Berlin's Melt! Festival

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A disused steel-mining facility nearly two hours east of Berlin hosted Intro’s genre-shattering Melt! Festival (July 14-16, 2006). Pop stalwarts Pet Shop Boys competed with the utterly charming duo of Phonique and Erlend Øye–who DJed and sang, respectively. Trail of Dead’s energetic guitars and on-stage mosh-pit antics impressed; Isolée’s set was enough to make Ecstasy obsolete, and Nathan Fake blew crowds away with neon-pink noisescapes and artful machine noise. Repping Deustchland were cutesy German indie band MIA, Beastie Boys-influenced techno rap duo Mediengruppe Telekommander, and the dorky Deichkind, who paired '90s dance hits with costumes and fire. Late-night lake swimming, bratwurst, and a smoke tempted me away from a wee-hours dance-off with Sid Le Rock and Moonbootica, and I missed the second day. (Friends reported 2ManyDJs and Battles rocked, and Aphex Twin and his phalanx of wheelchair-bound basketball players disappointed.) Designed to please “rock nerds, pop aesthetes, and electro heads,” Melt! proved suitably mind-altering.