In less than a week, Pop-Kultur will take over Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg and entertain your face off. Pop-Kultur’s name undermines its quality as a festival. Perhaps that’s the idea. Maybe the intent is to redefine what is associated with pop culture, and to help shape its future by giving a platform to artists that are actually worthy of mass adoration? One can only speculate. Regardless of their mission statement, the festival is making big moves despite only being in its third year of existence. The curation and organization sets the bar high, boasting perfect equilibrium of diversity and quality of performances. While this guide only highlights a few of our favorite live music performances, the festival also features lectures, films, and art exhibitions woven throughout that shouldn’t be missed. You can download and print your program here.
Performing 24.08 at 22:50 – Kesselhaus
It’s hard to imagine an act that is more infallibly cool than La Femme. They have cherrypicked the best aspects of psych, surf, and french disco-pop and adorned it in leather jackets. While borrowing from such classic genres would pigeonhole some bands, their sound remains captivating. Their albums are impressively dense with hooks and infectious melodies, but have just enough psych sprinkled throughout to evade predictability. But how are they live, you might ask? Their show at Bi Nuu last fall was the most memorable of the year for this writer, culminating in a cover of Rock Lobster that left no shapes to be cut. The only caveat: This time slot will likely overlap with Ty Segall at Astra.
Performing 23.08 at 0:00 – Frannz Club
There is a definite possibility that this is a new name to you. If so, we’re genuinely excited for you. Despite his style sitting somewhere under the umbrella of electropop, Cameron’s music will give even the most crotchety traditionalists hope for the future generation of musicians. The comparison to Nick Cave is obvious: his influence resonates so strongly that some tracks are bordering plagiarism. Cameron is also a surly, eccentric Australian with a penchant for an American classic aesthetic, which may facilitate the comparison. If nothing else, the man certainly knows how to wear a pair of pants.
Performing 25.08 at 22:50 – Kesselhaus
Any attempts to describe their sound will be prefaced with a long “Uhh…” This is generally the hallmark of something special. Their energy, passion, and creativity is a breath of fresh air, which seems to be the consensus, given the critical acclaim of their first two albums. Rumor has it that Pop-Kultur attendees will be the first in Germany to hear some of their new material.
Performing 24.08 at 23:20 – Palais
Every song of hers is a psychedelic adventure. The progressive soundscapes seamlessly drift between conventional electropop, the soundtrack to Sonic the Hedgehog, and the nerdiest of prog jazz. Despite not having any allegiance to a particular genre, it somehow comes together to form a homogenous style that is distinctly hers. If you missed her last fall at Kantine am Berghain, here is your chance to make good.
Performing 23.08 at 0:00 – Frannz Club
Oranssi Pazuzu’s presence on the program is a bit of a head-scratcher. While they take the gold for the least expected name on the program, they are certainly not the least welcome. Black metal’s influence has reared its corpse-painted head into various mainstream genres in recent years, but OP has been testing metal’s confines since 2007. Personally, Schmutz is excited to have someone providing some dark and weird contrast to the more upbeat performances at the festival. And true to their Finnish nature, they don’t come much darker and weirder than Oranssi Pazuzu.
Performing 24.08 at 0:00 – Frannz Club
Our excitement to see Liars is based more in morbid curiosity than in passion for their music. Given the various directions they’ve gone over the last decade, they could show up with pretty much anything and it wouldn’t be a surprise. We could end up in a sweaty dance-pit of noise and static, or gently swaying to melancholic arpeggios. It really all depends on the mood of Angus Andrew this week. Regardless, it will be some brand of fun.
Pop-Kultur runs Wednesday, 23.08 to Friday, 25.08
Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435
Update: Both Oranssi Pazuzu and Young Fathers have cancelled their performances.