“Celebrate the irony” – Stop.Spot! Festival, Daniel Higgs tonight

” Let’s dance to Joy Division and celebrate the irony,
Everything is going wrong but we’re so happy.”
The Wombats

I had a nice last weekend. Elektronisch Rocken was fun, I danced more than on the last twenty parties I had been to and was still a bit hungover when I got on the train to Linz on the next afternoon. I listened to the last Harry Potter audiobook for hours while letting my eyes rest on the landscape flashing by outside. It feels so good to drift off into some other dimension for a while like this.
For the misanthrope in me it was nice to find a new stereotype of human beings to hate: the intellectual looking ca. 50 years old woman solving Sudoku games with a passion and sometimes looking around herself with an half hippie / half dumb christian holier-than-thou look of ‘I tolerate everything in this world.’ Thanks, I don’t want to be tolerated. Had one of those in my compartment in both directions.
In Linz I walked to the venue. It wasn’t too far and I felt like seeing at least a little bit of the town. The OK turned out to be a huge arts centre and the Stop.Spot festival took place on the second floor. There were two rooms with installations and two show rooms and a spacious bar room with the dj desk I was to enter late in the night and a chill room. It was good to hang out with the Linz posse again, Andi and Judith (thanks for giving me such a nice accomodation), Washer and Doris and Cherry Sunkist, and of course Anatol, whom I’ve known the longest of them all but sadly didn’t have much time to talk to as he was one of the promoters and was pretty busy. I didn’t watch all the acts, that would have been too much.

Sadly I wasn’t able to watch Daniel Higgs of Lungfish fame as the room was so crowded and hot when he played that I couldn’t even get in far enough to see him. Tonight he’ll play at the K4 and I’m pretty excited about it.

The first act I watched was a project with Washer called Guy Bored. It was improvised noisy electronics with harsh broken beats and cool Korg synth action. There was a part that had a sample of a kid’s voice reciting from ‘The Society Of Spectacle‘, that was a cool idea too. (BTW if you feel like reading it and think buying it would be against the idea of Situationism or whatever, you can read it online here.)
Guy Bored was the only act I took pictures of as later I was too lazy. Here you go:

Then I watched Allroh who first really caught my breath with a noisy guitar attack and her intense vocals. Imagine a mixture of Marnie Stern and Get Hustle impersonated in a Sissy ‘Carrie’ Spacek presence that keeps you in a tension as if at any moment a bucket of blood could crash down. Sadly a few songs later it drifted towards what reminded me of esoteric folk. But she is definitely an exceptional musician.

“Elfen-Lidell”, “Pixie-Lidell” is what someone used to describe Midaircondo and it hit the nail with their first song: Two elf-like young girls sitting on chairs, samplers on their lap and beatboxing and singing and giggling and sampling their voices backwards and cut up and into weird delays. An awesome first track that had enough self-distancing irony to keep me from putting them into some artsycutesy drawer. The following songs sadly didn’t keep that up. They have my respect for doing what they do rather perfectly (despite the visuals) and for integrating so many instruments and devices, from saxophon to laptop, from melodica to sampler … well, maybe there were some parts that were too triphop/lounge jazzy for my taste (listen to “Sorry” on their profile to get what I mean). If they had kept that self-ironic feel up it might have been great.

The last band I watched was Shit And Shine, a project of Craig Clouse (Todd, Hammerhead (AmRep)): their concept is playing one riff and one beat with several drummers (in this case three drummers, including Valina’s and Bulbul’s) in a mindblasting loudness and intensity for 35 minutes or until someone turns the electricity off. Well, it was intense. I liked it for ten or fifteen minutes. Then I was too exhausted.
It was pretty hot everywhere and the air was close and sticky and it was late and I was tired when I started my dj and live set parallel to there show. I was glad that some people started dancing and then even more and that woke me up for sure. We kept it going till half past five in the morning.

