Archive for the ‘Berlin music’ Category

Gig 14 – Sunday 1st September 2013 @ Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
The end is neigh and the final show of this year’s summer tour looms large!
A last minute line-up change is called for after Lewis Gibson goes on a last minute holiday… to the rescue are a drum student, a local guitar legend and a couple of festival performers all brought together by the one and only Ewan Gibson. Naming themselves after a poetry meet The Soul Cypher featuring Mekkah & Twenty20 had a practice in the afternoon before the show and delivered a pretty convincing set (I’d love to have seen them if they were a full-time collective). Along with their sense of adventure the two American MCs also brought a touch of musical magic to the start of this event as everything was so relaxed and in the spirit of making good music and enjoying sharing the results.

The Soul Cypher live at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

The Soul Cypher live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh


We get ourselves set-up on the familiar stage of Henry’s and launch into our forty-minute set of dark electronica. The sound is tight and loud and we are pleased to hear that we’ve ‘awakened the goth’ in one enthusiastic fan in particular. It’s a good crowd that includes some familiar faces who are here to support our last show of the tour and check out The Penny Black Remedy. We’re really pleased with the response and happy to have played 14 great gigs stretching back to the first night of the tour back in July.
Sacre Noir live at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh - Photo by Flare Photography

Sacre Noir live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh – Photo by Flare Photography


By the time The Penny Black Remedy took to the stage everyone in the venue was ready for their unique brand of musical mayhem, and once again the group didn’t disappoint. As with their show in Glasgow they mixed tracks from their debut LP with tracks from their latest release ‘Inhale… Exhale… Ok, Now You Can Panic!’ to great effect and had the crowd dancing and whooping for Keith’s guitar solos.
The Penny Black Remedy live at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

The Penny Black Remedy live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh


Looking back it’s been an amazing month and a half of gigs and travelling, playing to the new audiences and hanging out in some great cities. Big thanks are due to all the venues and promoters who have helped along the way; The Banshee Labyrinth, Box, The Vibe Bar, The Arc, Power’s Bar, The Dublin Castle, Belushi’s Gare du Nord and Canal Paris, Le Vieux Leon, Soupanova, Little Stage, Pfefferbett Hostel, Pivo Pivo, Henry’s Cellar Bar, Craig McGee, Plugged In Switched On, Bearsuit Promotions, Ben & Lio @ Belushi’s, Selina @ Soupanova, Alex @ Little Stage, Charlotte @ Pfefferbett, It’s a XXXX Blog Thing and Claire @ Henry’s. Big thanks are also due to all the fine bands we played with along the way; Llennett, Hot Jupiter, Little Love and the Friendly Vibes, Tom Coyne, Sir Spence, The Joy, George Frakes, Andy Docherty and The Caped Crusaders, Dressmaker, The Ocean’s Above, Mickey 9s, The Soul Cypher featuring Mekkah and Twenty20 and The Penny Black Remedy.
You can check out a video below which features footage from the gigs, interviews during the tour and more – a great snapshot into the touring life with Sacre Noir.

Saturday 10th August 2013
Markets in the morning

Food & Flower Market, Charlottenburg

Food & Flower Market, Charlottenburg

Sunday 11th August 2013
Berlin bears; Maxi & Schnute

the controversial Berlin bears

the controversial Berlin bears

Monday 12th August 2013
Kreuzberg then the Tiergarten

graffiti / flyer in Kreuzberg

graffiti / flyer in Kreuzberg


Alexis by The Spree

Alexis by The Spree

Tuesday 13th August 2013
Heinrich-von-Kleist-Park, Schöneberg & KaDeWe

in the north of Schöneberg

in the north of Schöneberg


"desirable goods from around the world"

“desirable goods from around the world”

Wednesday 14th August 2013
Trip to Wannsee & Football at Belushi’s

We went to see Wannsee

We went to see Wannsee


a seat with a view

a seat with a view

Thursday 15th August 2013
Picnic in the Schlossgarten & recording a “Black & White Session” in Berlin

map reading skills

map reading skills


Carrie Noir pre-session

Carrie Noir pre-session


making the music...

making the music…

Friday 16th August 2013: Travel Day
Time to go home to Edinburgh via Glasgow

Almost home

Almost home

Next gig: Thursday 29th August, 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

Final tour gig: Sunday 1st September, 2013 at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

