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Oslo, Berlin and Scotland - Katrina 2001

Oslo, Berlin and Scotland - Katrina 2001 cover

A review from 2001 by Katrina Dixon about souling it in Oslo and Berlin

Oslo, Berlin and Scotland - Katrina 2001

A short, few words (NOT) about souling it in Oslo and Berlin last week, of interest to few probably but Ill witter on anyhow, so hit delete now if you dont want to scroll thru an essay :) Friends in Oslo took me along to a club with the cool name of the Beat Basement held in the small back room of a very fine bar called Mono.

Even tho theyre not into the garage punk, soul sounds played, they knew itd be right up my street, so they kindly put up with me going on about every single garage punk sound played during the first hour or so when there was only us, a few other bemused Oslo scenesters and about five mods huddled near the elevated djing area (who, when I got talking to them later, turned out to be almost the entire local mod scene) and then me diving off to dance to the unexpected avalanche of northern soul, including the Metros and Charles Sheffield (later discovered from the guy spinning Charles Sheffield that hed bought it from Irish Greg - small world :)) - and that the guy spinning the Metros had a picture cover version issued in Germany that he got for about £20 - swine :)). The place got pretty packed out, mainly, in fact almost all normal punters just out to dance, but it was a really friendly atmosphere, even if there were drinks on the dancefloor (no talc needed, just slipping around in the puddles :)) and the sounds moved between northern 6ts, 7ts (but some nice 7ts have to admit) and funk) till 3am.

A solid nights dancing basically. On to Berlin, after a 17 hour train journey (soul all the way thanks to tapes by AlanH - thanks loads) through slabs of Swedish countryside (counting the red barns) via Gothenburg and Malmo (time for a swift taste of the Swedish national schnapps in a bar and a chat with a local about the Swedish drinking culture - ie drinking to get drunk and no other reason). Thanks to my mighty hosts, Max (huge thanks too...) and Franz, I got a solid taste of Berlin soul, from watching them djing (and pulling faces at each other :)) a couple of nights at the Dom De Lion bar (wall-attached lava lamps, leopard print bar stools, soul albums on the walls, cone-shaped dj box in the centre of the bar, again decked in leopard print). I nbetween getting quizzed by Marc Forrest (pleasure to meet you, sir) about my top 5 rnb and current fave sounds - arrrgh, failed anorak, my mind goes blank and Ive just remembered another I didnt mention - The Phonetics: Just a Boys Dream! - and chastised by Max for not remembering labels (good grief :)) there were hours of great sounds:

Barbara Mason: Aint Got Nobody, Irene & the Scotts: Im Stuck On You Baby, Some Other Guy by, ah, you wouldnt believe it if I told ya :), Tony Middleton: Till The Ends of the Earth, Nancy Wilcox: My Baby, Tommy Navarro: I Cried My Life Away (aaaaah, soooo good), Del-Chontays (up the DCDL!), Thee Midnighters - Evil Love.

More Berlin soul at Marc Forrests Hip City Soul Club on Saturday via a strange night at Ankerklause on Thursday with Max, where we came in to Charles Sheffield (a track that seemed to trail me across northern europe) and left to the strains of MC Hammer. Huh? Hip City has a dancefloor about the size of TOS, and usually just as busy, but that night numbers were down - we all reckoned because of the disaster in America. Im not sure if it was the same over here or in other countries but it seemed like, fewer people were out or up for dancing - understandably.

Still, those that turned up made the most of it and both Franz and Marc played cracking sounds from 10 till just before 5 (Marc "just two more and then Ill finish"... yeh sure :)) Marc, Id forgotten Dr Truelove is such a great tune (real cha-cha-cha...) and that Curly Moore is truly el magnifico, as is the Four Tops: Cant Seem To Get You Out of My Mind (right title?). Hopefully I can get back to Hip City at a time when life is a bit more normal, and experience it at its more typical busy best but I had an excellent time - fantastic rare soul sounds all the way (plenty of rnb, and plenty I hadnt heard before), lovely wall-hangings of soul stars, Marc singing along to records like a karaoke pro (if they come out, the pictures are going up online ;)). Lots of chat (only a little in German tho - apologies for my pathetic school standard German-speaking), laughs and dancing, all with great people.

Cant ask for more, really.

Katrina Dixon

The place to be if you wanna talk about soul!




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