After sleeping in like crazy from last night’s outing, my roomie and I decided to take advantage of the (relatively) good weather and hit a biergarten. After a brief shopping stop along Kottbusser Damm, we walked to a place near the eastern end of the Landwehrkanal, called Burg am See (Castle on the Lake), which was really charming and had not only beer on offer, but food as well.
From there, my roommate went off to visit another friend while I headed home to write up my notes from last night. The notes took longer than expected, and so by late evening, I found myself dashing off to my evening engagements.
I was planning to go to Berghain / Panorama Bar for the evening, but I also had a date over in Schöneberg beforehand. I had expected the date to be a brief drink and some small talk, so I was even imagining heading back to my apartment for a while before heading to Berghain. In the end, we ended up hitting a couple of bars and drinking a non-trivial amount of alcohol, so by the time that I was heading off to do my night of fieldwork at Berghain, it was almost 2am and I was a bit drunk.
Berghain: Made to Play / Jesse Rose’s B-day / Ostgut Ton night
2am is almost the ideal time to show up at Berghain, but I had forgotten that it was the summer, which means that there are many more young, college-aged people who have the time and mobility to come to Berlin and party. So, when I arrived at the club, the lineup to get in spanned nearly the entire entrance path (i.e. approx. 2 city blocks).
Grimly resigned to getting in much later than I had expected, I took some consolation in the knowledge that the headliner, Derrick Carter, probably wouldn’t start spinning until 3am or so, and steeled myself for a very long wait. While the long lineup was annoying enough, it was made unbearable by a pair of guys who cut into line behind me (taking advantage of the fact that the group behind me were foreigners and didn’t have the German skills to challenge them), who then proceeded to complain endlessly and loudly about how foreigners are ruining the Berlin scene.
Add to this the fact that the wait was so long that I had sobered up in line, and I was in a sour, sour mood. I was quietly wishing horrible things upon the pair behind me, and thinking to myself that this night better be really, really good.
Just about 5 people ahead of me, a young-ish couple of partygoers were told they couldn’t come in. They didn’t seem egregiously uncool, maybe just a bit young (the median age in the scene here is 30-something) and dressed a bit unremarkably. So it seemed a bit harsh to send away a pair of kids who had waited about 1 hour in line. Realizing that I’m pretty young-looking (for a 30-year-old) and dressed in a pretty boring outfit, I put on my best “I don’t give a shit” scowl and hope that my wide-gauge earrings would help.
Apparently, Derrick Carter had been spinning since 2am, and I didn’t get in until 3am, so I was a bit miffed about missing part of his set. Nonetheless, I grabbed a beer (cheap at only 3€ for a Becks) set about getting into the groove. Carter’s set was pretty unsurprising: Chicago house, buttressed with a slightly harder feel and punchy beats to make it that genre of “soulful” (i.e., audibly inspired by Black American music) tech-house that has been around for a while. Although Carter’s mixing and selection skills are certainly well-respected for a reason, he wasn’t really kicking my ass.
I think a lot of my reaction to his set was a case of familiarity breeding contempt (or disinterest), as you can hear this sound any day of the week in Chicago. The Berliners and other Europeans in the crowd, however, were going nuts for his set. Admittedly, techno or tech-house with audible references to soul, disco, and R&B is pretty rare in European techno scenes.
Also, part of my reaction certainly had to do with the fact that I had sobered up from 4 cocktails in a 1-hour lineup outside, constantly irritated by a pair of xenophobic locals. I’m willing to concede that might hearing of Carter might’ve been more generous if I had been in a better mood. Regardless, I still shook my booty for several hours straight.
4h30-6h00: Jesse Rose, in Panorama Bar
Let me just say this upfront: Jesse Rose has suddenly become hot to me. Of the times that I’ve seen him live previously, he’s never really struck me as particularly attractive or unattractive, but tonight I was battling the urge to vault the turntables and jump on him. Since the camera ban at Berghain/PanoramaBar is very carefully enforced, I don’t have any pictures of him from that night, but I assure you that he doesn’t look any different than what you can find online in promotional photos. So, there you go; I can’t claim to understand why I now want to do unspeakable things to him, but such is the “magic” of sexuality.
If Derrick Carter’s set sounded like Chicago House with a dash of Berlin, Rose’s set sounded like Berlin Minimal with a squirt of Chicago. I liked it a bit better than Carter’s set, in that there was a lot of that punchy-yet-resonant bass that I love and the use of House styles and sounds seemed more at home in his set.
6h00-??: Tristan da Cunha, in Panorama Bar
Tristan was supposed to go until noon, I think, and then Ryan Elliott and Matthew Dear were scheduled to do the Sunday afternoon sets. While I’ve always wanted to stick around for a Sunday afternoon at Berghain (they’re legendary, after all), I just didn’t have the energy. Also, the DJ listing on the wall had both of those boys listed with alternate/replacement DJs, which meant that there was a chance they wouldn’t play. I wasn’t going to keep myself up for another 6 hours for the possibility of those two. Besides, Matthew Dear has been batting about 0.500 with me when I’ve seen him live.
I waited through the first few tracks of Tristan’s set, to see if his style would inspire me to dance, and then I got my jacket and headed for the door at around 8am. The trip home this time was less painful than last week (which is ironic, considering that I stayed out about 2 hours longer than last week). I picked up a pastry from a bakery near my place, and then crawled into bed.