// Overseas travel blog
// Overseas travel blog
Well, what a night. We stumbled across another of Berlin's fantastic techno clubs last night and stayed long enough to watch the sun rising through the trees, reflecting off the river and sending flashes of shimmering light darting off the disco ball that hung from the branches above the open-air dance floor.
The night started off with a visit to Colombia Theatre in Kreuzberg to see a gig by eine typische deutsche Band, Jan Blomqvist. I arrived with a girlfriend around 9pm to a large Schlange of people stretching down street. Halfway through the queue, we realised that most – if not all – people had a printed sheet of paper, ticket or otherwise. I asked the two behind me if they already had tickets, to which the reply was, ‘Yes, definitely!’ As we approached the ticket booth I saw the sign: Ausverkauft (sold out) and my heart sunk. Still we took our chances, and made our way up to the window only for our disappointment to be confirmed. No more tickets.
We walked away from the counter and started making a contingency plan. After 20 seconds, a girl came dashing towards us speaking German.
‘Do you speak German?!’ she asked. We replied yes. ‘Oh good. We have two tickets. Do you want to buy them? Our friend has to work and we don’t want to go anymore.’
‘Ok, really?’ we said.
‘Yes. Please, it would help us out. You can have them for 20 euro each.’ (This was the same as the door price)
‘Are they real?’ I asked sceptically.
‘Yes. If you buy them I’ll come up with you.’
So we scratched around in our bags and came up with the money, and in return were handed two printed tickets. The girl followed us up to the counter, the authenticity was verified by the happy beep of the barcode scanner, and in we went. The place had a good buzz, the lights were dimmed and an inane mellow house track was playing loud enough to know that the sound system was top quality. We decided to make a quick toilet stop and to put our jackets into die Garderobe before buying a drink, but soon realised it was a terrible idea. While you could push past the queue and down the flights of stairs to the toilets easily enough, this gave a pretty good idea of just how long the line for the cloakroom was. Last gig I went to, I had waited in line for the best part of 45 minutes afterwards to retrieve my jacket. ‘Fuck it,’ I said, ‘we have places to be after here, I’m not going to waste my night standing in a Schlange für die Garderobe after the gig.’ So we went 80's style, tied our coats around our waste and made a beeline for the bar.
At the bar we ordered two vodka lemons which were deliciously sour. I’m back on vodka after realising that Europe has decent quality cheap vodkas that taste nothing like the metho served in Aus. Although my Italian friend was not as satisfied: ‘Is this water?! Where is the vodka. Do you taste anything? This would not happen in Italy.’ I could definitely taste it, but perhaps standard pours don’t exist in Italy? This lead to next round being another lemon vodka with accompanying vodka shot (which was the bargain price of 2 euro mind you), just in time for the gig to start.
The music was great. It was sort of a mix between Rüfüs and Hayden James, and Booka Shade, and Maya Jane Coles with male vocals, with everything played live. Being a sold-out gig, it also had a great vibe with people dancing, drinking and having the obligatory joint or two on the dancefloor. After finishing our drinks, us two tiny girls (5’2 and 5’4) pushed through to the edge of a platform just before some stairs, so we could see over the heads of the tall and normal-sized humans. They played for almost 2 hours, and about the only banter from the lead singer was a cute ‘Danke schön‘ every now and again. Once it finished around midnight, we high-tailed it out of the place and left the not-so-savvy crowd to their Garderobe schlanger.
We’d heard from another friend that she and her friend were going to a club called IPSE in Kreuzberg...
After a quick bite to eat, we checked the public transport ap and were disappointed by the prospect of quite a few hundred metres zu Fuß, a train and a bus thrown into the mix, and so decided to opt for a cab. We arrived sometime after 1 and soon saw exactly where we needed to be: at the back of the line of around 150 other late night revellers. I checked google maps to make sure we were in the right place, because all we could see was a long line of people and lots of trees, next to a service station. Seeing that it was going to be quite a wait, I popped across to the service station to buy a beer for the line. Drinking in public, what a great concept. Catch up Australia.
After what seemed like an eternity we just about made it to the front. A tiny neon red sign that read ‘Ipse’ hung from a tree branch on the left, and red beacons were placed at regular intervals on the right, so you could track how many aeons it had taken to make it from beacon 6 to beacon 5. People were pushing in left, right and centre, and people were also getting denied entry altogether. As we made it to the bouncer, we realised that our friend and her friend were only a metre ahead. With the next wave of people, we finally made it through.
The club was like some kind of mutation of beautiful abandoned farm alongside the river, and pitch black bomb shelter. It had tin sheds and outdoor loos, a bamboo/wooden outdoor bar and an outdoor dancefloor under the trees with an elaborate chandelier hanging above the dusty ground. There were undercover deck areas with cushions to chill out, and seats by the riverside. Around a corner you could enter a hallway, make a twist and turn, the push through a curtain into a huge, deep, pitch black dungeon of an indoor venue that was ten degrees warmer than outside, and thumping with dirty techno and moving bodies. It had balconies either side of the DJ, seats on the outskirts, and a huge but packed dancefloor with powerfully mesmerising strobe lights and an overworked smoke machine. It was so Berlin.
After being in the cold for the best part of an hour and a half waiting to get in, the obvious choice was the dungeon. I loved every minute and had a great dance with one friend, while two of the other girls spent their time fending off a keen Frenchmen and an annoyingly persistent other dude. After a few hours taking in the beats and getting near-drowned by the smoke machine, we decided to call it a night.
We pushed past a group of three guys eagerly licking a bag of white powder, and some others looking a little worse for wear on the seats at the back. As we emerged through the curtains and the hallway we saw the red sun coming up through the trees. It revealed a bunch of jacket-wearing punters on the outside dancefloor, a guy staring into space and repeatedly twirling his fingers through another guy’s hair on a seat next to the river, and a bunch of people lying on beanbags on the wooden decks, smoking joints and nodding to the bass. The water was totally still and the chandelier twinkled in the dawn. It made for an amazing ambience, and I would’ve been sadder to leave if it wasn’t so damn cold. It’s on the ‘to re-do’ list once the weather is a bit warmer for sure.