Get Well Soon: Glückstränen eines Gästelistenbackstagerestebierwegtrinkers

Get Well Soon liveGroßartiges Konzert von Get Well Soon gestern im Astra in Berlin. Ordentlich abgeliefert. Man merkt, dass da wirklich noch mal was gewachsen ist. GWS war live schon immer gut. Gestern hat das vor ausverkaufter Bude aber wirklich alles gepasst (auch wenn der Sound nicht ganz perfekt war): Das war einer der stärksten Auftritte, die ich bislang von der Band gesehen habe und ein absolutes Konzerthighlight 2012. Konstantin Gropper und Co bewegen sich jetzt noch am Anfang Ihrer Tour zum neuen Album „The Scarlet Beast O’ Seven Heads“ und spielen die neuen, größtenteils wunderbaren Songs schon jetzt mit einer Präzision, Kraft und Energie, die mich alten Gästelistenbackstagerestebierwegtrinker dann doch noch schier die eine oder andere Glücksträne hat kosten lassen. Klar war da auch was Alkohol dabei und auch eine Prise Nostalgie, aber hey – man sieht Konsti und Co. ja auch nicht alle Tage, das muss man dann auch mal entsprechend feiern. Kauft euch die Platte! Schaut euch das live an! Das muss man unterstützen!

Vorband war übrigens Tu Fawning, die auch ein sehr solides und mitunter hochinteressantes Set hingelegt haben. Experimentell, mit Verstand und Können präsentieren die Künstler aus Portland, Oregon mit Ihrem zweiten Album „A Monument“ eine Indie-Pop-Platte, die endlich mal wieder was Besonderes ist. Ich schreibe das jetzt so, weil ich vor zwei Wochen auf dem Berlin Festival abgesehen von Crocodiles und Sizarr tatsächlich nicht eine interessante Band gesehen habe (Ich war nur am Samstag da). Ich hatte die Portland-Crew Tu Fawning im Vorfeld auch schon in folgender Form als Hipster-Band voreilig abgetan: Frauen mit schicken Frisuren und Männer mit Mützen machen Künstlermusik. Weit gefehlt. Die sehen nicht nur gut aus sondern sind eine klasse Band und darüber hinaus auch noch sehr nett. Wieder so ein City Slang-Coup, der sitzt. Man muss sich die Bands, die sich neben Get Well Soon inzwischen unter dem Glitzermäntelchen von Labelchef Christof Ellinghaus tummeln, echt mal bei einer Flasche Port o‘ Brien zu Gemüte führen: Arcade Fire, Calexico, Caribou, Hermann Dune, Lambchop, The Notwist, tindersticks und so weiter und so on. 1A Werkstatt.

The Scarlet Beast O’ Seven Head ist jedenfalls Konstantins drittes Album, und ich fahre derzeit selig-dösig im Bus durch Kreuzberg und Schöneberg zur Fabrik und höre mir die Platte dann an und überlege mir Sachen wie: Wie wunderbar, dass er bei „Roland, I Feel You“ das „R“ von Roland auf deutsch rollt und den Vornamen eben nicht englisch ausspricht (und wie wunderbar, dass Buddy Marc genau den gleichen Gedanken hatte). Oder wie reif Konstantins Stimme klingt beim ersten Song „Prologue“. Und wie sehr man bei diesem Stück und anderen den werdenden Vater raushört und das Glück und die Vorfreude, die da mitschwingt. Da schwinge ich als werdender Vater dann auch mit und bin glücklich, dass meine Freunde so geniale Musik machen und so Hammerkonzerte spielen. Voilà. Alles Gute für die weitere Tour. Gloria!

 

Diese Frau hat hier und heute was zu sagen

Maike Rosa Vogel im Maxim Gorki Studio BerlinVorgestern Abend: Release-Konzert von Maike Rosa Vogels neuem Album „Fünf Minuten“ im Studio des Maxim Gorki Theaters in Berlin. Es war gut. Einige von Maikes neuen Songs sitzen. Sie ist mit ihrem neuen Album jetzt am Punkt. Voll da.

Maike hat Songs gesungen, von denen einige so direkt, ehrlich, leidenschaftlich und oft wütend rüberkommen, dass jeder im Saal von Anfang an wusste, okay, diese Frau hat hier und heute was zu sagen. Viele Leute waren da, die Stimmung war gut. Christian Vinne (Percussions, u. a. Drummer bei Wallis Bird), Leander Haußmann (Mundharmonika), Sven Regener (Trompete) und andere begleiteten Maike bei einigen Songs, sie machten einen soliden Job. Die geladenen Gäste waren angenehme Zeitgenossen, der Abend kurzweilig und schön.

