Jaunt (jônt, jänt) n. A short trip or excursion, usually for pleasure; an outing
Plain and Simple’s roving reporter/man about town and clubbing addict Jammy brings you his eye view of the events he was partying at in the last week… This time he spent his jaunt went international, with his very special extended jaunt to Berlin!
Hello and welcome to Jammy’s Jaunts! Your weekly clubbing review of London! However this weekend’s this jaunt did not take place in London but in the very special city of Berlin! Highly considered as the No1 place and mecca of techno, this is where I spent 4 days finally living the dream and seeing what Berlin was actually like as a city and as a haven for techno. So let’s start off and go straight into the action! Landing on Friday, the first party I took in was the monthly party ‘Grounded Theory’ at a club called ‘Stattsbad’ in the ‘Wedding’ area of Berlin. Run by DJ/Producer Henning Baer, Grounded Theory has attracted lots of the big hitters in techno such as Lucy, Marcel Dettmann and Speedy J, just to name a few. The list goes on, I could name loads! So after landing and getting ready, we got to the station (Wedding) and after asking for directions we were helped by the friendly German folk to find the place. We eventually got to Stattsbad around 5am. Arriving there we only paid €10 to get in and immediately set about scoping out and exploring the place. The front of the club looked like an old lobby of a really run down University with people hanging around near the front chilling out.
As I climbed the upstairs, the cloakroom was tucked away immediately round the corner and straight away, had to put my coat away, and accidently jumped the queue without realising! So anyway after that, all I could hear now was the thunderous rumbles coming from downstairs and as I went down, through the small windows, you could make out the enormous swimming pool that Stattsbad was actually under! Pipes were coming out all over the place and many times I had to duck my head under them. Eventually making it down stairs, led to the Bunker Floor where Adam X was playing from 02:00 – End. On the other side was the bar and the room was packed when I go there. The entire floor was made of small narrow corridors leading to all sorts of dark passages and hidden seating areas, which was pretty cool to see. You would have nothing like that in any sort of club in the UK, let alone London! The toilets were at one end of the Bunker floor with the other bar on the other side of the room. As we walked through, I randomly bumped into my German friend who I knew was going to be there and by chance I caught her there and was our companion for the rest of the night. Small world eh!
Through a gap near the back of the club was the opening to the Boiler floor (the main room of Stattsbad and also where they hold the Boiler Room events in Berlin) Times for this room were: 00:00 – 03:00 Milton Bradley, 03:00 – 04:00 Staffan Linzatti (live), 03:00 – 07:00 Cari Lekebusch, 07:00 – End Francois X. Arriving at 5, meant that we were halfway through Cari’s set which was pretty banging by the time we go onto the dancefloor. The room was packed and everyone was having a great time. A friendly crowd and guys and girls alike really were going for it! It was cool to see this happening. Only thing that was quite annoying was people lighting up and smoking everywhere, but you kind of got used to it, in the end! At the far end of the room were 4 giant Funktion 1 stacks. The room was medium size, not too big or small. A pretty good size. The DJ area was tucked in one corner and on the other side of the room was what I could only describe as 2 massive sized vats/tanks with pipes all over the place with a good 100 foot drop below into darkness! Only thing protecting us was a very short metal barrier/fence. Pretty dangerous, but gave the club a great feel!
Meanwhile Cari Lekebusch was proper going for it and for some parts, it seemed like he was having more fun than the crowd! It was great to see the DJ really interacting with crowd and feeding off the vibe and energy of the people. The music was proper full on techno and I was definitely in my element, a great start to my Berlin adventure, shame I got there so late! It was great fun being in the middle of the crowd and seeing the reactions and grins on the people’s faces, they knew why they had come here and for what specific reason. To listen to some quality techno, at a really special club and it showed! I would definitely advise you to check out Stattbad on a Grounded Theory night if you ever get to go to Berlin. I stayed in the Boiler room for a bit and headed off to see Adam X in the bunker room. He was really pulling out the heavyweight techno and was relentless. Always one of those DJs I wanted to see play and now I’m lucky to chalk that one off my list. By about 7am the crowd was starting to filter out and it was a good time to head home in preparation of what was to follow the day after!
So the time had come. Leaving the apartment at around 3am Sunday morning and a short 5 minute walk round the corner was the one we had all been waiting for. The presence of Berghain. Just the sheer enormity of the place made you nervous. The queue to get in was pretty much amazing. The amount of people trying to get in and getting turned away was something unreal in its self; such is Berghain’s rigorous door policy of allowing people in. At the end of the day it’s their decision at the door who the let in and how they control that. You just have to look the part and serious enough about wanting to get in without being overly confident. Then again on the other hand, they can turn you away, just like that with any reason. It all depends on the day. So in my case I was lucky enough to get guestlist and made my way to the front, while my friends queued. It was a simple and short matter and within 15 minutes I was in.
