Sunday 23 November 2014

Stuff worth visiting in the next couple of days (let's call it a micro preview, alright?)...

There's some cool stuff going on during the upcoming week, here's a small list of things to do with no intend to be exhaustive:

  • Thu, Nov 27thMdou Moctar & Band at Monarch: I don't really know who decided that it's a good idea to put Mdou Moctar on at Monarch after his last show at West Germany was completely sold out. But nonetheless, here's a second chance to see this very interesting guitarist from Niger playing his unconventional psychedelic mix of Krautrock and African influences.

  • Sat, Nov 29th: Nicoffeine + Amigo TropicalCaptain Popatain at Kastanienkeller: This is probably going to be a very nice noisy evening at the cozy Kastanienkeller. Nicoffeine and their heavy chaotic noise rock left quite a positive impression on Norman, read about that here. We also mentioned Berlin based Amigo Tropical here before, they're a heavy noise bass + drums duo and are definitely worth seeing live. The bill will be completed by Captain Popatain who play slow motion sludge/doom hardcore.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

No preview but the three T's

So we didn't do a preview this month, the busiest month of the year. Whatever came over us? Lethargy? Self-pity? Depression? Rebellion? Nope, just lack of time and - why lie to you? - lack of motivation. We are feeling a sense of responsibility towards our readers but we are also not feeling the love anymore. At this moment in time we are unsure where it's going to take The Craze. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, let me tell you about the three T's this month.

On Thursday, I went to see Ty Segall at Astra. I know, Astra. Astra full of the same students I eat lunch at the university cantine with. But hey, to their credit, everybody danced and had a good time. And Ty Segall and his motivator merch guy really rocked out hard and got everybody going, including a beer cup throwing competition for some extra humour. It was a great show. My favourite: Mikal Cronin on bass. Man, I love Mikal Cronin anyway, but who knew he played the bass like such a badass? Fantastic!

My second T this month is of course tUnE-yArDs, who I will be going to see tomorrow and, oh boy, I am excited! Do a search on this blog to find all my posts in which I tirelessly praise her sampling and singing magic. There is no other artist like it out there. She is the one!  CANCELLED

The third T is of course Trans Am, who have been firm favourites of mine since the mid-90s. No kidding. I went to see them in 1998 in Hamburg at Marx and it was great albeit lonely. Few people had shown up. That is going to be very different at Kantine next week. If you like in-your-face-weirdness, this is for you. Each record is different but always great and slightly offensive. Love these guys so much! Meet me next Wednesday and let's Party!

Check out the calendar, which we have been keeping pretty up-to-date despite our laziness to post anything on the blog. There is so much goodness in the calendar this month, you may as well go out every other night really.

See you around town. Love you all. c*

Friday 3 October 2014

Preview: the month ahead (October)

Golden October. As I sit at our dining room table, I wonder where the year has gone. This is definitely the fastest passing year I have yet experienced. Every time I have an idea, two months seem to have passed at the blink of an eye before I can revisit said idea. It’s odd to say the least. And so it goes with The Craze. Those reviews, ideas, visions - they are there but time seems to go at fast forward these days. How to stop this train? Only time will tell.

Sun, Oct 5th: The New Flesh at bei Ruth: Nice dark, gothy wave music from sunny California. Perfect autumn music. Recommended!

Wed, Oct 8th: Molly Nilsson + Donna Regina at Ausland: Molly Nilsson, a firm favourite of The Craze, is offering some jigging tunes for those who haven’t got tickets for the much hyped must-see Angel Olsen performance at Bi Nuu. We love us some Molly Nilsson!

Thu, Oct 9th: Hornet Leg at Schokoladen: Lo-fi post punk on K Records, like we religiously listened to in our teenage years. A very exciting opportunity to rock out to these guys at an early night Schokoladen gig. Support comes from the fun Berliner expat group Business Lunch. Join us!

Mon, Oct 13th: Liars at Lido: If it isn’t sold out yet, this is your chance to watch Liars perform their new album tunes live, which we appreciate. The Craze hearts Liars.

Tue, Oct 14th: Jozef van Wissem at Grüner Salon: Mr. van Wissem is one of those geniuses you want to be able to teach your children about to bring them up right. A close ally of Jim Jarmusch, this is a wonderful chance to watch Jozef van Wissem’s musical experimental and ambient music in an appropriately theatrical setting.

Wed, Oct 15th: Sean Nicholas Savage + Normal Echo at Urban Spree: Extrovert soul pop crooner goes Urban Spree - an interesting idea. Get your best swaying moves on. For fans of Mac DeMarco.

Thu, Oct 16th: Dead Western + Lukas Foehres at Antje Öklesund: Why listen to stadium folk rubbish when you can listen to the real beautiful thing at Antje Öklesund this Thursday? Dead Western is quirky and incredibly beautiful and not to be missed. Fans of Beirut will appreciate this.

Tue, Oct 21st: Swans + Pharmakon at Berghain: Post industrialists Swans on tour with favourite label (Sacred Bones) protegées Pharmakon? This can only be awesome. I wish for you to still get a ticket, which is likely because due to demand they have added a second show on Wed, Oct 22nd. May as well.

Thu, Oct 23rd: Total Heels + Zelf at Schokoladen: Total Heels = super punk band you must always go see because they make you dance and rock like no other, except for Thee Oh Sees maybe. Supported by local heroes. See you there, bright and early, say 7:30 pm. Yeah!

Mon, Oct 27th: The War On Drugs + Steve Gunn at Heimathafen: There is nothing wrong with really good folky and romantic pop music. We need those Sunday mornings when only that will do. The War On Drugs perfect the genre. So darn pretty. Singer-songwriter legend Steve Gunn is just the perfect addition to this bill. Heimathafen = perfect venue for this gig. Yummy.

Tue, Oct 28th: La Luz at Kantine: Easily C*’s gig of the month, even though C* won’t be around to attend La Luz playing her melancholic, surfy tunes live, she recommends this gig as her must-go-to event for you because she loves you. This is special. There!

Wed, Oct 29th: Acid Baby Jesus at Monarch: We have not featured any garage rock this month yet, so here goes. This is a quirky, dark, Cramps influenced version and you will love.

Thu, Oct 30th: The Diamond Road Show, a.k.a Digger Barnes + Pencil Quincy at SO36: Look, we have previewed and reviewed Digger Barnes often enough on The Craze, ok? We love this show, we just love it dearly. This time, he has got a new album in tow. Oh yes! I am a little upset about SO36 at choice of venue for this but let’s go with the flow here. The Digger never disappoints.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Preview addition: Civil Civic

Dear friends of The Craze. If you are a regular follower, you will know my undying love for Civil Civic. Well, I found out yesterday (!) that they are playing Urban Spree this Thursday (!!). Read my review from last time they hit Berlin at Kantine and meet me at Urban Spree on Thursday. Bring your best friend and your best dance moves!

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Preview: the month ahead (September)

With the rather slow August finally over, September is here to bring us some pretty awesome bands. We’re going to upload a few more additions in a couple of days, until then check out what’s going on and as usual be sure to check our calendar below.

