When State was randomly passed a review copy of Flea Market Poet’s sparkling debut album Dirty Days back in October, little did we know that our love of the unusual, summery tunes would eventually land us – sweating and swaying – in the front row of one of Munich’s premier rock clubs. Life, though, moves in mysterious ways, and State can think of few better places to spend a long weekend than crashed in the -Poets conspiracy-riddled guitarist’s spare bedroom and perusing some top notch, offbeat indie rock in foreign climes.
Not one member of Flea Market Poets actually hails from Munich, but the assortment of American, British and Irish musicians has made a notable inroad into the local scene, one that becomes obvious the moment they step on stage at a crammed 59:1 on the Saturday night. Having recently gone through a transitory period, the Poets are a touch out of practice, and the early set suffers from excessive reverb and a less than perfect sound set up. A few songs in, though, it all comes together.
The Poets perform much like an indie rock band that’s come under the more diverse influences of an act like the The Divine Comedy or Badly Drawn Boy, throwing lyrical twists and guitar flourishes in amongst the more straightforward, chorus-driven side of their blend. -Captain Nate’ – a track kindly dedicated to State for -coming all the way from Ireland’ – is an instant classic, while -Annie Superstar’ kicks the liveliness up a notch and title track -Dirty Days’ has the feel of a funked up love story. Tonight, though, Flea Market Poets are also displaying the messier side of their personalities, unveiling a selection of new tracks that delve into darker, harsher territory along the way.
The Poets have long held the Irish music scene close to their hearts, and discovered Identity Parade – tonight’s support – on their brief tour late in 2009. State, on the other hand, discovered the catchy mod rockers as drinking buddies soon after arriving in the city, throwing back litres of over-strength lager in the traditional tourist trap of the Hofbrauhaus before hitting up some of Munich’s dodgier clubs (we’ll spare the lads a full recount of their experiences in the city’s gay clubs’¦).
Identity Parade are here to play, but they know how to unwind too. Having unleashed a storming headline set on an unsuspecting Glockenbach Werkstatt the night before on behalf of Amnesty International – and won a substantial fan base for their first ever German show, which included a belting cover of The Beatles -Daytripper’ – the boys open to an almost empty 59:1. Still, the night is more about having fun, and State spends large parts of the evening sharing the lads’ rider or surprising unsuspecting bar staff by riding up and down the backstage freight elevator. Later in the night, having danced and spilt their beer flamboyantly to a six-hour Factory Records-influenced club set, the boys are ushered out of a fully lit club into the warm Munich air.
Strangely, nearly all Munich bands seem to perform in English. Of the handful of local acts we catch, including the superb Celeste, every one produces an almost totally English-language set, while almost everyone under thirty seems to speak naturally and fluently. Local acts like the imaginatively titled Biturbo Ruediger wear their influences on their sleeves, but – especially given they’re performing in a second language – play with a superb lyrical quality and boundless energy.
Our weekend’s highlight, though, is certainly the -Poets experience. Sat in the heart of the local scene, the band introduce us to everyone who’s anyone in Munich music, and convince us that – for all Berlin’s -techno music city’ reputation – Munich is far from overwhelmed. The beer, of course, is essential, but it’s not the only buzz on offer.
Flea Market Poets return to Ireland for a number of dates over the coming few days, including The Stables (Mullingar, July 1st), Whelans (Dublin, July 2nd) Foley’s Bar and the Love Life Festival (Sligo, July 3rd), Roisin Dubh (Galway, July 4th) and Bruxelles (Dublin, July 5th). State highly recommends you catch them’¦