One American and one German music lover who got heaps of other things to do team up to talk about concerts, bands, songs, and whatever else our crazy brains can come up with.

Make sure you also check out the German digest (posted whenever we manage):
Metal Mütter Mittleren Alters - auch auf Deutsch (wenn wir die Zeit dafür finden...)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Good things come in threes ... or sevens!

New year, new resolutions, new stuff to do - and, yay, new music!

In the last post, I mentioned going to a concert and soundcheck party. I hopped on a bus and drove all the way to Hamburg to do it, too. And I liked it so much that I bought another ticket for another show of the same band. Said show took place here in Berlin, and now it's high time I wrote something about the whole thing...

So, Royal Republic. Four guys from Sweden. How come I am suddenly addicted to their stuff?

Because they rock, because they're funny, full of energy and cheekiness,they put on a good show, and the music is kinda addictive.

The first time I saw them was at last year's Rock am Ring, which is a huge festival and somewhat exhausting. Especially due to their infamous "Ringwetter", which basically means cold, rainy and hazy in an ugly way. In fact, when Royal Republic did their gig on Sunday early afternoon, it was so hazy and misty that I could barely see the stage from afar. So I listened, got curious beacuse I liked the music, a few songs sounded a little familiar... and I watched most of the show on the big screens.

Hooray for a new musical discovery! I decided that I want to see them again some time when they'd come to Berlin. Then, some time in autumn, I happened to see their PledgeMusic project - an acoustic EP they wanted to realize because both they and their fans had always liked the little acoustic interludes at their rock shows.

I pledged, and chose the "soundcheck party"  from their "exclusives"... those are the things you can spend money on besides the actual CD. I figured if I was going to see them from up closer than at Rock am Ring, why not meet them in person. 

However, there was no Berlin gig on the tour, so I booked a ticket for Hamburg and went there on November 28. It was cold, but it was on the Reeperbahn, and the "Horny Christmas Market" (no joke!) was right across the street, so it was easy to get a mulled wine while waiting.

But before waiting came the afternoon soundcheck party, which really was great fun: about ten excited fans (I felt a little like a fraud because I hadn't followed them around since 2010) were ushered in, invited to pick a T-shirt from the merch stand, and then got a drink and, after a few minutes, settled in to watch the soundcheck. Which was like a soundcheck, which is not unfamiliar to this girl... Still, after a few awed minutes, everyone decided to walk right up to the stage and take a closer look. It's a cool feeling to lean on the railing and watch the musicians do their job, chatting about other concerts and bands and festivals all the while. Of course the rest of the fan group was half or maybe two thirds my age, but the thing had a nice community feel.

Next, a guy from the management told us to gather in a corner of the venue,and then the four Royal Republicans came to join us for group pictures, signing and a little chat. I think everyone present got what they'd hoped for, photos to show off, signatures on their favorite CDs or shirts, and a few words with their heroes, who proved accessible and genuinely nice.

After that, we had to leave the venue again and, as there were only few people ouside waiting for the start of the actual show, we got to stand right at the door, ready to make a run for the first row again (well, I wasn't as ready to run as the rest, if only because I carried my overnight bag around with me). All of the fan group really made it into the first row, and then the show started with a cool German punk support, the guys of Montreal. Fun lyrics and lots of attitude.

Then, finally, the actual concert, which was really, really cool. And really, really exhausting, because I didn't want to be involved in circle pits and pogo dancing. It was kind of hard to avoid all these, the central area of the venue was really like a vortex most of the time. Ah, it's good to be up front, where you can hold on to the railing when the seas are rough!

Here's a youtube video of the show (I am front center, but it's hard to spot me in all the mayhem):

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was looking forward to the acoustic EP. The band sent several video updates via the PledgeMusic site, and the more I saw and heard, the more I thought I would like to see them play the acoustic set live, too. So I got myself another ticket, for Berlin this time, and went to see them again on January 20. I mean, check out the acoustic version of the first video above that they put up on youtube... what's not to love?

And I've got to say, even though the guys themselves were obviously seeing their acoustic set as an act and a beautiful joke and not like their true rockin' selves, this concert was even better than the ones before! More surprises, more variety, more playfulness and cheekiness, more cool Swedes... They brought three guest musicians, who added instruments such as a pedal steel guitar, an accordion and a banjo - which may indicate the direction several of their songs were taking... Hillbillyland, Country, Dixie, whatever you want to call it, but it was way cool. Four funny Swedes plus three serious guest musicians who looked a bit overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the audience (who, by the way, seemed to itch to do the usual circle-pitting and pogo-ing, but the dixie wouldn't really let them) - hence the title of this post.

You can still get your CD on PledgeMusic. Festival dates aren't published yet, and the acoustic tour is over for now. But makes sure to keep an eye on them - here's another cool video:

Now let's see what spring has in store musically - stay tuned!

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