Category Archives: General

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.

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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.

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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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Konzerttip: Mellochfest II @ Bassy, Berlin (DE), 15.06.2016

Im Juni 2006 feierte das Label 8MM Musik seine erste Veröffentlichung, die White Vinyl 7″ Battery/Butcher’s Arms von Powers, mit einer Show von Singapore Sling und Powers in der damaligen Pfefferbank, kurz darauf bekannt als Bassy. Am 15. Juni wird dieses Jubiläum beim 2. Mellochfest begangen: Live spielen The Memories (Burger Records), das Projekt der White Fang-Bandkollegen Rikky Gage und Kyle Handley. Außerdem feiern The Third Sound die Record Release Show ihrer 3. LP Gospels of Degeneration, das Berliner Experimental-Garage-Duo DYN stellt bei seinem ersten Konzert im Jahr 2016 das neuste Studiomaterial vor und obendrauf gibt es eine Soundperformance von Franz Bargmann, dem ehemaligen Leadgitarristen und Originalmitglied der international bekannten Berliner Krautrockband Camera.

Einlass ist um 20 Uhr, der Eintritt beträgt 10 €.

Mehr Infos auf Facebook.

 

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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New layout, website & more!

We’ve given indie pen dance a complete makeover – not just in terms of look. Within the next few days, we will move the blog back to its original domain, indie-pen-dance.com, where it all started in 2009. If you visit indiependanceblog.wordpress.com after this, you will automatically be redirected to the new website.

Another thing that’s new: We will now be making posts in German as well. This also means that if you’re a German speaker and you’d like to write for us, but you don’t feel secure enough to write in English, you can now simply post in German instead. (Of course we will still continue to make English posts as well!) You can show posts in a specific language by using the navigation in the top menu.

Best of 2014

Here’s our list of albums and EPs that we liked the most this year:

Alt-J

This Is All Yours

Recommended by Annie May: With their debut album “An Awesome Wave” winning the Mercury Prize and being highly acclaimed by critics, alt-j had some big shoes to fill, and this time without their bassist Gwil Sainsbury, who had quit the band. The timing of their follow-up “This is all yours” was perfect. They took enough time to not rush and ruin it but also manged to put out their second LP before the public forgot about them. Alt-j don’t let anyone tell them what to do or what not to do and you can feel that on this album again. The first single “Hunger of the pine” featured a Miley Cyrus sample, the second one “Every other freckle” has some sexy lines about licking crisp packets and cat paws. Still, this is my favourite song of the album. I recommend listening to the song while watching the official music video. It intensifies the whole feeling of this song. Another favourite is “Left hand free”, an upbeat song that sticks out on this album. The other songs blur into that typical alt-j style: soft guitar melodies, Joe Newman’s unique voice, exquisite percussion and even more guitar melodies. Also quite notable are the songs “Arrival in Nara”, “Nara” and “Leaving Nara”, which give the album a structure. This album took me longer to “get” than the first one but it was also worth it. It’s strange to see such an experimental band whose music is far away from the „mainstream“ indie being so successful. Fingers crossed for the boys from Leeds as “This is all yours” is currently nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Alternative Music Album”.

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker

Recommended by Redheadess: New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Benjamin Booker released his eponymous debut album in August, and it’s everything you need for a sweaty summer evening if you just want to dance the night away.
‘Violent Shiver’, the first song on the album – and also the first single – is already kicking off with an easily recognizable guitar riff that will be sitting in your ear for a bit longer. His danceable garage blues guitars and happy organs will have you on your feet in no time. Benjamin alternates beautifully between huskily sung lines and long instrumental moments that never get boring. It takes three up-tempo pieces until ‘Slow Coming’ lets you rest for four and a half minutes, before kicking back in with ‘Wicked Waters’. ‘Have You Seen My Son?’, a five-minute long hit in the middle of the record, feeds you with a drum intro and a raw one-minute-breakdown of furious guitar-strumming that stretches out into an amazing wave of instrumental experiments before fading out. Benjamin has mastered the art of writing both beautiful blues ballads that make you get lost in his hushed, throaty voice and powerful garage smashers you can lose your mind to. The record is maybe the most important debut of the year.