Crossreading my review I’m afraid it sounds a bit too negative. I guess sometimes it’s just easier to depict the points you don’t like about something. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing those acts and must say I found each of them pretty inspiring. They hit a spot. Each of them.

What also got stuck on my mind: I read an article in the KAPUzine about taking over an advertising pillar by building a huge wooden wall around it and putting up posters of open culture events on it. The press was informed and invited. I don’t know though what the results were. It has reminded me of how pathetically unresistant we let it happen in Nuremberg that non-profit promoters (who don’t have the money to pay huge sums to Stadtreklame or CBF) have no place left to advertise for their shows, parties and other events in public. One step more on the way to disencourage people from doing things themselves, from being an active part of their culture.

“No light” – E Rocken, Stop.Spot!, Antelope

“No light, no people, no speak, no people …
Everything’s coming to a grinding halt”
The Cure

The sadness comes in waves.

When someone we know dies we expect the world to stop for a while. Like turning the sound down and moving at slo mo if at all. It seems almost obscene and cruelly ignorant how the world doesn’t care. We should scream and shout and stomp our feet till the dust rises as smoke signals to the world. But we don’t. We go on.

Tonight Elektronisch Rocken celebrate their 2nd year of partying. They are one of the most dedicated parties in town. You know: Being not just about spinning some tunes to the kids for fun but about having a real passion for what they are doing. And they are damned good at it too. You can almost see the electricity in the air when Paluka and Jool tweak the mixing console as if four hands wouldn’t be enough to squeeze the last drop of energy out of the speakers into the bouncing crowd. The unique style of their self-made flyers and decoration, and that they organise their parties themselves results in a thoroughly fun and friendly atmosphere. You think I’m biased cause we’re friends? Go find out yourself tonight and you’ll see I don’t have to exaggerate at all. A second anniversary is reason enough to big them rave princes up like this. Rave on!

Tomorrow I’ll be playing at the Stop.Spot! Festival (OK, Linz, Austria). The main promoters being Anatol (Valina) and Andreas (Washer). It’s not just another festival but it’s a conceptual one, the subject being “Music rules the rules of music”. It deals with and showcases the laws within music and how music is embedded in social and economical systems. There’ll be lots of live music but also lectures and art installations. I’m really curious about it and a bit jealous cause Linz seems such a great scene for an artsy intellectual yet fun approach to music. Infos about the line up and all are here: www.stopspot.servus.at and www.myspace.com/stopspot

What I hadn’t mentioned yet: The Antelope show was really good. Very Dischord. Rhythm. Melancholy. Sparseness. Songs stripped down to the essence. Moaned vocals, driving basslines, flittering guitar.

Yesterday I made a basic site for the Endzeit Festival. I’m not superhappy with it but the information is there and it’s my first effort with those tricky css and php things.

R.I.P. Julian Ruppert

R.I.P. Julian Ruppert

“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
A. Camus

julian R.I.P. Julian Ruppert

Some of us can’t. I wish I would have taken some time to get to know you better. I wish I could ease the pain of your closest friends and family. Suicide, although our greatest freedom, is the worst kind of death for those who are left behind. Hope you stick together, talk a lot, share the memories. My thoughts are with you and if there’s anything I can do let me know. Wish I wouldn’t have felt so helpless last night, wish I could have consoled you a bit, wish I could have found more words and the ‘right’ words.

“The faint at heart and weak minded” – Sixtoo, Ghislain Poirier, Drowning Dog

“This is the party and everybody’s invited,
especially the faint at heart and weak minded.”

I haven’t written about the night with Sixtoo and Ghislain Poirier and Drowning Dog yet. For me it was the highlight of the last week, musically and the vibe of the whole night.

Drowning Dog played first and I liked her rapping and voice a lot but the beats weren’t that exciting. She spat politics-laden lyrics backed up with a dia show visualising the subjects.

