26.4.14

May I Have Some Mayhem Please?



There are two reasons why I haven't been blogging regularly about Berlin's party scene lately: one good, one bad.  The good reason is that I've been extremely busy plugging away at a book about the rise and fall (and rise again) of London's underground party scene.  I will be publishing that novel in E-book format this spring, with free excerpts and a special price for all Unscene Berlin readers.  Stay posted for updates!

The 'bad' reason is that, to be honest, nothing much has changed in Berlin's party scene in a-g-e-s.  There are still tons of parties in Berlin every weekend, and they are still as cheap and liberal as ever, but the sound hasn't changed.  The DJ's haven't changed.  The venues and party names haven't really changed very much either.  Thrill-seeking novelty-junkies like myself are hard-pressed to find a fix in this town, these days.  

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a bit of consistency, but when it's across-the-board, the mind goes slightly numb.  Berlin's club scene has been described as 'socialist' and 'egalitarian' by the likes of Guardian and DW... but as I'm reminded while I scan the countless listings for identikit clubs playing identikit tech house sounds 10 years out of date, socialism was an epic phail when it came to creativity. 

Sorry, but it's true.   

But it's possible that all that will change during the massive MayDay party weekend:

As black-clad renegades will descend on the city, their nude, tattooed, openair loving counterparts will flood the streets.  Then they'll all join hands and attempt to break through the 'wall' that still exists in the party scene's 'mind' - drilling it with repetitive beats, scaling it on spikes of noise, teleporting through via intuitive technologies.  That wall doesn't stand a chance.  

Contort May 1st at Urban Spree (Revaler Strasse 99 near Warshauer Bruecke).  A night that features techno DJs playing... um, anything but techno.  There will be tape mixing, there will be expat weirdos, and one of the DJ bios reads, "flower order ethics welcome sonic paranoia, flirting with borderline gothic and harsh industrial, her sets pry open the doors of techno’s secret chambers, conjuring up smoky, hypnotic images of endless nights spent in daze."  If she doesn't make it as a DJ, may I suggest a career in writing prose? 

Sameheads' open air in Neukolln on May 1st will surely offer up something novel, but they've not announced any lineup yet. However, this is the same place that brings us regular dark, noisy edgy nights with the likes of Noisekolln and Black Black Gold.  

Zurück Zu den Wurzeln climbs the riot barricades on May the 1st with  
Wurzelcrew steigt auf die Barrikade at an as yet undisclosed location.  You can follow the event updates here.  This event will be high on the 'naked' and low on the 'aggression', judging by its photo!  

A genuinely new phenomenon is that MIKZ openair garden, at Revaler Strasse 99.  It's open pretty much every weekend and on May 3rd, they will host a Music&Art open air featuring live art, burlesque, a 'wundergarten' and plenty of tripsters covered in grass stains, twigs, daisy chains and other found accessories.  

Gegen does it's 'Light' party at Kitkat club on May 2nd.  I'm curious to see how a night that's popular with black clad experimental dance fans, in an underground sex club with black walls, will manage to incorporate the theme of light.  Maybe they're referring to all the black lights and the fluro decor?   Guess I'll have to drop in and see...

Friday May 2nd Raumklang (Libauer Strasse 1, Friedrichshain) presents Incanabula, 'a night for techno, noise, industrial, drone, ancestral music' that seeks to answer the modest question, "What is the human race?".  So that won't be intense, will it?  Check some of their sounds out in advance here.
Talking Machines at Mindpirates (Schlesische Strasse 38) on May 3rd features some burning Dallas Acid followed by cool, soothing and clever DJ beats for a fiver. MP is a gorgeous venue that has turned its back alley, hole in the wall location into a secret garden of light and sound.  

On May 3rd, Subland (Wiesenweg 5) opens up a Cryptic Dimension in its dance crypt, with two rooms of 'neurofunk, techstep & technoid dnb' and dark psy.   Promo video is located here

Fans of more "mildstyle" drum n bass and techno could head to Rosis (Revaler Strasse 29, near Ostkreuz).  

Griessmuehle (Sonnenallee 221) begins its 2-day opening party, Box of Kittens, on May 3rd, from nine a.m. (??) to midnight.  "Under the swaying trees and a gentle breeze, come join us for a relaxed morning, afternoon, and evening" says the blurb, and it's pretty accurate.  A very chilled comedown playground by the canal.

And I almost forgot to mention the SP23 party on May 3rd!  It's only the most important date on the underground calendar this month - aside from featuring Spiral Tribe DJ's, it is also a benefit for the wagenburg in Kreuzberg.  Wagon communities like Wagenburg are probably the only remaining legal, low cost, DIY lifestyle option in Berlin, and probably the continent.  Be sure to dig deep into those pockets and support them, as well as the SP23 crew, this coming Saturday.


For a central, May Day experience where every party merges together into a roiling sea of store-bought, plastic-scented 'underground' cool, try Wiener Strasse and Gorli Park.  Here are the pictures from last year's event.  Pic Nic is one of the many parties that you'll look for but never really find, being indiscernible from anything else there... but if you do, then their lineup sounds the least predictable out of the whole shunkel-muzik shebang.  Oh and a final tip for Mayday: avoid anything with words like 'Groovy' 'Funky' 'Freaky' 'Glitter' 'rainbow' or 'disko' in the name!

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Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, streetart, left-wing activism, social media trends and green issues. Other publications that I have written for include: Urban Challenger Blog, Siegesaeule, Shlur, Alternative Berlin, Sensanostra.