Live Review: Cold In Berlin Album Launch Party

By on 13 September 2012

Cold in Berlin, Terminal Gods, Partly Faithful
Relentless Garage, Islington
7th September 2012

Tonight Cold in Berlin are putting on a special and intimate gig to celebrate and showcase the release of their second album ‘and Ye†’.  Debut album ‘Give Me Walls’ won the accolade of Artrocker album of the year, making them darlings of Hoxton’s parallel ‘goth’ scene (which some call Witchouse), so expectations are high and the pressure is on.

Maya’s vocal style is a near 50/50 mix of Karen O and Siouxie, with the similarity to the latter drawing a number of Goths out tonight, along with the goth friendly support acts Terminal Gods and Partly Faithful.  As a consequence tonight’s crowd is diverse; ranging from cape clad vampires to baseball caps and hipster cool.

Partly Faithful appear to be perpetually stuck at or near the bottom of line-ups, despite a vocal fan base.  Ed takes the stage with a more ‘gothic’ image than recollected from the previously reviewed performance last January.  He is hiding a heavily made up face and crimped hair inside a hoody bearing gothic script, over which a Bauhaus painted leather jacket is worn.  If I remember correctly, Partly Faithful previously made much effort in shaking off the ‘goth’ tag.  Now they are actively embracing it and channelling Bauhaus to the point of parody.  Ed’s pouting and strutting makes me wonder if it is a Saturday night in the 90’s and he has just uttered ‘Tonight Matthew, I am Peter Murphy’  (young ‘uns  Google ‘Stars in Your Eyes’).

But enough of the image – what about the music?  It makes me want to tap my foot, but not to listen to it once home.  Personally I preferred Screaming Banshee Aircrew– at least they were fun!

Next up are the young and relative newcomers to the scene: Terminal Gods.  Since their first gig last year, they have played almost weekly and as a result have rapidly moved up the billings and gained a considerable and loyal fan base.

Rob initially holds back from the mike, looking very much the frontman, while his band struts around him.  On cue he approaches the mic to add Eldritch vocals to go with the perma-sunglasses.  Terminal Gods are so Sisters Of Mercy it hurts.  To Rob’s right, Maisey is playing the part of Hussey in a horrifically loud paisley shirt.  All members have gained more pomp and confidence from regular gigging.  Even diminutive bass player Katie has masses of confidence.  She emerges from the shadows, fighting with the boys for stage front.   While looking a little scary, with heavy eye makeup and hair trailed across her face.  Despite the show of pomp and egos they are enjoying themselves.  Even Rob breaks character to reveal a hint of a smile.

For a small venue (150 capacity) the lighting is very well tailored to the music, which makes up for the lack of smoke.  The strobes are very disorienting, something I haven’t experienced since a Sisters gig. Unfortunately the sound goes from being near perfect to painfully distorted, due to being too loud, which hopefully did not turn off any potential new fans because despite being a SOM clone, the Terminals are refreshing and very good at what they do.  The set ends with ‘Electric Eyes’, which could easily be a dance floor hit the like of 90’s classic ‘Pale Empress’ (Merry Thoughts) – but are the goths of 2012 ready to accept new music onto their dance floors?  A question which will not trouble the Terminal Gods – they aren’t goths. Apparently.

Cold In Berlin seem slightly rushed when they take the stage.  The gig is running late and there is a curfew to worry about.  Despite this Maya quickly switches into her starey eyed enigmatic on-stage persona, while a tolling bell opens the set.   
Not having heard the new album, I want a copy before the first song has ended.  This stuff is good!  A large of number of the crowd is already very familiar with the new material, which adds to an already great atmosphere.  I imagine tonight has the same feel as early 80’s goth gigs; Those that happened before there was a ‘scene’, and the related bull**** which goes along with such things.

The band appear more relaxed than I have seen them before, helped by being amongst ‘friends’.  Maya even cracks a few smiles – everyone is rather happy tonight!
‘And the Darkness Bangs’ makes a surprisingly early appearance in the set.  A personal favourite of mine, which like Terminal God’s ‘Electric Eyes’ would not be out of place in a 2012 goth club.
They plough through the set at one point checking if the sound is OK to the crowd.  A rather sweet gesture from a band I have been slightly intimated by in the past.  Speaking of which, Maya stays on the stage pretty much throughout, no in your face manic antics tonight.  Despite a more relaxed stage presence and less elusive and intimidating character; she is becoming a formidable front woman, the popularity of which will be helped by this more personable on stage persona.  In fact, the whole band is chatting along with the audience and each other.  This will go a long way towards winning them new fans and getting closer to the recognition they deserve.

Towards the end there was the usual stage hopping encore antics, accompanied by enthusiastic baying for more.  We got two more, with the night ending on the brilliantly indie punk pop ‘God I Love You’.
I have said this before but I will say it again.  Go and see this band!  Despite loving them live I have rarely listened to them outside of gigs.  This is all set to change with the release of ‘and Ye†’.

Words: Victoria Fenbane
Photo: Unholy Racket

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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