Monday, 30 September 2013

Preview: the week ahead (30th Sep - 06th Oct)

I cannot believe how quickly the autumn is wrapping up. Gary and I were discussing April travel plans yesterday while on the Autobahn and I thought “Brother, where is 2013 heading so fast?” In my life, it’s been an eventful year so far, but in terms of fun, things have been rather dull. We don’t know about you lot, but J. and I were wondering whether we are still talking about a summer lull aftermath or whether things have just gotten that little bit more boring in big B. Where are the post-gig dance parties into the early hours? Anyhow, here is the attempted party program for the week ahead.

Tunng and Pinkunoizu at Lido: British neo folk group Tunng are suprisingly poppy for a Thrill Jockey band. The quirkiness and artistic element is there though, no doubt. A sweet pop evening at Lido.

Black Pus and NMO at Urban Spree: Black Pus is the solo project of Brian Chippendale, the drummer of Lightning Bolt. His solo stuff sounds pretty much alike and since we are big Lightning Bolt fans this has pretty much gig of the week potential. Support will be NMO, a project of Norwegian and Spanish musicians including the former drummer of MoHa! Their music sounds like a rhythmic experimental marching band and makes this evening even more interesting.
Fuck Buttons, Forrests, and Zan Lyons at Berghain: In-your-face commercial electronica clash and as thus maybe not preview-worthy. But brother, I like myself some Fuck Buttons to dance to. And they are dashing, too. Zan Lyons has played in Berlin before, convincingly, and Forrests are making waves of their own. So watch me jig.
Die Nerven and P.U.F.F. at West Germany: Die Nerven play an edgy and nervous kind of indie punk with German vocals. They sound not unlike their label mates Messer or other bands in that vein. P.U.F.F. from Berlin play something probably best described as a mix of Deutschpunk and early New Wave/Neue Deutsche Welle music and they’re definitely worth a listen.

Japanther and Fluffers at Schokoladen: I’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with Japanther’s lo-fi garage punk. They’re a bass and drums duo from New York and they’ll definitely turn Schokoladen into a sweaty dance party place this night. Fluffers are a new Berlin band, consisting of members of Diät, Adults, Modern Pets, Blank Pages, P.U.F.F. and Love Triangle. They claim“to play music, not genres” so decide for yourself if you like it.

Jungle World Party at bei Ruth with Messer, Amigo Tropical, and PetethePirateSquid: Kreuzberg based magazine Jungle World is celebrating the release of their annual special edition, this year’s theme is Hungary. For this reason they invited some nice bands and some DJs. We already mentioned Messer a couple of times here and PetethePirateSquid are also no strangers. Amigo Tropical are another noise rock bass and drums duo, which you should definitely check out if you don’t know
already them. We expect this is going to be quite a party - good thing the next day is a bank holiday.

MGMT at Astra: I am intrigued as to the new MGMT sound and whether this duo can still cut it. Oracular Spectacular is still played regularly at my house. I might check this gig out.

Oneohtrix Point Never, Ital, Stellar OM Source, Lorenzo Senni, Moon Wheel, and Kobosil at Berghain: This is going to be the eighth edition of the CTM and Berghain presented series Polymorphism and it’s a must see if you are anyhow interested in experimental “electronic” music in the widest sense. From more ambient and drone based acts to danceable DJ performances, this is a pretty manifold line-up and Berghain is probably the perfect setting for a night like this.

Zola Jesus at HAU1: Somehow it got a bit quiet about Zola Jesus in the last time so I was a bit surprised when she released a newish record this year. It’s not a record of entirely new songs but one called Versions, consisting of newly recorded re-arranged versions of some of her existing songs. They sound more classical and chamber music like than the beat-oriented 80s influenced music she did before.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Competition: No Bra + Hush Hush

As announced, here is our competition for this Saturday's fantastic No Bra + Hush Hush + Seabourne show. We are giving away 2 x 2 tickets. Send a mail to win at thecraze dot de and tell us you favourite band or song referring to an item of clothing. Do this by the end of this Friday, 27 September. Then hang out with us at Südblock on Saturday, dancing the night away. It's going to be one of those forever-talked-about nights I reckon. Yeah baby!

PS: Just to explain to you why we always insist on you wrecking your brains in order to win something, like name a favourite this or that. The reason is the way we choose the winner: I collect all the answers, then I send them to the boys. Each one of them gets a vote and the winner wins. This way, if a friend wins, it's not a big deal. The person was not chosen because the person is a friend. It's just our way of guaranteeing fairness. Yes, I know I could just draw the names out of a hat and that would be fair, too. But it would also be boring.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Preview: the week ahead (23rd - 29th Sep)

Chocker chocker. Autumn has established itself in full swing, and so has the prime gig season. A full preview for you on this fine evening.

