Although there are Gluhwein stores and Christmas market huts aplenty in Berlin, they do not do what we do in the UK for Christmas. The Cadbury selection box, the once-a-year acceptance of egg based booze, the excuse for gluttony of "Well, it’s Christmas," or even getting indignant at the crummy offerings described as the "best hits of the year" on Top of the Pops. We make out that pop music is rubbish these days and the likes of vaguely racist pretend-Italian one hit loser Joe Dolce and loin cloth wearing creeps Tight Fit were like the halcyon days of pop when we were kids… no, there’s none of that.
Judging from the endless fly posting of Berlin, the 25th of December is not for eating cheese that smell like bins or eating nut based exotically named chocolates, 25th of December is for dancing to techno. Granted, it seems that it’s like that all nights but this night is more special as it’s Boys Noize and other assorted artists from his BNR imprint behind the decks in a tiny warehouse style complex in a dark room with only the occasional spotlight and flickering strobe light.
Despite coming from a huge pool of electronic music talent from Germany, Alex Ridha under his guise Boys Noize has consistently performed one level above the rest. He is as at ease dropping fierce re-boots of obscure acid tracks from the mid-'80s as he is mixing huge artists such as Snoop and Black Eyed Peas. This knack of knowing what works on the underground but also knowing how to make it accessable to more commercial dance scenes has resulted in him becoming as big as Calvin Harris or Guetta, without going down the route they took to success. There has been no need to compromise in any corporate way to get some attention.
Tonight’s set is based on new, unreleased material alongside cuts from his recently released stormer of a third album: ‘Out of the Black’. As Ridha’s sound moves into the commercial sphere thanks to clueless vapid popstars having electronica forced upon them by their labels (Chris Brown, Bieber, Lil Wayne etc.), Ridha’s own DJ sets have become fiercer and his own productions more lavishly produced and more understanding of his new found wider audience - but in no way a sell out.
When he drops tracks such as ‘XTC’ or ‘Reality’, the heaving throng on the dance floor are punished, but still scream for more. At times he relents and drops a jacking house track or a female diva is unleashed, quickly put in her place by new wave Chicago influenced acid, he ends the set by perfectly mixing stomping Germanic techno into Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’, one of many examples of his genius.
Words by Chris Todd