Communication design student with a passion for photography and music, as well as concerts, cats, cupcakes and comic books.
Redheadess spends most of her money on concert and festival tickets and usually sees a band more than one or two times. She likes travelling to see friends and bands and friends in bands, usually having only her compact digital camera with her, seldom bringing The Good One because she’s not allowed to.
Those two of us that were spending the weekend in Lüneburg were also busy working at this year’s campus festival, which has been steadily growing every year since 2004. Therefore we weren’t able to really see any of the acts playing. But the two days (Friday and Saturday) were still enough time to realise that it’s impeccably organised (even though literally all the work is done by students of Leuphana University in Lüneburg, so props to them). It’s not even really the music that counts at this event, even though you can barely escape the beats and riffs floating over the festival grounds. There’s graffiti artists, DIY-lemonade stands, a 360° performance stage for comedy, screenprinting workshops, information tents about social and political issues and every piece of food and drink is vegetarian. Sustainability is in every corner, and that’s what counts. Even the festival merch is organic, and beautifully illustrated as well. It’s a small festival, easily overlooked, and I’m having a lot of fun simply listening to bands like Bergfilm, Carnival Youth and Balthazar from the press lounge where I’m editing my pictures between my time shooting bands on the smaller stage – the Spielwiese (lit. “play meadow”. Yes. It is a meadow. But it’s small and nice and there are no barriers in front of the stage).
We’ll simply leave you with a little gallery from the first June weekend (at which we had temperature peaks of 31°C and no rain). I’ll do my best to be shooting at Lunatic next year as well.
Last weekend, we had the honour to present our first concert with Indie Pen Dance! We had the lovely Captain Casanova playing at little Komet Bar just off the bright lights of Reeperbahn. And since a picture is worth a 100 words, we’ll leave you with the highlights in photo format…
Do you ever go to a concert without any expectations? Not necessarily in a bad way, just… no expectations whatsoever. The night is a blank white page. Whatever happens, you will not see it coming.
That’s how Yours Truly enters Molotow Club on a chilly Friday night, in the exact moment Parasite Single start. Tonight, they’re the support act for singer SoKo, who plays only two German dates on her European tour, this one in Hamburg. Experimental electronic beats sound from the drum computer and MacBook, but they didn’t miss to bring a guitar, too. The Hamburg-based band is excited to play and is lucky enough to look onto a packed club by the end of their set. The gig apparently sold out in the course of the evening, and I’m ready to leave right after the first three songs I’m allowed to photograph tonight – I need to be up at 6 AM on the next day.
SoKo is actually a Polish-Russian-Italian-French lady born and raised in France named Stéphanie Sokolinski. Back when her debut album was released, she sported a hippie look with a long brown mane. As you do. Now, with her new album “My Dreams Dictate My Reality” out, along with her soft guitar sounds, the hair is gone. She’s become gradually more ‘white goth’, as she says herself – taking the stage with a dirty black-rooted blond bob, old leather jacket and red eyeshadow. And she’s so ready for this. SoKo has brought along her four-piece backup band – two guys and two gals, including her brother Max. They race through newbies like “Ocean Of Tears” and “My Precious”. In between songs, SoKo ponders on the lack of vegan burgers, legal weed in Amsterdam, and simply changes the setlist the way she wants to. Four girls have the honour to be asked to come on stage for “I Thought I Was An Alien” and animate the crowd to dance from up there – which they do, very gracefully. It is decided that an alien’s best name would be Jake.
This is just one of the unpredictable things SoKo likes to do on stage – before “Bad Poetry” she’d like someone to come on stage and recite poetry, later she lifts her shirt and informs us that her view on feminism is that ‘everybody should show their tits’ … when nobody but one girl volunteers to free themselves of their tops and bras and dance onstage half naked, she’s severely disappointed in the Hamburg crowd. Are we especially conservative? Who knows. Not really.
By now you might have noticed that I have, indeed, not left after the first three songs. There is no way I would miss the rest of this set just for a couple hours more sleep.
After a fun dance party for “Who Wears The Pants” (including the splits behind the synths – no biggie!) and multiple shared kisses with her bandmates, for “Lovetrap”, the singer introduces us to a virtual version of Ariel Pink – phrases recorded by the L.A.-based musician on different buttons on her drum computer. It’s maybe the most experimental duet I’ve ever witnessed.
As fun as the night starts, as melancholic it ends. SoKo’s songs get gradually slower, sadder and more quiet. During “For Marlon” she even interrupts herself and tells the bartenders collecting empty bottles to ‘shut the fuck up’. For another song, she asks her dear friend Ryan Karazija from Low Roar to come on stage and sing a song with her – their voices perfectly in harmony, and the whole room as quiet as it could possibly be.
It’s not getting any better after the encore: “Nervous Breakdown” is a short intermission with SoKo herself on the drums, while for “Keaton’s Song”, a beautiful track dedicated to fellow singer/songwriter Keaton Henson that wonderfully channels Henson’s own melancholic melodies,the bass is exchanged for a contrabass. As if we weren’t in love with the whole band enough already.
If I’d had any expectations, they would definitely have been exceeded. And for an experience like this, I happily give up part of my sleep. My last words of wisdom: Even if SoKo plays at 2 AM on a Sunday at any festival, if you’re there, go watch. You will not be disappointed.
Es ist Dienstag, als wir vor dem Pooca auflaufen. Zusammen mit zwei anderen Bands spielen Cold Acid aus Berlin heute Abend in der kleinen Bar auf dem Hamburger Berg. Die drei Jungs machen teilweise seit Schulzeiten zusammen Musik. Ihr tanz- und mitgrölbarer Indierock lässt jeden auf die Tanzfläche strömen, und das alles quasi im Selbstmanagement. Cold Kids Don’t Need Agencies, oder so. Wir landen also mit Daniel, Christopher und Eric beim Italiener, um uns bei Pizza und Bier zu unterhalten, untermalt von den ewig sich wiederholenden Klängen von “Time To Say Goodbye”. Irgendwie ironisch. Wir lernen uns doch gerade erst kennen.
