By Roxann Yus | 15/11/22
Finally, I’ve arrived! I’ve been living in Freiburg for over six weeks now, but Sunday night slapped me in the face and said “herzlich willkommen” in the punkiest fashion possible.
Self-proclaimed as “Die letzte Rockband Europas”, Die Nerven are a true staple of Germany’s punk-rock scene. And if their Instagram bio isn’t convincing enough of this, how about I tell you that they’ve played in Freiburg 16 times now? They’re a long-running, consistent, and unifying image of German rock music, making sure their name is known all across the country, even into the deepest crevices of the Schwarzwald here in Freiburg.
Supporting Die Nerven was Mira Mann, a spoken-word and electronically-charge musician who cleansed the room and invited beauty into the space before our headliners played. Her style contrasted starkly with what I expected from Die Nerven’s support act, but upon some research, I discovered she has a background in the post-punk scene and played in a band called Candelilla from 2001-2017.
“And despite her german lyrics, this poetic style of music sees no borders in language: messages are sent and received regardless of your understanding of the words themselves.”
But just like great punk music, Mira Mann demanded to be heard, delving into her spirituality and delivering a hypnotic and reflective performance. It was music to soundtrack meditation, change, cleansing, movement and spirit. It was romantic and powerful, flickering intrigue and peace across the room. I felt really connected to both the performance and myself in her presence and felt a lot of gratitude to experience a type of music so refreshing from what I’ve tended to isolate myself within. The closest comparison I can draw is perhaps the rising South-London act Dry Cleaning, but even then I don’t feel close to encapsulating Mira Mann’s uniqueness. Simply, you’ll all have to give her a listen yourself. And despite her german lyrics, this poetic style of music sees no borders in language: messages are sent and received regardless of your understanding of the words themselves. They sit deep, yet so reachable, within an electric current that ties giver and receiver, being accessible to anyone open to experience and self-exploration.
“Die Nerven shortly came on stage to prove why punk will never die.”
After Mira cleansed us of the weight of the day, Die Nerven shortly came on stage to prove why punk will never die. And just like that electric current, the room’s energy dominoed as they started playing. The energy only intensified when we saw glimpses of their contagious personalities, debunking the myth that punk is scary and serious, but rather it’s all about self-expression through musical means.
Drummer, Kevin Kuhn, in particular, had the crowd wrapped around his finger. He was proof of how unavoidably important drummers are, despite their usually-hidden and tertiary position on the stage. After all, they govern the rhythm of both band and crowd, they’re the Grundstein of all types of music and really deserve to be viewed as such.
My favourite part of the night was when Kuhn addressed all of this through a playful game of ‘when on earth will the drumming stop and start again?’. He played with rhythm and occasionally slowed the entire song down until the point where it was many seconds between each drumbeat. I thought he would stop altogether, but he never did. Proving my point about consistency in the introduction, eh!
And when Die Nerven stopped altogether, they all froze like ghosts stuck in time, eager to hear a pin drop. All of a sudden, they’d all, in unison, play again at a monstrous level of volume that is always in tadelloser Ordnung at a punk-rock show. What’s great about this is how much the bandmates enjoyed this teasing themselves, slipping smiles when people shouted as they attempted to stay silent. Their sense of humour and friendship as a band was contagious, making me even more excited to get involved in the scene here in Freiburg.
Thank you, Die Nerven, for introducing me to a live German show. Check them out here, and learn a little Deutsch whilst you’re at it.
Deutsche Vokabeln für Sie:
Herzlich willkommen – warm welcome
Die letzte Rockband Europas – the last rockband in Europe
Schwarzwald – the black forest (in the south-west of Germany)
Der Grundstein – foundation
In tadelloser Ordnung – in shipshape; more than okay
Edited by: Roxann Yus
Photos taken by: Roxann Yus