My last visit to the Kunstrasen caught arch rapper Sido in action. This time around it was time to catch a man who’s duetted with him – Mark Cwuertnia aka Mark Forster. Yet another occasion when I forgot my baseball cap. Forster’s own cap is probably glued to his head (try finding a picture of him hatless!) but the head underneath it is pretty good at creating catchy pop songs with a street cred appeal as this evening proved.
My guesstimate for the crowd on Monday is around 4000. That’s some 3+ times the people who saw the brilliant Frank Turner show last week, which makes me want to cry. Today’s is a predominantly very young audience. In particular due to the double teeny attack of Forster and support act French actress cum singer Louane, both of whom seem to have attracted their share of small girls with big placards containing short statements of enduring love.
A quick mention and apology to Thilo Distelkamp who won a competition to open this evenings show. I’m not to sure of the value of a prize like that given that it means appearing live before 6pm on not just a work day but a Monday. I heard the last song of his set as I arrived at Kunstrasen and heard that he acquitted himself well. I hope that he had a reasonable sized audience and that much of it was above the age of 10.
With pictures already from baseball cap headed Mark Forster’s appearance last year supporting Rea Garvey my hopes were high for Anne Peichert, better known internationally (and following support slot for Jessie J) as Louane. The nineteen year old actress/singer seemed a promising photo opportunity with the bonus of some good music too. Louane Emera has that impish quality that I so loved about fellow Frenchwoman Zaz at her first Museumsplatz concert. That wonderful but unavoidably short moment in a career when the music is natural and the band enjoy playing it fresh.
Seeing as the show tonight is almost a year to the day since the Zaz ‘Paris’ concert here last year a comparison is unavoidable. The music is fresh which is a positive. The audience for Louane seems predominantly young girls which is not so positive from a critical point of view. I suspect that’s because there was nothing intrinsically new about what she was presenting, or, more importantly, how, so you need to have a limited musical experience. I’m not meaning to be nasty here at all, there was a lot to like about Louane’s set. The best moments were when she headed away from the Zaz Chanson territory and did her own thing. The best moment of all for me was when her band took over to play some slide guitar oriented Blues, but that was just me.
An enjoyable set though from the young French girl and I hope she finds her own identity musically and develops her stage presence. Certainly a beautiful voice and an excellent backing band. The grass-roots of an excellent future are there for sure.
And so to Mark Forster. As support to Rea Garvey on this very stage not so long ago I remember he seemed capable of walking on eggshells. Forster has a curious way of ambling around onstage that at first irritated me but I now realise is actually rather endearing and makes him, unmistakably, Mark Forster.
Truth be told I much prefer Forster’s live approach to that of Sido. Give me a full band instead of a DJ onstage any day of the week. Call me old fashioned, but if I want a DJ I go to a disco. The band that Forster has is also an excellent one I have to say.
Foster’s repertoire is curious in that he seems to have managed to create a genre of Rap/HipHop that is largely neither political nor angry. This probably explains why a half of the photo-pit is given over to children/teenagers. I must mention here that it was great before the start to see/hear one of the areas most experienced concert ‘togs’ Thomas Brill (think Lanxess Arena and the likes of Madonna etc) offering advice to a nervous young camera toting lady. Sadly the audience cheers prevented me from hearing what he said so apologies for my own shortcomings in the attached galleries. There were undoubtedly young John Hurd’s out there and maybe some of them will one day even become young Thomas Brills.
I should get back to the music of course but then it’s not a genre I know well enough to comment on. Like Louane earlier it all seems to go back to television music shows that I hate. Should music be a competition? It seems like no-one is allowed to develop their music in clubs anymore. It all happens in front of a panel of ‘experts’.
Mark Forster has definitely found a ‘niche’ in the music sector for Rap appealing to the non-angry though. He comes across as a likeable guy, as when he sings about his sister Nathalie and the pop charts are his territory as evinced by the plumes of smoke shot out during ‘Stimme’. It’s not my favourite music but I appreciate anyone who is different and I like that in Mark Forster for sure. The end of the evening finds me wishing that more people were at the Frank Turner show but as with Sido before him, If Mark Forster gets people out to a show and they enjoy the show then who can complain? Music, like all medicine, comes in various recipes – just enjoy the one that works for you.