Music & clubs

Best of 2010: What made the nightlife

In Germany the name Strauss used to be synonymous with waltzes and strolls along the promenade. But in this century, our music editor has taken over. No more lily-livered saches down memory lane. D. Strauss bulls through 2010. 2011, beware!

Image for Best of 2010: What made the nightlife
Photo by Geert Schäfer

Berlin Festival – our Hindenberg:  At least according to their Facebook page. But, having only spent an hour in the press line mosh pit at Tempelhof Airport, who are we to complain? So we have nothing negative to declare, despite the fact that, thanks to overselling tickets, understaffing security and a general Holy-Shit-People-Finally-Showed-Up-For-This-Thing, many attendees ended up paying for a prison sentence. But there were surely solid reasons for canceling several headliners: Fatboy Slim, for example, must be a Nazi with that haircut. And the make-up concert is free, assuming you’re the sort of Spanish tourist who holds onto his wristband for three months.

Biz blitz: Speaking of which, Berlin Festival, Popkomm and all2gethernow join forces for a consolidated Indian Summer love-in. End result? Rest of world goes, “Berlin – isn’t that where Kraftwerk came from?”

First victories over gentrification: Though Appartement has been shuttered to make way for the Lil’ Bushwick Social Club, Prenzlauer Berg can still claim one club: Icon, the excellently booked, mostly ignored brick cellar, which was saved from its new condo-purchasing neighbors. Plus the Subway sandwich shop on Cuvrystraße with the repeatedly broken window finally gave up the ghost. Die Linke, the world is yours.

Electroclash goes Broadway: Peaches’ note-for-note singing-in-front-of-the-bedroom-mirror rendition of Jesus Christ Superstar at HAU in March showed that the rebels have always been secret band camp kids. Watch for DJ Hell’s remix of the Glee soundtrack in 2011.

Bonfire of the insanities: Bar25 is finally gone for good… and apparently it went up in flames in a final farewell ritual. As the proprietors are now searching for funds to make a film about their hallucinogenic riverside playground, perhaps they might have considered auctioning off the remains instead of torching them? Or Adidas can finance a follow-up to party-time apartheid shantytown ‘Burg 24, celebrating the Khmer Rouge.

Look. New clubs: Welcome, Marie-Antoinette, My Name is Barbarella, Heimathafen Neukölln, Crystal, Kleine Reise, and all the others. None of them appear to have caught on to the true secret of profitability: gambling machines.

€9 gin and tonics: It started with Tausend attracting inbred Münchner willing to pay €8 plus to hit on women whose hides were leathered without artificial lights. Now, after opening in 2010, King Size, AMANO Bar and Soho House underline that it’s the wealthy (as in old money) dominating the behind the scenes of ‘edgy’ Berlin nightlife.

Berlin hipsters listening to hipster music again: Techno, electroclash, goth-industrial, drum‘n’bass (I mean dubstep. Sorry!): once a musical form finds popularity in Berlin, it lives like a barnacle on the side of an Ex‘n’Pop bartender. In short, it’s been the same old fucking thing for some time now. But slowly, drag, blog house and the obscurantist microforms favored by artsy types the First World over are finding an outlet here, with practitioners such as Hype Williams and Hush Hush sowing inspiration, at least until they all buy condos and force their local clubs to shut down.

Beer tours on Weserstraße: Reminding us that, in the end, this city economy isn’t to be saved by witch-haus-loving performance artists, but by inebriated British soccer hooligans dry-humping a Neukölln kebab press under the impression that it’s a member of Cobra Killer. Which is more entertaining? You make the call.

You-Screwed: Despite the rest of Europe relenting, music videos remain banned from German YouTube – which still offers a greater selection than most Berlin supermarkets.


The German press follows Lady Gaga around for a month thinking she’s moved here, only to find out it’s a member of the chorus of the new Cats revival whose fly is stuck, keeping him in costume and urging him into continual exhibitionistic shrieking.

Claiming to have attended a party on Facebook will be legally ruled actual participation, allowing the German government to tax you for 19 percent of the entrance fee.

Despite assurances, your name is not actually on the list. But you’ll manage to get in anyway. Unless you’re black or Turkish.