Words from Kathryn Dodds
This summer I went to Ibiza for the seventh time. It was shit. The island was full of ‘deep house’ warriors, snap backs and Nike blazers. I couldn’t even physically fit into DC10 because of them and when I went to Space the DJ was playing the Vengaboys and Beyonce. (On a more positive note, hats off to tINI for her free party ‘tINI & The Gang’ and to Sankeys Ibiza. They got everything SO, SO RIGHT).
Disappointed and let down by my trip to Ibiza, I was eager for another clubbing holiday. So I booked Berlin for New Years.
This was my second trip to Berlin. Last time I went, I visited the clubs Suicide Circus and the infamous Berghain/Panorama Bar. I came out of Berghain with a different outlook on life. You won’t understand what I mean until you go there yourself!
After my first visit, Berlin became the best place I had been to in Europe so I was very excited the second time round. For New Years Eve we had a few options but decided on the club ‘Katerholzig.’ A friend who recommended the club described it as a ‘fairytale magical kingdom’ but warned us that the door policy was almost as strict as Berghain. We were intrigued.
Like absolute sad acts we unintentionally arrived an hour before the club was opening, so spent our time in a Chalet like bar next to it. It had a swing in and everything. The DJ though – good track selection but his mixing was WONKY and he was playing off Traktor? No excuse really? At the time my drunk self was thinking, WHY THE HELL AM I NOT PLAYING IN BERLIN?
Anyway enough of me. As we waited in the long ass queue we soon found out that the Chalet bar was the reject bar. Somehow the fact that the majority of the queue was being turned away made the place look even more enchanted and intriguing. Three of us got talking to a German guy who knew the crazy bitch rejecting people on the door so we got in. However, two of my friends didn’t.
The club was different and very quirky; there were loads of places to explore. Midnight was calling though so we went back outside to the Chalet to meet our friends. Katerholzig opened on New Years Eve (Tuesday) and didn’t shut until the Sunday. So once you got your stamp you could go in and out as you pleased. Imagine if that happened in the UK man. Well it just wouldn’t. CLUBS IN NEWCASTLE SHUT AT 3 AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE PARTY CAPITAL OF EUROPE!! PLEASE.
The Chalet was fun, the alcohol was flowing and the company was ace. Conscious that we needed to get the other two from our group into the club we decided to transfer our stamps onto their hands by using the old lick and press technique (hygienic I know)! One of my friends was able to get in from this technique, however the male of the group just couldn’t get in despite trying 5 times!! The woman kept describing him as ‘too Miami.’ Not really sure who she was to judge. She was dressed in some weird 80s fancy dress with lots of feathers in her hair. Disheartened my friend gave up and went home at around 2:30am.
At first the club didn’t overly impress me. The interior design was quality but it reminded me of some cheesy student place. There was even a bloody 70s disco room! We were in the basement techno bar for at least an hour and I swear the song didn’t change once. I was thinking, the door policy was so strict for this? EH?? I was drunk though and it was New Years Eve in Berlin so I was going to have a quality time regardless.
However, my impression of the club completely changed when I stumbled across the ‘Treehouse’ room. As soon as I walked in my ears fell in love with the beats. Balearic style, groovy tech house with the odd bit of acid for good measure. Right up my street. Reminded me of the stuff Ellen Allien would play.
The crowd was spot on too. People know how to party over there. Everyone was there for the music, no one cared what he or she looked like – they just wanted to dance. In fact my friend spent half the night having a dance off with a guy and they were pretending a glow stick was Simba from the Lion King… Normal I know. But it shows how fun the place was. The music matched the atmosphere too – my personal favourite track of the night was ‘Officer! Where’s your brother?’ by George Morel:
The track is old school, groovy, a little camp and very fun to dance to. Sums up the vibe perfectly. I think I asked everyone in the club where their brother was while it was being played! I now have it on vinyl too 😀
Later on in the night, the DJs changed and the music became influenced by the label ‘Innervisions.’ Another favourite style of mine! I’m not going to lie I was adamant the DJ was Dixon for a short while! A couple of highlights from his set were:
Reno by Marcus Worgull & Osunlade:
Lenoix by Marcus Worgull & Peter Pardeike:
Unfortunately, I had no idea who any of the DJs were as the line up was nowhere to be seen inside the club.
My friend showed me a secret passageway just off the dance floor, which led to an actual tree house (only in Berlin)! The remainder of my night was spent chilling out to the ‘floaty’ music. We left the club at around 8am. Quality night, it was just a shame that my friend didn’t get in.
New Years Day we decided to try Berghain. Their New Years party went on from the 29th December until the 3rd January – true Berlin Style! The queue was humongous. The place was as scary and intriguing as ever. But my god the music that was booming from the club – UNBELIEVABLE.
Long story short, we all fell foul of Berghain’s very random door policy this time. Worst thing ever was that I wasn’t even rejected by Sven (he let me in last time), it was his younger apprentice! Pffft!
I may just be bitter but it got me thinking about the whole random Berlin door policy. I understand trying to keep parties for music lovers only (this is what we do at Ghetec) but rejecting people on a purely random basis (either on the way they look or for ratios) isn’t exactly fair is it? I mean the whole idea behind underground clubbing is that everyone goes to dance and doesn’t care what they look like, right? Rejecting people because they don’t ‘fit in’ surely goes against that whole concept!! I mean I’m a music lover and I didn’t get in. A quiz on the door, I would understand but not this. Berghain is an ace cub and attracts some amazing DJs but unfortunately its strict door policy has made it into somewhat of a tourist attraction. Next time I go I’ll definitely be sticking to the smaller scale and intimate parties without the bizarre door policy.
Saying that though, if a woman’s vest wearing male who thought Disclosure invented deep house rocked up to the next Ghetec then I’d probably reject him! In the Berlin queues though the rejection was just completely random and unfair! It was more for marketing rather than crowd maintenance.
On my last day I went digging in Hardwax. Unreal record shop, some of the pressings they had were so rare. I could have bought the whole shop but my luggage unfortunately only had space for 3. However, when I flew back to London I went to Phonica and bought more!
The records I bought were:
1. Johannes Volk – Aquanautic Tales – EXP-005 (HARDWAX – techno stomper);
2. Other Heights White Label #10 series – Various Artists (HARDWAX – techno/ambient);
3. Ron Trent – Raw Footage Part Two (HARDWAX – DEEEEP and a lot cheaper than buying it in the UK);
4. John Daly – Move (Club Mixes) (PHONICA – Epic, Balearic Nu Disco Monster);
5. Alexander Robotnick – Coast 2 Coast EP (PHONICA – Two absolute house jams, good times from start to finish);
6. Rolando – D&Ns – Ostgut Ton (PHONICA – Funk Detroit techno from a true legend); and
7. George Morel – Morel’s Groovers Part 8 – Strictly Rhythm (DISCOGS as a result of my Berlin trip – old school, fun house).
Can’t wait to play them all out soon and to return to Berlin in summer!