Tom’s GIG GUIDE #9 – Berlin Shakes with Noise-Jazz-Reggae-Metal
By Tom Taylor . November 25, 2016
What an extremely diverse range of musical adventures to embark on this week. How on Earth are we supposed to live normal, balanced lives when we can cram every evening with fantastic music from across the world?! Here is this week’s exhaustingly great Berlin gig guide:
Friday 25th November
Girl Band @ Urban Spree
Noise bands. There are far too many of them. Some are great, breathing fresh life into the rock genre with their sick musical manifestations. Others misuse their din-making capabilities and end up making a flat racket. With great power comes great responsibility, or something like that. Dublin-based Girl Band know what they’re doing. They know how best to wield a slab of noise and, at the appropriate moment, to bludgeon their audience with it. Imagine Atari Teenage Riot mixed with hints of The Fall and some heavy techno. Sounds all very Berlin doesn’t it? Having seen this band several times over the past few years, they only seem to get nastier and heavier live. Support on the evening comes from Brooklyn band Bambara (currently on tour across Europe) and Berlin noise poppers Pigeon. It’s gonna be a big one.
Saturday 26th November
Kenny Wesley @ A-Trane
It’s time to dust off those smart clothes – tonight is not the night for your standard Berlin attire. An evening at A-Trane is a must-do for anyone who has ever wanted to experience that authentic jazz club experience. Situated just off Charlottenburg’s Savignyplatz (even the name sounds classy), A-Trane is one of Europe’s most revered jazz clubs and has played host to literally everybody in the world of jazz. Tonight is a special night as it’s time for Berlin-based Hawaii-born multi-instrumentalist Kenny Wesley to take to the stage. Known as ‘The Soulful Nerd’, Wesley possesses an extraordinary vocal range spanning more than four octaves. He’s got the songs to back it up too. The second of two nights at A-Trane, expect an eclectic set from Wesley, who’ll no doubt be out to impress his home crowd.
Sunday 27th November
Howe Gelb @ B Flat
Anyone with a passion for the dusty sounds of the North American highway knows of Howe Gelb and his band Giant Sand. Gelb has spent more than 30 years peddling his off-the-beaten-track alt country music across the globe and tonight appears with his piano trio at B-Flat in Mitte to present his new album ‘Future Standards’. Gelb’s moody, Tom Waits-esque jazz blues and charismatic storytelling is the perfect soundtrack to a Sunday night in Berlin. Fans of Neil Young, My Morning Jacket and Calexico shouldn’t miss this guy.
Tuesday 29th November
Skindred @ Columbia Theater
As a Welshman, I feel a certain duty to make a big deal about bands performing in Berlin from my corner of Planet Earth™. Local (to my hometown) heroes Skindred somehow manage to make their hybrid of reggae and metal not sound like something puked up from the ’90s. In fact, they seem to have struck gold with their unique sound. They’re always excellent live and put on the kind of show that shames many too-cool-for-school bands. Support is from Californian rock staples Zebrahead.
Wednesday 30th November
Sondre Lerche @ Musik & Frieden
It’s hard to believe Norwegian singer songwriter Sondre Lerche is only 34 years old. He’s packed so much into his musical career to date and has been a constant figure in music for the last 15 years. Lerche returns to Berlin for an intimate gig at Musik & Frieden to present his forthcoming album, Pleasure. ‘An Evening With Sondre Lerche’, as the event is being called, is one of just two European gigs the great man is putting on this year. He’s taking requests on his Facebook page – what do you want to hear?
Wednesday 30th November
Wrekmeister Harmonies @ Urban Spree
Godspeed You! Black Emperor last performed in Berlin in 2015 to a sold out crowd at Huxleys Neue Welt. On Thursday night, some of its members return as part of Wrekmeister Harmonies. Led by the enigmatic JR Robinson, this band creates a dark and foreboding sound ideally suited for Urban Spree in Friedrichshain. A new album called Light Falls has recently emerged on respected label Thrill Jockey, which once again confirms their stature in the world of the doom rock underground. Wrekmeister Harmonies are touring with ambient doom duo Nadja who are also well respected in the rock’s underworld. All this can be yours for a bargain of €14 on the door.