Some times rainy Mondays in March can be … dull. Boring. Not really getting you out. But then you realise it’s the Cyanide Pills in town, definitely one of the most powerful retro party machines, supported by Hamburgs C³I, who are coming with a unique sound.
And then you just take the stroll down to the Hafenklang … and realise that a handful of friends did the same but in total only like 38 people turned up. Damn.
Kick-off was on time and at 21:02 C³I took the stage, faced the empty room and … took it like this:
Tough start and the hardship of the support (yet again). But C³I are in it for long enough to force their way through it and got into the groove. If there is one thing than it is indeed their distinct and unique sound that makes people listen – i would not be able to pinpoint what it is but it makes people interested.
The only item that did not work out this time was the sound, the vocals for my liking where too thin. This was specifically bad as some of singing nicely contrasts the hooklines (and maybe that is one of the unique secrets). The more songs they played, the more pleasure it was and the more recognition they got from the few attending. And the finished it off with this one:
C³I – make sure you get their 2017 LP, it is a worthy effort!
Next on them Pills and it is always great to see them take the stage as they for years now have their unique stage personas including their distinct white leather jackets and other looks. You will be able to to identify them anywhere, no matter what. And they kicked off like this:
Back with a bang to Hamburg i’d say with no strings attached. Despite the small turnout they went into it full throttle. And acted out on their stage personas without giving to much of the idea of just acting – they are the real thing indeed.
Frank, they are just one perfect retro-machine with songs so well crafted that you just want to listen, listen and then some more!
And they are down to earth and they do listen to their audience. As such words of the recent passing of one of our mates made it to them and they dedicated on song to Toni, in loving memory:
Thanks for that Cyanide Pills that was much appreciated. By now they had people smiling and even some dancing away with broad smiles. And they delivered their set with full energy and then even gave us some more.
And then even another one, as thank you for coming out on a miserable rainy Monday evening.
And within 45 minutes and some overtime they where done. Quick and efficient. I’d wish next time round they come back in summer and on a Friday. And then some serious party business to start.
The real thanks go out for those attending and thus still making it a worthwhile evening, both for the audience and for the bands. And that is what it is about.
Slaughter & The Dogs … that is memories, specifically their biggest and epic hit „Where have all the Bootboys gone?“ (thanks to Decca records 1977). But not only that: They hail from Whytenshawe (dubbed „The Skinhead Capital of the North„) and that is not only part of my work history ( i have spend quite some weeks over the years in a bunker like office on Rowlandsway) but also a troubled large council estate („extreme pocket of social deprivation and alienation“ was a line from a non-UK paper).
My memories are not that bad: A tough area with quite some street crime but also friendly people and some nice (though maybe dodgy) pubs.
Nevermind, it was Wednesday and them Dogs made one of their few strolls to Hamburg and it was in my preferred Club downhill so i was on. On too (and providing some of the backline i believe) where the Cock-Ups from Hamburg. They faced the fate of all local support bands – a rather empty space in front of them.
Did i like the Cock-Ups … mmmmhhh. They had some moments where the sound made sense but by and large it was not really working out for me. The vocals where a quiz (German? English? Polish?) and the sound was too much „bumpy„. Sorry lads! They though did their best and in all fairness the longer they played the better it sounded. One mate mentioned „… are they allowing on stage practise again?“ – sounds harsh but holds some thruth i’d say.
And next Slaugher & The Dogs and they kicked off like this:
Now we where definitely in a different territory: Professional musicians with a style shaped over many years. And let’s be frank: Their early hits like „Cranked up really high“ and „Where have all the Bootboys gone?“ are not representative of their distinct style – i heard someone calling it „Glam Street Punk“ (a new niche as far as i am concerned but who am i?).
Slaughter & The Dogs (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.03.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
The setup on stage was by coincidence just like with the Avengers: Vocals and Guitar from the original line up (and that goes back to that infamous 20th of July 1976 when them Dogs where part of that famous bill at the Lesser Free Trade Hall) and younger drum and bass providing the drive.
They did not do a lot of talking but they did their best to keep the audience engaged, had smiles and thank you’s for the audience and – nice gesture – had a song for the the guy in the wheelie. Nice one!
Slaughter & The Dogs (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.03.201717) (c) gehkacken.de)
And with their set finished on time the question was would they come back to the stage? I heard a couple of bets and to be honest most of them where wrong – no messenger was needed to get them back and crank another one out (that even got the real oldpunks in attendance to shake off their 60+ year old bones and fists!)
There was one caveat though – it was surprisingly empty down at the Hafenklang. I’d say it was down to weekday, support and the fact that them Dogs continue their style, which emphasises the R in Punk Rock. But that they do quite well and to no surprise some people even took their new LP home – i’d rather took the latest Career Suicide 7″ home that an ever friendly mate got me!
And those others?
Where either happy or almost happy (up there is happiness, down there are happy sunburned faces of people just back from sunny holidays away from cold Hamburg).
