Is this the next big thing? We’re talking about Alt-J. The English quartet formed in 2007 will play in Berlin at Atras Kulturhus on February 23rd. Their debut album ”An Awesome Wave” was published in 2012 and resulted in the honor to win the prestigious Mercury Prize, an annual music prize for the best album in United Kingdom and Ireland.
The album is a mix of different sounds, from folk, to rock bass, catchy pop, hip-hop, trip-hop and indie-rock, and electronic mood obtained through the use of synthesizers. Everything is mixed with an intimate atmosphere, especially in the lyrics. Their music is influenced by films and cinema like: “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Sergio Leone, “Léon” by Luc Besson and the work of Maurice Sendak´s “Where the monsters savages”. If you still don’t know this band, it’s time to listen to some of their songs, especially before a concert: a good start could be: “Breezeblocks”, “Hand-Made”, “Matilda” e “Tessellate”. The Band was born from the artistic encounter between Gwil Sainsbury (guitar / bass guitar), Joe Newman (guitar / vocals), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums). Pronounced Alt-J the name comes from the Mac command to get the Greek letter delta, a usual mathematical sign that represents change.
They will play at one of the most popular gig venue in Berlin, the Astra Kulturhaus, the largest live club in Berlin’s Friedrichshain district. The location can host 1,500 persons and is quite interesting; it’s an abandoned site of an old railroad repair complex in a converted red brick factory building dating back to before World War II. Friedrichshain is a part of Berlin´s borough of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, sited in East Berlin, it is a metropolitan locality, nearby Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Lichtenberg. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 Friedrichshain began to develop a reputation as a young, dynamic district, thanks to low rents and the many empty apartments that attracted many squatters from West Berlin. Friedrichshain is now very attractive for the numerous design and media companies present including MTV Central Europe.
The area is known also for its many cafe, clubs, bars, pubs, concentrated around Simon-Dach-Straße and Boxhagener Platz. These places are relatively relaxed and full of locals during the week, but in the weekends can become very crowded. If you’re thinking about a night in Friedrichshain please notice that it’s really unnecessary to make plans for your night, just go, and pick something to do. The neighborhood is also known for two important clubs, Rosi´s and Cassiopeia, paradises for hundreds of late-night clubbers. Friedrichshain is named after the Volkspark Friedrichshain positioned just at the opposite end of the district, the park is a big green area serving the populated Prenzlauer Berg on the other side. Its really a unique location with many features including the Märchenbrunnen, in English the “Fairytale Fountain”. Once you´re there don´t miss the East Side Gallery, a part of the Berlin Wall transformed into an amazing outdoor gallery. Karl-Marx-Allee, instead, is a boulevard with original Stalinist buildings.
It´s quite easy to find great places to stay in Berlin , every area has its own story and the prices are still affordable everywhere