Sometimes it seems that the Universe tries to send you some signs. Like, when it says that “Here, these are tickets for 3 euros to Berlin, are you in?”. Oh, let me think, maybe no, since I have to kill that boss because I am 28th lever mofo Pyromancer, so you know, I have much more important bussiness to attend. Then the Universe says that I am a nolifer-turning-to-crazycatlady, and I say okay:(. Universe is a bitch, just like karma.
Nevertheless, even though real life quests are so less interesting than those in “Titan Quest”, on the 19th of July we found ourselves in Berlin’s coach station, in a rain, after 15h ride, eating sausage. Start seemed promising and it kinda put the mood to all the journey. It was 4 days of chilling, almost like in some tropic beach, minus the cocktails with umbrellas and palm trees. And it was raining half of the time. Lots of walking and feeling the city which doesn’t like to sleep (open tanning salon in 2am, seriously?), and is up for some random gigs under the bridge on Sunday afternoon. So, hallo, Berlin, was ist so wunderbar about you?
Record shops and flea markets. Even though for the past few years I lived in a spirit of “all I need is my backpack”, this trip reminded me how great collecting is. It is so easy to be a consumer in Berlin, that next time I plan to go there purely because I want to buy all the stuff there. This time I came back with some zines, 4 Pratchett books, one occultism propaganda brochure, 2 superb anthologies/ introductions to gay adult videos (illustrated!:]) and an unmet desire to get almost everything from Rumpsti Pumpsti and Staalplaat record shops. One of the most amazing places for me was Staalplaat, a place where vinyls, cassettes, comic books and weird art gather together. All the time I was slightly fond of comics (but usually strips or ragecomic stuff – a post about meme phenomenon is a must in some time), but in that place I was mesmerized by the fantastic world of graphic novels, and, of course, comic books. Personal favorite from there – Andy Leuenberger and his witty world of social criticism.
Gigs and festivals. Even though when coming we didn’t have any particular plan, there were some concerts we planed to visit. After all, Berlin always was a capital of sound. We managed to go to three events. First took place in Salon Bruit, super cosy and super small Lichtblick cinema (36 six chairs, we counted). Unfortunately, the gig was not that good. Dafna Naphtali done some vocal experimentation using joysticks(?), which was kind of interesting at the beginning, but in 10 minutes I was bored to death. On the other hand, in this light Emmanuel Pidré’s improvisations with guitar seemed way better, in “just close your eyes and enjoy” sense. Nice touch was projecting everything what happened on the stage. Dull green light gave a lovely sense, as did the venue overall. To sum up – the sound was not very inspiring, but the surroundings and laid back atmosphere redeemed everything.
FOETUS FROLICS festival in Corpo 8 gallery was a totally different deal. Even though Lichtenberg, where it took place, seemed as a perfect district for industrial, event was happening in some old ex-factory room-turned-into-gallery, which at first seemed not IT (sterile white walls and sitting on the carper, seriously?). But all you need is just to close your eyes and listen, which works every time.
The promoter was Veronica Mota, “one of the strongest and most recognized female Industrial/Ritualistic projects in Berlin”. Females in the scene (when talking about those who create themselves – not “silent girlfriends” or mostly listeners as I am) is a really rare thing in Lithuania. That’s why it raised certain amount of curiosity. Both creator and promoter is even more rare. Introduction by her (and dedicating the fest to her own foetuses – both kids and event as a newborn) brought some feminine feeling into the place, but that wanished fast after she and her colleague started playing. Drony tribal rythmic ambient, divided into separate parts, firstly seemed as just a good opening act, but then some “dropping the bass” gave more spice to the sound. Berlin surely knows how to serve it’s industrial.
Other project, which cought our ears (and in a way ruined the evening, because when you heaJpr something that good, nothing later can overtop it) was Angie Yeowell’s ANGELANINA. Here is some of her sound which DOES NOT show the subtle beauty of it:
You have to see her live performance – which we’ll probably do in Lithuania sometime in December. Wonderful artistic communication while playing on the electric violin, hypnotizing vocals with and without effects and catching the sound of a piece of bread at one point – all in one place, meticulously composed and impressively performed. Loved every minute of it!
One of the clever decisions was to end the evening with a blast. To keep the interest of the audience after 4 (?) rather calm performances is quite hard in any gig, but FOETUS FROLICS managed to do so, putting some energy via drum power to the end of the event. First was a short instrumental punkish noise band, which make at least part of the audience stand up and dance a bit. The last was performance of JOHN MURPHY (from SPK, Lustmord and Current 93 and Whitehouse) and ANNIE STUBBS (SPK). Headliners as they were, they did a truly powerful gig. The only minus was when the “ladyfriend”, as I refered to her in my head, tried to go near the drums. Her vocals were great, and they gave a new level to the sound, but watching her with drumsticks was just sad, especially when you see the certainty of Murphy nearby.
For quite a while I was wondering, how to make visuals equal-ish with music in live shows. In FOETUS FROLICS I saw a great example – just project everything to the other side of the room, where the musicians are. Simple and it works. Overall, the festival gave a lot of new ideas about how stuff should be done.
On Sunday we went to event which should be refered as “That Illegal Gig Under The Bridge”. Nice atmosphere – just chilling and talking, reading and drinking, with shortcuts to some performances. All concept was nice – to gather some friends for an afternoon together. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the legendary TAPEMAN, but at least there was Chris Kakawaka with pastel trench coat and duct tape on his eyes and mouth, wandering around with his little noise generator on his neck, exploring the environment of local shaw. At the end of the performance he went straight to a lady with a green wig, big fake boobs and a fan. Unplanned ending to the improvisation.
Inspiration. Berlin for me was mostly about walking and talking. It wasn’t actually a journey to Berlin – it was more of a journey to myself. Got just too much of new ideas (why don’t we do gigs under bridges?), met wonderful people and a lot of material to read and think. I guess this is the best kind of trip.