Tag Archives: festival

Live: Straend Festival 2016, Berlin (DE)

Ich bin furchtbar blass, mein liebstes Wetter ist Regen und Temperaturen über 25° C lehne ich kategorisch ab. Klar, dass ich vom Surfen nicht den leisesten Hauch einer Ahnung habe, außer vielleicht, dass da meist ziemlich heiße Typen auf den Brettern stehen.

Das alles war aber kein Grund nicht zum wundervollen Straend Festival am 20.08.2016, welches zum zweiten mal in Folge stattfand, zu gehen. Auch wenn zunächst mit den Worten Surf, Musik, Film und Kunst von den Plakaten gelockt wurde, ging es hier doch um so viel mehr. Wobei Arena und Badeschiff mit Sand zwischen den Zehen, Liegestühlen und der Spree direkt vor der Tür zum entspannen einluden und die Veranstalter Loft Concerts, Novaque Events und Arena Berlin all das wie scheinbar nebenbei einfließen ließen, was ihnen verbunden mit der Thematik Surf am Herzen liegt. Dazu gehören an erster Stelle der Umgang mit Müll und unser Auftreten als Mensch in einer Welt, die wir als selbstverständliches Eigentum behandeln. Dieser Artikel soll jetzt aber kein Appell an dein Gewissen werden dich bewusster in deiner Umgebung zu bewegen, jedoch vielleicht den einen oder anderen Gedanken darauf zu verwenden. Und genau das hat auch das Straend Festival geschickt geschafft: sei es mit Mülltrennung auf dem Gelände, Essen auf Bambusblättern oder der Kunst von Angelo Schmitt, dessen Sammlung an Abfall von Stränden wieder einmal zeigt, wie gedankenlos wir unseren Müll entsorgen und dass wir in Plastik ertrinken ohne es überhaupt zu bemerken. Eingebettet in einer entspannten, kommerzfreien Atmosphäre mit Filmen von u.a. Surflegende Tom Curren und Musik von Sticky Fingers, Hein Cooper, The Graveltones etc. wurde dieser Tag zu einer absolut zwanglosen Entdeckungsreise. Maßlosen Konsum und die alleinige Ausrichtung auf Profit kennen wir schon von so vielen anderen Festivals, endlich mal was anderes, wo nicht die Einnahmen Kompass der Veranstaltung sind und eine Linie zwischen Unterhaltung und aktuellen Problemen gezogen werden kann.

Definitiv nächstes Jahr wieder dabei!

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Live: MS Dockville 2016, Hamburg (DE)

Zum zehnten Jubiläum legte das MS Dockville sich ganz besonders ins Zeug: ein Line-Up, das in der Spitze wie in der Breite zu überzeugen wusste, ein wie immer atemberaubend schönes Gelände und die entspannte, ausgelassene Stimmung machten 2016 zu einem der besten Dockville-Jahre in letzter Zeit.

Die Acts: Von den zehn Ausgaben seit 2007 war ich bei ganzen sieben; zuletzt war es aber immer wieder das mangelhafte Line-Up bei stetig steigendem Ticketpreis, das mich von einem Besuch absehen ließ. Dieses Jahr war das Dockville ein Festival der positiven Überraschungen: Gab das Line-Up bei einem vorherigen Hördurchgang nicht viel her außer bereits bekannten Favoriten wie Foals, Bilderbuch (die ich aufgrund des Timetables nicht sehen konnte) oder Unknown Mortal Orchestra, erwiesen sich die großen Lücken in meinem Zeitplan letztlich als Segen: Acts wie Faber, Isolation Berlin oder Die Nerven gaben einen hervorragenden “Zeitvertreib” ab. Dadurch verzieh ich auch das Booking gruseliger Formatradio-Verbrechen wie Matt Corby, Frances oder der furchtbar unlustigen Klaas-Heufer-Umlauf-Band Gloria.

geländeDie Besucher: Das Dockville-Publikum ist durchschittlich etwa 20 Jahre alt, trägt genderunabhängig Blumen im Haar und Glitzer im Gesicht, sowie in 80% der Fälle einen Turnbeutel mit witzigem Spruch der Wahl auf dem Rücken. Außerdem ist es äußerst ingenieurstechnisch begabt, wenn es darum geht, ein einzigartiges Erkennungs-Maskottchen zu erschaffen, das an einem hohen Stab über der Crowd geschwenkt wird, um die eigene Freundesgruppe zusammenzuführen (Highlight: ein seifenblasenspuckender Affenkopf mit LED-Augen). Als Wahlberlinerin fiel mir zudem auf, dass alle Hinweisschilder etc. am Gelände auf Deutsch gehalten sind: Das Dockville ist trotz weiterhin steigender Bekanntheit anscheinend immer noch ein lokales Ereignis.

Die Politik: Die Hamburger AFD legte jüngst Beschwerde bei der Kulturbehörde ein, wieso man ein Festival finanziell unterstütze, bei dem angeblich linksradikale Bands wie Slime oder Feine Sahne Fischfilet auftreten würden. Als Reaktion wurde ein riesiges “Fuck AFD”-Plakat am Gelände aufgehängt. Junge Teenager, die aussahen wie die Unschuld in Person, trugen “Niemand muss Bulle sein”-Beutel oder schwenkten Antifa-Flaggen bei den Auftritten von bekennenden linken Acts wie Sookee oder eben Feine Sahne. Auch weniger explizit politische Bands machten den Mund auf; etwa Faber in seinem Besorgte-Bürger-Song Wer nicht schwimmen kann, der taucht oder Isolation Berlin, die eine Textzeile zu “Er schnauzt mich von der Seite an, ob ich nicht stolz sei auf dieses Land” änderten. Ausschreitungen, Aggressionen und sonstiges Arschlochverhalten waren meiner Erfahrung nach vollkommen abwesend vom Festival.

Galerie

Für größere Ansicht auf ein Foto klicken:

Festival Season 2015: Lollapalooza Berlin (DE)

The first European Lollapalooza looked to be a success: The two-day festival on Berlin’s defunct Tempelhof Airport –former site of the Berlin Festival– sold out shortly before opening its gates on September 12th. And that despite raising its ticket price quite spontaneously to 139 Euros, making it more expensive than e.g. the Hurricane Festival, which lasts three days and offers camping. Of course, Berlin’s Lollapalooza differs in size from its Chicago counterpart: Four stages instead of seven, two days instead of three, a capacity of 50,000 instead of 160,000. Obviously the headliners Muse and Macklemore were not exactly Metallica and Paul McCartney (Lolla’s 2015 headliners) either, but still it was an overall good line-up (especially if you had only paid the early bird price like myself).

Show women walking on stilts across the festival site
Show women walking on stilts across the festival site

Apart from the music programme, Lollapalooza attempted to stand out from the German festival landscape by offering a special kids’ area, a ‘fun fair’ (with showmen, can knock down and a glitter make-up stand where you could queue for hours), a ‘Grüner Kiez’ (green neighbourhood) with charity and environmental stalls, and something they called ‘Fashionpalooza’, which turned out to be one (1) sponsor stand by a fashion online shop.

One of many games of skill on the fun fair.
One of many games of skill on the fun fair.

While the ‘Kidzapalooza’ was clearly embraced by the visiting families and the special kids’ tickets sold out as well, I still don’t really see why it has to be encouraged to drag your little child along to an event like this. It’s loud, people there get drunk and ruthless and throw things, and crowds are generally not a safe place for children. I think festivals should allow the audience to “go wild” without having to fear that they might trample on a child.

I suppose enough has been written about the disastrous  water-pipe burst which led to insanely long toilet queues on Saturday, and about the insanely long food queues as well, so I won’t linger on and finally get to the musical performances.

Colour-coded goodness: Everything Everything.
Colour-coded goodness: Everything Everything.

After a quite strenuous procedure of trying to enter the festival site at the same time as thousands of other visitors, we caught some glimpses of Joywave and Parquet Courts, the former sadly having to replace the dropped-out San Cisco, who I’ve never seen and was really looking forward to. The first band we actually watched, though, were Manchester’s Everything Everything, who I’d lost track of a bit despite quite liking their 2010 debut albumIt turned out their third and latest LP had spawned at least two venerable hits, Regret and Distant Past, and they were drawing a reasonably sized crowd as well. As ever, the quartet appeared in matching stage outfits – luckily these ones were a step up from the beige overalls I saw them perform in the last time. Like any good girl group’s outfits, these ones were not uniform but differed in details. The set was good fun and the perfect way to open our festival, the crowd was into it and even though I only recognized two of their early songs, I could also dance to the rest of them.

I saw James Bay while passing the main stage and was surprised he didn’t sound whiny and instead really ‘rock’, knowing him only from his detestable radio hit Hold Back The River and for being a shameless Jamie N Commons cosplayer. Also a 3 pm slot seemed kind of shitty for a successful bloke like him, but that was only one of many weird running order decisions.

MS MR did not, however, match their outfits in advance.
MS MR did not, however, match their outfits in advance.

Up next for me were MS MR, a New York electropop duo that I completely missed out on until I heard their melancholic 2012 song Hurricane on the radio quite recently and instantly liked it. Unfortunately I hadn’t listened to anything else by them, and didn’t know virtually all of their tracks were apparently lively, upbeat 70s/80s style synthpop. The members Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow were both extremely outgoing and self-confident and danced around crazily in their 70s/80s glitter outfits. I didn’t even know they had a huge following as well. Unfortunately I had to leave right before they were about to play that one song that I knew, which would maybe have made me enjoy at least a little bit of their set.

