… the art of covering vs. the art of adopting a style: A difficult art indeed – Flanders 72 vs. Hamburg Ramönes ends 1:0!

It would have been Joey Ramones 66th Birthday this year and the Hamburg Ramönes do have a habit of throwing a birthday bash for Joey. This time round it included Flanders 72 from Brasil, a Ramonescore band leaning towards a Green Day sound rather, and it was set upstairs at the Hafenklang.

For me it was a wee bit strange as i only knew two people in the audience and they had the same experience – it was a strange audience, to a certain extend due to many of the regulars being over in Berlin to see Razors supporting Cock Sparrer. Still, it was a strange feeling to be in an audience that seemed to be made up in majority of friends and family of the band (with an average age even above mine).

Flanders 72 kicked off and from the first second they proved to be experienced musicians – right from the start great sound, tight and on the point playing and moving to the music radiating joy. According to me mate Frosch they did the same on a not sold out MS Hedi (a small ship hosting bands for tours through the Hamburg Harbour), a trip & show the day before i did let go in favour of the record release party by the Spitfire Stevens.

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Flanders 72 (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

For a 3 piece they had it all there was needed: Smile, speed and precision. Plus stage personas and some entertainment of the audience („Danke ihr Penner“ sure is a custom greeting in Germany) – all in all a great package driven by a great sound. The main reason for everybody thinking „… that’s Green Day style“ sure are the vocals of Paulinho:

And i’d bet they are huge down there in South-America! Not for a reason most of Brasil and Argentina are Ramones territory, already back in 1996 when i saw Ramones in Buenos Aires that was a stunning thing to see. I’d love to see them though with a proper long set on a slightly bigger stage and getting say 450 people going – that would have been the right thing for them. I do hope though they come back!

Next and with only little changeover the Hamburg Ramönes took the stage. I saw them a couple of years downstairs at the Hafenklang and i was not too impressed. The good think though is that they graduated from being a cover band to playing also own songs. And they have by now 5 records out, though i guess not sold record quantities.

How do they sound? Like this:

Frank – i did struggle with them, specifically when they played Ramones songs: To much mid tempo, to bad drumming and i just did not get along with the vocal style of the singer. The art of covering is a tough one, you need not only play the chords in the correct sequence you also need to hit the groove and the intend – and them Hamburg Ramönes rarely hit it right for me (and my two fellow observers, one of them a professional cover musican).

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Hamburg Ramönes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

The more they played though the better they sounded and i have to admit that a couple of their own songs had some groove and the vocals did fit – but it was one out of 10 if i dare to judge (and yes, i am a hard judge).

The audience (friends’n’family?) though liked it and ensured a couple of encores. The final encore was sure a hats off to the mighty Ramones and Paulinho of Flanders 72 joined to sing the bubblegum ode:

A strange evening, with heavy rain and thunderstorm outside, and an evening with a clear winner: Flanders 72 played „Green Day style“ but in their own fashion and with both heart and quality. The Hamburg Ramönes did not score for me, though i bet they have their heart in it (i saw a Johnny Ramone signature Mosrite on stage).

Never mind, it was a pretty Friday and i was home all wet (but not too late). And as always mu-sick is enjoyed best live!

… 10″ remains the coolest format: Record release party in style – Spitfire Stevens rule the Hafenbahnhof!

Home grown often is good, sometimes it is bad and sometimes leaves you just speechless, both in a positive or negative sense. Spitfire Stevens are around for stunning 17 years but never touched my heart nor impressed my ear – and i just did not bother to see one of the rare life shows prior.

And then they did a mighty step forward, recorded under proper direction and put so much effort into their first release. And set a record release party, down at the harbour.

Spitfire Stevens - Setlist (Hafenbahnhof, Hamburg, 18.05.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Spitfire Stevens – Setlist ((c) gehkacken.de)

And indeed that is a mighty setlist (and some clever hints on mu-sick) and it lured quite a large audience into the small location – mostly friends of the band who seemed as proud of the band as the band is of the record. And, mu-sick-al connoisseurs too, Spitfire Stevens made a late start in trust that some more folks come over once the MS Hedi (hosting Flanders 72) had taken dock again.

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Spitfire Stevens (Hafenbahnhof, Hamburg, 18.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

From the start they got great appreciation and the space in front of the non-existing stage was packed. The mix of slower and faster songs, bellowed and almost spoken words and the great guitar work made it refreshingly diverse – from one song to the other the style almost changed. Here is „Last Show“, introduced by front man Luke as „… and now a short fast song, if we are able to get it done!

Yes, they also get faster stuff done. But their strength is in the slower world, it is not a surprise that people compare them with Joy Division, Wipers, Saints or even The Sound. What makes it for sure unique is our beloved Mr. Gum-Knee Luke Stevens on front: Ain’t a poser, is just class and has a unique voice.

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Spitfire Stevens (Hafenbahnhof, Hamburg, 18.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And they even got help, Frank did join them for „In A Rut“ and seems to be a stand-in singer now, we just had him helping Jam Today playing „That’s Entertainment“ on Toni’s Farewell.

People started to dance (though hard in the packed space) and people indeed did smile big time. Next to the music i also did like that the band ensured that the stage visual was consistent and in style: Black suits, black shirts and sneakers. Whilst the rest of the band gave in to the heat soon it was Luke who stayed dressed to the end, though sweat kept dripping from his head like a waterfall.

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Spitfire Stevens (Hafenbahnhof, Hamburg, 18.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And once they finished their 17 songs set they reluctantly declared „that’s it“ but where forced by peer pressure to stay … and play …. and stay on and play on. And in the encore they also played their signature song „Hollow Inside“ again:

And that was it finally. 17 songs, 6 encores and quite some cheering. And a lot of people that took the 10″ with them, i am sure it will run on many record players on the weekend (it for sure will run on mine). And as so many friends where there sure thing someone had something extra for them…

…Fireworks:

Spitfire Stevens (Hafenbahnhof, Hamburg, 18.05.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Spitfire Stevens (Hafenbahnhof, Hamburg, 18.05.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

And in full glory it looked like this:

A perfect release party, now i do hope that they can earn some success over the year and get a lot of chances to play – that will only make them tighter and sound even better.

I am a convinced Spitpunk now!

Get their 10″ from K-Klangträger now or at the next show! It is a god damn fucking 10″, the greatest format there is! Trust my greedy record collector mind.

And this is how it sounds on record and the video that made them just about to be famous: