One of the most enjoyable parts of my year abroad so far has been going to see the mind blowing concerts that Berlin has to offer. Every weekend here I have a really massive fear of missing out on all the stuff that is going on in the many little secluded venues around the city. I’ve been very lucky to have become involved in the amazing music scene that the mega-creative city attracts.
Hip Hop (or something) – Young Fathers
I was having one of my weird evenings after university where I decided I wanted to look around the BioMarkt for some Halva for my flatmate and myself when I was asked a question by a guy with probably the best set of dreads I’ve ever seen. We got chatting and I found out he was from my hometown Edinburgh and had a gig coming up in “Gretchen” club in Kreuzberg. When I asked what kind of music his band played I remember he described it as “sort of hip-hop type electronic with reggae and drum bass influence……” I was really intriqued, and then when he said “Young Fathers” I recognised them as the Mercury Prize winners of this year!
I recently saw in an interview that they said “when an artist knows what genre they are they’ve f’ing failed”. I can vouch and say that their music is really unique and I feel so lucky to have been at the show that night. They performed with the brilliantly talented Law, of whom I am ridiculously jealous. I, much like the band, don’t really know how to put a label on what I heard that night, but all in all it was one of the most powerful gigs I’ve ever seen.
Electronic/Synth Pop – Molly Nilsson
Hearing about the launch of Molly Nilsson’s album SEX was also one of those lucky moments. I had met two cool girls, one on a night out and one in my German course at university, who were both up for going. The launch was in a little club called “Chesters” in Kreuzberg. We knew that we could be bounced at the door (like many other Berlin concerts) but we had a back up plan. Because my friend had hair and make up that matched Molly’s exactly, she agreed to claim she was her sister… if I were a bouncer I’d have believed her. Luckily it didn’t come to that and we got in straight away and were presented with complementary gift… I’ll let you figure out what this is. (below)
Her lyrics are so dark and witty. They reminded me a lot of The Smiths, especially the song “I Hope You Die” which has the lyrics “I hope you die, by my side, the two of us at the exact same time.” – one of my absolute favourites of hers. My old guitar teacher, Rab, a metal head from Edinburgh, used to make fun of Morrissey’s voice and I’d protest saying “actually I’d say it’s haunting…” and he’d roll on the floor laughing before refusing to teach me the riff from “This Charming Man” (which I still hold a grudge against him for to this day, but hey, I know the riff from “Enter Sandman”). I would also use the word “haunting” to describe Molly’s voice. She silenced the room when she sang and put on a breathtaking show. I’ve since seen her walking up and down Warschauer Straße near where I stay as she is based here in Berlin. Her song “Meanwhile In Berlin” is also really cool, it’s partly apathetic but also positive about the city.
When my friend Tristan came up to visit I was fortunate enough to be treated to one of the most well loved classical performances the world over. The Berlin Philharmonika.
The building in which Berlin’s orchestra plays every weekend was a really weird piece of architecture, it was really strange even by Berlin’s standards! It was beautifully designed and seemed almost like a tardis when I went inside. But the real spectacle was the people. Everyone inside was immaculately dressed in almost-ballgowns and perfectly-ironed-suits. Coming from an impromtu stroll around the shopping district I ran back to the flat to find the only pair of heels I had in Berlin. The kids were all excited about hearing some Mozart.
The conductor was one of the most energetic guys I’ve ever seen in my life. He exuded performance and we wondered whether he might just fall over in bliss. To be honest, I watched him almost the whole time. No regrets.
Since my sort-of classical music training in piano and singing in the church choirs through high school I’ve left classical music pretty much alone, reserving it for the days when I set my alarm clock radio to Classic FM in the morning. I would say that no matter what your music taste is it would be almost impossible not to feel something when the Mozart gets going and afterwards I caught myself saying something about the “acoustics” of the hall whilst sipping champagne. OK I’ll stop bragging.
Indie Rock – Trapdoor
So I met these guys at a house party at the start of my year abroad and was really happy to be asked to see their first gig along with a lot of the other British Ex-Pats who I regrettably spend far too much time with!
They’re just getting started but are doing well and have already gathered up a decent following despite having lived in Berlin for the same length of time as myself.
I am a tad envious of their guitar and extensive record collection and also their success so far with the band. If you want to check them out their soundcloud is here and they post gigs up on their facebook page. They’re sort of like the lovechild of McFly and Bastille imo. But cooler of course.
Tommy Weisbecker Haus 12/12/14
So outside from these great concerts I’ve obviously been overwhelmed by techno techno techno (the pulsating heart of Berlin’s music and clubbing scene) but more on that later! 😉 I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences at these gigs and please comment if you were also at these gigs OR if you want to take me to more then please apply below!! *hold for applause*