Then we attempted to get food. Oh my. I thought there was enough time – like 45 minutes – until Hot Chip would start. In the end, I missed almost their entire set queuing. There were tons of food stalls really, but it just wasn’t enough for 50,000 people (who couldn’t just go to the non existent campsite and make some canned ravioli). Hot Chip also had a really shitty 5 pm slot, which made me feel a bit sorry for them, but I can’t really talk about their set because I spent the rest of it sitting on the floor eating. (It should be mentioned that even the headliners already started at 9:30 pm, as the curfew was 11 pm due to noise reasons, so I suppose there was little other choice than cramming even high profile acts into the afternoon.)

Ron Mael (70) of Sparks showing Franz Ferdinand's Nick McCarthy and Paul Thompson that he's got the moves.
Ron Mael (70) of Sparks showing Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy and Paul Thompson that he’s got the moves.

Finally, FFS, the supergroup consisting of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, formed one of my personal festival highlights. I have to admit I didn’t know Sparks before at all, and I did not expect the two members to be 66 and 70 years old – which one would never have thought, with how agile both of them still were on stage. Singer Russell Mael looked like an aged emo kid, only really cheerful, in a funny looking poncho, while his brother Ron Mael sat stoically behind his keyboard just to suddenly get up at one point and perform crazy dance moves. Franz Ferdinand, on the other hand, don’t seem to have aged a bit, physically, since appearing on the scene 10 years ago, and with the self-titled FFS album they have once again proven themselves incapable of writing a bad song. Their stage performance was fun as ever, be it four of them playing a keyboard at once or inviting the crowd to tell the person next to them to “Piss off” when the track with the same title came on. They even performed a few songs from the respective bands, which were especially celebrated by the crowd.

I then tried to watch some of Chvrches‘ set but I only knew ca. two songs – one of which I also saw – and quickly lost interest, trying to find a toilet instead and almost freaking out at the size of the queues (but it was possible to sneak into the broken ones and use them, because security was apparently unable to block access to them).

Deichkind crowdsurfing in a giant barrel.
Deichkind crowdsurfing in a giant barrel.

Of course we couldn’t miss out on Deichkind, the Hamburg hiphop/electro collective known for their spectacular live shows. It was already the third time I saw them perform at a festival and they never disappoint, whether presenting perfect boygroup-style choreographies, dressing up as old ladies, wearing Daft Punk like LED helmets or giant brains (to illustrate song title Denken Sie groß – ‘think big’) or surfing the crowd inside a giant barrel waving a “Refugees Welcome” flag and wearing sweatshirts with the same slogan (which are also sold in their online shop to support refugee aid organisations). The themes in their music range from dumb party-and-booze songs to criticizing the status quo, the latter being done quite cleverly in recent hits Denken Sie groß and Like mich am Arsch, however trying to fashion an entire song out of advertising slogans and then declaring that ‘We only want your money’ is kind of like the musical equivalent of Banksy.

Finally our Satuday ended with The Libertines, who had to play the third-biggest stage for some reason – presumably because the Main Stages 1 and 2 were so close together that the sound would have interfered even more than it already did (halfway through the set Carl Barât asked if ‘those German hiphoppers’, meaning Deichkind, were still playing, as he had probably heard Macklemore & Ryan Lewis all the way from Main Stage 1). The Libs had had to cancel their previous two gigs due to health issues – they later released a statement that Pete Doherty had suffered an anxiety attack – and indeed the scandal-ridden singer seemed a little unfocused for someone who is allegedly clean, so he might have been on meds. Also his microphone was turned off for large parts of the gig, so often one would only hear the crowd chanting along. They mostly dismissed their new album Anthems For Doomed Youth, their first in 11 years, which had only come out the previous day, making this their first gig since the release. Their comeback single Gunga Din, however, was celebrated just as frenetically as classic hits such as Time For Heroes, Boys In The Band or Can’t Stand Me Now. Due to the set being obviously packed with bangers like these, their performance was one big party, with a very dedicated crowd singing along loudly despite the competition of the headliner playing at the same time (but then again I doubt their fanbase intersects much with that of Macklemore).

After all three final acts ended at exactly the same time, the entire festival attempted to leave the site to either get home or to somewhere where you could party. Of course, the underground stations got blocked and an atmosphere of hopelessness spread. Somehow we managed to get to the next crossing and escape in a bus, but it was clear the organisers had not put any thought at all into how to get everyone away from the festival site. For Sunday it looked like there would be shuttle buses to replace the U-Bahn, but I had still prepared routes of getting home with the help of regular buses, as it would take years to try and get on one of the train service replacement buses anyway.

On Sunday the toilet situation had been resolved, and we got food quite early on so I only needed to get a snack later for which I didn’t have to queue so long. Unfortunately the running order for Sunday left us with hours of nothing to do (apart from watching Stereophonics or something), and the lone fashion stall had run out of colours to design gym bags with, so we couldn’t even burn time on that.

Wolf Alice opened the Main Stage on Sunday.
Wolf Alice opened the Main Stage on Sunday.

Our day had begun with Wolf Alice, who I’d seen previously at the Libertines’ 2014 gig at Hyde Park long before their album was released. Knowing most of their songs now, it was definitely more fun. The stage presence of the young Londoners was still quite timid but their grungy sound and singer Ellie Rowsell’s witch-like screams definitely made it an interesting experience.

Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch had fans dancing on stage.
Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch had fans dancing on stage.

After a long period of doing nothing much, we headed over to Belle & Sebastian, a band that I had never seen, but that I appreciate in a  kind of passive way because the amount of albums they’ve put out is too intimidating for me to really start listening through them. The Glasgow collective, which has been around for two decades, definitely turned into a highlight for me despite not really knowing any songs. But singer Stuart Murdoch’s stage presence was so endearing and their calming, cute indie pop simply matched the sunny afternoon perfectly. At some point Murdoch decided to get a female fan on stage to dance with him, and then continued to bring at least a dozen people up there who all seemed to be having the time of their life. He also talked quite a lot, among other things about how embarrassed he was that the UK didn’t take in any refugees.

Afterwards the Beatsteaks were on, a popular Berlin band who play punk-infused rock with English lyrics. I watched most of their set from the ‘Grüner Kiez’ area, which offered stacked pallets with grass on top and flowers growing in the bottom, allowing you to sit on them and still watch the Main Stage 2 sets on the screens. And sitting was definitely necessary whenever possible after  standing/walking almost for the entirety of Saturday. The Beatsteaks are famed for being a great live band, but I’m kind of indifferent towards them so I didn’t feel like moshing in the crowd. I could however enjoy their set as I recognised most of their songs.

Due to lack of alternatives (the only other option really being Sam Smith, another of those abominable radio people taking away slots that could be filled with like actual good acts), we ended up watching Little Dragon next, a quite crazy Swedish indie-electro act, but I didn’t know anything by them and their flashy live show didn’t really convince me at all.

Again due to lack of alternatives, we then attended Seeed‘s set, another hugely famous Berlin act playing dancehall with mostly German lyrics. I have to admit that while I never cared about their music, they put on a really good live show. The three frontmen were accompanied by a large brass band, the sound was great and they threw in some clever cover versions/remixes – e.g. their own Berlin anthem Dickes B to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back – that really spiced the thing up.

"I love big black balls." - Ariana Grande
“I love big black balls.” – Ariana Grande

I left Seeed’s set earlier so I would have enough time to queue for toilets before Muse came on, but somehow I didn’t have to queue at all and ended up sitting in front of the main stage for over 20 minutes. Well at least I could see a little bit of the stage like this and not just the screens… Muse is another tricky band for me. I mean, I could have watched Tame Impala, who for inexplicable reasons were playing at the same time despite target groups definitely intersecting, and many fans being mad about this, but I had seen them several years ago, other than Muse who I’d been waiting to see since 2005 or 2006, so I had to take that chance. In the ten years since, I had however gradually lost all interest in them as their musical quality seemed to steadily decline. But as they are famed to be such a great live band, of course I had to form my own opinion. At first, I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed; partly for sure because I didn’t know a lot of songs, but also because in my opinion there are many major bands who put on a just as good light show (but maybe a festival gig isn’t comparable to their own headline show). Well, that was before they let the toilet paper rain down on us (actually just long strips of white paper, along with a bunch of confetti, but it looked awesome). And let loose gigantic black balloons into the crowd. And this massive crowd singing Our Time Is Running Out and Starlight. I will still hold up that Muse are not a ‘better’ live band, show-wise, than say The Flaming Lips or Deichkind. But it was definitely fun to have seen them once, and I will surely meet Tame Impala a second time in my life. So in the end I stayed for Muse’s entire set, and then hurried to that bus stop where I managed to get on one that was less than half full, because apparently no one wants to go west anymore, and got home by a super long detour, but I was glad I had made it at all.

Despite some organisational mishaps, I still think the festival itself was neat (at least for the early bird price I paid), but not so great that I would blindly buy a ticket for next year. In parts the line up was too mainstream for me, but this can be said for the US Lollapalooza as well. Still a good alternative to the completely-gone-electro Berlin Festival.

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.

helgen

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.

