So last night we took off on a train to Frankfurt for a night of electronic music. We got to Frankfurt and made out way to Batschapp, the venue of the evening, via S Bahn. As soon as I stepped off the train this German scene girl hands me a beer and we joined a group of others to the show. We ended up making some friends at the show which was pretty cool. The event of the evening; Jagermeister Rock:Liga hosting Shitdisco, Metronomy, and a personal favorite, Crystal Castles. The first, Shitdisco, as their name may suggest, I thought were fairly shitty. Basically a bunch of guys who did not know how to play instruments and let the effects do the work for them. Metronomy, I was pleased to find out, was actually composed of three musicians, which is somewhat rare in the realm of scene electro tunes. They delightfully put on an act consisting of clever instrument combinations and stage theatrics amidst thoughfully programmed beats. Fairly British, girl related lyrics, and 80s sounding and I have a feeling it is probably better live than on recordings. -ok, I just watched some videos and they were fairly lame. Anyways, the highlight of the evening was Crystal Castles. Pretty much chaos in the dark. Ethan had a fairly hefty synth rig and there was a live drummer. Alice, whether jumping about or writhing on the floor, dished out sharp distorted vocals. Despite the deliberate strobe burst and led flashes, I have to say I did not get a clear look at any one of them. Alice did reach out and hold my hand for a little bit during one of the songs, and I was the only one! This made me happy considering my pseudo-crush for the electrothrash Canadian.
After the show we wondered around Frankfurt to pass time till our train departed. We found a park that was infested with rabbits. They were everywhere. This was ironically situated right outside of Frankfurt's sex district which was conveniently nestled in the heart of the financial district. We were looking for food and some Turkish guys ushered us into their restaurant. They were awesome, everyone in the whole place was talking to us and making sure we had anything and everything we needed. Turkish Tea on the house! Our train got delayed about two hours last night and we did not get back to solingen until eight in the morning. The buses were full of kids going to school.
Last week we took a two day trip to Berlin. Mostly the trip was dedicated to Mandie's job interviews but we did manage to do some fun stuff. We found an old post-soviet building, very unkept, that was full of working art studio/galleries. There were lots of painters and collage artist in the building. In one of the rooms I found a recording studio jam packed with synthesizers, drum machines, and all sorts of other equipment. I felt at home and talking to the guy running the place for a while till wondering off to explore further. In the bottom was a bar and a cafe. There was a band from Ireland setting up in the bar. We wondered out back where there is a large outdoor lounge area with all sorts of artist made benches and tables. In the same lot there was a working sculpture studio complete with a labyrinth of bizarre sculptures and people in modified shipping containers welding away. The whole block is pretty much an artist haven with a political/punk overtone, a fascinating place to hang out. It was weird sitting in the back lot, sipping a drink, and thinking, “This used to be Russia.”
We walked through the old US Army International checkpoint. Very touristy spot, but there were fascinating things all around including a section of the original Berlin Wall. It is rather aged and starting to crumble from years of exposure, but at one point in history was a strong symbol of the iron curtain. Wondering around at night we came across a cemetery that contained mass graves from the holocaust. The history is sometimes unsettling, especially when you randomly come across it. In this place there were memorials to a Jewish nursing home which was destroyed and a courtyard with plaques describing how well over a thousand Jews were gathered in the spot to be shipped out to concentration camps. We continued walking around and ended up in what seemed like a middle of nowhere place by the river with lots of trees and randomly came across this little bar/cafe. We stopped for a drink and then continued past the zoo to the Kaiser-Wilhelm- Gedächtniskirche. This is an old church which was heavily damaged as a result from the bombing and warfare during WWII. Instead of rebuilding it like the rest of the city, Berlin decided to leave it standing as a symbol and reminder of the effects of war. Kaiser-Wilhelm- Gedächtniskirche has a ghostly appearance in the city, and up close you can see all the scars from bullets and bombs. It is an emotionally moving sight to take in to say the least. Berlin is full of things like this. All over the city you will find gold bricks in the sidewalk with names of individuals or families that died or went missing in the war. There are also many peace monuments all around the city.
Everyone is back in Solingen now. Fred and Regina are back from Sardinia and we are hanging out here piecing together what should be our future in Berlin. There are some really cool plans in the making. Also, good luck to Anna who is studying for exams!