Berlin Festival 2013

by James Glazebrook

Berlin Festival Tempelhof Sunset

What better way to close out another summer than with Berlin Festival 2013? Perfectly timed to coincide with (probably) the last warm days of the year, the city’s eponymous open-air marked the end of what turned out to be a busy, brilliant festival season in and around Berlin. With the ever-epic former Tempelhof airport transformed into a concrete playground – complete with four stages and an art village – ravers could enjoy all the fun of the festival without the nasty grass stains and toilet complications that come with titting about in the actual outdoors.

Berlin Festival Savages singer Jehnny Beth

We busy bloggers could only manage a couple of fleeting visits to the site, but still managed to see some über-hyped new acts back-to-back with a clutch of absolute legends. The former included Savages, whose track “Flying to Berlin” has already landed them on überlin, and who I still can’t make up my mind about. I’ve yet to decide whether they are the Second Coming, or simply the second coming of Siouxsie and the Banshees – but their undeniably ferocious live show (and well-turned-out all-female line-up) drew a crush of curious would-be-fans to the Pitchfork hangar on Saturday evening.

Berlin Festival crown watching savages

On the same stage a day earlier, Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and his alt-metal supergroup Tomahawk entertained a far smaller crowd, which made up for its lack of numbers with sheer beardiness. The sound was a little shonky in parts, but it’s hard to complain that all you can hear are vocals and drums when they belong to Patton and Helmet/Battles beat machine John Stanier. Flying the freak flag again on Saturday, My Bloody Valentine displayed the sonic force and stock-still stage presence that we love them for. Churning out an impressive wall of sound, they nevertheless left photographers wondering what they were supposed to be capturing, had photography not been banned by Kevin Shields and co.


Over on the main stage, björk at least posted a polite notice requesting that the audience refrain from taking pics. It’s difficult to imagine how flash photography could distract anyone wearing a full head mask covered in hundreds of plastic spines, but we had to agree that this was a show to be experienced, rather than recorded. The last concert of the Biophilia world tour featured a surprising number of hits, sequenced in such a way as to make the more enthusiastic certain sections of the crowd lose more and more of their collective shit (Spotify playlist here). Not to take away from björk and her choir of Icelandic cuties, but it was the splicing of “Hyperballad” to “Freak” by long-time collaborator Mark Bell’s LFO that signalled Game Over for the headbangers we seemed to gather around us. The greatest live experience of my life, at least outside of the magical world of metal.

Berlin Festival Bjork Live singing

And so ended another Berlin Festival, the biggest little festival in the city. Stay tuned to überlin on Facebook and Twitter for updates on next year’s event.

Berlin Festival Tempelhof

Berlin Festival Tempelhof

Berlin Festival Tempelhof Sunset


Lucy and Bron’s Big Berlin Festival Guide

by James Glazebrook

Want to go to a Berlin festival, but don’t know which one? Never fear, because Lucy of Lucy vs. the Globe / Sexpat and the City fame has teamed up with her partner in crime, fellow Aussie “ripper” Bron, to explain which of the festivals in and around Berlin will meet your particular party requirements. Fill a colostomy bag with vodka, pack some toilet rolls, and get your head around Lucy and Bron’s Big Berlin Festival Guide! 

Lucy and Bron do Berlin festivals

MELT! (SOLD OUT) – out of Berlin but not that far.
19 – 21 July

We pretty much classify Melt! as a Berlin festival, even though it is out in Gräfenhainichen, about an hour from the city. The line-up this year is MASSIVE. I don’t care if you do or don’t vibe camping and seeing music – this is a big one. Frankly,  I’m most looking forward to Mt. Kimbie, DIIV, , James Blake, DJ Koze and like a 1000 others. Seriously, the list is like band after band after band that I want to see. Bron and I will be there – come find us, say hi – we can drink cheap vodka and get around terrible festival food! Shit’s JUST sold out, so if you get the feelings for a good bit of camping and disco hit up Craigslist/ebay Kleinanzeigen…

25 – 31 July

This one has special moments written all over it, as the legendary Berlin Atonal festival returns after a 23 year shut-eye. First kicking off in 1982 in then West Berlin, organised by Dimitri Hegemann (Herr. Tresor), this pioneering event will now take place in the suitably dramatic setting of an abandoned power plant, Kraftwerk Berlin. Living up to its legacy of unique performances the 2013 edition will feature the likes of (deep breath)…. techno godfather Juan Atkins alongside Basic Channel’s Moritz von Oswald, John Hassel, Brandt Brauer Frick, Francesco Tristano, Voices from the Lake (Donato Dozzy and Neel), Vladislav Delay, Kanding Ray, Raime, Kassem Mosse, Actress, Vatican Shadow and even more. In short – see something special in a killer setting.