A Place To Bury Strangers at Lido: I do love APTBS’s wavey, at times noisey, post-rock wtih a dark edge. It’s radio-compatible and it’s not new, but it’s incredibly good and my kind of music.

Highasakite and Cayucas at Privatclub: Highasakite were not really on my radar until this gig was announced. The sound is that little bit too digestible for me, the voice a little bit too sweet. However, I think this could be rather good live and thus it makes the preview. As an added bonus, I am still of the hope that Cayucas will play. Sadly, they have cancelled their Wednesday headline gig, so if this one is still happening then I must venture to Privatclub on Tuesday to grab my only chance of seeing Cayucas, a band whose Berlin performance I have been waiting for for some time.
Tropic Of Cancer and DVA Damas at Berghain: Tropic Of Cancer is a band à la mode. Sound, look, PR - it’s as hip as it gets. They also play their slowish wave very well and I advice you to go and check them out. Not only will you be part of the in-crowd, you may also enjoy this rather good artistic project.

SchnAAk and the Rundu Choir, Nick Millevoi & Dead Neanderthals at NK: J. has written about SchnAAk on The Craze often enough that you should be familiar with them by now. Head on over to NK and enjoy.
Balmorhea at Urban Spree: Extremely pretty instrumental music - perfect for some daydreaming or, in this case, for a Wednesday night with a lemonade in hand.
Ed Schrader's Music Beat and Maybecyborgs at Schokoladen: I’m excited about this one. Minimal punk with a beat. My gig of the week. Be early and all as it’s Schokoladen.

Oum Shatt at Monarch: With a nice 60s guitar sound and looks to match, Oum Shatt will transport you back in time while showing you what the here and now is capable of this Thursday. Très cool. Be there.

Temples and Ruen Brothers at Lido: Speaking of a 60s sound… Temples just sound so much like The Monkees finest tunes with a psychedelic edge, it is hard to believe this band is actually a current project. But it is. Pretty impressive and good fun.

Geneva Jacuzzi, Sky Needle und Mad Nanna at Urban Spree: 80s, Geneva Jacuzzi clearly loves the 80s. If you do too, Saturday night at Urban Spree is going to be thee place for you to be. Ms Jacuzzi is a real dance gem.
No Bra, Hush Hush, and Seabourne at Südblock: No Bra, aka East London’s Susanne Oberbeck, creates the kind of irresistable music you just cannot escape and you love without being able to point your finger on it. This is because it’s very hard to categorise but you could loosely call it industrial electronica, though you may want to point towards the fact that it is very digestible and dancable. Hush Hush has been praised on The Craze before. Watch out for our competition we are running for this gig soon.

Anna Calvi at Heimathafen: I don’t know why I even bother adding this to the preview, chances are this is sold out. It just felt right to feature Anna Calvi’s gig, even if it’s not going to happen for you and I. I bet it will be pretty special.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Deerhunter cancelled

In case you have not read my post on The Craze facebook page: Deerhunter have once again cancelled. It's just not meant to be. They were supposed to play in Berlin in May, then cancelled and moved the gig to October, then Festsaal tragically burned down and the Deerhunter gig had to be moved to C-Club. Now it's not happening at all. Ho hum. You can get you money back from where you bought the ticket originally.

Review: Torstraßen Festival

I loved Torstraßen Festival, every minute of it, despite the rain or crowding at some gigs. Torstraßen Festival was fun. On our way up to Northern Mitte, we stopped in Friedrichshain at Bis Aufs Messer, where I had a quick chat with XNormanX. He said that he thought festivals that span across several venues never worked. This was an interesting view because, as I have pointed out before, that is exactly my kind of favourite festival. Funny how views on these matters can differ. 

To give you the quick low-down on what went on, here is what we did and saw.

Unfortunately, having watched his concert last December, we missed Erfolg (Johannes von Weizsäcker of The Chap) and the women's choir but we were told that the show was absolutely amazing. Instead, we headed straight to Bassy to catch the Crime ladies do their dance music action. The performance went well and the room filled nicely during the set but we had ants in our pants and made our way over to Ackerstadt Palast to catch Black Cracker.

A word about Ackerstadt Palast: Being an avid Schokoladen fan, I was intrigued to see what Ackerstadt Palast was about, never having frequented the Palast before. I don't know about you but I expected some old, grand theater like so many venues in Berlin. Don't ask me where I thought a grand theater was sitting behind Schokoladen - I did not think it through really. Ackerstadt Palast is of course a theater but neither old nor grand. It's fairly simple and yet very charming. Most friends we met commented "I had never been here before - what a great place!". So there - a strong recommendation for you: Ackerstadt Palast.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Preview: the week ahead (16th - 22nd Sep)

It’s been a few days, oh brother. I cannot remember this much went wrong in such a short space of time. So there, I am looking forward to the future week with hopes of more fun and less pain-in-the-backside. Here is the (super late) preview.

