I was at the wheel of the Franklin Tour van as we arrived in Berlin Friday afternoon. We had 2 interview/performances on the agenda. The first was for berlinmusic.tv at a small studio space. In fact the space was so small that the sound technicians preferred that I don't play drums, it would be too loud. OK, cool w me! I had a coffee and chilled instead, no biggie.
It was a beautiful, sunny day in Berlin. Locals were saying it was the first real nice weather they had had in quite sometime. Why?....cuz Franklin is in town yo!
After this little interview, we were off for a pho soup. Nothing like some good Vietnamese to reset your stomach...
After finishing up our second live performance of the day at Joiz TV (www.joiz.de), we all cracked a few beers in the parking lot and decompressed from our long day. We had put in a solid 12 hour shift at this point, we earned it!
We were staying where we had stayed on our previous trip to Berlin, the PLUS BERLIN hostel. This is a big hostel with lots of people, it's pretty clean, there's decent WIFI and it is well situated in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg area of Berlin. The Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery) and the Spree river are right next to the hostel, the underground subway and above ground trams are nearby making it easy to get anywhere. After our little party in the parking lot, we were off to our hotel...or hostel I should say.
It is quite a great perk that in Germany you can drink beers in the street. There was even a man late at night selling beers for 1€ out of a shopping cart in the street. Not bad this little concept. Everyone's chill, drinking in the street, no one gets too wasted... it's great!
I was in much need of hot shower at this point. I was very happy to be able to enjoy some decent water pressure at the PLUS BERLIN hostel. When you're five guys crammed in a room, sometimes a hot shower is your only alone time. Better make it count, tsé.
After a few glasses of some French white wine that I had purchased earlier on during the tour, we descended to the bar of the PLUS to enjoy our free shot of Tequila Sunrise. We had all been given tickets for a free shot upon our check in. In fact, everyone who stays at the PLUS gets a free shot. Perhaps this is why they call it PLUS...!?!? ha. In fact, another "plus" of the PLUS is the fact that they have a pretty decent restaurant as well. We were all originally planning on heading out for something to eat, but after being wooed into the bar by the free shot, we decided to stay and eat here. We were joined at the table by our good friends Anika from Universal music and Tine from Revolver records who have been a great help for all of our shows in Germany. On était une bonne gang, the Chardonnay was flowing (only 15€ a bottle), c'est pas mal ça. Our friends had invited some of their friends to join us, and before we knew it we were a gang of 12 drunken souls heading off into a Berlin nightclub. At this point, I must admit I was quite intoxicated. I'm not sure exactly where we ended up. We did take the subway and we did stay on the dance floor until about 5/6am. The bars don't really close in Berlin, so watch out cuz time flies when you're having fun. The only downside I can think of is that smoking is permitted in these bars, so the next day my hangover smelt like cigarettes...not a PLUS.
Although we were all feeling a bit low on energy the next morning, we were blessed by some nice sunny weather again. Before our 4pm load in, we enjoyed some serious sun time outside the Myzik & Frieden at a nearby cafe.
Our show in Berlin was really special this time around. Previously, we performed alongside Half Moon Run at the Lido, but this time we managed to sell out this 200 capacity venue to a great crowd. People knew the lyrics to a few songs, and joined in big time on the "ooohs" chanting in "Old Piano". What a treat!
The Muzik & Frieden venue quickly transformed itself into an 8 room DJ dance party. After packing up, me and tour partner Henry decided to soak in a last Berlin pilsner at the Bauhaus Bar one floor up before calling in a night. We had partied pretty hard the night before, so no need to overdo it. But it was quite impressive to suddenly find ourselves in what seemed to be a massive Berlin DJ party complex. There was music being cranked here in all different genres. One room was Blink 182, the next was Trap, Death Metal... If you want to mosh-pit it up or boogie Muzik & Frieden is a good place to do it. So do it.
Next day - bright and early 9am departure to Munich, München or Minga... how ever you choose to pronounce it. Merci Berlin! We will be back. Perhaps for some festivals in August...keep your fingers crossed!
As was the case in Amsterdam, I didn't get much time to play "Mr.Tourist" in Berlin. I had previously done the tourist thing but this time we had a bit more work to do and no official "day off". It's all good. Berlin is a very very cool place. Culture flourishes, people like to go out, buildings are covered in graffiti (but it's cool graffiti, not trashy...charming), the economy is going well, public transit is clean and quiet, and food is for the most part cheap. If you've never been, you need to go.
Decent, well priced hostel. Free shot. Good hot showers. Easy to park a giant van.
Live Music Venues:
Muzik & Frieden
Breakfast - Tante Emma
Köpenicker Str. 1, 10997 Berlin, Germany
Lots of great cafés and restaurants in the Kreuzberg area.