

Shellac at Berghain: Shellac from North America, probably THE one noise-rock band, is back for one of their rare live shows. While they played at Maria the last time, this time you’ll have the privilege of seeing them at Berghain, probably Berlin’s most Shellac worthy location. It’s kind of impossible to point out a single show of the week this time but Shellac come really really close...

Teenitus Festival: The first day is here, finally! The local booking agency obsessed with all things meat is throwing a very extravagant party for you, taking over Monarch, Festsaal, and West Germany for three whole days. Look at the program and timetable to get wet at the thought of experiencing all this in just three days. I am just going to highlight a couple of things that get me excited because, frankly, I do not have the time to go through every single one, which I would have to, to be fair. Tonight’s highlight for me is Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap dance competition at Monarch. I reckon you cannot actually miss this. He was DJing at I’ll Be Your Mirror and, boy, did we have a good time! Also don't miss Mouse on Mars at Festsaal on this opening night and check out the Exhibition that will be open on all three days!

Teenitus Festival: C*'s highlights today shall be Night Beats, 60s sounding garage rock from Texas, at West Germany, and White Fence at Festsaal, who I saw a while ago at West Germany and liked what I heard (review here). J.'s highlights from this day are Palais Schaumburg and Felix Kubin.

Purling Hiss and Dope Body at Marie-Antoinette: We have reviews (Purling Hiss here and Dope Body here) from both bands’ previous shows: garage rock party and full-on brutality with a fun element. Be there!

Teenitus Festival at Festsaal, Monarch, and West Germany: Last day and the one that gets C* the most excited. Dirty Beaches and Dawn Hunger (Fuck Buttons side project anyone?!) at Festsaal. Yum yum yum! And don't miss Zebra Katz if you're looking for a crazy dancy hip hop party!

Yuro Chain at Untertitel: Experimental, industrial trash noise, dancable. Since freezing his other project, Trojan Hourse Rotovator, we don’t really know what is to await us. But we assume it will be along those lines. Sounds good to us!

Vessels at Kantine: Instrumental soundscape music, at times percussion heavy, to let you dream the night away. Highly recommended.
Fol Chen at about:blank: Funky, intelligent dance music for those party hungry young people out there. Very good fun and very shake-your-booty.
Tav Falco's Panther Burns at Bassy: Old school garage’n’roll and a legend, you may want to consider this if you are the garage and rock’n’roll fan that you may be.

Come and Bleached at Festsaal: Indie noise rock legends from the US of A x 2. Cannot miss this really, can you?
Seapony at Monarch: Poppy-di-pop. Twee indie pop à la Talulah Gosh et al. Sticky sweet but also for fans of DIIV and other Captured Tracks Records projects.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Double Review: Deux Boules Vanille and Bell Witch

I often attend shows that I don't write a proper review about afterwards. Sometimes I'm just too lazy, sometimes I'm too busy, sometimes nothing really worth mentioning takes place and sometimes things like these happen:

May is well known for being a busy concert month, countless bands crawl out of their wintery holes and are eagerly getting back on stage again. Also more and more people finally go out again instead of spending their time indoors in front of laptop screens and books. So in just a single week actually I saw three shows that will definitely and without a doubt make my top of the year 2013 list. 

The first of them was Deux Boules Vanille at bei Ruth. I had listened to them before and had kind of instantly known that this would be good live. I had watched some youtube videos, had listened to some songs and had read some stuff online and even if I had already really liked all of that, actually seeing them live was a million times better. Big Eater were the support band that evening and after they finished, the two guys from Deux Boules Vanille started carrying shitloads of equipment out of the backstage area of bei Ruth. They built their set up in front of the stage, two drum kits facing each other and being connected to a wall of amps and cabinets behind them. Both of them had some more electronic devices gathered besides their drum kits, self built analog synthesizers and some effect pedals, it all looked fascinating and weird at the same time.
thx to Coco for the picture
Without a real soundcheck they started to play and I was instantly blown away. They triggered the synthesizers with their drums, creating melodies and harmonies accompanied by driving drum sounds. Stylistically this was a crazy ride through so many genres that at the end I was not sure whether I had just attended an electro-party or a Lightning Bolt show. They definitely referred to some early 70s electronica in the vein of Silver Apples, then switched to frantic grind-core influenced parts just to end with something that was so rhythmic and pulsating that it somehow sounded rather technoid. Their whole set was a highly energetic and highly entertaining outburst of joy and the unfortunately rather small audience went kind of crazy. I really truly hope these guys will be back some time soon, this was an awful lot of fun.