Sat, Sep 6th: The Nightingales + AUF at West Germany: The Nightingales have been on and off around since 1979 and according to Wikipedia they "played more sessions on John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show than any other band excluding The Fall". They don’t sound unlike the Fall, early and raw post-punk is probably the best reference for what they still mostly sound like. Support will be Berlin based AUF, a guitar and drum duo, playing something that reminds me of noisy Hamburger Schule.

Sun, Sep 7th: Audacity + Häxxan at bei Ruth: Raw and in your face Garage Punk with a huge melodic hint is your thing? Well what are you waiting for? This sounds ecstatic and wild and will definitely be the right soundtrack for a nice end of the weekend dance at bei Ruth!

Mon, Sep 8th: Chad VanGaalen + Cousins at Kantine: Chad VanGaalen from Alberta Canada plays beatiful yet somehow broken singer songwriter music. He very nicely combines folk elements and melodies with fragile vocals and some noisy and electronic parts. His lyrics are somewhere between disturbing and uplifting and if you've got a thing for beautifully designed record covers and music videos, Chad VanGallen is your type of guy.

Thu, Sep 11th: Alte Sau + Johnny Kurt vs. Hank the Tank at bei Ruth: Alte Sau is another new band featuring Jens Rachut (ex-Oma Hans, Kommando Sonne-nmilch, Dackelblut, Angeschissen etc.), Rebecca Oehms (from Amtrak and die Charts) and Raoul Doré (whom you probably know from Jeniger or Amtrak and also as the guy who does the amazing visuals for Digger Barnes' Diamond Road Show!). They just released their debut record and it’s absolutely great. It’s musically quite minimalistic, just straight drums, an organ, sometimes a ‘choir’ plus Rachuts cryptic lyrics and nagging vocals.

Sat, Sep 13th: Aaron Dilloway + Evol + Naturkunde Museum Ostbayern + DJ MFK at NK: Aaron Dilloway might be best known for being a founding member of Wolf Eyes. Still he also released a shitload of solo records and side projects. Expect something loud and noisy from him, probably involving tape loops and weird analog electronic instruments. Naturkunde Museum Ostbayern (also known as N.M.O.) are a great addition to this, read our review about one of their shows here. All in all, if you are remotely into experimental noise music, there’s no way around paying NK another visit.

Mon, Sep 15th: Hammerhead (US) + Antihairball at bei Ruth: Wow, this came unexpected. Hammerhead from the US, not to be confused with the German Hardcore band, haven’t really been together since they originally broke up in the late 90s. They went on to form the also great Vaz and sort of reunited in 2010 but somehow still went under the radar. So the announcement of a European tour including a Berlin show not only came a bit surprising but also left me rather excited. Hammerhead play edgy noise rock including hectic, yet melodic drumming and heavy guitars and bass. If 90s sound à la Melvins is your thing, you should absolutely not miss this opportunity. Support will be Antihairball from Berlin who play a sort of nervous Lightning Bolt, Melt Banana and Action Beat influenced noise rock. 

Mon, Sep 15th: Helmet at SO36: Two 'old guys playing heavy music' shows on the same night may not be a rarity. But one of them being Helmet might make this a bit more interesting. If you sort of grew up listening to bands like this, Helmet performing their whole record Betty may be reason enough to lure you to SO36 this night.

Wed, Sep 17th: Blonde Redhead at Frannz: Blonde Redhead just released a new record and are on tout to promote it. They seemingly don’t play in Europe very often so we’re pretty excited about this one! They play beautiful and intriguing indie music without ever sounding too catchy or pleasing - there’s always this rest of experiment and edge in their sound and that’s probably what keeps them interesting even on their ninth studio record. 

Thu, Sep 18th: Datashock + Pretty Lightning + Sun Worship + Bird People at bei Ruth: This is like a family meeting and it’s certainly getting a cozy one! Datashock, a “grusel” psychedelic kraut collective and Pretty Lightning, a duo playing psychedelic raw blues are on tour again and pay bei Ruth another visit. This time, Sun Worship and Bird People will complete the bill. So prepare for a night somewhere between “Black Metal”, ambient drone noise and experimental Krautrock inspired acts. Sounds about right.

Mon, Sep 22nd: Helm + Bill Kouligas + Puce Mary at NK: Another interesting experimental NK night. Helm is a project of Luke Younger, he plays ambient drone music somewhere between musique concrete and industrial music. Also playing will be Bill Kouligas (who runs the great PAN label) who will present a new electronic live set. Finally, Puce Mary will complete the line up. She’s on Posh Isolation records and plays deep and intense industrial influenced electronica. Check her out, this is really great stuff!

Thursday 21 August 2014

Competition: Thee Oh Sees

Oh yeah, less than a week to go, oh yeah. Are we excited! We are? Yes, we are! 27 August, Berghain, Thee Oh Sees, Dance.

You (and your friend, lover, precious enemy you cannot stay away from) could be lucky and join us for this show with the highest gig-of-the-year-potential, and little chance of a let down, by entering our stunning competition.

Easy as pie: Tell us by Tuesday midday (that's 12 pm), 26 August 2014, the most wildest and possibly destructive show you have ever been to. Sure, you can back this up with evidence, too. Why not. It might get you browny points. But it's not really necessary, we believe you and all.The competition email address is still win at thecraze dot de

Let the rubmle begin!

Tuesday 12 August 2014

3 Points Review: Quintron & Miss Pussycat

1) It was awesome. The puppet show was great fun as always (a cake contest!). We then danced so much and he played my favourite songs.

2) It was possibly the hottest concert I have ever been to. People were topless and still everybody was just dripping with sweat.

3) A "gig of the year" contender and a nice return to West Germany for me.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

small preview addition: Dead Western

If you're still free tomorrow you might consider visiting Klunkerkranich for a treat. Klunkerkranich is a sort of open-air bar location on top of the Neukölln Arcaden parking deck and to my knowledge they don't often organize live shows there. Yet, this Thursday (tomorrow), Dead Western is going to play there. He play's an intriguing style of dark singer songwriter folk, characterized by his mesmerizing and unique voice. If you haven't seen him before, don't miss this great opportunity to catch him in an unusual location.

Here's the facebook event for more info.

Monday 4 August 2014

Preview: the month ahead (August)

Usually, August is a dead month for live music in Berlin, but you know, we are making the best of it. Schokoladen is showing a nice “don’t care if anybody else is on holiday, we are having a great time” attitude and is putting on quite a few nice gigs this month. Be aware though, any Schokoladen gigs start strictly at 8 pm, so be there for 7 pm and have a cold drink with us in one of Berlin’s most cosy venues. Other than that, see you around town, on a bike, in the middle of the night, in short sleeves, loving it. Heat - may you stay forever!

Tue, Aug 5th: Perfect Pussy + Business Lunch + PISS at Kantine am Berghain: Vocalist Meredith Graves is getting a lot of media attention these days. And people are begrudging her the way they used to begrudge Kathleen Hannah or Beth Ditto. Well screw them. Nobody ever begrudged Stephen Malkmus or Josh Homme for being in the limelight. But women, they better not hog it. Whatever. Another anecdote I can mention in connection with Perfect Pussy is a line written about them on Wikipedia: “The band is known for its "frenetic brand of punk and raucous live shows"and has been described as "the most important punk band to come out of Syracuse since Earth Crisis." This is so funny, it actually brings tears to my eyes. My sense of humour. Anyhoo, about Perfect Pussy, really: They’re pretty awesome. You like Dag Nasty and Bikini Kill? Swing on by! Added bonus: our favourites PISS as support!