Bilderbuch

Feinste Seide EP

Recommended by Belle Brummell: What a year it has been for Austria’s Bilderbuch, without them even releasing an album (third LP “Schick Schock” is announced for February 2015). The outstanding “Feinste Seide EP”, released on the 1st of January, was enough to propel the Viennese band to unexpected heights. Even though fans of their first two albums might be shocked at the introduction of auto tune and vocabulary such as “Schwanz” (dick) and your-mom-jokes to their music, boldly embracing trash is not the only development Bilderbuch have shown this year. Yes, on hit single “Maschin” they do sound a bit like indie-rock Backstreet Boys, but their lyrical finesse and taste for experimentation successfully keep them from overdoing their new trash concept, especially as they haven’t dropped their notorious sense of drama and apocalyptic decay. On six-minute track “Moonboots”, singer Maurice Ernst asks the song’s addressee to put her moon boots on, for “a cold wind blows outside”, all of this with a gravity that makes you forget he is singing about, well, moon boots all the while using auto tune. The EP, composed of four tracks plus a remix, gives Bilderbuch’s experimental indie rock a new spin; more pop, more hip-hop-beats, some kick ass guitar solos, as a result making them one of the most exciting bands in German-language pop at the moment. God knows this is not for everyone, but the haters will make them famous.

Bonaparte

Bonaparte

Recommended by Redheadess: Berlin’s craziest combo is at it again: In May Tobias Jundt aka Monsieur Bonaparte released the fourth studio album. Before anything else, the single ‘Into The Wild’ was released, which sounds surprisingly little like any other single we’ve heard from the indie punk project. Music videos for the minimalistic ‘Wash Your Thighs’, the upbeat ‘Two Girls’, the chaotic ‘Out Of Control’, the melancholic ‘Riot In My Head’, the lyrically most brilliant ‘May The Best Sperm Win’, and the 2014-in-a-nutshell song ‘Me So Selfie’ were released over the year as well, without any of them being singles. Monsieur just really likes shooting music videos.
The album’s intro ‘1-800’ tells us next to nothing about what we can expect, before going into the typically Bonaparte-like ‘I Wanna Sue Someone’: steady beats, primitive guitars. It’s simple, but always effective. Tobias Jundt has always mastered alternating between complicated arrangements in one moment and super easy dancefloor fillers the next. And it’s working so well. ‘Me So Selfie’ features Brooklyn-based hip hop artist Tim Fite, who has already toured with Bonaparte in 2012 and has a unique approach to technology’s wonders of the past few years – social media and smartphone trends in particular. The song is a praise to the self-shot portrait (“I’m so sweet I could eat my selfie / Oh yeah, I treat my selfie / If your boyfriend is nosey, delete my selfie / I complete myselfie / Retweet my selfie / Me me me me me and myselfie”) and a hell lot of fun.
Next to the simple upbeat Bonaparte tracks we’ve come to cherish, there’s also stripped-down songs like the above mentioned ‘Riot In My Head’ or ‘If We Lived Here’, that give the record the needed moments to relax a bit.
Finally, there’s no Bonaparte record without a song that makes you think “Did you really just say that?” – In this case, ‘May The Best Sperm Win’, which is about exactly what you thought it would be: “He knows love comes in spurts / Spurts and then some / See, Daddy’s little favorite, she’s got a headstart / Twin brother competing in a fancy sidecar”. Nothing that really surprises you anymore once you’ve seen Bonaparte live, really.

Drenge

Drenge

Recommended by Belle Brummell: Brother duo Drenge from Derbyshire dropped one of the most relevant debut albums in rock music this year, in my opinion. Their straight-forward, grungey garage rock comes with a typical sense of lethargy, yet not without anger. The stripped down guitar-and-drums set-up gives their music a raw and immediate quality. While the album works great as a whole, it’s also brimming with outstanding tracks, such as epic stompers “Bloodsports”, “Backwaters” or “I Wanna Break You In Half”. Although the energy and anger are the album’s strong points, the most memorable track, somehow, is the slow-burning finale “Fuckabout” with its great chorus and undeniable 90s flair, perfectly summing up the feeling of being young and useless.

