December is here! Finally, we can glut ourselves on Glühwein, shove roasted chestnuts into our mouths by the gloved fistful, and warm our toes as we set fire to the steaming husk of our global nemesis: 2016.
One of the upsides of weather cold enough to freeze the unmentionables off a brass monkey, is that we all want to be indoors all of the time. And what better way to deprive ourselves of vitamin D than in the company of others? December brings us a wealth of shows where we can dance and be merry in spite of celebrity deaths and the apparent ruination of democracy. Here’s just some of the ones we won’t be missing!
December 5th | 19:00
The Wave Pictures, support: The Hole Boys – Bi Nuu, Berlin
I can’t think of a better band for a Monday night than The Wave Pictures. They amble through laid-back numbers that are soaked in country cool, while a strong English accent adds a nice bit of colour to their sound. All twangy guitars and thick backing vocals, this London based band have a ‘70s-throwback, lazy-afternoon vibe that should help ease you into your week. Support comes from The Hole Boys.
When Melt-Banana announced their Berlin show, excitement levels were running pretty high in LOLA HQ. Once a four-piece, now a duo, Japan’s noisiest export will bring their face dissolving grindcore sounds to Bi Nuu on December 7th. The upcoming split single with Napalm Death is also a very welcome early Christmas gift. Support comes from hairy Italian rockers, Zeus whose take-no-prisoners metal vibes will set up Melt-Banana nicely.
You can’t be from Northern Ireland and escape the memory-searing pop overtures of Ash. From that moment twenty years ago when the sound of a TIE fighter roared out of my brother’s ghetto blaster to open the now classic album, 1977, I was hooked on Tim Wheeler’s boyishly romantic lyrics and ripping, air-guitarable solos. They’re a uniquely generous band too, willing to forgo setlists of mostly current material for the benefit of their beloved fans. Catch them at Lido and feel free to approach me and say ‘hi’, so long as you’re willing to have me sling my arm around your shoulder and belt out every lyric to ‘Girl From Mars’ like a pro.
Ever drink a beer out of a sippy cup? If you haven’t already, you might be encouraged to do so after a listen of PWR BTTM’s stripped back and charming single, ‘Dairy Queen’. The US queer punk rockers dominated their stint on NPR’s Tiny Desk; sparkling demigods with a lyrical wit sharp enough to snap the G-string from a guitar. You can catch PWR BTTM at Lido with Scottish indie poppers, The Spook School. Any support band with comedy hero Josie Long in their video is worth your time, so we’re all beyond excited for this gig.
Bulwark of the Berlin indie scene Cranky Booking lays on its fifth Christmas concert December 10th at Marie Antoinette. The line-up is unsurprisingly fresh, with German noise-rock trio Kala Brisella playing their first show since mixing their debut album. Fevered guitar leads coupled with krauty drums and huffing, dark vocals make Kala Brisella a seriously cool act. PTD bring post-punk vibes with chorusy guitars and sonorous vocals that give us a little bit of Felt and a little bit of Joy Division. Going under the mysterious genre ‘doubtstep’, Hayung round out the live acts.
Sheffield has given us more than its fair share of industry-shaping acts, not least amongst them, New Wave legends, ABC. Funky guitars, Martin Fry’s crooning vocals and more hits than this year’s Chicago Cubs, ABC will be a fun (if more pricey) night out. If you have any doubts about where your money’s going, just check out their greatest hits. Spend an evening warming up by indulging in a nostalgic singalong, perhaps recumbent on a bearskin rug in front of an open fire, glass of champagne in hand. It’s the look of love, after all.
Girlie featured in last month’s gig roundup, and here they are again, this time supporting Münster based duo, Andalucía. Girlie belt out garagey numbers, the vocals and lyrics exposing a youthful sensibility that will have you shuffle-dancing at the front like teenagers in a Kevin Smith film. Andalucía bring a darker sound to the table with dirty guitars and driving drums that tumble over each other without dropping a beat. The gig will be held at Finale Sports bar, where the gloriously notorious December 2nd Daikaiju show took place.
A Nunofyrbeeswax show in Loophole was my first real indie gig in Berlin and it was love at first sight. This duo bang out passionate, upbeat punk numbers with frantic guitar riffs and minimal but powerful percussion. Powerhouses of the off-culture Berlin indie scene Angela and David also create a comfortable buzz and warmth, largely due to their devoted fans who try to make it to shows when they play. Catch them at a lo-fi show December 18th at Butt Bed Room, Wedding, or follow their Facebook page for other upcoming gigs.
If you were unfortunate enough to miss Daikaiju’s blowout show with Party Fears on December 2nd, fear not! The US surf punks return to attack Berlin again for a pre-Christmas rager on the 23rd. They dismantle their gear mid-show, set their kit on fire and and puncture ear drums with outrageous guitar playing. Dangerous, life-affirming and surprisingly adorable, Daikaiju are a band like no other. If you are in Berlin, you cannot miss this show.