Kraftwerk Berlin

GREENVILLE – out of Berlin but not that far
26 – 28 July

A musical mixed bag with a target audience I can’t quite figure out, Greenville is your least dancey of all these flavours. From Wu-Tang Clan to the Bloodhound Gang (?!), this is one that will keep you guessing for its full three day run. The big draw card for us? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – we just wanna see the great man sing “Into My Arms” and hold a stranger really fucking tightly ’til we cut off their blood circulation. It all happens out at Brandenburg – to be honest, it’s not really our thing… but maybe it’s yours?

DOCKVILLE – out of Berlin but not that far.
16-18 August

I find it slightly difficult to understand all the nuances of this month-long (?) festival in Hamburg, as their info is mostly in Deutsch, which I don’t speak. BUT the black and white is that they are bringing art to an open forum, for artists to come together and contribute to an open air gallery to the masses. Dockville comes to a head on the weekend of 16-18 August with live music, drinks and probably a lot of mud – as shit’s held in a slightly underdeveloped area of Hamburg, which, God only knows, isn’t exactly blessed with the best weather. There are actually HEAPS of really cool acts going to Dockville, like MS MR, T.E.E.D., Crystal Fighters, When Saints Go Machine, and like really – HEAPS MORE. It’s worth the train ride, and a night in a hotel. I mean – who doesn’t like a cheeky weekender?

NATION OF GONDWANA – out of Berlin but not that far.
20 – 21 July

A non-stop house and techno See-side love-in with a strong waft of escapism in the air, this Grünefeld outlier is best suited to those with a bucketload of stamina. Having run since the late 2000s, this part-time paradise has built up quite a following with a slew of regulars returning year after year. The festivities really kick off Saturday afternoon, with headliners usually taking to the main stage around midday Sunday. This smaller scale, mostly Deutsch affair is appealing, with this year’s line-up including Beda, Gerd Janson. Der Dritte Raum (live), Joel Mull, Cari Lekebusch, Alex.Do, Monika Kruse, Dominik Eulberg, Mano Le Tough, Sven Dohse, a lake, swimming, camping, market stalls and 40 hours of a fucking good time.

Nation of Gondwana

AEROPHILIA – out of Berlin but not that far.
2 – 5 August

With its former mining site vastness and sweet beats around a lake vibe, it’s hard to avoid a few Melt! comparisons here. Hell, Aerophilia even has a big old conveyor bridge (11,000 Tonnen Stahl yo!). But what it lacks in Melt!-esque musical variety, Aerophilia promises to make up for in a smaller-scale carefully-selected (mostly) house affair. Berlin label Kallius are inviting a solid list of names to their debut event, with draws including Motor City Drum Ensemble, Amine Edge, Mano le Tough, Move D, Dapayk Solo (live) and Kink (live, and also my favourite Bulgarian!). It’s all very manageable, with a local flavour – and if it really kicks off, you’ve got debut-year bragging rights. Huzzah.

31 August

OK – so the cool thing about Torstrassen, is that it’s so local it’s almost sickening. It’s right around the corner, the tickets are cheap as chips, and you have access to some really cool acts like Iberia, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Millennium Millennium and more popping up all over Mitte.

4 – 8 September

Berlin Music Week is the week in Berlin when it’s like 100% music, and nothing much else. It’s kind of like when Fashion Week happens, and everyone is all of a sudden interested in fashion. This year it seems that the official Music Week activities have pretty much been curated by Melt! which I can’t figure out if I love or hate. But what is cool is that you have all sorts of little loosely-affiliated showcases popping up all over the city, that are running with the Music Week theme, beating to the sound of their own drum. There is literally tonnes going on here – so just pencil it and watch the Internet around this time.

4 – 6 September

OK – so this is literally for everyone because it’s sporting a few things:

  1. 3 days of Scandinavian ONLY music
  2. 3 days of beautiful (Nordic) people
  3. Good vodka.

This one is proudly brought to you by Our / Berlin Vodka and the turtle doves over at Nordic by Nature. Running in conjunction with Berlin Music Week, this will be a nice off-the-beaten-path retreat. No acts are confirmed yet – but what I know? Five acts a day, for three days straight. PURE BLISS.