Man hat gemerkt: Maike hat über die letzten Jahre noch mal richtig Selbstvertrauen getankt, ihre Community und ihre Stimme gefunden, wohl einige Untiefen gemeistert, sich durchgekämpft, und jetzt bietet sie mit „Fünf Minuten“ eine Menge gesammelter Erfahrung und frischen Mut. Wenn sie dann von fünf Minuten Glück singt, die sie sich von niemandem nehmen lässt, und die sie uns allen gern zugesteht, dann tut sie das als bekennender Hippie. Für Maike bedeutet ein gutes Leben: Liebe und Familie – und das reicht. Warum auch nicht? Ein ganz starker Song heißt „So Leute wie ich“. Hier singt sie, dass sie keine Hartz IV-Bezieher kennt, die irgendwie glücklich mit ihrer Situation wären, die sich aufs „Schmarotzen“ eingestellt hätten und das klasse fänden. Sie selbst hat für 7,50 Euro die Stunde geackert, ist dann nach Hause gehetzt, hat mit ihrem Freund abgeklatscht, der direkt zum Bus gerannt ist, um dann die ganze Nacht durchzusingen, damit das nötige Geld für die Familie reinkommt. Und das Ganze ohne Krankenversicherung. Fact. Singt sie auch so. Und das ist ehrlich, das polarisiert, das tut manchmal weh, aber man fühlt, dass sie das verdammt noch mal auch so singen muss. Und denjenigen, die uns mit ihrem Fortschritt-durch-Wachstum-Wahn, ihrem verblendeten Arbeits- und Sparethos, ihrer prüder Schablonen-Pedanterie und leidigen Spießerei das Leben zu ihrer eigenen Hölle auf Erden gleichmachen wollen, zeigt sie schön den Finger: FUCK YOU, du ödes Spießer-Deutschland. Wir wollen so nicht leben, auch wenn das für viele von uns ein Leben in materieller Armut bedeutet.

Maike singt, sie sei ein Hippie, aber sie ist auch eine Rebellin, die für ein alternatives Leben Musik macht und dadurch auch mal unbequem ist. Ja, das alles ist irgendwo schon zugeschnitten auf die Boheme und hat manchmal was vom Berliner Nabelschau-Diskurs und Rechtfertigungslyrik; Maike erhebt aber keinen Universalanspruch, glaube ich. Man muss das alles nicht mögen. Es geht auch nicht um Authentizität. Es geht ums Leben und darum, vielfältiges Leben zuzulassen. Myself +

Und das geht dann doch alle was an.

Maike hat im Gorki-Studio also ein paar Saiten angeschlagen, die direkt durchgeklungen sind. Auch die Lieder von vergangenen Lieben, anderen Leben, die möglich gewesen wären und doch nie waren, nicht sind und nie sein werden – der Zweifel – haben eingeschlagen. Das erlebe ich bei Konzerten selten.

Maikes Album-Release im Gorki-Studio

Mehr Maike?

// Maikes Homepage und das neue Album „Fünf Minuten“: www.maikerosavogel.com

// Maike spielt gerade am Berliner Maxim Gorki-Theater in „Der kleine Bruder“ (nach dem Roman von Sven Regener): www.gorki.de/de_DE/calendar/repertoire/748516

// The Past: Maike mit Konstantin als „The Grand Mirage“, über die ich damals in meiner Zeit beim Zeit-Zuender schrieb.

Maifeld Derby Festival 2012

John K. Samson at Maifeld Derby 2012

John K. Samson delivering at Maifeld Derby

Verena, Marc and Timon and I rode down to the 2nd Maifeld Derby Festival in Mannheim, Southern Germany in a Toyota Yaris 1.0 on the 18th of May in the year of the Lord 2012. Catherine finally couldn’t make it because of work, which was a bit of a let-down. But although he was suffering from severe pains in his right forearm caused by hard-core-Windows-gaming and turbo-copy-pasting sessions, Timon took her place in the T., and off we were to Mannheim, leaving Berlin, the city of [insert noun here] on a beautiful Friday morning, fairly happy and merrily excited.