Monday, 20 May 2013

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

Chocker chocker chocker - this week is really something. When do we ever feature three gigs on a Monday along, huh? I guess that’s May for you. See you on the town!

Zucker at HAU2: Missy Magazine is once again touring the republic with a program to promote not only their magazine but the general issue of women's rights. There is going to be talks, discussions and dream dance duo Zucker will be performing live. Be there or be square.
Chromatics at Lido: "Gothy italo disco with the guy from Glass Candy". Those are not my words but they describe this outfit perfectly.
Beach Fossils and King Tuff at Festsaal Kreuzberg: DIIV have had to cancel their May tour unfortunately, but at least we are pampered by their label mates and former collaborators Beach Fossils, who do a similar shoegazy thing. Known to be a great live band, this is going to be a sweet gig, especially since the double bill with stoner garage hero King Tuff is going to be hard to top.

Bass Drum Of Death at White Trash: Bass Drum of Death = two-piece stoner garage noise = rock'n'roll. And we like ourselves some heavy rock’n’roll. Yeah, baby!

Volcano The Bear and Harmony Molina at NK: Read XNormanX’s reviewto be mesmerised. Also remember that our competition runs until the end of Monday. Experimental music, the good way.
Julia Kent at Haus Ungarn: A lady and her cello, playing tunes with this that you may not expect. A special performance at Haus Ungarn (former HBC) tonight.
Snøffeltøffs at Bassy Cowboy Club: Fantastic 60s influenced, catchy garage rock. Go to this if you feel like a really good jig!

The Residents at Babylon Kino (Mitte): What is there to say about The Residents that has not been said before? Godfathers of all masked and / or experimental weirdo bands out there.

Crystal Fighters at Lido: I have a schizophrenic relationshiop with Crystal Fighters. When I sit down and make an effort to listen to their recordings I mostly come away disappointed. But if they are being played in a restaurant or shop and I catch a tune or two I always love the songs so much. I suppose this pays testimony to their incredible pop song writing abilities. The perfect radio band and a good opportunity to do some summer evening dancing this Friday night.
Banque Allemande and Kulku at bei Ruth: C*’s gig of the week. Local rhythmic post punk group Banque Allemande have a new album out that they are presenting to you. These guys rock so hard. Meet us there!

The Anna Thompsons, Love Lanes and Hit at Antje Öklesund: Loosely situated in the genre of dream pop but clearly influenced by 60s girl groups as well as post punk, The Anna Thompsons are a regular occurrence on the Berlin live music circuit and we love ‘em for it. Make your Saturday night a pop one.
City Dragon, Sisters of Seance and Moon Wheel at Loophole: Experimental heaven night at Loophole - French saxophone loop experimentalist City Dragon and Canadian project Sisters of Seance, the Persian drone audio/visual project of Luke Rogers of Basketball, supported by our Swedish locals Moon Wheel. A typical Loophole night I say and one for you experimental junkies out there.

Mudhoney at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Grunge forefathers Mudhoney were just one of those bands you grew up on if you spent your youth in the early 90s. It is good to see that they are still around and that they have stood the test of time.
Lubomyr Melynk at Grüner Salon: Read XNormanX’s review and get as amazed and intrigued as C* got upon first reading it. Makes you want to attend this gig, very much so. See you there!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Review: Mount Eerie + Mountains

Okay, so I was looking forward to seeing Mount Eerie since this date was announced some while ago. I had actually never seen them/him live and I have to say it was about time.

Mountains started to play to a sparsely filled Festsaal Kreuzberg but during their set, more and more people showed up. I didn't know them before this show and when I saw their set up, which consisted of two analog synthesizer rack piles and two guitars, I was becoming curious. They played a quite versatile set that changed from an ambient drone beginning with looped layers of synth sounds and drifted to a more guitar oriented part that sounded very post-rock influenced, just to break that up again into cut up beats of sounds and melody pieces. I really enjoyed their set and I was of the impression that a large part of the audience did as well. Also mood wise, they prepared quite nicely for the upcoming second mountain band which everyone was eagerly awaiting.

