In the year 2012, the German festival landscape has been graced with a newcomer: Greenville Festival set out for the first time to enrich the Berlin area with another spectacle music lovers should look to. So far for the plan. With a line-up encompassing international headliners Iggy and the Stooges, The Flaming Lips and The Roots as well as national favourites Deichkind and Scooter, Greenville doesn’t bother with narrow genre categories and instead caters to a range of tastes. Belle Brummell and Pete Pelican headed out to the lovely village of Paaren im Glien to check out this new festival first-hand, with a little help from Allmybands, who kindly provided guestlist slots. After three days of searing heat and torrents of rain, enriched with numerous mosquito bites, pains of unidentified source and heaps of memories, they’ve wrapped up Greenville for you.
Belle: I think overall we were both pretty pleased with the whole thing, right? Well organised for a first time!
Pete: Yeah, it was really relaxed because they sold only 3,000 out of 10,000 tickets, which made for a nice, calm campsite atmosphere.
Belle: Most relaxed camping ever, I guess! And the showers were great. For 1€ you got your own lockable cubicle, with a wash basin and hot water as much as you wanted.
Pete: Also the small number of attendants made it possible to see some really good and quite big bands close up, with only a small crowd.
Belle: Definitely. But do you think, apart from the size at this first installment, is there anything ‘special’ about Greenville? What is its advantage over other festivals?
Pete: I think for people with a wide range in music taste it is a very good festival. For everyone there was something to see I guess. For me there was The Big Pink, Noah and the Whale (who cancelled unfortunately) and Iggy and the Stooges. Oh, and 2:54, my insider’s tip at this festival.
Belle: I had also been looking forward to The Big Pink the most, along with The Flaming Lips, Young Rebel Set and Iggy of course. Honestly I was also very excited for HGich.T. The kind of thing I’d never pay to see, but wouldn’t miss at a festival. Same with Deichkind.
Pete: Our first band were The Big Pink. Surprising that they made their way up to the stage at these temperatures (I think 30°C?)!
Belle: I think they should have played after dark, but that wouldn’t be possible at such a small festival I’m afraid … They didn’t play ‘At War with the Sun’, my favourite song, so I was disappointed. Actually they should have played it, because they were in fact ‘at war with the sun’! But apart from that it was good. They had no guitar at times, that surprised me.
Pete: Yeah, but at times it was a bit too noisy for my taste. They had new bandmembers too, compared to MELT! two years ago, the drummer and one of the two guys doing sound effects.
Belle: The Flaming Lips were awesome. I was too tired at some point though, and I also think they did most of the good stuff in the beginning, like balloons, confetti … so the rest of the show had to seem a little boring by comparison. They started the show as if it was already the finale.
Pete: Yeah, but the whole show was like one big finale, visually. However, musically it wasn’t wholly my type of thing, very psychedelic and experimental.
Belle: We simply weren’t high enough.
Pete: But it was a good warm-up for Deichkind, who played afterwards.
Belle: Please don’t refer to The Flaming Lips as the warm-up act for Deichkind. Though there were similarities in their performance, like interaction with the audience, and band members crowdsurfing inside weird objects (an inflatable ball and a big barrel, respectively). Had you seen Deichkind before, by the way?
Pete: Yes, and their show was even better this time.
Belle: We spent half of the day in Berlin and had sushi. The first band we saw were The Kilians but honestly it wasn’t really a memorable performance.
Pete: It was good, but nothing more.
Belle: Young Rebel Set, who played afterwards, were much better.
Pete: Yes, indeed. During the more quiet parts you could hear a bit of Marcus Mumford in his voice.
Belle: Oh yes, that’s true. But they had more of a “rockstar look” than Mumford & Sons. I have to make sure to get Young Rebel Set’s album finally, though.
Pete: Yeah, me too.
Belle: I don’t know why we missed The Roots… but we did. I think we were predrinking for HGich.T?
Pete: We had to drink because of a freaky night to come, with HGich.T and Scooter … Which of them did you like more?
