Step through an innocuous doorway in Schönhauser Allee and you’ve gone through the looking glass. The most elusive sound of the evening comes from a Kiwi-born dreamy electronic trio. Stumbling across Aporia turns out to be the happiest of accidents for Jem Bosatta.
Bassy Club on Schönhauser Allee is a remarkable venue. Upon entering you’re standing between two doorways. From both sides, the jaunty harmonies of sixties rock n’ roll drift through to meet you in the middle. To the right, a bewildering vintage ‘lounge’ which left me so wide-eyed that I almost miss the start of the gig. I shuffled out just in time to the room on the left, a classic rock venue that feels like one of the fantastical digitalised stages in a Guitar Hero game.
In here, Aporia are about to get started.
A granddad waistcoat over a vintage Chelsea FC shirt
Aporia is the solo project of Mitchell James O’Sullivan, a Kiwi-born singer and musician. His two bandmates, busy with guitar and keys, know their cues and know their place: Mitchell, unfettered by instruments, is the unassuming but undoubtable star of the show. Oozing with cool in his anti-cool football shirt and granddad waistcoat, he hits ‘play’ on the drum track before lilting and loping around stage with a sort of gangly elegance.
Tropical sounds with oomph
The sound is electronic and exotic. Mitchell’s unaffected vocals drift over wobbly sustain chords while the pre-recorded drum beats roll on steadily beneath it all. It’s determined instead of being catchy, and it’s beautifully balanced. Mitchell is a confident frontman while far from flashy, and the whole live act foregrounds the music; Aporia’s music is almost ambiental but it doesn’t just sink into the background.
In concert, it gets you swaying and dreaming. On record – although technically, he’s a cassette man – it makes you want to put out beanbags, invite your friends and drift away for an hour.
The set’s over and the reverie ends. I make my way to the first room to stand by the decks, where the sixties records are still spinning. On my back I feel the leer of a mounted boar’s head, on my cheeks the glow of neon-framed posters, while the sparkle of a disco ball washes over my whole body. I speak to a dazed-looking Englishman, who happens to be in the industry.
Why do we do reviews?
With alcohol-abetted disinhibition, my English friend tells me my job as a reviewer was almost obsolete because people don’t buy albums much anymore. He’s right, they don’t. But actually I think the appetite for reviews hasn’t shrunk, and for that we have live acts like Aporia to thank – as well as the hunger of German promoters and punters.
Sure, recorded music is pretty disposable nowadays. But the experience of spending an hour in amongst an like-minded audience, following a trail set by the passionate artists on stage, is anything but disposable. That’s why I’d love to see Mitchell &co. weaning themselves off pre-recorded tracks more and more in future gigs (and trust me, I’ll be there).
Special mention here to Jawbones and Sun & the Wolf for continuing the night in explosive style. Stay tuned with indieBerlin for more from these three superb acts, as well as venue Bassy Club and promoter David Watts Foundation.
Meanwhile, ready the beanbags and listen to Aporia on Bandcamp.
Review & photos by Jem Bosatta.