The Beths, Current Joys, and Skiing Warm Berlin Up for Puschenfest

The Beths, Current Joys, and Skiing took to the stage at arkaoda on Saturday as part of the Warm-up party for next month’s Puschenfest (November 16 and 17). We love all three bands, but were really there to see Current Joys (aka Nick Rattigan), who delivered an intimate
and vividly emotional performance.

Nick Rattigan comes from a city in Nevada that is close to Las Vegas but not actually Las Vegas; he’s developed a cult of fans devoted to the haunting, haunted beauty that maybe springs in part out of that space and maybe has nothing to do with it. There are by now legions of sad kids from all over the world dumping basement rock on bandcamp; a lot of it gets lost in the noise, but some shines through, and Nick’s stuff is resoundingly in the latter category.

Its not always easy to know what it is that causes certain artists to stand out, but when he played as Current Joys over the weekend (he’s also put out music as Surf Curse), it wasn’t hard to tell. He came onstage in a Sonic Youth shirt with a big hole in the underarm, tuning an old guitar covered in stickers, and apologized to the sound people when he started playing over their intermission music, and apologized for the guitar, and apologized for acting nervous and shy – but I’ll get warmed up, he promised.

He shouted and thrashed around the stage and most likely cried

That was true, though warming up didn’t mean he mellowed out or made anyone more comfortable in any of the ostensible senses. He shouted and thrashed around the stage and most likely cried. He also gave Berlin a lot of love, particularly the fact that people were smoking inside, which, yeah, is pretty cool right?

He ended his set with Here’s to the Afterlife. At almost eight minutes, the recorded version is longer than most of Current Joys’ songs, and live it stretched out towards eternity (in a good way). “I WILL NEVER DIE,” he screamed, at one point stumbling off stage, and collapsing
onto the ground when he stumbled back, repeating the line. Which is a pretty shell to put around whatever core thing it is that makes Current Joys so good; it’s sad and honest and who cares about the rest.

P.s. Puschenfest proper is going to be awesome and honest and sad and all sorts of other things too. It happens at Festall Kreuzberg and is totally stacked, with performances by U.S. Girls, Cindy Lee, Saba Lou, Klaus Johann Grobe, and a bunch more. Come! Get your tickets! Get em while they’re hot! Carpe Opportunum! Make hay while the sun shines!

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