Jamie T

Carry On The Grudge

Recommended by Annie May: One of 2014’s indie music highlights was definitely the return of the long- missed Jamie T. And with that return came not only a massive UK tour (we’ve been at one of the dates) and some festival and TV appearances but also a new record by the name of “Carry on the Grudge”. The album artwork, an oil painting of a woman breast-feeding, and the first single “Don’t you find” might put some old Jamie fans off. But after that first melancholic, dark single came a song that reminded everyone why we had missed the Wimbledon man so terribly while he was gone. “Zombie” continued straight where “Sheila” and “Sticks ‘n’ Stones” had left off and proved to drive the crowd absolutely crazy at gigs. While the third album as a whole is definitely darker and more thoughtful than its predecessors with songs like “Limits Lie”, “Murder of Crows” and “Peter”, a song about having another voice in your head, it also has its brighter moments. “Love is only a heartbeat away” and “Turn on the light” are songs of hope and “Trouble” sounds almost cheeky and similar to the songs on Jamie T’s debut album. Jamie T’s sound might have changed and matured a little bit but his live shows are full of energy and sing-alongs so if you have the chance to see the man live, then do it!

July Talk

July Talk

Recommended by Belle Brummell: Canadian newcomers July Talk were one of my hottest inside tips this year after I discovered them at an unforgettable instore gig at Reeperbahn Festival. Their interesting flavour of indie-pop ranges from raw to sweet as singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay take turns with their opposing voices. The mixture of punk-ish energy, noisy guitars and pop hooklines makes for some genuine hits, such as “Guns + Ammunition”, “Paper Girl” and “Blood + Honey”. If you ever get the chance to catch them live, defintiely go and dance your feet off.

Kasabian

48:13

Recommended by Redheadess: Three years after their last album, Leicester lads Kasabian surprise with an extremely minimalistic new release: 48:13 (the album length) consists of 13 songs of which three are instrumental intermissions. One-word-song titles, lowercase letters, a two-coloured album concept under the art direction of Aitor Throup – Kasabian have managed to create a stripped-down, completely thought-out album that has deserved every praise it’s gotten so far.
Earlier this year, when frontmen Serge Pizzorno and Tom Meighan painted a wall in Hackney pink, and carefully wrote the album title on it, excitement arose within the fans. When the band came forward with their crazy, carefree video for ‘Eez-eh’, it was beyond anything one would have expected. The hit single, according to guitarist and songwriter Serge Pizzorno, was written in a matter of minutes, but immediately had the potential to become big. Which is exactly what happened. Go to any Kasabian gig this year, and you’ll have people chanting ‘Eez-eh! Eez-eh!’ left and right. It’s also the most celebratory track with the most critical undertones (“We’re tired of taking orders / Coping with disorders / The wrong men have the power / It’s turning my milk sour”). Third single ‘Stevie’, which comes second on the album, is an epic, apocalyptic soundtrack with an outstanding string arrangement, while my personal favourite ‘Doomsday’ – which has not made it onto their concert setlist yet – comes with fast, steady drums and adrenalising organs. The perfect soundtrack for a quick run, if you ever wonder.
Seven-minute electronica track ‘Treat’ is actually four minutes of experimental instrumental arrangement, sounding like a remix of itself, and it’s not the only song on the album to sport more of Pizzorno’s intricate studio work and less simple singalongs. Second to last track ‘Bow’ has Pizzorno on vocals, which shows that he’s finally gone from being the quiet mastermind in the background to full-on co-frontman without whom the band would never, ever be able to exist.

The KVB

Out Of Body EP

Recommended by polinomdivision: This year’s realese from The KVB, ‘Out Of Body’, is a six-song record. Once again the band remains loyal to their concept of haunting melodies in the post-punk/80s/cold-wave style and dreamy, shoegaze-influenced vocals. The EP is filled with athmospheric tunes such as ‘From Afar’ or ‘All Around You’. All in all: magnifique!

The Orwells

Disgraceland

Recommended by Belle Brummell: “Disgraceland” is The Orwells’ second album, which saw the young band from suburban Chicago rise to well-deserved fame. Picking from classic rock as well as skate-punk, they brew together a style fit to reach generations, gripping and authentic enough for the kids yet so musically accomplished as to also convince grown-up listeners. In fact the youthful nostalgia of tracks like “North Ave” or the timeless “Bathroom Tile Blues” are hard to be untouched by, regardless of your age, while smashers “Dirty Sheets” or “Who Needs You” are 100% sure to get the pogo started. The Orwells’ songwriting seems almost too advanced for their tender age, while the sound is delivered with a well-fitting lo-fi touch that keeps the album from sounding too overproduced while also infiltrating it with a nostalgic flair.

