July 17, 2011

Do you like this?

This is what festivals are about. Leaving a stage to see the sky blazing with light. Dropped bottles and pommes mashing underfoot. Couples publicly intertwined by pillars. The slow walk back to camp feeling wholly content with the universe, surrounded by walking zombies and those still flying, all wearing the same dazed, sloppy smiles.


Day 2, 7:30. After a day in the sun, it was time to drag ourselves away from the lake and actually see some music with the help of a pair of Ghostbusters imposters. First was a boy roaming with his Proton Pack, selling freshly brewed coffee to vanquish all the night’s residual spectres.

Then came Glasgowesgians Dananananakroyd, who peaked with their name. Unperturbed by opening to a small, early crowd, the guitar-heavy, skinny-jeaned sextet – one whose role for the first few minutes seemed limited to rolling around on the floor – threw their bodies about the stage with commendable energy, pogoing, spinning mics and flopping fringes, and playing tight infantile pop-punk with a hardcore kick for the college crowd, none of whom seemed to be in attendance at Melt!

Over at the Gemini stage, New York male/female duo The Hundred In The Hands were like vacuous, wispy Brooklyn loft-dwellers I would’ve been happy for Bill Murray to vacuum up. Both standing behind keyboards, Jason Friedman’s guitar was synthed up, adding dreamy digital chimes over disco beats and Eleanore Everdell’s Lauper-like voice. We left to re-hydrate back at camp.

Day 2, 22:00. We waited for the shuttle bus, holding our tetra “juice” packs, and a guy starts impromptu headspinning on the gravel to a song playing only in his own head.

On board, a round of “Hail to the Busfahrer” caught on, and only the occasional smattering of English could be heard amongst the rowdy German voices. The night was warm and sunburned, body glittered flesh was out on display, though the costumes had dropped off – no more priests, Smurfs or human strawberries amongst the hoodies and hipsters tonight.

Everyone was headed to see The Streets who were rapidly turning the main stage into the festival’s best party.

“When I rap, you go crazy!”

Whether he’s rapping about an ex’s Facebook relationship status or arrogant babes, Englishman Mike Skinner’s fluid lyrics charm with their hubris-free warmth, honesty and wit, carried along by the heavily laden stage’s sweet biting grime beats that make lines like “Support your sister!” neither corny nor forced but a cheer-whipping, booty-bouncing affair that will be sorely missed when the band finishes up at the end of this tour.

Until then though Skinner was playing the perfect party host, standing atop a speaker in his black jeans and tee and dropping the entire main stage to the ground, before choreographing spinning circle pits of frenzied dancers; “Even more than your amazing cars, Germany does the best circle pits in the world. I have observed greatness!”

With tracks like "Weak Become Heroes", "Fit But You Know It’ and "Going Through Hell", the band ensured the last Streets show in Germany was one to remember, bidding farewell as Skinner led “the newly single” bass player “Bluey” Stu Coleman into the crowd for a public pash-a-thon.

Somewhere around 3:00 came Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, looking like a bejewelled Ra atop decks and sending the Gemini Stage into feverish nuttiness.

While at 3:30 on the Bench Mainstage Toronto’s Crystal Castles did their thing, wrapping waves of hostile distortion around fleeting snyth beauty and Alice Glass’ sharp FX-soaked vocals. Lunging, one knee propped on a speaker as if picking a fight with the crowd, Glass bounced around like a nasty speed-addled pixie speaking in scissor tongues, as tracks like "Celestica" and "Alice Practice" set the Skins crowd stomping.

Edbanger-head Busy P’s DJ set took us into the morning sun.  


July 17, 2011

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What I learned from this blog: never send interns to do a writer's job. Perhaps if Exberliner weren't such rampant and disgusting abusers of Berlin's cheap labour market, the magazine might possess some shred of professionalism or credibility.

Jules Montag more than 2 years ago

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