Thu, Aug 7th: Sabar - A night of West African Drumming at Arena Badeschiff: This is the second West African Drumming event curated by Colin Hacklander. He invites friends to play drums with him, making this “a spontaneous gathering with drum kits, Sabar drums and talking drum”. Definitely a show worth visiting, especially in such an interesting location.

Fri, Aug 8th: Schrein + City Hands  + Hexeneich + Arvind Ganga at Bei Ruth: Another night of weird, noisy and experimental music. Schrein is a side project of people involved in Datashock and Sun Worship and although they’re regular guests at bei Ruth, their shows are definitely well worth a visit. This night promises tapes, effects, voice and electro-acoustics, drones and experiments on the tension between structure and chaos.

Sat, Aug 9th: Cranky Fest IV at Antje Öklesund: Cranky Booking, a Berlin institution and ⅓ of the fantastic Späti Palace Label, is putting on a great night of live music and freshly served crêpes. I mean, you are not seriously going to say no to fresh crêpes, are you?

Tue, Aug 12th: Big Ups + Creams at bei Ruth: After the cancelled Big Ups show in May they now return to play at bei Ruth. They play melodic and noisy punk with a hint of Shellac. Probably a pretty good way of spending a Tuesday night.

Thu, Aug 14th: EA80 at SO36: EA80 are celebrating their 35th year as a band. They’ve been an important constant in the German punk scene and their music is still as intense and melancholic as it was in their beginnings. They don’t play live very often so don’t miss this.

Fri, Aug 15th: The Lo-Fi Punk Rock Motherfuckers at Schokoladen: Eddie Argos of Art Brut fame and his lo-fi punk rock motherfuckers were Gary and my wedding band (see video below). A fine job they did. You can now also enjoy their British sense of humour and swing your punk rock legs this Friday at Schokoladen. Recommended! Incidentally, you have another chance to see them at Torstraßen Festival (see below).

Sun, Aug 17th: Thurston Moore at Lido: What is there to say? It’s Thurston Moore so it can only be grand. Also, there are rumours spreading about a very special band line-up on tour with Mr. Moore. See us there!

Wed, Aug 27th: Thee Oh Sees at Berghain: Gig of the month, the year, all time. Whether you would listen to Thee Oh Sees on record or not, it’s hard to argue against this band being one of the best live bands to have ever graced this planet. I mean, at the last two Berlin gigs, the ceiling came down both times. Both times! They are splitting up for good and this is your last chance to party like there is no tomorrow with the best garage punk live act there is. We have our tickets. Watch out for our very special competition later this month. Boy oh boy, are we excited!

Sat, Aug 30th: Torstraßen Festival: This was so much fun last year, Gary and I are still raving on about it. Join us this year for a day filled of fun and music. Hooray, a great final to a fine August.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Outbreak of a rare and unidentified contagious disease

The power of the moment: "Last night in Central London, a reported outbreak of a rare and unidentified contagious disease took place at the Vescovo Clinic. The outbreak is said to have been contained. One patient, an unnamed man, was taken away for further testing and is said to be in a stable condition."

Love this.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Late Review: Tragedy

Having been enjoying myself at Chain & The Gang over at Privatclub, I came late into a fully-packed and sold out SO36, when Tragedy was in the middle of the 4th song. So, I had missed PISS. You just can't have it all I suppose.

I was suprised by a thick wall of sound made out of perfectly mixed guitars. For my taste the sound was too metal sounding for Tragedy. However, I must praise the well-defined engineering in SO36, especially for a fast d-beat band with down-tuned guitars the sound can easily end in a muddy bassy desaster on such a big sound-system. It was cool to hear some of the more melodic guitar parts crystal clear and so get both the relentless rolling D-Beat thunder and the great melodies, which make Tragedy so special.

J.'s preview had captured perfectly the spirit of Tragedy. I remember them as a positive side note in the late 90s, blending the dark apocalyptic HC of His Hero is Gone with a clasical 80s Discharge sound. It appealed to hardcore folks as well as crust punks. They were influential for the d-beat revival and they are convinced DIY peace punks.

Luckily, they played a good mix of all albums, not forgetting the old songs of their first self-titled LP, which, in my opinion, is the most remarkable due to its calmer, melancholic atmosphere. There was no extra political message in-between songs but Tragedy convinced musically with a flawless and tightly played gig, which was frenetically appreciated by a moshing crowd. I am sure they played smaller venues when touring earlier, but I was impressed how many people of different walks of life, spanning across several generations, had come together to see them. This was certainly a special gig, organized by local record stores for a very fair price. It is quite a feat to bring together so many different people and suceed in satisfying them. A big compliment to the organisers and of course the band.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Preview: the month ahead (July)

School’s out for summer! Summer? What summer? This rings true on two levels: The weather, duh! And there is a lot going on gig-wise, which is of course unusual for July in Berlin.

Wed, July 2nd: Neurosis at Astra: Credited as one of the most influential originators of today’s drone/doom bands Neurosis is still very active in releasing new records and playing live. In contrary to most followers they are more interested in progressing their music rather than image and artwork style. Past tours also featured visual art artists. There seem to be tickets still and it is decent priced.

Thu, July 3rd: Les Rhinoceros and Sferics at bei Ruth: Les Rhinoceros are a Washington DC based “Jazzcore” band on Tzadik Records, the label of John Zorn. That reference alone probably hints at what kind of music they might be playing. And indeed they fit the Tzadik catalogue quite well. Their music relies on the combination of different genres and styles, they merge jazz with “world music”, Klezmer influences, ambient sounds and heavy rock. Support will be Sferics, solo project of Sun Worship’s and Pete The Pirate Squid’s guitar player. He plays solo electric guitar and accompanying devices, creating improvised shreds and alluring ambient textures.

Mon, July 7th: Arto Lindsay at Volksbühne: Arto Lindsay, the No-Wave mastermind behind DNA and later on bands like The Lounge Lizards and Ambitious Lovers, is still an innovative force in contemporary experimental music. His solo shows mostly consist of experimental guitar noises and almost catchy soft voiced songs. Watch a video of him playing at West Germany a while ago before marking this date in your calendar with a big red pen.

Thu, July 10th: The Pharmacy and Display at Schokoladen: If, like me, you spent your early teen years as an indie kid in a tartan shirt and Dr Marten shoes, listening to The Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam, you will appreciate this more modern version of your northern West Coast indie rock. The Pharmacy also display considerably more humour than afore-mentioned groups.

Wed, July 16th: Mdou Moctar at West Germany: Mdou Moctar is a guitarist from Niger who plays interesting and unconventional music based on repetitive almost psychedelic patterns and simple drum beats. It’s like Krautrock mixed together with African influences. His bandcamp page puts it quite well and describes his music as “electrifying, distorted and blown out guitar balances with sweet melodies of Saharan folk. Check out the video below, this is going to be one dancy West Germany evening!

Wed, July 16th: Parquet Courts at Cassiopeia: I thoroughly enjoyed Parquet Courts at the last Berlin appearance, so you might, too. The hype is justified.

