Roots Manuva and The Banana Klan
The evening before Roots Manuva played a headlining show with The Banana Klan in front of thousands of people at the Donauinselfest in Vienna. The morning after he wanders around in some urban wasteland in the industrial part of the city for a stripped down session. „Too early in the morning“, he jokes, „Ricky Ranking didn’t even know“, subtly reminding us that the Banana Klan MC had to be woken up half an hour after we were supposed to meet in the lobby of their hotel. But the mood is good on this nice summer day, everybody’s playing around with little devices and amps to find the right set-up for such an unusual performance. And the playful approach continues throughout the session: Roots doesn’t only play an inspired version of „Crow Bars“ from his brand new album „4everevolution“ (coming out these days!) and 2008’s crowd favourite „Let The Spirit“, but they also start improvising on other tracks. You surely cannot spend a more entertaining hour in those industrial surroundings!
At first sight there is not much reason to visit Erdberg, the southern part of Vienna’s third district Landstraße and one of the oldest settlements in the Vienna region. There are few things left which evoke the memory of the area’s rural past with its wineyards and vegetable gardens, apart from Erdberg’s coat of arms, which bares a strawberry. This, however, is based on a linguistic misunderstanding as the German word for strawberry, Erdbeere, bares a strong resemblance to Erdberg. Nowadays, factories, commercial buildings and the highly frequented A23 motorway with its several ramps, characterize the area. Although Erdberg appears rough and industrial, there are some spots that increase the value of the quarter. Arena, a former slaughterhouse, is a cultural centre and music venue, hosting mainly rock and punk concerts and manages to maintain a high-quality of programming for its altogether five stages. Close-by, the four Gasometer-towers form Erdberg’s skyline. The 70-meter high brick buildings, erected in 1896, were formerly used as gas tanks. Around the year 2000, however, the towers were reconstructed by famous architects such as Jean Nouvel and Coop Himmelb(l)au and now feature a shopping centre, flats, a concert venue as well as a student dormitory.