Würzburg Stadtfest 2010: Panda People, Future Islands and Kim Wilde, kind of

Posted on 21.05.2011

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Things that I DID NOT KNOW about my new hometown until last night:

1. There ARE hipsters here. Apparently they only come out at night

2. The hipsters in the Wü drink their own version of Pabst/Red Stripe, called Einstein bier (beer). It comes in the same cute little bottle, just with a different label. I can’t drink beer anymore, but I’m sure it tasted just as ‘authentic’ as the American versions.

3. People follow the hype.

Number three may be true of EVERY land, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious here since all of the radio stations really only play some weird mix of ‘pop’ and what’s been popular in the past. Like fucking Phil Collins.

But, I digress.

I was relatively interested in seeing Kim Wilde perform for FREE in Würzburg. She’s currently on a Euro tour (or about to start one) to promote her newest album. The album has been deemed auf Deutsch as her ‘comeback album’. What’s been on the radio seems good enough, although to me it seems to be trying a bit too hard, like when Jewel tried to make her comeback/change from folk singer to Xtina-esque dance club sexpot.

I was definitely excited to see Future Islands (playlist from MOG here), the band ‘from Baltimore’ playing. I’d heard of them before but never got to see them live. I was never a huge fan of the Wham City movement while in Baltimore (I’m too old/jeans not tight enough/can’t drink beer/lacking black-framed glasses) but was interested to see the band outside of that element here. That ‘outside of the element’ part was an epic FAIL on my behalf, but whatever. You learn something new every day.

I was not expecting to catch Panda People performing. The time slots on the festival plan we had were changed for some reason, so Kim Wilde played earlier, Panda People played a bit later and because of that Future Islands played later as well. This meant that when we went to see Future Islands on the way to Kim Wilde, we were met with the amazing sounds of Panda People.

(note: Panda People is not yet on MOG, so you have to check them out on Youtube or iTunes.)

iTunes is billing Panda People as ‘pop’ and their myspace page says ‘death metal’, which I’m definitely disinclined to agree with. But at least they have a sense of humor. They hail from Erlangen (Germany), says their page. There’s not a ton of info on them from the web, but thankfully you guys can read their myspace blog, which they have very nicely written in English for the masses. I’ve included a video from them for your flashbacking and viewing pleasure:

The details:

Panda People played in a record store (H20) that makes your local Record and Tape Traders look humongous. There was NO getting to the front; no moving, period. This also means, no photos from Gina. There was, of course, minimal hipster dancing and hair-tossing to be seen, and the requisite 7’0″ person standing right in front of me. Thankfully, no cigarette smoking was allowed indoors, or we would have left a lot sooner. They blew me away: they sounded effing great live. I was definitely hooked after the first few tracks that we heard (bought the available EP today), and sad that we had to leave to try to catch Kim Wilde.

As we made our way to the other (main, but not so main and definitely in a space that was too small) stage to try to catch Kim’s set (30 minutes beforehand, that was a bad idea), it was evident that that was exactly where the rest of Wü was heading. Apparently the radio stations proclaiming her free live appearance during every commercial break for the 2 weeks before the event had created enough hype for everyone to think seeing her was a good idea. A must-do, even.

We got there and there were entirely too many people. So many people, in fact, that the gates were already closed and people were hanging out at the post office at the back of the lot to try to get a good view (impossible). People were pushing, trying to get closer or maybe INside the gates, and René and I looked at each other and were like, ‘yeah, let’s roll. Future Islands will start soon’. On the walk back I got some amazing photos and decided that my boyfriend is absolutely my perfect match.

Yeah, it would have been awesome to see Kim Wilde for free, but René and I are at that point in our lives/concert-going careers where large crowds full of smelly idiots being pushy is no longer our bag. Give me DC9 and a small crowd any day. I’m happier there. So we didn’t get to witness her comeback, didn’t get to hear a 2010 rendition of Kids in America and we’re ok with that. We walked across the city back to H20 to catch Future Islands, who were just starting when we got back.

And Future Islands was good. There is definitely something that is borderline ‘Jack Black being Jack Black’ about Samuel’s voice. I love it. It is deep, dark and expressive. At times it got to be a little bit much, but seeing (no, not really: hearing) them live was definitely a nice introduction to a band I’d known about but never seen before.

There are no photos from their set, either, as there was NO chance of getting to the front. I probably could have pushed if I wanted to, but we were both getting tired and I was happy enough to just hear them.

FI is touring Europe right now to promote their new album In the Evening Air. That seems to be the only album MOG’s got on the list right now, so check the rest of the tracks out on iTunes or the band’smyspace page.

Tin Man and Beach Foam were absolute highlights of the show. I’ve included the video for Tin Man below. Enjoy my ‘new’ music finds for the weekend ❤

Future Islands – Tin Man from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

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Posted in: music