So although I had never seen Mount Eerie live before, I knew that their live shows are nearly always totally different experiences. Phil Elverum, the main and also only constant member of Mount Eerie started the band in 2004 when he wanted to make a conceptual change from his former band the Microphones, whose last record was actually called Mount Eerie. Since then, he collaborated with quite a few musicians - for the current live set up he invited Genevieve Castrée of O Paon, Julia Chirka who also plays in No Kids and Ashley Eriksson of the band LAKE to join him. They had a rather minimalistic set up of two basses, one 12-string guitar and a drum pad and cymbal and were announced to be "touring as a singing band", which sort of describes quite nicely what they did.

Basically they played Mount Eerie songs supported by distorted bass and minimalistic electronic drums with a female choir of three. And for me their live show worked very well. What I love about Mount Eerie is that behind their frequent noisy outbursts, there's always that fragile and melancholic song hidden (if it is hidden at all). The loud and distorted parts of their set merged beautifully with Phil Elverum's soft and distinctive voice and the support of the harmonics of a three voice choir also worked really well. They all seemed a bit nervous or shy on stage and I have to say that this fact only added up to me finding them even more likeable. They did not present a perfectly polished set of bland music but a characterful rendition of beautiful songs. Also their awkwardly funny announcements and talks between songs were totally loveable.

After their set, Phil came back to play an encore just by himself and after this version of Through The Trees pt. 2 from the Clear Moon recordI was finally convinced that this evening will most likely show up on my top of the year list later on for obvious reasons... "and it's hard to describe / without seeming absurd"...

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Competition: Volcano The Bear

Did you remember when I glorified Volcano The Bear's show at Monarch last year? Well, we're really happy to announce they are coming back to Berlin. In fact the show is already next week at Neukölln's NK and you should all go if you like jazzy, experimental and improvised music.

And hooray again, it's competition time. Booking agency Planet Rock drew 2x2 tickets for this show. Tell us till next Monday (20 May 2013) your favorite bear character (in the comments, on Facebook or via mail).

Hard facts: Volcano The Bear / Harmony Molina, Wednesday 22 May 2013, NK

Monday, 13 May 2013

Review: Melvins Day 2

The performing of classic albums by artists has become such a commonplace occurrence that its almost expected, if not demanded of an artist. But tonight’s Melvins show is low on nostalgia, and free of the artistic and commercial cynicism with which some bands approach their old records. A show like this can never be nostalgia free – everyone is transported back to their first encounter with an album, who they were, where they were, and what a record means to them. But throughout their 30 years of existence, the Melvins have consistently refined their sound, and their approach to playing tonight’s pair of fan favourites, Bullhead and Stoner Witch, is to reinterpret much of that material, rather than purely recreating the recordings, meaning these twenty year old songs sound modern and contemporary, placing the band light years ahead in complexity and creativity of their peers, both old and new.

Bullhead, bizarrely, was one of the first compact discs that I ever bought in 1991, and whilst that format inevitably lacked the deep tones of the vinyl edition, the clarity and space in their music opened up then for the first time.

They rattle through an exhilarating version of Its Shoved and a superbly twisted Zodiac that sees the band build layers of voices and drums, the addition of a second drummer in their current incarnation bringing much of the new energy to these old songs. The dark, heavy drone of Boris, with its unexpected, quieter but more menacing reprise, reveals how skilled they are at building atmosphere and tension, taking the audience by surprise as they end the first set.

After taking a break, the second half of the show displays more of their sense of control, and their lack of fear of those quiet moments that counter balance the moments of aural rage. They begin with Lividity, the closing track on Stoner Witch, which starts with just the constant tap of a cymbal and a slow but melodic bassline that builds in its intensity. After a few ironic shouts from the crowd, the audience falls in with the mood of the song and stays silent, rocking back and forth and Buzzo’s repeated wail of vengeance, “how does it feeeeel, redneck?”, echoes back at us in a great piece of sound design.

