The action kicks off in Hamburg on September 19
Hamburg’s Reeperbahn might have a somewhat seedy reputation – it’s the city’s red light district, after all – but it’s also home to an annual festival showcasing the best new music around. That might seem like a slightly odd location to hold a festival but let’s not forgot it’s also the street where The Beatles took up residency all the way back in the early ’60s, before they were global icons. We’re not suggesting anyone playing this year’s Reeperbahn Festival is going to be the next Fab Four, but the line-up is full of fresh new artists who could very well reach next big thing status in the coming months. Here’s our 10 must-see acts.
Amyl & The Sniffers
Who: Aussie punks with riffs that sound well-worn and booze-soaked, and wry lyrics that’ll leave you smirking as you headbang along.
Need to know: Amyl & The Sniffers don’t mess around. They reportedly wrote, recorded, and released their debut EP ‘Giddy Up’ within 12 hours.
Listen to: The defiant and laugh-out-loud witty anthem ‘I’m Not A Loser’ (sample lyric: “People look at me like I am a hooker/But I just wanna be a venue booker“)
See them: Molotow (2:30pm and 11:50pm September 21)
Who: South Londoners causing a stir in the city’s underground.
Need to know: So far, the band have only one proper track online to their name, yet they’ve already been called one of the best bands in the country, including by the likes of Shame.
Listen to: ‘bmbmbm’, a taut, tense piece of math-rock that will thrill you to your core.
See them: Molotow SkyBar (9:40pm, September 19)
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Who: The brainchild of Cardiff musician Davey Newington, who cherrypicks elements of inspiration from a wide span of genres, resulting in something unique and eclectic.
Need to know: Debut album ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’ was recorded almost entirely by Davey. The only exception? The violin on three songs, recorded by his dad. Aww.
Listen to: The funk-laden synth-pop strut of ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’.
See them: Molotow Club (10:50pm, September 20)
Who: Aussie duo Star Kendrick and Toma Banjanin, who make gorgeous pop music for summer days.
Need to know: The pair thought their first live show was a disaster after Toma came down with flu. They ended up being signed off the back of that gig – imagine what they can do with more experience and full health.
Listen to: The very relatable hangover regret of the sparkling ‘Drink Too Much’.
See them: Molotow Club (1:30pm, September 21)
Who: Norwegian trio who know their way around a massive, shimmering pop hook.
Need to know: According to the band, drummer Kim Åge Furuhaug is a bit of a legend in the Norway scene, with “lots of myths and tales” surrounding him. Intriguing.
Listen to: The enormous, infectious ‘Secrets’, complete with MGMT-style synth wooziness.
See them: Prinzenbar (9:20pm, September 20)
Who: Experimental indie-pop star whose sings dart between French and English with haunting effects.
Need to know: She describes the process of writing and recording her songs as like “being in some kind of laboratory”, but the results are far more free and thrilling than that suggests.
Listen to: The lush swoon of ‘Du Pouvoir’.
See them: Angie’s Nightclub (8pm, September 20)
Who: Brooklyn-born Mikaela Straus, pop’s biggest new personality with the tunes to match.
Need to know: Her rider includes a request for a photo of Cate Blanchett, who she’s also said she’d like to play her in a film of her life.
Listen to: One of the songs of the year aka ‘Upper West Side’, with its crunching drums and cutting lyrics about a “bitch from the Upper West Side”.
See them: Gruenspan (7:40pm, September 21)
Men I Trust
Who: The dreamiest of dream-pop trios who’ll make you feel you’re being whisked into a blissed-out parallel universe.
Need to know: The Montreal band were personally invited to play Tyler, The Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival this November after he slid into their Instagram DMs.
Listen to: The sparkling, jazzy ‘Seven’.
See them: Kukuun (5pm, September 21); Moondoo (7:30pm, September 21)
Who: A heavily-tattooed six-piece punk band from Sweden that’ll make you laugh, get in the pit, and take a shower all at the same time.
Need to know: With their satirical growls and rumbling riffs, they might not seem like the kind of band to drop a bit of cool sax in the middle of their punk musings. Turns out they are and it’s a smooth treat.
Listen to: ‘Sports’, which mocks ideas of traditional machismo with lyrics like “Getting high in the morning/Not answering calls/Beach ball/Volleyball/Sports“.
See them: Prinzenbar (8:50pm, September 21)
Who: Belgian singer Charlotte Adigéry, whose rich, velvet vocals glide over her gracefully experimental pop backings.
Need to know: Before heading out on her own, Adigéry was a backing singer for Soulwax. Talk about starting off strong.
Listen to: The eerily beautiful float of ‘Pink Letters’.
See them: Moondoo (9:45pm, September 20)