Ein Abend in Amsterdam – Die Wende (feat. Cobra Killer) – Paradiso 6/11/09

Cobra Killer are a bizarre act, how much is truly artifice and how much is really meant is hard to determine.

Before we begin; a note about the flyer, for it will be playing a part in the review at a later point. From a land that spawned Doesberg and de Stijl, you’d think that an image advertising an evening of celebration over the fall of the Berlin wall would have inspired a designer to greater heights than an image showing a German flag stuck in a piece of cheese - but no, there it was.


Anyway, a sparse but very amiable crowd watched the 3 piece Festland; (drummer, bassist and keyboardist) run through a set of reflective, soulful electro, very much in the mould of the lo-key mood pop cranked out on the Staubgold, Morr Music and City Centre Offices labels. A very good opening act, Festland packed enough sonic punch to turn initially pleasant electro run-throughs into something that had a wee bit more oomph. A Kraftwerk number didn’t hurt either. In many ways their geniality and quiet observations suggested an alternative career doing cruises or functions, though I would hope that you see that observation as an indication of their versatility rather than any hint of uncoolness. http://www.myspace.com/festlandschoenemusik


Downstairs we trudged in a still empty Paradiso to check out Ill Till & the X-Berg Dhirty 6 Cru. German rap was a prospect I didn’t hold out much hope for to be honest. And you know; there’s something extremely disconcerting about seeing a rap crew swagger onstage to play to an audience of about 50 people. Rap’s bluster needs a full house to react to it, that’s for sure. In situations like this, it needs extraordinary pluck not to buckle and to be fair to the Crew; they got stuck in like no other act I’ve seen this year. Magic wands were waved, rap-meets-muezzin calls were conjured up, constant hat and clothes changes were undertaken and daft little dance routines were danced; all over a surprisingly fresh and witty musical backdrop that sometime veered towards cabaret. A highlight was a great electronic behemoth called Radio Zurück (replete with visuals that concentrated on the words Radio and Zurück…) Told the time was up by the organisers – who it must be said, kept every act on the strictest of leads – the Crew squeezed in about 4 tracks in quick succession, one which boasted the lyrics “doggy, doggy, doggy, doggy”. Top stuff. http://www.myspace.com/illtill00 


A hard act to follow to be sure, and sadly as we entered the small hall, Team Incendiary soon realised that Dietmar Dath & the Kammerflimmer Kollektief’s quiet, hippyish muse wasn’t the ideal follow up to the recent hyperactivity in the main hall. Still, the music was fine in itself, at times really great; lots of strange instruments were played (especially by the dreamy, Edwardian/hippy girl who reclined on what seemed to be a collection of rugs) and a windswept, ethereal muse was patiently created, one with a distinct nod to that quiet electro that seems so pervasive nowadays. Whilst I did like their last LP with Dietmar Dath (Im Erwachten Garten) and 2007’s Jinx a lot, tonight just wasn’t the night to dig their otherworldly, Witthüser & Westrüpp-style vibe. http://www.myspace.com/kammerflimmerkollektief 


Downstairs again to a more populous hall, in time to see a set of men wearing bathrobes, capes and turbans, and one seemingly very camp one wearing (what my memory seems to serve as a pickelhaube and…) shoulder pads.


Die Goldenen Zitronen turned out to be an interesting proposition to say the least. What initially started out as a set run by DAF-style electro-blippery turned into more of a wild prog-inflected roundelay, driven by a lot of instrument-swapping and the tension stemming from the contrasting persona of the front-man and the guitarist. The front-man first: looking like a quizzical, clean–cut kid who had been inducted into a cult, his vocal style wasn’t a million miles away (in terms of strident, deadpan delivery), from the Mighty M.E.S. albeit with a very noticeable whinny. The guitarist was an older gentleman who boasted a very determined vibe (and love of space-rock guitar licks) and despite the turban he sported, was very much the leader.


Anyway, remember the flyer? Well, Die Goldenen Zitronen didn’t like it, not one jot. The guitarist went as far as to state that the band didn’t form and play 25 years’ worth of squat gigs to see one of their shows advertised by a symbol they effectively hated… ooofph. The gig was a blast; a mix of styles, moods and attitudes, again (sadly) curtailed by the ferocious time keeping of the organisers. I’d check them out if I were you. http://www.myspace.com/goldenenzitronen


Upstairs again to see Schwefelgelb. This duo - according to the much-lambasted flyer - looked to DAF for their musical inspiration. No shit Sherlock. Suffice to say, Schwefelgelb have taken DAF’s muse and run with it. Despite being an enjoyable gig, it was, frankly, all a bit too much, especially with the singer’s appropriation of Gabi’s over-energetic stage presence. (Funnily enough, listening to them subsequently reveals a band with a fair bit to offer, though Incendiary wonders whether they can forge something they can truly call their own). http://www.myspace.com/schwefelgelb


Downstairs again to see Nachlader, who were a thumping straight down the line Indie act who drilled out major-chord anthems with a worrying frequency. It was all a bit like Deus, but more monolithic, more electronic; (in that tough, no-nonsense German way). Incendiary nodded along and yep, it was sound enough if you just wanted to frug along. http://www.myspace.com/nachlader


Finally! The last climb of Paradiso’s stairs revealed Berlin’s Cobra Killer, two young ladies who Incendiary have always held a torch for. Cobra Killer are a bizarre act, how much is truly artifice and how much is really meant is hard to determine. Suffice to say, the entrance of two attractive young ladies who sport elf-ears, pour a bottle of wine on their heads and then proceed to put a noose around their necks – all as a prelude to singing about death – takes some beating.


Cobra’s Killer’s musical accompaniment comes from what appears to be a double CD player, though I am sure some technophile will tell us what precisely is used. The sounds emitting thereof can be classified as a stew of psychobilly, psych and twisted sugar-candy pop, early ‘60s style.  The whole gig could be construed by chin-strokers as incredibly bohemian karaoke, but it is more than that. It is too disorganised for that. You get the feeling if something went really wrong the girls simply wouldn’t give a shit. Comedy was never far away, leads got twisted, equipment was very nearly broken, the sound lad got a thorough going over and posteriors were wiggled tantalisingly (underneath revealing skirts) at a gawping front row. Magnificent.


Top do! Bit daft about the flyer mind…

Pictures: Mariska Van den Hoven