As I was making my way to the White Trash in Mitte to prost Trust Me the new album from Annika Trost, I was accosted by a boy: ‘I really like the colour of your belt (bright neon pink) it brings some sunshine into the street’. Why thank you I said, not flattered. ‘Are you on your way to the White Trash?’ I didn’t want to say yes and I disappeared down the stairs. And who the hell wasn’t going there as well?
Posters of Annika Trost (the other half beat from Cobra Killer) hung over the entrance giving the place a larger aura than usual. Her new album was to be toasted that night. She has already been on tour promoting it in South Germany but this was launch on home territory. Nervous? I took a peak backstage to see how edgy she might be, (but hey with such a pro, I think she buried all her jitters in plenty of back stages around the world by now).
Annika greeted me with a large smile standing tall on strippers’ shoes and wearing a dotty dress that made her look very Amazonian and sexy. “This is my band”, she said and an array of boys who flowed at her feet smiled back too.” They are from Bavaria” and surprise surprise they weren’t sporting leather hosen and silly feathered hats but fashioned cool and metropolitan threads. The only Bavarian trade they modelled was the large beer barrel at the corner of the band room and the empty glasses left behind, some still standing while others died on and under the coffee table. Ralph Droger the man with this band too, came in to hype the band’s spirits before the show and then some talk about some pre performance Bavarian tradition was floating about. Confused I sipped my Aussie wine waiting for some rock and roll yodelling or some psycho billy cowbells to rip that band room.
The band was reluctant to show off their tradition in front of me, but Ralph said in German: “It is ok, Gaby is cool she can stay and watch”. Me I could handle it, I thought, expecting some groupie to be sacrificed or ‘drowned’ into the beer keg but I was wrong. The band in a circle with Annika being the most excited, stood up and sang a song before sculling their drinks. “It is a Bavarian tradition, she mentioned, to chant like this before a show”. I didn’t understand a word but it felt special watching them. “When are you guys going to change into your costumes?” Annika worried about the time while splashing red wine and then lipstick on her lips. Australian wine by the way. I guess it’s the best and my taste buds agreed.
Once out of the band room the bar was my next stop. By now everyone was there and like a tennis ball my head was turning from side to side with hellos and the usual chit chats. The rush was definitely there. Some of Berlin’s deluxe and coolest scenesters rolled up to celebrate Annika and her new album. I won’t name drop now but even Mick Harvey made an appearance. He is so rarely in town that he deserves his name-dropped when at parties.
Finally the moment came; lights rushed to be shined upon the public while the band was getting ready to strum. Annika looked fab, a real Diva who conquered the entire stage even before she opened her mouth and this is true for only a few stage gals. If anyone expected a show divorced from the Cobra Killer own stage extravaganza and magic, they got it. Her solo show lacked the trashing, wine boasting, grunge and electro and sounds, to be indulged into the sensitivities of many love songs. Nothing inferior only on a different trip. Each song had a story collected from around the world. Each song had a person’s in it. Each song was about some fantastic phenomena or person Annika met along her travels. She would begin with: ‘This song is about a boy I met in Australia’, for example and a rant about this person’s weird habits or eccentricities would unravel to the crowd’s delight. You must buy the CD if you want more examples of her storytelling. The songs can be enjoyed in French, German and English, something for all the musical polyglots out there. Titles such as “Cowboy”, “Man on the Box”, “Guy Le Superhero” are enough for my mind to go off wondering into the land of delights.
The music punched your ear with garage sounds, rock and roll chansons, punk ingredients as well as electrifiying boogie tunes. Jazz flavoured sunk with trash rock. An entire musical cookbook catered to everyone’s taste. Each song wore a new coat and rolled into the next with perfection. The set was very diverse yet consistent with power, performance, melodic & experimental twinges, driven instruments and a great deal of Annika’s sense of humour, backed by such a passionate band. Overall as she was shaking her feminine thrills on stage, she enjoyed herself, the limelight and the fiery responses from the audience. Ralph’s skills as a musician, producer, and prankster made the show stand up on all its legs without one shake or disappointment. The band besides their good youthful looks, displayed musical talents to the max.
I find it very inspiring to see creative souls like Annika’s split themselves in so many pieces and be able to carry on with different artistic crumbs. It was amazing to watch her under a sundry light. At times I could see similarities between Trost and her role in the Cobra Killer show yet the two didn’t overlap or sucked each other’s energies. As a solo artist she pulls it off well and perhaps there are more sides of her to be explored.
A Prost with Trost was a good night overall and it was amazing how much respect she pulled from so many of Berlin’s cream musicians who were present in the audience by the loads, mesmerised. This is what sets the Berlin scene so apart, unlike in so many other musical metropolises, everyone supports each other without bitch fights, cat fights or macho attitudes or simply not turning up to shows due to shades of jealousy and futile competition. Strong women musicians here are not anybody’s coat hangers or support acts (unless you allow yourself to be). They are Divinities with their own charm and charisma, as they can turn up the heat alone. And they like it even when “it hurts a bit”.