Last night I headed to the Culture Container, literally a shipping container that sits on the old site of the infamous Bar25. It’s an excellent small venue with a cosy and unpretentious atmosphere. It’s used by bands and artists as a place to record live shows and has had the necessary treatment to ensure a great live sound. I was there to watch local group Queen Sacrifice perform (and record) their second show of 2015. The band are led by Nathan Vanderpool, an American songwriter based in Berlin who at this gig was backed by a trio of excellent singers.
After an introduction from venue owner Franz, who heroically demanded we turn off our ‘fucking handys’ during the performance (right on, brother), Vanderpool took to the stage to begin the night alone. Showcasing his witty Americana-esque songs such as ‘Japan’, I heard shades of both Tim and Jeff Buckley in his lively delivery. His songs are immediate but have considerable depth and enough curious chord structures to make you crave a repeat listen. After five or so songs, Queen Sacrifice’s formidable trio of singers took to the stage. We were treated to a colourful collision of folk storytelling and classic three-part harmonies. I can’t quite pick a contemporary songwriter to compare Vanderpool to, but suffice to say the band’s sound is what (presumably) would happen if a sixties girl group spent too much time at the woodman’s cottage. It’s very refreshing to hear a band that takes it harmonies seriously and there’s so much you can do with this format.
The atmosphere of the evening (which I hope comes across on the forthcoming live recordings) reminded me of one of my favourite live albums – ‘Live At The Portland Arms‘ by rock band The Soft Boys. Much like that album, plenty of laughter both on and off stage kept the evening ticking over nicely. Have a listen to the song below – like Queen Sacrifice, they really do harmonies well.
I stumbled across Queen Sacrifice rehearsing one summer’s evening on Tempelhof Park last year. After admiring their music from a distance, I went over to ask them their name. I’m glad I did and it was a pleasure to finally see them six months later in one of Berlin’s best small venues. I look forward to re-living this gig when they release their recordings. The aforementioned Franz promised that the band’s performance would result in a ‘goose pimple infection’ (I guess he had to warn us for insurance reasons) and he didn’t break his promise.
It’s hard to find anything by the band on the internet (you’ve got to wade through a load of videos concerning chess tactics before you find anything), but luckily a good recording of one of their best songs ‘The Law of Low and High‘ exists. Listen below:
Keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page for their next performance in Berlin. It’ll be good.