Temples

Sun Structures

Recommended by Belle Brummell: Definitely running for “Debut of the Year” as well are British psychedelic outfit Temples. With their dreamy soundscapes, sweet melodies and beglittered faces they quickly turned into posterboys of the new psychedelic hype, but it’s mostly thanks to the brilliant songwriting that “Sun Structures” is such an impressive album. Not a single weak song can be found among the twelve tracks, instead Temples deliver instant hits like “Mesmerise”, “Colours To Life” and my personal favourite “The Golden Throne”. Every melody carves itself into memory, the lyrics are abstract yet coherent with the album as a whole, artwork and all included. Most importantly, they always remain listenable, with the songs forming distinctive entities, not zooming out into endless instrumentals (as they sometimes do on stage), although the genre may tempt one to do so. In this sense Temples are the perfect gateway drug into the psychedelic world.

Trust

Joyland

Recommended by polinomdivision: After a two-year break Trust have released another masterpiece this year. ‘Joyland’ is an amazingly danceable record in the style of synth-pop, wave, post-punk and 80s music. From ambient songs such as ‘Slightly Floating’ to the dancefloor-filler ‘Rescue, Mister’, this LP definitely has got it all. A synth-disco heaven for everyone….

Live tip: DYN @ 8MM Bar, Berlin, 07/11/14

DYN

When there is nothing more going on an evening, for more than a decade the 8MM space is the place. In its absorbent, alcohol-soaked and smoky atmosphere, with the nightly spinning DJ’s and the super sweet in-house drink Melloch, which they all love, you can hang out from time to time with your favorite musicians after their shows in Berlin. Being so connected to the rock’n’roll scene, which is quite tiny in Berlin, it was long overdue that the 8MM Bar created their own record label that defined their own sound: experimental, DIY, something reminiscent of the No-Wave Scene from New York and Velvet Underground. Their first release’s with The Blue Angel Lounge satisfied the local and international media with all these attributes.

DYN, formally known as Delta Love, is the newborn love affair for the label. As Delta Love the band had for the last four years of their existence smashed the PA’s of little clubs and bars all around Berlin as well as playing support slots for groups such as Quilt and Mission Of Burma.
Then it came, the ‘Death of Love’. It is obvious that the boys have a love for music, and of course, they are not spared from singing about love, but their music definitely doesn’t sound like love. The band’s uniform is so dark, that you just can’t accept it, and it seems neither could they. So, for the release of their new album in October they justifiably erased the L-word out of their misnomer, added a little explosiveness to it, and created a new name which perfectly describes what their music sounds like in three simple letters DYN, just like DYNamite.

And if there is any better chance to detonate, than it’s while playing live. So on the 07th of November DYN will fire off some LoFi-Garage rock’n’roll and make available their limited edition white Vinyl. Where? Of course, in their hotbed 8MM Bar. But be aware, it will be a lot smokier then usual.

DYN – Vinyl Release Show, 7th November 2014 @ 8MM Bar, 8pm

Upcoming Single Release: The Snøffeltøffs – Park Boys

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The first single from The Snøffeltøffs album Hokus Pokus will be released the 16th of May. The song is an ear-worm consisting of garage-rock, jangle-pop and whistled hooks. The music video will also fulfill cat lovers’ desires.

Tour ’14

14.06. Berlin − Vice Party w/ Toy, Eagles Of Death Metal (DE)

18.06. Prag − Cross Club (CZ) 20.06. Bratislava − Fuga (SK)

17.07. Colmar − Natala Festival (FR)

18.07. Schlegel − Drüben auf dem Hügel Festival (DE)

19.07. Wien − Das Bach (AT)

02.08. Dresden − Reverberation Festival (DE)

Websites

https://www.facebook.com/snffltffs

http://snoffeltoffs.tumblr.com/

Live: The Garden in Hamburg (DE), 19.02.2014

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.

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About to burst: That one setlist. (© S. Prahl)

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.”