The faster, heavier songs like Queen, the ones that get their audience jumping around, actually tend to be shorter slabs of metal than you remember. The Melvins have always used their riffs economically but for maximum effect. Their songs aren’t improvised, extended jams - each song takes a turn when you don’t expect it, they come to a sudden halt with a juddering drum beat and then they often change tempo altogether. There can be seconds of silence and an increase in tension before release or even just dissipation.

Tonight, The Melvins turned around the familiarity that comes through playing well known material by injecting a jolt of adrenaline into these songs. Festsaal was a furnace of heat at smoke tonight, but ultimately, music this dark is life affirming (as highlighted by the band's own humour in-between songs), and its effect stays with you days later.

Review: Melvins Day 1

Ah, the year is so young and I already have a number 1 on my Best of concerts list. But to be honest I knew that already when I bought my ticket for last week's Melvins double date months ago. The minute I saw an add for the show I ordered tickets online and let me say I never do that. But this event was different and special. The mighty Melvins planned on playing 4 1/2 classic albums on two consecutive nights at Festsaal Kreuzberg. The list of records they wanted to play made me nearly cry. Lysol, Egnogg, Houdini, Bullhead, Stoner Witch. Unnecessary to say I'm a fan. A big one.

The Melvins for me, I guess, is this one band everyone has. They can do whatever they want I'll always love them. Whether they release strange noise records like Colossus Of Destiny or have a ridiculous vinyl distribution. Between all that is an unbelievable gem of timeless records and live performances.

Formed in the mid 80s, the Melvins tried from the beginning on to do their own little thing. Something between Metal and Punk. Someone would say Grunge (yikes). Members of Mudhoney and Cows played in the Melvins and even Kurt Cobain auditioned once. Over the years their sound becomes so recognizable, a guitar riff, the pounding bass or the power of Dale Crover's drumming. Since 2006 the Melvins are a four piece, the current members are King Buzzo, who plays guitar and sings, Dale Crover, and the members of Stoner/Sludge band Big Business, Jared (ex-Karp) and Coady (ex-Murder City Devils), who play bass and drums respectively.

So, Tuesday was the first of two nights, where the Melvins performed 2 1/2 albums in its entirely. Lysol (1992), Eggnog (1991) and Houdini (1993) were scheduled for this glorious night. Festsaal Kreuzberg was sold out (obviously) to an old crowd with grey hair and holey band shirts. The doors opened at 8 and punctual at 9 accompanied by a Black Sabbath intro the Melvins entered the stage.

They started with the apocaplyptic Lysol record from 1992, which has become a blueprint for every Doom / Sludge band since. Reduced to the max, slow as hell and heavy as a bulldozer. Excuse my cliché description, but it is what it is, an unbelievable punch in the face. Just only the 11 minutes opener Hung Bunny or the Alice Cooper cover version manifests the state of this record. With the impressive double drum set in the middle and surrounded by guitar and bass amps, a lava of sound overran the audience. This beast was followed by the '91 recorded EP Eggnog. After an hour and standing on the balcony of a sold out Festsaal, we didn't have a gram of air to breathe. Fortunately the Melvins needed a break too. After 15 minutes they returned to play my first Melvins record.

Houdini was recorded in 1993 and was their first on a major label. There a people out there who are saying they became weak and too poppy, but all of their 3 Atlantic records are timeless and favorite records of mine. So, beat it. Don't get me wrong, Houdini is far from a mainstream album. With the success of Nirvana (Kurt Cobain plays guitar on Sky Pup) and Grunge, Atlantic thought it was a good move to sign them. I for myself think Houdini, next to Stoner Witch, is about the closest record to getting a representative Melvins album. It captures strikingly the band's major characteristics, like their undestroyable power, vision and weirdness. Every song on it is a hit and I sang every line and played every riff on my invisible guitar this evening. Certainly everyone waited for Honey Bucket, their big video hit (?) and the mosh pit was brutal, but totally worth it. They left, one after another with a noisy fade-away version of Spread Eagle Beagle and most of the audience knew they would return the following day to celebrate their favorite band.

Competition: Zucker + Missy Mag discussion forum

Missy Magazine is once again touring the republic with a program to promote not only their magazine but the general issue of women's rights. There is going to be talks, discussions and dream dance duo Zucker will be performing live, all happening on Monday, 20 May 2013 at HAU2

It's competition time! Tell us by this Saturday, 18 May 2013, 10 pm, your favourite song that relates to sweet and sticky things. We choose from the entries and the winner gets two tickets to take part in this fun event. 

