So it ended. Under the sound of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” and after almost 18 hours on the decks, we can say with certainty that Alessio Armeni (aka Freddy K) left a mark in our hearts- and in the history of Berlin’s club culture.
Berlin’s Easter weekend was a long one, which for many started on Thursday evening and proceeded until Tuesday morning.
The German capital’s nightlife is renowned for its long lasting events, but what happened at the end of this weekend will definitely be remembered as legendary. Starting on Saturday evening, Oster Klubnacht attracted a large crowd of clubbers -Berliners and non- due to its historical fame and selection of artists. The long Easter club night featured the sounds of Dr. Rubinstein, DJ Stingray 313 and Marcel Dettman on the Berghain floor, whereas Panorama Bar got the groove with Tama Sumo, Soundstream and Roi Perez (among many more). Closing the 72 hour marathon was one and only Freddy K, which started his set at 2 am on Monday- proceeding until Tuesday morning at 8. Per usual, the Italian DJ managed to fill the dance floor with bouncing bodies and massive smiles, creating an atmosphere of collective communion and lighthearted energy.
Nonetheless… The clock ticks 8 in the morning. The lights start getting lighter… and the music seems to stop. The expression of the crowd turns from excitement to unexpected surprise… It’s already over? Indeed, marathon sets have always been the standard for Freddy K. Past closing shifts at Berghain have gone as long as 14 hours- however, this year’s Oster Klubnacht only lasted a total of 6. In the midst of the dancefloor confusion pervaded the room, clearly not envisioning such an anticipated end. Looking at the booth, stood Alessio, who with a frowned face started packing his records and interacting with the crowd around him. “6 hours is not a closing!”- we heard him mutter. “6 hours is not a closing. We continue”. Repeated the DJ. “The party is not over. We are headed to Suicide Circus”.
And so it went. Rumour had it for some days about an apparent “Plan B”, which however no one expected to occur.
“I felt it was not enough and not fair to stop like this and a plan B was ready immediately, moving to 400 meters from Berghain at Suicide Club to continue for all the day, free for everyone with the Berghain bracelet… only for the love of that connection that makes us feel alive now more than ever. I thought it was the right thing to do for you, for me…”. Says the artist in his latest post.
And it is precisely in situations like these which pure passion becomes evident in the music industry. Alessio, out of his spontaneous will, decided to rent Sucide Club and continue playing- until 7 pm on Tuesday. Special shoutout goes to phenomenal artist Chami Othmane, who during the afternoon delivered an extraordinary set plus back to back with Alessio resulting in a symbiotic combination, which kept us dancing for the whole day. With smoothly executed transitions and an impeccable track selection, the vinyl only DJs once again demonstrated their deep knowledge of this very technical art.
And with a total of almost 18 hours on the decks, Freddy K managed to create an unforgettable after party, in the name of love for music and commitment to the counterculture. An intimate, honest expression of devotion for this form of art which transcends superficiality and brings us back to a form of clubbing in which music dominates and creates a community based on sound and boundless empathy. What Freddy K and Chami gave life to at Suicide Club is a reconnection with the original concept of clubbing, where dancing is the only thing that matters, where gender and social roles are nullified, individuals are transformed into universal sources of love, ultimately uniting people of all race, sexuality and belonging.
In the past years, it seems like the idea of ‘underground scene’ has emerged to the surface, conforming to the hype and fashion of current trends. It must be spoken; unfortunately the techno scene and culture have become a trend and a business, where the creation of an image has become more important than the music itself. It is extremely disenchanting to experience this transformation, where physical appearance and perceived social credibility rest at the core of inclusion in this environment- argument which applies to both artists and the crowd. And it is precisely for this reason that initiatives like Freddy K’s are necessary: to remind the community what it really means to be a DJ and to be part of the scene.
Alessio, thanks for reminding Berlin the importance of passion for music, for reviving the scene and keeping the community alive.
Words by Costanza Acernese
Picture courtesy of Triangle Agency/mentioned artists