6 – 7  September

Berlin Festival is the pillar of Music Week, wrapping everything up over the weekend with all sorts of varied acts. To be honest, looking through the list, it’s a kind of weird, but lovely, group. From SOHN to Hoodie Allen to My Bloody Valentine to Pantha du Prince – the acts somehow all make sense, but absolutely don’t, all at the same time. It’s going down at Templehof, so if the weather is banging summer vibes, there won’t be a better place to be. I mean – who actually doesn’t love to consume music at an old abandoned airport?

Berlin Festival

6 – 10 November

This is kind of a long way off, but what you are going to find at BerMuda is four days of alles electronic music with workshop and industry shiz by day, and club takeovers by night. The week culminates in a heavy hitting bash at Flughafen Templehof – Fly Bermuda, with a number of local faves returning year after year to annihilate those airport hangers. This year’s program for both the week and Fly Bermuda are still TBA…. but what you can expect…? Lots of homegrown electronic flavour.

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Björk, DJ Shadow and Tomahawk confirm for Berlin Festival 2013

by James Glazebrook

Oh my shit, the lineup for this year’s Berlin Festival just keeps getting more epic! They’ve just added Björk, DJ Shadow and alt metal übergroup Tomahawk to already confirmed acts like My Bloody Valentine, Blur, Pet Shop Boys, Ellen Allien etc etc etc! This new triumvirate are set to be the real highlights of the festival, as all are amazing live – and here’s the evidence! I can’t believe I’m going to get to see Shad and Tomahawk members Mike Patton and John Stanier again, and Björk for the first time (what have I been doing with my life?!!). Until September, enjoy the ice queen live in Paris, and Patton and co. in-store at Amoeba Records.

To find out more visit the Berlin Festival website. And listen to our highlights of last year’s festival here.

My Bloody Valentine confirmed for Berlin Festival 2013

by James Glazebrook

Berlin Festival 2013 "WOO HOO"

“WOO HOO” indeed. Shoegaze originals My Bloody Valentine have just been added to the line-up for Berlin Festival 2013. This year’s festival is already looking pretty incredible, with British bands Blur and the Pet Shop Boys joined by relative newcomers Savages and Dillon, as well as a huge contingent from Ed Banger Records and local heroes Ellen Allien and Fritz Kalkbrenner, brother of Berlin Calling star Paul. Despite all of that, and the promise of more to come, it’s Kevin Shields and co. we’re most excited about seeing. So check out this rough and raw footage of MBV way back in 1989, and join us on Tempelhof field in September to see the real thing:

To find out more visit the Berlin Festival website. And listen to our highlights of last year’s festival here.

Playlist: Best of the Berlin Festival 2012

by James Glazebrook

Is it too early to get excited about the Berlin Festival? Butbutbut… the line-up this year is actually pretty good! Gone are the Britpop hasbeens of 2011, and in their place are the hottest young indie-dance crossover bands, cutting-edge electronica, and a clutch of homegrown talent. The German scene is well-represented this year, by The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, Digitalism, Raop (Rap + Pop) group Cro, and new blood Frittenbude and Etnik – as well as Berlin’s own Modeselektor, Dumme Jungs, I Heart Sharks and Paul Kalkbrenner.

All of that, plus Little Dragon, Grimes, SBTRKT, Orbital AND MORE will make for some difficult choices, but you will definitely find me front-and-centre when Sigur Rós hit the Tempelhof stage, with tears streaming down my stupid emo face. In order to get you as prematurely excited as I am, I’ve compiled a Spotify Playlist: Best of the Berlin Festival 2012 containing some of the guaranteed highlights. Click to listen or grab the link – and GET YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!

Berlin Festival 2012
7th – 8th September
Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin

YEAH BOYEE! Public Enemy for Berlin Festival

by James Glazebrook

Public EnemyThe Berlin Festival kicks off on Saturday! And PUBLIC ENEMY are playing! I’m so excited about seeing the hip hop legends again (*smugface*) that when I used the Festival’s nifty running order tool to plan the bands I want to see it just spat out: Public Enemy, 1am, Sontag. Of course, I’ll try to see some other acts – oh, you know, like Mogwai, Battles, LFO, Primal Scream doing Screamadelica etc. – but I’m going to make sure I’m good and ready come PE time. You might even see me giving it the one-man-circle-pit like Herr Scott Ian 2:40 into this classic clip. BRING THE NOISE!

This article originally appeared on Bang Bang Berlin.