Insane is aptly named, forty bands and DJs crammed into the Volksbühne, Roter and Grüner Salons, over the course of seven hours – a sure recipe for the systematic derangement of the senses and (seeing as this is the sound of ‘underground’ Berlin, at least as heard by Pale Music impresario, Steve Morell) possibly a more fitting celebration of the day of German Unity than the official party at the Brandenburg gate.
Mamasweed opened proceedings with an enthusiastic set of boogie which despite insisting on flogging the half dead horse of sub-prime American blues rock, found sections of the audience playing impromptu air guitar solos in the aisles. Their set ended with local promoter Yanik (of ArtyParty fame) leaping onto the stage to share the chorus of I wanna be Your Dog.
Next up, on the main stage, were Goldfish. Stabbing out hypnotic two note riffs occasionally aided and abetted with an ebow, augmented with synth squiggles and a violin, Danuta’s fragile voice carried every other song into a pleasing Teenage Daydream dissonance before stopping on a dime.
They were followed to the main stage by The Boy From Brazil. Resplendent in red satin gloves, white flairs and a star spangled jacket, Razzi had finally found a stage big enough to contain his ego and his electro-psychobilly karaoke schtik. He was joined by Hallucination Girl, in matching outfit, who made a few desultory gestures at a synth and was accompanied by a mysterious minder in black robes whose name may, or may not, have been Mr Fuck and whose non-speaking, non playing, role seemed to be to contribute a slight air of menace.
Meanwhile, upstairs in the foyer, James Nemo and the Doll led a Gothic chamber pop quartet comprising a cello, two violins and a guitar, whilst filmmaker Wolfgang Pauk (whose Santos – Heldentaten, die keiner braucht had been screened earlier) prowled about followed by a man with a large video camera.
Possibly the highlight of an evening of many highlights was the set by former Taekwondo champion Mona Mur and guitarist En Esch. An odd couple to say the least, Mur a Brechtian dominatrice in a leather dress and Esch a gargantuan skinhead in short trousers and jackboots, accompanied on drums by a surly looking metaler. Sheets of industrial sounding guitar and husky ersatz Weimar vocals, the beats supplemented with a laptop, while Esch marched around the stage berating the sound technicians.
Call Me an Ambulance, in surgeon’s whites splattered with blood, commandeered the stage in the Red Salon for an overlong set of art punk that culminated in the singer’s mock suicide whilst in the Green Salon, Gay Fight Club leapt up and down with great enthusiasm but quickly ran out of material, they were followed on stage by Schwefelgelb with their well received 8bit tribute to DAF.
Events became a little hazy as I found my arms pinned to my body and myself lifted from the floor and spun around by what turned out to be Leuenberger, Dorf’s resident cartoonist, who plied me with vodka. Somewhere between the double (electric) bass attack of DB Zwo Vier and the, single, bass ‚n playback of Randy Twigg (struggling valiantly with an intermittant monitor) Count Koroptieff (I think) was singing lounge classics in the foyer, while, on the main stage Kill The Dandies unleashed their impressive surf-garage rumble.