Wednesday, June 14, 2006Making Plans for Rock
I feel very fortunate for quite a few reasons. Firstly that I know Elizabeth (click to check out her new blog!) - a person who makes things happen and makes people happy without really taking credit for her greatness. I also feel fortunate that she introduced me to Planning to Rock and got me into her album launch show, because it left me dumbfounded in a very good way. So Planning to Rock...what is there to know? Planning to Rock is Janine Roston, a lady from Bolton, who moved to Berlin. She is a suprememly talented musical visionary and video artist. She is signed to Chicks On Speed Records and seems to be the first Berlin based-Künstler since Peaches to really get people excited. Her album, Have It All has just been released in Europe and will be released in the USA on 28th June.
Her music is impacting because it sounds like nothing you've ever heard before. Her MySpace page describes the influences as "your typical Elizabethan jig", which certainly features in the overall sound, but think more...Opera, Hip-Hop (Berlin-style), Northern English vocals and humour, David Lynch films, philharmonic orchestras, the first time you listened to a Go! Team or a Knife album, electro beats and South London Grime...it could be messy, but it's an incredibly focused and assertive album, strange and affirming, dancefloor-friendly and creepy.
The live show was a big deal. It took place at the Volksbühne, where a completely different set had been built on top of the standard theatre chairs and stages. It was all white, with two huge video screens and an L shaped stage. Throughout the show videos would be shown on the screens, most by Janine herself, others by fellow artistic friends, including Kevin Blechdom. Janine was dressed all in white, wearing bad-ass baggy white trousers of which she often grabbed the crotch in some of the more appropriate moments in the set. Her only prop was a chair (white as well!), which she would twirl around, sit on, throw, etc. It reminded me of theatre productions I did while at school, using minimal props to create a slightly Brechtian effect. What was entirely striking was the degree to which the evening was a thought-through and fluent product. Nothing was incidental, everything was intentional. From this harmony it was clear that she is both a visual and musical artist. Also clear was that she meant everything, she was in a world of performance, immersed in her art, her strong soul voice rasping with feeling. I see so many bands play live that you really can tell when someone means it when they play/sing it, and Planning to Rock are as real as they come. Check out her website for tour dates, etcetera.
And if you're in Berlin, GO TO SEE THE GOSSIP ON MONDAY AT MAGENT. It can only be amazing. And if you miss it, come see them at Ostgut with me on 13th July. Indeed.