Julia Holter - Photo by Tonje Thilesen

Photo by Tonje Thilesen

There were two distinct reasons why Thursday night’s show at the Berghain was significant. LA-based composer JULIA HOLTER headlined, touring in support of her latest release Have You in My Wilderness, and…it was at the Berghain. Longtime fans of HOLTER have experienced her progression from dreamy soundscapes to her now very distinguished experiment with classical instruments and modern compositions. She was accompanied by a violist and an expressive electric upright bassist. Between HOLTER’s very human stage presence, where she countlessly introduced her songs in relatable yet quirky ways, and her drummer’s confidence in tights, the four musicians created a warm and inviting atmosphere within the intimidating space that is Berghain.

Where are we?

The Berghain is a place you go and never forget. Audience members filled the space below the stage, the staircases along the walls, the corridors between the immaculate and memorable bars and all of the voids that were impossible to spend time in within the span of an evening.

The best moment of the show

There are moments in time that defy our understanding of time. Music frequently assists with this and in some ways, it’s a motivating factor in venturing out to see live performances. HOLTER achieved this exact thing during Vasquez, a song she introduced by saying she doesn’t understand why anything needs to be conquered. She explained the context, it’s a song about the legend of East Coast bandido Tiburcio Vásquez. Even without the context and HOLTER’s explanations, the experience that followed demonstrated HOLTER’s most powerful attribute: her ability to charm and soar her listeners through her tranquil vocals and beautifully abrasive instrumentals.

The worst moment of the show

Although the worst moment of this show was not unique to Thursday night, it stood out as the waiting period between the “last song” and the encore.

How was the audience?

Berghain’s audience was eager and respectful. There were barely moments of interruption. The crowd was quiet and all eyes fiercely focused onstage. Some people swayed, though most stared in amazement.

Can we recommend future live shows by the artist?

HOLTER has consistently charmed audiences and mentioned a preference in performing at the Berghain. The two, in conjunction, create an experience that, as previously mentioned, is never to be forgotten.

Text: Colette Pomerleau