Music & clubs

Pop-Kultur 2018: Ghosts of present and past

Cameron Cook spent the last day of Pop-Kultur checking out Ghostpoet and a couple performances that conjured up other kinds of ghosts.

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Festivals are always both interminable and too short at the same time: interminable because you spend days running around at top speed in the same spaces catching act after act, and too short because you never have enough time to see everything you want to see. Despite my best efforts on Friday, I missed one of the one events I really, really wanted to check out – Irmin Schmidt, founding member of Can, giving a talk about the new band biography he co-wrote with the music writer Rob Young. With no space to squeeze into the Haus für Poesie, I consoled myself with a free beer from the press area and went to Kesselhaus to see Australian-via-Berlin Kat Frankie (whose talk I had seen the evening before). Instead of a normal set of her punk-ish rock-folk songs, Frankie’s show was all about reframing traditional protest songs through her underground filter. Songs about women’s suffrage, gentrification, and immigration were all reworked by Frankie’s band of merry pranksters, however it was an arresting cover of Kate Bush’s anti-war song “Army Dreamers” that really sealed the deal for me.

After scarfing down some wild boar burgers in the courtyard (quite tasty, I might add), I headed right back into Kessel to see Ghostpoet perform his explosive songs about love and loss to a crowd of enraptured fans. His mix of post-rock, shoegaze, indie and soul tore the roof off the place, and I was pretty sad to leave a few songs before the end to try and catch “Verbal Cabaret”, a poetry reading curated by no-wave pioneer Lydia Lunch. Unfortunately, Lydia herself was nowhere to be seen once I made it across Kulturbrauerei to the P.A.N.D.A. Theater, and the poets on display weren’t on the level of the Mother of NYC Post-Punk. I decided to quit while I was ahead and call it a night – Pop-Kultur 2018 had supplied me with enough great memories, incredible live sets, and interesting talks to last the year. Until next time…