Keep 'em coming!

Super quick review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Lucky me (and Gary) for being allowed to watch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs twice in three days. Oh my! 

There is not much to say. We watched from the balcony and got to enjoy the full show and it was amazing and fantastic and the new songs are darker and great. But they played all the hits, too, of course they did. The audience went crazy, with all of Columbiahalle dancing and singing along. This was clearly their show rather than the headline performance at a festival and, unexpectedly, it did make a difference. The atmosphere was so energetic, and the band had to return twice for encores.

A post-gig hang out with friends and musicians from around the world who happened to be in town rounded this evening up perfectly. The best Monday night.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

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

We are feeling great, we cannot deny it. The sun is making a regular appearance, the flowers are blooming, there is a bank holiday per week to enjoy, and there are millions of great gigs a week to choose from. Here is our selection for you this week:


Mount Eerie and Mountains at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Mount Eerie are finally back again. I missed their last Festsaal Kreuzberg appearance and haven’t seen them before although I love and follow their output since quite some time. Mount Eeries musical style is quite diverse and Phil Elverum, who basically is Mt. Eerie, also changed line-ups and band forms quite often. This time he tours with a full band set-up “as a singing group” with “primarily women singing and playing distorted bass.” His last records are intense mixtures of eerie (who would’ve thought that!?) and folky tunes with raw and noisy parts. The atmosphere their music creates is quite unique and beautiful and I guess it’s more or less safe to call this our gig of the week. So looking forward to it!

Comadrome & Snark and Brian Labycz & Gerard Lebik Duo at Loophole: I just saw Comadrome live at bei Ruth on Saturday and they completely took me by surprise. They played a great show that musically ranged from improvised noise sounds to heavy and experimental beats that sounded like a rad mix of Black Dice and hip hop, so I can safely encourage you to give them a listen if you’re into that sort of music. They also had very cool live visuals projected on stage which was a nice addition to the music. They are on a sort of Berlin tour right now, if you can’t make Tuesday check the rest of their schedule for further dates.


The KVB and Samuel Kerridge at NK: This duo can write a tune! My review of their King Kong Klub gig some time ago will give you the gist on this dark wave duo and the hopes I have for this gig.

Woods at Comet Club: Another band returning to their last crime scene. When they played at Comet Club the last time early 2011 (our review here) I already wasn’t sure if it’s going to turn out good but doubts aside it did! Also the last Woods record was easily in my top 5 of 2012 so I’m looking forward to see them live again.
Charanjit Singh plays "Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat" / A Guy Called Gerald "Live in Analogue" at Berghain: Now if this isn't special! Mr. Singh is a musician from Mumbai, India, who originally performed as a Bollywood session musician in the 1960s to 1980s. However, he is best known for his 1982 release "Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat", an album originally intended as a fusion of electronic disco music with Indian classical ragas but music journalists reference it as one the first acid house records. At the age of 72, Charanjit is touring Europe and Berlin is lucky enough to be on the list of dates.

Bell Witch and Samothrace at Koma F: It’s not often that I’m interested in new heavy bands but for a funny reason this one caught my attention. Over a message board, I randomly found this album review on youtube and it got me so interested in actually hearing the record that the next thing I did was visiting the band’s bandcamp page, where you can listen to the whole record. I was convinced after a single listen that I wanted to visit this show after I then found out that they play in Berlin. Bell Witch play heavy and gloomy funeral doom, to me they sound like a mixture of OM and SunnO))). They’re only a duo and I love the minimalisti drums and bass line-up. So, finally a reason to visit a Koma F show again after quite a while.
Julie Doiron and Sheriff at Intersoup: Years ago, a friend gave me a CD by Julie Doiron and I did not pay attention to it for a while because I seldomly get into singer-songwriters really. Luckily, two years later, I was looking for new music to listen to and the CD went in my player and it didn’t leave it for some time. I was mesmerised. If you are into acoustic guitars and folk voices, you are in for a treat.
Savages, Johnny Hostile and Zan Lyons at Lido: C*’s gig of the week. There is a major buzz around about this group and it is oh-so-desserved! Rhythmic wave punk from London that kicks your ass. You cannot miss this and you know it. See you there. 

