18+ at CTM Festival, 2015; Courtesy CTM Festival
YAAM is a relatively new club in Berlin – or a revamped manifestation of an old club space – which this year played host to several CTM shows, including the multi-room concert series Endo I.
LA-based sensation 18+ have wooed fans long-distance with their mesmerizing 3D-animation videos. Live, they proved up to the task of translating their arty online personas into a persuasive performance. The unassuming talent of their voices was matched by their subtly poetic, dirty lyrics, and the audience seemed captivated by the duo’s almost conversational style.
Sandwiched between predominantly very young, very nonchalant Western headlining acts, Egyptian electro chaabi group E.E.K. feat. Islam Chipsy provided a refreshing energy with their German premiere. In Cairo, the band’s sound is that of your average street wedding; to European ears it’s an avant-garde maelstrom of percussion and Arabic keyboard beats. Chipsy, flanked by two drummers, seemed to possess boundless stamina, even returning for an encore song. Even the most composed Berlin crowd had to shake their hips a bit, at the very least in solidarity with the performers.
Yung Lean and Sad Boys, CTM Festival 2015; Photo by Fredrik Andersson Andersson, courtesy CTM Festival
The grand finale of the show, appearing on stage at 5am, was Swedish rappers Yung Lean, Sad Boys and Gravity Boys. The hype around these guys had been cultivated largely online, and their lyrics are both witty and poignant, with a hint of teenage melancholy. With this concert, I think I finally understood the meaning of ‘yung’ – a term for both fresh and youthful, and also used in lieu of someone’s name – as it seems to encompass the late teens / early 20s generation of middle-class, educated ‘rappers.’ They emerged on YouTube as a talented, yet almost implausible instant sensation, prompting tours across North America and Europe. The post-internet aesthetic of the hip-hop crew is best kept online, where their auto-tune distorted, heartfelt disdain can be better absorbed via headphones or speakers.
Blog entry by Alison Hugill in Berlin; Wednesday, Feb. 04, 2015.