News, Review and Preview: Old is the New 'New'

Review: Seismograph @ Alte Fleischerei.New venues are sprouting from Berlin's old buildings. Last weekend I was persuaded to escort one of my fellow guides to a new venue, Alte Fleischerei, in a neglected industrial sector of east Berlin. My colleague had filled me with visions of a free party full of people, which was the only reason why we made the trek to Joseph Orlopp Strasse - a road which is only reachable by cab or by foot. After climbing through a building site fence and stumbling down a long, gravel path that had been turned to mud by the rain, we entered the Alte Fleischerei's courtyard. Its walls seemed to glower groggily at the blue light coming from within, like a wino awakened from his stupor by a siren. Indeed, the venue is so new that it seems to be taken by surprise at its new incarnation as a club...

Luckily I am no stranger to derelict adventures, having been well-prepared for them by my years as a squat party chick in London. Two or three rooms in the building had been reanimated with lights, music and a smattering of people. Just like at a squat party, the decor was trippy but minimal and the sound system was inexpertly-tuned but effective. The DJ was even playing some tracks from the old 'acid techno daze', sending me on a detour down memory lane.
While I enjoyed Alte Fleischerei, I did have an issue with its six euro cover charge. For me, the big payoff of going to illegal parties in the middle of nowhere was that I used to pay a fraction of what other clubbers did for a night out. I may be older and wiser now than I was then, but I am definitely not any richer. When I find myself at a squatty venue in the middle of nowhere, I still expect a cheap night out. Alte Fleischerei seems like an underground place and it's in an underground area so I reckon its price should be 'underground' too... and that means cheap!

Preview: Loftus Hall.Finally, we come to the preview section of the 'new-old' clubs entry. A few weeks ago, I saw the address Maybachufer 48 on the Wilden Renate website and I wondered what it was. It was listed as the address for a joint club-night organized by Kleine Reise. Finally last week, the mystery was solved when a new club was opened at the same address: Loftus Hall.

Loftus Hall already gives one the impression of being a well-connected, well-located and well-priced venue, although I haven't been there yet. This Friday and Saturday it will be open but I reckon that Friday's party, All That Glitters will be the most popular. The musical emphasis of All That Glitters is firmly on the sensual, the funky, the funfur and sequin-clad. Heading the line-up is Detroit's Blake Baxter, a producer "with a reputation for producing steamy, deep, whispering tracks". Paulo Chinatown, another DJ who is on the line-up, claims to have lived a "luscious arty bohemian life worldwide". Hot retro in the 'neu' town: that's just what the club scene needs to take the edge off of the summer's end., sort of.
This may be old news to some readers but I have noticed of late, many posters going up around town for a club called ADS. These posters say that the club is on the site of the old Maria but as far as I can tell, the similarities don't end there. ADS is not only at the same location, it also holds the same events, uses the same website and charges the same prices as Maria... actually no: it charges higher prices. Basically ADS is Maria Am Ostbahnhof in everything but name and cost. Didn't Maria's owners tell us last year that Mediaspree had won and that the land that the club stood on was being sold out from under their feet? And didn't they hold about half a dozen tearful farewell parties last spring, each of which reeled in thousands of well meaning clubbers who paid an arm and a leg to have one last dance there?

A news release dated June 24th states that the club founder discovered that he could extend the club's lease shortly after the final closing party date was announced. I seem to recall that this closing party announcement was made about six weeks before the party was held, which means that the owners knew the last party wasn't really going to be the last one for more than a month... and yet they let people go on believing otherwise. Could that be because people were happily paying 15 euros a ticket for the privilege of attending? Perhaps ADS should change its acronym to 'WTF'!


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