Music & clubs

Musical treasure hunt: Torstraßen Festival

The polygenre music festival is back for its ninth year, this time for one day only on Saturday (Sep 7) featuring an extensive lineup of local up-and-comers and international acts. Catch it at the Volksbühne from 12:00.

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Photo courtesy of Torstraßen Festival. International act Shunaji is set to rock the mic with old-school flair.

The ninth annual Torstraßen Festival has been condensed to a single location but remains a musical treasure hunt.

Each past edition of the Torstraßen Festival sprawled to further venues surrounding the main drag between Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg. This year, though, it looks a bit different: happening as a sort of farewell to summer rather than the accustomed prelude, the polygenre festival has been streamlined into a single day at the Volksbühne, taking over the main stage, Roter Salon, Grüner Salon, 3. Stock and the theatre’s various foyers.

Discovery remains the key element: for every recognisable name on the lineup, there are probably three you’ve never heard of but who are likely contenders for your next favourite band – or rapper. Besides local up-and-comers like Die Wände (“The Walls”), who formed while students at the UdK and released their noisy art-rock debut LP earlier this year, there will be numerous international acts in town, such as Shunaji: rocking the mic with old-school flair, the perceptive London MC flows over soulful loops for a sound that’s too fresh to be merely nostalgic. Or switch genre gears with Californian freak-folk artist Jessica Pratt, the Sade-istic pop of Amsterdam’s BEA1991 and the plinky playfulness of electronic producer Kate NV from Moscow.

Other Berlin names include Tara Nome Doyle, the Norwegian-Irish singer-songwriter whose piano-backed 2018 single “Down With You” has racked up nearly a million plays on Spotify, and P.A. Hülsenbeck, whose jazzy dirges lean toward cult following rather than mass appeal. In night mode, the festival becomes a party with campy cabaret collective Gazino Neukölln as well as London’s rkss, who takes an arty approach to EDM, mischievously vacillating between minimal – and maximalism. So, pace yourself throughout the afternoon, and save time to check out the offerings at the Independent Label Market, with stands from the likes of Ninja Tune, Mansions & Millions and Wicked Hag.

Torstraßen Festival | Sep 7, 12:00, Volksbühne, Mitte