Uncle Pauly’s Kraut Pop guide.

Fanta Vier in London

Caught the Vier last night in Kentish town’s Forum. Despite the change of date and venue the lads were greeted by a very appreciative, largely German audience who went wild when four blokes ambled on stage with Teutonic timekeeping at 9pm on the dot . . . cue sheepish grins all round as we realised that this four weren’t the four but were the backing musicians (including one keyboard player who looked incredibly like David Mitchell from Peep show) – I blame the lighting.

Once the real Vier took stage I thought opportunities were about to be missed as the lights dimmed to zilch and they settled into ‘Fornika’, a rather lacklustre opener from the new album. Once ‘Le Smou’ was unveiled however, the warm up was well and truly over and by the time ‘Der Picknicker’ came about the audience were animated enough to ignore the dodgy inter-song English banter.

I wouldn’t say the Forum was packed tight but the Stuttgarters pretty much filled it and the mood markedly lightened when replica of the Bundesliga cup was launched onto the stage: new champs Stuttgart are hoping to make it a double this year when they play Nuernberg in the cup, kudos to the brave geezer who kept a Nuernberg scarf raised for much of the gig. I thought at one point Smudo was going to have a pop at him but the mood was light-hearted which is what you’d expect with a good-natured group like the vier who, unlike most US hip-hop artists, know the real secret to great vibe is not to take yourself too seriously.

I’m only familiar with the Vier’s Greatest Hits and went along last night hoping for some classics. I wasn’t naive enough to expect the setlist to stem exclusively from the well known but ended up being pleasantly surprised: ‘Was Geht’, ‘Sie ist Weg’ and a brilliant version of ‘MfG’ all got an airing. The latter featured 3/4 of the band rapping the verses, hands down, mikes up, in a static line under some very moody lighting – truly Thomas D, Smudo and Michi Beck are the three tenors of the Kraut-Hop scene.


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