Looking forward

Berlin music scene 2023: What to look forward to

The Berlin trends, festivals, gigs and artists we’re most excited about in 2023.

Midwestern-style Indie- Tomorrow’s trend

Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

2023 presents an opportunity to slow down, prioritise smaller artists and return to a style of indie that originates in under-stimulation, even boredom. Think midwest emo and its unshowered descendants: the influence of 1990s bands like American Football and Modest Mouse felt all the way through to today’s Starry Cat and Alex G. And despite the rep, it’s not just a boy’s club: a new generation of indie rockers is being headed up by women. Look out for Katy Kirby, Lala Lala and teddy<3 next year. Tending more towards folk, Courtney Marie Andrews will come to Berlin in March, followed by Aldous Harding in April. Who’s on your indie list for 2023?

Alex G- Concert commendation

Alex G in Copenhagen. Photo: IMAGO / Gonzales Photo

Let’s be clear – Alex G is not the stadium-shaking crowd-pleaser that Lizzo will be for Berlin next year. Forget whining of the ass-shaking variety, this is moaning and groaning designed for the world of white socks, flat Docs and pixie-cut locks. This is proper, elusive indie for today – with a Christian twist, thanks to new album God Save the Animals. With his concerts dubbed by Twitter users as ‘the Met Gala for unemployed people’, Columbia Theatre-goers are in for a zeitgeisty treat on April 1.

Whole- Festival favourite

Photo: Courtesy Whole Festival

It’s the biggest queer festival dedicated to underground electronic music in the world, so: wear what you want, do what you want, present how you want. In paradise, nobody cares! Delayed by two years because of the pandemic, Whole returned in August 2022 with a bang (and a pup play tent). The line-ups for 2023 haven’t been announced, but having seen the blend of headline names and more diverse global acts that was boasted in the last edition, it promises big things. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more mainstream under the disused machinery at Ferropolis, Melt Festival is a more-than-solid choice.

Fitzroy & Hole44- Venues to venture into

Hannah Diamond Concert at Fitroy. Photo: IMAGO / Votos-Roland Owsnitzki

If 2022 was a commercialising, formalising force, Fitzroy is one idea for a remedy. Just a room, a view of the Spree and a thumping sound system, this unpretentious bar and club is a slippery, versatile beast that takes on whatever digital debauchery the organisers lob in its direction. Granted, you’ll pay a hefty price for drinks considering the DIY feel – but view it as an investment in emerging underground talent. For a bigger brother, i.e. a more traditional, unambiguous ‘venue’, look towards Hole44. It’s less party, more performance – and you’re still in for dynamic programming. New wave of the future

Underscores- Artist to applaud

Tie the loose ends of this page together and you get something like underscores, aka 22-year-old Devon Karpf, who exploded onto the scene during the pandemic with bedroom-produced album fishmonger. Echoing about in the back of many of her tracks is a voice crying “it’s the new wave of the future” – bold, but true. Scrape away the insane levels of autotune and the distorted dubstep-influenced farting basslines and you get post-punk, emo, analogue nostalgia. Performing on January 31 at Hole44 as support for Chloe Moriondo, underscores is everything Berlin should be looking for in 2023: indie with a radically queer, future-proof facelift.