Words & Images: Daniel Lavandera Smith
This past Saturday night I discovered what the West Germany Club -located in a former doctor’s office above Kaisers on Kottbusser Tor- had to offer. West Germany has become a regular pit stop on the European tour circuit for a whole host of underground acts and it indeed suits the “party hard, in classic Berlin style” internationally acclaimed quote about the city.
It’s ubiquitous name does nothing to assuage the difficulty in finding the venue. You enter via criminally well-concealed door that might as well be the entrance to a block of flats. The only way to find out if you’re at the right place is to walk up three or four stories of stairs whose walls and floors are highly chipped and battered.
So here I am having a good beer, and highly anticipating that tonight is going to be a blast of good underground music. It was the night for Pterodactyl’s show in Berlin, an important date for their new album Spills Out, as they have come all the way from Brooklyn, New York on an European tour to support it.
The opening act, Bodybuilding, – a Berlin based band that has a rehearsal space shared with a bunch of other bands near Alexanderplatz – was a good start for the night. I must say their rythm section was stunning, specially the bass lines and sound. I would have loved to hear the guitar better, but it was killed by the high volume of the drumming. Still, I could tell there was something original going on with those crazy noises and riffs that seemed to come out from the soundtrack to an imaginary movie based on the Bodybuilding stories of a mental institution. The singer still seemed to be getting the hang of being the frontman of this band, and as I later noticed, this band was a three man instrumental band that has just started adding vocals to their tunes with this new incorporation. Bodybuilding are a band to watch in the near future, once they get some more writing and rehearsing done. A good start to the night.
After the break/escape -from the increasing at every moment crowd – on the dank but nonetheless stunning balcony of West Germany, it was time to see what the dinosaur bird had to offer.
As I would later appreciate, Pterodactyl is a band that creates dissonant noise-rock by lathering sunny harmonies in reverb for a murky, psychedelic sound. But Spills Out (Jagjaguwar), the band’s newest album, has one major difference from its previous two: it teases well with catchy melodies. I had only recently discovered this band, and when listening to the band’s albums in sucesi