Quarter Life Crisis

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Live

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Remember the summer? Enthusiastic record reviews could be read, songs could be downloaded and loved, records could be ordered, given too many rides in the CD player and loved – all in the context of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Where the even stranger aspect was that it’s hard to tell why exactly I like their album so much. It sounds strange and blurry in places. Indeed, the singing can be so unclearly pronounced that you start wondering whether the singer’s parents will recognise him on the phone when he calls. But it’s just full of goodness, making me want to see the band.

And somehow they seem to start being successful and more widely known, playing outside the U.S. and even in Berlin, which I only learned about two days ago. With the gig being on a Thursday and me having to be at uni on Fridays for numerous seminars this was a challenge. But luckily I had passed on my Clap Your Hands Say Yeah goodness to Jochen and he was quite keen on going as well. Plus he has a car. Together this gave the borderline insane plan to drive the 350km to Berlin after uni, see the gig and then drive back to be back in time for seminars on Friday morning. The plan was made, tickets were bought, and Away we go…

Just that we didn’t. Jochen couldn’t find his car. And it turned out it had been towed. It hadn’t even been parked illegally to begin with but a construction site was set up where it was parked early this week… and, as has been learned now, you’re supposed to look whether such things happen at least every three days. With Göttingen being a place where you’ll only need a car when leaving town, this didn’t happen. So the car was gone and had to be gotten back, by going somewhere out of town, paying horrendous charges for the towing and even the parking of the car and our clever plan was close to failing. But we left anyway, as we figured that we could still make it if the driving was good.

I think I’ll skip the part of the story where we went the wrong way on the motorway (probably a situation where my strategy of not paying any attention to other people’s driving backfired) for a while before figuring out that we’d rather go the other way and head straight to us having a pretty good ride on the Autobahn, maxing the car out – which in the tiny black French car (identified by me as a blue Polo) means going just 160 (km/h) and arriving in Berlin on time. The next challenge was to find the club. This looked tricky. An internet route planner had given us a route with around twenty little steps, each detailing where and when to turn in full sentences. Not very handy, particularly when two thirds of them could have been covered by the simple instruction to just stay on the B2 until we reach the Brandenburg gate…

We ended up finding the club at once and arriving on time – five minutes early even. Well done! On our way to the club we met some other people asking for the way – and for sure we could help. The other people were from Berlin. But from another part of town. And in Berlin people like to think that all their parts of town are extremely different and more exciting than the others. In fact they even asked us whether the club’s name, Mudd Club would be pronounced in an English or German way in this part of town. Eeeek! I thought, I don’t know and you shouldn’t care. But at least he had made the point of being from another – presumably cooler – part of town. We didn’t go on to elaborate that we’re not from Berlin at all – just didn’t seem worth it.

Anyway, the small club was quite full and we had to push a little to get reasonably good places a few metres from the stage. People were quite stubborn. But eventually things worked out reasonably well. Particularly because all the young kids these days seem to be quite small – making it OK to be standing behind them. After a short while the band came on and played the songs from their album and a few other ones.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on stage

While I didn’t expect the band to be the most offensively energetic one in the world – after all their music isn’t of that kind either – I found them a little bit too unenergetic in total. It almost seemed as if they were at bit tired, bored or ill. And only one of the keyboard/guitarists looked like he was having fun more than just occasionally. A bit more enthusiasm would have been nice.

Guitarists/Keyboarders of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on stage;/a>

But then again, they did play their songs. And I still liked them. Particularly Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood is starting to be utterly addictive. Even something as presumably boring as Child Stars being sung thirty times in a row is brilliant. I don’t know why… but I might have to make a T-shirt with those words. In fact, repetition of lyrics is quite common in their songs, but its never boring. They also played a new (unknown to me, anyway) song revolving around Satan which featured fierce repetitions of the word satan. That was rather cool. Particularly as the song was a bit more rhythmic than many of the others.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on stage

As it is with ‘young’ bands – they have less songs than you want them to have. And after having played their album, some extra songs and a Bob Dylan cover they ran out of further material (or just didn’t want to play anymore) and the gig was over. Too soon. I would’ve enjoyed some more songs.

Finally, let me mention that I thought the singer looks like the grown up brother of Zach Braff. Particularly when singing the really incomprehensible bits of lyrics and rolling his eyes when doing so, I was reminded of Scrubs…

After the gig, there was a party with music made by the Karrera Klub people. That was fun as well. Basically they started playing all the popular bands of the year. And some of the favourite bands of the previous years as well. From Arcade Fire to BRMC, from The Libertines to Babyshambles and so on. A little bit too obvious in the choice of songs perhaps, but enjoyable while it lasted and we had to leave.

After a brief walk through fresh and cold air, looking at night-time Berlin, we returned to the car and off we went… After more uneventful hours in the car that raised our awareness of the huge number of trucks driving around in the night we made it home by half past four or so. Astonishingly I managed to be in uni in time for our seminar at nine this morning.

Some night-time street corner in Berlin

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

December 9, 2005, 21:09

Tagged as clap your hands say yeah, live.

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