Away from the Volksbühne we head to the Park Inn hotel to pick up Daniel, Michel & Sascha for their gig at the Panorama Bar. The scene on the ninth floor is one of rock star lassitude. The D.J. hasn’t slept since six the preceding morning and is in a semi coma. Sascha Hedgehog fixes her lipstick. REWORK, Daniel, Michel, and Sascha are from Stuttgart, in town for one night only and deprived of sleep.
The boys opt for a taxi so we accompany Sascha through Alexanderplatz. She asks me if I like Techno, I tell her that I don’t know what it is. Sascha tells me that when she was thirteen she was the singer in a punk band, that she always loved Nico. On the platform of the S-Bahn she tells me that the previous night they had dinner with D.J. Olaf or Loaf, or Moonfly (the name was ambiguous) and he hadn’t a clue who Joy Division were, that many of those who got into the techno scene in the early nineties had no knowledge of any music before it.
I found myself protesting that maybe knowledge is overrated, that surely the desire to do something, maybe something new, might matter more, even to a thirteen year old in a punk band. “Sure”, she said,” but we always collected records”.
Ostbahnhof is plagued with crowds even at this late hour and a few drift off with us into the industrial hinterland. Talk drifts to smack, to loss, to death. I try to brighten things up by talking about the guest list. She tells me the last time they played here she wasn’t on her own guest list, than when she showed up and announced she was with the band the doormen growled, “we are a TECHNO venue, we don’t have BANDS.”
The hulking mass of the secret bar loomed out of the darkness, its maw welcoming an amibisexual tribe. At the door, mercifully, a man with a lot of metal in his face recognizes her and beckons entry. Our cameras are surrendered.
The promised Sodom turned out relatively tame, the Dorf Sex Show Squad being frankly not up to the task, so we all moped around and smoked and talked about death and the loneliness of the dancefloor at 6am, or just nodded blankly at each other.
In a nicely padded alcove, the function of which was mysterious but I speculated it might be a good place for a puppet show, I found myself wondering about the behaviour of crowds, about how here the dancers were not really an audience, their attention, their enjoyment of the music both private and communal but never facing the stage, is an insistence on participation. That in fact here there was no stage and perhaps the audience itself were performing.
Then, the dawn on these long Berlin nights still a long way off, the temperature rose. The bar erupted as the D.J signalled an aggressive start to REWORK’s set and there she was, alone with a tambourine and a fuzzbox, dancing.