This month Poplars and Rocks brings to Madame Claude high-class in miniature environment: Tonia Reeh and Justine Electra as live package – two extraordinary women solo on piano.
Tonia Reeh is not even known to her local Berlin audience that much under her own name yet: more known Tonia Reeh became under her alter ego Monotekktoni, under which she had been around for years in the underground. But her „electronic ego“ had to share also with her „indie ego“: bands Tonia was guitar player in and singer include Das Zuckende Vakuum, that later evolved into Masonne, beside the other punk indie outfit Jagoda. After having toured and played with these bands and projects extensively in small clubs for a decade, Tonia’s life changed with getting kids and realising that she had another part of herself neglected for too long: The „acoustic ego“, the solo, intrumentally reduced and emotionally condensed song on piano. It makes herself wonder that she brought so late the attention to it, as Tonia Reeh is a classically trained piano player, which is rare in the pop world and which she better forgot when dedicating herself to punk. Or electronics. As Monotekktoni the singer and performer acts solo too: a small woman standing in the middle of a big stage behind an even bigger table of pedals and effects, and a sound big enough to suggest a studio full of producers and a wall to fill the largest club rather than a subversive cellar. When I saw Monotekktoni live the first time some years ago I thought hadn‘t she been german and come out at a time where credibility still meant never to sell oneself to the dumb masses, Monotekktoni surely would have made her way up and be counted next to the big names of internationally adopted children of this city such as Peaches or Planningtorock. But Berlin was always ignorant to its own offspring. Now Tonia Reeh got tired of the over-orchestrated noise and rid of her shyness to play stripped down to only voice and keys. All the intensity of feeling lies naked between near silence and the next tormented outburst. After her last records as Monotekktoni (all out on Sinnbus records) her first album as Tonia Reeh has just been released a few months ago: „Boykiller“. Out on Clouds Hill records, a Hamburg label, run beside others by Chris von Rautenkranz (producer of Die Sterne, Blumfeld) and Thies Mynther (Stella, Phantom/Ghost). A strong woman’s album that not vainly aims at taking a pretentious pose as a vamp, but one that tells through up and downs how it is to kill the boy inside every woman, and to finally surrender, peaceful and yet still uncomfortable. „Freak out, come down“: The single „Boykiller“ is a masterpiece of a song, a delight of skilled craft and rough, unadorned vulnerability, that doesn‘t leave the eccentricity far behind. Tonia Reeh should easily be named in one line with Amanda Palmer or Tori Amos if you want. She makes it into several categories. And should get the attention she deserves.
Justine Electra is also none to be nailed down to one personality and successively one musical direction. Justine Electra belongs to the vast army of adopted children of this town, without who the town would not be the same. Originally from Melbourne, Justine lives for years in Berlin, deviding her time between house-techno DJ (recently also as „DJ Save the Animals“) and singer songwriter who combines folk-romanticism with R‘n'B. In 2006 she released her first album „Soft Rock“ on City Slang (now home of Norman Palm beside many others), which had with „Fancy Robots“ a single out that might still count as her biggest hit so far, musically settled somewhere between KD Lang or Feist. Justine Electra worked with Tarwater, Schneider TM and sang on Jens Friebe’s last album, nonetheless she has a big oeuvre consisting of plenty of playful electronica of which most is officially unreleased (but to be listened to on soundcloud for instance). She recently started playing live again with a full band, her next single is long awaited for the end of this month, out now on her new home Haute Areal (that houses already Mary Ocher or Doctorella). This time, solo on piano with maybe some backing tracks – expect the experiment, and maybe some of her new material too.
Come down and support two fantastic female artists who are worth your whole ear and full attention, and of who much more is going to be expected in the near future – for a donating euro: we like to give the chance to everyone! This friday, March 2nd, 9pm, at Madame Claude, Lübbener Strasse 19, Berlin-Kreuzberg.
On decks Rad Spin Rotate Club, for more girls as DJs.