A friend mentioned to me that there was a proper R & B night in Berlin http://www.soulexplosion.de/ (not the 90’s stuff – the original shit from back in the day).
This filled me with excitement as it’s common knowledge that techno clubs dominate the Berlin music scene, so the possibility of a full blooded non techno night got my juices flowing.
There is always a little hesitation on my part, as in many cities I have been offered what seemed to be the wholly grail, only for it to turn out to be full of piss. Even the nights with the best intentions sometimes end up having to compromise, and are watered down or invaded with crowds that are there for the wrong reasons and create a bad vibe.
But reading their great website – to quote, “We only play first original presses” – my confidence was re-installed; they go on to describe their quests to the deepest, darkest corners of the USA to uncover those never-heard-before gems.
So I paid my dues at the door; grabbed a beer from the outside bar, and walked through the door. In the words of James Brown, “Urhhhh yeeaaaaaaaaa hit me!!”
Well that’s the feeling you get when you walk through the doors and you hear a northern soul classic belting out through the speakers, ohh yes!! The place was massive!! Open plan square dance floor with a balcony all around; strangely consistent with some of the places I’ve been to in New Orleans.
The venue was packed – and to my surprise, a very young mixed crowd. The dance floor was full of people who were really dancing, not standing around trying to be cool. You had a few old cats with their jazz hats on, and people who had dressed for the occasion – then you just had people getting drunk, having fun. Quite a good mix and of boys and girls (anyone who goes to jazz or R & B nights will know these can tend to be a sausage fest). But there were lots of sexy ladies (yes I am sure that there were good looking guys but sorry girls that’s just not what comes up on my radar).
It was nice to hear a lot of German being spoken around the club; strangely enough this is not necessarily the norm in Berlin clubs, especially here in Kreuzburg (I will come back to this issue another day) – I felt like I was dancing with real Berliners not just Ryanair tourists.
Lots more beers and a few jaagermister were consumed, and I danced away till the wee hours to record after record of killer northern soul, looking up at the big screen showing clips of Soul Train, for extra inspiration on how to dance.
I even got talking to one of the guys that ran Soul Explosion, and to my surprise the two guys were both quite young – I was expecting them to be in there 40’s or 50’s à la Keb Darge.
I made my way out of the club with a large smile on my face, created by not just the music, but by people who were really enjoying themselves and creating a good vibe.
So – if you love your Soul, this is the one for you. If you are in Berlin for the weekend – drop in because nights like this in this city are hard to find! Even if you like techno but maybe just want to try something different, where everyone is not off their face on speed or MDMA, definitely worth checking out.
In short a great night, really well run and just damn good fun!
Soul Explosion is at Festsaal Kreuzberg once a month check there website for details and check there awesome flyers.