Tuesday, June 27, 2006

They'll Tell All My Friends and They'll Tell All My Enemies Too

I've been wondering how i could explain about the Yeah Yeah Yeah's gig that happened a month ago. I'm not sure that I can really. We arrived and the front bar was empty..except for Karen O on the big screen mounted on the wall. Quickly scampering into the main area of the Postbahnhof we manoevred ourselves into the crowd and all got seperated. My sister ended up right up the front (i just love that her outstretched fingers are in one of Robbie's most amazing photos.

Hearing "Maps" live was a moment when time stood still. The world stopped. Nobody moved. Maybe some people started making out. The mirror ball on stage became still and the light reflecting off the tiny pieces of mirror created a starry landscape inside the venue. It was amazingly beautiful, and i'll never forget it. And im glad they didn't play "Gold Lion" cos I don't like it and they pretty much played all my favourites. Seeing Karen have so much fun onstage was an inspiration, I find it no wonder that this woman is a heroine to so many. Thanks to the effort she makes to put in a special performance plus her warmth towards the crowd, the night really felt like a private party of friends and family. It was amazing to see her in action, giggling and laughing in the microphone and dancing madly to her own songs. YAY KAREN O.

"Sometimes I think that I'm bigger than the sound"

And then we went to 8MM afterwards and the band turned up and it was all a bit surreal. My sister and Karen spent alot of time talking, "I'm just Karen", she said. Outside Nick took a photo of us swilling beer. An evening spent in the company of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, unforgettable, amazing, emotional, sweaty fun.

Karen O has her own personal costume designer. The skeleton suit, the dress she was wearing that night and many others...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Scary, Lonesome and Good.

There are a bundle of reasons that you might instantly like GRIZZLY BEAR:

- the initials of their debut album spells "hop". (Horn of Plenty)

- their myspace page tagline is "yay".

- their amazingly creative drummer is sweet as your favourite sweets...coincidentally his surname is Bear.

The band played West Germany a little while ago, in the middle of an exhibition that was on there of music poster art. Bright, colourdy posters from all your favourite bands adorned every inch of wallspace, and WG was transformed from a dingy doctors office to a bright and colourful er, doctor's office. Seeing their live show was my first experience of the band, and I was incited to go by the cute photo that popped up in the Exberliner, the four members of GRIZZLY BEAR lying in a field of daisies. I guess the line-up has evolved as they were a five piece that night, anyway they seem to be a bunch of extremely talented young musicians.


Unseen in that picture is the member of the band who crouched in the corner totally engrossed in several different instruments.


mini keyboard,


Schoolboy chubby cheeks, rumpled shirt, heartfelt playing. Bless his little heart. He likes Ariel Pink.

the daddy of Warp records, Steve Beckett, said recently in the new issue of the electronic beats magazine:
"Probably the most exciting [release]

is our new band
Grizzly Bear from Brooklyn,
who sound like the Beach Boys being eaten alive by an animal collective."

More about the drummer:

The opposite of the beats he masters, he is softly spoken and polite. He's played since he was really little. He doesnt use floor toms. Sometimes he plays with his hands. (sorry i dont have a shot of that...)


The band are keeping a fun tour diary that is handsomely bejewelled with MP3's. Apparently on their date in Hamburg, the band played an early show to accomodate (crazy german) people who regularly watched a crime show on tv there. The same night Final Fantasy joined the band onstage for some impromptu collabo. Its a fun blog. Read!

GRIZZLY BEAR. Definitely yay.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Well I Just Don't Know Who They Are, Lonely Supertramps or Superstars

About six weeks ago when it was just getting warm (only one extra layer necessary) I ventured out into the night to meet up with Simple Kid. Ciaran McFeely, a native Cork man who escaped to London ten years ago to live in the anonymity of his alter ego: a glam rocker (or something close)..he even had a made up name..which Ciaran would not tell me, no matter how many cheap German beers he had. Damn. He was in a band called the The V Necks, and resurfaced as Simple Kid, yay!

“I guess it’s kind of indie...with noises.”

He was in Berlin at the end of April last to support Erasure. (For some reason I want to say "of all bands" after I say Erasure). "We didn't really hang out much." Ciaran explained. How i discovered Simple Kid was in Berlin supporting Erasure of all bands : whilst wandering around myspace, i delightedly pounced upon a blog entry titled "80s pop sensations, ERASURE!!!!" on one of my sister's friend's pages..Gerry, (though his music page is up and running here.) He was a regular performer at Open Mic Nights in the Garavogue in Sligo that i used to go to all the time, also Ian, both have now got together for a joint effort Snow Collective. So, Gerry and his friends saved up all their pocketmoney to get tickets to the Erasure show in Edinborough, just so that they could see Simple Kid. It had been a long time since I'd heard anything and I was intrigued by his sudden reappearance on the music scene, supporting Erasure.

Anyway, as i approached our chosen spot for the evening, I realised that the only thing i could really bank on recognising about Ciaran was his trucker cap, or a ghettoblaster on his shoulder. This one time I went to see him play in Whelans in Dublin (I too went along that night not to catch the main band, but the Simple Kid opening slot) and after his funny, intrigueing show he happened to pass by and ask, "how do i get up on the balcony?" Well, I didnt know how to get up there..but i at least had that one memory of him...in a dark smoky atmosphere...

