august 16th 2001
popkomm festival
club gloria
kln (d)
[pictures at mod]

das pop
dead man ray

copy of '78/thque

report by Alison & Martin:

"The Styrofoam sets weren't live they were just recorded ambient techno (nice) with some video graphics displayed on two screens - they were just something to listen to while the roadies set up different bands. The visuals were by the same guys who did the wall of TVs at De Nachten.

Das Pop were on first (they headlined with Buscemi, who were on last). This was the best Das Pop gig we've ever seen! After two songs they had the audience (who had never heard of them) singing along with them! The Germans loved Das Pop, so we reckon they will be touring there at some point in the near future. Das Pop got the best reaction from the crowd of any of the bands. We've no idea what Bent was saying between songs because he spoke solely in German, but the crowd kept cheering him, so I guess they liked it.
There was plenty of great lights,including a huge flashing Das Pop logo (very kitsch 1980's style) and banks of strobes that flashed very slowly which was an interesting effect. The Tonight song went down really well - loads of people in the audience sang along. At the start of the gig, the only people at the front were the two of us, plus 4 women who were obviously fans. After one song, the Germans realised that Das Pop put on one of the most amazing live shows with all their trademark acrobatics, and the front was full of photographers and TV crews. Hopefully this means that the event will be broadcast, maybe on WDR because their office was only a 2 minute walk away.

Next on stage was Mauro. He seemed to go down well with the audience but didn't capture their attention in the same way as Das Pop (well it would've been impossible for anyone to top their set!). Mauro's set was a well played, good set, although the volume was too loud for his music and the sound quality suffered as a result. Ok we thought, a fairly normal Mauro gig - and that's when things changed dramatically! Half way through one song, all the microphones lost power - Mauro's first and he ran to the keyboard player's mike to continue singing, but this mike died and then so did all the mikes. So you can imagine how the poor guy felt - 500 important record company businessmen watching you and no way of singing a song! I yelled to him 'get an acoustic guitar!' He said yeah, he would play some Tibetan music! Then he improvised an impersonation of River Dance on stage!! He changed that to a Charlie Chaplin style dance while the keyboard player played 1920's ragtime music!! Absolutely hilarious! Then one of his roadies borrowed an acoustic guitar and Mauro climbed down and sat on the edge of the stage, and he told everyone to come closer and the few of us that were interested formed a very close circle around him and he played a song by someone he called Merle Haggard? (he said it's an old belgian tune, I may have spelt the name wrong), then he played 'Everybody's Friend' and we joined in singing the backing vocals, and soon the rest of the small group around him joined in as well, the press photographers and TV crews also loved it, we were standing less than 1meter from Mauro! He asked for any suggestions and i yelled Mountain Glider, but he laughed and said he couldn't remember the words! :-) He played another song (a cover we think - we've heard it before at other gigs so we joined in again). After that he asked the crowd if they wanted to hear some real Belgian music, and he played what sounded like a nursery rhyme in Dutch! Someone else suggested For the Roses! He laughed and said that was too hard to play, How about Suds& Soda - someone else started singing Friday, Friday and Mauro started playing Suds and Soda - then he quickly stopped and said howabout Hotellounge? Well we all cheered for that one and he started playing the introduction, got just up to the first verse.... and the power came back on!! so he stopped and went back to finish off the rest of his set back in 'normal' Mauro style. We think Mauro should do an acoustic set, he's definitely at his best that way.

Next on were Starfighter, who play very loud, heavy bland US style rock. Fine if you like that sort of thing. We went outside for a drink. The Germans seemed to like them though.

COEM were on after them. We missed most of the set because Mauro came up to us during COEM's set and he thanked us for helping him sing the songs! ( I think we sang very badly, but he really appreciated the support). So we talked to him for about 10 minutes, he's a really nice guy! That's our excuse for missing most of COEM's set. He was amazed we had come from London to see him, he said he wanted to play there again. He hasn't played there since he supported dEUS in 1995. He said he would've liked to have played Mountain Glider, but he said it was Peter's song, he only wrote the bass line for it, and he said if he didn't write the lyrics himself, he can never remember them!

Because of this we missed most of COEM's set which started off sounding fairly normal indie rock, but about halfway through changed into MS=MC weirdness! Loads of bizarre feedback, the lead singer started telling strange stories that sounded very interesting although the volume was so loud from the feedback that it was hard to hear what he was saying. They were using samples and a strange instrument that looked a rubber hose but made a sound like a theremin!! We think their album could well be worth a listen.

Ok it was finally time for Dead Man Ray (it was 2.30am!) and by now most of the audience had gone - there were less than 100 people left to see them. DMR have changed their appearance somewhat - Elko has shaved the beard, and was dressed really smart, Wouter has dyed his hair blond and grown it long so it sticks out all over! and Rudy looked the worst we have ever seen him. Serious hangover, hair that looked like a crow's nest and a glare that could turn people to stone. He staggered on stage and slumped into his chair and looked really tired. He had such dark circles round his eyes that he looked like a grumpy Panda, but without the cute effect!
The set was OK, but DMR can certainly do far better - it was not the best DMR gig we've seen. They looked like they didn't want to be there, and looked really fucked off at being on so late because most of the audience had gone home - those that were left were mostly roadies and members of the other bands. Daan intoduced DMR by saying 'I don't know you and you don't know me, we're Dead Man Ray.'
He introduced Tunnels by saying 'Thanks for staying so late, it's good that you stayed so late. It's good that we stayed so late' With lots of sarcasm.
He actually did a band introduction after one song, introducing everyone as 'the one and only Elko', 'the one and only Rudy' etc. That was very strange to hear. Before Nezt he said 'If you were Germans we'd call this song Salsa, but you're not so we'll call it Nezt. Which means nothing to you anyway.'
We enjoyed the set, it was a nice ending to the evening, it was just a shame it was so late and the people who should've seen the set (the businessmen) had gone home.

Anyway Buscemi were on next, but it was 3.30am and we were exhausted so we left!"