Friday night I found myself stumbling into a magical island of music, theatre, poetry and avant-garde, an enchanted castle full of secret doors to other worlds and probably where all time travelers met for a song or two.
Dear Reader, who doesn’t like a refined festival or the right tracks to the beat? Last Friday night I found myself stumbling into a magical island of music, theatre, poetry and avant-garde, an enchanted castle full of secret doors to other worlds and probably where all time travelers met for a song or two. I’m talking about the Pop-Kultur festival at the Kulturbrauerei, but first things first…
My extended family has been on a spontaneous road trip to Berlin and of course, facing all facets of adulthood, I managed to host and entertain my loved ones in a very cosmopolitan matter. Mentioning here, the apartment—a forty square meters condo, with the tiniest bathroom able to envision—was stuffed, with five humans and two dogs, sneak-ing around for four days. The air was certainly interesting, but we managed to survive the piles of laundry or shoes and even entertain another guest.
Friday the spectacle had reached its unforgettable moment: the excursion to the Pop-Kultur festival and our night out, packed with summer vibes and even more artistic ex- and impressions. Starting with the Lounge and beers at the Soda Terrace, following „The Black Haired Bomb“, an art installation by Moshtari Hilal, which made me reprogramming my image of traditional families. Hilal’s illustrations are an homage to all versions of families, while it plays with the clash of patriarchy vs. matriarchy, in a humorous way.
The first gig—a hip-hop newcomer collaboration by Lwansta and Robert Koch—has enrolled itself as the perfect warm-up for the night, followed by a personal highlight and the political statement of Andrra—singer and composer from Kosovo—facing all aspects of immigration and the loss of national identities. She left me deeply touched and hooked for more. Her voice combined the theatrical spectrum of the violins and the piano, paired with emotional lyrics, sung in her mother language. Almost crying over this beauty and sadness, hidden in every piece of four ten minutes long compositions at the Palais, we changed venues and had time to reflect the artists message.
I went to Germany, oh flower I went to bear fruit That old house of ours, oh flower was about to be ruined.
A perfect change of mood, came with the indie-rock band Deerhoof, which some might know from the Coachella in 2006. Combining sign language, glam rock and the wittiness of front woman Satomi Matsuzaki with asynchronous punk beats and a heavenly played solo by guitarist Ed Rodriguez, they fired up the Kesselhaus, but left room for more. We stopped recording for a trip to the Tracks lounge, playing ping-pong and in my case, a bath in a ball pit watching Arte documentaries featuring David Bowie, Eminem and other highly intelligent artists on screen, before we finally got some more eargasms.
An unexpected left turn took us into the Palais again and spoiled us with exceptional avant-garde visuals and a voice to die for: Okzharp and Manthe Ribane, burned the house down with a trip into the universe and pop beats, enriched by elements of her South African heritage and her excellent dance performance on stage. Not to mention Ribane’s personal story, hidden behind black and white patterns and flashy stage lights, which became visible towards the end of her show.
A quick chat with two Audrey Hepburn lookalikes and we decided to continue the journey through time and space, as we stepped into another art piece and its epic last accords of an four hour long political music installation and play called „Picture me different“ by Janto Djassi at the Rambazamba Probebühne. I managed to schedule an interview with the artist, before we headed deep into the slowly changing venue.
Unfortunately a bit under the radar fell the stage presence of Synté and her band—another artists of this years newcomers—who was singing at the Soda Salon. She had just started a song about her dog Venus—a solidly done pop song and vocal highlight—mixing and blending bluesy retro vibes with this french je ne sais quoi.
Usually I end my articles here, but the night wasn’t over yet, we’d just gotten into a certain drive. In the end we’ve been on five other venue, following intuitively the alternative line-up, into the SodaClub or the FrannzSalon, where the last twenty minutes of a rock concert by Oum Shatt, almost beamed me away completely. Oriental inspired nuances and the relaxed surferrock base line, left me hungry for more of them and their sensual performance. The audience was left steaming.
The rest of the club didn’t much impress me otherwise—even thou the residents started with solid old-school hip-hop, as we entered the dance-floor-meets-Prenzelberger-cafè staging. But the view on the dance floor did: a private dance with a paraplegic guy and the human incarnation of grunge. The accessibility of the entire festival was ensured for every individual and displays Berlin’s diversity at its best.
Although we skipped the notorious night clubbing and headed downtown instead, for a sightseeing tour, we had a lot more to see. Crossing various influencers taking selfies and four girls dress in head-to-toe-white. Last but not least, a devilish vintage car came across and the night ended in private, without selfies. △