It’s the second of two nights that The Wave Pictures play at Berlin’s Antje Øklesund, both sold out, and my first time at the small, non-profit venue in Friedrichshain. Thanks to having read the directions beforehand, I find it quite quickly despite the club being located at the back of a poorly lit parking lot behind an abandoned building. Antje is tiny, and when I enter, already fully packed with people. The venue’s biggest problem is not the lack of a checkroom, causing most people to keep their winter coats on and take up even more space in the already way too small room, no, it’s the fact that the bar is only accessible via a small passage next to the stage, which is of course also full of people (who probably don’t see anything of the show at all, as everyone constantly squeezes past them). The €1.50 beer is only a small consolation.
The support, French singer-songwriter Freschard is already on stage when I enter at 9pm sharp, and during her whole set people keep streaming into the already overcrowded room. The headliner of the night, humble as ever, acts as her backing band as Freschard sings light-hearted, swinging folk-pop songs with an acoustic guitar and a French accent that’s so strong you wonder if she is doing it for show.
After an insignificant changeover, it’s time for The Wave Pictures to play their set, combined of their own material and as well as tracks from Daniel Johnston’s Artistic Vice album, which they’ve covered in their entirety and are selling the result as a CD at their gigs. Those songs add in a welcome touch of country to their otherwise very British brand of indie rock, which changes between upbeat anthems and melancholic tracks that are still never without wit. It’s clear that their music is not the only reason they have built up a devoted fanbase, they are also an adorable mixture of awkward and down to earth that is often quite hard to find among British rock bands. The trio also present some new songs from their upcoming album “Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon” (a taste of it can be heard here). The audience is clearly made up entirely of fans, and they don’t let the band go until they’ve come back for encores about three times.