Shopping, Drekoty and Rat Rat Rats at bei Ruth: Shopping are a minimalistic and wavy postpunk band relying on “propulsive bass lines, primitive disco-not-disco drums and guitar lines sharp as broken glass.” They remind me of bands like Prinzhorn Dance School, perfect soundtrack for a dancy Saturday. Drekoty are a Polish all-female trio and they play experimental pop music and Rat Rat Rats from Berlin are a wild noisy punk duo. Cool and interesting mixture.

Charlie Parr at Monarch: After having to cancel his show last year, the wonderful Mr. Parr is now making up for the loss. His voice is unique and will warm you and stay with your for a long time. Wonderful indeed and the perfect end to the week.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

London report: ATP I'll Be Your Mirror Fest

If I told you I saw The Locust, King Khan & The Shrines, Dirty Beaches, Anika, K-Holes, Mick Harvey and Yeah Yeah Yeahs all in one day, you'd label me mad. Surely that is a bill that cannot actually happen in real life. Think again.

Half business trip, half pleasure weekend, Gary and I hopped over to North London over the weekend to attend one in a series of All Tomorrow's Parties' events called I'll Be Your Mirror. They are one-day festivals curated by a chosen artist - in this case the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Although ATP have been rumoured to discontinue the series due to poor ticket sales, the events themselves stand out like no others. If the artist has good taste - YYYs: good taste they have - the line-up is unmatchable and in typical ATP fashion, the setting rather special.
'Ally Pally' balcony view

Alexandra Palace is an old exhibition / recreational hall the way they were concepted and built in London during the 19th century. I lived in Crystal Palace for over six years and of course there is no Crystal Palace in Crystal Palace, since the original structure fell victim to a fire many years ago. But when you walk on the palace foundations in Crystal Palace Park, you always imagine the grandeur and splendour that took place there once. Alexandra Palace, still being fully intact, gives you a glimpse of past public recreation. Some features distinctly remind you of church elements (colourful glass panelled round windows, an organ) but at the same time you feel like you are in a palace in a park setting, which you are. To stage a music and film fest here is a magical concept.

Business called us to arrive early at the venue and we immediately started to panic. Half an hour before the first band, Anika, was to go on the smaller of the two stages, the halls of Alexandra Palace were deserted and we would have not been surprised to see tumble weed roll by. However, all was well when I finally made it to Anika's set half way through her stage time and found the room being well filled and people appreciative of Anika's music. I was positively surprised by how well her new band managed to fill the gap left by the absence of Beak>, who have parted ways with Anika recently. Another great performance. I only had time for a few songs but those truly convinced.

Back in the main hall, K-Holes were the poor chosen ones to fill the first slot on the big stage. I was not farmiliar with this band previously and I seriously wonder why. Punky wavey music with a charismatic front woman, a saxophone player and a kick ass band, these young ones are right up my street. The sound in the big, more or less, empty hall was unflattering to the band but I could tell this was a good rock'n'roll group up on that stage. Cannot wait to see them in a small sweaty venue in future!

The two stages were staggered in a way that you could catch at least some of every band you wanted to see - with this line-up that was a godsent. A culture shock awaited us back on the small stage: Big Freedia had his New Orleans bounce hip hop and some ass shaking to go with it in store for the audience, who were up for it. Fantastic stage costumes and an in-your-face attitude worked well for a festival warm up act, though my attention span is clearly too short for 45 minutes of the same beat. Shame on me. Thumbs up for Big Freedia.
Prince Rama's grand entrance

Passing through the main hall, we caught the first couple of Prince Rama's songs. They were walking through the audience with a big veil on and a host of photographers following them around. An entrance if I ever saw one! Musically however, their psychedelic dream dance couldn't match some of the other amazing artists on the bill for me. Or the setting just didn't work for them. Time for some soul gospel rock'n'roll.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

C*'s preview additions this week

Since I was in London most of last week for ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror (review to come), I could not contribute to the preview. Then, I looked at the calendar earlier today and realised that a lot of my gigs from "What's In Store for 2013" are this week. So I guess there is no rest for the wicked and I'll be out and about town, going to most of these:

Widowspeak at Comet: Nothing like a really good pop record. Fleetwood Mac inspired for sure but also some nice 60s surf and psych in there. Softly spoken and rocking all at once. A nice afternoon kinda record and a promising show!