Thu, July 17th: Guardian Alien at bei Ruth: If you’re into Liturgy, who interestingly enough just announced their ‘reunion’, you also know their amazing drummer Greg Fox. After Liturgy ‘broke up’ he started Guardian Alien with a more or less fluid line-up of other musicians. Their music ranges somewhere between experimental electro/synth music and free jazzy elements. They released a second record not long ago and are now on tour presenting newer material, this time stopping by at bei Ruth.

Fri, July 18th: Sun, July 20th: Schokoladen Hoffest: A wonderful Berlin summer get together every year, we had to fear for its existence during Schokoladen’s struggle against Mitte’s property sharks. This year, rest assured that it’s not the last. A definite must in the Berlin music calendar - check out the Schokoladen website for details.

Tue, July 22nd: Andrew W.K. at Magnet: Despite all controversy, I have a soft spot for the man, right or wrong. His village voice blog is fantastic and few people can make yoga look so wrong and great at the same time. More than anything, he knows how to rock out just for the heck of it and we all need that every now and so often. Count Gary and myself in!

Sat, July 26th: Down By The River Festival: Another annual summer get together with an eclectic line-up. May as well.

Mon, July 28th: Quintron and Miss Pussycat at West Germany: Oh the love I have for these two! Read my review, put your soul dancing dress on and let’s go crazy wild!

Thu, July 31st: Trust at Kantine: Trust at Kantine has happened before and this is what we had to say about it: “Of course we are not talking about the French metal band. This Trust is essentially techno, though they draw from a lot of genres to make their music interesting. Originally, Trust featured one of the core members of Austra, giving you an idea of musical direction. Kantine is certainly a small venue to play for this much hyped project. If you like your techno rave or just want a really good dance this Saturday, head to Kantine early.”

Thu, July 31st: Frank Fairfield at Monarch: This is much anticipated and a performance you should not miss. Mr. Fairfield writes on his website “Frank Fairfield plays down-home, old time folk music. He plays fiddle, guitar, banjo and he sings. Born in Fresno, California, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife.” and that sums it up nicely. Down to earth, quirky, folk music. We love.

Monday 30 June 2014

Late Review: Chain and The Gang

As it was an entertaining and well-received show, I thought I should do a quick late review.

One of the warmest nights in June, this was another sweaty gig in cosy little Privatclub, which was quite packed that night.

The Opener was Skiing. A Berlin-based trio very much influenced by 50s rock'n'roll. You may be familiar with them as they seem to play frequently around town. Their rather dreamy and tame poppy sound rather reminded me of some good '77 power pop on record. Live, however, it was sped up and a lot of the songs turned into fast punk rock numbers. The very high and juvenile vocals by the singer/guitarist as well as of the backing drummer are quite impressive. I do not think many grown-ups manage to sing that boyish. It can even be a little intimidating. At the end of the show, an audience member entered the stage and played some sing-a-longs with one band member. I have no clue whether this was spontaneous or planned and what exact covers they played. My bottom line: Entertaining yes, musically okayish.

More people filled the small room when Chain and the Gang entered the stage. Nicely uniformed all dressed in the same silver glitter rock jackets, I pittied them immediately as they must have sweated heavily (hope the tour money pays for some extra dry-cleaning). Ian Svenonimus, mastermind behind the group, reminded me of Jerry Lewis as the nutty professor. Like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Ian was and is a polarizing person, a love or hate figure. He was dancing and jumping on the stage, but it all goes along with the music, which is energetic rock'n'roll infused by bluesy parts and gospel-like backround choirs. Overall a convincing concept that worked out very well.

Like a soul or gospel singer, Ian is an entertainer who communicates with the audience to lead over to the next song. And even this communication worked well with tonight's audience, which was rather cosmopolitan, as well as willign to follow the master of the ceremony. Most songs started low with spoken word parts and sparse instrumentation. Then the guitars and keyboards would enter the mix, and it would climax in a soul explosion. People would dance wildly, enjoyment all over their faces. Well done!

I left early but right at time before the nice shower-gel smell of my frontman vanished and the thin air was filled with some more unpleasant smells. It was a quite extra-ordinary performance, I think they convince with a cool retro-rock'n'roll sound which is not dusted and highly entertaining.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Quick review: INVSN (+ Against Me!)

A few weeks back, INVSN invited me to their show at Lido in support of Against Me!. Naturally, I complied.

In my Refused review I have elaborated on my relationship to and love for those Northern Swedes, so need to go into detail here again. INVSN is a multiple reincarnation of Dennis Lyxzén's (Refused, International Noise Conspiracy) original solo project The Lost Patrol Band -> Invasionen -> INVSN. Since 1999, the project has gone from singer-songerwriter melancholy to punky pop to Swedish indie to wavey rock'n'roll, the current sound. It's evidently an outlet for Mr. Lyxzén to showcase whatever he feels like and with whomever he feels like at a particular moment in time.

I have always enjoyed this project and its many forms but the current line-up and sound is by far the best yet. Not only that, it is also refreshingly current and well-written. The album is an absolute favourite of mine at the moment. However, this was not so until I saw them perform the songs live the other day. With six people on stage, a lot more raw rock'n'roll, and an extrovert frontman performance, this was one of the best live shows I have seen so far this year. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and so were the two teenagers I had with me that evening. Since then, INVSN is played on my record player rather frequently.

It goes to show that live music is still the way to discover music. The emotion it evokes can make you feel so much closer to the music and its performers. It's the way I discovered punk and hc, the way I discovered garage rock.

The best part of the evening was seeing my friends of course and seeing the very positive response they got from the Against Me! crowd, many of whom were turned to fans that night, no doubt.

If you want to know what the Against Me! gig was like, read my review from last time - though some band members have changed (incidentally, the former bass player of International Noise Conspiracy is now the bass player for Against Me!), the show was pretty much the same.

Monday 23 June 2014

Competition: Ratttengold + Safi at SO36

If you are remotely into Deutschpunk, the name Jens Rachut will ring a bell. If not so, the names of his numerous bands from the last 30 years will makes things clearer: Angeschissen, Blumen am Arsch der Hölle, Dackelblut, Oma Hans, Kommando Sonne-nmilch, N.R.F.B. The earlier of these bands definitely gave direction to many many following bands and remain to be important reference points to many people. 

Unfortunately though, most of these bands only existed for a relatively limited stretch of time, Rachut has a habit of breaking up bands just to start new ones with slightly different line-ups. Now after he played a great one-time reunion show with Oma Hans at SO36 this year, he'll return to the same location this Saturday (June 28th) to do something pretty neat. He's going to perform songs from most of his former bands together with Ratttengold, a line-up of people who used to play in these exact bands: Andreas Ness, Armin Nagel and Wieland Krämer.

Thanks to SO36, we're giving away two guest list spots for you +1. All you have to do to win one of these is send us an e-mail to until Friday (June 27th, 6pm) and tell us your name. We'll randomly select two winners and let them know via e-mail.

Friday 13 June 2014

3 Points Review: Pink Mountaintops

1) Reminded me of The Rolling Stones, minus Mick Jagger, but with J. Mascis and his distortion. Not necessarily what I expected, with many hippie-ish acoustic videos to watch online. But it was good, no doubt, albeit a little middle-of-the-road sounding.

2) Third-best bassplayer dance moves I have seen, the first two winners of course being the bassplayers of PTTRNS and Health.