Date Palms and Man Forever at Monarch: Gig of the week. Man Forever is the "solo project" of John Colpitts aka. Kid Millions who, besides playing at Monarch this Wednesday, is also the drummer for Oneida. We reviewed his last show at West Germany and there is no doubt that this show will be worth a visit as well. Especially since Date Palms, a drony and dreamy ambient/postrock band on Thrill Jockey, are playing too.

Staer, Martin Rokis, and Horacio Pollard at NK: Staer are great! They are common visitors in Berlin and their heavy, frantic, and jazzy noise rock seems to work in a variety of venues throughout the city. This time they’ll be performing at NK together with Martin Rokis, who plays something completely different - experimental noise with lots of field recordings and found sounds - and Horacio Pollard, who plays very industrial and heavy noise music. If you’re into Skin Graft records or bands like Lightning Bolt, Daughters, Batalj and the like, make sure to check out Staer!

Turner Cody and Black Yaya (aka David Herman Dune) at Monarch: Extraordinary songwriter evening at Monarch that you may not want to miss. The rain drumming outside, the guitars strumming inside.
Crocodiles at Privatclub: The one and only, well-documented Crocodiles finally return to Berlin, new material in tow. Alright!


Kaput Krauts, Amen 81, Inner Conflict, and Mad Minority at K9: If you’re up for an evening between political Deutschpunk, Hardcore and Crust, there’s no reason not to head over to K9 on Saturday.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Free concerts for Arte

Wanna join me to watch The Hives, Dear Reader, or MGMT + Glasvegas live and for free? Arte is once again filming live concerts in Berlin and all you have to do is register online and show up on time:

You can thank me later. It's ok.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Preview: the week ahead (9th - 15th Sep)

The quiet before the storm. As always, autumn is going to be wild on the Berlin live music circuit as I pointed out in my What’s In Store post. So this is a calm week to collect ourselves before we will start losing ourselves on Berlin nights out again.

Ringo Deathstarr at Comet: My lucky guess: this Texan trio’s record collection includes My Bloody Valentine, Lush, and Dinosaur Jr.. So if you miss your 90s indie music, head to Comet on Tuesday and relive. Really rather good.

William Tyler at Monarch: There are so many variations of folk music out there, one loses track. And then one listens to Mr. Tyler and remembers why one liked folk music in the first place. A very talented gentleman in the field of guitar play, that Mr. Tyler that plays you a beautiful crisp guitar and tells you stories along the way. Oh, and he is handsome, too.

Beastie Boys cover night at Kastanienkeller: Hands up who does not like the Beastie Boys. Oops, no hands show. That is because everybody likes the Beastie Boys. So do we. A cover evening is not usually something we report on on The Craze but the line-up of local bands is good and the subject matter a cannot-miss kinda thing. No sleep ‘till Mitte.

Rainbow Arabia and Crime at Urban Spree: LA based electronica-indie for the dance-hungry among you this Saturday night. Local starlets Crime supporting. Urban Spree = fun. Sounds like a good night out.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Preview: Berlin Festival 2013

Oh my, the service we provide you with, you haven't got a clue! I have just spent an hour listening to unlistenably bad music just to get a small list of recommendations for Berlin Festival together. It's been tough to say the least and only a bucket of earl grey tea has got me through it.

Why? you may ask. Why do you bother? The question is justified. It's not like Berlin Festival needs any publicity from The Craze or like I particularly care about how Berlin Festival fairs this year. The reason is a selfish one, of course: I like the setting and atmosphere of Tempelhof Airport when it turns into a music festival so Gary and I typically go every year. When putting together my schedule for the festival, I may as well share it with you and save you going through the listening pain that I just went through. That is, if you are even planning on going this year. Because I cannot suggest that you do, try as I might. 

Berlin Festival started out as an indie music festival. Since moving to Tempelhof Airport in 2009, the festival's programming has just gotten that little less exciting every single year. That may just be my personal opinion - hello, this is a blog - but the amount of trashy Euro disco bands playing this year is shocking. There is so much exciting music around that I find it hard to grasp why the festival direction has not booked a more varied and exciting line-up. It cannot even begin to hold up with well-curated larger festivals like Melt Festival, Primavera, ATP or Coachella - the list goes on. And it could be as good, could be an internationally talked about event - that is the real shame about it.