After that Ghislain Poirier entered the stage with his drummer the name of whom I sadly forgot. I loved it. I had expected his set to be a bit breaksier and faster but the live drums added so much energy that I soon forgot about any expectations. Loved those deep synth breaks, too. And Ghislain’s t-shirt. And the way the drummer seemed to settle himself anew on his seat before each track as if he was up to play the next highest level in some game.

I really wondered if Sixtoo could top this off with an even more thrilling set. The first couple of tracks it seemed like he would, especially with his rapping which always adds to a live show but the set didn’t keep up the tension. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it. It just didn’t build up to some higher peak but rather went on in a linear way. Abstract stuff mixed with straight on hiphop beats, dramaturgically cool use of stutter-cut-up bits, ach – it was great. His sampler action was nice to watch. I like it when electronic acts don’t just stand there but move and get involved.
All of them seemed perfectly nice guys too. A great night. Could have been a few more people showing up but those who were there made a hell of a show off it. Thanks to everybody involved.

I put up some pictures of the night at www.evemassacre.org and you can see more and a review in german on the Unterdruck site and on www.weaponshouse.com you can read Sixtoo’s tour blog. (The picture of the crowd above is stolen from there.)

“Ian McKaye never meant anything to me” – Scream Club, J. Richman and more ranting

“Ian McKaye never meant anything to me”
Los Campesinos!, The International Tweexcore Underground
I love this song, watch it here.

We, the Ladyfest nbg posse, were sure that at least 40 people would turn up for this show. That didn’t happen. So the Ladyfest grrls are in debts again. Donations welcome, just get in touch. It’s frustrating.
Due to trains being down in France and Germany Scream Club were lucky to find two french girls to drive them from Lyon to Nuremberg by car on that day but still arrived a bit late. Martina djed before the show but there weren’t enough people to get anybody starting to dance. Scream Club were fun. Their show is so nicely balanced between trash and irony and being seriously good. Great costumes, trashy electro hiphop music, lyrics ranging from queer parties/love/politics. Somehow these two girls manage to sooth all the worries away for a little while and make you believe in the good of life again. You can find some more pictures of the show on www.evemassacre.org in the pictures section.

I’m such a shitty photographer that although I took at least 15 snaps this is the only halfway recognisable picture I took of Jonathan Richman. He played at the K4 last Monday. Him and his drummer, Tommy Larkins. Since we have the smoking ban at the K4 I can judge the quality of a show by how long it captures my attention before the urge to go for a smoke wins. Mr. Richman got me for almost an hour which is pretty long. He didn’t play the greatest hit after greatest hit set and didn’t tell stories between the songs which I somehow had expected him to. Instead he played very free, stumbling artistically from one song into another and back, from time to time twirling his guitar with a charmingly boyish smile. An hour after he had ended he came back onto stage to play some more because some guest had talked him into it. Our soundguy had already put away the monitors and the mics and all so Mr. Richman simply played a totally acoustic set. How nice.

