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.

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