We arrived in Mannheim a few hours later and set up our tent in light drizzling rain. Maifeld Derby again took place on the Mannheim Maifeld Market grounds, which are set out around a massive horseracing stadium. It’s not one of those romantic nature festivals, where people take Es all the time, run around naked and dance in circles swirling coloured ribbons to Ragga Dub Electro music on strawberry fields – no, it’s a small festival based next to a motorway featuring a family atmosphere (the festival), with very friendly security staff, nice helpers at the stands selling Kumpf meat and other food provided by Timo’s parent’s (The Kumpfs), who are butchers, and very nice beer from the neighbouring town of Weinheim (“Woinemer”). There were four stages: the open air stage, the huge and fabulous circus tent, the “Parcours d’amour” stage in the the actual horse-racing track stand and another smaller open tent called I can’t remember. The Derby Stars and festival organisers Timo, Maxxi, Andrea and Peter had provided us with the necessary bracelets, so we were all sorted right from the beginning.

Setting up our tents, I realized looking around that we were quite old in comparison to most of the other campers, but hey – the kids seemed alright. Sort of. We met Dark Prince Konstantin on the festival grounds and although he kept rambling on about some sort of Communion cult we really should join (featuring a beast?) it was great to see him again after so many months. As we had arrived a lil’ late, the first act we actually saw was Hamburg’s own singer-songwriter Oli Schulz. He told a story about something or someone for a while and then only sang one more song I can’t remember and gone he was. We had missed most of his show. The next band I remember seeing was the Swedish band Friska Viljor, a proper party rock group both Timon and I disliked a little. (In fact, I was at that point in time in one of my moods and hated them and rushed out of the tent in a state of fury). After the beardy, blond indie-party-wikings had left the stage, Hooded Fang from Toronto, Ontario played, and oh my, their thin surf-guitared but heavy-based  indie punk sound was spectacular and we could actually be seen poging around in front of the stage like we used to in the old times. When they  finished, I was completely exhausted shouting „one more“, „one more“ joining a chorus of thousands. Well, I turned around to face my fellow dancers in arms and suddenly realized that there had been only about 15 people listening to the band instead of the many I had imagined afore. One of them was a man in his fifties wearing and indie military cap and sporting a silver grey beard. He looked very fit and I hope I will be just like him when I turn fifty.

I then went to see Peter and Maxxi in the centre of power and we had a few beers outside. I can’t remember a lot afterwards except that back in the circus tent a lousy DJ played boring indie stuff instead of the late night dark techno the way we Berliners like it after three in the morning. We went back to the tent and it took me ages to get my stuff sorted. Timon’s love called at six in the morning tenderly awaking us and somehow we found ourselves drinking coffee on a very hot second festival day in front of our tent waiting for Marc who was still doing the only right thing to do at this unholy morning hour – sleeping.

After a while, I went to the toilet/shower facilities where, under the showers, I met the only real freak I saw throughout the entire festival. He was a tall guy in his early forties wearing glasses, he was smiling at me in a very friendly but slightly eerie way watching me tenderly as I was trying to get rid of my medium range 6 hangover with the use of cold water. As I got out of the shower he said: „Man, it’s like a steam bath in here, isn’t it!“, and I answered „hmpf“ and thought: „What a weird thing to say at 8:30 in the morning on the second day of the second Maifeld Derby Festival.“ Later on, we saw that man walking back and forth all over the camping ground all day long in his multi-coloured boxer shorts and cycling shirt carrying a cabbage in a transparent plastic bag chatting in a friendly way to everybody sitting in front of their tents probably asking them „Would you like to touch my cabbage?“ (Marcs joke).

We decided to go to the shops before hitting the festival’s day two and somehow found ourselves driving around good old Mannheim, where Marc and I both lived for a while years back, me working for the Academy, him studying at the U. It felt a bit strange being back in the Jungbusch after such a long time. It was a very hot day and there where Catholics all over the place celebrating Catholic Day or something and singing Catholic songs. It all felt very Catholic, but we just had a Pizza at good old Gianni’s and took it over to Popacademy’s where we had a very enjoyable lunch break on the banks of the canal.

Back on the festival grounds, we were battling heat and fatigue and I wasn’t able to enjoy the bands much. I met Markus and Nina though and that was nice. I saw Aidan standing next to a fence but couldn’t bother going over to him because I was so tired. I though I’d catch up with him later but unfortunately didn’t see him again. I watched Dear Reader perform a bit and although I really liked the singer Cherilyn McNeil, I had to leave the tent because I was close to falling asleep listening to their feel-good indie-folksy songs.