Festival Season 2014: MS Dockville, Hamburg (DE)

The look across the river: Dockville is famous for its waterside location (© S. Prahl)
The look across the river: Dockville is famous for its waterside location (© S. Prahl)

GENERAL

Belle Brummell: 2014 was my 6th Dockville out of 8 installments, and while I have never been this disappointed with the line-up before, especially in the face of the constantly rising ticket price, I must say that this year was extremely well-organised. There were both enough drink stands and toilets (the latter even with toilet paper!), no long queues anywhere, not even for the shuttle buses back (only a few extremely popular food stalls had long waiting times – the food range being great as well, by the way) – even the festival app worked, mostly. And it wasn’t poorly visited either – this year was sold out, except for Sunday day tickets, and a new second campsite was opened due to the high number of visitors from outside of Hamburg. The only thing I could complain about was the lack of any beer brand apart from the vile Jever – and no wine, which would have been a welcome alternative for me. Speaking of alcohol, they still cling to that frankly ridiculous rule that non-campers can’t bring any drinks at all to the festival area, while campers can officially bring one tetra pak, but in reality can just fill any alcoholic drink they like into a plastic cup and take it to the festival site. Which is why I used to buy a camping ticket, set up a tent, put alcohol in it and slept at home, but after being exploited too often by other people I saved the €10 and the hassle of setting up and taking down the tent and instead used my own wits to get the alcohol on the festival site. That’s what you get, Dockville.

The "Nest" is one of Dockville's DJ only stages. (© S. Prahl)
The “Nest” is one of Dockville’s DJ only stages. (© S. Prahl)

What was bothering me as well was the clear shift in line-up towards electro, resulting in me going home unusually early every night, as after 11pm or so there was only electro on. In past years, one would often have a local indie DJ spinning records somewhere, but apparently this is no longer demanded by the Dockville crowd. At least this way we always got a good night’s sleep, but it also makes me wonder whether in future years I’m still welcome there, as this year there was already hardly anything for me to see that catered to my musical taste. Still, I found enough things to somehow pass the time and not overly regret the amount of money I’d spent on an earlybird ticket, and it’s still a nice little festival after all, though it feels like the art installations are not really valued as much as in the early years. This year however I attended the poetry slam for the first time and it was really worth coming early for. Read on to see what musical acts we’ve watched and what we thought …

FRIDAY

Jungle's vocalist was definitely a sigh, though we sadly could not find out his name. (© S. Prahl)
Jungle’s vocalist was definitely a sight, though we sadly could not find out his name. (© S. Prahl)

Jungle

Belle Brummell: We hit the festival area on Friday afternoon for the much-hyped UK collective, whose indescribable blend of styles had actually managed to draw my interest (not something a lot of acts do these days). If I was a little more versed in sub-genres of hiphop I could probably do a better job at telling you what they sound like, but chances are you have already heard hit singles like “The Heat” and “Busy Earnin'”. Their set wasn’t exactly boring, but as I’m not that familiar with the album yet, I found it all to sound a bit alike.

Dressed like a real "Hein von der Werfs": Cole Alexander of Black Lips (© S. Prahl)
Dressed like a real “Hein von der Werft”: Cole Alexander of Black Lips (© S. Prahl)

Black Lips

croconut: To see the Black Lips I had to leave Hercules and Love Affair’s gig unfinished, which was a pity since they pretty much ruled with their mix of soul and electronical music. But well for Black Lips no price is too high. To be honest: my expectations about their gig were not low. As a great admirer of lo-fi and garage music Black Lips stand out as some of the leading figures of these genres for me. Well the atmosphere during their set was amazing. Everyone was dancing in the famous punk way, also known as pogo, from the start. Which was kinda weird since the first song they performed was pretty quiet and not very suitable for this kind of dance but well I guess that’s the effect that the band had on the audience. Just their appearance caused a major chaos. They played all their classics like ‘Oh Katrina’, also known from the ‘Scott Pilgrim’ soundtrack, ‘Family Tree’ or ‘Bad Kids’. Hearing all the songs live that I have danced to so many times, at pubs, in the street or sometimes alone in my room, was an unbelievable greatness. Also some favorites of mine like ‘Dirty Hands’ were part of their set. Well their new ones sounded amazing as well. Very soul-y, a lot like The Almighty Defenders, which I definitely approve of. As already mentioned not just their songs but also the band itself is quite legendary as a part of the garage scene. So seeing them play was something really special. Though the fact that they threw toilet paper rolls into the audience made it even more special. Ending their performance with ‘Bad Kids’ they once again gave everyone around a chance to get fucked up. Lots of people seemed to be well prepared for this last act of madness, some pyros were lit and guys from the Antifa movement were also just around the corner waving their flags at the end of the gig. There is nothing more left to say beside of ‘it was a very Hamburg-like Black Lips experience and definitely one of my highlights of the festival’.

Almost overshadowed by his backdrop, but Nottingham's Jake Bugg stood strong (© S. Prahl)
Almost overshadowed by his backdrop, but Nottingham’s Jake Bugg stood strong (© S. Prahl)

Jake Bugg

Belle Brummell: Perhaps surprisingly, Jake Bugg had been given Friday’s headlining slot, playing even after Birdy, who I’d thought to be more commercially successful in Germany, but I’m not complaning. (Except about the fact Birdy played there in the first place, as I have her down as a teenage mainstream singer who’s biggest hit was a cover, correct me if I’m wrong.) I hadn’t listened to Jake’s second album quite as much as to the first but I still found his set thoroughly enjoyable (though this time he sadly didn’t get hit by an inflated condom). The best part about seeing Jake in Germany, however, is still people showing the “victory sign” during “Two Fingers”, being beautifully unaware that “putting two fingers up” or “flicking V’s” is a British way of saying “fuck you”.

Annie May: Friday-night headliner Jake Bugg was seemingly unimpressed by the biggest festival slot he’d probably ever been given and started his set with There’s a beast and we all feed it, the opener of his latest album Shangri La. Maintaining his usual calm and expressionless stage presence the English singer-songwriter continued to play a few songs on his acoustic guitar, one of them being his hit Two Fingers before he switched from acoustic to electric guitar. In my opinion this was when his show really started. The songs had more energy in them, which was very appreciated by the crowd. Sing-alongs like Trouble Town and Seen It All were just as appreciated as newer songs like Kingpin, Slumville Sunrise and What doesn’t kill ya. The youngster proved his impressive guitar skills by adding guitar solos here and there and mastering them without batting a lash. A personal highlight was the extended version of Simple Pleasures that he played towards the end of the set. The last song was, of course, his smash hit Lightning Bolt. All in all, a worthy headliner performance.

SATURDAY

She probably named her band after her hair colour: Pale Honey from Sweden (© S. Prahl)
Probably named her band after her hair colour: Tuva Lodmark of Pale Honey (© S. Prahl)

Pale Honey

Annie May: Pale Honey, a drummer/guitarist duo from Sweden, opened the main stage on Saturday, only attracting a very small crowd due to the bad weather, earliness and the fact that this was their first time in Germany. The two girls were accompanied by a bassist and second guitarist, which suited their sound. The band’s strengths were not their quiet but rather their dirty, faster songs, which unfortunately were the minority. Their last song was definitely their best one.

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Not a real breton: Roman Rappak of Londoners Breton (© S. Prahl)
Not a real breton: Roman Rappak of Londoners Breton (© S. Prahl)

Breton

Belle Brummell: Less than twelve months after their spectacular, yet intimate set at Reeperbahn Festival, the Breton I saw at Dockville seemed like an entirely different band. Apparently having gained some commercial success with their second, more accessible album “War Room Stories”, Breton now drew a massive crowd to the Vorschot stage. Styled more rockstar-like than I remembered, frontman Roman Rappak had the antics of a poppunk singer, getting up close with the audience and being obviously amazed at the big turn-up. However, this daylight show did not allow for the visuals that had made their Mojo Club gig so atmospheric, so it felt more like watching some “cool” indie rock band without a very special vibe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Synchronised dancing/headbanging: The olympics of Kakkmaddafakka (© S. Prahl)

Kakkmaddafakka

Belle Brummell: I’m not sure how I managed to get through the last 7 years without ever seeing these Norwegian guys live anywhere, as their big popularity in Germany is evident and they surely play plenty of festivals over here. I had heard a lot about their stunning live show, but as I’m not too enthusiastic about their formulaic dancefloor-indie, I remained oblivious to what a Kakkmaddafakka show is really like. There are about 8 people on stage, two of them being identical twins singing backing vocals while doing synchronised dance moves, and as if that wasn’t rad enough, the members will goof around by doing ballet jumps across stage between songs, or covering Loona’s 90s summer hit “Bailando” unironically, with their percussionist, who looks like Thor, on lead vocals. Needless to mention, pretty much everyone is hot. (They’re Scandinavian, duh.) Well I’m pretty sure their tour manager would rather herd cats, but I wouldn’t mind partying a night with these nutjobs for sure.

Annie May: There was a lot of expectations and pressure on Norwegian party band Kakkmaddafakka before their late evening set at Dockville. Last year they had to cancel last minute, which had left many fans disappointed. You could clearly tell that the band, now equipped with a new keyboarder, had big plans for that night. Their set had a rather unpleasant start for the people in the crowd who were pushed over at the very beginning of the set. It took almost all the time of their intro before everyone was back on their feet. The intro was traditionally followed by Touching and Make The First Move before the band launched into songs of their second album Six Months Is A Long Time. The thing with Kakkmaddafakka shows is that you never now where to look, as there are eight guys on the stage, two of them being their famous dancers. The crowd went especially wild during their hits which they played at the end of their set. As the last song their extra percussionist performed a cover of Bailando shirtless, which topped off their excellent show. But even that was topped by their encore Forever Alone and the fact that the band was absolutely unwilling to leave the stage.

