Local Wire

Berlin @ The Canyon Club

Bands whose names are also geographical locations: a tricky situation. More often than not, get ready to chart out a set list of lousiness. Chicago? Meh. Europe? No way. Asia, Boston, Kansas? No good. America? Okay, "A Horse with No Name" is good. Younger bands like Beirut and Defiance, Ohio, may buck the trend with artistic integrity, but Berlin? Ah, Berlin. Though Berlin may not top the list of best new wave bands, they did have some solid tunes. The three-hit wonder of the '80s fronted by Terri Nunn peaked with "Metro," "Sex (I'm a...)," and "Take My Breath Away," but those synth-laden songs, while definitely products of their time, still sound vibrant today (give or take a power guitar solo here and there). Berlin split in '87, but after some legal back-and-forthing — following a split with co-founder John Crawford — Nunn won the rights to the Berlin name, putting it in front of a new band and hitting the nostalgia circuit in '98. The synth-pop sound of contemporary acts like The Lovemakers, Ladytron, La Roux, and Annie prove that Berlin's influence is still on the map.

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Chris Hassiotis