3) It was way too hot to stay for more than 5 songs. Considering this, the turnup was not bad at all.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Competition: Tragedy + PISS + Mülltüte at SO36

Presale tickets for this show are already running short so if you're planning on seeing Tragedy, PISS and Mülltüte at SO36 on June 18th you've got two options: Hurry up and buy a ticket or take part in our competition and win 2x2 spots on the guest list!

All you have to do to win is send us an e-mail to until next Tuesday, June 17th at 6pm and make up one (in the best case scenario funny or creative) sentence that contains the words Tragedy, Piss and Mülltüte

Monday 9 June 2014

Preview addition I: Lower + UV Glaze

A quick treat for you: This Thursday, Monarch is turning into a punk den with Danish quartet Lower gracing Berlin with its presence. These guys are punk, but you know, accessible. Think late 70s, early 80s punk à la Joy Division. Intense stuff. They are signed to prestigious indie label Matador, which has proven good taste and taken a chance on punk and HC music for a while now. UV Glaze supporting and these regulars seldomly disappoint. An all-round promising night at Monarch and the perfect opportunity to avoid the football madness. See you there!

Thursday 5 June 2014

Review: Batalj + Brutal Blues

After seeing Batalj perform a very good show together wih Zeus and Retox at West Germany last summer, I was pretty excited to see them again at the same location. Surprisingly, West Germany was not packed at all tonight, which did not bother me all that much. It allowed me to stand close to the stage without having to battle my way into the middle of a sweaty crowd. 

Batalj was up first. They have a new keyboarder who shared the vocal duties with their guitarist. Her vocals match those of the singer-guitarist well - a nice addition to the band. For lack of a better comparison, I can like their sound to that of The Locust, but with a lot of reverb on the vocals, which adds a Black Metal eerie darkness. It actually reminded my of some very good Black Metal demos, which have that kind of chanting over the top vocals, and this produced a big smile on my face (check out the "Wrath of the Tyrants" by Emperor and you know what I mean). I do not know the band personally, but the former keyboarder was apparently dancing in the first row motivating her fellows by passing around a monster Jaeger bottle. I think they are doing a pretty good job managing not to end into total sound chaos by keeping some balance of the individual instruments. Plus the drumming still gives everything a basic structure and makes it really enjoyable for the experienced and willing listener. Usually I like such acts short, but this time I was really sad they played a short set. Batatj had me drawn in and I wanted more.

Brutal Blues rather follow the traditional metal grindcore path and turned out to be a very worthy follow-up for Batalj. Fast attackers, their concept of just guitar and drums and dual vocals worked out well - a bass guitar was not necessary here - just guitar was fine. At times, it was a bit muddy mixed under the very prominent drums. But the guy is definitely a fast drummer knowing how to blast beats with highest precision, which produced the next big smile on my face with very good memories of some old English grind heroes. You could tell these two guys are not new to thrashing out grindcore; I was impressed at how relaxed but ultra fast they played. It was all over soon because of some physical exhaustion on the drummer's part I presume. After one of the first songs a somewhat displeased listener yelled something and was immediately answered by the drummer saying "It's grindcore, we play short songs". 

If you are into short, fast, and loud grind core, there was not much to complain about. The answer to whether you liked the show or not is a question written all over the walls at Monarch: "Are you Metal?" Yes, I am!

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Review: Wolf Eyes + Bill Kouligas

Last years Wolf Eyes show at Festsaal Kreuzberg was so good that I just wanted to see them again at Urban Spree this Monday. Not much changed concerning the band, there is no new record and I didn't hear of any plans to release one in the near future, but the show itself still felt different. Probably even better than the last one.

When we arrived at Urban Spree, Bill Kouligas was already playing a DJ set outside of the venue. I really liked the concept of having somebody play music outside before everyone was about to squeeze themselves into a dark, hot and sticky room for over an hour. Kouligas played a really cool set, mostly consisting of older dub tunes. I really liked it and the music was perfectly for hanging out outside.

At some point however it just got a little cold, so we decided to go inside where Wolf Eyes also were about to start playing. The room was just dimly lit and completely filled with fog, which created a nice creepy atmosphere that was a perfect fit for the upcoming music. Wolf Eyes started to play and I immediately liked it. Their set was mostly built on minimalistic and monotonous beats with the additions of noisy layers and heavily distorted and processed guitar. The gnarly and nagging vocals did their part to complete Wolf Eyes' harsh industrial sound. While their show last year mainly had consisted of songs from their last record, I had the feeling that improvised parts and more free structures played a huge part in this night's set. The sound was great, a point where Urban Spree never seems to disappoint. There also was an uncomfortable  light show with strobe lights flashing and moving around, that somehow suited the music but was a bit hard to look at most of the time. Wolf Eyes stage presence was definitely more engaging, probably due to the fact that Urban Spree's stage is lower and the whole setting is much more intimate than it used to be in the rather large Festsaal. The combination of the dreary, dark music with their Mad Max like dystopic appearance was really intense and impressive.

All in all this simply was a great show. It definitely wasn't unchallenging but I knew before that it wasn't going to be since Wolf Eyes is a band that challenges the listening habits of their audience. They're a band that transcend limits of genres and anticipation. Their sound is offensive but in the end I definitely prefer a band that's offensive and arduous to one that's just boring and complaisant.

Monday 2 June 2014

Preview: the month ahead (June)

Bonjour sun worshippers. It's the start of the month and that means time for our first monthly preview. Enjoy and meet you around town.

  • Mon Jun 2nd: Wolf Eyes + Bill Kouligas at Urban Spree: We pre- and reviewed Wolf Eyes before when they played at Festsaal Kreuzberg last year and they’re well worth mentioning again. If you’re into industrial drone harsh ambient noise music, Wolf Eyes will probably ring a bell for you anyways. Add Bill Kouligas, known for his solo project Family Battle Snake (read a review here) and his label PAN, to the bill as supporting DJ and this makes for a nice start in the new month.

  • Mon Jun 2nd: Merchandise at Berghain: Very en vogue at the moment, Merchandise do a danceable wave thing and remind me of poppier New Order meets The Smith, but then again, what do I know. 
  • Tue Jun 3rd: Shonen Knife at Roter Salon: Japanese punk band that rocks hard. 
  • Thu Jun 5th: Condominium + V at bei Ruth: Bizarre Hardcore Punk on Sub Pop meets Dark Wave from Berlin. Sounds like a neat combination. V used to play in Batalj, if you haven’t seen her solo project yet, this is a good opportunity of doing so.
  • Fri Jun 6th: Tara Jane O'Neil + Yohuna + Lugene Verna at West Germany: Tara Jane O'Neil is very slow, very intense music that is a pleasure to listen to when you really want to get back down to earth. This lady has got me through some difficult times with her guitar and mellow voice. A treat.
  • Sun Jun 8th: Daniel Bachman at Monarch: Daniel Bachman is an acoustic guitar player who mainly draws from folk and country influences. He's amazing to watch live and we're excited to see him again. Read a review about a former show of him here.
  • Tue Jun 10th: Pink Mountaintops at Privatclub: Yes, they are a bit hippie-ish but that's also what we like them for. And they rock hard. This show is going to be rather special in such a small space. Pink Mountaintops are going places, you know. Looking forward.
  • Tue Jun 10th: Quicksand at SO36: Another reunion from a band that many of us know from our early punk/hardcore days. Quicksand, featuring Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, had their peak time between 1990 and 1995. They released two records that are still fun to listen to nowadays. Like always, I have no idea if this is going to be either brillant and nostalgic or a total letdown. 
  • Fri Jun 13th: Jeffrey Lewis & The Jrams at Kantine: C* & Gary have their tickets and are super extra excited. The man sticks out from the mass that is singer-songwriter music. 
  • Fri Jun 13th: Las Kellies + DJ Marcelle at bei Ruth: This is a promising night at bei Ruth. Las Kellies play minimalistic post punk influenced dancy music, think of a mix between ESG, Delta 5 and the Slits. Afterwards DJ Marcelle, by now bei Ruth’s resident DJane, will play. She’s amazing live! So if you’re in a dancy mood, head over to Neukölln on this Friday the 13th