Somehow we locked eyes and I found myself sitting down with Ciaran...and his girfriend and his manager. Intimidated? Moi? ...Yes, muchly. I was all in worky work mode. I wasn't prepared to be asked questions about myself..I wanted to be nosy, i wanted to interrogate and pry mercilessly into Simple Kid's artistic depths, shake him by the shoulders and shout "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR SO LONG???!!!" but it ended up being rather more like a cosy catch-up between old neighbours. I wouldn't go so far as to say our connection was akin to that of old bezzies, nonetheless Ciaran is really sound, and im not too bad either so it was easy for us to get along. 3 against 1 and all.

We sat outside Wiener Blut and it was a bit awkward. I just wanted to talk to Ciaran but that wasn't really possible. Plus, it would have been silly to pass up the opportunity, so turning to his manager, who was licking a paprika crisp, i ventured forth and asked about a new album. "In a while", grunted the manager. "Ahahahaha" laughed Simple Kid. "Typical manager speak. Ehh..September." Ok. Album in September! Woohoo! Whats it gonna sound like? I remember the key word of his reply was "pastoral". What does that mean? "ehh...". Well, he explained how much of a pain it was dragging around all this electronic equipment all the time. If he went with the traditional guitar and drums combo, he doesnt really have to explain to whoevers playing with him onstage on the night how to work them. Easy peasy no more dragging around electronic equipment all the time. He had electric drums! Every time he wanted those drums in a show and needed someone else to play them, he'd have to exxxxxplllaaaiiiin. Or else he would just do a show that was like one big drum solo. "Wait - youre a drummer???!!!" Ciaran explained how his parents wouldnt let him take up an instrument unless he did alot of practise. So from the age of about 10, the first three years of his drumming career were fairly rigorous and intense times. He would tuck himself into the smallest armchair he could find, so his arms would be stuck at his sides and he would practise on his knees. "ah, paradiddles" i say, pretending to know something abuot learnng the drums. "Double, triple and quadrouple paradiddles!" Ciaran shot back, his hands disappeared in a blurry motion of knee-drumming. My mind boggled. Suddenly, he got all animated. His London accent started to fade and the colourful rise and fall of his former lifetime in Cork filtered slowly back into his speech. "I remember being really selfish and doing shows where i'd just do big mad drum solos ahahaha!", he regaled. I was a bit sad i never saw one of those shows.

We moved to another pub down the street, sitting ourselves down close to the bar and opposite the fishtank that held a human skeleton. Probably real, knowing Berlin. I asked Ciaran about the cover of his new album. Its going to have a dog on it. When I asked him about it he was completely baffled as to how i was privvy to this smidge of information. "HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DOG ON THE ALBUM COVER?!", he roared completely baffledly. "Eh, you sent around a myspace bulletin asking people to send in photos of their dog for it.." "Oh. Yeh". Anyway, he wouldnt really tell me what it was about. I supposed its going to be a dog, on the cover of the album. Nice. Then i found out that Simple Kid likes to read. Johnathan Safran Foer...and Dan Brown, by mistake sort of. We agreed that Zadie Smith is a ride "quite pretty". The night went on for quite a while. I spent alot of the time trying to persuade him to come back to Berlin to do one of his own gigs. Maybe in West Germany, i proffered. Simple Kid seemed pretty keen on the idea. I hope it actually happens...

i'm excited. Simple Kid II, the new album. Simple Kid: he is elusive (emigrated, changed his name, admitted to periods of spending years alone in his bedroom, wouldnt tell me hardly nothing, even the internets dont reveal much..) and lovely. Go to Simple Kid's Myspace for NEW SONGS and summertime TOUR DATES. Good dog..

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Attack! Attack! Attack!

Oooh, Black Wire are dead sexah.

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on May 21st last they came back to Berlin to play a very hot and sweaty gig in Knaack. People were going a bit mental, dancing like mad and jumping onstage. Dan opened the show by dangling a carrot over the edge of the stage. He wanted to give it away but there were no takers.The three members of this band are so different on stage, its incredibly entertaining to watch them all. Si's brooding, tall frame hulking at the side of the stage as he battled intensely through each song. I had expected Tom to be a live wire but he is so calm and collected. Once or twice he'd approach the microphone to tell us a little story. Like, "Last time we were here, right, this girl threw her bra at me, but I didn't know what to do so I took off my shoe...I think she was offended." Dan is like a cross between Mick Jagger and Jarvis Cocker, bopping around the stage swinging his skinny hips and doing PANTHER GYMNASTICS! No really, I will treasure for a long time the image of him, in his skinny jeans and a sweat soaked tee doing jumping jacks and forward lunges. Sometimes he perched himself on the edge of the stage during the show, and he would be only about a foot away. Though he looked tired and told us so aswell, "just so you know, im going to drop dead right after this show", he had a forcefield around him and it rooted me to the spot, I couldnt dance or take pictures. So, when i wasnt being held captive by the forcefield I was trying to make up for it and dance and take pictures at the same time. It didnt really work and I wasnt the best dancer and my pictures dont really capture any of the magic moments. Except the one when Si grabbed a drum and started banging on it in the middle of a song.

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"Hard to Love" inspired absolute frenzy, 1950s teen-ager style. Two boys rampaged the stage and danced around, breaking through Dan's forcefield to embrace him in a manly rock superstar hug. Black Wire are alot of fun to see, I can't wait til next time. I tried to buy the album yesterday but it was SOLD OUT!.