Joachim Deutschland plays unplugged in Junction Bar – indieberlin is happy

I’d first heard of Joachim Deutschland, bizzarely enough, in London whilst spending a disproportionate amount of time amongst Germans, which in retrospect was probably the time when the seeds of Germanophilia that eventually brought me here were sown. When I found out on the day that Joachim Deutschland was playing at Junction Bar, I flushed with excitement, involuntarily released a small amount of urine before changing my underwear and making my way swiftly down to Kreuzberg.
Following a decent but chronically forgettable opening band, Joachim (I’m hardly going to call him ‘Deutschland’) took stage at 11:30. It was an acoustic set and a seated one at that, which was slightly disappointing at the outset. The melody and artistic merits of his songs are strong enough to function just as well acoustically, but the dark sweaty underground club environment late on a Friday night would’ve really lent itself to an incendiary rock gig. That said, I really did have a lot of fun. Maybe it’s a personal thing, Joachim lays the cadence of the German language (which to me, at least until recently, was a novelty) over the unbridled energy of punky rock n’ roll music. I’m a sucker for that shit – too often do I come across bands in London and Berlin with floaty lacklustre songs, unresolved chord progressions and a conspicious and sometimes intentional lack of energy or stage presence.

The fact that Joachim’s songs are melodic and catchy are most certainly not to his detriment. In a city where the abstract and avant garde are hailed, Joachim is bastion of good ol’ energised pop punk, which is not merely ‘appreciated’ but danced to, and doesn’t require thick-rimmed glasses to enjoy. The music is sold best by the man himself. In the flesh he exudes a loveable, confident and occasionally cheeky character. At some point during the set a rather large man who had clearly had one too many stumbled to the front of the stage. Dangerous territory for any performer, not least during an acoustic set where any heckling would be especially disruptive but Joachim outmanouevred all drunken slurs, turning them into banter. Indeed, when it was suggested that they play Britney Spears, Joachim immediately launched into a suspiciously good rendition of ‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time’. Whether or not they may have fucked around previously with that song in jest one night doesn’t matter, it illustrated in a song the general vibe of the gig – fun, interactive and very intimate considering the national popularity of the artist.

Now if you do know Joachim, it’s probably through his 2003 hit ‘Marie’ where he slates an ex-lover – memorable for its anthemic chorus (‘Du Schlampe, Du Drecksau, Ich hoffe es geht dir schlecht!’). The tangible anticipation for the song hung heavy in the air, but its performance somewhat rushed. I suspect having to play that song at every gig for the last decade probably takes it toll. All considered, it was a great show and I cant frickin’ wait to see him electrified.

Review by Neelesh Vasisther

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