Schlagwort Archiv: Reeperbahn Festival

Reeperbahn Festival 2018

Reeperbahn Festival 2018

Reeperbahn Festival 2018

The Reeperbahn Festival in my hometown Hamburg is always a spectacular event. Drifting along the Kiez of St. Pauli, checking out various live acts in different venues and meeting lots of wonderful people like my dear colleague and friend Alice Peters-Burns (Kaleidoskop/Offbeat) is simply hard to beat. Although it’s not always easy to take a decision on what to do as the four festival days are more than packed: music-related events in the fields of photo exhibitions, literature and films compete with networking events, meetings, award ceremonies, parties and numerous concerts around the Reeperbahn. Of course, I set a focus on seeing live shows. So, here’s a short summary of what I like to share with you.

Anna Burch

Detroit based singer-songwriter Anna Burch played in a venue next to my beloved radio station ByteFM and surprisingly she changed her bob hair into a simple short cut. With this new look she could’ve easily been mistaken for Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos. Only Anna Burch has a different, rather cool charisma. Besides that, she presented her upbeat dreamy slacker-pop with the elegant upright posture of a dancer and did a good job. Everyone seemed happy when the minor hit-single Tea-Soaked Letter resounded by the end of the show.

Halo Maud

Halo Maud live Reeperbahn Festival 2018 Angies's Night Club HamburgAlors mes amis, the music scene of France got some extra attention during this year’s Reeperbahn Festival with exceptional talents like Halo Maud from Paris. Her debut album Je Suis Une Île is a hazy mixture of proggy French pop and psychedelic. It really makes no difference whether Maud Nadal sings in her native tongue French or switches to English. She clearly found a voice of her own and developed a memorable style. Seeing the band live as a four piece, it was more than easy to get into it. The rhythmic power drew you into the songs while the performance created a pleasantly seamless sound experience. Fact is, the dynamic of a show slows down and people’s attention quickly drift off due to re-tuning or change of equipment, but not here: Halo Maud have put some good thoughts into their live set and kept the energy flowing from start to finish.

Okkervil River

Some other extraordinary venues were added this year to the thirteenth edition of the Reeperbahn Festival, beautiful locations with pretty difficult sound qualities: The show of Okkervil River was set up in Hamburg’s largest main church, the Michel. Up to 2500 listeners fit into this place and the reverb of this huge building is just as overwhelming. Therefore simply too much for electrified music! The band tried to adjust and played a stripped-down version of their songs – nevertheless the sound was awfully blurry. Only when frontman Will Sheff wandered amidst the community, singing unplugged to his battered looking acoustic guitar, my ears were delighted.

Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread

I also expected Michaul Nau to play a cosy acoustic set, as his late-night performance was due in the St. Pauli church – but he and his backing band The Mighty Thread played a pretty solid and straightforward show. Compared to the famous Michel, this neighbourhood church is a modest building. Luckily the reverb here was not as harsh and suited well to the rolling organic vibe of Michael Nau. With his crazy hair and reddish full beard, the songwriter from Maryland had the looks of a classical Russian author of the 19th century. But he’s a contemporary master of profound laidback songs. Not sure if the seated situation worked best that night for Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread, but for me it was ideal sitting down at the end of a long festival day and quietly tapping my foot along to the soulful, meandering melodies.

Liza Anne

Liza Anne live review Reeperbahn Festival 2018 @ PrinzenbarAnother good thing about the Reeperbahn Festival: it works without headliners. Only a special guest was shortly revealed on Friday – the British rock band Muse. While they played music for the masses, the real pleasant surprise happened next door at the Prinzenbar. In this dimly lit, tiny little room in Baroque-style I witnessed Liza Anne, a songwriter from Nashville TN. She got on stage with a pink overall and a red beret. Her three band mates all had work clothes in red. And yes indeed, they were hard workers: they played a tight show with a great energy and really nailed it. I walked home thinking that the future of indie rock is definitely female fronted.

Generally, with up to 600 shows in the mix, there’s a lot to see, but also much to miss out. However, it’s a small comfort knowing the Reeperbahn Festival will be back in 2019. Then, the musical focus is set on Australia – another thing looking forward to!

28th September 2018

Reeperbahn Festival 2017

Mauno live @Kukuun Reeperbahn Festival

Reeperbahn Festival 2017

When the Reeperbahn Festival first started in 2006, I was actually part of the line-up with my band Kajak. And it was quite interesting for us to play, because it was not a common local gig: we played in Angie’s Night Club – a glamorous venue I never set foot in before. And during the show was not a single familiar face in the crowd. For me it felt like playing on a different planet, although my apartment was about 100m down the road.

