Though the global trend of pride flags did originate in America, it’s not the birthplace of LGBTQ rights – it’s just really good at exporting culture.
The Stonewall Riots occurred on the last weekend of June in 1969 on Christopher Street in New York, catalysing the gay rights movement in the U.S.A. and helping define the Western notion of gay pride. About a decade later, the German-speaking world started celebrating “Christopher Street Day” annually, although there’s no agreement on the date or even the month. Queer activism in Germany predates Stonewall by at least a hundred years, but perhaps the country gets anxious examining its own past, and, well, it’s just easier to look up to America, the international cool kid.
As the world is observing the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, Matmos are celebrating their own 25th as a couple with their new album. The minute-long trailer for Plastic Anniversary shows the electronic music duo dumpster-diving for synthetic source material to sample, culminating in a snippet that resembles 1960s Moog-fiddlers Perry & Kingsley. It doesn’t do much to dispel the notion that Matmos make high-concept novelty music, but in a live setting, seeing the Baltimorean Björk collaborators craft beats using bubble wrap and breast implants should be more than chin-strokingly entertaining.
With typical rock instrumentation, Sons of an Illustrious Father are no less adventurous with their self-described “genre-queer” approach. With a new self-titled single and a creepy cover of The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha”, these fantastic beasts can now be found on tour. In a flash, the bicoastal band can switch from thrash metal to delicate piano, like in “Extraordinary Rendition”, or play it straight, like in “U.S.Gay”, which touches on gun violence, polyamory and the SCUM Manifesto.
Valerie Solanas’ proposal of eliminating the male sex seems like a clear-cut solution to the world’s problems. Nonetheless, Hebbel am Ufer welcomed Berlin performers to create their own “Manifestos for Queer Futures” as part of The Present Is Not Enough. The festival also features international players from the dance and theater world, plus a concert by Light Asylum from Brooklyn. It’s been seven years since the darkwave act released any new music, but founder Shannon Funchess is supposedly working on their second album, and more recently has lent her booming, Nitzer-esque voice to Chris Garneau and ADULT.
On the sunnier side, “the world’s greatest party band” The B-52s are heading to Europe. But it’s bittersweet news for fans here, as the Beefs dropped the bomb that this will be their final tour of the continent. Four decades after their debut record and three since “Love Shack” became a hit, the faded sign at the side of the road is now completely illegible. That’s alright, since they got GPS for their Chrysler, but tin roof? Completely deteriorated. Time to head back up the Atlanta highway.
DonChristian has cited the ATLiens of OutKast as influences, and it makes sense: his production work pulls from a sci-fi-delic sonic palette, laying the groundwork for his laid-back flow and lyrical insight. Featured guests on the Wesleyan alum’s LP include foul-mouthed rapper BbyMutha and operatic hellcat Eartheater, and for his Berlin debut, he’ll be joined by Fragile, the band of Wolfgang Tillmans, whom DonChristian name-checks in the intro to Where There’s Smoke. Feel the heat
Sons of an Illustrious Father Jun 2, 20:00 Bi Nuu, Kreuzberg | Matmos Jun 3, 20:00 HAU1, Kreuzberg | DonChristian & Fragile/Wolfgang Tillmans Jun 16, 20:00 Kantine am Berghain, Friedrichshain | The B-52s Jun 27, 19:30 Columbiahalle, Tempelhof | Light Asylum Jun 29, 22:00 HAU2, Kreuzberg