* _ *

On with the ranting. I said that I hate to hear people say “I never would pay more than 5 or 8 Euro for a show”. I think that this spirit is killing a certain type of underground culture. Shows have to become a little more expensive, it’s just a logical step as everything else has gotten more expensive too. Touring vans need gas, bands need to eat, and I even think it shouldn’t just be about the expenses they have on tour: Just cause I’ve decided to get little to no money for putting up a show doesn’t mean that I should automatically expect artists to be touring in their spare time and be happy with expenses or less. Of course I’m against paying unrealistically high guarantee fees but there are dedicated artists out there for whom I happily contribute a little money so they have the freedom to spend more time working on their awesome music instead of having to get the third badly paid shitjob to stay alive. I’m willing to contribute to this up to a certain level cause I think music is precious. D.I.Y. punk ethics often make me feel as if they accept music only as a vehicle for messages or for an entertainment factor that helps keeping a community together. That’s not enough for me. ‘More than music’ doesn’t have to mean you care about ‘anything but the musician’.
Of course creativity can’t really be measured in money and it would be cool if music wasn’t turned into a commodity but as we live in a society in which survival is based on money it’s only fair to pay more than plain cost coverage for music. I don’t feel good when I can’t give a band more than their expenses. It feels wrong. It feels like I don’t appreciate what they do while I know that music is one of my basic needs in life. And I don’t want this money to come from sponsors. I want this money to come from people paying for it because they appreciate and want it just as commonly as they pay for their drinks or for their cigarettes or for their sneakers or their gasoline. I like to believe that there still is a niche for putting up shows and celebrating parties that don’t follow mainstreaming rules of “how do I attract as many people as possible” but the rules of attraction by creativity or arty excellence or simple silly ideas.
I hate the ever increasing role of money. I’ve always been ready for compromises and never had the illusion that a real d.i.y. island outside of capitalist structures could work autonomously but these days the gap between commercial indie culture and d.i.y. punk ethics seems to grow bigger and bigger and the web of careful fair compromises I’ve always tried to spin across that gap seems more fragile than ever. No, wait, that’s wrong. A gap would suggest some kind of dualism, an either/or. That dualism is what is no longer there. The smallest d.i.y. promoter uses the same means as the biggest concert hall in town. The least known band gets a booking agency and joins the GEMA/ASCAP/BMIetc while it still plays the smalles d.i.y places. The biggest booking agencies makes fair percentage deals. There is no either/or anymore. Everything is so intertwined that it’s getting more and more complicated to make decisions that you yourself can tag as ‘fair’.
It’s crazy how much the whole booking and live music industry has grown since I’ve started playing my tiny part in putting up shows. It’s such an overdose of bands out there, most of them epigonic and exchangeable and boring but as long as people are satisfied with that instead of taking the ‘hit or miss’ risk to pay for a show of a band that they don’t know what to expect from cause they’ve not been written about to death by nme or pitchfork or intro this part of the scene will grow and grow and might suffocate those few bands that try a different approach, those few bands that still are in it for an existential urge to create music and not for the hope of becoming the next big thing.

Ha, pathos is my middle name, isn’t it? I know this rant doesn’t go anywhere useful but it feels good to get some thoughts off my chest. It would be nice to hear other people’s thoughts about it too.
Oh, and before I forget about it, let me share a part of an interview with Achim Bergman, the guy behind the Trikont label, that was on Telepolis yesterday, read it here. This year Trikont has become 33 years and it always has been the niche label par excellence, and has released truly awesome compilations with no subject being too odd for them. It’s an interesting article and among many other things it has Bergman complaining about an omnipresent neutralisation of subjectivity and instead the rise of the reduction of meaning to a relationship of capital. It’s a readworthy article, I think. Happy birthday, Trikont.

“Bringing me down” – a lil’ promoter rant

“Like a rat in a cage
Pulling minimum wage
Nuremberg, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down”
LCD SS or summink

I’m a bit angry at myself for being down. I could blame it on the weather turning cold and grey so quickly, or I could blame it on my period, but that’s not it, although I usually get more of a postmenstrual depression than a premenstrual one. Too much information? Sorry. Well, that’s not the subject anyway, no, at the moment I’m culturally depressed.

I still try to believe that if you put up a show or a party it doesn’t have to be 80% about promotion and trying to convince people that your shows and parties are the best ever, about forcefeeding it to them. I hate having to have discussions about the ‘wheres’ and ‘ifs’ of putting up posters and spreading flyers in our and other venues. Especially if two days later friends of mine get abused yet again by club stereo security staff for politely asking if they could put some flyers there. I also hate hearing about other venues working their connections to get more ways of promotion cause it makes me feel like ‘OMG we have to do something to get more attention too elso no one will come to our shows anymore’. Tsk, as if. Should we really have to pay money to get a show ‘presentation’ on the radio? Or is the other option better: banners and promo people of a radio station hunting down our guests at a concert? Promotion sucks. I wish it would cool down again to informing people. I don’t want to feel like having to sell something to them. I want to be a promoter no advertising agency.