Sänger Daniel, der eigentlich meistens bei Interviews nicht reden darf weil er immer Quatsch erzählt, blüht heute ganz besonders auf. In der nächsten halben Stunde erfahren wir, wie man Bandmitglieder per Bestechung rekrutiert und warum die Jungs nie mit Scooter touren würden, aber dafür gerne mal mit Helene Fischer.
IPD:Fangen wir mal von vorne an: Wie habt ihr euch überhaupt kennengelernt, seit wann gibt es euch?
Daniel: Eric und ich sind zusammen zur Schule gegangen. Ich hab damals schon Musik gemacht, seit ich 14 war, und Eric hat Schlagzeug gespielt. Immer wenn ich mit meiner damaligen Band nicht geprobt hab – weil unser Schlagzeuger sein letztes Geld für doppelt frittierte Hühnchenbrust ausgegeben hat, anstatt sich Sticks zu kaufen – haben Eric und ich dann geprobt. Wir kommen eigentlich aus Brandenburg, haben dort unsere erste Band gegründet, sind dann beruflich bedingt nach Berlin gezogen und haben unsere Band in Brandenburg verlassen. Das hatte für uns auch keine Zukunft musikalisch. Wir wollten beide weitermachen, mussten aber feststellen, dass wir keine Leute finden. Lustigerweise haben wir mit unserer alten Band auf einer Anti-Nazi-Demo gespielt, wo auch Christopher mit seiner Band gespielt hat. Der war zumindest Fan von uns, weil wir Turbonegro gecovert haben und er eine Turbojugend-Jacke anhatte. Auf der Suche nach einem Gitarristen ist Eric und mir dann nur noch Christopher eingefallen, der komischerweise sogar bei mir um die Ecke gewohnt hat. Und dann haben wir uns mal zu dritt getroffen, mit zwei Gitarren und ‘nem Schlagzeug.
Christopher: Ich wurde mehr oder weniger dazu genötigt!
Eric: Wir haben uns auf einem Konzert getroffen und haben ihm ganz viel Bier gekauft.
Christopher: Gaaanz viel Bier! Dann hieß es so: ‘Ja, du hast auch Bock auf so Schweinerock?’ Ich wurde mega abgefüllt und auf einmal hieß es: ‘Hey, hast du nicht Bock bei uns in der Band zu spielen?’
Eric: Das war der erste Abend, wo wir zu dritt unterwegs waren. Wir waren aber bei Myspace connected und haben uns auf ‘nem Hellacopters-Konzert getroffen. Und ich glaube, dann haben wir auf der Warschauer Brücke auf dem Rückweg vom Konzert darüber gequatscht.
Daniel: Auf jeden Fall haben wir dann versucht, weitere Leute für die Band zu finden, weil wir keinen kannten. Übers Internet war blöd, so ziemlich jeder, der sich da reinstellt, hat eine verzerrte Selbstwahrnehmung von sich als Musiker. Irgendwann saßen wir in einer Kneipe, schon mächtig einen im Tee, und haben gesagt: Wir haben jetzt ein Jahr lang nach ‘nem Bassisten gesucht, das geht so nicht weiter. Dann wurde halt entschieden, wer von uns Gitarre spielt. Die Wahl ist auf mich gefallen und Christopher musste sich einen Bass kaufen. Hat er dann am nächsten Tag gleich, für 70€ auf eBay.
Daniel: Beim Gesang war es dann halt so, dass jeder mal probiert und der, bei dem es am wenigsten scheiße klingt, der macht es dann halt. Vor unserem ersten Konzert hatten wir sechs eigene Nummern und wollten einfach mal gucken, wie es so wird. Und wir hatten noch nicht einmal in die Saiten gehauen, da kamen schon drei Leute an, die uns – bevor sie uns gehört hatten! – irgendwelche anderen Konzerte andrehen wollten. Da waren wir dann auch ein bisschen verdutzt. Wir haben dann angefangen, noch mehr Songs zu schreiben und Demos aufzunehmen. Danach ging alles recht schnell: Mitte des Jahres haben wir nur mit einer MySpace-Seite erste Konzerte gebucht und ein Fotoshooting in einer Kita gemacht.
Christopher: Das ist echt schon fünf Jahre her.
IPD: Und dann habt ihr weiter gemacht.
Daniel: Und wollten unseren Sound verändern. Anfangs war das so Hellacopters-Rock’n’Roll-Krimskrams, aber es gab halt so viele Bands, die genauso klingen, also war es schwierig, da rauszustechen. Wir haben dann auch privat unseren musikalischen Horizont erweitert.
Christopher: Wir haben ganz viel Black Rebel Motorcycle Club und Picturebooks gehört.
Daniel: Mittlerweile sind wir wieder an dem Punkt, wo wir uns noch weiter entwickeln und ein bisschen an der Schraube drehen wollen.
Christopher: Wir haben zum Beispiel 2012 unsere erste Platte aufgenommen [‘Cold Kids Don’t Need Acid’], im Studio von The BossHoss. Das war eigentlich ‘ne ganz gute Zeit. Wenn du reinkommst, siehst du halt die goldenen Schallplatten überall und bist schon ein bisschen überwältigt. Und wir haben echt wenig bezahlt dafür, dass wir dort so professionell aufnehmen durften.
Daniel: Was uns im Wesentlichen von anderen Bands unterscheidet ist, dass wir nie so viel Geld ausgegeben haben wie alle anderen, nie Kredite aufgenommen. Wir haben immer gesagt: ‘Wir brauchen halt Zeit.’ Um eine gute Platte aufzunehmen, braucht man schon Geld, aber man braucht vor allem gute Songs. Wir arbeiten alle noch nebenbei und stecken schon so echt viel Geld in die Band, da müssen wir nicht auch noch einem relativ Fremden Geld in den Hals stecken. Letztendlich trauen wir eigentlich überhaupt keinem.