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BLAAARRGGHH rainbow: Fletcher Shears. (© S. Prahl)
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I wonder if Wyatt Shears knows he looks like that kid from Freaks & Geeks. (© S. Prahl)

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?

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The Crazy Bunch (© S. Prahl)

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.

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“You didn’t tell me not to pull a face!” (© S. Prahl)

The Garden’s debut LP “The Life And Times Of A Paperclip” is now out on Burger Records.

Live: Bloc Party in Hamburg (DE), 11.11.2012 vs. Cologne (DE), 18.02.2013

Welcome to a little concert comparison with Bloc Party! This was the first time I attended two concerts from one tour. Both concerts were part of the “Four Tour”, which started in September 2012 in North America. The first concert was at the Docks club in Hamburg as part of the first European section in November 2012. Then they went back to America and Japan before finally continuing the European section in February this year. Both concerts were marvellous but with some differences. I’ll try to show them and elect some kind of winner at the end.

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With four big coloured plates at E-Werk © M.Weiher

Let’s start with the venues. Docks is a famous and “notorious” concert venue on the popular Reeperbahn in Hamburg with a capacity of about 1,500. Many concerts from well-known bands and ascending heroes took place there. But for some concert-enthusiasts like me it’s not a desirable name to pop up on concert listings because sometimes the sound is not the best and they have the worst cloakroom and air conditioning of all clubs in Hamburg. But don’t worry, I had some really great concerts there and the one by Bloc Party was one of them.

The E-Werk in Cologne is a much bigger venue than Docks with a capacity of 2,000. As an old protected monument, it offers a nice atmosphere. The sound was really good and another nice fact is that the WDR sometimes records concerts for its show “Rockpalast”, and so they did on the evening of the Bloc Party gig, which led to a little cameo from me.

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Bloc Party at Docks © M.Weiher

Now a word about the support acts. Bloc Party always had really great support bands, from Biffy Clyro to Foals to Delphic. I think  they have an eye for wonderful new bands, especially ones with electronic influences. As a consequence, I was a bit disappointed about their Hamburg support PVT or Pivot. It’s a indietronic-trio from Australia making music since 1999. It was good, but nothing new for me.

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Ritzy from The Joy Formidable © M.Weiher

The support for Cologne were indie-noise-rock trio The Joy Formidable from North Wales. I was very excited for them, because I really like their new record “Wolf’s Law”. Their gig contained everything you would expect from a Joy Formidable show, including big refrains, shouting to heat up the audience and a huge tumult at the end with lots of noise and guitar smashing. All in all it could have been their own show. Unfortunately not many people in the audience knew them, so the only ones dancing were a few people in the front including me. Luckily at the end of the night I  noticed some people had bought their LP.

On both nights, the cheerful and enthusiastic audience ranged from 16-year-olds to 40-somethings in their midlife crisis. Because of the bigger venue, Cologne had the more powerful moshpit, with the roughest pogo at “Coloseum” and “We Are Not Good People” and the largest circle during “Helicopter” that I’ve ever seen at a Bloc Party show. I could see some girls crying when they played “This Modern Love” and also enjoyed the first crowdsurfing of my life at this one. Seeing two girls fighting for the setlist in the end I had to laugh and think: ‘Okay, Bloc Party also have fan girls.’

The setlists were pretty similar on both nights. Altogether they played mostly songs from “Four”, which I enjoyed, but as a huge fan of “Silent Alarm” and “A Weekend in the City” I was waiting for the old ones. But sadly the old ones switch every night so that I enjoyed “Like Eating Glass” at Docks and “Positive Tension” at E-Werk and missed the “The Prayer” both times. As the first song of the second half they usually play a special version of a quiet one. Those special songs were “Signs” from their third LP “Intimacy” at Docks and, to my surprise, “Kreuzberg” at E-Werk, dedicated to a guy in the audience. I’d always wanted to hear this song live, because it’s one of my favourites. For the encore they played totally new track “Ratchet” as a little gem, showing Kele almost rapping to a nervous guitar riff.

