Monday, September 20, 2010

Berlin Festival - Day One Review

As promised – the music side of things

First act of the day - MIT, a three piece from Cologne, Germany who began making waves after delving a DIY demo to Peaches’s manager prior to one of her shows. After listening to the demo, Peaches invited the band to open for her show that same night. Since then, the band have come along way and are now fast growing in popularity across the UK and have finally gained some much deserved attention back home (their home, that is). 

Playing one of the early sets at Berlin Festival, the fresh faced trio, introduced us to some highly infectious synth pop/ post punk beats. Building upon each layer, the sound produced from the wall of synthesizers that surrounded one of the members ensured the industrial size of hanger 4 was matched musically. Influences such as Digitalism, Daft Punk, Soulwax and even New Order were more than apparent during the groups Friday afternoon set. 

Lyrically I had no idea what the hell was going on (surprisingly this was the only acts I saw at Berlin Festival who sung in German) and performance wise the band was less than impressive. Showmanship was non existent but then again, MIT are still relatively new to the scene and I don’t doubt that this is something that will improve as the band matures. Besides, if they have already been backed by Peaches and have worked with members of Kraftwerk & Simian Mobile Disco, I’m sure we can expect huge things.  

Up next in hanger 4, Belgian electro-rockers, Goose, who brought the house down amongst a mass of sweaty drunk Germans. Although starting out as an AC/CD covers band, Goose quickly moved to producing their own sound - drenched with synth, yet still maintaining the raw power that an Acca-Dacca cover band calls for. 

Since making their live debut supporting Soulwax in the UK, the edgy quartet have grown in to a monstrous LIVE band (none of this samples shit). Heavy synth waves and rock elements, delivered in equal measure, immersed the audience and as the dance rhythms built up, before coming crashing back down, Goose’s sets ensured undeniable dance floor adrenaline. Gaining momentum through out their set, the group delivered British Mode, 3T4, the enticing rave-esq sound of Everybody; electro powerhouse – Bring It On; the filthy beats of Black Gloves and many more. It was the bands powerful performance and their Euro-Electo sound that ensured Goose were a Berlin Festival highlight. 

Detouring via the bar and some grub, we headed back to a familiar standing position for Robyn. Moving on from regular LP’s, this year Robyn had decided to deliver fans three mini albums, Body Part I, II, and III, all of which should be out by the end of this year. The platinum blonde bombshell has a unique style of music that is 90’s pop with out the teeny bobber stigma. Or so I though. Sadly, Friday’s set was extremely poppy, borderline cheesy – think Britney Spears, only with a little more street cred. Performing as the single focal point, her band behind, electro-pop princess covered hits including Dancing on My Own, With Every Heartbeat, Dancehall Queen, Cobrastyle and even impressed Royksopp fans when she closed with The Girl and The Robot.  
Following much anticipation, the solo project from Karin Dreijer Andersson (The Knife), Fever Ray began. Andersson’s signature vocals took control of hanger four on Friday night and, building upon with the musical depth achieved by a multitude of layered lyrics, her performance was stunningly surreal. Eerie soundscapes and haunting vocals, enhanced by a thick smoke, that devoured the stage and the performers on it, created an atmosphere that was like no other.  As the fog flowed from the stage onto the audience, the space became almost claustrophobic yet worked to make the entire performance and experience that much more intoxicating and potent. 

As the faintest glimpse of light seeped through the fog, 17 or so lamps on stage became distinguishable and shed a faint glow on to the other five persons on stage, creating the softest of silhouettes. Opening with If I Had A Heart the audience soon became absorbed in the baselines, thick reverb and siren song of Andersson. Standing captivated as green lazers soon shot out across the stage, creating a surreal glow when hitting the smoke, the crowd was in awe. Although not as powerful her performance at Electric Picnic, Fever Ray sets are honestly a stunning master piece. They are creepy yet seductive, a combination that I never thought I would see, but if any one can pull it off, its Karin Andersson.  

Missing 2ManyDJs and Fatboy due to the festival being closed prematurely (check out earlier blogs if you have no clue what I’m on about) I headed with a few friends to what Berlin is most well known for – its Under ground club scene.

Through a random door in a semi residential street, into what looked like a shop front, through to a back room, down a spiral staircase and into a basement. We then opened a door that looked like it belonged to a huge fridge. What we discovered, a sick underground club. Several rooms, DJ’s and Bars. This is what I love most about Berlin!

Bec Clark 

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