[Written By: Anna Shams Ili]
[Photographer: Rowan Allen]
“I’m going to count down – eins, zwei, drei, and then we scream.” Andreya Casablanca shouts out to the audience, leaning slightly back as to not scream directly into the microphone. Her scream is joined by the audiences’ and the one of fellow frontwoman Laura Lee. They jump and dance on stage while playing their punk-inspired tunes, trying to make this average Wednesday stand out. That’s the main difference between playing at a festival and outside one, they tell me later. You can feel that people aren’t really always letting loose the same way having been weighed down by the workday. This is all happening at Broadcast, where they are guesting as part of their Europe tour. While the band hails from Berlin they are no strangers to the UK, not even Glasgow. Last time they played support, at Broadcast as well, for Stag & Dagger – this time they’re headlining. When asked about their favourite spot so far, Andreya naturally answers Glasgow. And yet, “London is like Berlin times three. And we’ve played there a lot, especially some of our first shows, so we feel like we have a fanbase.”
Gurr started as a project between the two friends in Laura’s kitchen, where they were looking up YouTube videos and playing random songs. This quickly developed into gigs at clubs and bars, and in their first month of playing they did a show with Peaches at the Berlin Slut Walk. This is how they have expanded, always throwing themselves at shows and opportunities. Playing in London was exciting yet scary, Andreya confides. “When you’re supporting, you can kinda even the pressure out between two bands. But now we were constantly thinking of whether we were making progress. But as a German band we just feel so lucky and happy. We feel very at home in the UK music scene.” More so than in Berlin, even, where the clubs apparently play such bad music they’ve made playlists for them to play before their gigs. Being far away from their base at home can come with its advantages. The tour kicked off with a trip to Iceland – a small headline show after having played many big shows as support. “Suddenly we were just crowdsurfing. I think it has to do with being so far away from home. It feels like you can reinvent yourself on stage.”
On stage Laura starts singing “Hollaback Girl”, and the crowd joins in until they guitar riff into the next song. They both seem relaxed on stage, which wouldn’t be too odd, with the band having played for years now. While Laura is having some problems with her guitar mid-gig, Andreya asks the audience whether they think Banksy is Massive Attack. The goal is to loose yourself, and let the audience be lost with you.
When I ask about their favourite concert experiences, Laura later cites a concert by The Oh Sees as having completely transfixed her, “Sometimes I do feel like we transmit that energy as well.” Gurr’s own first gig was at a friend’s house party, which is exactly where you could imagine them: the life of the party sprinkled with jokes and chaos. An audience member had tweeted them a song request beforehand, and they proudly oblige, playing the German version of the song “Walnut” (Wallnuss). Andreya also joins in the mini-mosh pit during the concert, a riling up of the crowd, which might have been needed seeing as most of the audience appeared to be feeling the hump day blues.
Although both being honoured to play in the UK and having people come out for them, Gurr seems more than ready to headline outside Germany. It doesn’t take knowing all the songs to be infected with their high-energy anthems. Next they’re playing Melt! Festival in Germany, joined by Tyler the Creator and Princess Nokia amongst others. After a slew of “normal” concerts, the “utopian mind-set” that comes with festivals is calling. But first they need some time to work on their album. Maybe a month or two. And then? “Well we’re playing a really cool tour next spring, but we’re not allowed to say anything,” Andreya looks around the room and Laura takes over. “We’ll be back in the UK a lot.”