Belle: Hahaha, I don’t think you can compare them really … Demented ‘art collective’ versus vapid textbook techno. Both are stupid, but that’s it 😉
Pete: But I would have thought Scooter had a great show, however, what I saw was crap. Some pyro effects and nothing more … can’t believe he gets money for that!
Belle: I expected more from Scooter too. Maybe they did a stripped-down show because they were ‘only’ special guest? However, HGich.T are quite terrifying. They wander through the crowd and make you say stuff into the microphone – or scream, in my case … They shaved a fan’s hair off on stage. I’m still not sure if he was just a drunk volunteer, or part of the gang.
Pete: Yeah, that was creepy! Even to think of that show … maybe we should stop at this point.
Belle: Why, are you scared?
Pete: Not scared, but the performance and everything was just so fucked up …
Belle: Sunday started out with horrible amounts of rain and wet tents all around. But I was cheered up significantly when comedic singer-songwriter Blockflöte des Todes came on. You missed him and I tell you again, it was sooo worth seeing.
Pete: Yeah, I slept through his set, shame on me. But I also missed the rain like that. So tell me again, what was so special about Blockflöte des Todes?
Belle: It was just hilarious! I liked his dry humour and self-irony. He sang songs about fair-trade cocaine, on how to kill mosquitos with his crutches (because he has only one leg and wears an artificial limb), and how he was allergic to girls’ hair. He drew a fairly large crowd even though it was 12 in the ‘morning’ (morning for festival-goers, that is).
Belle: Then we saw The Kabeedies. I have to say I didn’t feel great all through Sunday, I was just too exhausted after two days and I didn’t really feel like dancing that ‘early’, but it was a nice set anyway. I especially like how they use the breaks between songs to insult each other.
Pete: Yeah, and it was worth going because it was one of the last gigs with Katie, who’s leaving after this year’s festival dates. The show was good as always.
Belle: Next was Cro … I think we both agree here … not worth the hype. Or let’s put it like this: If someone gets hyped like this, you should already know better than expect too much. At least for the German music industry, this usually applies. So, as usual, I go for: “In one year nobody will remember him!!”
Pete: It was terrible hearing him sample one of my favourite bands, Bloc Party. He just had the original version play and he raps over it – wow, I can also stand there with my guitar, cover this song and sing something else.
Belle: But hey, O. Children were good. I just listened to them again the other day and I’m still surprised how much I liked it, though all this joy-division-ish stuff usually isn’t my thing … Quite the surprise discovery!
Pete: Yeah, that was some good shit! Surprising performance!
Belle: Minus the ugly shirts though. Then 2:54 …
Pete: Oh yeah, my personal tip! One of the bands I wanted to see at this festival and I was not disappointed. They’re very mystic and the voice is great.
Belle: I think it’s good when you’re in the right mood. But I think right then it was too slow for me, because I was already too tired. Dizzee Rascal was better suited for my mood 😉
Pete: Only we didn’t have the energy to enjoy it in full anymore …
Belle: Not exactly my thing anyway, but good for partying. And we had to save our energy for Iggy & The Stooges. It was insane how close up you could get!
Pete: Yeah, it was because, as I mentioned earlier, they only sold 3,000 out of 10,000 tickets, so it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. And yeah, I can’t believe that he’s 65. Could have been a show from the 70s or whatever.
Belle: The guy is incredible. He still does this after all those years and you can tell he still loves it and that’s what makes it so good. Most people would seem ridiculous at his age but not Iggy.
Pete: I was surprised when he let lots of fans enter the stage and they gave him hugs and rocked out with him, that was an overwhelming moment. Unfortunately we were not close enough to the stage to enter it ourselves.
Belle: I was surprised too. I thought it would be considered a safety risk but everything was under control. I mean when Iggy says so, the security guards basically have to listen to him. That was a great moment, definitely.
Belle: So, all in all, was it worth going? I think yes. It was nice to witness the “first time”. Maybe it’s going to grow to become a popular institution.
Pete: Yeah but if I had paid for it I would say no because so many great acts I wanted to see cancelled. But all in all it was nice experience.
Belle: That’s true. It wouldn’t have been worth the price for me either, but that’s always a question of personal taste.
Pete: And they promised even bigger acts for next year, so we should keep an eye on that!