Review: Wedding Present, An Indoor Festival

My friend Anna and I were tired when we arrived at Wedding Present last Saturday. I was only there to see an old housemate who was doing projections for Pequeno Club  and Anna only came with me because I'd told her it was going to be a chilled night. 


It's safe to say that the chaotic, dance-fuelled scenes that ensued were a wake-up call for both of us.  And an unexpected one, because the online flyer from Pequeno Club had only listed a short line-up for a one-room party.  What they neglected to mention was that there would be about a dozen other rooms open at the manic indoor festival.

Anna and I were apparently the only two people there who hadn't been anticipating this night for, like, ever.  Older techno-heads had come out of retirement  and younger partiers from trendy spots all over the city all converged on the club along with the usual hipsters, hippies, minimalists and tourists.  Their collective yearning for a big night out transformed the well-equipped stage of Brunnen 70 into a theatre of the absurd in which all our party fantasies were realized.

Wedding Present's organizers had clearly cast their net far & wide within the party community for this night and the diver crowd was reeled in by the finest of DJ bait. 
Like Empro, who got me dancing when he took the decks in the mis-named 'Minimal Techno' room.  It was mis-named because the DJs had dispensed with all the minimal frills (a contradiction in terms?) to focus on building a geometric soundscape of high-hats and snares; an uptempo bass rhythm rumbled through each set it like an oil drum going downhill in a cave.  The style and pace were up to speed with Mbia on a Friday night but the crowd was prolet-free (prolet: a variety German chav).

Before long Spanish crutsties and German ravers were dancing on couches, tables and a wrecked car in the corner (the dancefloor was packed after all) while their young counterparts waved their hands to the sporadic flights from the whimsical strings that punctuated the set. Up next were two heroes of Berlin's old free party scene, Anarki & OMX.  Their music went deeper on the bass register, sustaining the dark troughs from Empro's set for several more hours.  The duo were also polite enough to look after my bag and listen to my blathering about great German techno, which was much appreciated (thanks for pretending to understand what I was saying).

Anna's reaction to Wedding Present
Meanwhile in the room next door, Pequeno's crew was busy subverting the standard minimal formula with off-key glitches and analogue quirks. High-res visuals by my former housemate Gaelle painted one wall of the room with serene landscapes, that had been brightened and distorted to the point of hyperreality. They were overlaid by dancing silhouettes of fanciful computer-generated figures, as well as shadows from real, live figures on the dancefloor. Later on, the second room’s sound changed into more glamourous house music that I could not fault, thanks to its perfectly-tuned sound. From out of nowhere, well-dressed dancers materialized and replaced the intellectual minimal fans, parading vainly on the dance floor. Their antics were a tad melodramatic but it made for very entertaining viewing.  (Yet another reason why I don't own a TV: Berlin clubs)

Further away was the Polar Bar, a cooler, whiter oasis where DJs played tech house for a constantly-shifting crowd, recovering some of its hipster poise after the heady mayhem outside. Beyond that  was the theatre room, which was packed whenever I passed through it.  A raucous cabaret audience sang along to drag queens and disco kings, Bearpit Karaoke-style.

While my musical tastes sit (stand, run, skip, jump up and down) at the harder end of the music spectrum I couldn’t pass through any of these rooms without stopping to sample them, buffet-style.  My appetite is seriously whetted for the next Wedding Present!


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