IPD: Habt ihr mal über Crowdfunding nachgedacht?
Christopher: Bevor wir die Platte rausgebracht haben, gab es zwei Angebote von Indie-Labels, aber wir dachten, wir können das alleine genauso schaffen. Wir haben in drei Jahren 150 Konzerte gespielt, in Österreich, Tschechien und Deutschland. Wir haben selber Konzerte gebucht, selber die Platte pressen lassen, und die Releaseparty organisiert in einem Club, wo 180 Leute reinpassen. Im Endeffekt haben da über 200 Leute Eintritt für bezahlt. Wir haben selber Plakate geklebt, auf der ganzen Warschauer Straße, und es hat sich ausgezahlt! Wir brauchen keine Agentur, kein Label, jedenfalls nicht jetzt. Irgendwann kommt aber der Punkt, dass du den nächsten Schritt gehen willst, z. B. vier Wochen am Stück auf Tour sein und irgendwann Zeit für ein Album haben. 2011, 2012 und 2013 haben wir jedes Wochenende gespielt, einfach um präsent zu sein.
IPD: Wie weit seid ihr mit eurer zweiten Platte jetzt?
Daniel: Wir sind, wie gesagt, dabei, uns musikalisch ein bisschen zu verändern. Letztendlich muss man abwägen, was wir für Möglichkeiten haben für die Platte. Ich glaube nicht, dass wir diesmal total viel Geld dafür ausgeben werden. Alle Leute in Agenturen machen nichts anderes als wir: telefonieren, E-Mails rausschicken… dafür braucht man sich nicht in Agenturen einkaufen. Uns geht’s jetzt erst mal darum, Demos zu veröffentlichen, die uns musikalisch wirklich weiterbringen.
Christopher: Wir haben ja schon bei der ersten Platte gesagt, dass uns eigentlich jemand fehlt, der daneben sitzt und sagt, wo wir noch was verändern können. Wir haben aber schon Demos aufgenommen und Ideen gesammelt. Da geht was.
Daniel: Es wird von uns ja auch nicht erwartet, jedes Jahr ein Album rauszubringen. Wir sind jetzt auch keine Band, die, wenn einer grad mal keinen Bock hat, sich sofort auflöst.
IPD: Gibt es andere Bands aus Berlin, die ihr im Moment gut findet?
IPD: Angenommen du kriegst kein Geld und dürfest dir eine Band aussuchen?
Daniel: Wenn ich jetzt zum Beispiel mit Black Rebel Motorcycle Club touren könnte, wüsste ich, dass ich jeden Abend eine geile Show sehen würde. Ob die Typen nett sind oder nicht, kann keiner wissen, aber ich würde sie trotzdem mega gut finden für eine Tour.
Eric: Bei Black Rebel wäre ich auch dabei, die Tour spiele ich mit. Ich wäre aber zum Beispiel auch bei den Arctic Monkeys dabei.
Christopher: Ich würde gerne mit Cloud Nothings touren… Blood Red Shoes… Brody Dalle… Ich möchte mit Brody Dalle touren. Ich lege mich fest.
Daniel: Ich würde auch mit Helene Fischer touren, wenn sie die O2 World voll macht. Vor 17.000 Leuten? Natürlich. Weil du Musiker bist und in deinem Leben nie die Chance hättest, sonst so viele Leute zu erreichen.
Heute Abend spielen die Jungs nicht vor 17.000 Leuten. Eher vor 17. Als die ersten beiden Bands durch sind, ist die Mehrheit der Gäste schon weg, aber das hindert Cold Acid nicht daran, trotzdem eine großartige Rockshow abzuliefern. Inklusive Drummerwechsel und Medley aus den besten Indie-Hits der Nullerjahre. Und wer vom Publikum übrig geblieben ist, bereut es ganz bestimmt nicht, noch länger geblieben zu sein.
“I’m curious if they’re actually gonna show up; the last five times they cancelled” / “I hear they do striptease on stage?” / “I tried to listen to them…” – there’s all kinds of things you hear when you’re about to enter a Fat White Family show. Least of all, people tell you that it’s gonna be really loud. But that matters the least, to be honest.
This very Thursday evening, the London six-piece is actually playing, eleven songs altogether, and if you only avert your eyes from the stage a second at song number two (“Raining In Your Mouth”), frontman Lias Saoudi’s shirt is already off. Well then. It is pretty hot in the club, I’ll give him that, but bassist Joe Pancucci couldn’t care less: he keeps sporting his fur hat from beginning to the bitter end.
While Lias pretty much makes this gig a one-man show – jumping in the crowd, staring audience members down, losing his mic stand, pushing his hand down his pants – the other five lads do their thing. The amount of smoke on stage makes it pretty hard to see, let alone photograph, anything anyway.
Frontman Lias might have said “We’re from New York!” in the middle of the show – which, as we all know, is not true. And if he really did it was one of the few times any of the people on stage actually talked. Looking at Lias, one might mistake him for a very messy lovechild of Alice Cooper and Noel Fielding. With moves like Jagger, no less.
It’s all less crazy than you’d expect from a critically acclaimed young band, at least a lot less crazy than the stories I’ve heard from former London gigs, but then again the club wasn’t as full as it could have been. In contrast, the Berlin show a day before had been sold out. But let’s be real here, next time the Fat Whites are back, they’ll have a much bigger audience to play for (that is, if they actually show up).
Right now, the boys have sallied forth on the NME Awards Tour, which will most likely be the most chaotic to date. The Fat White Family will play amongst the biggest young troublemakers in British indie right now: The Amazing Snakeheads, Slaves and Palma Violets. Let’s hope they will all return from this adventure.
