Normally, we go to shows expecting a simple showcase of artistic talent. The format can be pretty simple: A band (or a DJ), a crowd, and a set of songs to let us live in the moment. There are just some shows, though, that stretch the boundaries of what we know about musical performance. What I recently discovered arriving at Awesome Music Night Volume 1 in the heart of Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood was more than a showcase of music -- it was a celebration of music.
Berlin is known worldwide for its grungy, undergound clubs to its array of busking formats to the live music resonating throughout the city all nights of the week. Headlining this gathering were two groups from Germany both with unique characteristics: Tanga Elektra and Rider's Connection.
Rider's Connection, composed of a guitarist/vocalist, bassist, and a beat boxer, drew an enthusiastic crowd with an equally impressive performance. This group covers multiple musical bases in one with a funkadelic concoction of reggae and hiphop. As an intermission to their set, they graced with an epic beat-boxing showdown (pictures in gallery below).
The evening's final act was Berlin-based Tanga Elektra. The group is made up of two brothers whose live sets are a medley of genres from electro-soul to reggae to hip hop to even drum n' bass. Altogether, they've curated a sound known as "Berlin Bounce" standing out in a city vibrant with artistic creation. The older brother coordinates loops on his electric violin while doing vocals, and his younger brother holds down the drumkit. The drummer sometimes performaned vocals, which is very difficult while drumming, and was even using two bass kick drums. As a drummer, that's just wicked.
For Tanga Elektra's intimate, yet bombastic set at Awesome Music Night, they spoke to musical preferences of all kinds, running through their best-known tracks and newer ones as well. With hits like "Soulrider" and "Sun We Are Ready", they explore themes about the human experience from the joy of sunlight after a long winter to loneliness to traveling the path of spiritual fulfillment.
Following Tanga Elektra's set, all participants threw down a Superjam to deliver a powerful conclusion with which to send us off. In their orchestration of collective musicianship, they delivered lyrics about individual minds unified into an underground movement. In the lyrics, they reinforce the movement as independent of the greed and hunger for power under which humankind remains oppressed:
We will never
sell our souls
to the people
who rule the world
Put on by a local artist development and promotion agency SCHWEBI.COM, the first volume of "Awesome Music Night" in Berlin's famous SO36 in the center of Kreuzberg was an extreme success. Showcasing the underground music mecca that Berlin really has become was one major accomplishment of this event. We expect to see another night of Awesome Music in Berlin next year.
Keep up with the participating bands on Facebook:
Photo credit goes to my esteemed colleague Marc. Check out his work: MRKÜS