Thursday 8th August 2013 – Day off in Berlin

It’s been go, go, go for over a week now and today we got to have a proper day off; no secret gigs, no travel and no promoters to deal with, so we started the day in a very relaxed fashion, and went out for breakfast at a near-by backwerk (baked goods), this tested my language skills a lot… I think I’m getting the words right, but my pronunciation is clearly very poor as I had to repeat everything to the waitress at least twice before she understood me. This made me realise that the small amount of effort I’ve been putting into learning French recently has really helped (thanks to Lucile for the lessons), and that I’m sure with a similar effort my German could be much better too.
We popped back to the apartment to make use of the washing machine before heading out to do a spot of shopping in one of our favourite areas in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg. P’berg is in the borough of Pankow and was once very popular with the bohemian Berlin youth, although we discovered that recently it has become a much more expensive area due to it’s popularity – just like in London it seems that the “money” in this city likes to follow the artist community. A special treat for us was to see the Nick Gregson graffiti that we used for the ‘Sinking Into Darkness’ LP cover whilst in the area – she’s still looking good!

Sacre Noir with Nick Gregson graffiti in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Sacre Noir with Nick Gregson graffiti in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin


We had pizza for lunch at a nice little café and wandered down to Alexanderplatz, which was busy with food and drinks stalls, local clothing and entertainment. There are a lot of mainstream shops & department stores in the area so it was really nice to see some local traders here too.
We’d arranged to pop into Pfefferbett to have a chat with the booker for our show tomorrow night and as they had live music on we thought we’d go there next to check it out. All the arrangements are as agreed and our contact at the hostel is super-cool (as the Berliners say), really friendly and welcoming and excited about our show.
Pfefferbett's secret garden, Berlin

Pfefferbett’s secret garden, Berlin


The band playing was called Halfblind Henry & His Instabilities who describe themselves as Americana / Soulblues / Folk ‘n’ Roll, but as it was a stripped back show I’m not sure we got to see the full range of their musical stylings. The vocalist (Halfblind Henry himself) played guitar & sang and his Instabilities provided backing on a range of other instruments; slide guitar, bass, harmonica, percussion, melodica & sax. We stayed to enjoy their first set then caught the U-Bahn over to Kreuzberg to have tea at a great Indian restaurant we’ve eaten at before called Iman’s – the food is excellent & the service is fault-free.
Eating at Iman's in Kreuzberg,

Eating at Iman’s in Kreuzberg,


It started raining at about 10pm so we decided to call it a night and headed home – easier said than done. The first U-Bahn we got on terminated before it’s final destination, so we had to change a couple more times before we were back on track.

Friday 9th August 2013
Gig 12 – Pfefferbett, Berlin (Acoustic show)

This morning I was rudely awoken by the telephone ringing at 8.30am, then the doorbell at 9am, then the neighbours a little later, something was telling me it was time to get up! We went out the Schlossgarten just up the road and had a nice relaxing stroll along the Spree.

Charlottenburg Schlossgarten, Berlin

Charlottenburg Schlossgarten, Berlin


It’s our last ‘away’ gig tonight for this year’s summer tour and it’s an acoustic show so we didn’t have to worry about taking any equipment – just some stock, a mailing list and ourselves. We arrived at Pfefferbett around 6pm and the sun was still shining so a gig in the garden it is!
Chalkboard at Pfefferbett, Berlin

Chalkboard at Pfefferbett, Berlin


The guitar choices are classical or classical so the sound is very quiet, but the crowd that start to gather on the terrace are very attentive and seem to really enjoy our set. We played for just over an hour and then ate at the venue (Currywurst & frites) before heading along to the ‘open stage jam’ at Little Stage in Neukoln. The talent on show in the bar was great and such a variety of instruments and styles… Alexis had a jam with some guitarists, piano & keys, bass and saxophone (look out for some footage in the tour video – coming soon) and it was great to see him playing drums again. Usually I’m onstage too and I can’t remember the last time I got to just sit back and enjoy.
Jam session at Little Stage in Neukoln, Berlin

Jam session at Little Stage in Neukoln, Berlin


Whilst we were there we caught up with Alex and managed to get the live recordings from our gig, so we’ll be able to mix them when we get home and possibly even have a couple of live tracks to send out to our mailing list subscribers when we return.
1.30am and the U-Bahn is still running so it’s no problem travelling across the city to get back to the apartment.

Next gig: Thursday 29th August, 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

It's gonna be a great gig!

It’s gonna be a great gig!

Next gig: Sunday 1st September, 2013 at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
swapping The Mickey 9’s for the mighty Lewis Gibson & The Midas Touch for the final show in Edinburgh – bring it on!

