Music Montag: Mez Medallion

by James Glazebrook

Mez Medallion - Double Cat by Amelie Scalercio

Mez Medallion – Double Cat by Amelie Scalercio

It’s a bit outrageous that we haven’t featured Mez Medallion before. He’s well within our little expat bubble, as an Australian in Berlin and the boyfriend of überlin favourite Phia – with whom he shares songwriting brilliance, onstage charm, mastery over any number of instruments and a penchant for loop pedals. Of course, double M is his own man, especially when it comes to crafting the crisp beats that underscore his earnest electropop, and shredding on guitar.

Let’s get you up to speed. Here’s Mez’s autumn-appropriate video for “Move Towards the Light”…

…and the naïve white-boy funk of “I’ll Remember You” (live at Nicolassee on Fritz Unsigned):

If you’re digging this, you can preview and pick up Mez Medallion’s new EP Live in Berlin here, or catch him actual-live supporting Phia on her first headline tour of Germany – full details, including a Berlin date at the English Theatre, here. You shan’t regret it!

Some apology to Berlin

by Guest Blogger

By John Medlock. 

Berlin. Wake up from your slumber. The third summer of love is now dead, buried, a mystery. It’s a jealous footnote to those who weren’t there and a nauseating pit of nostalgia for those that were.

Maybe it was the drugs. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the history and that sense of standing on the precipice which sends the alluring shiver of expectation down the spine of everybody who passes through the city’s gates. Or maybe not. Whatever it is, there can be no denying that the sensation has changed. Maybe it has watered down, or maybe it has disappeared altogether, but the search for the hit is getting harder. It’s something that cannot really be quantified. Because of that, it may no longer be found again and we cannot tell if 2013 will be a fourth.

So I’d like to apologise because there may be some portion of blame to be doled out for the demise.

I apologise for my curiosity, I apologise for my naive quest for the authentic and I apologise for every other person, Ausländer or Deutsche, who is here doing the same thing.

The City.

Berlin is the most authentic place on earth. History has made that the case. There simply was never any time for bullshit. Never was and never will be.

This city is like the ugly, pretentious older brother who, no matter how much you try and disbelieve them, is right when they say they’ve seen it all.

In 2011, with the flood of ever richer, ever younger, ever more disenfranchised and dysfunctional people fleshing out the districts of note (Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Neukölln), the (3rd?) summer of love happened. The music was great, the parties, the drugs, the people. Pure hedonism. No apologies. And, in the spirit of so many platitudes, the party died.

In its place, hubris, followed by doubt, followed by anger and finally a flaky kind of cynicism has taken root. Now you justify to yourself and others why you are here, living space feels like it’s at a premium (almost just as much as the need to be believed).

“How long have you been in Berlin?” is constantly, consistently leveled. “How long is enough?”

We feel gagged now. We are lost. Is the party still in Neukölln or has it (whisper it) moved to the West? What the fuck happened to Kreuzberg? Remember Wedding? When will richer people stop bitching about the quest for authenticity when there is no authentic experience that can be bought with your wallet (except, of course, for all those powders)?

Let me now, as an outsider, blame the outsiders for the lack of anything to focus on.

This city’s transient nature is dizzying. And let me blame the drugs. Because that’s easy. And because they’re never as good as they once were.

The city is afraid to look to its future almost as much as it’s afraid to look to its past, since we know that nothing good ever comes from a fixation on what has passed.

The Reader.

At least, I think that is the case and I think that that is true. Because I wasn’t there; because I am not here… I am living in the past and I’ve chased a dream like everybody else, in love with the Berlin of 2010/2005/2000/1995 ad nauseum.

Dreamy images I’ve lusted after from history books, films and from computer screens, planting the foundation of our generation‘s constant affliction: the incessant need to ‘be there’.

Perhaps that dream is now dead. It seems that against the dying face of winter, on the sliproad into 2013’s summer, nobody really knows where it’s at.

And how can you trust me? The fact that this is in English should speak volumes. Yes cities change and you cannot, should not, attempt to pin international forces on individual people.

We’re all playing the game and this city is the perfect playground. But one still has to be sensitive to it. Do not be threatened into thinking that you should “know your place” but definitely never take what this city has, and what it offers you, for granted. History walks the streets as much as you do and the present can be blown away in an instant.

Out-priced today, it may be the Turks, but you can be sure that tomorrow it’ll be your artistic collective under the hammer. Be under no illusions. But equally, don’t take any shit.

