Berlin Gig Forecast : January 15-28

Who: Wooden Arms

When: January 20

Where: Privatclub, Berlin

If I had to shove Wooden Arms in a genre box, I suppose the best I could come up with is orchestral folk (no one ever claimed I was good at genre classifying). By blending Philip Glass-esque piano melodies, chamber instruments, choral passages, and the gentle voice of the lead singer, this UK band has succeeded in blurring the line between classical and modern alternative music. Taking a cue from the title of their recently released album, Tide, their songs have a tendency to ebb and flow effortlessly. I was fortunate enough to have caught them playing a somewhat informal show at the Michelberger Hotel in September, where the delicate nature of their music really shone in the intimate setting. Given its size and ambience, Privatclub should showcase Wooden Arms in the same way, although they’ll hardly need it to make an impression.

Who: Stars

When: January 22

Where: Bi Nuu, Berlin

Like so many bands over the course of the last couple of years, Stars seems to have gone the “disco comeback” route with their seventh full-length, No One Is Lost, which is arguably their danciest album yet. Although they’re not the same band that created my favorite high school heartbreak anthem (who hasn’t cry-sung “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” at some point in their lives?), the Canadian indie pop act has still proved that thoughtful, reflective music and danceable music are not mutually exclusive. What hasn’t changed a bit is the fantastic interplay between lead singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, whose musical exchanges are akin to a dialogue in a novel. At any rate, they’re guaranteed to put on a fun show, but—if the lyric on the title track “Put your hands up ‘cuz everybody dies” is any indication—not without a healthy dose of realism to keep you pondering.


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