It had spent all day raining on and off and although that usually brings an easing off by the evening, this time it was only a preclude to what was to come and as I walked out of the Ubahn station it was coming down in an almost tropical downpour, thick and heavy and with no plans to give up any time soon. I managed through the appropriate application of plastic however to somehow get to the club dry and shook myself off like a dog while pausing to look around. It was my first time in Schwuz and I was impressed. An old factory or something, inside it’s all high, high ceilings, unpainted brickwork and oversized air filtration pipes running along overhead. At the entrance of the large room that held the stage the organisers had generously laid out a table full of fruit, with two young ladies slicing it up for ease of consumption.
The room was filled with people and equally filled with smoke. I coughed indiscreetly into my lapel like every good ex-smoker liking to make a point and waited in the cool blue light by the stage for the band. They didn’t take too long in coming.
The/Das have been around long enough to have released two pretty straight techno EPs on the renowned Italian dance label Life and Death, before shifting to a somewhat more song-based approach with their more recent work, tying this shift in with a move to the Sinnbus label, through which they released another EP, “Speak Your Mind Speak”. Now they have a new album which is set for release in August. They have just released the first single from the new album with its accompanying video and used the excitement to ride into this night, planned as their first concert in proper band form, with Anton Feist and Thomalla on electronics, singer Fabian Fenk doing some electro bits as well, all three of them swapping a Telecaster which they all took great delight in playing, and their newest addition, Apparat drummer Joerg Waehner at the back.
The/Das have a wonderfully happy, optimistic vibe on stage, thanks largely to the presence and personality of vocalist Fabian, who favoured the audience with his trademark goofy smile and constant jerky geek dance style. The music also fits into a groove that I think finds favour with a lot of people, neither too heavy nor too light, thoroughly danceable while retaining a depth and emotion that you don’t always get with electro bands like this.
Their label sums it up thus: “we call it techno tenderness, their laid-back draft of subcooled, highly driving, in-depth music, creating a clearly more organic sound pattern inside the technoid framework.”
Great night, great band, great venue, and it had stopped raining by the time we got outside. We’re looking forward to the album release with appropriately bated breath.
Review by Noel Maurice / Photos by Mia Morris