All posts by Annie May

Part-time Cultural Science student, full-time music biz person.

Friday 13th Album Releases: Warhaus and King Krule

Friday 13th of the year 2017 gave us not one but two gloomy and broody albums that we could listen to in our bedrooms when it’s already dark outside and your minds starts to wander off…

 

The releases I’m talking about is the second album by Belgian songwriter and Balthazar-frontman Maarten Devoldere under his new solo name “Warhaus”, which is also the title of the follow-up after his debut album “We fucked a flame into being”.

The other release comes from London wunderkind Archy Marshall, also known as King Krule. “The OOZ” is also his second release under the alias King Krule, while “A new place to drown” came out under his birth name. As the name King Krule had started to collect dust, it was time that he came back with a string of festival appearances and a new record to defend his niche in the world of music.

warhaus

I will start with the Warhaus album, as it was the album I listened to first on Friday. The first two songs on the record had already been released as singles before and therefore made a good introduction into the rest of the album. First song “Mad World” already is a banger and shows us that Warhaus will continue exactly where they left off. “It’s a mad, mad world if you wanna get it on”, says it all. “Love’s a stranger” is not so mad, but still full of lustful longing and implied indecencies.

“Well Well” also shows a familiar side of Warhaus: the jazzy drums by Balthazar drummer Michiel Balcaen combined with rogue but groovy basslines and the harmonies of Maarten Devoldere and the second vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. Later in the song, the listener also gets to hear guitarist and producer Jasper Maekelberg’s crispy and sharp guitar riffs that always bring a certain discrepancy into the mix.

The fourth song “Control” has already been on many Warhaus live setlists and it’s a pleasure to finally hear a recorded version. It is also an early highlight of the record as has its own magnificent climax. It’s my personal favourite of the record. After this central song of the album comes a quieter song, mostly sung by Sylvie Kreusch.

The second album of Warhaus can be described as a road forward. Maarten Devoldere did not have to change anything of his musical style and just added some more string parts and more depth in some songs. Warhaus are definitely one of the most interesting acts in Europe right now.

king

King Krule is also a very interesting character that I always admired but never could fully grasp. The same goes for “the OOZ”. I loved his collaboration with Mount Kimbie on “Blue Train Lines” which reminded me why I liked his voice in the first place. It was also quite an experience seeing Archy Marshall performing this song with Mount Kimbie at Dockville Festival. Around that time the first single of the upcoming album was released. “Czech One” which resembles the track “Neptune Estate” on the first album “6 Feet Beneath The Moon”. It also contains a line of lyric referencing “A new place 2 drown”.

Other song titles like “Lonely blue” and “Half man half shark” remind me of songs from his first album, in these cases “Baby Blue” and “A Lizard State”, even though the songs sound different.

 

Both Warhaus and King Krule are touring UK/Europe this fall.

 

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Live: Carnival Youth in Hamburg (DE), 10.05.2016

When people think of the country of Latvia and music together, Eurovision is probably one of the first thing that comes to their minds. But times are changing and right now indie-fourpiece Carnival Youth is one of the hottest exports from Riga. They are so hot that they have just recently won the EBBA (European Border Breakers Award) Public Choice Award. This led to them touring through Europe this May and stopping at the Knust in Hamburg on May 10th.

Before the show started we had the chance to sit down with the band (or well, ¾ of them since their bassist was sick and sleeping off his illness) and eat some self-made “Fischbrötchen” (a local dish consisting of a salmon in a bread roll). The (identical) twins Emīls and Edgars and their bandmate Roberts were down-to-earth and friendly boys who definitely impressed us with their German skills. Our conversation mostly revolved about typical German or Latvian things, tour life, professional golfing and music festivals. After good 45 minutes the band went on a quest to find a post box for their postcards and we got ready to catch the support act.

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Perry O’Parson alias Marcel Gein (©A. Hachmeister)

The opening act was Perry O’Parson (or as he is known under his real name Marcel Gein) and he serenaded the crowd with heartfelt acoustic folk music. It was pleasant to listen to him and his guitar but what made most of his performance where the stories he told between the songs. The singer-songwriter performed mostly songs in English but for the last two he switched to German lyrics.

