Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Review: Geoff Farina + The Dropout Patrol

Although this was quite a while ago, I still wanted to say a few words about it. The people from mOck have been putting up small and cozy house shows for a while now and even though their taste matched mine pretty well most of the time I actually never made it to one of these shows until this one. So we made our way to some part of Berlin that I've never been to before to attend this house show.  Since the original show had been been fully booked pretty fast another one had quickly been organized and we were lucky enough to be part of this second show. 

The Dropout Patrol played first and presented their stripped down and intimate take on a mixture between 'slowcore' and singer/songwriter music. Similarities to and influences from bands like early Low, Ida or even the Secret Stars can't be denied, however they manage to keep an original approach and likable attitude. Also they were a perfect fit for what was coming up next. 

I've seen Geoff Farina play in very different settings and one thing all shows had in common was that they sounded completely different every time. This one was no exception, Geoff Farina played a great show with songs that sometimes were very different from each other stylistically and also concerning their background and origin. Yet if you recapture his musical output over the years all of this somehow made sense and blended together into a beautiful journey through old Secret Stars and Karate songs, even older traditional Americana Folk and Blues pieces and songs of guitar players that seemed to have had a huge impact on Farina's taste and style. In-between songs he told funny anecdotes about the songs he was about to play or about his experiences on the road. All of this made for a great concert and possibly my favorite time of seeing Geoff Farina solo.

The m0ck guys were kind enough to put some filmed songs from the show on youtube, watch them below and click here for some more plus two Dropout Patrol songs of the same evening. They also wrote that 'chances are high, that we'll see Geoff again in these rooms'. Well count me looking forward to it!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Preview: the week ahead (27th Jan - 2nd Feb)

CTM festival has already started and is still going on throughout the week. It features some amazing acts, musicians, installations and lectures but there’s also other noteworthy music happening in Berlin as well.

  • Felix Kubin w/ Mitch & Mitch + Warm Graves at NK: Felix Kubin whom we featured here more than once is going to release a new record calles “Bakterien & Batterien” together with Mitch & Mitch which they will present at NK this night. Prepare for some interesting and sophisticated electro music. Support will be Warm Graves from Leipzig, whom you might have seen last summer when they opened for Circle. They play psychedelic lo-fi guitar pop.
  • Phill Niblock + Eli Keszler + Valerio Tricoli + Zinc & Copper Works at HAU2: As part of the CTM festival this is one of the most interesting events taking place for me. The three musicians will all perform solo as well as collaborating in different constellations. The event is called De Tune for a reason, this is pretty experimental and none of the artists rely on conventional song structures or patterns. Phill Niblock, known as a minimalist composer of electronic music, plays sophisticated drone music. Eli Keszler is an amazing percussionist and drummer. He’ll present an installation and live music thereafter. Valerio Tricoli is an Italian musician, focussing on experimental electronic music using old analog equipment. He’s part of the PAN label family. Check out CTM festival’s website for more info.

  • Steve Gunn & Band at Monarch: Besides being known as the guitar player for Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn also plays amazingly interesting solo music. He combines great guitar skills with beautiful song structures and melodies, including folky tunes and intense lyrics. He’ll be supported by a whole band, so I suppose this will sound a bit like in the video below. Perfectly fitting to Monarch’s series of interesting folk/guitar music.

  • Mo Leen + Vow at Schokoladen: A nice night at Schokoladen presented by La Moustache. Vow play their first Berlin show. They do quirky but still very melodic indie pop with some electro and experimental elements. Also playing will be Mo Leen who plays intense singer songwriter music with just guitar and voice.
  • Adam Green at Babylon Mitte: Unfortunately already sold out, but still: An Adam Green acoustic show at Babylon cinema sounds like a nice one.
  • 100% Chevalier + mOck + Gift at Marie Antoinette: 100% Chevalier from Strasbourg play a psychedelic mix of Noiserock and groovy Math-rock elements. Think of bands like Maserati and similar. Support will be two Berlin bands, mOck will play their jazzy indie-post something and Gift play something like Grunge Noise.

Monday, 20 January 2014

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

It's Monday morning, it's early, it's cold. Nonetheless there's also a nice week of interesting music coming up, which makes the Monday thing maybe a little more bearable...

  • Jessica Pratt at Monarch: Jessica Pratt plays singer songwriter music that consists of deeply intimate folk sounds and that strongly resembles early folk from the 1960s period. Perfect start for the week. This is her first European tour, so make sure not to miss this!

