Wednesday, April 30, 2008
tocotronic in potsdam
\Everything's gone green. First up some pics from the Sancoussi Park in Potsdam, a kinda Prussian Versailles with one large straight alley leading from one of the main gates to the "new" palace, lots of secret gardens and spaces on the sides, marble statues, palaces, an orangerie, a dragon house (with a nice cafe inside), a Chinese pavilion, and on that afternoon hardly anyone there. It had cleared up, the sun was out after a cloudy start of the day and we had it practically to ourselves, and everything had started blooming and sprouting. The dreamy park with its trippy corridors, terraces and alleyways, and statues everywhere, was a prelude to seeing the outstanding German band Tocotronic at the Waschhaus in Potsdam. They won't come to London as far as I can see, their wordy, part ironic part poetic stance doesn't seem to really translate outside non-German speaking countries. So I promised myself a trip to see them on home turf and combined it with an overdue visit to Berlin and the many people I know there.
The Waschhaus is an old industrial space on the edge of town that has just been expanded, and I think they couldn't quite cope with the crowds. The layout didn't help either, queues everywhere, and the toilets out of the main space through a lobby and up the stairs. It was really rammed, many people having made the trip down on the S Bahn from Berlin, and the bars were hopelessly jammed, so I didn't drink. But the gig was everything and more than I expected, starting with the wonderful and very mysterious B-side "Hi Fi Science Fiction" setting the tone for a nicely judged setlist that had some classic oldies, some more recent material and of course songs from their latest album "Kapitulation", including some pretty introspective and moody stuff apart from some of their greatest hits; as the last encore, instead of "Freiburg" which people were shouting for of course, we got the otherwordly "Ich habe Stimmen gehoert" plus lenghty guitar noise outro. I felt many of the weird subliminal messages in the songs were a lot more powerful live. Highlights were many but notable were "Luft" and "Explosion" from the last album, "Let There Be Rock" which I didn't think they'd play, "In Hoechsten Hoehen" (I filmed that but unfortunately the sound is cr@p), "Hi Freaks", "Ich bin viel zu lange mit Euch mitgegangen", "Jackpot" etc. It was very hot in there and the crowd was grand, cheering them on and really going with them, and not just the first two rows, the pit was big, it was very passionate towards the end, I guess this being the end of a short tour taking in more obscure places helped the sense of occasion. Really great to finally see them. Mr von Lowzow and co looked very pleased to be there too. I'm very much in love with them...
p.s. they played the soundtrack for Fassbinders "Querelle" before they came on!