And then the storm came. Marc stood looking at those dark clouds closing in; they had the form of an anvil. Bad sign. Marc proved to be a true weather prophet when he said, „This thunderstorm is going to hit us, move on an then turn around over the Odenwald and hit us again and again.“ We all had a good laugh and made fun of him but it all turned out exactly like he had toldeth us.

We were in the tent listening to John K. Samson (The Weakerthans, ex-Propagandi) while the storm was threatening to blow the whole Derby away. There was lots of rain and we became a bit worried about our tents. But watching and listening to the endless wisdom of John K. Samson made us feel alright. Ah, bless John K. Samson. I have always loved The Weakerthans and I go way back listening to them. For me this was a very special moment during the festival. Samson seems very comfortable and relaxed on stage and the way he and his nice live band connect with the audience is remarkable. Community spirit. I ordered his first solo album „Provincial“ yesterday and look forward to listening to it very much.

Meanwhile, at the festival, Timo and Co. lost their open air stage due to a short-circuit fault and had to re-schedule the following shows. Sizzar was cancelled and the open air stage stayed closed. The organisers managed this situation very well and people were very cool about it, too. We saw We Have Band from London who were great and then went to the „Parcour d’amour“ where we were entertained by the local  „Golden Hirsch Short Movie Festival“ and watched an inspiring movie called „Pseudo“ among others. Good fun the “Golden Hirsch” thing and a very, very nice event to have on a festival.

Finally, we went to the small tent where Bayern Munic had been beaten on screen shortly before and listened to the L.A. based electro-duo High Places. They played a very nice and cool set – for me it was a perfect ending for the Derby. Mary Pearson (hot) was singing in a very cool and smooth voice while turning some knobs changing it. Rob Barber, hipster-dressed like a young boy in the 50ies, took good care of the beats and stuff. Though highly concentrated, they looked slightly uncomfortable performing but then that’s what you want/get when watching the show of an avant-garde electro duo from L.A. I reckon. I met a few of my old Popsy aquaintances, which was very nice, although one of them said to me (after barely having recognised me): „Jesus, Kennedy you really have aged a little, haven’t you?“ I took this as a compliment and after a few more beers went back to the tent with my friends at two o’ clock in the morning. An old man needs a good night’s sleep.

Well, tired but happy we drove home on the next day. I really want to thank my Karakter friends again who made this wonderful little festival happen. I am very proud of them and truly thankful, as they made us feel very welcome and we had one hell of a time. I wonder what cabbage-man is doing right now though. Probably juggling cabbages at the next festival.

Strange Noise Festival 1996

Ticket für das Strange Noise Festival 1996 in TrossingenI’m off to Maifeld Derby Festival in Mannheim this weekend and really looking forward to it. Marc, Verena, possibly Timon and I will take the car and drive down south tomorrow morning. It’s funny to go back to Mannheim after almost five years and it brings back memories of golden times in the Jungbusch…I will be writing about those days another time. Talking music festivals with Timon at work a couple of days ago, I remembered the first festival I ever went to – the Strange Noise Festival in Trossingen, Southwest Germany in 1996. I was 16 years old and went there with two friends of mine, Pese and Daniel. I think our parents drove us there and I remember a sunny day on arrival and a lot of people queuing to get in. At the main entrance drunk and evil looking security guys released the arriving festival folk of thousands of litres of alcohol, drugs and all sorts of things. Back then, there were no festival websites informing people of no glass bottles on festival grounds policies. I remember the security guys being very unfriendly, rogue and perhaps even slightly violent, sneering at people and taking cocaine.

But then I was only 16, rather insecure and coolness was just a role I had to play. I remember roaming the festival with my friends with big eyes. I had never seen such an agglomeration of freaks in one place before. I was from a small village.  And at that time, I still listened to the music my father likes a lot – The Who, Cream, early Clapton etc., I loved The Doors. Before the festival, I had never heard or cared for bands performing at Strange Noise like Headcrash, Manic Street Preachers or Skunk Anansie. I already liked The Prodigy though and of course I knew (but disliked) Fanta 4.