  • Wed Jun 18th: Chain & The Gang at Privatclub: Ian Svenonius, one of our all time darlings, returns to Berlin with his gang, playing 60s/70s influenced garage punk that’ll make your booties shake.
  • Wed Jun 18th: Tragedy + Mülltüte + Piss at SO36: Tragedy, Portland based crust-punk/d-beat veterans don’t tour Europe that often. If they do so, their shows are usually packed and loaded and this one won’t be an exception. Tragedy continued what they started with His Hero Is Gone. Their members are or were also involved in other notable projects like Union of Uranus and From Ashes Rise. Musically, Tragedy play thick sounding dark in-your-face hardcore punk with political and critical lyrics. Support will be locals Mülltüte and Piss.
  • Sat Jun 28th: Ratttengold at SO36: Ratttengold is sort of a ‘best of’ project of Jens Rachut, who’s going to present songs from his former and recent bands Oma Hans, Dackelblut, Angeschissen, Blumen am Arsch der Hölle and Kommando Sonne-nmilch. All of these bands played music in the vein of Wipers influenced Deutschpunk without being dull or blunt. Instead they always had a humorous and ambitious approach. Definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in finding out where all these newish ‘Deutschpunk’ bands got their influences from.

Friday 23 May 2014

Review: Dum Dum Girls at Lido

As a young girl – we are talking 5 years old to around 13 – I was obsessed with Madonna, on so many levels. In some regards, I still am today. She brought me up to value womanhood over cuteness, to show nudity and see it for the great creation that it is, to not care all that much about what other people think about you. I might be given a bit too much credit to Madonna here and not enough to my parents, but you know, I am trying to make a point.

Add caption
The point in question is that young people need idols and that in Pop’n’Rock female idols are still far and between. For me personally, Dee Dee Dum Dum is one to fulfil that role with bravo. She is talented, confident, sexy. And she goes on stage, night after night, with a see-through top, only nipples covered, and wears it in a way that every woman wants to be *that* woman. It’s wonderful to watch.

Imagery aside, the new Dum Dum Girls album is the best yet and a brave step into a darker sound for Dee Dee. You hear Pretenders and you hear Bangles but you also hear more melancholy and a heartfelt sound. Truth be told, I am absolutely addicted to “Too True”. It’s the album I put on as I leave work and the one I listen to when I get ready for a night out. It was the album of our California desert holiday, a record the whole family could agree on.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Preview (for the rest of May)

You probably have noticed that we had to make some changes to be able to keep this little blog thing going (if not read about it here). So the next 'regular' preview will appear at the beginning of June. We'll try to cover everything we find worth mentioning for the whole month. For everything we missed in these previews we'll probably throw some short additions in every once in a while.

Now there still are a few shows until the end of the month that are important to mention, so think of this as preview attempt for the rest of May. There are lot's of other great shows going on, have a look at our calendar on the bottom of our main page to find out about them!

  • Sun, May 25th, Family Fodder at Roter Salon: This band from the late 70s have their place in the artsy post-punk movement of that time. They sound like it, they look like it but strangely they never really got the attention they probably deserved. Except for sporadic break ups they still exist and recently even their records got reissued. Now they're playing some live shows, one of them taking place at Roter Salon this Sunday. This is for everyone who thinks a mixture of This Heat, the Slits and Talking Heads doesn't sound like a bad thing.
  • Sun, May 25th, Owen Pallet + Xiu Xiu at Volksbühne: I loved Owen Pallet's Final Fantasy records and although I didn't really follow his output since then, he still remains a likeable and respectable musician and artist to me. Putting Xiu Xiu on the bill with him for a gig at Volksbühne makes so much sense. They may be musically quite diverse but what they have in common is the ability of creating pop songs that are somehow 'broken' and not only smooth and compliant. Xiu Xiu's live performances always are a bit of a surprise, you never really know if you should expect a more electronica oriented dancy show or an experimental set consisting of mainly noises (or a mixture of both). Which is why they never disappointed me since the first time I saw them live in 2004.
  • Mon, May 26th, Sun ArawLaraaji at Urban Spree: Sun Araw is known for his modern and creative take on dub and psychedelic post-punk like music. His sound relies on deep bass lines and repetitive rhythms. It's quite experimental but not difficult to access and it combines danceable and ambient moods perfectly. He will play a solo show but also a joined live set with Laraaji, who's been around since the 1970s and plays 'improvising trance-inducing jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects'. See the CTM event page for more info and videos.
  • Mon, May 26th, R. Stevie Moore + Brabrabra at Marie Antoinette: R. Stevie Moore is a weird and odd fellow. He's an american singer songwriter and is known for his enormous output of over 400 releases in his now nearly 50 year career. He's mixes (anti-)folk and pop elements with experimental influences and his live performances are as well funny and eccentric. Support will be Berlin based Brabrabra.
  • Tue, May 27th, Pharmakon + Ketev + Shaddah Tuum at Berghain Kantine: After Pharmakon's last appearance at Berghain itself, they now play at the smaller Berghain Kantine. If you're into noisy and industrial music in the vein of Throbbing Gristle combined with a modern touch and beautiful female vocals, Pharmakon might be right down your alley. See the facebook event page for more info on the support bands etc.
  • Thu, May 29th, Hildegard von Binge Drinking + Erfolg at bei Ruth: Besides of getting 10/10 points for that punny band name, HVBD is an interesting band in many aspects. Consisting of ex-Shokei members, they formed this new project to merge hiphop, electro-synth music and post-punk. Combined with a great live performance, dressed up as two nuns, they break with the seriousness of many bands without being a joke/"fun"-band themselves. Erfolg is the successfully successful project of Johannes v. Weizsäcker, who's also singer and guitarist for the Chap. 

Monday 19 May 2014

3 Points Review: Sleaford Mods + Ill Till

1) Any opening band is bound to get boring after 30 Minutes. Up to 30 minutes = I might check out the record when I get home. Over 30 minutes = Gawd, I am so bored, this is dull.

2) Sleaford Mods exceeded all expectations - and that's saying something when queues started to form outside Bei Ruth from 8 pm and all tickets were sold out within 30 minutes. What a great new favourite band!

3) J. put it nicely when he said "The sweat dripping off the ceiling is disgusting - and fascinating". This was one hot, sweaty, dancy night. Yum.

Where is the Preview??