  • MoreEats + Asraman + William Must Hunt at Schokoladen: Fourtrack on Stage presents this little venture into part folky and part experimental fields. MoreEats from Liechtenstein (I think I have never even heard of a band from Liechtenstein before) sounds a little psychedelic and a litte quirky indie. William Must Hunt play calm acoustic singer songwriter music and Asraman play something like lo-fi electro with somehow dancy beats and weird lyrics.

  • The Gondors + The Anna Thompsons + Canyon Spree at Loophole: Another chance to see The Anna Thompsons live, we already mentioned them a few times here. This Thursday they will play with The Gondors, who do a nice and dancy mix of lo-fi electronic beats and New Wave/Post-Punk influences. Also Canyon Spree will play, a relatively new all-girl garage punk band from Berlin.
  • Breathless at Berghain Kantine: Since they had to cancel their last show back in September, Breathless now make up for that and play at Berghain Kantine. They play a dreamy mix of spheric sounds and melancholic vocals. Although they’ve been around for quite some time they actually have never played in Berlin before.

  • Control Unit + Human Larvae + Anemone Tube + Roughledge at NK: Another fine experimental night at NK. Control Unit play a dark mix of Industrial and No Wave, somewhere between Wolf Eyes, Suicide and Throbbing Gristle and that pretty much sets the style of the evening. Check out the live video below. 
  • P.U.F.F. + Needle Exchange at Trickster: New Wave meets snotty late 70s punk. Nice combination and well worth checking out!

  • 50 Jahre Andreas Dorau Gala w/ Andreas Dorau + Stereo Total + Der Plan + Justus Köhncke + Wolfgang Müller + Maurice Summen and probably more at Bi Nuu: Andreas Dorau is celebrating his 50th anniversary and he’s throwing a party with a shitload of friends, musicians and bands. We’re especially stoked about Der Plan performing live!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Three Points Review: Damien Dubrovnik / Puce Mary / Sewer Election / Krube / Torba

I'm copying C*'s 3-Points-Review idea since I wanna write something quick and dirty about last night's show with Damien Dubrovnik, Puce Mary, Sewer Election, Krube, Torba at NK.

1. Five different experimental noise acts played, advertised as a night of crude live noise and dirty electroacoustic tape-music. Since I'm not the biggest fan of harsh noise walls I was pretty surprised how entertaining and unique every performance was. I didn't enjoy all but definitely had my fun.

2. NK's new wall between concert room and bar area is just super, either you wanna see the show or having a beer 'n chat without annoying everyone.

3. Puce Mary's performance was my favorite but I guess Damien Dubrovnik (with Loke of Lust For Youth fame) was the highlight for everyone else including on-stage-vomiting.

Monday, 13 January 2014

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

The new year is slowly coming out of hibernation and is getting more and more interesting concert wise. See what this week has to offer and also check out our calendar for stuff that's going on later this month/year.

  • Geoff Farina + The Dropout Patrol - private house show: Although this is already booked out, maybe there’s some chance of still getting a place if some people cancel their reservation. Geoff Farina plays acoustic solo shows nowadays that musically range from blues and jazz to traditional folky Americana songs. Allegedly he’s going to play some Karate songs on this tour, I’m excited! Support will be Berlin based Dropout Patrol, check them out!

  • Ela Orleans at Badehaus: C*’s gig of the week. Experimental dream pop from France - this lady with her music gives us goosebumps and fans of Stereolab, Dirty Beaches, MGMT or Molly Nilsson will equally get a good kick out of this.

  • BraBraBra + The Anna Thompsons at Schokoladen: Brabrabra is a Berlin based girl group and they play wavy lo-fi punk, think of Wavves, No Age etc. with a hint of Riot Girl and a Casio keyboard. The Anna Thompsons are - to quote ourselves - loosely situated in the genre of dream pop but clearly influenced by 60s girl groups as well as post punk. They are also superstars with a two-page feature in Zitty this week.