When Carnival Youth took the stage thirty minutes later the crowd (probably 80% female…) edged closer to he stage. The set up was rather unusual as the band stood in a half circle so that every member, even the drummer, could be seen. This formation fits their music best as Roberts, Emīls and Edgars all share singing duties and all four members and their respective instruments come across as equal in their songs. Carnival Youth don’t have a frontman in the traditional sense – instead they have three, the drummer, the guitarist and the keyboarder. This opened up their musical style and made the concert even more interesting.

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The half-cirlcle (© A. Hachmeister)

Due to his sickness bassist Aleksis had to play while sitting on a chair fort he whole gig. As his bandmates explained he was completely drugged with antibiotics. We have to give the band credit for not letting this affect their performance in any way.

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Melodica Fun! (©A. Hachmeister)

The setlist consisted of songs from their two albums (released in 2015 and 2016) and sprinkled with “hits”. Already the first bunch of songs got the crowd dancing along. Among them were two of my favourite songs from the first album, Brown Eyes And All The Rest and Octopus. For the latter the disco ball was turned on and the sparkly reflections illuminated the venue, perfectly fitting the keyboard melody.

In between songs the band entertained the crowd with German phrases such as “Mein Lieblingsessen ist Kartoffeln mit Fleisch” and “Mögt ihr Tanzen?” or their general goofy behaviour on stage. They left the crowd with their single Never Have Enough, which was accompanied by a beautiful sing-along from the crowd before they returned to the stage to play Sometimes as an encore.

All in all it was a wonderful concert where everything fit together perfectly. Paired with the energy of a live concert and their friendliness, Carnival Youth’s already brilliant songs get even better. I would totally recommend going to their upcoming concerts or investing money in one of their records.

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Live: Everything Everything + Inner Tongue in Hamburg (DE), 29.11.2015

A British band that have recently released a top 10 album with two hit singles, have played Glastonbury and Jools Holland and fill big venues in their motherland? Surely they would play a bigger venue than Hamburg’s small cult club Molotow! Well, not in the case of Manchester’s finest Everything Everything, who brought sweaty dance moves to the 300 people in the sold out venue with their futuristic electro-pop.

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(© S. Prahl)

Their support, too, was quite the entertaining act. Inner Tongue from Vienna captured the crowd with their dreamy and spacey electronic vibes, steady drumbeat and the thin voice of their frontman. Every song took you to a different dimension. The five-piece were so ecstatic and lost in their own music on stage that you didn’t really know where to look because so much was happening at the same time.

Also worth mentioning: the band had so much equipment and instruments that the stage was completely full and the band members had troubles getting on and off stage and to their respective instruments.

Everything Everything had a much cleaner stage plot. The quartet brought an extra keyboard and effects player who, let’s be honest here, had the time of his life on stage and danced harder than anyone in the crowd. The rest of the band were also in a good mood, welcoming the small and intimate feeling at the club as a nice alternative to the big arenas they fill in the UK. Especially singer and guitarist Jonathen Higgs was more talkative than I had expected and even cracked a joke about the weather. All in all the band really seemed to be enjoying what they were doing and that’s the best thing an audience can get (apart from all their favourite songs getting played, of course).

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(© S. Prahl)

Everything Everything played a set that didn’t leave you bored or your feet still for a second. Not only their hits like Regret, Kemosabe, Cough Cough or Spring Sun Winter Dread got the crowd going.

And not only the crowd but also the band themselves seemed to enjoy the concert in the small club. You would often catch them grinning at each other or making funny faces.

For the encore the band treated their fans with No Reptiles and the smash hit from their latest release, Distant Past. It was only shortly after that the four Manchester boys came out to hang with fans at the merch stand. It was nice to see that the band’s new rise to indie stardom hasn’t gotten to their heads.

