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.

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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.