To be honest: back then I never thought the fairly ambitious concept would work out, trying to establish a hybrid of conference and music shows on an international level, like a German version of everyone’s festival darling SXSW. But obviously, I was wrong! The Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg grew steadily and by now is well known as Europe’s largest club festival. This year’s 12th edition set a spotlight on up-and-coming bands and artists from all over the world, and I was very curious to check some of them out during the four festival days in late September. Here’s what I like to share with you:

Mo Kenney

Canada is currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of its confederation and it was a smart move from the festival to set a focus on to this country, because it has a thriving music scene and lots of interesting acts to offer. Like Mo Kenney for instance: She and her comrades played a pretty tight and catchy power-pop set in the early afternoon. There were feet tapping and heads nodding across the room while Mo Kenney moved through her tunes with a certain easiness – I only wish she played a few more songs!

Mauno

Next up was Mauno (see photo), also a band hailing from Nova Scotia. I set my golden ears on this act in 2015 when they released a batch of very first demo songs via Bandcamp and since that time the Canadian quartet defined a remarkable sound of their own: complex, but with a great sensibility for pop and dynamics. Initial sound problems plagued Mauno’s set as the power supply went off several times. And I’ve seen other bands getting nervous or angry about these kind of technical issues, but not here: Mauno didn’t mind to improvise, it’s part of their music and they handled the situation like experts: “The power’s telling us a lesson” said singer/guitarist Nick Everett at one point. “If you have power, use it wisely” – true words. In the end, they managed to play an elegant set of deconstructing pop with just the right amount of haunting intimacy. Watch out for their new album  “Tuning”, to be released in October.

Superorganism

After this first highlight it was time to hook up with my friend and colleague Alice Peters-Burns. If you’re not already familiar with her, please tune into her radio show Kaleidoskop on ByteFM or Offbeat via NovumFM. As well, she runs a fabulous blog where she features music off the beaten track.

The first thing we witnessed in the eve was a new thing called Superorganism. The word is that this group comprised of eight members from all over the world and is fronted by a 17-year-old Japanese girl from Maine. Smells a bit like the next big thing? Well, Superorganism just got signed to Domino Records and here at the Reeperbahn Festival they were thrown in at the deep end by playing their very first live show in one of the bigger venues in town – and I can report: they didn’t sink, they did a pretty good job! If you’re a fan of infectious electropop tunes, you might love this buzz band Superorganism. Supported by visuals, playback und three punchy background singer/dancer, the show was colorful fun from start to finish.

King Creosote

Alice and I floated on to King Creosote at the Imperial Theater. Here it was more than suitable to sit down in fluffy chairs while listening to the bard of Fife alias King Creosote who apparently, just shaved his head completely bald. Furthermore, his music was stripped down to a solo performance with acoustic guitar and voice only. He played a bunch of honest and wistful folksongs with lovely banter in between – all this worked well for King Creosote.

Jane Weaver

Quite interesting was the response to Jane Weaver’s show late at night: some people grooved along to the music, others just closed their eyes to get lost in it. And both was fine. The elusive songwriter’s been making music for 20 years now and her latest release Modern Kosmology was an ambitious piece of unearthly psyche-pop and futurism. Surrounded on stage by a tight backing band with Kraftwerkian beats and analog sci-fi sounds, Jane Weaver had enough freedom to present her pop gestures in the likes of Kate Bush. It was a performance you don’t see very often these days and I was surprised, the club was not completely packed with people. Hopefully next time.

Marika Hackman

The other night Marika Hackman rocked out with her band on quite a different level: no fancy dress or make-up like Jane Weaver, only basic t-shirts and simple hairstyles. But it fit perfectly to the 90ties inspired American slackersound she played, some of them in the spirit of Nirvana’s softer side. But still, the live sound was heavy enough to move and bob along with the songs, and especially the fan crowed upfront was really into it.

All We Are

Later on, the stage was invaded by All We Are, a trio based in Liverpool. I never really liked their records, but my friends Alice knew better as she met the band before. And indeed: the live sound was filled with energy and catchy hook lines. And I quite enjoyed the fact, that the drummer stood while playing. All We Are delivered top notch festival entertainment, although I left with a feeling that they were trying a little too hard to please everyone.

Aquaserge

Probably the best thing about visiting the Reeperbahn Festival is simply drifting along. All (70+) venues are within walking distance and there’s a lot of great stuff to discover. Of course, the schedule was packed and I missed quite a few acts I badly wanted to see. But as well I popped into unknown shows and made completely new discoveries. Thanks to that I fell in love with a French group named Aquaserge: they were mind-blewing! With five performers dressed in costumes, Aquaserge delivered a hypnotic show with analog keys and (bass-)clarinet. Lots of effect pedals served the psychedelic paradigm and when the polyphonic voices came into the mix, it felt like they’ve found the sixth sense of music. Imagine Stereolab with Tortoise as experimental jazzy shapeshifters, you may get an idea, what Aquaserge is about.

Thank you, #RBF17, for putting on this great discovery and all the other fabulous artists. See next year at #RBF18!