Border Community at Watergate Berlin
5 years Watergate – Fairmont live and label honcho James Holden himself, supported by Sascha Funke, Geiger as well as Dave Turov and Robin Drimalski. These are the headlines that seemed to have quite a virtually magnetic pull for lots of clubbers willing to dance away a late October night. Turning up at the Watergate between 1-2 o’clock left almost everybody speechless as the usual queue (often reaching entrance of Club103) has been “extended” by a second waiting line, going a long way on bridge Oberbaumbrücke. That rush wasn’t the result of yet another extension of Media Market density, nor free bananas had been given away; it was solely about entering one of Berlin’s finest music clubs, even if a queue bigger than 300 people meant that harder endurance will be necessary.
The postponed electronic beats festival in Prague allowed me to personally congratulate the birthday child Watergate and to join an anything but uninteresting club night. After all my last rendezvous with James to see and listen him playing live dates back to Popkomm 2005, when BPitch met Border Community. Though, musically somebody else tore down the roof: Sascha Funke. When beginning his set at 1 o’clock he immediately started to transform the main floor into a kingdom of grooving, emotional, but also pushing and definitely danceable deep house. Not only technically, by delivering proper transitions, he was going strong, also, and even more impressive, by dropping the right tracks at the right time. Easily Sascha kept the fire burning. Seldomly I experienced such a great introductory DJ set… To my astonishment I heard the main floor cheering and rocking to house music having (even classic!) progressive and tribal influences. Does that herald a musical renaissance in Berlin’s techno swampland? And possibly a revival in favour of a progressive fan like me?
While upstairs Mr. Funke was shaking things up, down on the water floor Dave Turov and an excellently performing Alexander Geiger let the windows sway. It’s incomprehensibly how outside on Spree river a couple of swans could sleep while being faced with hammering beats… Mister Geiger pulled out all stops and dished up percussive house and drumming techno rhythms. His sympathic live cat was the initial spark to turn the water floor into a vibrant and waving mass of dancing people.
Meanwhile “over there” the illumination of Universal Music’s logo failed again and left the “I” behind. Somehow that must have been kind of a starting shot for Jacob Fairley, as only some short time later he was visibly keen on holding his live act. He took over the main floor from Sascha Funke and started his engines straight away. Fairmont convinced by a quite balanced, but also pushing and melodic album live presentation, which had been optically supported by colourful visuals of Watergate’s amazing LED ceiling. Personally I’ve never watched the ceiling displaying such complex animations rich in colours. Jake, at least quite well known since his euphoric corker “Gazebo”, showcased his new LP “Coloured In Memory“, whose first lifted single “Flight Of The Albatross” is a prime example of typically melancholic Border Community sounds. Seen from n artistic point of view his live act and album presentation is well worth seeing and listening. In things like flow it could had have a bit more grip though.
Several Mojitos and a bunch of beers later the next caesura was on the bill. At 4:30a.m. Watergate’s own Robin Drimalski got ready to cook the water floor, while on the upper deck the King of the Pixies took over the helm. Holden faced the crowd with better drive but less complex rhythms than Fairmont did before. Of course James threw in those dark and buzzing bass strings he is known for. However, all in all James’ set wasn’t that well and truly intoxicating as usual. It was danceable, it drove the people endlessly over the floor until the early morning hours, but I was missing those typically kinky Border Community mental kicks; those sounds being last straw and engraving a club night unforgettably in your memory.
That night the Watergate impressed by a very pleasant and relaxed crowd, whose nice lads-&-ladies-mixture once more legitimated the long queue and waiting. A welcome goodie was the change from summer to winter time. For some that meant an additional hour of clubbing, to others it’s been the chance to spend the following Sunday in a more relaxed manner.
Happy Birthday Watergate! To the next five… :-)