The festival itself turned into chaos on the second day. Festival organiser Matthias Kästner had expected 15.000 people – around 40.000 came. Apparently, small town Trossingen’s supermarkets were all empty in one day and people were queuing for ages in front of the public „Freibad“ to take showers after the festival had turned into a mud bath following a thunderstorm with lots of rain. People threw mud balls at Placebo while they were performing, and folks on drugs were bathing in the small stream that ran through the festival ground (Strange Noise `96 took place in Trossingens „Teufelsgurgel“), which was full shit and debris. There weren’t enough loo cabins (perhaps 15?). I also remember drunk people turning those “Dixie” cabins upside down while somebody was in there taking a dump…ah, those were the day. Thinking of it now, it was a very rough and alcohol driven affair. I didn’t enjoy it myself that much. I remember the folks I was with not being particularly interested in  me (I wasn’t cool enough) and we had an argument during the first night in the tent, and I so left early in the morning of the second festival day, my Dad picking me up at Trossingen station, and I missed out on most of the fun. I’m not even sure I saw The Prodigy to be honest.

A few of my today friends also went to this festival. I know Oli was there and so was Maxxi. It’s nice to know they were there at the same time and that we became friends only years and years later in other cities. Who else went there? Tell me about your memories of the festival – or share your memories of your very first music festival. I’m packing my stuff to get ready for the Derby now and look forward to your comments. Maifeld Derby, here we come!

Get Well Soon: Dark Prince breaking bad?

Konstantin Gropper, Get Well Soon

Has he lost it? „Dark Prince“ K Gropper looking out of a window.                       ((Photo by Jens Oellermann))

Scary: Konstantin Gropper and new cult “The Communion of The Beast”

There seems to be something seriously wrong with artist Konstantin Gropper aka Get Well Soon. While everybody is excited about his soon to be released new album “The Scarlet Beast O‘ Seven Heads” (City Slang / August 2012), a lot his fans are becoming increasingly worried about Gropper’s strange doings with a new and possibly very dangerous cult called “The Communion of the Beast” (C.O.B.).

Get Well Soon’s communications and marketing campaign for “The Scarlet Beast” in the beginning of May 2012 was flanked by ominous allusions and links to this new U.S.A. based sect, which appears to have already thousands and thousands of followers in the States according to Kennedy Calling’s sources. Also, it seems to be the case that “C.O.B.” has taken over Get Well Soon’s website www.youwillgetwellsoon.com. After accessing the homepage, fans are now being immediately redirected to C.O.B.’s website http://www.cob-web.info/. The name of the URL itself is rather remarkable.

After Gropper, who is also called „The Dark Prince“ by his fans, had received hundreds of worried eMails, he finally wrote a newsletter on May 11 “becalming” his followers: “First of all, we would like to thank you for your numerous reports that our „homepage“ has been ‘hacked’. We can becalm you. Everything is alright. Even more so: We have found our true home and our true purpose.”

The website  http://www.cob-web.info/ features videos introducing its leader, a Mr. Nathanael Threadwell, who, sporting a rather nifty beard, invites “siblings” to join the “Communion of the Beast”:

Kennedy Calling spoke to  Gropper’s manager and close friend Maxwell Schenkel (Karakter Management) who in a phone interview said: “We have been very worried about K ever since he moved back south a couple of years ago. In 2010, he bought an old, black castle overlooking the river Rhine, and we heard news of occult ceremonies and wild and nasty celebrations going on down there. There was talk about crazy donkeys that held 60 minutes speeches. We have completely lost contact. We are scared. We hope he will get well soon, he still is and always will be our beloved brother, our Prince of Dark.”

After the succsessful releases of his first two albums Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon (2008) and Vexations (2010), the only obvious and sorrowful conclusion now seems to be that Get Well Soon, as a project,  has actually always been aiming at supporting the new church „Communion of the Beast“, while the sect’s sort of nerdy leader Threadwell is obviously seeking world supremacy.  It is also said that if you listen to Get Well Soon’s new single You Can Not Cast Out The Demons (You Might As Well Dance) backwards, you can hear secret “Satanic Messages” (in German “Satanische Botschaften”).

Moreover, photos have appeared on the internet that seem to indicate that also other V.I.Ps have joined the C.O.B:

This whole scenario is  rather ominous as noone really seems to care at all about  C.O.B. taking over. Kennedy Calling has spoken to the German inner secret service “Verfassungsschutz” but they just stated: “Sorry, but as you know we really have more important issues at hand right now. We are thinking about changing our name into something more suitable.”

Kennedy Calling will be closely following further developments regarding Get Wells Soon and The Communion of the Beast. Stay tuned. Take care.

Please note: If you feel threatened by Get Well Soon or C.O.B – don’t worry. Kennedy Calling has set up a help desk  that will help you get well soon. We care for you!
Y o u  A re   W e l co m e: KC Help Desk