Pink Turns Blue are currently on tour and stopped in Los Angeles for a show on September 15th at The Echoplex.
German-based Pink Turns Blue formed in 1985 with Thomas Elber, Mic Jogwer, and Marcus Giltjes. Their first release If Two Worlds Kiss (1987) on label Fun Factory! became a seminal album in the postpunk genre with the song “Walking on Both Sides” garnering the band attention by showcasing their sound of thematically romantic-yet-despairing lyrics atop solid basslines and guitar work all lending to a moody, cold vibe befitting of the era. Pink Turns Blue’s music is a contemplation of the uncertainty and fear of the Cold War period living in a divided Germany and the attempt to translate the longing for romantic rapture and a questioning of trust and faith in people, institutions and in oneself. Listeners need to look no further than to “Missing You” from the first album to understand the dichotomy of dark cynicism and romantic vulnerability emblematic of Pink Turns Blue’s catalog. The band went on to produce eleven full-length releases in total, most recently with The AERDT – Untold Stories (2016, Orden Records).
The lead-up to the current tour was unusual because so many devoted fans of 80s dark wave and postpunk knew how rare of an opportunity it is to see Pink Turns Blue perform in the United States. In fact, the band disbanded back in the 1990s and reunited initially at Wave-Gotik-Treffen in 2003. For this tour, the current lineup is comprised of Mic Jogwer (vocals, guitar), Reubi Walter (bass), and Paul Richter (drums). Pink Turns Blue’s set during their stop in Los Angeles at The Echoplex included many of their best known songs and had plenty of audience members singing along and dancing.
The openers for this show warrant mention because they were incredible. Over is a self-described anarcho post-punk death-wave band based in Portland, Oregon. They gave a performance that stood out because not only was the band tight, the vocalist Ruby Monet had a stage presence that is often hard to find or easily describe; she commanded her space on stage and finished the set with a hauntingly beautiful act of self-flagellation that brought back early memories of a young Siouxsie Sioux playing with the sensuality inherent in various religious acts and displaying a snarling assertion of her own power and sexuality. Bonus points to Over for their cover of INXS’s “Don’t Change”.
Los Angeles-based Warsaw Pact played a set of straight-up coldwave with eerie guitar sounds and echoing vocals. Their set provided a musical respite between Over and Totenwald and introduced this new LA band to a wider audience. Seeing a band like Totenwald is almost like stepping back in time: the fashion, hair and makeup of lead vocalist Trish and saxophone/backing vocalist Ruby reference 80s punk, goth, and new wave reminiscent of Rubella Ballet and Cyndi Lauper. The music of this dark punk band from Berlin is fun and their set was consistently high energy. Trish’s fanciful dancing and playful demeanor was an unexpected delight of the event. Curiously, there was no drummer on stage for this band, leaving the work to a laptop instead.
A major shout out is due to Michael Stock, founder of Part Time Punks for making this show possible. From his all-vinyl DJing between sets to the handmade flyers for each show, Stock’s DIY love for off-beat alternative music is a reminder about the importance of community in supporting artists.
For more information about the music, merchandise and upcoming tour dates for the aforementioned bands check out Pink Turns Blue’s Website and on Facebook and Instagram, Totenwald’s Bandcamp and on Facebook and Instagram, Warsaw Pact’s Bandcamp and on Facebook and Instagram, Over’s Website and Bandcamp and Facebook and Instagram, and Part Time Punks’ Website and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And for more live show coverage check out more In Attendance write ups.