I also hate being forced into competition. The Musikverein, the concert group I work for, is neither a commercial venue nor a municipal institution. I’m in this for a passion about music and creativity and about working in a community of likeminded and openminded people. I’m willing to work my ass off for that but I’m not willing to prostitute myself. Sadly sometimes it starts feeling like you need to.

Should it really be about having the best connections if you want to get your shit into a paper? Shouldn’t it rather be about the artists? About journalists being happy that exciting artists come to town and not about ‘oh yes, I owe this promoter something so I’ll plug his event’? Guestlists and promo copies and advertising killed music journalism. I’ll sign that in blood. Music journalists lost any sense for the value of music, for the fun of discovering new and interesting artists instead of lazily leaning back on staples of half-listened promo copies of artists and labels that have to whore themselves to get a review. Or have to advertise in said mag to get a review. Pathetic. I’m glad that there’s the whole wide world of music blogs out there where people get excited about music again.

And while I’m at it: Another thing that I despise about live shows is regularity. So there’s a band playing at your venue every Sunday for the same price? Hey, cool concept, do you also have those cards like at the pizza places, so that if I come ten times, I get in for free on the eleventh show? And do you have a happy hour too? Oh, I don’t mind who’s playing as long as it’s cheap and doesn’t disturb me.
Mass instead of class. Well, I rather want to be surprised and I want each and every single show or party to be a special exciting event I’m looking forward to.The overwhelming mediocrity of most of the bands that are playing here is killing me. And for which reasons! If I hear that a classy hiphop show like Mr. Lif and The Perceptionists aren’t going to get a show in this town cause there aren’t enough people who would pay 13 Euros for that package then I think there’s something deeply going wrong. I’d happily save somewhere else and pay that for an act that blows me away instead of paying 5 Euro for the next boring but mildly hyped crap that’s forgotten in a year anyway, or for the xth old school hardcore act that keeps the cosy hc community spirit alive within all its middle-class-pit&politically-active-cause-it-feels-so-adventurous-until-they-finish-studying-and-get-into-the-‘real’-life-white-boy-safetyness. But this kind of nostalgic repetition and reviving is something for another rant.Where was I … ? Ah, do people really prefer the mass instead of class approach? Is music not worth anything anymore? I hate hearing people say “I never would pay more than 8 Euro for a show”. It’s killing a certain type of culture. Of course all the sociocultural promoters here try to keep prices as low as possible but usually the money made at the door isn’t enough and if you get some at all subsidies ain’t what they used to be and personally I reject sponsorship with big companies that try to suck up the passion that comes with underground events to big up their product.

I’m ranting, ain’t I? That’s good. Much better than the resignation I had been stuck in lately. I’ll rant on later. Promised. I’ve tasted blood. I’ll also put up pictures of some shows and might even write some show reviews too. But for now I’ll leave this blog with recommending a show to you that should be really fine but could be overlooked as it has been a kind of last minute booking:
ANTELOPE (ex-SUPERSYSTEM, Dischord, Washington DC) play in Würzburg on Tuesday, 23rd of october.
For more info on the band: www.myspace.com/ant3lop3
For more info on the show: www.myspace.com/xyeahx

PS.: Jens Lekman’s ‘Night Falls Over Kortedala’ album is fluffy sweet pop goodness. Beautiful.

“You are an obsession” – djing tonight, cat, trap

“You are an obsession
I cannot sleep”

500 g of Earl Grey – yeah! Rock candy with Earl grey flavour in a pear liquid – yeah! The silver things are Earl Grey drops – genius idea. One of the things I love most about autumn: Tea starts to get a different, deeper and better taste. I love autumn. I could bath in a cup of hot strong Earl Grey every morning.