The cloakroom system was very cool and efficient. They took your coat and gave you a necklace with your coat ticket on it. Simple as that. You wore it around your neck so that you wouldn’t lose it. Now I was beginning to feel quite nervous. I was on my own with the stairs of Berghain ominously looking at me. Telling me to climb the stairs and make that final step to where I need to be, all the time, I could hear the thundering, pounding beats of techno making an imprint on my brain. I walked up the main steps to the top and there I was: The Berghain floor. I’m not going to give much away here, just what I experienced. I believe strongly that you need to go there to fully experience it and my Jaunts will not do it full justice. They will go some way, but not all the way. All I remember was the masses of people being one with the music. The set times were: Berghain 23:59h – 04:00h Rrose, 04:00 h – 05:00h Dadub LIVE 05:00h – 08:00h Xhin 08:00h – 11:00h Lucy 11:00h – 14:00h Iori 14:00h – 17:00h Jesper Dahlbäck 17:00h – 22:00h Joel Mull 22:00h – End Len Faki.
Panorama Bar set times were 23:59h – 04:00h Margaret Dygas 04:00h – 07:00h Maceo Plex 07:00h – 11:00h Agoria 11:00h – 14:00h Steffi.
Running Order Sonntags 14:00h – 17:00h Giles Smith 17:00h – 20:00h DJ Tennis 20:00h – 23:59h The Martinez Brothers 23:59h – End nd_baumecker.
The sheer power of the Funktion 1 soundsystem they have there is simply monstrous. I don’t think I have another adjective for that! Forget any club or soundsystem you have experienced, this probably tops it. As you enter the room, the bar is on the right hand side with seating area near the back where the seats are comprised of swings. If you take the stairs up again, you find the floor where they sell ice cream, which was a welcomed delight as I went through my Berghain marathon. I spent 2.5hours on my own there waiting for my friends to get in, so I went exploring and caught Margaret Dygas in Panorama bar who I’ve seen a few times in London and it was nice to catch her here in Berlin. This room was much more house and tech house orientated and the groove was really cool and the room was already rammed when I got up there. At the back of the room was the bar where you could even get coffee!
Across the way from P-Bar was the seating area, up a short flight of steps where me and the others found ourselves numerous times chilling out. Making my way through to the balcony, I stayed there and watched the Berghain floor erupt with the mass of people and techno. I really had to stand back and take it all in. It truly was a spectacle! I even caught glance of the mysterious dark rooms! Rrose was playing really spacey atmospheric buildup techno and was very interesting to hear. There is no concept of time there and his 4 hours went just like that. Dadub’s live set up was proper. This night was their album launch and they really impressed. The whole Stroboscopic Artefacts (SA) sound is definitely for me and I’m a massive fan of theirs. By the time Xhin came on, all my friends arrived and got in which was good. Xhin tore the place apart with his techno and very breaky/breakbeat set. Very experimental indeed. Boss of SA, Lucy came on next and one of my favourites. He really taught us all a lesson in techno. Pounding beat after beat was perfect and rolling. Every time I looked up and gazed the crowd, not one person was standing still. It was very reminiscent of the time he played at Jaded last month, which was one of my favourites and a massive highlight.
Iori and Jesper Dahlback were up next. Both 2 DJ’s I have never seen play before and they worked their way through their afternoon shifts well. Iori is from Prologue who also have Milton Bradley, Edit Select, Terence Fixmer and Samuli Kemppi was well as others on their roster. A very influential record label in the world of techno. This transition was interesting, and now the SA part of Berghain was over and the day was being re-warmed up again by Iori and Dahlback, It worked well and the energy was still there on the dancefloor. By the time it was 5pm Joel Mull came on, another new DJ I had yet to see play and wow, he really played! He smashed it for 5 whole hours without letting up. Those 5 hours flew by and as I mentioned, time does not exist in Berghain. You need to experience that yourself. Sheer raw power of techno was being delivered and I kept on going and going! My feet were beginning to hurt a bit, but that didn’t really matter, nor did I care!
I was really in my element and got my second wind through now and was in the home straight of Berghain. All my stamina and power was showing through and this was the only place that could test it. Mull’s set was a true highlight and the grin on my face was probably the biggest it’s been the whole time there. Next up and last to play was Len Faki. Another one off the list for me and straight in, no nonsense techno. He picked up straight from where Mull left things. Sleeves rolled up techno as I could describe it. His characteristic stabbing beats were making holes in my body with each pounding blow! I loved it! If the music is that good wherever you go, it makes such a massive difference and you can feel that you can last forever. It was driving, relentless, powerful and full of energy. Everything that you want good quality techno to be and this place truly stands out on its own. Nothing comes close to it. I wish I could tell you more about the finer points of Berghain but unfortunately I can’t! The end was nigh and by the 23rd hour, pain was settling into my feet, but a quick massage later and I was raring to go again. Len Faki ended up doing a 7 hour closing set and I was lucky enough to see this and the lights of Berghain to come on. It truly was an amazing adventure and journey. One that I will never forget as my first time there. (Massive thanks to Ash: (birthday boy, Ivan, Simon, Nina and Hilda) After 25.5 hours without leaving. Time was up. I had to check out of my hotel! P-Bar was still going on and I could have easily stayed for even longer, but you can have too much of a good thing? Right?! Berlin and Berghain mission over! I’ll be back soon Berlin! Hope you enjoyed the Berlin Jaunt!