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(© S. Prahl)

LIVE: The Vaccines in Hamburg (DE), 09.10.2015

The Vaccines and Hamburg are not an easy combination. The band had to cancel their appearance at Hurricane Festival two years in a row before they debuted there in 2013. This year they also showed up at the festival and additionally played a headline tour in Germany to support their third album “English Grafitti”, which had come out earlier this year.

But before the quartet could take the stage at the swish Mojo Club on Reeperbahn, their support band Kid Wave tried to warm up the crowd. The four-piece from London needed a few songs before the crowd was feeling their music. After that there was nodding along and swinging from one feet to the other to their dreamy indie-pop with some rougher elements. What dinstinguishes this young female-fronted band from similar bands is the combination of the prominent bass guitar and the upbeat and precise drumming of their drummer, who seemed to enjoy herself the most of the band.

Kid Wave are too big to all fit in one picture ( © A. Hachmeister)
Kid Wave are too big to all fit in one picture (© A. Hachmeister)

Even though the concert didn’t sell out it got quite cramped in the basement club when The Vaccines opened their set with their first single from the new album. The crowd happily danced and sang along to Handsome and weren’t given a second to breathe as the band raced through Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra), Ghost Town and Dream Lover. All during the set, Justin Young gave proof of his frontman qualities as he put a lot of emotion and exaggeration in his facial expressions and body language.

The Vaccines were everything I had expected (© A.Hachmeister)
The Vaccines were everything I had expected (© A.Hachmeister)

The concert was basically everything you would expect from a really good concert. The band played all their many hits, such as Post Break-Up Sex, Teenage Icon, If you wanna, I always knew,  as well as a good bunch of new ones from English Grafitti,  communicated with the crowd, did a special acoustic version of No Hope and pleased the crowd with a three song encore finishing with Norgaard. Especially for this song some fans had prepared a banner saying “Are you ready, Freddie” which Justin Young threw over guitarist Freddie Cowan during the last song.

All in all it was an entirely satisfactory concert experience.

Festival Season 2015: Skandaløs Festival, Neukirchen (DE)

11897095_1001197686567720_1814837196_nHiermit gehen wir in die zweite Runde der Geheimtipps der kleinen norddeutschen Festivals und stellen euch nach dem lunatic Festival nun das Skandaløs Festival in Neukirchen, nahe der dänischen Grenze, vor.

11897057_1001197816567707_1519831737_nDieses liebevoll gestaltete Festival findet in einem Rhythmus von zwei Jahren statt und bietet neben der Musik auch eine sehr verspielte Geländegestaltung und ein umfangreiches Rahmenprogramm, zu dem Yoga- und Hula-Hoop-Workshops, ein Badesee, ein Kinozelt und viele andere Attraktionen gehören. Dieses Jahr fand das Festival vom 6. – 8. August statt und konnte auf den letzten Drücker sogar einen Ausverkauf vermerken.

Wir reisten am Donnerstag an, da an dem Abend auch das musikalische Programm starten würde, und sicherten uns gleich einen guten Platz auf dem Camping-Gelände, das unmittelbar neben dem Festival-Gelände liegt.

Mein erster Act des Abends waren Boreals, ein Duo aus Spanien, das einen mit sphärischen Sounds von Synthies und Gitarren in die stimmungsvolle Welt der elektronischen Musik lockt. Sie spielten auf meiner Lieblingsbühne „Gestrandet“, welche direkt im feinen Sand am Ufer des Sees lag. Es war also möglich direkt aus dem See auf die Bühne zu gucken.

Das Highlight des Tages waren für mich auf jeden Fall Torpus & The Art Directors, die ich erst vor ein paar Wochen bei einem Straßenkonzert in Lüneburg lieb gewonnen hatte. Sie spielten im großen Zelt, welches auch rappelvoll war, trotz des grandiosen Wetters. Ausgestattet mit Akustik- und E-Gitarren, Kontrabass, Trompete, Mini-Orgel und mehrstimmigem Gesang, überzeugten die fünf Musiker jeden im Publikum. Die eindringliche Stimme des Sängers ging mir besonders unter die Haut. Die Band war völlig überwältigt von der guten Stimmung im Publikum, sodass sich auch das ein oder andere Tränchen in die Augen der Band schlich, was die Emotionalität des Auftritts nur verstärkte.

Leider kam ich viel zu spät zu der nächsten Band im Zelt, The Age of Glass, und konnte nur noch ihre letzten beiden Songs hören, die mich aber auf jeden Fall überzeugt haben. Die Mitglieder der britischen Band trugen allesamt seltsame Outfits, welche allerdings auch zu ihrer wilden, teils elektronischen, teils akustischen Musik passten. Es wurde auf jeden Fall viel getanzt.

Den Rest des Abends ließ ich dann im Sand an der Strandbühne ausklingen und tanzte zu den elektronischen Klängen eines weiblichen DJs.

Der Freitag begann für mich auch wieder auf der Strandbühne, wo die Band Shetsou angenehmen Jazz spielte, der sehr gut zum entspannten Start in den zweiten Festival-Tag passte. Am Nachmittag guckte ich mir einen Film im Film-Zelt an, weswegen ich den größten Teil des Sets der deutschen Indie-Band Von Wegen Lisbeth verpasste. Ich hätte gern von ihrem erfrischenden, abwechslungsreichen Indie mit lustigen, deutschen Texten gehört. Die Band war schon Vorband von AnnenMayKantereit und werden mit ihrem Wortwitz und Teenie-Charme wohl bald noch viel mehr Fans haben. Die Songs über Sushi, Social Media, Penny, Milchschaum oder Kafka haben auf jeden Fall Ohrwurm-Potential. Es war an dem Tag so heiß, dass der Sänger in T-Shirt und Boxershorts performte, war ein anderer aus der Band gleich oberkörperfrei. Sehr sympathisch.

Als nächstes gab es auf der Hauptbühne Parcels aus Australien, die mehrstimmingen Psychedelic machten und allesamt längere Haare hatten als ich.

Den Rest des Abends verbrachte ich vor der Zeltbühne, wo ich unter Anderem Salamanda gesehen habe. Die fünfköpfige Indie/Rock Band aus Flensburg hat ihrem Publikum ziemlich eingeheizt und hatte auch den Lokal-Bonus. Die Bandmitglieder waren allesamt sehr stylisch, wobei ich einen Wollpulli bei 30° im Zelt nicht verstehen kann. Auch nicht, wenn man aussehen will wie Matty Healy von The 1975. Als nächstes spielte der Singer-Songwriter Jake Issac, der es schaffte, sein Publikum nur mit einer Akustik-Gitarre und einer Bassdrum komplett mitzureißen. Seine soulige Stimme ging unter die Haut und spätestens, als er den letzten Song komplett a capella sang, verspürte jeder im Zelt eine Gänsehaut. Dem späten Abend heizten The Youth und Vladi Wostok noch mal richtig ein im Zelt. The Youth aus Dänemark betraten um 2 Uhr Nachts die Bühne und brachten mit ihrem schnellen und treibenden Rock’n’Roll noch mal alle zum Tanzen. Im ordentlichen 60s Style trugen alle vier Dänen schnieke Anzüge mit Krawatten. Die Bühne zu rocken reichte ihnen auch nicht und so sprangen die Gitarristen das ein oder andere Mal auch in die Crowd und teilten sich dort ein Mikrofon. Doch damit war an dem Abend schon lange nicht Schluss, denn danach kam Vladi Wostok mit seinem russischen Surf-Rock.

Meine Highlights am Sonntag waren Pecco Billo, die Hip Hop Band mit dem rappenden Drummer, Martin Kohlstedt, der extentrische Pianist und Monolink.

Festival tip: Lunatic Festival

An Vielzahl und Verschiedenheit von Festivals mangelt es Norddeutschland nun wirklich nicht. Die Riesen wie Hurricane, Wacken und Deichbrand sind so gut wie jedem Musikenthusiasten in Deutschland (und auch außerhalb!) ein Name. Doch auch das Dockville genießt sich immer mehr Aufmerksamkeit, während in der Umgebung immer mehr Festivals wie Pilze aus dem Boden sprießen. Ein Neuling ist da das A Summer’s Tale Festival, welches sich ungefähr 20km außerhalb Lüneburgs ein Gelände mit dem ebenfalls neuen Elektro Festival Because We Are Friends teilt.

Bei einer solchen Breite an Festivals lenken wir die Aufmerksamkeit an dieser Stelle mal auf ein Festival, welches 2015 bereits in die 13. Runde geht und somit zum Beispiel an Alter das Dockville übertrifft. Dieses Jahr zum zweiten Mal komplett ausverkauft, wird das lunatic Festival von einer Gruppe Studenten organisiert und durchgeführt. In seiner Geschichte seit 2003 standen schon Künstler wie Bonaparte, Clueso, Materia, Mighty Oaks, FM Belfast und Die Orsons auf der Bühne des liebevoll und nachhaltig organiserten non-profit Festivals.

Doch das lunatic Festival besticht nicht nur durch seinen guten Riecher für die heißen Acts von morgen, sondern auch durch ein vielfältiges Kunstprogramm (+art). Wer jedoch auf einem Festival einfach nur saufen, campen und danach am besten auch noch allen Müll liegen lassen, ist hier an falscher Stelle (und sollte vermutlich auch mal über sein Verhalten nachdenken).

Das lunatic Festival ist nachhaltig ausgerichtet und organisiert. Hinter dem großen Wort „Nachhaltigkeit“ versteckt sich in diesem Fall ein (komplett vegetarisches/veganes) Catering Angebot, welches ausschließlich von (Bio-)Höfen/Lieferanten aus der Region besteht, eine enge Zusammenarbeit mit politischen, sozialen und ökologischen Initiativen. Auch eher untypisch für ein Festival, wird das Gelände nach der Veranstaltung auch so verlassen wie es vorgefunden wurde.

Da wir jedoch ein Musik-Blog sind, habe ich mal ein paar von den diesjährigen musikalischen Leckerbissen rausgesucht und werde sie euch hier vorstellen.

Freitag:

Tice

Female Rap- Power auf dem lunatic! Die junge Rapperin aus Düsseldorf hatte es nicht leicht, sie musste sich in der immer noch stark männerdominierten Hip Hop Szene durchsetzen… Unterstützung auf diesem Weg erhielt sie unter Anderem auch von Sookee.

tice

Moglebaum

Auf jeden Fall etwas besonderes an dem sonst Hip Hop orientierten Festival Freitag ist die Band Moglebaum aus Düsseldorf. Sie mixen elektronische Musik mit Elementen aus Klassik und Folk. Ihre Musik geht auf jeden Fall in die Beine, was sie auch bei ihrer kürzlichen Tour beweisen konnten. Visuell unterstützt wird die außergewöhnliche Musik durch einige Licht-Installationen, die definitiv für eine mystische Atmosphäre sorgen.

moglebaum

Slowy & 12Vince

Den Abschluss auf der kleineren „Spielwiesen“ Bühne macht am Freitag der Hamburger Rapper Slowy mit Unterstützung von 12Vince. Diese erspielten sich im letzten Jahr viele Fans in Hamburg und außerhalb und werden hoch geschätzt. Man munkelt, dass es auch einen gemeinsamen Track von Slowy & 12Vince mit dem befreundeten Rapper AzudemAK, der 2 Stunden vorher spielt, geben wird…

Samstag:

Krahnstøver

Hinter diesem Namen verbirgt sich ein junges Trio aus Leipzig. Ihre Musik klingt jedoch schon sehr erwachsen. Dass die drei Musiker um Sängerin und Gitarristin Stephie es ernst meinen, kann man ab Herbst auf ihrem neuen Album hören, welches sie auf einer ausgedehnten Deutschlandtour vorstellen werden. Sonst kannte man die Band auch schon z.B. als Support von I heart Sharks.