So grow bold Berlin. Feel stronger in yourself. Charge up my smartphone and be sure to ignore the krusty punks, with all their quasi-social-fascism and suffocating cultural pontificating. Shrug off too the cynicism of the panda-eyed dying ravers, pink skinned and sensitive to the morning light, as innocent as newborns. Perhaps build a wall around the redneck anti-Schwabians (but be sure to keep those rich southerners in there with them too).

But most of all: reclaim and protect your identity; from the freemarketeers, from any group that thinks it owns you and from people like me who try and understand you.


Taken from the first issue of ÜBERGANG, a cultural and literary magazine in English and German, published twice a year. The publication offers literature with illustrations that reaches out to a liberal audience with features often touching sexual topics through poetry, commentary, interviews and fiction. In Berlin spirit it uses culture to open up minds and promulgate new ways of living.

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we’re running any open competitions]

We have two copies of issue #01 of ÜBERGANG, devoted to Kottbusser Tor, to give away. Find out how, below.


Write your own apology to Berlin in the comments below. Come on, you must be feeling guilty about something…

The two most heartfelt apologies will win their authors a copy of ÜBERGANG.

You have until 6pm on Friday 4th October to enter. Good luck!


The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
3. Our favourite apology wins. Simple as.
4. Remember to include your full (real) name or we won’t be able to put you on the guestlist!
5. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Saturday 5th October.

Evil Music – win tickets to Berlin’s most morbid festival

by James Glazebrook

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we’re running any open competitions]

“The devil has all the best tunes.” As a lifelong metalhead, I have to agree with this maxim, one whose truth is only reinforced by the existence of Evil Music. Berlin’s most morbid festival, subtitled “Odes to Violence, Death and the Devil”, explores the most sadistic genres, from the usual suspects – Nazi rock, black metal, gangsta rap – to the darkest crevices of the music world.

La Musica Della Mafia © Francesco Sbano

La Musica Della Mafia © Francesco Sbano

Highlights include DJ sets from Kode9, king of the darkstep movement, Hamburg’s expert in evil Lars Brinkman, and Berlin electro veteran Zeitblom. At the more experimental end of things are The Schwarzenbach, whose lineup – which includes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung arts editor and multiple-award-winning author Dietmar Dath – has been flirting with morbidity, death and the devil for a long time, and a death metal project lead by the members of South American tropical jazz acts Los Pirañas and Ondatropica.

Evil Music: Odes to Violence, Death and the Devil takes place at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, from 24th-27th October 2013. To win tickets to the opening night and following day (24th and 25th October), scroll down!

Kode9 by Valerio Spisani // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kode9 by Valerio Spisani // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


What’s the most evil music you’ve ever heard? Leave a link in the comments below – the two readers that scare us the most each win two tickets to Evil Music’s opening night and day.

Here’s what you have to beat:

You have until 6pm on Thursday 17th October to enter. Good luck!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
3. Our favourite tracks win. Simple as.
4. Remember to include your full (real) name and email address, so we can contact you if you win.
5. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Friday 18th October.

Metal Montag: letlive.

by James Glazebrook

Live and letlive. by Mike T West.


Was it really earlier this year on a filthy, wind-swept evening that we waited outside a casino in Neukölln, drinking beer before seeing our favouritest rock band ever, Deftones?!

If you got there early enough then you may recall a man onstage throwing his shoe at the crowd before scaling the bar and stealing a beer. That was the singer of support band, L.A. post-everything rockers, letlive., who is both hot and rad. Don’t believe us? Release the GIFs!


Jason breaking the clock on your head.




Oh how we ♥ Jason Butler. Also see fit-as bassist Ryan Jay Johnson, channeling some post-hardcore Goslingness:

Anyhoo, they are back this weekend as part of a European headline tour in support of fantastic new album, The Blackest Beautiful. Imagine a tattooed Michael Jackson joining Refused instead of Cirque De Soleil.

letlive. are playing this Saturday 28th September at Crystal Club (the younger cousin of C-Club, which is the little brother of Columbiahalle – I smell a sitcom) Tickets are available wherever you can buy them.