SUNDAY

Sweet psychedelia from Berlin: Oracles were rather tolerable for a German band  (© S. Prahl)
Sweet psychedelia from Berlin: Oracles were rather tolerable for a German band (© S. Prahl)

Oracles

Sodapop: On Sunday morning I struggled through crowds of early birds, festival aficionados and music lovers. I passed flower-crowned women and men, surreal looking wooden installation art to finally get to the first act I wanted to see on this cloudy Sunday. We’re talking about Oracles, whose gig was announced to take place at the Maschinenraum stage in the early afternoon. Oracles are from Berlin and are music-wise geared to shoegaze, dream pop, afrobeat and exceptionally eighties and early nineties inspired neo-psychedelia. When they started to play, a constantly growing crowd in front of the stage had already been formed. Oracles straightly played their music into the open arms of the audience. Their opener Journey Back To Dawn is a kind of psychedelic ballad which walks in the footsteps of Temples’ Move With The Season. The audience swayed back and forth in the middle of these psychedelic electronica sounds. The next song was Melt Tonight, which features a captivating harmony between vocals and instrumental sounds. For one moment it just seemed as if the whole scenery was located way beyond the Hamburg clouded sky; somewhere far away on a South Seas island straightly set back into the paisley patterned seventies. I didn’t seem to be the only one to feel that way: from all quarters people in voluminous clothes came closer to watch the psychedelic spectacle on stage. Oracles created a musical intensity which unleashed the audience – dancing people who were one with the wind all over around. In the end Oracles threw two copies of their new EP Stanford Torus in the crowd. Their performance was dynamic and intense – in short the perfect new festival discovery.

Mac Demarco

Big Mac was apparently more entertaining than it looks here  (© S. Prahl)
Mac Demarco: More of a joker than a sensitive slacker (© S. Prahl)

croconut: Unfortunately I missed the first 3 minutes of his set. And dear lord, those were definitely 3 minutes too much. Mac and his band are possibly the most entertaining people you could have put together in a music group. With the charm of Southern state gentlemen (not sure if they are from the south though) and the charisma of young Jesus they could melt all the hearts in the radius of 5 kilometers, at least (!). They played their set in the most precious way filling the gaps between songs with little speeches that were full of this special Mac type of humor. After some glases of whiskey, spontaneous words of love to the security guy and broken guitar strings Mac jumped into the crowd taking a ride above people’s heads. Everyone was very pleased to be a part of the movement that brought him forwards. After he had finished the ride his beloved security guy helped him to get on the stage again. Later he disappeared from the stage promising to hang out with everyone afterwards. The eyes of everyone around were filled with love, pure and true love caused by the presence of Mister Demarco and his friends. Some stayed near the stage though he was already gone talking very excitedly to the people around about what has just happened. Was it even real?! No one knows but it was amazing and well I felt some love too.

Wolf Alice

Wolf in Wonderland: Ellie Rowsell, also more punk than it may seem  (© S. Prahl)
Wolf in Wonderland: Ellie Rowsell, also more punk than it may seem (© S. Prahl)

Sodapop: I arrived too late for Wolf Alice’s set at the Maschinenraum stage (blame Mac DeMarco and his blissful surf daze music). While my eyes were still concerned with working out a route through the crowd, I suddenly found myself exactly in front of the stage. Sense and action seemed to be alien to each other that day. Apparently there couldn’t be a better day for a new perspective. Wolf Alice have released their newest EP Heavenly Creatures in June and I wasn’t just very pleased about listening to these songs live for the first time, I was very curious about their performance at Dockville Festival since their last gig in Hamburg in November as well. Wolf Alice’s gigs always are fascinating live experiences. Lower tones are paired with grungesque pop melodies and rock guitar riffs. Ellie Rowsell’s voice can sound dulcet like that of an angel, a heavenly creature, and then wild again. Wolf Alice who already were the insiders’ tip of the NME back in 2012 have evolved into a festival secret weapon and guarantor of high spirits. The audience formed moshpits in front of the stage; confetti showers bathed the entire festival grounds in a colourful light. Wolf Alice played plenty of my favourite songs like Blush, Bros, Storms and Moaning Lisa Smile – and besides an exciting reinterpretation of Chris Isaak’s legendary song Wicked Game. Singer Ellie and bassist Theo Ellis jumped off their amps, did headbanging and one wouldn’t have been surprised if they would’ve done stagediving during their forty minutes set. They finished their set with their first grunge-affected single Fluffy. In the end I became aware of the fact that it was the right decision to see Wolf Alice and their blazing inferno of sounds live again.

Glass Animals' Dave Bayley, not looking like a complete dork with a tambourine also being an art.  (© S. Prahl)
Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley clearly won ‘outfit of the day’. (© S. Prahl)

Glass Animals

Belle Brummell: One of the few interesting new bands and reasons Dockville isn’t entirely shit yet were Glass Animals. Their fragile, electronic indie pop would probably please fans of Wild Beasts, who I bet were not too happy to find Glass Animals’ and Wild Beasts’ sets to overlap by ten minutes and the respective stages being at the opposite ends of the festival site. Whoever came up with that great idea. Same as with fellow Brits Jungle, I found all their songs to sound rather the same after a while, and of course they would wait until the very end to play hit single “Gooey”. But the fact alone that Dockville still books these kinds of bands proves while they’re still relevant to indie fans at least to some degree.

And with this cheesy picture we leave you… (© S. Prahl)
And with this cheesy picture we leave you… (© S. Prahl)

Festival Season 2014: Dot 2 Dot Festival, Manchester (UK)

This year’s festival season started abroad for me with the Dot 2 Dot Festival in Manchester. The festival, which has been awarded Best Metropolitan Festival, consists of roughly 200 bands on three nights in three cities. Next to Manchester (Friday) the event also took place in Bristol (Saturday) and Nottingham (Sunday). It only costs 20 pounds, for which you get a wristband that allows you to get into the 9 venues that take part in the festival, kinda like Reeperbahn Festival or First We Take Berlin in Germany. Apparently it’s a highly successful concept as there are similar festivals in England, too, for example Great Escape in Brighton and Liverpool Sound City.

A charm of Dot 2 Dot is that it offers you the possibility to get to know a lot of new artists before their big breakthrough or the first gigs of local and unsigned bands. It’s mostly an indie festival but you will also find bands of various other music genres. All in all it’s a great festival where you definitely won’t be disappointed.

Nice guitar, Mr. Mattinson (© A. Hachmeister)
Nice guitar, Mr. Mattinson (© A. Hachmeister)

The first artist I saw that day was also the first artist to play that night, Jake Mattinson. The singer-songwriter played at a pub called Thirsty Scholar in a tiny space that would only offer enough space to one person. He wasn’t a singer-songwriter of the typical kind as he had only brought his shiny electric guitar with him. His set offered a variety of songs, some sounding deep and dreamy while others were so powerful that they sounded like Kasabian songs stripped off anything but one guitar and vocals. Even though Jake Mattinson had mastered difficult picking and strumming rhythms, his voice was the most dominant thing about his music. I got startled when one of his songs sounded almost identical to Wonderwall. Nevertheless it was pleasant music but towards the end of his 30 minutes set I got more distracted by the little Alex Turner look-alike standing alone at the bar.

A typical singer-songwriter (© A.Hachmeister)
A typical singer-songwriter (© A.Hachmeister)

I stayed at the venue and after a short 15-minute break another singer-songwriter took the stage. Scott Lloyd was almost the exact opposite of Jake Mattinson. He had brought his western guitar and even a harmonica with which he played proper country songs. He was mostly ignored by the crowd and only got their full attention towards the second half of his set. The topics of his songs were mostly love-related and since I didn’t find it particularly interesting, I left the venue.

Other People's lives had to play at an empty Tiki Bar (© A.Hachmeister)
Other People’s lives had to play at an empty Tiki Bar (© A.Hachmeister)

I went over to the Zombie Shack, a zombie-themed tiki cocktail bar (yes that does exist) to watch Other People’s Lives, a four-piece that played indie-rock, partly with heavily distorted guitars that buried the vocals completely. The venue was almost empty and I felt bad for the band that no one was standing up. They gave their best though and the singer made some jokes about the situation. When the guitars weren’t heavily distorted the songs were mostly built on a solid drum/bass rhythm. The band really fitted together as they all played Fender instruments and wore similar hobo shirts and jeans. The best thing was probably their last song, which was over 6 minutes long and collapsed in a brilliant, slow-built finale. If they took themselves a little more seriously, they would probably be more successful as they were skilled musicians.

Fruit Tones care more about their looks than their music. Boo. (© A.Hachmeister)
Fruit Tones cared more about their looks than their music. Boo. (© A.Hachmeister)

I left the Zombie Shack and went to another venue, Sound Control, which has 3 floors with a stage on each one. I randomly decided to go to the Loft, where Fruit Tones were just about to start. The band was rather a disappointment. They only seemed to care about their looks (skinny as hell and long, messy hair – just like Serge of Kasabian) and couldn’t even get their sound right properly. The start of their set was delayed as the drummer had to help the clueless guitarist turning his guitar louder. When they were finally ready to start they played twice as fast as probably planned. It would have been a good song but I felt way too rushed. The only thing I liked about this band was the bass player’s lefty bass guitar. I soon left to check out what other bands were playing at Sound Control right now.

