The Night Where Electro Came To Die So That it Could Get Re-born!
Nina Wagner and her band mate aka partner in crime Ben Raine from The Unkindness of Ravens are in Berlin, soaking up the sites, the innovative art scenes and the odd concert…
It’s Friday night, hot and sticky and we’re roaming the streets of Berlin like hungry werewolves. The smell of beer is rising, literally, from our pores; our blood has churned to booze. After almost two weeks of heavy nightlife, we’ve literally morphed ourselves into creatures of the dark. And what’s on offer tonight? The infamous monthly festival known as Ich Bin Ein Berliner. Well we’re not Berliners just yet, but we might as well be.
The event takes place in SO36, a venue for mostly flamboyant gay nights and electro punk concerts. The night feels like it’s sweltering, mostly because of the rise in humidity and the intimate shoulder rubbing between the electrically charged electro clash rockers. Running a little bit late due to a couple of birthday bashes we had to hit prior to this evenings grand finale, I manage to get the tail end of Blitzgigs. It appears to be one woman with two dancers side by side. The sound is pumping house electro pop, and the dancers dressed in white move like robots on metallic strings. Nomi, front lady, is dressed up like a cyborg ex-communist Lady Gaga, and kind of sounds like her as well. The smoke goes up and she vanishes.
Grabbing a couple of beers I head deep into the crowd waiting for the second act, Nad Mika to appear. As part of her intro, we are confronted with her latest music video ‘To the Max’, which is a fast cut clash of random images and the odd S&M act between two male gimps… As the video comes to an end Mika shouts into the microphone asking the crowed if we’re ready to party, a little bit cliché, but it works, the Germans go nuts. Her music fades in and she once again shouts orders to ‘turn it up’. By now the house is pumping, the people are jumping and Mika is thumping. It appears she’s singing to a backing-track and as a hard working musician myself, I find this to be a bit of a cheap trick. However her sound is so rich and perfect, it’s hard not to get lost in Mika’s music and soon I’m sucked into her noise and the world becomes that little bit sweeter. Mika is dressed up what appears to be a twist between Robocop and some kind of spaceraider and for a one woman show; I’m deeply impressed by her performance skills and riling-up-the-crowed abilities.
A few beers and about ten thousand cigarettes later, the MC, a man dressed in sparkly black leather, walks on stage like a ring master and introduces the much anticipated Selfish Cunt, a four piece East London band, who have been on the block coming up to almost a decade. Having read that this band’s the closest this generation will ever get to Iggy Pop, I’m more than just ‘excited’, I’m wetting my pants. A few blurry pictures and some shaky footage on the ol phone later, I’m moving a hip and I’m knocking a head to the grungy garage sonic force that comes from the band. Martin Tomlinson’s provocative pelvic thrusts and his ability to scream like a squeezed cat on speed, is true to the punk-esque theme. It’s real and it’s dirty. However, at some point I’m wondering if he’s jamming over the bluesy punk riffs the band so passionately play… It seems he’s more interested in prancing around, taking off his shirt, putting it back on again, rubbing his nipples and once in a while grabbing a punk at the front and pressing their heads deep into his black lycra crotch. Where are the songs? They seem half written, or not at all and it seems they’re making it up as they go along. If that were true, then yes, that’s pretty punk, but is that really what they’re about? Eventually even bits of the crowed begin to crumble away. And a good forty five minutes later, with the last "song" still ringing in the air, the band hits the back stage, a meek encore is requested, but for Selfish Cunt, it obviously isn’t worth it. The club once again turns alive with clubby 80’s beats to which we’re shaking a naughty foot to. Next up? A little brothel somewhere in the depths of Neukolln, where only on full moon they give their whores a break for some live music and electro tension.
Nina Wagner 2011, Berlin