Have you ever seen a global superstar in concert before they were known? This might be your lucky month.
Stories about the first time a now successful musician came into town are usually steeped in myth and met with awe. “So and so played such a small venue with only 30 people in the audience? You’re so lucky that you had the chance to attend!” The person telling the story most likely doesn’t remember the gig at all because they were having a smoke outside or chatting at the bar, waiting for the main act to get on stage. Before Adele became an international icon, the boys of Karrera Klub organised her first Berlin gig at raggedy Rosi’s of all places. David Bowie played his first Berlin show at the now demolished Deutschlandhalle in April 1976. In our interview, former Kitty-Yo label boss Patrick Wagner mentions Nirvana’s sold-out Berlin gig at Loft in 1991, but almost no one remembers their 1989 support show at Ecstasy, a club that has been rebranded as Havanna, the salsa and merengue venue. If you weren’t fortunate enough to be around for any of those Berlin premieres, you now have the chance. This month’s picks presents you with myriad first-timers that just may become tomorrow’s legends.
Let’s start with the most popular of the bunch: Hollywood Vampires. Born out of a nostalgic Schnapsidee to honour the eponymous bar, the supergroup, comprising actor Johnny Depp, glam rocker Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s masterfully coiffed lead guitarist Joe Perry, celebrate their first Berlin appearance with a gig at Zitadelle Spandau. This could potentially turn into a cringe-worthy showcase of rock ‘n’ roll clichés, but what the heck, when will you ever see Captain Jack Sparrow rocking a guitar again?
Hailing from Brooklyn, Yaeji (photo) appeared on the scene last year with two dreamy house-enthused EPs. Even though her songs “New York 93” or her infinitely catchy “Raingurl” gathered millions of clicks, she’s still on the up-and-coming side, giving her debut Berlin performance at Prince Charles.
Javiera Mena, on the other hand, has been around for almost two decades. As one of Chile’s first openly lesbian singers, she’s known to address sexism and discrimination with catchy electro-pop songs and surreal videos tinged in retro computer graphics. Intimate venue Bi Nuu will give you a chance to see the South American superstar close up, playing songs off her new fourth album Espejo.
LA-based violinist and vocalist Brittney Denise Parks aka Sudan Archives presents densely percussive R&B inspired by North African folk music as heard on her self-titled 2017 debut EP and the Sink EP released this May. This month Sudan Archives debuts her new tracks on stage at Yaam.
Technically most members of Loma have already played their first gigs in Berlin: Jonathan Maeiurg as the singer of indie rock formation Shearwater; Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski belong to folk outfit Cross Record. However, under the guise of Loma, a beautiful slowcore amalgam of the two projects, they released their self-titled debut album just this year, which they will premiere to a Berlin live audience at Musik & Frieden. So, who do you plan to see first this month?
Hollywood Vampires Jun 4, 19:00 Zitadelle Spandau, Spandau
Yaeji Jun 6, 21:00 Prince Charles, Kreuzberg
Javiera Mena Jun 8, 21:00 Bi Nuu, Kreuzberg
Sudan Archives Jun 13, 20:00 Yaam, Kreuzberg
Loma Jun 18, 20:30 Musik & Frieden, Kreuzberg