In the Sound Control Club (the basement) a band was playing in complete darkness. No lights were on and I didn’t know if that was on purpose or not.

Girl Power! (©A. Hachmeister)
Girl Power! (©A. Hachmeister)

It was definitely a good choice to come downstairs because Mina Falls were by far a better choice than Fruit Tones. The quartet was fronted by a female singer and guitarist with an impressive voice. What was just as impressive was the other guitarist, a girl too, who went absolutely crazy with her Fender Jaguar, never standing still. The drummer and bass player were men, visibly older than the girls, but they just stood in the girls’ shadows. To be honest, their music was not exactly my type, with too many Paramore and Evanescence influences. But their confidence and skill made up for it and I watched the rest of their set. It turned out that they are actually from Manchester. I kinda have the feeling that they still go to school.

Beautiful man, beautiful music. (© A.Hachmeister)
Beautiful man, beautiful music. (© A.Hachmeister)

Next band I had on my personal timetable were Jaws and I knew that I had to be there early but I got held up by a singer-songwriter who was playing in the Sound Control Mid on my way out.

Tor Miller from New York sang such beautiful songs that I had to stay for a while. He accompanied himself on a big keyboard. Not only his music but also his appearance was very pleasant. He had a bigger crowd that the other two bands I had just seen at Sound Control. But I couldn’t stay for more than two songs before I had to leave. Bonus points for his cute stripy socks!

Photo proof I ran into Matt Hitt (© A.Hachmeister)
Photo proof I ran into Matt Hitt (© A.Hachmeister)

Side-note: On my way to the Ritz I ran into Matt Hitt of NY band Drowners. For those who don’t know him, he is a model who felt like being in a band again and is kinda famous among tumblr-using teenage girls.

Jaws aka. bored teenage boys (© A.Hachmeister)
Jaws aka. bored teenage boys (© A.Hachmeister)

When I arrived, the Ritz Basement was already packed with people waiting for Jaws. It was way to hot and crowded for my liking and so different from the almost empty venues where I had been before. I had never seen a picture of Jaws before so I was a bis surprised when they took the stage. They seemed so young and yet they had such a big fanbase in Manchester. Already after the first seconds of the first song, the crowd was on their feet and happily bouncing and singing along to the rather relaxing song. The band reminded my a lot of Swim Deep and the fans of Swim Deep Fans. I guess that no one in that basement was over 23. Then the band asked for moshpits and moshpits they got even though it didn’t fit the calm music at all. The moshpits never died, not even when the band decided to play mostly new material. The band seemed rather unimpressed by the crowd’s reaction, though. The singer almost never blinked.

Made for big stages: The Heartbreaks (© A.Hachmeister)
Made for big stages: The Heartbreaks (© A.Hachmeister)

After Jaws had finished their set I went upstairs into the main concert hall of The Ritz. It was really huge. I bought myself a cider and sat down on of the barstools that were placed conveniently at the sides because I knew what was still to come and that I should take every chance of resting I could get. I had a really good view on the stage when The Heartbreaks started. The fivepiece with their charismatic singer totally looked like they belonged on such a big stage. Everything about their performance and music looked professional and in place. If you weren’t paying attention you could amost believe that someone had simply put The Horrors on that stage. Almost everyone in the band had black hair and wore extravagant clothing which really fitted their style. Their music was surprisingly poppy, I wouldn’t be surprised if they landed a big radio hit soon with their new album coming out soon.

Synchronised dancing? Why the fuck not! (© A.Hachmeister)
Synchronised dancing? Why the fuck not! (© A.Hachmeister)

I stayed at The Ritz but got up and stood closer to the stage to catch The Midnight Beast. The crazy rap-parody-fun trio were definitely one of my most anticipated acts of the festival and they totally lived up to my expectations. When their intro began the girls in the crowd started screaming. The three guys entered the stage in coloured tracksuits and masks covering their faces. They were accompanied by two people in a bunny and a dog costume. They put on a big show and the energy never died. The background dancers went and came back again multiple times wearing different outfits every time. The only time The Midnight Beast actually slowed down was for their song “Friends for never”, for which Stefan played the piano. They played almost all their hits including “Lez Be Friends”, “Booty Call”, “Just Another Boyband” and their break-through hit “Tik Tok”, a parody of the song with the same title by Kesha. The band managed to transform their funny music videos into a very entertaining live show.

My love for this band also stays alive (© A.Hachmeister)
My love for this band also stays alive (© A.Hachmeister)

After The Midnight Beast had finished it was my time to change venues again to see London quartet LSA, who were playing at Zombie Shack. Luckily the venue wasn’t as empty as it had been a few hours ago when I had watched Other People’s Lives there. LSA, short for Love Stays Alive, entered the stage a few minutes too late and opened their set with the just released song “Keep It Alive”. The band also suffered from the bad lightning on the stage as you could only see the guitarist and the frontman. They also played their debut singe “More or less equal” and its b-side “No good man”, which gave me a nostalgic summer feeling. Some songs were more upbeat and direct while others were dreamy and full of feelings. Unfortunately the band only played six songs in total, which didn’t fill their 30-minutes set. Except for the few polite “Thank you”s the band didn’t interact with the crowd. They only cracked up once when someone in the crowd said the their drummer looked like Jesus. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this band soon.

Two boys who make a lot of noise (© A.Hachmeister)
Two boys who make a lot of noise (© A.Hachmeister)

Then it was time for me to go back to The Ritz to catch Drenge, one of the headliners of this festival. There was already a big crowd waiting for the band and they went crazy when the twopiece (just a drummer and singing guitarist) started. Mosh pits started immediately and didn’t calm down during their 45-minute set, it was really wild. The band totally deserved this kind of reaction as their dirty and fast rock music was just perfect for moshing and dancing. They even got a handful of crowdsurfers, much to the dislike of the venue staff. One of the highlights of their set was definitely their song “Fuckabout”. Just like The Black Keys this band lives off their brilliant music alone and don’t need to put on a show.

Peace definitely care about their looks (© A.Hachmeister)
Peace definitely care about their looks (© A.Hachmeister)

After Drenge it was time for the real headliner Peace. They have a crazy career behind them, having played at Dot 2 Dot just two years ago as one of the smaller bands. Even though I thought it would be impossible they had an even bigger crowd than Drenge and even more screaming fans. Not being up to date with the latest fashion in the NME world I was surprised at frontman Harrison Koisser’s orange hair. Peace opened with “Money”, the first single off their upcoming second album and that song is already one of my favourites. The next song they played was “Follow Baby” before they calmed down with “Higher Than The Sun” and “California Daze”. The crowd really celebrated their headliner and sang and danced along.

I would have loved to stay for their whole set but I’ve also wanted to catch a bit of Darlia, who played at the Zoo. Unlike the other venues I had been to, the Zoo was more than a 5-minute walk away. On my way there I bumped into the guys from LSA and they decided to accompany me because they had played together with Darlia before. The Zoo venue looks kinda like a barn and since the headliner was still playing there were only a few people there. Given these circumstances it looked weird that the drummer was playing shirtless. Darlia were the most “hardcore” band I saw that night. The played non-political punk. The last songs they played were “Napalm” and “Queen of hearts”.

The band of the Home Alone star (© A. hachmeister)
The band of the Home Alone star (© A. hachmeister)

After their set I had an hour to kill before The Pizza Underground would play at the same venue. So I decided to spend that time with LSA at the Zoo Pub. When I returned the venue was packed and I could barely see the stage. The band around former child actor Macaulay Culkin (“Home Alone”) played mostly covers of The Velvet Underground songs, replacing the important lyrics with words like “pizza”, “slice” or “cheese”. In between of the songs they talked so much that they spent more time talking than actually performing songs. The band also played a cover of “Smells like Teen Spirit” and “We didn’t start the fire”. One of the vocalists played the Pizza Box as a percussion instrument. While most of the crowd got that the band was just one big joke, some people were deeply confused. Behind the the band hung a big screen which showed a slide-show of pizza slices.

Sometimes the experience seemed just unreal, like a trip.

Daytime model, nightime rockstar: Matt Hitt (© A.Hachmeister)
Daytime model, nightime rockstar: Matt Hitt (© A.Hachmeister)

My last band for the night (the 15th!) were Drowners from New York. They played 01:30 AM at Sound Control Mid and everyone who still had enough energy was there as they were one of the last bands to play that night. The band, fronted by model Matt Hitt (whom I’d met earlier that day), played mostly to young people who celebrated them like superstars. The whole band was clad in all black and leather jackets, putting on a show, posing with their guitars. The second to last song they played was their hit “Long hair”, which is also the only song of theirs I know. The band was entertaining but only in a superficial way.

After that I was completely exhausted after being on my feet for more than 13 hours. I said goodbye to the lovely guys from LSA and took a cab back to my hostel, still flashed by this amazing night. I got to discover new artists of very different genres and see some of my favourites that night for just 20 pounds. I can surely say that this festival was definitely worth its money!