Dear regular Craze readers,

This past weekend, I finally took the step to take the decision that I cannot under any circumstances go on with the Craze as it has been running. With no time on my hands, the pressure of having to post a preview every weekend has taken all the fun out of this hobby. Working in front of a computer all week, I have absolutely no motivation to spend another few hours every weekend. For what? The whole blog idea had sort of died on me.

Seeing J.' disappointed face after my announcement to him last night, and not being one to throw in the towel all that quickly, a great idea popped into my head today that changed all. A commuter train phone call to J. and the decision was taken:

From now on, The Craze will post monthly previews instead of weekly ones. It makes so much more sense, it really does. I will endeavour to put up a little interim preview for the next couple of weeks tomorrow night, too. Just so there is no gap.

I am sure a few other changes will come about here and there while we try and make this platform more workable again for us. And more fun. Most importantly: more fun.

On that note: We are desperately seeking reviewers. You need to be a little nerdy, okayish in English (I can edit your posts) and a fun person to hang out with. All we can offer is press list spaces - where we get them - and being part of a fun group and Berlin music culture.

May the future begin now.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Preview: the week ahead (12th May to 18th May)

Wow, what a busy week. There are seemingly more interesting shows taking place in the upcoming seven days than during most of the winter altogether. This makes the choice of where to go not really easy. To help you with that here's a preview of what we think might be worth visiting.

  • Tim Kasher + Al Burian at Schokoladen: Tim Kasher is probably better known for his bands Cursive and The Good Life. If you’re a fan of those, you’ll probably want to visit Schokoladen this Monday. Quite a nice opener for the week! Support will be Al Burian (ex-Milemarker) who will do a solo performance.
  • Powder Blue at Roter Salon: Canadian ladies are rocking Berlin this week, with Powder Blue and their poppy psychedelic post rock at Roter Salon tonight, followed by White Lung at Magnet tomorrow. Good.

  • Pleasure Leftists + Totenwald at bei Ruth: Pleasure Leftists play nice 80s influenced wave punk. They sound like a modern and more melodic version of bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees or even Malaria. Support will be Totenwald from Berlin who basically take a similar line, they sound like early raw the Cure. A pretty nice line-up for all you 80s punks.

  • White Lung at Magnet: White Lung still get lots of media attention and rightly so. They’re an energetic and wild punk/hardcore band consisting mostly of women and their last show at bei Ruth was fantastic! I wonder if Magnet is the right place for a snotty punk show like this but White Lung seem to have gotten used to bigger stages and audiences in the recent past.
  • tUnE-yArDs + Sylvan Esso at Berghain: Read about C*’s undying love for tUnE-yArDs here and go to this.
  • The London Dirthole Company at Monarch: Rock’n’roll, raw, garagey and wonderful, will make Monarch feel very hot this Wednesday. Mid-week treat.

  • Stadtfischflex Orchestra + Psykisk Tortur + DJs at bei Ruth: Uwe Bastiansen, former guitar player for Abwärts, founded his project Stadtfischflex somewhen in the early 90s. He invites guest musicians to play live with him, for this show at bei Ruth those are (ex-) members of various noteable bands. The whole list reads like a collection of early experimental and Krautrock bands: Uwe Bastiansen (ex-Abwärts), N.U. Unruh (Einstürzende Neubauten), Zappi Diermaier (Faust), Kakawaka, Hoshiko Yamane (Tangerine Dream), Luca Andrioli (Ulan Bator) and Kim Kiesling form the Stadtfischflex Orchestra. Also playing will be Psykisk Tortur, a Norwegian experimental duo that’s also been around since quite some time now. Could become a memorable night.
  • Sean Nicholas Savage at Privatclub: Canadians in da house this week. Sean Nicholas Savage quirky numbers are very en-vogue just now. Deservedly so.
  • Bohren & der Club of Gore at HO Berlin: Bohren return to Berlin earlier than expected, their last show took place only a couple of months ago (read our review here). By now you probably all know them anyway so we won’t introduce our favorite dark/drone/ambient jazz band any further. If you’re in for a musically melancholic but at the same time entertaining evening, there’s no way around this.
  • Sleaford Mods + Ill Till at bei Ruth: I’ve been very much looking forward to this, especially since I missed Sleaford Mods last Berlin visit at West Germany. They just released their second record and everybody’s going wild about it. They play minimalistic music, a simple bass line combined with a drum-machine beat, completed by snotty spoken word rants is all it takes to create a driving feeling with hints to the Fall and other early post-punk bands. It sounds somehow hip hop related without being hip hop, at the same time it’s punk without being punk and this refusal of being categorized or even categorizable just makes them more relevant. They’re definitely one of the most interesting new bands from the last years and bei Ruth is probably going to be packed, so make sure to be there early enough. Here’s a nice article about the band from the Jungle World and if you haven’t yet done so, check out the video for one of their new songs below.

  • The Julie Ruin + Hospitality at Bi Nuu: Kathleen Hannah and Kathy Wilcox back together in one band? A wet dream come true for Bikini Kill fans. Hospitality are a very fun opener of the Merge Records family. C* and Gary have their tickets at the ready. Oh yes. We’ll head to Bei Ruth afterwards for some Sleaford Mods action. See y’all around town this Sunday.
  • Big Up’s + Superspaceproject at West Germany: Read more about this great show and win tickets for it in our competition. If you’re into melodic and noisy punk with a hint of Shellac, this might be right down your alley!

Competition: Big Up's + Superspaceproject

We haven't had one in quite some time but here's another ticket giveaway competition for you! 

This time you can win 2x2 tickets for the Big Up's show at West Germany on Sunday, May 18th and presented by Eine Welt aus Hack. Big Up's sound like a melodic take on noisy punk. Highly energetic and pretty in-your-face, this sounds like a promising live act. Support will be Superspaceproject.

All you have to do to win the tickets is write us an e-mail to and tell us your favorite BIG thing! Closing date is May 17th, 6pm.

Here's some more info, links and a video:

BIG UPS (US // Tough Love)
Brendan Finn, Joe Galarraga, Amar Lal, and Carlos Salguero Jr. met whilst learning about specifications of Cat 5 cables in New York City. Shortly after, they formed a band. Big Ups blend punk, post-punk, metal, and indie rock into a salty mash that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth. At their brightest, they have been likened to The Descendents, but at their sludgiest, they call to mind bands like Pissed Jeans and The Jesus Lizard, albeit with an Albini-esque metallic clang.

Monday 5 May 2014

Preview: the week ahead (5th May to 11th May)

A rather shortish preview this week, for some more cool events as usual check our calendar at the bottom of this page! There are some really great experimental shows taking place and I've been looking forward to some of them for quite some time now. See you around!

