Berlin. October 2018. October 11, 12 and 13 to be precise. Two venues in Berlin turn into a psychedelic and stoner paradise.
Welcome to Headz Up Fest 2018!
If you don’t know — Zukunft is the place. It’s the future, man. A garden to have a snack, a drink and a smoke. A bar to drink and smoke. To be honest, in Berlin people smoke everywhere despite the warning signs. Two stages — main one and a basement.
I’m not sure if this is the first edition or not, but it was rad. I mean, just look at the poster. I went to see Naxatras, The Re-Stoned and Kalamata. Their respective shows were great. Sound, the crowd, the vibe. All good. Naxatras and The Re-Stoned clearly were the headliners of their evenings — the crowd was at its max for the day.
It’s a second time a see this band and this show was a whole new level compared to what I saw in Hydrozagadka one year ago. Back then they were sort of warming up, pushed late by a first band and forced to quickly collect their gear on their own from the stage. This time they are headlining the evening on a big stage. Sound is perfect, lots of time. No pressure. The show was relaxed.
Me and quite some others dived (propelled?) into a wavey parallel world and swirled to the psychedelic tunes of Yannis D, Yannis V. and kicks of Kostas X. Already after the encore, while disassembling equipment, the crowd squeezed another song, the venue manager gave a thumbs up and all the stars collided into a single ray. Epic. You need to see them, they are something!
Instead, this was quite a fuzzy stoner gig. They are promoting their latest release “Ram’s Head“. Just listen to the music. It was very atmospheric. Btw, they are looking for new places to play and if you happen to know your local promoter/organizer, head to their facebook page and connect them.
Kalamata was less fortunate and played on a tiny basement stage. Yet, it added to the cosy atmosphere where the band is on the same level with the crowd. Cornered. Literally. It was intense experience. As you don’t see much, it’s hot and dense… you relax and close your eyes and dissolve in the music. I don’t remember much as most of the gig my eyes were closed and I was right there in the moment. All I remember — a feeling that it was a great hour.
Farflung closed the first evening of the festival. Me and some people I met didn’t know them and we were quite delighted to see them live. It was…. different? new? old? old school? atmospheric? I can’t find correct words, but it’s somewhere in the middle of what I mentioned. Just watch this Dunajam gig and this official video.
Wow wow wow! It felt like 90s! I felt like I traveled in time! They hail from Los Angeles, from 1992. Their music and their performance has some special West Coast vibe, something from the 90s and even a bit of 80s. Soundtrack of “Halt and Catch Fire” came to my mind. It was rad.
A guy in a suite, screaming into a mic, squeezing space sounds from his keyboards and a groovy band. At one point a very energetic punkish sound, at another very psychedelic space propelling bridges.
Electric Moon were the closing band of the fest. I never heard about them before and what I heard… I liked. A lot. An interesting mix. Samsara Blues Experiment popped up from my memory. But The Moon is heavier, there are no vocals, tracks are even longer and riffs are quite repetitive and some of my friends found that boring. I, on the contrary, found those repetitive riffs of quite long tracks to be very hypnotizing and enjoyed it a lot. I’ll definitely will be listening to them now.
Vodun are three-piece from London. They won the prize of the best dressed band of that weekend. I’d lie to you, if I’d hide a fact that Skunk Anansie came to my mind as soon as I heard them. Both the vocals and the music style seemed similar.
Also, first time a see such sorcery when a guitar, through some magic, also acts as a bass. Unfortunately, right in the middle of the set this magic stopped working and after spending some time the band moved one with only the guitar.
They were very powerful, the drummer kicked the shit out of the set and overall performance seemed very passionate. Similarity with Skunk Anansie is only the first impression and they are a strong act on their own. At first I was, honestly, WTF is that and after the show I’d say that I would like to see them again.
Red Lama is a big (by the number of members) band from Denmark. To be honest, I didn’t listen to them since the show and I didn’t know who they are, but I do remember that I liked their performance. This means that both me and you, my dear reader, should invest some time to discover their music.
Bonus — Spotify Playlist
And that’s about it. Festival ended with vinyl party in Zukunft bar and it was fun. Thank you to all the bands, friends, Rob and the team for making that long October weekend so good and special.