1068 words on German Music
Welcome to this inappropriately titled post. ‘Campus Live Open Air 2005’ might be considered a more appropriate title as it was the official name of the event I attended. Just that due to some rain coming the whole event wasn’t open air on the campus itself but rather moved into the ZHG and ‘ZHG Live 2005’ wouldn’t have been too meaningful, I guess. ZHG is an acronym for Zentrales Hörsaalgebäude, the central lecture theatre building. It’s a huge 1970s concrete mess and already didn’t do too well when Kettcar played in Göttingen.
While the organisers had made an effort to use the building more wisely, trying to hide its enormous size by placing the stage differently than they did before, it still looked crap. The fact that very few people turned up – we guessed about 200 – didn’t help. Just another hint at how lame this village is. When three bands, Lolita Nace, Bosse and Madsen, are playing couldn’t town with allegedly more than 120000 inhabitants and over 25000 students have a few more people who’d like to come?
Just imagine you’re in a huge concrete building with a number of people that is an order of magnitude too low to fill it. It’s still light outside and there are enough windows around to remind you of that. Let’s say that’s not exactly rock’n’roll. While it could be cool to have large concerts, I wonder why they never try to organise something slightly smaller – smaller venues, cheaper stages and so on. How can it be expected that sufficient numbers of people come to a larger event if there isn’t an ongoing culture of smaller events to begin with?
The first band to play were Lolita Nace. That second word was pronounced in an English way, which irritated me as I didn’t know it (and neither does the computer’s dictionary) and I thought it should be Spanish or so. When seeing their poster and logo I started thinking that it might be a short form of ‘menace’ perhaps… a mystery.
Anyway, the band is a local one with a female singer (which is amusing as the only other remotely known band from Göttingen, the Guano Apes, have a female singer as well – odd in that predominantly male industry). According to friends they’ve been around for a while – with other names perhaps. The singer talked a bit too much for my taste but definitely did a good job at it, hitting just the right speed and keeping the energy in there. She seemed to be a more powerful and less blonde version of Avril Lavigne (in a non-insulting way).
The band’s music wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, though. Reasonably well played and noisy but a bit too noisy for my taste. People who’re into that kind of stuff might even enjoy it.
After a considerable break Bosse played. Noisy and somewhat catchy stuff. I had read about the guy and his band before but never heard the music. I didn’t 100% like it but it sounded like solid current German music. It’s amazing how we’re starting to have numerous bands singing in German in the past years. And even those which don’t qualify as brilliant creative geniuses can be good enough to not be an embarrassment and even be reasonably good. Perhaps I should check out their CD. In some parts the music had a light touch of the 1980s. If that’s too dominant on the CD, I won’t like it but if the more noisy and powerful bits are it might be all right.
The singer was wearing horrible trousers, by the way. Probably some fashion stuff but the front pockets started by far lower than they should and it looked really strange.
I’ve written about Madsen’s album before and was quite keen to see them play live, hoping that the live setting would make their music a bit more aggressive and powerful – removing the cheesy tendencies from the CD. And for sure, the instruments were more noisy – though not as rough as they could’ve been. What completely put me off, though, was the singer. Expectedly quite a young guy (with quite a cool T-shirt, white with some black outlined faces on it), but his voice sounded by far younger than on the album. Saying he sounded like a smurf would be unfair but he sounded by far younger than on the album, making the songs sound somewhere between whiney and friendly.
And – at least in my book – they shouldn’t sound like that. As I mentioned previously their lyrics are quite ‘charming’. But that charme is a very odd and borderline one. It’s the charme of the painfully obvious lines which will have run through your teenage brain as well at the time. Lines which usually won’t be used for lyrics because they seem too obvious, but which just seemed to work for me on the CD. Listening to the live music broke that. For example, singing
Gib mir Liebe, gib mir Haß,in Lüg mich an, which roughly translates to
gib mir Sehnsucht, gib mir Kraft.
Verfolg mich, betäub mich,
gib mir alles, was Du hast.
Bitte lüg mich an, komm und lüg mich an.
Gib mir ein Wort, gib mir eine Form,
in der ich leben kann.
Lüg mich an!
Give me love, give me hate,can make very different impression when sung shyly or forcefully, ironically or honestly. Subtle nuances can make a big difference. And, unfortunately, the live singing changed my perception for the worse. And after that change… I can even hear the aspects I don’t like on the CD. Which is a shame – or just an improvement of my previous judgement. My suggestion would be to put the singer on a diet of cigarettes and whiskey…
give yearning, give me strength.
Chase me, benumb me,
give me everything you have.
Please lie to me, come and lie to me.
Give me a word [this also means ‘promise’ in German], give me a shape,
in which I can live.
Lie to me!
Apart from the strange voice the band also did strange things like playing a few bars of other bands’ well-known songs between their own. They also tried too much to be funny and cool. Perhaps another problem that cigarettes and whiskey can cure.