What was missing though was the smile of one absent mate, who unfortunately now is absent forever. Seeing shows with him since early 80s has now come to hard stop, a stop that provided a lot of tears. And thus the biggest hardship was for those attending the show and knowing that they where to attend the funeral next day. We will never forget you mate!
It was first set to happen in the rather spacious Markthalle, a setting by some people called „ambitious“, and that was the reason why i did buy a ticket upfront at a rather high price.
But soon it was moved to that black shed near the University called „Logo“, a sweatbox with 1/4 (or less) of the capacity. And even that place was only like 3/4th full on a rainy Sunday night. And, with 5 bands on a stretched but small stage, the breaks and changes between the set was a to-come annoyance for sure.
First off WOLF x DOWN and the singer ruined it for me with a „Yo Hamburg, was geht“ intro. 5 angry young man in black and with a cause, 3 die heart fans in front of the stage singing every song and … a sound that i do not really dig.
Whilst they where technically gifted and their songs where together i just did not like the beat and the bellowed vocals, that ain’t my shit.
Next on Walter Schreifels (ex-Youth Of Today in the late 80s), who orchestrated the Tour, with his new Band Vanishing Life, for the first time in Europe. And what a stark contrast that was against WOLF x DOWN! 4 really different and distinct stage personas: A gifted guitarist that was able to pull sounds from his axe (and his massive FX-board) that i have never heard before, a tall dark bass player in a very stylish outfit, a sturdy drummer in the back and … Walter in a non-hardcore outfit singing with loads of echo but getting across clear words.
Vanishing Life (Logo, Hamburg, 19.02.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
Wow! I was taken away – great sound, grounded in Punk but expanding so wide out. On top of that some few choice words by Walter on life, the scene and music as such. They took me so much left wing – i had not recognised their fantastic LP at all, an error soon to be corrected! And i demand them for eg. Get!Lost!Fest!
Here is a snippet for those who missed their output too – and then go on and buy it for fucks sake!
And that paved way to Trash Talk, from Sacramento, who took the proceedings into a different direction: A mix between short Hardcore bursts lasting not more than a minute and of lengthier dirty rock songs – in almost perfect fashion!
They also now had the crowd going, either individually or collectively and i also saw a rather slim girl running across the stage and throwing herself into the audience like a torpedo! Another Wow for the mu-sick and again the difference of the stage personas made it so much more worthwhile to watch.
If you need a reference – this is how it feels:
With Trash Talk being active, open and embracing the crowd it took only one change and the dimming of the lights to throw not only a complete different image but also a different style: Of music and of interaction with the crowd. None. Welcome American Nightmare, one of Boston’s finest outfits!
American Nightmare (Logo, Hamburg, 19.02.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
Now we where in just another territory – rock solid 90’s Hardcore Punk with a deep grounding in Punk and done in perfection. The only items that did annoy me was the complete lack of interaction with the audience, by the backing trio and specifically by the singer – he did not even look into anybodies eyes. But still, great stuff and if i am not mistaken the first time they graced Hamburg!
Here is a little story line on their re-union:
And that took us to the headliner. Ray was busy in the afternoon to give a Yoga class under his assumed name of Raghunath Cappo, which he took on when he left the NYC H/C scene for a life as a celibate monk in India, studying old texts and Yoga methods. And what took the stage was their so called „classic 1988 line-up“ with Ray, Porcel, Sam and Walter (who takes Bass duties in Youth Of Today).
Youth Of Today (Logo, Hamburg, 19.02.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
They got the crowd finally forward and into flying mode but, as one of me mates mentioned prior to the show when he turned down attending, they or rather Ray spend also a fair time explaining some simple truths to the audience. So you got 50% classic NYC H/C and 50% something for your brain – an equation that actually could be worse although he was largely preaching to converts.
Fun moment was when the Italian Youth Of Today super fan Andrea from Turin was handed the mike and he could not manage that big cheque – Ray kindly reminded him that if he wants to sing than he needs to give it all to the audience and not keep it to himself!
Would this have been fun on the big stage of the Markthalle and say 300 people? Nope, far from. Would it have been fun with 1.000 folks – yes it would. So the move down to the Logo was ok though i would have loved if they would have taken the Hafenklang and split themselves up between upstairs and downstairs. That would have worked better.
As a diverse setting and branching out into different territories of Hardcore it did work for me, though i did have my problems with the styles (BEARDS!) of the audience and some dancing styles (trashing wings running into the boarder of the pit), specifically when it is hurting people and comes with a macho attitude.
Thanks for pulling this one together Walter, much appreciated. With two Amercian Nightmare T-shirts (one for me mate Frosch, who was in Portugal, and one for me Love) and the Vanishing Life LP (in coloured vinyl, record collectors are pretentious arseholes!) i took home, being positively infused for the workweek abroad in London (i may choose to see them again there).