Berlin Syndrome

Kleiner Geheimtipp diesen Festivalsommer. Man sollte sich von den wuchtigen Bärten der Jungs von Berlin Syndrome nicht verwirren lassen. Was die fünf Magdeburger fabrizieren ist Indie von der feinsten Sorte und ihre Single „All for the good“ ist der perfekte Sommerohrwurm.

Helgen

„Ich will den Leuten sagen, dass ich sie scheiße finde// Ich will, dass Leute sagen wenn sie mich scheiße finden.“

Sankt Pauli. Gelbe Regenmäntel. Helgen.

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Rangleklods

Zum Abschluss des Festivals wird es noch mal richtig heiß. Rangleklods aus Dänemark werden nochmal richtig einheizen, sodass kein Fuß still stehen kann. Das Duo bringt äußerst tanzbaren Indie-Elektro mit.

Das Festival ist bereits komplett ausverkauft, aber wir werden für euch vor Ort sein und tolle Fotos machen.

indie pen dance presents: Captain Casanova (DK)

Our Danish favourites Captain Casanova have just come back from their 2 weeks tour through Italy, Germany and the Swiss Mountains. They decided to share some impressions with us which got us all excited for their return to Germany in April and especially for their gig in Hamburg. This special treat is gonna be presented by this blog  and will happen on April 18th at the Komet Music Bar.

If these pictures don’t convince you what an awesome live band these guys are, then you better come come to the gig to see it for yourself!

We recommend to come down early to drink with us and the norse (guitar) gods and enjoy a sweaty live performance.

 

indie pen dance presents: Captain Casanova!

https://www.facebook.com/events/414851765356613/

 

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Live: Carl Barât and The Jackals in Hamburg (DE), 26.02.2015

The sold out Molotow Club was packed and about to burst on a suprisingly warm Thursday night. But no one wanted to miss The Libertines frontman Carl Barât coming to town with his newly founded band The Jackals (and by founded I mean he held open auditions to find his new mates).

There were also rumours about a now clean Peter Doherty attending the gig flying through the room. But I’m going to spoiler you right here, no, he wasn’t there as he was playing small gigs in England.

Once a Libertine, always a Libertine (© S. Prahl)
Once a Libertine, always a Libertine (© S. Prahl)

Before Carl Barât could show us what he had been up to while his Libertine bandmate had been battling addiction in Thailand, the support band fought their way through the crowd and onto the stage. But to be honest I remember more about the looks of the Manchester four-piece Todd Dorigo than about their music. Their guitar-playing frontman was rocking the Temples James Bagshaw look with his mop of curly brown hair and glitter shirt. It wasn’t a coincidence that the first song played by the DJ of the night, Paul Pötsch of Hamburg band Trümmer, after they had finished their set was Shelter Song by Temples.

Their music sounded more like The Kooks or something similar even though they claimed it was rock’n’roll as they announced that they would play a song about drugs. Their last song was their best one, in my opinion.

A Storm is coming (©S. Prahl)
A Storm is coming (©S. Prahl)

Right on time Carl Barât and the Jackals took the stage, all clad in black skinny jeans and leather jackets. They burst right into “Victory Gin” with the chorus “We are not afraid of anyone!” making it clear that they weren’t planning on hiding behind Carl’s fame. The next song they played was “A Storm is coming” which has also been released as a single and has a pirate-y feeling about it. Carl was definitely delighted that quite a few of his fans in the first rows were able to sing along.

The next song wasn’t a Jackals one (it wouldn’t be the only song of the night that Carl played from his previous music projects) as it was “Gin & Milk” from Dirty Pretty Things. After two more Jackals songs, “Summer in the Trenches” (not to be confused with the poem “Suicide in the Trenches” which Pete and Carl recited at their Hyde Park reunion show) and “We Want More”, Carl dug deeper in his past and played the Libertines song “Death on the stairs”, which got the loudest response from the enthusiastic and sweaty crowd so far.