Festival Season 2013: Les Ardentes, Liège (BE)

© D. Prahl

BY BELLE BRUMMELL AND REDHEADESS

Les Ardentes Festival has been taking place in the city of Liège, Belgium since 2006. Although it’s a four-day event running from Thursday to Sunday, we only dropped by for the Saturday. This year’s edition was headlined by Nas, Mika and dEUS, which was clearly a step down from the previous year (50 Cent, Marilyn Manson and Morrissey), but the big names are not really what Les Ardentes are all about. Most acts seemed to be local or at least French-speaking and belonged mostly to the rock or electro genre. The small festival boasts with being family-friendly (children under 12 get in for free) and lies next to an idyllic river, but the two electro stages located inside the exhibition halls make sure you can party hard and wild all night.

© S. Prahl

Sadly the festival’s atmosphere suffered a bit from the lack of decoration and the exaggerated amount of sponsor stalls and mobile promoters chatting you up in French, the festival’s identity being drowned by the gigantic façades of the “Casa Barcadi” or Coca-Cola’s larger-than-life vending machine. The food trail was highlight though, offering a welcome deviation from the usual festival catering of pizza and bad Asian food with lots of international stalls as well as local specialities. Sadly the sale of drinks was regulated by a weird ticketing system, which led us to live on free tap water all day – one of us still had to drive after all, as we would be leaving the same night to save hostel costs or the pain of camping.

Belgium's pirate party: Folk-rockers Yew opened the Saturday at main stage
Belgium’s pirate party: Folk-rockers Yew opened the Saturday at main stage (© S. Prahl)

The first band of the day were Yew. Made up of seven or so musicians, some of which were dressed up as pirates or something, these locals played a mix of indie and folk which was okay to listen to but didn’t really catch on at only 1PM with as little sleep as we’d had.

Not exactly the new black: Elvis Black Stars playing the HF6 stage
Not exactly the new black: Elvis Black Stars playing the HF6 stage (© D. Prahl)

Afterwards we moved from the main stage to the indoor HF6 stage, where another Belgian act called Elvis Black Stars played. Sounding like a rip-off of Oasis or a less original Kasabian, they had one okay song which they seemed to repeat over and over throughout the whole set, getting really dull after about three songs, combined with pretentious rockstar poses. We only stayed because there was nothing better to do, unless you wanted to try out Volkswagen’s surfboard version of a mechanical bull while being commented on in French over the speakers.

Despite the name, a bright spot: Pale Grey lit up the mood
Despite the name, a bright spot: Pale Grey lit up the mood (© D. Prahl)

The next band were a level up, luckily: Pale Grey played light-hearted indie pop with really good tunes, sounding a bit like Jukebox the Ghost in matching outfits à la Metronomy. This was, however, the only real discovery for us at this festival.

Matching outfits seemed a must have at this festival: London's The Maccabees
Matching outfits seemed a must have at this festival: London’s The Maccabees (© D. Prahl)
Singer, actress, model: Frenchwoman Lou Doillon is a veritable multi-talent
Singer, actress, model: Frenchwoman Lou Doillon is a veritable multi-talent (© D. Prahl)

What had brought us here once more were The Maccabees, who played a slightly quieter set than usual, containing slower, melancholic tracks like “Child” and “Heave” off their latest album “Given to the Wild”, but also some songs that allowed jumping around to, like “Can You Give It” or early single “X-Ray” and of course their 2012 hit “Pelican”. To break the language barrier, drummer Sam Doyle was spontaneously employed to translate, as he is capable of speaking French rather well, but in the end this wasn’t necessary for the band and crowd to connect and enjoy a fun set together.

The next act who took the main stage was Lou Doillon, daughter of Jane Birkin, playing charming adult pop (and a cover of The Clash’s “Should I stay or should I go”) and winning everyone over with endearing shyness. It was a nice soundtrack to strolling over the small festival area in the afternoon sun.

Shaking hands with the (not so) Angry Mob: Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson
Shaking hands with the (not so) Angry Mob: Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson (© D. Prahl)

So obviously it was quite a change of mood when the Kaiser Chiefs took over with a string of well-known singles from “Never Miss a Beat” to “Everyday I Love You Less and Less” to “Oh My God” and of course “Ruby”, as the Brits were there to promote their new best-of album “Souvenir”. They did play one or two new songs as well, which of course sounded like everything else, as they have creatively stagnated since 2005. Singer Ricky Wilson was energetic as ever, jumping into the crowd and attempting to speak French (introducing bandmate Peanut as “Cacahouette”). Generally everyone seemed to be having a brilliant time.

Cult in Belgium, just not our thing: Middle-aged rockers dEUS
Cult in Belgium, just not our thing: Middle-aged rockers dEUS (© D. Prahl)

Unfortunately, the headliner that day, dEUS, really wasn’t our thing, though they were apparently huge in their home country Belgium. Their set was pretty uninteresting old men’s rock, which for some reason even the young and hip attendants seemed to enjoy, but we went over to the HF6 stage instead to catch Soldout. The Belgian duo started out with an extremely quiet song, and though the next one was catchier, we were already too tired and still needed to drive over an hour, so we left (and missed our fellow Hamburgers Digitalism).

All in all, we had a pleasant and relaxed day and it was nice to see a new festival for a change. Even with our broken French we somehow got through this adventure. The line-up was really quite weak though, if you’re not into electro that much (they had a whole stage dedicated to hard techno, which we completely avoided). But it seemed like a nice and well-organised festival, so we can absolutely recommend going there if the line-up suits your taste.

Festival Season 2012: BootBooHook, Hanover (DE)

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BootBooHook main stage on the Hanover fair grounds (© S. Prahl)

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS

BootBooHook Festival turned four years old last weekend and it was my second time visiting. Having moved from the hippest district in Hanover – Linden – to the fair grounds at Kronsbergpark, there was more space but less visitors. Apparently, the fair grounds were too far away from the city centre to be cool enough – it’s at the end of a tram line after all.

I was lucky to have my friend living about four tram stops away from the festival grounds, so we always rode our bikes there, or took them with us inside the tram when it rained – or when we were just too tired.

Last year’s line-up, consisting of Bonaparte, Art Brut, Frittenbude, Wir Sind Helden, Sophie Hunger, Get Well Soon, Crocodiles, Young Rebel Set and about 30 other bands, was a lot better than this year’s, but we still managed to see a few bands we really enjoyed.

With three stages, a silent disco and tons of bean bags randomly lying around all over the festival grounds, the atmosphere was actually quite nice, even though there were astonishingly many families there, especially on Sunday, being “Family Day”, on which each visitor could bring two children under 14 with them. There’s just no such thing as screaming babies on any other festival I’ve been to.

FRIDAY

We started our day with Striving Vines, a four-piece from Denmark. They played nice, danceable indie rock in a tent (the Faust Stage) that seemed to be full, since people were standing outside the entrance, peeking into the darkness. But no, as soon as we got inside we realized those people were just too cool to go inside, since there was a lot of space left inside the tent – which looked more like a really small circus big top –, even right in front of the stage! Striving Vines didn’t talk much, singer Jonas showed off his trendy Chris-Hemsworth-hairdo, while bassist Jacob was apparently too cool to even take off his sunglasses inside the dark tent. I can’t really decide if those Danes sounded more like The Killers or The Audition (the higher notes were definitely Brandon-Flowers-like), but the audience thoroughly enjoyed it.

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“Daaaaaaaance!”: Striving Vines from Denmark. (© S. Prahl)

Next up were Japandroids. These two Canadians played Main Stage with not really a lot of people watching – too bad, since their energetic set knocked me out my shoes at first. I didn’t know what to expect from them, since I’d only heard the band name many, many times, but had never cared to listen to them. From what I experienced, singer Brian and I could have easily had a fast-talking-battle, because whoa, I thought my talking was hard to understand! As nice as it was, in the end the stage was just too big for the two of them, no matter how much room David Prowse’s glitter drum set took in.

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Both guitars looked the same: Japandroids’ Brian King. (© S. Prahl)

You know, those bands you’ve heard the name of plenty of times but never knew what they looked or sounded like? Yeah, Of Montreal were one of those to me. I really hadn’t expected to see what I saw, a six-headed collective from, no, not Montreal, but the USA. Their singer Kevin Barnes reminded me of Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes, Shawn Harris of The Matches and Davey Havok of AFI – a completely unusual and weird mix, just as weird as his haircut, outfit and make-up. Looking at the others… well, a hotpants-clad male keyboarder, a lost ABBA-member with really fast fingers on guitar, a glued smile on the female keyboarder’s lips, Nick Valensi of The Strokes on the drums…? A good show, very entertaining, and the crowd was in a lighter mood, too. What else do you need? 

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Talk to me about the lights man, the lights the lights the lights!: 4/6 of Of Montreal. (© S. Prahl)

To save ourselves from the northern downpour surprising us – after a disappointing experience at the Silent Disco (you just shouldn’t let two little war-painted hipster girls control a whole festival crowd) – we headed to the Tent Stage to get a glimpse of Casiokids from Norway, whom we hadn’t heard of before either. They turned out to be too big for the small stage, six people who all seemed to have been to the same hairdresser (or brothers…or both?), and they had two drummers, of which one was playing some really weird drumset consisting of bongos and cowbells and other fun stuff.