Why see the best live band of the moment once when you can see them twice? Redheadess compares Kasabian in Bremen and Birmingham, while Belle takes us on a little journey of her Kasabian love in the past 5 years …
INTRODUCTION BY BELLE
To make this clear, we don’t fly to England for shows all of the time… just several times a year to be honest. For this particular case –Kasabian with support The Maccabees at Birmingham’s LG Arena–, we have multiple excuses: The first and not so good one; we hadn’t seen The Maccabees in over a year; the second and much better one: Personally I have never been at a headliner gig where both main and support act ranked this highly in my personal list of favourite bands; to make it more clear, The Maccabees rank #1 on my last.fm most played list with Kasabian following on #9 and about to take #8 from The Vaccines.
The reason I stole this introduction from the dear Redheadess who had her article done ages before me, though, is that I’m 90% sure that the first article ever published on indie pen dance was a review of Kasabian’s 2009 Hamburg gig, after I had just discovered them for myself, touring my still favourite album of theirs, “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum”. Almost exactly 5 years later, I’m reviewing them again, and while it is fascinating how I hailed them one of the best live bands at the moment back then already, the gig was nothing compared to what Kasabian lay down these days. After having headlined Glastonbury -let that sink in for a moment- the Leicester lads boast even more confidence on stage than they did before – while for Tom Meighan there wasn’t much room for improvement anymore, Sergio Pizzorno has certainly progressed from his “co-frontman” role and turned into a full-time audience entertainer who curiously sports a wolf tail on stage and a white t-shirt with a different nonsensical word each night, throwing maracas into the audience several times during a set, performing sensational jumps for photo-ops and occasionally taking the stage alone while Meighan leaves to who knows where.
Their set is accompanied by a breathtaking light show, usually with yet another nonsensical word shown large on the giant screen behind them, and the mood in the audience was sensational to say the least, although as a result it was admittedly hard to breathe most of the time. With the release of their fifth and latest album “48:13” my already waning love for the band had hit a new low as the album failed to grow on me and I pretty much abandoned it completely, although I loved über-hit “Eez-eh” as much as everyone else (“Eez-eh! Eez-eh!” being a popular chant at the show, along with “Sergio! Sergio!” – no “To-hom! To-hom!”, perhaps just because his name doesn’t lend itself to chanting so well). I hadn’t liked their ventures into a more aggressive sound and more mainstream-appealing hooklines, missing the dark, mysterious, drug-induced sound of their first era as well as the slight creepiness of “WRPLA”‘s atmosphere. But Kasabian make up for it by being, well, the best live band at the moment, from what I’ve seen at least … and now I’m even giving “48:13” another chance.
In conclusion, while in 2009 I already thought that they were worth every cent of the “hefty” €27.25 entry, these days not only the €39 for a German concert ticket, even the roughly €60 they took from us for the Birmingham gig with all fees included don’t feel like a waste of money, especially not with The Maccabees opening and playing no less than three new songs off their upcoming album, and needless to mention, all of them chillingly amazing. Of course it’s sad to see your favourite band performing in front of an audience who’s there to see someone else (and shows it), but a lot less sad than not seeing them at all. And in the end, I’m sorry to say, Kasabian of course stole their thunder, but they’re also a very different kind of band altogether, and I’m glad to have taken the one-time chance of seeing both of them on one bill.
COMPARISON BY REDHEADESS
I’ve never been an exceptionally big fan of Kasabian; to be honest, I’ve mostly ignored them until the release of their third album, and managed not to see them live until they released the fourth. I don’t even think I could imagine them playing to less than 3,000 people after seeing them play a pre-headliner slot before Arctic Monkeys at last year’s Hurricane Festival.
But here I am, having gotten so involved as to see them live twice in the course of one month: Once at Pier 2 – a 2,800 people venue in Bremen – and once in Birmingham’s LG Arena, five times as big, with a capacity of 16,000. So why not do a little write-up to compare the two shows?
As bands seem to not come to Hamburg anymore (looking at you, Arctic Monkeys), despite it being the second-biggest city in Germany and a popular place to travel to for fans from Scandinavia, we had to settle for Bremen instead. Since I had, in a rush, forgotten my ticket in one of the lockers at the train station, I managed to arrive only after doors – and even after a trip to the toilets I managed to easily walk through right into the second row. When Arctic Monkeys had played the same venue back in summer, it hadn’t even been possible to get into the first 10 rows without having camped out for 10 hours before doors, apparently.
Supporting Kasabian on the European leg of their tour were Pulled Apart By Horses from Leeds, whom I’d seen earlier this year and who did not disappoint. Musicially, they were not exactly the best fit to warm up Kasabian fans, but they still managed their best and were quite entertaining. Looking around, as someone in their early 20s, I did feel quite young. The audience consisted of people of literally every age from about 15 to 65. I’m not saying a lot of people dragged their parents along, maybe some, but there were lots of 40-somethings having the time of their lives, apparently. And isn’t that a lot more relaxing than having a bunch of 14-year-olds screaming into your ear? Indeed. Pier 2 has a balcony available for sold-out concerts, which was, surprisingly, not even opened that night. Looking at it this way, I kept telling myself I wouldn’t see Kasabian again on a stage as small as this, with so little people watching – we were maybe 2,000. It did feel incredibly intimate, and the band didn’t seem to care too much. Maybe it’s a welcoming change to all the huge shows they’d played in the months before – an outdoor gig in their hometown Leicester, headlining Glastonbury… you name it.
And just like us, for their English fans it wasn’t enough seeing Kasabian in their home country – no, at least one group of excited English lads had travelled to Bremen with flags and chants… cheap Ryanair flights go from London-Stansted directly to Bremen – it’s a no-brainer for ultra-fans.
Kasabian kicked off their set with their single ‘Stevie’ from their 5th studio album 48:13, only to directly go into on of their older hits, ‘Shoot The Runner’.
Guitarist Serge Pizzorno, trendsetting as ever, walked out sporting a (hopefully fake-fur) fox tail that he apparently hasn’t taken off since, singer Tom Meighan decided not to take off his entirely unnecessary sunglasses for at least a quarter of the set. Later, he disappeared during ‘Treat’, leaving Serge singing basically everything by himself as the lights of a crazy laser show washed over him. The light show in general was pretty cool, but nothing in comparison to what we’d see on the UK tour. The encore left us with a nice cover of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’, but a kind of anti-climatic ending of ‘L.S.F.’ after the absolute smasher ‘Vlad The Impaler’ that had everyone on their feet in no time, for the whole song straight. Still, we’ve had the time of our lives, and we owe in all to them.
9.5/10, would recommend.
The setlists of both shows differed massively: Not only did Kasabian play two more songs in Birmingham, they also took their hit single ‘Bumblebeee’ from its position as first song after the encore and put it in the very beginning, making ‘Stevie’ the first song of the encore instead. The Bremen audience did not get to hear ‘Clouds’, ‘Cutt Off’, ‘Thick As Thieves’, ‘S.P.S’, ‘Switchblade Smiles’ or ‘Bow’, instead Kasabian played oldies like ‘Processed Beats’, ‘The Doberman’ and ‘Take Aim’. I’d hoped for ‘Doomsday’ or a revival of ‘Velociraptor’, which they’ve apparently banned from their setlist, but that’s just wishful thinking, really. So spending about 200 bucks on a weekend trip to Birmingham was definitely worth it.
The LG Arena in Birmingham is maybe the most comfortable venue I’ve visited in the UK. Located on the premises of Birmingham Airport and a part of the National Exhibition Center, the arena decided to offer a nice and warm waiting hall complete with food stalls, merchandise booths and even a little stage to watch local bands before the actual concert. The Forum, as it’s called, opened its doors at 5 p.m., an hour before fans would be let into the actual venue. The staff is super friendly and apparently rewarded the first 50 or so fans to get to the venue with an early entry and a separate waiting area. How nice of them! Arriving at 4:30, if you’re fast, will allow you to still be in the second row. Not much difference to our Bremen show, then – except we arrived about three hours earlier.
For their UK tour, Kasabian decided to have The Maccabees support them. One and a half year after announcing that they might be playing new songs at upcoming festivals, the London quintet finally managed to present three new songs to us. And it was worth the wait. All fingers are crossed for an April release of their fourth studio album, successor to their 2012 album ‘Given To The Wild’. They were great, affectionate and happy to be there, and that’s all that counts. We were presented with a new keyboardist and a foretaste of what direction their new record might be going in. Maybe an epilepsy warning would have been appropriate, dear arena, since literally everyone had to close their eyes during ‘Pelican’ to not directly look into the flashing lights from the stage. Too bad, really. Generally, if the headliner takes their band of choice on tour with them, it’s rude of the audience to not appreciate them enough. Barely anyone sang along or cheered, and The Maccabees really aren’t unpopular in the UK.
During the interval, we were greeted with big pink numbers on the LED screen at the back of the stage, a 30-minute-countdown to make the waiting time less boring. This time, surrounded not by 40-somethings but more people their children’s age, groups of teenagers and maybe even a football team, I felt less young, but the general audience – thanks to seating tickets – was still not much different from the Bremen show. I might have spotted some families with little children.
Opening with ‘Bumblebeee’, it took me some time to realize that not only Serge was standing on one side of the stage with an acoustic guitar, illuminated by one single spot, but as soon as Tom started singing, he also got his very own spotlight on the other side of the stage. Once again, they went directly into ‘Shoot The Runner’. And the crowd went absolutely crazy. They didn’t stop being crazy for the next two hours, either. At this point, I want to thank the guy in front of me, whose body was incredibly soft to be pushed against. Cheers for that!
Before going into their hit from 2011, ‘Re-Wired’, Serge started to sing Cameo’s ‘Word Up’ that made an odd, but cool interlude for what followed.
Both Tom and Serge apparently had a whole cartload of tambourines and maracas backstage, since they didn’t think twice about throwing them into the crowd after use. No biggie. I was especially amazed by the light show, that was not only extremely photo-friendly, but also sent live-recordings from the stage through a filter onto the LED screens. Sometimes, we got to see random words like ‘trackie’ or ‘treasure’ or – not so random – ‘bumblebeee’, and during the absolutely crazy ‘Vlad The Impaler’ experience, there was a countdown to the first ‘get loose’ part of the track, which was maybe the most intense concert moment I’ve experienced this year.
If you ever get exhausted and are just before giving up and letting yourself be pulled out during a Kasabian concert, here’s a tip for you: just take a look at Ian Matthews. He does not stop smiling once. This guy is having the time of his life behind his drum kit. He’s so happy to be there, and so should you!
Thinking about it now, the atmosphere was maybe especially great because Birmingham is only an hour away from Leicester, and it’s safe to say that a lot of people from there decided to go to this show. Everyone was having a great night, tourist guitarist Tim Carter was happy as ever, Chris Edwards face planted from excitement at the end of the gig after throwing something at the crowd and Serge and Tom… well, were being Serge and Tom and practically jumped each other from overwhelming affection every now and then. Nothing we haven’t seen before, really. Serge even took the time to jump into the photo pit and touch hands with some fans. I haven’t seen ecstasy like this since I’ve stopped going to pop-punk shows.
All in all, the Birmingham gig was stressful, but overwhelming and endorphine-rich and the arena was left looking like a battlefield made of plastic cups. And everyone was left with their tune of choice stuck in their heads. 11/10, would recommend!
