c/o pop festival 2017
A packed programme for and in Cologne
Great things are coming to sunny Cologne this summer. Not only does the 2017 edition of c/o pop once again offer a fantastic – and fantastically diverse – line up, it also boasts a new ticketing concept that is as simple as it is effective in creating the right festival atmosphere. For the first time, festivalgoers can choose between day tickets or a ticket for the entire festival, which give them access to either all shows and parties of the day or of the entire event from start to finish. It’s hard to imagine a better and easier way for people to location-hop their way through the summer nights.
Highly recommended for specialist visitors from Germany and further afield is the c/o pop Convention, which takes place to coincide with c/o pop. This is where selected experts from the music and event scene come to discuss the present and ancipated future state of the live music industry and how to market it, as well as new festival formats, support for newcomers and much more. The convention is where partnerships are formed, new knowledge is generated and the protagonists of the industry put their heads together.
To help you navigate through the tightly packed festival programme with performances from more than 60 artists and bands, I’ve put together my personal selection for this year’s festival. Don’t miss out – and have fun!
Wednesday, 16 August
What a way to launch c/o pop 2017! The Berlin-based band Moderat would be reason alone to pay a visit to the good old Tanzbrunnen across the river. But this appearance by Israeli musician and singer NOGA EREZ at Stadtgarten turns the first night of c/o pop into no less than a small sensation. Using her deep bass, cross-genre tracks as a backdrop, with a distinctive flavour of Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, Erez’ confidently political lyrics pick up on what’s wrong with the world today yet without descending into trivialism. She’s an artist whose coolness does not obscure the fact that she means what she says, and whose music appeals to both body and soul.
Thursday, 17 August
I am particularly excited about this performance by Australian solo artist TASH SULTANA. A former busker, Tash appears alone on stage yet is transformed into an entire band with the help of a multitude of loop stations that pile track upon track to create a dense musical fabric. It’s hard to explain but immensely interesting to watch. The result is perfect for a long, relaxed summer’s evening.
Thanks to bands like Wanda or Bilderbuch, Austropop, as it’s known, has emerged from obscurity. Probably the most cryptic and dark yet sublime proponent of this rather special pop genre is VOODOO JÜRGENS, a fascinating individual who appears to have just crawled out of a dark and dusty Viennese tomb. This will be a morbid but certainly amusing night of song for all lovers of the Viennese lingo.
What, or who, are COLOGNE TAPE? The eight musicians deliberately hide behind the name of their collective, although I can disclose that it consists of a number of top players on Cologne’s techno scene who assemble on stage together with a range of instruments and other sound-emitting devices to create their music. A hypnotic, groovy journey to a musical world that is located somewhere between minimal techno and Krautrock. COLOGNE TAPE live on stage is a show not to be missed!
Friday, 18 August
The 90s called, they want their Indie sound back! Well, tough. HEIM won’t be giving it back anytime soon. If you like American guitar bands like Dinosaur Jr. or Built to Spill, you’ll love these three grumpy Bavarian guys who are the antithesis of what passes for the party and event scene these days. Their noisy songs, full of distortion and heartbreaking tunes, are a necessary musical remedy for the woes of this world. Tonight, we can join them in drinking to noise and bad humour. Cheers!
This boy from Zürich with his full head of hair and deep voice is set to bring the Christuskirche alive on Friday night. Although I admit that I’m a bit uneasy about a 23-year-old singing about women, booze and dodgy harbourside bars as if he were going on 70, I will equally admit that FABER is an amazing old-school chansonnier whose street band plays like the devil himself. This is going to be wild.
Sadly my knowledge of Arab music is rather limited. The same was true for Parisian DJs GUIDO MINISKY and HERVÉ CARVALHO until they went to a festival in Tunisia that put them in close quarters with the local sound and music culture. They began to weave Oriental influences into their house and techno DJ sets – the beginning of a major-scale love story. Today, they are both real connoisseurs of traditional and contemporary Arab music. This performance will feature both familiar grooves as well as some new and unfamiliar sounds.
Under the heading “We are Europe”, this year’s edition of c/o pop again features a cooperation between various European festival organisers who have clubbed together to present a selection of artists including the incredible CLARA MOTO, everybody’s darling ROMAN FLÜGEL and the Spanish video artist ALBA G. CORRAL. Don’t miss it – and that’s an order!
Saturday, 19 August
I had no idea these three Berlin-based rascals existed until I heard their cover version of the 90s hit single Ghetto Superstar, which they have recreated with an outrageous helping of laissez-faire. I am curious to find out what else these guys have to offer – in any case a lot of distorted bass, plenty of unconventialism and a metric ton of humour.
PERFUME GENUIS is the stage name of musician Mike Hadreas from Seattle, whose performance at the Funkhaus is a hot contender for the musical high point of this year’s c/o pop. Hadreas’ superpowers are his fragility and the honesty with which he translates his difficult personal history into music. Rather than harden him to the world, his experience of homophobia and violence has led him to introduce his audience to his vulnerability through his haunting music. An evening somewhere between chamber pop, drama and pure opulence in the perfect venue.
In the wee small hours of Saturday night, LENA WILLIKENS will approach the turntables at Gewölbe with the determined concentration of a concert pianist and begin her set. No DJ has a more refined style, no one smokes fags at work with quite the same coolness, and no one is able to transport their audience to such exalted mental and physical heights as Lena Willikens. She’s uncompromising, genre-busting and unpredictable – though what is certain is that in the end, the Gewölbe audience will be transformed into a hot sweaty mess. Guaranteed.
Sunday, 20 August
c/o pop rings in its last day on Sunday afternoon with a laid-back session in Odonien beer garden. The lineup includes JULIAN STETTER (of the band Vimes), DJ SEINFELD and MALL GRAP, who will do their very best to mobilise what is left of festivalgoers’ energy – and then we can all collapse in our beds and get the rest we deserve after five hard days of festival work.