Gig 11 – Wednesday 7th August 2013 @ Little Stage, Berlin

We had a bit of lie in to make up for lack of sleep on the ‘sleeper train’ and woke up feeling fully refreshed and ready for tonight’s concert. It’s not so hot today and I think last night’s storm helped reduce the heat. It’s so nice having such a large apartment to spread ourselves out in and a real treat having tea / coffee on the balcony for breakfast. We headed out for lunch at Extrablatt just round the corner from the apartment, off Bismarkstrasse. We had fish and frites all round and it was tasty and filling.
We went back home to get packed up before leaving for tonight’s show having checked that everything is still working after dragging it through the storm last night. The U7 line takes us all the way to Neukoln, so no need to change on the way.

Carrie and poster outside Little Stage, Berlin

Carrie and poster outside Little Stage, Berlin


We arrived at Little Stage for soundcheck at 5pm and met Alex our American sound engineer and Bert the owner who were both very welcoming. After some drinks we get set-up and ready to make some noise. Everything sounded great and Alex was able to record our set so that we can get the live wave files of the show straight from the mixing desk. We got coffees and juice from a nearby café as we had a few hours to wait before show time and also took a wander round Kornerpark which is just along the road from the venue.
Carrie and Alex (sound engineer) - Little Stage, Berlin

Carrie and Alex (sound engineer) – Little Stage, Berlin


We typed up some blogs and chatted to Mark the barman and Alex until it was time to perform. We’re lucky enough that several fans have come along especially to check out the Sacre Noir live experience, plus some regulars in the bar makes for a good crowd and we felt that we delivered an excellent show.
Sacre Noir onstage at Little Stage, Berlin

Sacre Noir onstage at Little Stage, Berlin


After a few hard disk problems we realised we’d have to return to collect the files that Alex has recorded, however this gives us a great excuse to pop back to Little Stage and check out the talent another night.

Next gig: Friday 9th August, 2013 6.30pm at Pfefferbett Hostel, Berlin

Gig 10 – Tuesday 6th August 2013 @ Soupanova, Berlin

Arriving in Berlin is always a joy, unfortunately everything on tour has gone too well for this to last and we encountered a few problems…
1 – our train was due to arrive at 8:28 am – it was over an hour late (we were informed by the guard when we asked what was going on that “the plan had changed” – this wasn’t a great help)
2 – our train was meant to terminate at the main station in Berlin HBF, but in another unexpected twist it didn’t get that far and we were left at a (building site) station further to the north. Again, no explanation from the staff at all and this led to a much more convoluted trip across the city with all our bags.
I can’t help feel this is not the face of German efficiency that we’ve previously experienced. Part of what we love about this city is that everything works as it’s meant to and with very little sleep on the “sleeper” it’s safe to say I was not in the best mood.
We arrived at our apartment in Charlottenburg around 11am and this immediately turned our mood around as it’s really great. Huge rooms, nice and clean & fully furnished, so nothing to moan about there at all. After our host showed us round we headed straight out for a much needed cup of coffee / tea and a visit to Kaiser (supermarket) for some supplies for the apartment. We had lunch in the flat on the balcony in the sun (almost 40 degrees), showered and before we knew it, it was time to head off to Soupanova for the first of our 3 Berlin shows.
Having played at this venue last year we were confident in finding the place so didn’t stress too much about leaving loads of time to get tickets etc… perhaps the 3rd problem of the day. The machines in the station didn’t take our cards and some of the ATMs in the city also refused to give us money. We eventually got the cash to buy our 7 day travel passes (which are mega cheap at only 28.80 Euros each) and headed across the city to Prenzlauerberg.
Set up and sound-check went really well so we headed along the road to eat at ‘Mai Thai’ which was great on our last visit and was very nice again this time round. We played two sets at Soupanova; both quite chilled out, the second more so than the first.

Soundcheck @ Soupanova, Berlin

Soundcheck @ Soupanova, Berlin


In the audience from the start was a girl who had seen us at Power’s Bar in London & enjoyed our set then so was keen to see us again (this is the kind of music fan we love). Not only has this girl seen us at two of our tour shows in two different cities, but she brought her music journalist friend with her, who is going to do a review for us in an online magazine he writes for, but she also managed to convince the bar manager to let us play for longer than we were meant to. The bar is in a residential area and they have problems with their neighbours (just like in Edinburgh), so we were due to finish at 10pm, however after a few nice words from our new (best) fan, we ended up playing until 10.45pm. We did turn the volume down a fair bit and kept our fingers crossed that the neighbours either couldn’t hear us or actually liked the tunes, but either way we had fun!
Feeling knackered after such an eventful day and night and in need of some proper sleep, we headed back on the last tube (U-Bahn) and were in bed by 1am.