  • Hammerhead + Fox Devils Wild + Gulag Beach at Köpi: Hammerhead are back and this will probably be stuffed and packed. If you’re into oldschool and in your face hardcore punk get your ass over to Köpi this Saturday or stay where the pepper grows.
  • Sewer Election + Damien Dubrovnik + Puce Mary + Krube + Torba at NK: For the more experimental folks amongst you there is something nice going on at NK, they announced it as “a night of crude live noise and dirty electroacoustic tape-music” which sounds quite promising.
  • Slow Steve at Sputnik Kino: The British Shorts film festival is one of the best, you should seriously check it out. Also, during the duration of the festival, Sputnik Kino in Kreuzberg hosts free (or sometimes low-price) concerts in the foyer of their cinema. Slow Steve will perform. Attentive readers of this blog know all about Slow Steve. Meet C* there!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

XnormanX's Top 10 shows in 2013

As you might know living in Berlin can be a pretty stressful endeavor. There are shows every day and to be honest I for myself wanna see them all. Unfortunately this is not possible. Too bad. However I saw a couple of really great ones in 2013. A short list in chronological order.

  • Lubomyr Melnyk at Haus Ungarn (January): A total surprise to me. Haven't heard his complicated name before, but since this night I'll never forget him. Read my review.
  • Ash Borer / Fell Voices / Sun Worship at Cassiopeia (April): Black Metal is a big thing. Even Berlin has its own bands. Anyway, I was so psyched to see Ash Borer, but when Fell Voices left the stage after a crushing set no one could dethrone them. 
  • Melvins at Festsaal Kreuzberg (May): Melvins is my favorite band. Forever! When they announced to play older material for 2 nights in Berlin I bought my tickets instantly. Unbelievable, but what else was to expect. Read my review of Day 1 and Gary's of Day 2 to make sure what you missed.
  • Shellac at Berghain (May): Shellac's upcoming new album will be called Dude, Incredible and this could stand for their show too. Dude, incredible. 
  • Sleaford Mods at West Germany (August): Without a doubt my show of the year. Someone recommended Sleaford Mods to me and he was right. Fucked up poetry slam rap. Best show, best record, best band. 
  • Wichtel Und Die Wuchteln at Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle (September): Super weird Sunday evening. Wiener Gruppe activist creating improvised tohuwabohu while Sarah Wiener prepares (disgusting) meat-rolls.
  • Black Pus at Urban Spree (October): Loudest show of the year. I was standing next to a speaker and destroyed my hearing. Totally worth it. Read J.'s Review.
  • Daniel Bachman & Ryley Walker at my place (October): Due a day off on their tour Daniel and Ryley played a small show for me and friends. Best party!
  • Fushitsusha / Otomo Yoshihide at HAU (October): Every time Keiji Haino comes to Berlin I'm in the first row to see him. Unfortunately this time I was only sitting in the 4th row. Hmm, Antirock for old people. 
  • Godflesh / Pharmakon / ... at Berghain (November): I'm not the biggest fan of reunions but I definitely had to see Godflesh. Their first Berlin show in over 20 years or so was just fantastic and Pharmakon's performance the surprise of the night. 
And let's not forget the great Since The Devil Is Gone I Mostly Feel Lonely shows at Monarch. A well curated series of shows. Not sure, but I guess I saw them all including Paul Metzger, Michael Hurley, Chuck Johnson, Daniel Bachman, Ryley Walker, Cam Deas, William Tyler, Bill Orcutt, Glenn Jones, Lonnie Holley.

It's already 2014. I guess I'll see you sooner or later.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Preview: the week ahead (6th - 12th Jan)

Here we go. The holidays are over. Real life kicks back in. Depressing? A little. But good things are ahead. A Craze tea party #2 is due soon. And some real nice live music treats are hitting our town in the coming months. Watch out for a first What's In Store 2014 instalment next weekend. For now, here is our first preview of 2014.


  • Clara Luzia and Kitty Solaris at Privatclub - The Austrian Clara Luzia sits somewhere between French chanson and American indie rock à la Hole. Support by our Berlinian Kitty Solaris. 
  • The KVB, Barbara Morgenstern, Rummelsnuff and Faster Disco at SO36: Promoters Ich Bin Ein Berliner are celebrating 5 years existence and have got a nice international line-up for you and your dancing shoes ready at SO36. Especially The KVB in a deserved big club setting gets me excited.This is going to be a real good party. Let's face it, January is not known for good parties, so grab the opportunity when it presents itself.  


