Reeperbahn Festival Day 1: Review

J.N. September 25, 2019

September has become synonymous with Reeperbahn Festival for Messed!Up Magazine and as the coverage of the festival increases for every year, most of September is about planning, maybe even a bit more than usual this year because of different networking meetings and finally getting the opportunity to meet agencies and labels we’ve partnered up with in the UK and Australia through our branches (face-to-face meetings are different from online chats). From that long staff meeting day in the beginning of September to the festival, it has been furious planning, and in the end we had seven interviews in our schedule and no less than eight network meetings, but also four long party nights – you also need to have fun!

Although the excitement increased for every day closer we got to the festival, nothing can describe the feeling when you finally get your accreditation badge and the wristband at the Festival Village just around the corner from St Pauli u-bahn station. Sure, we’re hanging out at Reeperbahn on gigs at something like 150 out of 365 days a year but the festival tend to triple the craziness at Reeperbahn during the four days it lasts. We’re used to a completely insane street entertainment-wise (decadence is entertainment as well) but when you know every street and street corner and can maximize your festival schedule/experience and attend as much as possible by logistic optimization, everything just seems to be that much better, more fun.

The first day of the festival started with a get-together at Ms Sis. Messed!Up invited their fellow partners Drefvet from Sweden and EyesClosed Blog from the UK for beers just before an early interview with Sleaford Mods. Just like usual the interview was postponed two hours because the band wasn’t allowed entrance at Docks, the venue. Obviously it was too crowded backstage and Sleaforders Jason and Andrew had to wait two more hours meaning two more hours of beer for us. Lovely lads, great interview, amazing photo shoot – we’re not saying more about the interview! You have to read the interview later.

Gig-wise Sleaford Mods are great entertainers. The combination of Andrew’s crazy dancing with a beer in his hand at the laptop – he basically just runs the laptop – and Jason’s theatrical performance where he’s having a monologue between himself and all the different characters that turn up in their “stories” (songs) is just amazing, andnd he just get more furious the longer the show runs. What doesn’t work out is British sarcasm and the German language barrier. When Jason jokes about the band being “old as fuck” and that everyone including themselves wait for the next band to play, people don’t really understand, but we’re used to it – if you have to pull off some jokes in Germany, express your point clearly (or speak German).

This is the point at the evening when the team splits up. Drefvet’s team head towards headCRASH and had a great show with Bitch Falcon, Ms Sis stays at Docks and cover an amazing show by Leoniden, Germany’s next super indie rock act, and the editor walks down to Molotow to watch the Sydney-siders in Planet and what all the fuzz is about with Irish powerpop act Inhaler.

Planet pulls off quite a good show with their Britpoppy sound. We were at their show already last year at Molotow when they supported the frontman’s brothers band DMA’s which are some kind super gods in Manchester (and have released the best album of the 2010s, “For Now”). Although there’s a bit left until they reach the quality of DMA’s songwriting, Planet definitely have what it takes to reach a step further and with a Took brother as the captain there must be some great songwriting skill left to explore.

Next on the schedule this first warm-up day of the festival is Inhaler, the Irish outfit that are rapidly commanding respect on the indie circuit. And they’ve also gained a reputation for another reason: frontman Elijah Hewson’s father is no less than U2’s Bono. Talent, quite clearly, runs in the family and it should be in the DNA of Inhaler to succeed. Also, given the paradigms of the modern music industry, one can only assume that Inhaler are a marketers dream. Image-wise, they scream cool in effortless fashion – it’s true 80s-esque fashion among the lads – and with the U2 connection it should open doors that most bands need a small tank to get through. However, although it’s catchy powerpop and a great performance it doesn’t really stick to me. Either it’s the beer that affects my judgment or a full to the brink Molotow that is a bit too much to really appreciate the performance.

Luckily Ms Sis arrives and after a quick beer we’re on the way to do the same mistake as last year: end the first night at Digitalism’s non-Reeperbahn Festival DJ set at Golden Pudel. Last year ended in that the editor had to carry home a completely pissed Ms Sis at 6 am and with that in mind there was some fear of a reprisal. However, after just two hours of dancing both of us almost sleep-danced and we realized that it’s better to have an early night – it was just 3 am – and recharge for the next day. A wise decision.

Photographer: ©Julia Schwendner


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About The Author

Music researcher with an unhealthy passion for music and music festivals. Former studio owner, semi-functional drummer and with a fairly good collection of old analogue synthesizers from the 70's. Indie rock, post rock, electronic/industrial and drum & bass (kind of a mix, yeah?) are usual stuff in my playlists but everything that sounds good will fit in.