Here is my half-hearted attempt at finding the picks to watch this Friday and Saturday.

Parquet Courts - Much hyped indie punk'n'rock band. The record has been playing in our household a fair bit - good fun.
Kid Karate - Irish all-male duo that reminds me strongly of The White Stripes, though of course not quite as good and sometimes the sound is a little more padded.
Villagers - Of course. Read my last review of this favourite of mine.
Pet Shop Boys - Might as well, while I'm there, you know.
Tomahawk - Mike Patton is a bit of a god, we all agree I'm sure. So I'm not going to miss out on that.
Blur - The one and only real pull this year. People will travel from afar to witness Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree in the real flesh. It will be great no doubt.

Is Tropical - Inoffensive indie rock. The album is rather alright so I might watch a few songs.
Savages - Secret headliner for me. Read my enthiusiastic review to know why you cannot miss them ever.
My Bloody Valentine - Ordinarily, this would be the one and only gig you have to see at this year's festival. In practise though, we cannot imagine that MBV will be allowed to go nearly as loud as they usually would, which may just take away from the experience. But I may have a bleak outlook here and maybe it will be mind-blowing. I very much hope so.
Björk - Yes, she is Björk, so what else is there to say?
Klaxons - Many people diss Klaxons but I love their fun sing-along sound. And after three very serious acts in a row, this may be a good break.
Pantha Du Prince - End the festival on an intellectual note with our favourite German nerd electronica dude.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

What's in store for 2013 pt. 3

I have started to enter the first dates for 2014 into our calendar, which lead me to realise that I hadn't given you a "what's in store" for some time. Here are the gigs on my personal radar for the remainder of this year.

Date Palms - Super mellow, extremely psychedelic music with an interesting set of instruments. Special and rare in Berlin.
Crocodiles - A firm long-term favourite of mine, they are finally touring with new material. Hooray!
A Place To Bury Strangers - Not to everyone's taste, I absolutely adore APTBS for their darkness that is so catchy, too.
Tropic of Cancer - Wave music and dark vocals, dancable. They cover Soft Cell - you get the idea. Clearly my kinda music.
Cayucas - Ever since this Californian project was The Guardian's Band of the Day, I have waited for a European tour. Finally playing in Berlin, you get to enjoy Cayucas on two separate nights this month.

Fuck Buttons - British and successful, I still have a soft spot for Fuck Buttons as if they were still an insider tip. Dance the night away.
Japanther - Consistently pre- and reviewed on The Craze, you will most likely meet us there yet again.
MGMT - The first and more commercial album is being played in my household to this day. The second and weird album could never quite cut it - and this from someone who likes a weird sound here and there. Excited to hear the new material for their third album being showcased.
Iceage - Oh my, I may have to camp outside West Germany the night before in order to make it into this exclusive show, but hey, I like a challenge. 
Wire - Read my review from their appearance at Tresor two years ago. Well worth it.
Deerhunter - Was this ever going to happen? Apparently yes. Now at C-Club, you are in with a chance to come along with the whole of the Craze team to our group meeting this autumn.
No Age - Have I been waiting for this one! You have no idea. It's been too long! Read my review from ages ago.
Austra - Do they live in Berlin?! No they don't but they may as well. Two nights at Heimathafen this time. Meet us there!

Warpaint - Another long-awaited gig for me and possibly my personal numero uno this autumn. Yum yum yum!!
Lee Ranaldo - Yes, he's played in Berlin not that long ago, I know, whatever. I missed it last time, so I appreciate Mr. Ranaldo's generosity in giving me a second chance.
Crystal Stilts - Finally! One of my favourites from a few years back, it's been quiet around the Stilts. It's like meeting an old friend and it's walking distance from my house. I'll be there.
Jacco Gardner - Not only do I love his voice, but with autumn approaching I absolutely crave the dreamy 60s influenced indie pop pearls of Jacco Gardner. Cannot miss this one.

Hailu Mergia - Tape DJ Awesome Tapes from Africa blew everyone's mind at Torstraßen Festival. Hailu Mergia is one of the artists on the Awesome Tapes from Africa label and therefore a special recommendation. 70s African funk live in the living room of Monarch - you lucky people of Berlin!

Competition: Strand of Oaks

Yeah yeah, it's been some time since The Craze ran a competition, so super excited we are back in business.

We are giving away tickets to the nice Strand of Oaks concert this Sunday at Privatclub. You want to win? Here is what to do:

Send us an email to win at thecraze dot de by the end of day Thursday, 5 September 2013, naming your favourite song that has a type of tree in it or refers to trees or something along those lines.

Two lucky winners will be able to go with a date each, so 2 x 2 tickets is what we are offering. Double winning chances! Keep 'em coming!