SATURDAY

The first act of the day, French Films from Finland, was a quintet being happy to play to more than seven people. At a small festival like this, at 2 PM… even I was surprised to see more than twenty people standing behind me. I’d seen the boys a few months back, in a club that contains 300 people, and unexpectedly, I’d had to queue for one hour to even get in. And this lovely Saturday noon, they were just as good, still sounding like a happy mix of Joy Division and The Vaccines, and looking just as bored. Nevertheless, a good start in the day.

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“I’m still sober, this has to change ASAP!” Well, it did for little Joni (right). (@ S. Prahl)

Me And My Drummer from Germany had been added to the line-up for dropout Brendan Brenson. The duo played Faust Stage, which was exceptionally crowded, and impressed me a lot. I’d missed them two weeks earlier at Dockville Festival and yes, I still regret it. Singer Charlotte’s voice sounded through the tent angelically, especially during their cover of Radiohead’s “Where I End And You Begin” – which also marked the highlight of their set because everyone in the crowd had to guess which song from which band from which album they were covering, and the winner got a free shirt. This band, I thought, were a bit like the Dresden Dolls without make-up to me – a dramatic boy-and-girl-duo. A wonderful set which left me truly jealous of Charlotte’s voice.

Another band I’d heard the name of, but could neither think of a face nor song, were We Have Band. But those three British live wires and their drummer pulled me in with their very varying, danceable and electronic indie-pop stuff. Married couple Dede and Thomas and their friend Darren were in a good mood and so was the crowd.

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“I have a drumstick and I will not hesitate to use it!”: not the married two thirds of We Have Band. (© S. Prahl)

The Whitest Boy Alive, Erlend Øye’s other band next to Kings Of Convenience, headlined this year’s BootBooHook and they did it with absolute grace. Not even a wild stage invader (some random dude I’d coincidentally seen at Dockville as well, but not as drunk as that day) could bring their mood down, and the crowd was just was pleased to see them. Everyone was dancing, on- and offstage, to the juicy beats and loud guitar- and especially basslines. A headlining set some bands could really learn from.

No festival without at least one Audiolith band? Pretty true at least for this summer, since the Hamburg-based label seemed to send out their bands to all festivals, even Warped Tour (see Captain Capa). Bratze, a duo formed by solo artists ClickClickDecker and Der Tante Renate, played Tent Stage, but were nowhere to be seen, swallowed by the smoke-machine smoke. They sampled labelmates Frittenbude for a few seconds and smashed our ears in with some bass we could still hear when we were already home again. Too bad those guys always seem to get the night slots at festivals – which is one of the reasons why it took me so long to finally see them live.

SUNDAY

Judging from the pictures I’d seen before, Ja, Panik should have been a quintet, but those four guys from Austria did not say a word about a missing band member. When I try not to understand the lyrics, just listening to the music alone, Ja, Panik aren’t even that bad. But what bothers me too much is the confusing mix of German and English lyrics – which would only be half as bad if singer Andreas 1) wouldn’t switch languages in the middle of the sentence and 2) wouldn’t have his annoying German accent when singing in English. I’m sorry, but that will probably always be something bothering me about this band. At least they had a very impressive outro in which they proceeded to sing the same line over and over again, leaving the stage one band member at a time and let the sound guy (!) sing the last few times from his booth in the middle of the crowd.

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Awkward: the guy on the mic is not even the singer. (© S. Prahl)

Headliner Boy, a German-Swiss girl duo (obviously), were the last band to play and their dreamy piano pop made people huddle together like penguins – it got really cold and wet that Sunday – or cuddle on the Fatboy bean bags that were put up all over the festival grounds. Others were dancing by themselves or with their children, or babies even – it was still Family Day and Boy’s music was family-friendly enough. When playing their hit song “Little Numbers”, it started to rain, but neither the band nor the audience cared about that – too nice was the closing set that ended a nice weekend in Hannover.

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Oh Boy: Sonja Glass and Valeska Steiner (© S. Prahl)

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Festival Season 2012: MS Dockville, Hamburg (DE)

The festival’s ignorant stars: the illuminated industry complexes across river Elbe. © D. Prahl

Introduction by Belle

In 2007, Dockville Festival took on the Elbinsel of Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg for the first time. Back then, it was just one stage and a few food stalls and NGO’s, confused teens and twens traversing the surrounding wasteland. Or so my blurred memory recalls. Five years after its inception, MS Dockville is widely known for its arty, independent approach and fantastic booking, scoring, for instance, MGMT’s only festival show in 2009, while also offering spaces for the local and the obscure as well as poetry slams, discussions and guided tours through the art park. This reputation by now draws hip crowds from all across the country, turning Dockville into some sort of Mini-MELT! made up of small-town youths in fancy dress and glitter as well as intellectual urban thirty-somethings. And even as a “mini”-version, this year’s installment drew more people that the – significantly downsized – area could handle at times, causing obscene congestions especially at the second-largest stage, the Vorschot. But at least this year we were spared the mud – in fact, no rain came down at all, which in Hamburg is an absolute sensation for a three-day festival, even in August. Under these conditions we saw a beautiful festival headlined by Hot Chip, James Blake and Maximo Park, but which offered much, much more – some of which we will summarise for you now, accompanied by lovely pictures of course! We start with a personal overview by Pete:

Summary by Pete

After I had missed it the past two years, this year’s Dockville was a real revelation. I don’t know where to start, because there are so many points which made this festival something special. But let me try. So, the first point was that I witnessed the entire construction/deconstruction process, because I was working there the week before and after the festival and it’s unbelievable how much work is put into three days of music and fun. As a reward I got a shiny silver backstage wristband and free entry to the festival. The second point was definitely the weather. Three days of clear sky, sunshine and no rain, best weather for a festival and a record for Hamburg. The third point was that I did not have to camp this year, because I live in Hamburg now and it only takes me 45 minutes to get to the festival area. And believe me, after camping at three festivals this year, it was very relaxing to sleep in my own bed . So the last point was of course the music. As every year they had a large and good selection of bands with lots of new discoveries and thematic days. Friday was the day with the big indie bands like The Maccabees, Maximo Park and Hot Chip. On Saturday we had an electronic-influenced day with Metronomy, James Blake and Purity Ring and Sunday, when everybody was exhausted, was the relaxed, experimental/folk/dreampop day with Slow Club, Tune-Yards, Memoryhouse and Tocotronic. I noticed that there were lots of female singers in the line-up, like Lucy Rose, Daughter, Sóley, Tune-Yards and Dillon. And now we will sum up some of the performances we saw, along with lots of pictures of the musicians, area, visitors and artworks … There was truly a lot to discover!

Viennese boys with a poetic vein: Indie rockers Bilderbuch were our first act on Friday (© D. Prahl)

Belle: After I had stumbled upon Bilderbuch in 2009 at a club show in Berlin, I hadn’t heard much from the Austrian outfit and their stomping indie rock, obviously influenced by certain British bands dominant at the time. Preceding their Dockville gig, I had started listening to their two albums and they became an instant addiction. The expressive, engaging poetry of their German lyrics delivered a fresh approach to a stagnating genre and their festival performance proved once more that they are just as gripping live. Their latest album “Die Pest im Piemont” is a definite recommendation of mine.

Captain Capa’s Hannes Naumann: Raving against sunshine (© D. Prahl)

Redheadess: Not having heard of Captain Capa until last year’s Reeperbahn Festival, where the two boys from Germany had played alongside better-known label mates Supershirt, Bratze and Frittenbude (they’re all on Hamburg-based independent label Audiolith Records), I thoroughly enjoyed the energetic set on Friday afternoon. Freshly returned from Warped Tour – which has obviously left a big impact, seeing as the boys couldn’t talk about anything else – the band played their electronic dance-pop songs with great enjoyment. Contrary to popular Audiolith-bands such as Frittenbude, who played the same stage later that day, Captain Capa’s lyrics are in English, which is probably one of the reasons why they got to play Warped Tour at all. Songs like “Faraday”, a personal favourite of mine, got great response from the teenage crowd that danced in the midst of the afternoon sun, blowing bubbles and throwing confetti.

Doubtlessly a highlight of the festival: The Maccabees’ performance on Friday evening (© D. Prahl)

Pete: The act I was most looking forward to on Friday and maybe at the whole festival were The Maccabees. For a long time I had ignored this band for unknown reasons and the first time I listened to their latest record “Given to the Wild” it failed to impress me again. But after some weeks the wonderful dreamy songs made their way into my ear and this album grew to be one of my favourites of the year. So of course the time had come to see them live and after I had missed their gig at Uebel & Gefährlich in Spring I was very relieved and happy when they were confirmed for Dockville 2012. Unfortunately they only did a 50-minute set so they mostly played songs from their second and third record. Especially during the songs from second album “Wall of Arms” the crowd was jumping around and got on their knees at one point. After closing the set with “Pelican” the band was very thankful for all the dancing and singing and I think the audience was as well for a great little gig from a wonderful band. The voice, the guitar solos, everything was perfect.
If you were lucky enough you could spot some of the band members walking around the festival site. My friend told me he saw one of the guitarists in the circle pit during Maximo Park’s ging, so that was really funny and you could see that successful bands also have their fun at festivals.