Tonight, from 9 pm till late I’ll be djing at the lovely desi. I guess I’ll see if I find some beautiful autumn tunes. I remember once listening to the perfect radio show with the theme ‘autumn music’, it had bands like Slint and Bitch Magnet and Codeine who were all pretty new back then. It was a Friday and the show was called Castrop Rauxel on Radio Z and the guy who did the show was called Hagen, the spider. He had an awesome taste in music and a great feeling for chosing tunes. It’s a shame he stopped doing radio. I was told that once he made a radio show in which he played records that were hip but which he thought crap and people had to call in and argue why he shouldn’t break them, and if they didn’t convince him he cracked the records right in front of the microphone live on air. A nice way of  getting people to think about why they actually like a certain way of music.
Well, I sure won’t do that tonight cause I will bring only records I like too much to destroy them but if you haven’t any plans yet it would be nice to see you there.

The release party was great. Thanks to everybody involved. It was great to meet some old friends there too although there was no real time for talking. I had been a bit excited as we had some technical problems at the beginning and I had to get out my last cable and adapter reserves but then it worked. No effects on the vocals but at least it worked. I didn’t do a set but dropped a live tune every once in a while in our dj set. Worked a treat. Especially “Down with you syndrome”. Now I’m really looking forward to doing more live stuff in Linz on the 27th of october, at the Stop! Spot! Festival. Hopefully I can smoke there during my set. I miss djing with a cigarette in my hand.

This is my grumpy old cat. He’s almost 20 years old. A couple of years ago he was an evil hunter, especially if it came to birds. Today he’s a bit too shaky and weak to catch any animal. (Maybe that actually is the reason for the grumpy look he has lately.) That’s why my first idea when I found this right in the middle of our front lawn was that maybe he has found a new and comfortable way of killing his birds:

Weird, innit? I got no clue how it got there nor how the bird got caught in it.
Also yesterday I read about traps that are said to kill in a more ‘humane’ way: They gas the mouse and automatically send you an email when the victim is dead. That’s what I call progress.

“Heaven is for the weak at heart” – EM CD Release Party tonight!

“Heaven is for the weak at heart
And those who never are as smart as me
But I would trade all that I believe
And keep no trick card up my sleeve
Just to know the angels hold you in their arms tonight”

A last reminder: Tonight at the K4, starting at midnight, we’ll have a little party to celebrate the release of “Sexualize This!”

I’ll do a couple of songs live and Paluka and Jool of Elektronisch Rocken and Wally and me of Sophisticated Boom Boom will dj.
Like I have mentioned before I finally manage to release another CD. Just like always I couldn’t be bothered to send the material to labels and wait and hope or try and use connexiuns but rather release it diy style on a friend’s little indie label, Black Whole Disks, as a double mini cd in a nice packaging. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be more than happy if somone knew someone who knows someone who might be interested in releasing it, or parts of it, on vinyl. I love vinyl.

It’s a double cd. One cd has 5 new eve massacre dirty disco violence tracks, I guess you could say it’s music somewhere between indie dance music, punk and grime. The other cd has remixes by:
Sidney Looper
For the splendid artwork I have to thank ilikeyourbadbreathdaddy.

I recommend ordering the double mini cd directly from me: eve@evemassacre.de
It’s cheapish 5 Euro + Postage (Paypal or bank transfer).

I’m always thankful for spreading the word and for proposals for distribution or mailorders or labels etc. Or for flattery or criticism or gifts.

“This city was like a morgue” – DAUGHTERS snaps

“We agreed this city was like a morgue
You said we should liven things up around here”

DAUGHTERS were ace. Wish I had a little more money at the moment, then I would instantly drive to another show to see them again. A few snaps (more in the pictures section of www.evemassacre.org):

Sadly there were far less paying guests than we had hoped for and that we’d have needed to cover the costs. That’s a shame. Same as with Get Hustle. Wish more people would get their asses up for music beyond beaten paths. I still would put up the show again anytime. Their music made my heart explode. And they are nice guys too. Thanks to everyone involved. It was great.