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Playing “Hunting for Witches” always in green light © M.Weiher
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Russell in his musical world © M.Weiher

Kele, Russell, Gordon and Matt were in good shape, maybe a bit too relaxed on the evening in Hamburg, because it was a Sunday and they’d had a day off before. Matt, as always only in sliced jeans-shorts, was rocking behind his drumset and Russell with his head down concentrated on his glorious melodies and riffs and his 30 effect pedals or so. It’s hard to get a smile out of him. Kele was wearing an odd Hawaiian shirt like from a mafia movie and obviously chewed a gum the whole concert. He’s definately an entertainer, but some of his announcements are mostly the same. Luckily he didn’t tell the old Jägermeister story like he did in Hamburg. I remember him crowdsurfing, jumping arround the stage and lying down on the floor back in 2009. In comparison to that it seems that they’ve lost some of their energy now, but everbody gets old, huh? Playing “Helicopter” every night at the end, it’s not difficult to feel the band’s boredom. But that’s the way it is with a “hit”. But the fact that they’re still a wonderful live band will never change and you should catch them at their festival shows! Both concerts were gorgeous, but considering a few subtleties, Cologne was the better one, so I’ll leave you with a few more images of that night.

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© M.Weiher
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© M.Weiher
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© M.Weiher
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© M.Weiher

Live: Introducing w/ Fidlar, Shields & Vimes in Hamburg (DE), 14.02.2013

© D. Prahl
Living the cliché in shorts and battered Vans: Fidlar from LA (© D. Prahl)

For all those who like to spend their Valentine’s day in the intimate togetherness of a mosh pit, Intro magazine sent oddly hyped Californian skatepunks Fidlar to Hamburg’s bunker club Uebel & Gefährlich, along with lesser known newcomers Shields (who made our Best of 2012 playlist) and Vimes (filling in for dropouts PS I Love You). Even though I’m sure that after streaming their album on Pitchfork for free to a remarkable viral effect, Fidlar could have easily sold out a smaller venue, the organisers decided not to charge any entry and instead required visitors to register for the guestlist online and then appear on time to guarantee entry. Thus, we showed up fifteen minutes before doors – unnecessarily, as only 200 or 300 hip young people found their way up the fourth floor of the Feldstraßenbunker this Thursday night, the already downsized venue never being more than half-full.

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Last-minute addition Vimes: a copy of a copy of a copy (© D. Prahl)

Opening the night were Vimes, a spheric indie-electro outfit from Cologne with a generic triangle-sporting logo and corresponding lightshow. Sadly, the three only seemed to have one song they played over and over, and that one wasn’t very good either. Not to mention the fact that the more music-versed of my friends noted quickly that the band were merely pretending to push buttons to playback. Someone should tell the Robert-Pattinson-lookalike to call it a day and try his luck as a model instead.

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Diverting, yet not memorable: UK newcomers Shields (© D. Prahl)

Next up were Newcastle’s Shields, who had already played 2012’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. They had some veritable hits on board (favourite “Mezzanine” even made our playlist of the year), but were not the most engaging live band out there. All in all, it was a good set and if you like Everything Everything you should probably download their “Kaleidoscope” EP.

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Not just the band had fun: Fidlar got the audience freaking out in no time (© D. Prahl)

But let’s not kid ourselves: everyone was only waiting for Fidlar to take the stage. I liked their recent debut, but the surrounding hype rather surprised me, given that this kind of straight-forward punkrock is not usually the thing your urban hipster is thought to enjoy. After all there was nothing remotely new or creative to be found on the band’s eponymous record; whether you like The Ramones or Fidlar’s labelmates Wavves, everything will sound rather familiar. But what we have here is a fun record with no frills that only gets better when played live. Fidlar do not look like this month’s hottest new band but they have the songs and the energy to make their audience dance and jump through the whole roughly one-hour long set. Their lead singer adorably honours their skate-punk roots by using a skateboard for his guitar pedals, and rather expectedly crowdsurfs on one of the last songs (later than I would have thought, but hey). In the end he dramatically sinks down on stage, but no one will be tricked into believing that any actual excess has happened here. Middle-class kids playing punk songs about “Cheap Beer” is not exactly the new black, but then again nobody expected anything world-changing either. I for one danced more than I do on an average night out at my indie dive of choice, and I don’t even listen to a lot of punk rock. Maybe this is going to change after last night.

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A well-deserved rest (© D. Prahl)