  • Caudal and Creatures at Monarch: Aidan Baker is a busy man with a lot of projects on the go - all of them receiving great reception. Caudal is another such project, the constellation here being a trio of Aidan Baker (guitar), Gareth Sweeney (bass), & Felipe Salazar (drums). Our most read post ever belongs to Aidan Baker and his project B/B/S - Caudal will make you as happy. 
  • Slut and And The Golden Choir at Lido: Early Slut releases were something like the European answer to The Smashing Pumpkins in the mid-90s, though Slut's albums were released half a decade later, they definitely appeal to the listeners of the afore-mentioned American group. They then went a bit Placebo and, to my mind, definitely lost some magic. Might still be good on a Sunday night if you find yourself stranded for something to do. And I get to share a video I am rather fond of:

Friday, 3 January 2014

C*'s top of 2013

For me, the majority of impressive gigs were by known and established artists this year. I only discovered few new bands really. Of the new groups I did learn about, Savages and Destruction Unit stick out. Though the former have immediately been catapulted to stardom stage, they are still new on the scene and they are offering something new and exciting - music has been waiting for them. Destruction Unit play more of a "best of" of noise music, mixing elements of punk, psych, industrial and wave. They rock so hard with it though, it's a dream. 

In other news, No Age returned with a fantastic album and show to match. Dirty Beaches is, yet again, my winner of the year. And Festsaal, oh lovely Festsaal, burned to the ground. Its abesence was very noticable throughout the second half the year. We leave 2013 with the knowledge that it will be rebuilt. Will it ever be the same? Hopefully, it will be better than ever! Definitely worth a mention is the new label Späti Palace. An overdue project, Berlin now finally has a label that focusses on showcasing Berlin-based music to the rest of the world. Things will change from hereon, don't you believe it!

  1. No Age at Privatclub (October)  
  2. Dirty Beaches at Teenitus Festival (May) and at Foreign Affairs Festival (July)
  3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Columbiahalle (May)
  4. Civil Civic at Kantine am Berghain (June)
  5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Admiralspalast (February)   
  6. King Khan & The Shrines at Festsaal (January) 
  7. Savages at Lido (May)
  8. Teen at Comet Club (March)
  9. Rocket From The Crypt at Festsaal (April)
  10. TOY at O2 World (November)
  11. Otto von Schirach at Urban Spree (June)  
  12. Man Or Astroman? at Lido (October)
  13. Destruction Unit at West Germany (October) 
  14. Classic Muscle at a private party (November) 
  15. Austra at Lido (June)   
  16. Mikal Cronin at West Germany (May)
  17. The Babies at Monarch (June) 
  18. Wooden Shjips at Berghain (December)
  19. Dead Skeletons at SO36 (December)

Admittedly, I had the most fun abroad this year. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs curated a most fantastic line-up at Alexandra Palace in London this May. Belle & Sebastian, supported by Best Coast, in an open-air canyon theatre with a Santa Barbara sunset is hard to top, by anybody anywhere. Maybe I'll write a (6 months) late review of that at some point. But maybe I will just keep that one memory to myself after all.

ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror curated by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (May) 
Belle & Sebastian and Best Coast at Santa Barbara Bowl (July)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

J.'s top of 2013

We hope you all had a good start in 2014 and survived all that holiday season stuff without much drama. 

Starting the new year with writing about the old one might not be most exciting thing to do but still there were some great live music moments in 2013 that I just didn't want to leave unmentioned. Also I'm really looking forward to what the new year has up it's sleeve, we'll keep you updated about that pretty soon. 

Here's my top of 2013 list in chronological order:
  • 24.04.: Buck Gooter, bei Ruth: Weird, noisy and unpretentious, this was really cool.
  • 25.04.: Wolf Eyes, Festsaal Kreuzberg (review here): A very intense show plus Wolf Eyes released one of my favorite records this year.
  • 09.05.: Deux Boules Vanille, bei Ruth (review here): I was totally blown away by this live performance, I really hope these guys come back to Berlin very soon!
  • 13.05.: Mount Eerie, Festsaal Kreuzberg (review here): You just can't go wrong with Mount Eerie, I just like almost everything this guy does..
  • 17.05.: Bell Witch, Koma F (review here): Although I attended very few hardcore shows this year, this one really stuck out.
  • 22.06.: Nisennenmondai + Clean & Jerk, Urban Spree (review here): Awesome show and a surprisingly good support band, hope to see more of them in 2014!
  • 04.08.: Drum night at bei Ruth w/ Greg Fox, Bastian Hagedorn, Good God, A.E. Widow: A concert based on just drums that blew my mind. This wasn't boring for a single minute.
  • 01.10. Black Pus + NMO, Urban Spree (review here): Chaotic, hectic, wild, this was everything I love about Lightning Bolt and it was amazing to see that Black Pus could convey that just on his own.
  • 23.10. Colin Stetson, Berghain (review here): Beautiful and haunting in it's own way and in the perfect location for a show like this.