Only a few songs into the set, Carl and his bandmates ditched the leather jackets as it became almost unbearably hot in the club. In between the songs the not-really-aging frontman chatted happily with the crowd, always putting emphasis on the fact that he was there with the Jackals and not the Libertines.

The rest of the set was a blur of Jackals songs “March of the Idle”, “Glory Days” and “Let it reign”, more Dirty Pretty Things songs “Deadwood” and “Bang Bang You’re Dead”, Libertines acoustic song “France” and Peter’s solo track “Ballad of Grimaldi”.

Carl didn't age at all (©S. Prahl)

While fumbling with his acoustic guitar Carl announced that The Libertines were recording their new album in Hamburg and that they soon would be back playing live shows. He then claimed that tonight was about The Jackals and not The Libertines which didn’t fool anyone as they closed their set with Libertines smasher “I get along” as the last encore.

I was positively surprised by Carl’s energy and enthusiasm and it felt like a special treat seeing the big man on such a tiny stage without any space between the crowd and the band. It gave me a tiny taste of what the early Libertines shows must have been like.

Live: Jamie T in Hamburg (DE), 10.02.2015

It was a quiet Tuesday night on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, only a few people were queuing in from of the secret entrance to the Mojo Club to see the live return of the English singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/rapper/performer Jamie T. The man from Wimbledon had had to reschedule his European tour due to illness, which had fuelled the anticipation for his comeback after a 4-year pause. But before we could get the pleasure of seeing Jamie T perform his new material with his new band, the support band Palace took the stage. The quartet played soft indie tunes with a light blues touch in their guitar melodies. The singer/guitarist had a very pleasant voice and skilled fingers that blindly knew their way across the guitar. The band thanked Jamie T for taking them on tour, it was their second time touring Europe, and promised the crowd a wild set, sounding like big Jamie T fans themselves. As it turned out the singer of Palace hadn’t promised too much. Jamie T and his four bandmates took the stage and opened their set with the opener of the new album “Limits Lie” followed by the first single of the same album “Don’t you find”. Both songs are intense but slow burners and the crowd waited hesitantly. Jamie T didn’t let it affect him and performed his songs whole-heartedly. I noticed that Jamie never really faced the crowd, he rather stood sideways facing his bandmates. He seemed to be in a good mood though and chatted with the crowd in between the songs. He even acknowledged the guests on the balcony or as Jamie called it “posh seats”.

New album, new Jamie? (© A. Hachmeister)

With the third song Jamie fulfilled the crowd’s secret wish and played a song off his first album. The band bolted energetically through “Operation”, which heated up the crowd. The back-up vocals really pushed the song. After that it was time for another two songs from his new album “Carry on the grudge”. Jamie T played the dark, twisted “Peter” and then thanked the crowd for being so patient with him, first with his general absence and then the rescheduling of the concert, and played the melancholic but also uplifting “Turn on the light”. In between songs Jamie switched between electric and acoustic guitar. After the quiet ballad, the band played “Salvador” which got the crowd on their feet immediately. They kept up the pace with “British Intelligence” from Jamie T’s second album “Kings & Queens”, released in 2009. In between songs the surprisingly chatty and fit looking Jamie took off his sweatshirt and happily talked to the crowd. It was an unusual sight seeing him without his cap and sambas, dressed in a smart shirt and very fancy shoes and red socks instead. He continued his set with a personal favourite of mine, “The Prophet” before he played his hit “Sheila” from his first album, which was definitely a highlight as he hadn’t played it in either Bristol or Berlin the night before. He even ditched the guitar for this one and rapped the song, even kneeling down and having contact with the crowd. I can’t point out often enough how cheery and energetic Jamie was, it was truly contagious. The next songs he played were “Rabbit Hole” and “Emily’s Heart”, for which the band left the stage for their frontman to perform the song sitting on a stool. The song sounded perfect even though Jamie claimed in the past eight years he has never played it without making mistakes.