Next gig: Wednesday 7th August, 2013 from 10.30pm at Little Stage, Berlin

Monday 31st December 2012

My first blog was published on June 3rd 2011 and was inspired by a trip to Liverpool Sound City @ the end of May that year. Since then I have posted on acts from various genres including; electronica, alt.rock, hip-hop and folk as well as the continuing adventures of Sacre Noir. Along the way I have discovered a multitude of artists from far and wide, who have each brought a little bit of brightness to my listening habits.
At the end of 2011 I started doing a ‘Best of…’ list but never quite got round to posting it, this year I’ve decided to bring you my top picks for Best live videos of 2012 and also the top releases that I have been involved in too.
I’ve also done a top 5 run down of my fave albums of the year for The Sound Project, which was very difficult as there have been so many great releases this year – check it out here: http://www.thesoundproject.org.uk/tsp/features/sacrenoir_2012.htm

So in no particular order my choices for the Best live videos of 2012 are…

Delilah – Love You So (live from KOKO, London)

One of my favourite vocalists of the moment, Delilah continues to shine & is growing her loyal following by delivering amazing performances in the studio and on the stage. Her gig at KOKO, London this year was followed by a host of great videos from the show, but this one is definitely my favourite.

Kimbra – Settle Down (live SXSW 2012 Spotify Sessions)

This performance of “Settle Down” was shot in the front yard of the Spotify House at SXSW back in March. I love this arrangement and think the simple use of sampling / looping is a very effective way of breaking down the track.

Mark Lanegan Band – 4AD Session

Not just one track, but a mini-set of four from the Blues Funeral LP which was released in Feb. There have been 15 great videos created for the 4AD Sessions in 2012 including ones from Blonde Redhead & St Vincent that I’d also recommend checking out. The Mark Lanegan Band one is featured here because of it’s stripped back simplicity. That and the fact that Mark has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. The band are fantastic and the songs are true to the gritty grunge and blues records that Lanegan has previously delivered.

Tori Amos – Leather (live @ De Kruitfabriek Sessies)

Tori Amos is one of my favourite artists & has been a massive influence in not just my listening habits but also my own music. I’ve always loved her brutally honest lyrics and how she manages to deliver these in such graceful performances. This version of Leather was recorded for the Belgian TV show in September, just before she took to the road to promote her latest release ‘Gold Dust’.

Matt Corby – Brother (Balcony TV Melbourne)

Balcony TV is taking over in the world of great live video sessions. Being broadcast from all across the globe, there are so many great videos from a huge range of acts. Matt Corby was the runner-up on the 2007 series of Australian Idol. Moved to London in 2009 and was signed to Communion (the Mumford & Sons singer’s label) and has been doing great ever since. I’ve only just discovered him, but if this one video is anything to go by then I’m sold.

Regina Spektor – How (captured in The Live Room)

Another fabulous vocal delivery, this time from a live session at Electric Lady Studios in New York, by the enigmatic Regina Spektor. The song “How” originally features on her 2012 album ‘What We Saw From The Cheap Seats’.

Gary Numan – Are Friends Electric? (AllSaints Basement Sessions)

I’ve always just thought that AllSaints was a high street fashion shop. However they claim “AllSaints collections mix Culture, Fashion & Music into a powerful formula of confident clothing that expresses individuality.” The store in Berlin held the very cool ‘Basement Sessions Special’ (essentially a live band & DJ party in the shop’s basement, complete with cocktail bar and freaky dancing) during Berlin Fashion Week this year. They’ve also recorded a host of Über-cool looking videos, and I love this version of “Are Friends Electric?”.

Keaton Henson – You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are (Attic Session)

This is a lovely version of my favourite Keaton Henson track. Understated and glorious for it.

Luke Haines: Gorgeous George (live session for Guardian Music)

I love Luke’s introduction – you get the feeling it went on for ages and the peeps who edited this video probably had to do a lot of cutting. “Gorgeous George” is a track from the latest LP ‘Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & early 80s’ which I had the pleasure to see him touring this year.

The Night – Strangers (live acoustic session)

Another act new to me in 2012, The Night released this acoustic version of their FREE D/L single “Strangers” for their YouTube fans. That’s all I really know – but I really like it.