  • Deux Boules Vanille + Amigo Tropical at bei Ruth: J.’s gig of the week (read a review of a previous DBV Berlin show here)! Deux Boules Vanille are a french drum duo. They play facing each other and trigger their drumsets through self-built analog synthesizers. This way they create music that relies on hectic rhythms and interesting melodies. Live it sounds like a musical journey from frantic Lightning Bolt influenced blasts to rhythmic and dancy music. We already mentioned Amigo Tropical in last week’s preview and they’re still worth watching live. They’re a Berlin drum+bass duo that plays heavy noise rock and does so in a very impressive and powerful fashion. Highly recommended.
  • Zachary Cale at Monarch: Zachary Cale is a singer songwriter from Louisiana and if you are anyhow into acoustic ballads and finger picking guitar play, you shouldn’t miss this. It’s another ‘Since the Devil is Gone I Mostly Feel Lonely’ event, which evolved into a guarantee for interesting and non-conventional folk music over the time of their existence.
  • Carla Bozulich + Sturle Dagsland at West-Germany: You probably know Carla Bozulich from her other bands Evangelista and The Geraldine Fibbers as well as from collaborations with Xiu Xiu, Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore, Aidan Baker and Marc Ribot amongst many others. She and her live support by John Eichenseer and Andrea Belfi are on tour right now, presenting her new solo record Boy. If you are into Evangelista and into dark, intense and cranky ‘art punk’, your evening plans should definitely include a West Germany visit this Friday.
  • Astronautalis at Schwuz: On tour right now with a full band, Astronautalis stops by in Berlin and plays at Schwuz. He’s an alternative hip hop/rap artist who’s known for his intense and rousing live performances. In his music he blends influences from punk and indie-rock with hip hop elements and political ambitions. For fans of Busdriver, P.O.S. and Anticon label based experimental hip hop: this is definitely for you.
  • Dracula Lewis + Sewn Leather at West Germany: A night of industrial and weird music at West Germany. Sewn Leather is shows a very frontal and in-your-face live performance, playing noisy tape loops while singing to them. His music sounds like early Throbbing Gristle and similar experimental bands with a hint to electronic dance music. Dracula Lewis plays more synth and bass driven stuff.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Preview: the week ahead (28th Apr to 4th May)

This seems to be a rather "rocky" week and we've got lot's of heavy bands featured in the preview. In fact one band is so heavy, their bass player has to wear a helmet during live shows. See you around!

  • Die Die Die at PrivatClub in Kreuzberg. Die Die Die have been described as a punk-pop band from New Zealand but when it comes to live performances they’re more punk than pop. Their gigs have been described as electric, stellar, unpredictably short, sharp shocks. And it’s all true. These guys are totally worth seeing if you like an energetic performance or if you’re a fan of bands like Fugazi, Wire or Shellac (in fact, Steve Albini of Shellac liked them so much he produced their first album after they wrote to him). Lead singer Andrew Wilson throws himself around as if he were a one man mosh pit and the rest of the sweaty trio don’t do too badly either. The group are originally from Dunedin, the home of many of the legendary label Flying Nun’s groups that have such a big following with connoisseurs of 80s post punk and shoe gaze sounds (if you haven’t heard of them, do yourself a favour and check out a recent re-issue by Captured Tracks here) and they wear those influences well.
  • Whitehorse + Tooth Decay at West-Germany: Although West-Germany isn't the usual place for this kind of music, they will bring you something pretty heavy this Tuesday. Whitehorse are from Melbourne, Australia and play 'crushingly heavy, sludge-metal layered with electronics'. Support will be Berlin based Tooth Decay's first live show.

  • Valina + Amigo Tropical at Schokoladen: This is a pretty nice opportunity to spend a Thursday night with two interesting noise rock acts. Valina from Austria have been around for some time now, they play Shellac influenced forward music with a melodic touch. Amigo Tropical is a Berlin based jazzy drums + noisy bass duo. They are great and you should check them out if you haven't seen them before!

  • Toys That Kill + Human Abfall at Schokoladen: Toys That Kill play energetic and catchy punk rock that quite nicely combines snotty vocals with edgy and driven instrumentation. Highly recommended if you grew up listening to 90s punk music. Support will be Human Abfall, who deliver an adequate answer to the legitimate question if there is such a thing as punk in Stuttgart.
  • The Body at Jägerklause: Since we officially have a thing for bands consisting of only two people, this is a must feature. The Body play dark and sinister heavy music. Influenced by sludge and doom metal, they throw in some harsh noise aspects and weird samples and sounds. What comes out is something so nasty and dismal that I'm still not sure whether it's a good idea to start the weekend with this.

  • Melt Banana at Bi Nuu: We're pretty sure you know what Melt Banana is about. They're a Japanese band that plays edgy and fast no-wave noise rock. If you are into bands like Erase Errata or Ex-Models but a tad more offensive and heavy, this is your place to be. This stuff is so weird, I bet it could melt a banana.
  • Jackie-O Motherfucker + Von Tesla + Ruins of Krüger at West Germany: Saturday is day 2 of the so called "Occulto Fest" which is happening at West Germany. I'm not sure what 'occult' is supposed to mean in this context but I was positively surprised to read that Jackie-O-Motherfucker are playing there. They are sort of a collective and play experimental folk-influenced music. Since their live appearance seem to be quite rare this is a great opportunity to see them in a nice location. Also playing will be Von Tesla and Ruins of Krüger plus there will be some visual screening and experimental music DJing. Sounds nice!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Preview: the week ahead (21st to 27th Apr)

Hope you all enjoyed the (still ongoing) long weekend and the nice spring weather. Here's another preview full of noteworthy live music shows that could help to kill some time during the upcoming week. As usual check the calendar for more dates and see you around!

  • Cian Nugent & The Cosmos at Monarch: Another Since The Devil Is Gone I Mostly Feel Lonely evening at Monarch, this time Cian Nugent will play with his band the Cosmos. They play folky indie rock that sounds strongly post-rock influenced. Definitely the right soundtrack for a Monday night.
  • Current 93 at Volksbühne: David Tibet's music project Current 93 reaches back as early as 1983. Since then he collaborated with numerous musicians and released an amount of records that's quite impressive. Stylistically Current 93 lived through many changes and transformations. Since they recently released a new record (prominent guests on this one are John Zorn, Nick Cave and Antony Hegarty) you can probably expect lots of the new material which sounds quite minimalistic and mostly driven only by piano and Tibet's voice. Imagining the great setting of the Volksbühne, this is probably going to be an intense and memorable show.
  • Shearwater at Privatclub: Although I don't know if Privatclub is that great of a choice for this show, Shearwater may still be worth a visit. That is if you are into catchy indie pop with a big hint to singer songwriter music.
  • Kontra Kontra II at Sowieso: Sowieso is a place dedicated to Berlin's Echtzeitmusik scene, they're hosting improv/experimental/free-jazz shows on a regular basis. This Friday, they present an interesting line up, consisting of Frank Gratkowski and Chris Heenan who will both play contrabass clarinet plus Mike Majkowski and Clayton Thomas (who we mentioned here a couple of times mainly for his collaborations with Chris Corsano), both on double bass. Be sure to check out Sowieso's website for an overview of their impressive program and more infos on the shows.
  • Four ever blank part 1: Concert Night w/ Masha Qrella + Fenster + The Chap + *U*N*S + Will Samson at about//blank: About//Blank is celebrating it's 4th birthday and they're throwing a huge party. This is part 1 and features live music by some nice bands and a mixture of different styles and genres. Part 2+3 are starting on Saturday, for more info on that check out the facebook event.
  • 15years of YoYo Records w/ Iron Chic + Deny Everything + Caves + The Dauntless Elite + Down & Outs + Underparts at bei Ruth: Another birthday party this weekend, YoYo Records is hitting puberty in it's now 15th year of activity, they released over 70 records from over 40 bands. The line-up features a nice blend of pop punk, punk, hardcore, post-hardcore and the like.