(© A.Hachmeister)
(© A.Hachmeister)

He ended his regular set with “368” and “If you got the money”, which left the crowd hungry for more. After a short break the band returned and played the absolute smashers “Zombie” and “Sticks’n’Stones”. I think everyone agrees that the gig was over way too soon. It’s really good to have Jamie T back, seeing him enjoying himself on stage and I hope he will be back soon.

Live: Alt-J in Hamburg (DE), 09.02.2015

Despite not being a fan of big arena concerts, I couldn’t resist buying a ticket for Alt-J, who have somehow acquired popstar status in the mainstream pop culture. There isn’t a music magazine that hasn’t had them on the cover during the last months following the release of their critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated second album “This is all yours”. For me it made even more sense to see their dreamy, melodic songs live when they announced North London’s new darlings Wolf Alice and later Gengahr as their support bands.

Unfortunately I arrived so late at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle that I missed Gengahr and barely even arrived in time to catch Wolf Alice, who are on repeat in my bedroom at the moment. The quartet fronted by Ellie opened with their single “Moaning Lisa Smile”, one of their heavier songs. I couldn’t even see the stage from where I was standing so I just concentrated on the music. Wolf Alice didn’t slow down after that and burst out loud massive songs like “Storms” and “You’re a Germ”. Latter was dedicated to a friend of theirs whose birthday was that day. They only slowed down for “Blush”, during which one could admire singer Ellie’s beautiful singing voice (accompanied by drummer Joel Amey), which was otherwise lost in the badly mixed guitar noises. The sound was really something that bothered me and many other guests at the arena. It was impossible to make out the instruments in the big noise that came out of the speakers.

Wolf Alice picked up the speed again and raced through the rest of their set. During one song Ellie ditched her guitar and went down into the crowd while screaming in impossibly high tones. They finished their set with their hits “Bros” and “Fluffy”. During the set the band barely spoke to the crowd except for some shy “Danke”s. I hate to say it but the size of the venue, the bad sound and their choice of songs ruined Wolf Alice’s set a bit. It was just not as pleasant as the beautifully recorded versions of the songs. And my personal favourite “Heavenly Creatures” was missing.

In the break before Alt-J would take the stage, the crowd was entertained with indie hits from Foals, Bloc Party, The Maccabees, Django Django, Arctic Monkeys and others. The waiting didn’t seem that long and a bit later we could her the beeping intro of “Hunger of the pine” while the three members of Alt-J and their live bassist took the stage. They were welcomed with erratic screams that you would rather expect at a boyband concert.

Very impressive light show! (© A.Hachmeister)
Very impressive light show! (© A.Hachmeister)

Alt-J took the crowd’s enthusiasm and drove them even crazier with the mighty “Fitzpleasure”. I would love to know how many people in the crowd knew what they were singing along to because the lyrics “In your snatch fits pleasure, broomstick-ed pleasure” are a little bit freaky. Nevertheless the crowd celebrated their experimental indie heroes. “Fitzpleasure” was followed by “Left Hand Free”, the third single and most outstanding song from their new album. If possible, the guests went even wilder than before to this song. The untypically upbeat, catchy song is one of my personal favourites, too.

The crowd wasn’t going to get any rest soon as singer Joe Newman announced the next songs “Something Good” and “Matilda”, both beautiful songs from their debut album “An Awesome Wave”. “Matilda” was the perfect invitation to sing along to and get lost in the spherical sounds and Joe’s beautiful singing voice.

After the beginning of their set was filled with these hits, the band calmed down after that and played a mix of new songs (including “Every Other Freckle”), a song from an old EP and other old songs. Another crowd’s favourite was the a capella Interlude that led into “Tesselate”, the infamous triangle love song. When the band actually left the stage without saying goodbye the crowd started chanting for an encore and their biggest hit “Breezeblocks”. They got their wish in the shape of a four-song encore topped by the crowd’s favourite.

Another thing worth mentioning was the amazing lighthow that intensified the whole experience. From pulsing strobo effects over beautiful sunset and forest meadow lights to fiery clouds, you could find anything on the giant LED wall behind the band.

It was the combination of great opener acts, a stunning performance and the visual support made the night really worth its money.