We conclude with Belle’s video of the the opening track “Bumblebeee” … to give you just a hint of the madness we witnessed:
It’s a Saturday night when we’re headed to Molotow Club in Hamburg to have a chat with Tigercub from Brighton. They’ve recently signed to Blood Red Shoes‘ new label Jazz Life and played several shows supporting them in Germany. Tonight, however, is one of the few nights they’re playing without them. Instead, they’ll be supporting Die! Die! Die! from New Zealand. Confusion embarks in the backstage area as we’re not sure which of the four dressing rooms is free for us to settle down for an interview, when the singer of Swearing at Motorists – who are playing in the bigger room of the venue tonight – walks in and everyone starts introducing each other. This is where Tigercub’s bassist Jimi informs us that everyone in the band is called James, which doesn’t really make things easier. But we manage to have a smoke and a chat.
IPD: You just said so yourself, you’re all called James. So you’re…Jamie–
IPD: You’re Jimi.
Jimi: I’m Jimi, yeah, I spell my name like Jimi Hendrix, because I’m a try-hard and because I think it’s cool. I’m actually James, like… James.
IPD: So you’re all just James.
Jimi: Well, Jamie is actually Jamie. Which, in English, is a different name, although it’s kind of the same name.
Jimi: It took us like six months or something to realise we were all called James. And then we were like ‘Whoa, fuck!’ (all laugh) but yeah, that helps at soundcheck.
IPD: Do people mix you up a lot?
Jimi: Yeah, all the time. You know, your mum or dad are like, ‘Peter– Dave– Gary– Errrr…’. My mum would probably call me my cat’s name before mine.
IPD: So you’ve signed to Blood Red Shoes’ label Jazz Life. How did that happen? Did they just come up to you and said, ‘You’re really cool, we wanna sign you’?
Jamie: They’re from our hometown. Well, we’re from different parts of the UK, but we all live in Brighton.
Jimi: We rehearsed at the same place and we have a lot of mutual friends, and when I first heard about Jazz Life, it was because they released their last record on there. And now that they’re kind of getting on in their career I think they want to help young bands… and we’re in exactly the right point in our career where we haven’t had an album out or anything yet. I think they thought they could help us, which they have, massively. So we signed to them for the single and who knows, maybe we’ll do more with them. I hope so, cause they’re really cool. We love them. Being on tour with them has been amazing!
IPD: Your sound is very 90’s-influenced, musically. Next to the obvious influences you hear everywhere like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, etc., is there any trashy pop music from the 90’s you also listen to a lot? Any guilty pleasures?
Jimi (laughs):Shorty… an obscure art-rock band, precursor to U.S. Maple. Dead brilliant, man. Absolutely brilliant. Guilty pleasures though… I love the song ‘Beautiful Stranger‘ by Madonna.
Jamie: I love that one.
Jimi(attempts to sing the guitar riff): I sing that in the shower all the time.
IPD: That’s a nice one. That’s not even guilty, that’s just a pleasure.
Jimi: That’s a proud pleasure! But yeah, we listen to a lot of bands at the moment… there’s a band called Girl Band who we really like.
Jamie: They’re fucking amazing, they do industrial punk, it’s sick.
Jimi: I think their latest single is about 14 seconds long or something. (makes noise)
IPD: We’ve recently seen one with a song that was like 15 seconds long. Do you knowSlaves?
Jimi: Yeah, we played with them a few times.
IPD: They have this 15 second song called ‘Girl Fight’.
Jimi(sings in mock voice): Girl fight! Girl fight! Where’s your car, Debbie?
Jimi: They live in Tunbridge Wells, which is like 40 minutes from where we live. So we’re not their friends, but we know them to say hello, how’re you doing.
IPD: So, Brighton. Other than yourself, who’s for you, personally, the best band or solo artist to have emerged from Brighton?
Jamie: Eighties Matchbox.
Jimi:The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. He didn’t emerge from Brighton, he ended up there. Or, I’ll tell you who really is good from Brighton: Charlottefield, the post-hardcore band with Tom House, who now plays in all kinds of different bands. No one really knows about them, but they are incredible, you see their name scratched in bar walls and stuff, and no one knows who they are. They played their last show about four years ago or something.
IPD: Did they just disappear?
Jimi: Yeah, but they just imploded, the drummer and the singer were going to kill each other if they stayed in the band any longer. But that’s what made them so exciting!
James: And when the drummer quit, no other drummers could learn the songs, so they couldn’t carry on, ’cause he’s that good.
Jimi: Yeah, he’s like Mitch Mitchell [of The Jimi Hendrix Experience], but he looks like Professor Weeto! (all laugh)
Jimi: He’s got glasses, big beard, looks really strange… when I first moved to Brighton in 2007 I saw Guy McKnight from Eighties Matchbox and I was like (whispers) ‘What the fuck…’ (gasps) It was too much, he was too cool.
IPD: For us Non-Brightoners, what is the best venue for bands to play? What is one that you always wanted to play and finally did?
Jimi: That’s a really good question.
Jamie: I’d like to play the Old Market.
Jimi: That’s where Mac Demarco played recently and I saw Polar Bear there once, actually.
Jamie: Green Door Store is a good venue.
Jimi(points at the others): These two both work at Green Door Store, so they should say that or they’ll get fired.
Jamie: Every good band has played there… Girl Band…
Jimi: …Tigercub… It does feel like a European venue in a way. Though, with respect, it doesn’t have the same catering or rider capacities but… it’s on the station, it’s in an old Victorian archway where they’d put horses, so you feel the history in there.
James: It used to be a blacksmith’s as well, for horses and such.
IPD: Is there any venue that really sucks? Or any that you don’t ever want to play again?