And now for the Sacre Noir releases;.
No. 5
Artist: Madhat / Brinkworth / Riddlah
Track: Think Alot
Label: UVBeatz
Genre: Hip Hop
FREE SINGLE TRACK
http://uvbeatz.bandcamp.com/track/think-alot-madhat-brinkworth-riddlah-sacre-noir
Check out this collaboration straight from the UVBeatz lab.

No. 4
Artist: Conscious Route
Album: The Real World LP
Label: You Sonix Records / True Hold Records
Genre: Hip-Hop
Dark Places (featuring Sacre Noir)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-real-world/id547549973
First time collaboration for Sacre Noir & Conscious Route for this new LP released in August this year.

No. 3
Artist: Mark Deez
Album: The Oracle
Label: iLL-Legit Records
Genre: Hip-Hop
Ascension Remix (ft Sacre Noir, Prod. UVBeatz)
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ascension-feat.-sacre-noir/id580345392?i=580345463&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Released at the end of November, the new Mark Deez album features the ‘remix competition’ track. Riddlah reworked the beat & I provided a vocal hook – what a team!

No. 2
Artist: Savage Sound System
Album: Liars and Thieves Will Have It All
Label: Savage Recordings
Genre: Unclassifiable
Various appearances of the newest EP from Scotland’s most avant-garde Hip-hop / Noise / Pop collective.
http://savagerecordings.com/recordings.html
Featuring vocals from Sacre Noir and D.Soul the Soulsamurai plus MC from The Riddlah, ShilohZen and Werd this release was recorded in Scotland, Canada and the USA.

No. 1
Artist: Sacre Noir
Album: Sinking Into Darkness
Label: Savage Recordings
Genre: Electronica
2nd full length LP – Scottish electronic and live band vibes!
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sinking-into-darkness/id547540883
Released in July the new LP has been well recieved & features the debute single “She Can’t Take It”. After the success of the Summer Tour 2012 with shows in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris & Berlin, Sacre Noir are looking forward to the New Year with a second single / video due pre-Spring, and lots more gigs both home & abroad in the pipeline.
Kepp up-to-date with all the news @ http://www.savagerecordings.com/sacrenoir

Thursday 16th August – day off in Berlin
In the morning we went out to Volkspark, which is the 3rd largest park in Berlin and sits on the border of Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain. It was obviously a very well used space, with volleyball and tennis courts, cycle / jogging paths and the Japanese Pavilion which houses a Peace Bell. You can also see the Fairy Tale Fountain, which contains 106 stone sculptures representing characters from traditional German fairy tales.

Carrie at the Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Carrie at the Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin


The weather was very close and I was hoping for a little rain… I got a lot. In fact it started with a little drizzle around 11am and by 1pm it was really pouring down (and didn’t really stop until late in the evening). We headed to the market at Prenzlauer Berg, which was full of organic foods and other lovely things and then spent the rest of the afternoon hiding out in shops and café’s in the area. We had tea at a lovely Italian restaurant on Kollwitzstrasse (you can’t beat a big bowl of pasta on a rainy day).
Alexis in the rain - Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Alexis in the rain – Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Friday 17th August – Gig 4 in Berlin at Belushi’s Bar
As this is our last day in Berlin, we sorted out the bags / packing in the morning before heading out for coffee’s and then over to Rosa Luxemburg Platz to drop off our gear at Belushi’s for tonight’s show. There was a board outside advertising the gig and they’d been all over Facebook with the info & links, so hopefully it’ll be a great last night. All the staff were super-friendly, helping us store our stuff and showing us round etc.

Blackboard outside Belushi’s, Berlin

Blackboard outside Belushi’s, Berlin


Spent the afternoon in Mitte / Prenzlauer Berg where there are more independent shops than you can shake a stick at, alongside some well know brands (Made In Berlin & Paul’s Boutique).
The gig at Belushi’s was 8pm – 10pm and the bar was fairly busy throughout. We started off by playing the new album from start to finish, then a mixture of older tracks and covers. It was really a great night and Ian the staff photographer was snapping away all night so hopefully there will be some pictures on their website/facebook page soon.
Alexis pre-gig at Belushi’s, Berlin

Alexis pre-gig at Belushi’s, Berlin


The crowd were pretty responsive to everything we played and again we met some really lovely people… including Dale C from Birmingham, who was on a little European tour with his buddy Jared and showed us some of his very best dance moves. They were also heading to Amsterdam in the morning to complete their trip just as we were, going to prove that it is a small world and we’re all up to the same stuff as everyone else.
Berlin has been great and we can’t wait to come back again, but for now that’s a wrap.
Alexis & Carrie in the park, Berlin August 2012

Alexis & Carrie in the park, Berlin August 2012