Heine Van Der Walt recently visited Germany and had one hell of a Metal Experience. He’s decided to tell you all about it, so here goes…
“I previously wrote an article on Running Wolf’s Rant about my metal experience in Ecuador, so I thought I’d share my metal experience in Germany with the readers. Since there is a lot of focus on nightlife and entertainment here I thought I’d share some cool places and spots I’ve seen there in my time as a visitor in their beautiful country as part of a programme made possible by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Initiative Musik, The German Embassy in Pretoria and the GIC.
First up was Berlin, in Oranienstrasse in the area of Kreuzberg, where we checked out the infamous SO36. It was a very important part of the Berlin punk rock movement since the 1970s, and the venue still operates to this day despite them facing great adversity such as the 1987 riots, political shifts, and cultural changes. It is still a home to the alternative, hardcore, LGBT, metal, baltic electro, etc. I have noticed that scene of Kreuzberg clearly have zero tolerance for bigotry, discrimination, racism, neo-nazis and the like. They are doing it right.
Further in Kreuzberg we checked out Core-Tex, a great record shop and label that is rooted firmly in the Berlin punk scene, they also sell their own craft beer, merchandise, as well as those of bands and tons of punk/hardcore vinyls. Every year on May the 1st the people of Kreuzberg celebrate a huge festival in the streets, MyFest, with many stages, stalls, demonstrations, and an incredible sight to behold. We quickly hopped a train to the Lido Club, and much like the (new) Old Nile Crocodile in Kotze Street, it was converted from an old cinema, and plays host to everything from metal to electro to folk.
We then hoofed past the Magnet Club and over the Spree river to check out the Mercedes-Benz Arena, then over the tracks into Friedrichshain, where we checked out a cool club Cassiopea and Rockcafé HALFORD (a full-on, Judas Priest themed bar – full-on). Later that night we had a nice networking dinner at Urban Spree which has a nice quant outside area along with an exhibition hall for the visual arts and an indoor club where we witnessed some fine Berlin musicians doing their thing.
In Hannover, we had a great dinner with the members of the Scorpions at Peppermint Park Pavilion. It boasts a great studio as well as a great restaurant, Funky Kitchen (owned by MousseT if I can recall correctly). In Hamburg, we made the trek to the district of St. Pauli and we checked out a lot of clubs and some of us basked in some St. Pauli football history. Since 1990 the Molotow club has hosted punk, post-rock, indie, metal acts and has had many a great band there before they were huge international acts – a lot of them. That’s the funny thing about Hamburg: the city has always played a role in so many artists career as a stepping stone to great success and stardom and there is no greater example of this than The Beatles.
As any great fan would know, The Beatles built their career by playing clubs in Hamburg for over two years, where they shaped their look, sound and ultimately became one of the biggest bands in history. Famous clubs of which some are still open today, like the Indra Club, Kaiserkeller, and the now closed Star Club, all close to the famous Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit. They learnt the ropes there and the area has also been a home to Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Little Richard and many more.
After Hamburg we set off to Wacken, home of the biggest metal festival in the world and the focus of the Visitors Programme. We got to experience the festival itself for it’s 26th year running! We had a little tour of the festival ground and saw the entire production behind-the-scenes as well as seeing bands like Judas Priest, Savatage, Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth and Rob Zombie (to name just a few).
What I can say is this: If you are an avid music lover, night-owl, and party-goer, Germany will not disappoint. Especially when it comes to heavier music. Although they do have an abundance of other great genres and artists to cater to everyone’s taste and events running 7 days a week, you’ll be sure to find something magical around every corner.”
I would like to take this opportunity thank Heine for taking time to tell us all about his German Experience.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.