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Postcards from Germany (not Berlin)

alison87

TRIBE Member
Part two of my "oh my god i can't take it any more" escape from work was a quick week-long excursion to Germany for a deep house rave in Kassel. I know i could've gone to a lot more crazy parties in Berlin, but this party was special to me, plus i figured it wouldn't be much of an escape from all the overtime if i only slept 2 hours a day, so Frankfurt was my destination.

Day one i headed to a tiny suburban club night with fucking Thomas Heckman and Alfred Heinrichs headlining. I mean, i know Heckman went all hard dance in the 2000s, but this dude is a fucking acid techno legend from way back. And Heinrichs is becoming a modern-day tech-house/minimal mogul with Supdub and Moonplay and all the remixes he's doing. 12 euro. There were like 50 kids there - everyone was in Frankfurt for some big tech-house thing at Dora Brilliant/Tanzhaus West. But i was at a little converted station house in the suburbs.

It took me back to my own European youth, drinking beers and dancing and smoking with the small-town teens. And they loved it, even in a fairly empty club (downstairs capacity was probably around 150). They whooped and cheered, and why wouldn't they? One girl traveled 100km to see Heckman. I felt kinda awkward when i realized i was listening to him before she was born, but she didn't care, so then neither did i. Later on one of the other kids told me he's second generation - his mom was a raver "in the techno days". Apparently it's not the "techno days" any more; there's a real sense it's gone terribly underground over there now, which is funny because i was in a town smaller than Newmarket listening to fucking real techno music at a nightclub with sound better than any of the downtown Toronto joints the same size. What a trip.

On Wednesday i headed to the aforementioned deep house party in Kassel, of which none of the DJs were particularly well-known besides Mira from Bar25/Katerholzig. Before the party i gate-crashed after-work drinks at a local bar. The guys there were speechless that i would even consider holidaying in the area ("you're crazy coming here, there's no sun, it's a small town, if you come to Germany at least go to Berlin, or just forget it and go to Spain or something"). What they don't realize, and i can't explain to them, is that for 15 euro they are getting world-class talent spinning a 3-room, 600+ person rave, with proper lights, proper sound, and a serious focus on underground house of all flavors (deep, tech, jacking and progressive). Man, maybe Guelph throws these parties all the time, and i just don't know. Someone tell me. Because these DJs were absolutely flawless from beginning to end, the bar served through the night, there was plenty of room to sit and chill... Fucking awesome. It helped that it was in yet another converted brownstone - or two, actually, because the alleyway between them was converted into a vast patio/beer garden as well. There's always something cool about partying in an old building, but - and maybe i'm getting old - it's real nice when you can do it with proper toilets, sound, seating and a bar too.

Saturday i was back in Frankfurt and i hit up a local "open air", which is their equivalent of a Cherry Beach/Bounce By The Lake day party. I walked in to hear Robert Owens "Bring Down the Walls", so i knew it was going to be good from the get-go. Deep and funky house, tech/minimal and progressive - classics and the latest stuff. And this just in a suburb of Frankfurt. But it's not just the local kids there (although there are a lot). City people fucking travel there too. They understand they're not going to ever get any decent clubs downtown where all the yuppies are buying condos, so they grab what they can in light industrial areas out of town, and they fucking GO. Train, bus, cab, drive, who gives a fuck? It's raining? Who fucking cares? It's sad that Toronto doesn't seem to have that mentality (and neither did any of the places i lived in Australia). Lansdowne is too far? Please. I'm all for more parties at the fucking Downsview airport. Build a club out there. Make it a destination. The sun will fucking shine if enough people start dancing.

But back to the open-air. Great music, great people. They aren't afraid to dance; there isn't that nervous "who's gonna be the first on the dancefloor" thing, people just go off however the fuck they like, wherever the fuck they like. I no longer felt like the odd one out for doing so. I was surprised and delighted to see that "the techno viking" is actually a real dance move here. And that they've learned since the 90s - YouTube has taught the younger kids the Melbourne shuffle (or some bastardized version of it). And they all give it a try. It's great to see. Total Cherry Beach vibe, though perhaps a bit younger and with legal alcohol. Five euros.

Sadly i had to leave early because otherwise i knew i wouldn't make it to the Katermukke labelnacht alive. Btw. If any of you get the chance to go to Level 6 nightclub in Darmstadt, a word of advice: don't think you're only 20 minutes away from Frankfurt because that's how long the express train takes. Because when you get there it's another 20 minute walk through some sketchy back streets that are a hell of a lot longer at 1am than they were on Google Maps in the hotel. But it's Europe, so what's the worst that could happen? Almost not finding the club. Even with the address there's no streetside indication that it's on the sixth floor of a darkened parking garage. I was lucky some random drunk kids on the street told me to take the elevator, or i may've missed Dirty Doering's whole damn set.

When the elevator opens there's a full-on luxy-de-luxe cocktail bar. Bottles of champagne on the menu. I thought i was in the wrong place till i realized all the people in hoodies and tanks and sneakers were in the back room dancing already. Fucking niiice. Caipirinhas and techno. Quality lighting and SICK sound. I mean, this was a really, really, fucking nice club, the nicest i went to "features"-wise. But still probably only a couple hundred capacity, and still playing proper underground music.

Well perhaps not that underground. I was pretty disappointed to hear Dirty Doering play that kinda disco-y big bassline electro-ish house that is so popular in the Toronto "deep" (pff) house scene. It might actually be new and cool over there where tech-house/minimal is ubiquitous, but for me, ugh. Which sucks because Katermukke has consistently put out some of my most favorite tracks this past year - real interesting and quirky deep and dubby house. Perhaps they save that for the crazy Berlin afterparties? When Re.you and Martin Dacar came on they saved the day. Straight up you-know-what-you're-gonna-get German tech-house/minimal. No big surprises, but proper funky dance tunes. I guess that's the commercial style over there. When they go "edgy" they either go American/jacking or UK/disco/shit.

But of course i'm just being a music nerd, because when the closing DJ came on at 6am and he cranked it up a notch to proper fucking Ostgut techno, then even further right up to hard dance, people just kept dancing. It was really refreshing to not be hanging around a bunch of genre snobs or DJ/muso chinstrokers. Maybe they're all in Berlin? ;-)

So anyway. I didn't see any 14 year olds getting blow-jobs (sorry Jeffsus), didn't have any 48 hour extravaganzas, didn't see any of the "big names"... But i got to go to a bunch of really cool intimate parties with a really good vibe, playing music i liked, with a real up-for-it crowd. What an experience. I know it's not everyone's idea of the big European techno adventure, but i honestly don't know how it could've been any better for me. Partying and relaxing, whoever would've thunk it possible. <3
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
A taste...

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/professionaldreamer/a-professional-dreamer-at-5[/soundcloud]
 

ravinjunkie

TRIBE Member
Love your reading about your adventures!

Check out any tech safari event in Quebec and you won't be disappointed.
 

cosmosuave

TRIBE Member
Enjoyable review..

Liked this the best...

" which is funny because i was in a town smaller than Newmarket listening to fucking real techno music at a nightclub with sound better than any of the downtown Toronto joints the same size. What a trip."
 
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