The second issue of Torstraßenfestival was happening yesterday. The festival is a small daytime event, promoting the local venues around Berlin’s hip Torstraße, this year featuring 34 act at eigth locations. The late summer sun got quite a few people walking, talking and drinking on Torstraße, with the events mostly packed. Naturally, you couldn’t go and see all shows, as there were four or more acts playing at the same time, but I picked some and got a glimpse at a few more. But I ended up watching only two sets in the full. Those were the ones that held my attention and are the ones I need to tell you about.
Heatsick is Berlin-based British ex-pat Steven Warwick. He played an intense live house set at Kaffee Burger, using mainly an old casio and an effects pedal. Live recording the loops and building tracks by layering those upon each other as he went along, his music was captivating. It was a lesson in what “build” really means and where that term comes from. And although it was 7pm in the evening, he got me dancing – and fascinated by his handywork on stage, me and him fully concentrated on his hands on the keyboard. He doesn’t do retro house, he did tell me afterwards, instead taking up various influences from all over the place. But the old, simple equipment he used made his set feel very retro nonetheless.
From Kaffee Burger I went across the street to Gaststätte W. Prassnick, a small corner café where Dan Bodan in a way was doing the opposite from Heatsick. Dan Bodan is another ex-pat Berlin resident, this time from Canada. He was all voice and show, his slow, minimal beats and synths coming from his laptop – on playback the whole time. But what a beautiful voice and what an intense show it was. The modern style R&B and crooning combined with the luxurious, slow movement on stage got me totally paralyzed, unable to do anything but stare at this young man “performing” in the best sense of that word. The audience was completely silent during his songs, but burst into ecstatic applause after each. Beautiful, man, simply beautiful.