Otto & Astrid

(Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 23 June 2022)

Come out, come out! In Adelaide’s cold, clear, calm, beautiful winter! And see this Festival before the tents are pitched.

At the fabulous Spiegeltent on Festival Plaza (below), a large and appreciative crowd gathered to see and hear Otto & Astrid, the famous ‘dysfunctional, squabbling, co-dependent pair who are Berlin’s prince and princess of art rock and Europop, a lipstick-smeared, tantrum-loving, sonic collision between B-52s, The Pixies, Kraftwerk and early Ramones.’


What’s good or easy
In your freezing sit?
Come hear the music play,
Life is a cabaret, you folks,
Come to the cabaret;
Turn off the TV
And reveal some grit,
Evening or matinée,
Life’s full of laughs, of fun, of jokes
Come to the cabaret

Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band,
Come warm your hands by the brazier
Then come through this bright embrasure –
What good’s permitting
Some government hack?
To wipe every smile away,
Life is a cabaret, old chum
So come to the cabaret…

I went to see Frau Astrid and Herr Otto,
And soon picked up their zeitgeist and their motto,
They weren’t like German bands of recent rumour,
As a matter of fact they showed much Deutsche humour.
When they dance and squabble people sit and snicker,
It must be fun to so pretend to bicker;
But when we heard them drum and strum, sublime
It was the happiest night we had in recent time.*

Before the Show

Astrid and Otto don’t so much take the stage and perform; rather, they storm the stage and emote. She’s a great, vertically challenged drummer in the style of Mo Tucker (although a drum machine takes over at times), he’s a gifted guitarist with emotional issues.

They performed:

  1. A weird, rocking, love song, “Dinosaur”; 
  2. “Bananana,” a Pixies-inspired ditty replete with double-entendres;
  3. “The Situation,” a (very) short song written by Astrid in a shock of inspiration;
  4. A smutty rocker called “Second Best Friend”;
  5. Some unauthorised songs by Otto while Astrid was having a costume change, “Trying Not to Die,” and “Automatic Door,” bastard melds of Morrissey, Joy Division and Kraftwerk;
  6. Astrid’s “Drinking Song” (which part-inspired my ditty above), complete with orders to the audience to rise and oom-pa pah along in the chorus; and
  7. “I am not a Robot, I am a Lion!” with keytar and cowbell – Bruce Dickinson would be pleased!).

Otto und Astrid display the precise, pinpoint choreography that made the night

They finished with a great Euro-Trash rocker, “Rock Bang”, complete with hand signals. Cigarette lighters would have been waving, but might have been a fire risk. A good evening was had by all.

[* With apologies to John Kander and Fred Ebb.] [Photos of O & A by Claudio Raschella.]


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