by James Glazebrook

yoris berlin mitte chalkboard

One of the best things about having actual day jobs is spending your lunch break exploring different eateries in a whole other part of town. For example, Joris in Mitte, which has filled the jacket potato-shaped hole left by the now-closed lunch legends Bixels. As well as delicious Kartoffeln with hot fillings or sour cream “dip”, this refined rustic lunch spot serves up custom and classic salad combinations to eat in or take away. Welcoming, tasty and affordable, this oasis of omnomnom on the north end of Brunnenstraße – an area not yet known for its great food and drink – should already be on your agenda if you work nearby, and is well worth the trip even if you don’t. Enjoy!

yoris berlin mitte cafe salad
yoris soup salad
yoris salad

yoris berlin mitte cafe
yoris berlin mitte lunch

Marqués Rene Maschkiwitz

by James Glazebrook

Marques restaurant menu

There are so many good places to eat and drink in Graefekiez that if we ever tried to feature them all, before we were finished, a bunch of new ones would have opened up around them. We walked passed Marqués Rene Maschkiwitz many times, mistaking its crisp tableware and affluent-looking guests for an air of stuffiness. For sure, the food isn’t cheap, but it is far from old-fashioned – the restaurant’s refreshing take on Mediterranean adds popcorn to pork and curry paste to pasta. The combinations are better than they sound, honest (just check out Zoë’s beautiful photos!), especially when washed down with the bar’s specialty cocktails – we enjoyed a gorgeous Melon Ball. Add this one to your list of places to eat at when the parents are visiting… and paying ????

Marques restaurant melon cocktail Marques restaurant flowers Marques restaurant curry Marques restaurant paella close up Marques restaurant popcorn pork Marques restaurant chocolate cake Marques restaurant reserved sign

Marqués Rene Maschkiwitz, Graefestraße 92, 10967 Berlin.

(Photos by Zoë Noble Photography)



Berlin Festival 2013

by James Glazebrook

Berlin Festival Tempelhof Sunset

What better way to close out another summer than with Berlin Festival 2013? Perfectly timed to coincide with (probably) the last warm days of the year, the city’s eponymous open-air marked the end of what turned out to be a busy, brilliant festival season in and around Berlin. With the ever-epic former Tempelhof airport transformed into a concrete playground – complete with four stages and an art village – ravers could enjoy all the fun of the festival without the nasty grass stains and toilet complications that come with titting about in the actual outdoors.

Berlin Festival Savages singer Jehnny Beth

We busy bloggers could only manage a couple of fleeting visits to the site, but still managed to see some über-hyped new acts back-to-back with a clutch of absolute legends. The former included Savages, whose track “Flying to Berlin” has already landed them on überlin, and who I still can’t make up my mind about. I’ve yet to decide whether they are the Second Coming, or simply the second coming of Siouxsie and the Banshees – but their undeniably ferocious live show (and well-turned-out all-female line-up) drew a crush of curious would-be-fans to the Pitchfork hangar on Saturday evening.

Berlin Festival crown watching savages

On the same stage a day earlier, Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and his alt-metal supergroup Tomahawk entertained a far smaller crowd, which made up for its lack of numbers with sheer beardiness. The sound was a little shonky in parts, but it’s hard to complain that all you can hear are vocals and drums when they belong to Patton and Helmet/Battles beat machine John Stanier. Flying the freak flag again on Saturday, My Bloody Valentine displayed the sonic force and stock-still stage presence that we love them for. Churning out an impressive wall of sound, they nevertheless left photographers wondering what they were supposed to be capturing, had photography not been banned by Kevin Shields and co.


Over on the main stage, björk at least posted a polite notice requesting that the audience refrain from taking pics. It’s difficult to imagine how flash photography could distract anyone wearing a full head mask covered in hundreds of plastic spines, but we had to agree that this was a show to be experienced, rather than recorded. The last concert of the Biophilia world tour featured a surprising number of hits, sequenced in such a way as to make the more enthusiastic certain sections of the crowd lose more and more of their collective shit (Spotify playlist here). Not to take away from björk and her choir of Icelandic cuties, but it was the splicing of “Hyperballad” to “Freak” by long-time collaborator Mark Bell’s LFO that signalled Game Over for the headbangers we seemed to gather around us. The greatest live experience of my life, at least outside of the magical world of metal.

Berlin Festival Bjork Live singing

And so ended another Berlin Festival, the biggest little festival in the city. Stay tuned to überlin on Facebook and Twitter for updates on next year’s event.

Berlin Festival Tempelhof

Berlin Festival Tempelhof

Berlin Festival Tempelhof Sunset