Mac DeMarco and Sean Nicholas Savage at Privatclub: Captured Tracks protegé DeMarco is back. The hype is justified - the guy knows to throw a good party. Support from fellow newbie Sean Nicholas Savage. A must if you want to talk the talk in current one-man camp party projects.

Mikal Cronin at West Germany: My gig of the week. You like Ty Segall? Well Mr. Segall and Mr. Cronin just happen to collaborate all the time. You like Wavves, you like Kurt Vile, you like 'em all? You cannot miss Mikal Cronin then, can you. Snotty songwriter indie punk, lo-fi and fun. Be there! 

Nicoffeine, Grow Grow and Valborg at Kastanienkeller: Read XNormanX's appreciative review of another Nicoffeine gig and know that you have to go. Enjoy!

There is so much more this week - it's a jam packed one. But we are selective and if we told you about everything, it would not exactly make your life easier, now would it? Hope to see you around - come say hi if you spot us.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Preview - the week ahead (6th May - 12th May)

May is definitely a busy and interesting month concerning live shows. There's so much good stuff going on that it's getting a little overwhelming from time to time. As usual, check our calendar below to see some more shows for this week and month.


Death Grips at Berghain: Read our review from their last show at Festsaal Kreuzberg here. They now step up and play at Berghain, so this will probably be like a huge and wild and highly energetic party with an amazing soundtrack.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at C-Halle: I have never seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs live and to be honest that probably won’t change anytime soon. They got pretty huge and successful and while I still really like their earlier records, their later output got somehow irrelevant for me. Nonetheless I have the feeling that they remain to be a likeable band with great performance skills.

Melvins at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Melvins, the sort of prototype noise-rock band, play two shows in a row (Tuesday and Wednesday) at Festsaal Kreuzberg. I love that concept since it makes possible to see a rather “big” band in a “smaller” venue. I think I don’t need to describe Melvins to you any further, they exist for almost 30 years now and are probably one of the most influential heavy bands around.


Barn Owl at about:blank: Barn Owl play psychedelic and atmospheric music that sounds like a gloomy version of post-rock. Between drone sounds and synthie and guitar layers you’ll sometimes find a glimpse of desert-rock and they manage to keep that diversified throughout their rather long songs.

Deux Boules Vanille and Big Eater at bei Ruth: Deux Boules Vanille are a drum duo from France, they trigger analog synthesizer and self built instruments with their drum sets and create rhythmic and driving music with lots of different influences. You can hear some retro electronic hints of Silver Apples here and there but at some points their music sounds more like wild punk or even grindcore stuff, Lightning Bolt comes to mind for example. In the end they manage to keep this a highly interesting and humorous mix, I’m sure this is going to be wild and fantastic live. Support will be Berlin locals Big Eater, Al Burian’s (whom you know from Milemarker,Challenger and from various books and the Burn Collector fanzine) new band with members of Syn*Error. They play a mix of funky punk (or punky funk?) music.

Pttrns and Ampl:tude at KuZe Potsdam: For those of you who either did not get in at the recent sold out bei Ruth show (our review here) or for those of you who just can’t get enough of Pttrns live, they play in Potsdam this time. Although not strictly a Berlin live show, let’s just say this is close enough to be covered here. Also Berlin locals Ampl:tude play as support, so we’re sort of safe with that.

God Des & She and Godmother at West Germany: A deep rhythmic and dancy Saturday evening at West Germany! God Des & She play cool hip hop and R’n’B influenced music, comparisons to Salt n Pepa and Lady Gaga are not totally uncalled-for. Godmother play something completely different, they sound like a theatralic and experimental cabaret, actually not unlike Parenthetical Girls.

the Knife at C-Halle: Mentioning C-Halle twice in a preview is something we rarely do. I also haven’t heard a single positive review from people who went to recent the Knife shows, everybody complained about it being mostly playback and boring. That doesn’t change the fact that they already sold out this huge venue and although I’m not into their new record musically, they still have a very supportable attitude and an interesting approach towards the things they do. If you go here let us know how it was!