There’s a lot of things to be said about Magnet Club, Greifswalder Straße’s too-cool-for-school hangout. But one thing you can rarely say about the place is that it is full of surprises…least of all at their regular indie-rock night, Thursday’s Child. I first discovered TC last November and as a confirmed fan of this genre of music, I felt like I was in musical heaven…for about 3 weeks. Then I realised that the DJs played pretty much the same tracks every week for the same crowd of people wearing the same skinny jeans and admiring each other’s hair. However, despite these criticisms the Magnet is still definitely worth a look for it’s impressive roster of live acts and it’s chilled out, pure party atmosphere.
So it was with no real expectations that I decided, after a hiatus of some months, to visit TC again…and then came the first surprise. Despite no bands being billed to play that night, I was happily chatting with some friends and downing my 8th Berliner when the music stopped, the lights dimmed, and a shadowy figure walked out onto the stage. The throbbing electro beat that accompanied this arrival sounded vaguely familiar and once the blonde vision on-stage was revealed, I realised it was in fact Eddi Cheap of Supercheap. Just as the spoken word intro to Super Rich ended, I got the shock of my life…whereas before Supercheap consisted of just two people, a guitar, a backing track and ocassionally a harmonica, when the lights upped I realised the band was now…well, a band complete with maniac drummer and cool-as-Christmas bass player.
I had seen Supercheap playing once before at the tiny Eschschloraque in Rosenthaler Str where they did the best they could with a difficult crowd and even then, with their pre-recorded backing, people sat up and took notice when Super Rich’s power-pop chorus kicked in. The effect here was 10 times more noticeable with the support of a full band behind them and Supercheap crashed from one rock masterpiece into another. Demo CD favourites like The Crack, Let Me Go and TV in my Head are still there although, in keeping with the recording on the CD, Eddi takes on guitar duties for the latter track and lets Mark sing lead…second surprise of the night.
Also worth mentioning in among all the chugging rock-out anthems were two, slower-tempo numbers that provided some welcome relief from the frenetic speed of the set. I Love You sounds much chunkier now and is still a perfect little love song akin to Blondie’s In the Flesh. Perhaps the biggest surprise (they’re adding up aren’t they?) of the night was a track called Glass Case which was so slow as to almost hypnotise the audience; a constant throbbing base-line accompanied by the slightest suggestion of drumming and some interesting pops and clicks from Mark’s guitar were all augemented by perhaps Eddi’s finest vocal performance of the night, singing in soft, sultry tones about murdering her boyfriend. Look out boys…here’s a real rock bitch and no mistake. The cutesy mini-dress and little girl lost expression only adding to the contrast when she goes totally spastic and freaks out like she did on the Zugabe…a shambling number called Button to Press.
And after the last note of that died down, did Supercheap disappear behind the backstage curtain never to be seen again? Of course not. They descended, all four of them, from the front of the stage for a spot of hobnobbing with the well and truly won-over crowd. I managed to grab a couple of minutes with Eddi to tell how much their sound had improved and what a difference the drummer and bassist made. “Thanks”, she said, giving me a bashful smile, “I’ve also got new shoes,” she added, proudly displaying a pair of turqoise heels. Whatever footwear they decide to wear onstage, one thing is for sure, these guys are definitely ones to watch and it will be interesting to see how far their catchy tracks, rock-out sound and Eddi’s much more confident stage presence will take them. “I think we’re doing a single or something soon,” she added as an afterthought, before vanishing into the throng with a swish of her blonde locks.
Whatever they do next, this band are definitely true to their name and gave a cocksure show well worth the supercheap cover price of €2.