‘Blessed’ is how BERLIN LOVE YOU felt when compiling this week’s guide to gigs in Berlin. Is it unreasonable to attend all these shows? Perhaps. Is it physically possible? Let’s see how we get on…
Friday 28th October
Dead Sentries and Dysnea Boys @ Tiefgrund
Tiefgrund at Ostkreuz hosts a night of homegrown punk music guaranteed to blow your Doc Martins off. Always a place to find the rawest of the world’s underground music scene, tonight this cellar venue will be ripped apart by ragged punk outfits Dead Sentries and Dysnea Boys.
Opening the evening are Dysnea Boys, who play a wiry form of classic ’80s skate punk. Sitting somewhere in between legends such as Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys and Agent Orange, make sure you get down early enough to witness these guys. In their own words, headline band Dead Sentries describe their band as ‘razor edged, hang on by your fingernails rock and roll. No gimmicks, no sleazy industry tactics, no bullshit’. If that hasn’t sold you on this band already, I urge you to check out their raucous 2015 Polemos EP on Bandcamp.
The scene is in rude health – head to Tiefgrund on Friday night to see for yourself.
Saturday 29th October
Digitalism @ Gretchen
Hip Hamburg duo Digitalism have been pushing the boundaries of electronic and dance music since 2004. They’re also celebrated remixers who have chopped up tracks by the likes of Daft Punk, The White Stripes and Tom Vek. Having toured the world with artists as diverse as DJ Shadow and Queens of the Stone Age, the group have picked up a similarly varied crowd. Having recently released Mirage, their first album in five years, the group bring their kaleidoscope of sound to the legendary Gretchen this Saturday night.
Merchandise @ Tiefgrund
It’s back to Tiefgrund for the return to Berlin of Florida band Merchandise. Defying categorisation with their (let me try…) art-punk-sorta-meets-kraut-rock, there’s something quite special about this group of musicians.
Signed to respected indie label 4AD, which is where Pixies once called home, Merchandise are touring in support of their most recent album, A Corpse Wired For Sound. The band bring with them New York band EZTV as support. Offering a refreshing take on jangly power pop, this three-piece have a knack for melancholic melodies that is surely the envy of their peers.
Minor Victories @ SO36
Brand new (well, they’re a year old) British alt-rock supergroup Minor Victories bring together some of the bright minds behind Slowdive, Mogwai and Editors. With the kind of pedigree this band have, it’s no surprise their debut album is brilliant. Imagine the best parts of the aforementioned bands and you’re not that far away – there’s the dreaminess of Slowdive, the guitar innovation of Mogwai, and the tight rhythms of Editors. Live, this band’s jet plane sound is where it all comes together.
You know where to be this Monday. Event details here.
Tuesday 1st November
Saul Williams @ Frannz Club
Charismatic alt-rapper and poet Saul Williams first properly caught the attention of the world with his stunning self-titled album in 2004. His idiosyncratic lyrics, colourful sound collages and aggressive vocal delivery placed him far away from his peers of the time. Fruitful associations with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor (who produced one of Williams’ albums), The Mars Volta and Zack de la Rocha have given Saul Williams a worldwide name. He has toured not only as a musician but also as a poet and lecturer. This Tuesday he brings his intense live show and new album, MartyrLoserKing, to Prenzlauer Berg’s Frannz Club.
The Fall @ SO36
The Fall are the greatest rock band on planet earth. Why? I’ll explain, if I must.
They’re led by a shamanic frontman who appears to be driven by mysterious forces neither he nor we mere civilians understand. They’ve made over 30 albums of hypnotic, erratic, undefinable noise that has on occasion smashed through the boundaries of musical imagination. They’ve got a rhythm section tighter than the lid on a jar of jam from Lidl. They’re sometimes a mess but more often magical – rock music should be a little unpredictable, right? Try to imagine what would happen if Captain Beefheart had kidnapped the members of German krautrock band Neu! and forced them to find the true meaning of rock and roll in a dull suburb of Manchester. You’re not even close. Last March the band put on a performance at White Trash Fast Food that many agree (this writer included) is one for the history books. This Wednesday they make their second appearance of 2016 (aren’t we lucky?!) in the legendary SO36. The greatest rock band on planet earth are playing on a cold autumnal evening in Berlin. You know what to do.
Boss Hog @ SO36
As if we weren’t spoiled enough this week, Thursday marks the return to the Berlin stage of visceral garage punk band Boss Hog. Featuring wild man-and-wife punk-blues musicians Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez, Boss Hog made a name for themselves with a series of confrontational albums and EPs in the ’90s.
Spencer is known for his vicious, off-the-cuff punk ‘n’ roll bands Blues Explosion and Pussy Galore, yet with Boss Hog the spotlight is on Martinez. An unsung heroine of ’90s rock, Martinez has a fantastic voice and magnetic stage presence. Having announced their return to music earlier this year, the band are touring the recently released Brood Star EP, which precedes a brand new album. Don’t expect Boss Hog to have mellowed in the slightest – they’re as in-your-face as they ever have been.