Read about the most intense and queerest shows of one of the most exciting European festivals.
Ok, first of all, it needs to be pointed out that I love to criticize. I live to criticize. I criticize everything, all the time, without any proper knowledge of the topic I talk about, because that’s just who I am. And unfortunately, this year’s CTM won’t get away from my critical death stare either, but hey, I’ll say some nice things about it too! Just keep on reading, please.
To say that CTM festival is ambitious almost feels like an understatement. Year after year, the organizers come up with innovative additions to the line-up—and now I am not talking about putting an ice rink to Berghain only—, and their artist rosters is hands down one of the most diverse ones around. Sadly, the way the festival was set up did not really match the queerness and POC- and femme-friendliness one got from the programming. While some of the events were outright queer, the choice of venue like Griessmühle (which I will no longer call any other name than “Grossmühle”) packed with tourists not knowing a thing about CTM, or even Schwuz without any door policy, as well as not having any sort of safety & awareness team (and if there was one, it was very visible or properly advertised) resulted in creating somewhat of unsafe spaces for both the artists and the visitors. Or in any other words, you better not let sexist, transphobic people to this kind of events, do you get me? Given that CTM was already criticized for a very similar atmosphere at their last year Yaam party, why was this not taken into account in any way?
Honestly, if I got a euro every time I shouted “this year of CTM is not multidisciplinary enough!!” over the loud music, well, I’d be pretty rich now. Last year, some of my favorite shows were dance/theatre pieces, which were not really present in the 2019 programme, or definitely not as much as before. In fact, music was the main and pretty much only focus of this edition of the festival, even the art show was all about that. Of course, it is indeed primarily a music festival, but a bit of a variety is always nice, isn’t it?
Ok, all criticism aside, we indeed still had a fairly good time at CTM. Here’s a couple of our highlights:
Siblings by Colin Self
My absolute favorite – a modern operetta all about queer kinship and solidarity. The singing was so beautiful it was almost heartbreaking. The visuals and choreography were splendid too. I cried at the end. More of that, please!
Mina & Bryte
DJ Mina probably needs no introduction, as she has already established herself with her juicy sets filled with afrobeats, dancehall and other fierce sounds. At Berghain’s Panorama Bar, she was joined by Ghana’s MC Bryte for a super hot show. So sorry for everyone who didn’t dance their ass off there, boo, you missed out.
Bird Bird, Touch Touch, Sing Sing by Nguyễn + Transitory
Just like Colin Self’s Siblings was dripping with queer love, this intense performance was a manifestation of queer tension. The homoerotic vibe was omnipresent, and that’s exactly what I was there for, of course. The beginning was slow and theatrical, but soon built up into a harsh noise climax that left everyone bewildered, but in the most pleasant, exciting way.
Another powerful noise show was that of AJA, whose performance cannot be described in any other way but psychedelic, and, hands down, fucking awesome. Jumping around in her neon outfit, she provided a delicate assault on all senses, which served as a great 5 AM pick me up after the whole night of partying.
Lotic is always amazing, so no surprise they’re on the list, but wow, this show was really something. Clad in a stunning floaty dress, performing in front of a huge lit-up hoop, opulently dancing like the diva they are – it was a true, delicately sweet treat.
To be honest, the Saturday night at Schwuz wasn’t really as good as I expected/was hoping for, but this DJ set in particular made up for it. Maybe it was the delicious drink me and my friend discovered (it’s called Paloma and it’s with tequila and rhubarb juice, highly recommended), but I had so much fun during this Sao Paolo’s DJ’s set!
Linn da Quebrada
Such a strong performance, both visually and aurally. The Brazilian rapper addresses racism and queer- and transphobia through her music – you’re doing amazing, sweetie!
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