Belle: A much anticipated act for me too, as I hadn’t seen live before either. “Given To The Wild” had, eventually, made it into my list of “must-hears of the year” as well. The set contained much older material too, but I found it no less enjoyable although I hadn’t listened to the earlier albums in full. Singer Orlando Weekes has an impressive voice, but pretty much no facial expression and seemed somewhere between unfazed and annoyed about having to be on stage. This was, however, compensated by the good mood and energy radiated by the White brothers on guitars. All in all, an enjoyable set that did not disappoint in any way.

Samantha Urbani (middle) & Friends: As always winning in the style category (© M. Weiher)

Pete: Friends, the new sensation from Brooklyn, entered the stage with a 10 minute delay at Maschinenraum Friday evening. In those 10 minutes the band were already on stage and I don’t know what they were doing there but mostly it looked like nothing much. So some people in the audience started to sing Justice’s “We are your friends” which led to some smiles and comments from singer Samantha Urbani. The performance and music was good but at the end I must say that the gig at Molotow earlier this year was better, because Friends are more of club band. I also have to mention that I never saw as little enthusiam on stage as that shown by bassist Lesley Hann. Come on, you’re in a cool band and you’re on stage and giving the people good music! But maybe she was nervous, who knows!?

Paul Smith pointing at things during Maximo Park’s set on Friday (© S. Prahl)

Redheadess: Maximo Park were one of the bands I’d been looking forward to the most, since I’ve been listening to the five-piece from Newcastle for five or six years now, but had never once seen them live. And I wasn’t disappointed. Having chosen wisely between Frittenbude from Bavaria, Friends from New York, and Maxïmo Park, I went to see the latter and was greeted by five guys in a very good mood. They played old stuff and new stuff, Paul Smith danced like there was no tomorrow (and dancing with him is now totally part of my bucket list, it would be so much fun) and told us to snuggle up to our friends and lovers during their 2007 hit “Books From Boxes”. It was a very good show, even better than I’d expected and left me happy and ready to rush over to Frittenbude playing Vorschot, to catch at least their last few songs.

Pete: I missed their whole set because I was watching Friends but I made it to their last song. Actually my plan was going to the Vorschot and watching the rest of Frittenbude but as I heard Maximo Park playing I felt the need to get close up to the stage, come what may. It only took a few minutes rushing through some people and finally I met my friend in the circle and they played “Apply Some Pressure”. What a great moment!

And the light show was good, too: Hot Chip were the headline act on Friday (© D. Prahl)

Belle: Thanks to pretty much everyone I wanted to see playing on Friday, and logically at the same time, I was properly exhausted when Hot Chip finally came on. Gradually working my way from the back of the crowd to the middle – I had been waiting for ages for The Hundred in the Hands to finally start and then didn’t want to leave without catching at least a couple of songs – I started getting into the mood for grooving along to some epic tracks of theirs, like ‘One Life Stand’ and ‘Ready For The Floor’. The recently released ‘In Our Heads’ had also left a good impression and accompanied by a blazing light show, it was truly something for the eyes, ears and feet.

Son with violin bow … (© D. Prahl)
… Daughter with the voice of the angel (© D. Prahl)

Belle: Just so discovered by me a few days before the festival, Daughter turned out one of my personal highlights. Her gracious stage presence (that smile!) went well with the delicately crafted songs often reminiscent of a sonically stripped Florence & The Machine. Especially her indie hit ‘Youth’ was a success with the predominantly teenage festival crowd – something like the hipster alternative to fun’s ‘We Are Young’. Then again, ‘Setting fire on our insides for fun’ is lyrically on a whole different level than ‘So let’s set the world on fire/We can burn brighter than the sun’. But hey, who would ask that fun. have good lyrics too …

For Katie Allard, it was her last performance with The Kabeedies. (© S. Prahl)

Redheadess: For the second time this year, the indie/afrobeat/rock’n’roll band The Kabeedies from Norwich pleased my eyes and ears. On the hot Saturday afternoon, they invaded the Vorschot stage, just as they had done twice before. For singer Katie Allard, it was the very last show and she has now unfortunately left the band, leaving the three boys on their own. And the sadness took over some: Not quite as happy-go-lucky as back in April she was dancing across the stage, while guitarist and birthday boy Evan Jones cracked jokes about wasps and heat and beer. I’m excited about the band’s future, now that Katie’s not with them anymore, and definitely hope to hear a lot from both her and the boys soon.

This time with a full band: British singer/songwriter talent Lucy Rose (© M. Weiher)

Pete: On the very sunny Saturday afternoon I made my way over to the Maschinenraum at the end of the festival site to see Lucy Rose. I had seen her before supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, but there she had played only with a cellist. This time she brought a whole band with guitarist, bassist, drummer and her old cellist friend, to the result that the songs had more power and the audience really enjoyed her set. Lucy was very sympathetic, smiling all the time and saying how great it was to be here. I remember her saying: “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done in my life.” And maybe it was, because the weather that day was one of the best I’d ever had at a festival. Later I saw her in the backstage area, but was too shy to say that she has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. 😉

Matching trousers and musical skill: Metronomy had not just ‘The Look’ but also the sound. (© D. Prahl)

Pete: This year was Metronomy‘s second time at Dockville and they were the band I was most looking forward to on Saturday. I had seen them in 2009 and it had been great. But this time it should be even better because in the meantime they had released the outstanding and Mercury Prize nominated album “The English Riviera” with songs like “The Bay”, which they performed at the beginning and “The Look” at the end. Their uniform band outfits with white shirts and beige trousers I think is called the “Riviera style”. Their one hour set consisted mainly of songs from “The English Riviera”. From their old albums they only played “Heartbreaker”, “Holiday” and “The End of You Too”, which finally made the crowd freak out. For real fans they had the little gem “You Could Easily Have Me”. You can find this song on their very first and unknown album “Pip Paine”. Back in those days Joseph Mount made music on his own without any band members. So all in all it was a very good set and I really enjoyed it.

Belle: Another highly anticipated act for me, especially as I’ve just recently fallen completely for their latest LP ‘The English Riviera’, mostly my personal MELT! anthem ‘The Bay’ (Metronomy weren’t even there, but it always came on the PA in breaks between shows). As their band name suggests, they played as precise as a metronome, with a certain reserved attitude, but the songs’ perfection made up for this apparent lack of emotional involvement on the band’s part. I danced a lot and someone threw an unidentified item at my head. It still hurt days later when I touched the spot but boy was it worth it.

Me alias Charlotte Brandi and her drummer Matze Pröllochs were a true discovery (© D. Prahl)

Belle: Me And My Drummer were another late discovery of mine. The single ‘You’re A Runner’, however, hasn’t left my head since the first time I listened, and after seeing the Berlin duo at Dockville, I will most certainly pick up the album (good for them it’s not on Spotify). Calm, atmospheric, intense indie pop that gets strangely close to you in a way that’s not uncomfortable at all.

Made Sunday even sunnier: Charles Watson …
… and Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club (© D. Prahl)

Belle: One of the few highlights of the rather poorly equipped Sunday timetable were Slow Club from Sheffield. Not quite as twee as on their debut album, the duo’s second longplayer ‘Paradise’ shows a slightly more experimental side without leaving the catchiness behind. For their set they were backed up by a bassist and a second drummer beside singer Rebecca Taylor, which allowed her to switch between drums and guitar as she pleased. Apart from her hideous t-shirt, it was a wholly pleasurable performance.

Both the crowd and Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus agreed that face paint was a must at this year’s Dockville. (© D. Prahl)

Belle: A both fascinating and slightly strenuous set came from Tune-Yards. I was absolutely stunned what Merrill Garbus can do with her voice, often seeming like a shaman crying and drumming for rain (the face paint strengthened that impression). She was accompanied by a bassist and two saxophonists on stage, who together with her drum loops, ukulele and distinctive vocals formed a unique sound that evades description. At times something to dance to, at times something to marvel at.

Redheadess: We ended our festival with Touchy Mob – something I hadn’t expected to see. Just about everything about this set was surprising. At first, me and my friends spontaneously decided to go to the Butterland stage, a little dancefloor just outside the forest, where usually electronic dance parties were happening (at least every time we somehow found our way there). Since we had nothing else to do and I’d heard the name Touchy Mob somewhere already, we decided to sit down and look what happened. Touchy Mob turned out to be a solo artist equipped with a laptop and a guitar, German, very beardy, very ginger, who had serious sound problem. His music is very quiet, very soft, and very slow, with electronic bits and a voice seeming to be far, far away, somewhere between not on stage anymore and a secret dreamland. Even the crowd got very quiet and nobody even cared too much about the sound problems. It was definitely the right thing on a Sunday evening to end a wonderful weekend.

Picture gallery

Butterland was the place for DJ sets from day to night. (© D. Prahl)
Part of the art was this lovely swan-shaped seating area. (© D. Prahl)
And so were the artist collective Krautzungen, who decorated visitors’ body parts with lines from the German version of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. (© D. Prahl)
Our Belle was not spared … You can read the novel on Dockville-goers’ bodies at dockville.krautzungen.org!
(© Krautzungen)
A goggle-eyed owl watched over the Nest stage. (© D. Prahl)
And a tree of plastic bottles took care of environmental awareness. (© D. Prahl)
So much for the ‘Dockville style’ (© D. Prahl)
Sunset over the cranes of Wilhelmsburg (© D. Prahl)
Confetti was a must at the Frittenbude show … (© S. Prahl)
… while Metronomy fans got the sparklers out. (© D. Prahl)
We christened this installation ‘The Ha Ha Wall’. (© D. Prahl)