I will get there eventually, I will catch up with all those outstanding, ancient reviews and The Craze will finally be up-to-date and en vogue again. It sounds like I am trying to make up excuses, and there are no real good ones really, but ever since March, when I moved house, started a new job, and went into the final phase of the album campaign of one of the bands that I manage, I just could not keep up. Things have calmed down, thankfully, and here I am, writing about a Mikal Cronin show that happened in mid-May.
Ironically, it is the reviews of gigs that I enjoyed the most that I am struggling to do in a timely manner. You can write a quick review slashing the shit you just witnessed but it takes time to truly honour a good performance, to do it justice. By now you may have guessed that Mikal Cronin falls into the latter category.
There is a wave of music from California at the moment that could loosely be called punk rock. One might argue it all started at an LA venue called The Smell and with a band named No Age, but I have my doubts. I think they were just the first to appear on a TV show in a political T-Shirt and get famous for it. They are also a really good band. Since No Age sold out West Germany to the rim while people were queuing down the pavement of Kottbusser Tor, many affiliated acts have passed through town since, not seldomly playing beloved West Germany, sometimes getting an upgrade to Festsaal. Ty Segall, Kurt Vile, White Fence and many more have passed through town and always delivered good shows.
There is a distinct 60s feel, as well as serious songwriter qualities, to these musical projects, but overall, they just know how to rock out. And this brings us to Mikal Cronin, regular collaborator of afore-mentioned Ty Segall. Mr. Cronin had been on my radar for some time and I was getting rather excited when I heard he was going to perform at our favourite local venue.
Local heroes The History Of Colour TV had been booked as the opener. Having missed them a million times around town, this was a good opportunity to finally check them out. And what would you know? I rather enjoyed their performance of shoegaze rock, or "drone-pop" as Gary calls it. It dragged a bit near the end, missing some hooks to keep the ADS child in me entertained. But overall, a thumbs-up.
Mikal Cronin then delivered as promised, with an enthuisiastic audience following his lead. A sexy über-cool band in tow, the performance of charming Mr. Cronin was very much showcasing a distinctly American way of rock'n'roll. There was his rapport with the audience, indie'n'blues'n'rock'n'surf'roll, hooks after hooks you could sing along to and remember days later. People were dancing and enjoying the heated atmosphere of West Germany, the punk rock, the banter.
There was a time, a couple of years back, when band after band like this passed through town, delighting us with their West Coast personas and tunes. But they have become a little scarcer lately and I miss venturing over to West Germany, Monarch, or White Trash a couple of times a month to get my fix. So a Mikal Cronin show or the announced No Age show are little pearls of delight for me. This gig, not the best I have ever been to or the most exciting to write about, will stick with me for a while as just that - my Berlin-meets-West-Coast fix that Mr. Cronin made happen in his charming way.