The Seven Year Itch

LOLA’s picks for this year’s Torstraßen Festival

Words By Erika Clugston / Maggie Devlin

Like May Day and the incendiary madness of New Year’s Eve, there are certain events that describe Berlin as clearly as the graffiti scrawled across the city’s walls and trains. The experimental Torstraßen Festival is one of them; a celebration of the counterculture and community that form the beating heart of this town. And this year the festival is feeling the seven year itch.

Kicking off with a barn-burning extravaganza, the festival showcases exciting new talent and plays host to a multitude of musical performances. Risky, rowdy and deliciously diverse, Torstraßen festival’s 35 acts on nine stages in four days are comprised of 50% local artists. In anticipation of the opening day, LOLA has put together a few of our choice highlights.

Opening: Neukölln Country Club
Friday, June 9th, 21:00, 5€

It’s the place where country meets vaudeville. Neukölln Country Club is a monthly country music variety show with rotating guest singers. Vocalists include: Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Itaca, Martha Rose, Slow Steve’s Helen Fry, Milly Blue and WORLD BRAIN (Lukas from Fenster). Special guest DJ, Educated Body will play after the live performances. If you haven’t already, buy your wristbands for the rest of the festival at the event!

Shacke One
Saturday, June 10th, 15:00

Wedding-based battle rapper, Shacke One, takes on contemporary hip hop with his don’t-give-a-fuck Berliner attitude. Knocking back späti beers and sipping on pfeffi and jäger straight out of the bottle, Shacke One spits German rhymes with laid-back nonchalance. Check out the rapper at ACUD club for a fierce battle rap performance.

Roter Salon
Saturday, June 10th, 16:00

It’s the kind of tangled-sheet music we’d all like to wake up to; a cigarette butt resting at the bottom of a flat beer and someone’s hand on your belly. Ducktails is gentle, cinematic and rolls forward with sleepy-eyed confidence. A founding member of LOLA HQ favourites, Real Estate, Matt Mondanile carries his uncomplicated guitar work and sonic minimalism over to current project, Ducktails in the lush surroundings of Roter Salon.

Carla dal Forno
Acker Stadt Palast
Saturday, June 10th, 21:00

Barren and beautiful, Carla dal Forno’s verbed out soundscapes will have you swaying in time, beer-bottle slipping between your loosening fingers. Sparse, pounding drums and vocals that recall Nico in their simplicity and courage, Carla de Forno’s set is the perfect soundtrack for a sensuous, slow-burning Saturday night.

Mary Ocher
Grüner Salon
Saturday, June 10th, 21:00

This week Mary Ocher dropped the trippy new video for her collaboration with Felix Kubin, ‘Wulkania’. Visual sorcery aside, Ocher’s is one of the bravest voices in the Berlin scene: socially conscientious and with a casual disregard for traditional boundaries of genre and theme. Indeed, we spoke to the Russian-born musician earlier this year about exceeding limitations, both physical and artistic. Catch her at Grüner Salon for a unique and powerful set.

SUPER SUNDAY / grand finale: Magic Island
Babylon Kino
Sunday, June 11th, doors open 19:00, 18/20 euro

Former silent movie theatre, Babylon Kino hosts the grand finale of the festival, and with Perera Elsewhere and Oum Shatt’s tender stylings we can’t think of a better venue. LOLA buddy, Magic Island (with her backing singers, The Angels) completes the line-up with all the alchemic magic we’ve grown to expect from the Canadian-turned-Berliner producer and musician.

For the tickets, full lineup info and more visit