Jimi: I don’t know if you can ever really blame a venue, I think you just have to take a bit of self-responsibility. I don’t know, there’s nowhere that’s really awfully, awfully bad. There used to be a venue called Hector’s House, which was really grotty, and the room and the sound was great, but everything was dirty and it was fucked. And then another company took it over and reorientated it and put in a nice bar and then loads of radio bands would play there and … they fucked it. But that’s subsequently closed. So there you go.
IPD: You’ve spent a lot of time in Germany now for the past few days. How has Germany treated you? Did you like it?
Jamie: Fucking love it here.
Jimi: Yeah, unbelievable.
Jamie: People here like music. It feels like, sometimes in the UK, people just can’t be fucking arsed with it, you know?
Jimi: People want to appear to like music.
Jamie: Yeah, there’s loads of stupid hipsters. But here, we get paid well and we get fed and we get beer and we don’t ask for too much, but everyone’s nice and cool and it’s a beautiful country and people love rock music.
James: People actually get excited about it.
Jamie: People like our band here!
Jimi: We flew to Düsseldorf on Sunday morning and we met Chris [the tour manager] at the airport and we went for a walk around town, and these three guys and this girl just heard that we’re speaking English, wanted to know what we’re doing, where we’re from, and we said that we were playing at Zakk that evening. And then the girl, whose name I forgot, I think it was Wilhelmine – in case she reads this, I don’t want her to be offended, I think it’s Wilhelmine – and she just messages us on Facebook, she kind of followed it through. It was really nice just to have someone coming to you in the street and take interest. I feel kind of guilty and embarrassed that if you’re a German band coming to England, I don’t know if you have that same acceptance.
IPD: Probably not. Because the music scene in England is so much greater, especially in indie music. In Germany you’re lucky to find a really good indie band.
Jimi: Like this band here, (points at a sticker nearby)Egotronic.
IPD: They are really good.
Jimi: They’re awesome. We were hanging out with them in Berlin. They’re coming to record in Brighton in January!
IPD: Alright, so what’s next for Tigercub? What’s your plan for this year and for next year?
James: Our single, the Jazz Life release, drops on the 1st of December so pretty soon after we get back. And then we’ll be looking towards putting out some more music as soon as possible. Just get back in the studio…
Jamie: …and record the album.
Jimi: We have this masterplan we came up with in Karlsruhe when we were really drunk about four days ago, that we want to do the album with [music producer Steve] Albini and we figured out a way how we could make that happen, but that’s still up in the air. A lot of good things would need to happen… for that to happen.
Jamie: It’s a little bit rushed this year because we’ve gotten popular this year and we’ve been gone for a while and now things simmered and since January, since we toured with Royal Blood, we got a production deal and we’ve been touring loads, playing loads of shows… and now we’re in Germany and stuff.
IPD: That happened really quickly, right?
Jamie: Yeah, we’re like ‘Fuck, we need to write an album now, we need to actually be a band’.
IPD: But don’t rush it.
Jamie: Yeah, don’t rush it… We’ve got the songs, but for it to come out – even in 12 months – it needs to be written beforehand, recorded and ready.
Jimi: It’s a bit like chess, in the way you need to have all these moved planned. So yeah, that’s kind of what we’ve set in album-time, really. And then hopefully a couple of people will buy it and love it!
Tigercub played a quite short, heated set under Molotow Club’s roof to warm up the small Saturday night crowd before Die! Die! Die! took the stage. Enough to give us a glimpse of what big things the Brightoners might have planned and to leave us curious of what else is to come.
‘Centrefold’ is out on Jazz Life on December 1. Listen below:
It hasn’t been long since we last heard from The Garden, the ever-busy twin duo from Orange, CA. Both Fletcher and Wyatt Shears continue to feed their fans with new songs from their respective side projects (Wyatt’s Enjoy and Fletcher’s Puzzle), they have played multiple festival sets this year, before festival season has even started properly, and now they’re surprising us with a special gem: There’s three new 7″ vinyl singles coming our way, set to be released worldwide on June 3rd – and each on a different label!
There’s Glimpse, released on Japan’s Big Love Records, that features the Intro Glimpse, A-Side Crystal Clear and B-Side Open Abyss.
Glimpse, being only about a minute long, opens with voices talking and an eerie sound that could come straight from a horror movie. Think wind howling, and people digging up secrets. You can almost feel the starry night above you as you stand in an open field with the breeze brushing over your skin. You’ve found the Vadaverse, it’s right there. Don’t be scared. Just keep digging.
Next up is Crystal Clear, produced by Ariel Pink and Justin Raisen, pulling you in with Wyatt’s familiar dark basslines and Fletcher’s steady drums. ‘We’ll knock the other one’s out / We’re crystal clear’ – you’re still standing in the field, but now you might just be a little more scared. The feeling leaves with the song, leaves you alone with the stars still above you. Start walking towards the…
Open Abyss – the B-Side – is most likely not what you expect when skimming the lyrics: ‘I’ve had enough of this / So I dive head first legs up / In the open abyss’. What you get is catchy hip-hop elements, the occasional ‘uh, yeah’s – and don’t pretend you’re not nodding your head with the beat, I know you are. It’s a somehow lighter ending to the first puzzle piece that will shape the Vadaverse. You’ve left the field, found the street, walking with the beat in your ears.
Aunt J’s Smile, released on Cult Records (NY), is delivered with the eponymous Intro, A-Side Crystal Clear and B-Side Devour.
Aunt J’s Smile is only 40 seconds long and approaches you with furious swears and wobbly synth sounds. You will not get to know Aunt J, but it leaves you wanting to.
Devour is something you could accidentally view as an intermission if it came on shuffle on your iPod. ‘I oughta knock you out !’, Wyatt yells, then, calmed down within a nanosecond, he continues, ‘for being silly’. It’s a bit like having a drunk guy sit opposite you the morning after a party, clinging to his first hangover-drink, still talking about himself like he’s done for 10 hours straight, occasionally snapping. You’re keeping eye contact with him for the rest of the song until he passes out again.
Released on Hostage Records (CA), Struggle In Front Of Sector 27 features the eponymous Intro, Crystal Clear on Side A and We Be Grindin’ on Side B.
Struggle…, upon first hearing, starts like a dangerous and aggressive version of Cups from the movie Pitch Perfect but eventually turns into a long sound that almost takes you back to the starry dark field we encountered on Glimpse.
Lastly, there’s We Be Grindin’, which you could possibly play while walking into an extraterrestrial disco, witnessing all sorts of species ‘Grindin’ up in the club’, as said in the song. Maybe this is where the Vadaverse is going to lead you: a place for you to lose your head, getting lost in, and perhaps not ever returning. But as long as we’re fed with music like this, I can’t complain.
When June 3rd arrives, don’t hesitate to take a listen. The Garden are evolving like they always have, and they will most likely bring the Vadaverse closer than you think they would, since tour dates are up and coming:
June: Japan/California Tour
August: European Tour
October: US National Tour with Burger Records
October/November: European Tour
No one really saw this one coming, even though they should have:
As some of you may have noticed, Mr Pete Doherty is currently residing in Hamburg, probably somewhere in the district of St. Pauli, and likes to play spontaneous little gigs every now and then. After being hours late for his own show at Grüner Jäger earlier this year, the man has settled for playing at Golem, a club near Hamburg’s famous Fischmarkt right at the harbour. This Friday, with a 100m long queue outside the club, it’s Pete’s third gig at Golem, and apparently, the prices tend to decrease with every time he shows up (first show was 10, then 9, and lastly 8 €).
After the big news on Friday – The Libertines finally playing another show together at Hyde Park in July – it’s exciting to know I’ll be one of the first people to see him after this confirmation. I’m glad to find people I know somewhere in the front of the queue and the doors open only 30 minutes late, with Pete taking the stage another half hour later. He opens with ‘Delivery’ off Babyshambles’ 2007 album Shotter’s Nation and asks for a lot of things: a new Muscow Mule drink, a guitar pick from someone in the crowd, boys and girls to sing along seperately, and in the end a bunch of towels for his spilled drink. Other than that, Pete seems to be at ease, tries speaking German as often as possible (sometimes even changing lines of his songs to German and attempting to play ’99 Luftballons’ once) and he manages to create a one-and-only atmosphere in the hot, sticky club (it’s almost a summer night outside).
About nine songs in (all ranging from old Libertines hits over Babyshambles songs to a cover of ‘Hit The Road Jack’), our poet accidentally hits his third Moscow Mule with his guitar and spills it all over the amp, but even his attempt at drying the mess won’t bring the amp back to life. “That was 90 pence for a song!,” says Pete while, in an attempt to leave the stage, saying good night to the crowd. It’s over for tonight.
Or is it?
After a lot of begs from the crowd, Pete agrees to play a last song, now supported by a harmonica, before he says ‘Gute Nacht’ and leaves the stage. And yes, we got more for our money than we’d usually have, so all is well, Friday night is young and it’s still warm enough to spend a little time at the nightly harbour.
Thank you, Pete, for a great start into the weekend.
Let’s put it like this: I had been warned that the Shears Twins are a crazy bunch. It’s just that I didn’t quite expect the outcome of going to one of their gigs.
With The Garden’s stage time at Komet Club being 10 pm – which is, without a support act, pretty late already for a weeknight – and someone (either club staff or their manager) being into football a bit too much, we legitimately wait upstairs for a full 45 minutes until the Champions League watchalong is over and we’re let in.
As soon as the show begins, though, all disappointment is swept from my mind immediately, with a mix of amusement and awe taking over very quickly.
Identical twins Wyatt (bass) and Fletcher (drums), no older than 20, grew up in Southern California. Unlike those modeling first and then feeling the need to start a band, the Shears twins were hit with an offer by Yves Saint Laurent after having played a show at The Echoplex in January. Just the other way around. They’re now the faces of YSL’s Fall/Winter 2013 Menswear campaign and basically Hedi Slimane’s new muses. But does that stop them from playing to 40 people in a tiny basement club in a European city?
Not at all.
Their setlist is packed with 23 songs, but trust me, they play about 30. Is it any wonder with half the songs being 30 seconds long, though?
While Fletcher, squatting on his drum throne and making faces at everyone photographing him, gives us fast beats – a lot of them made up on the spot as well – his brother keeps shouting ordinary things like “I see an 8 foot tall man walking out of the forest”, “VADA VADA!” and “I’m a woman” at us. And sometimes, when nothing else comes to mind in between songs, we hear intelligent outbursts like “BLAARRGGHHH rainbow.”
I know the crowd enjoys it, but barely a quarter of them manages to move more than a few inches because they’re both intimidated and awestruck by the craziness and laziness of these twins.
After about half of the 60-minute-set, we get the weirdest encounter with The Garden ‘playing’ us a quick interlude: Three or four songs consisting of Hip Hop beats from Wyatt’s phone and the boys rapping. Both of them. While jumping around of the two square meters that the stage has to offer. And sometimes in the crowd.
No one can pretend they really saw that one coming.
“You don’t like us, I know you don’t!,” cries Wyatt in between songs, and I’d love to tell him that’s just our Northern reservation – we do seem aloof, but we’re usually just shy. Wyatt is convinced that we do like him when a few brave fans call for an encore after the set, and we get another three or five or maybe seven songs … who even knows with those lengths?
Let me get this straight: The Garden twins are more than just two pretty faces (undoubtedly), they’re great entertainers as well, and even if you don’t like to listen on their dirty lo-fi garage punk on record (which you should), you better go see them live the next time you get the chance to. And don’t be scared to yell along: most of the songs don’t consist of more than one sentence. Learning by doing.
The Garden’s debut LP “The Life And Times Of A Paperclip” is now out on Burger Records.