… 6 bands, 12€ and a great sneak into current US H/C – K-Town Warm-Up has become a classic annual event!

This year the run up to the K-Town Hardcore Fest at Ungdomshuset in København gave the Hafenklang the opportunity to host a wide variety of US H/C en route to sunny Denmark. As ever it was on the Thursday prior to the main event and provided Hamburg with a sneak preview of some quality.

It was a pity that from the start (at 21:00) it felt a wee bit empty and i’d bet that if you take out bands and friends then less than a hundred folks showed up. Not sure if it was overkill on shows, ignorance or the fact that some folks from Hamburg rather travel north and see the main event.

Upstairs Exotica from Brooklyn kicked off, two girls and two boys providing a short but crisp set.

Exotica (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Exotica (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

I have no reference point for them but i did like the sturdy drums and the angry vocals. Paired with a not too fast wall of sound it was a neat surprise, though limited in their mu-sick-al variation. But as ever, you gotta decide yourself:

Audience reception was good, though i also overheard comments like „so lala“. I did like them, i now need to find out what they are actually singing about.

Next Sem Hastro, with people from Coke Bust and people from Brasil if i understood correctly. And they where quite a surprise – fast forward, well played and some nice variations. I guess all versed musicians.

This was even more my shit, specifically because the bass provided some variations (including killing his own gear and needed a replacement). Would i buy a record? Not sure. Would i listen again to a live set? Always!

Sem Hastro (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Sem Hastro (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

Back upstairs it was time for the first surprise on all fronts: Odio from Oakland had not only a distinct visual across all members but also a very very tight wall of sound provided with loads of energy and loads of … movements.

ODIO (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.0 06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
ODIO (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.0 06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

All of their visuals somehow both where fitting but also gave a scent of copies from old punk bands. But hey, that’s their style and what they do they do very well and with some drive. And yes, they like their Discharge i bet ya!

Downstairs next was Glue, eagerly awaited by some of the audience members, who also had a close eye on the vinyl they had with them (though that was rather high priced). Their singer gave the extrovert aggressive shouter and the i think most of their vocals sounded like „Fuck you“, „Fuck this“ and … „Fuck that“.

Glue (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Glue (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

And, he also acted irresponsible: Not only did he trash glass bottles on the dance floor but he also launched himself into the audience, twisted around and did hit me mate and a girl under the eyes – both now sport a nice black eye for not anticipating it. To me it felt a bit like a show act and thus did destroy some of the rather good feel the music provided.

Breaking glass on the dance floor just to show how „hard“ and „aggressive“ you are is just a laugh for me and something i just dislike.

Upstairs followed the real gem of the evening, Long Knife from Portland. They where the real surprise and they warranted all attention. The singer was roaming the audience and did sing in a high pitched voice and the music was high speed energy in it’s purest essence.

Yes, that was my kind of noise. And served with some precision and great technical capabilities. Wow – i did not expect this though some of my company assured me that the 2nd Long Knife LP is actually a killer one, so that is something that i need to turn to and most likely need to score.

Long Knife (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Long Knife (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

My sensing was that they also got the biggest crowd reaction but that might just being me and how much i liked them betraying the reality.

And, whilst at it, i also need to praise the guitar and the associated sound: Just the right thing, just the right thing.

Finally downstairs the „headliner“ as in Coke Bust, who are well known name on the circuit and who have played Hamburg before, i think eg. last year on MS Hedi. And they where 2 minutes ahead of schedule, something that is rather rare on these occasions. And they kicked off like this:

Yep, that is DC H/C 2017 style and they exactly know what they are doing. I did read somewhere that „ … a song by them longer than a minute is epic in their world“ and that was exactly what the audience did get – short hard blasts!

Coke Bust (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Coke Bust (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 15.06.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

And as a band they are also pretty tight, all chords are where they should be and the vocals plus backup are to the point. And i’ll guess they are the nearest thing to rage or something to that equivalent.

And even an encore of sorts was in the mix, maybe given they started ahead of schedule. Neat.

6 bands for 12€ – there ain’t no better opportunity to expose yourself to something new. I saw stuff i won’t see again, i saw stuff i will see again and i saw stuff i most likely will drag home on vinyl. And why? Because i dared to come out and check it out!

Next year i hope more people come by and make this not only a mainstay but also a killer success.

K-TOWN WARM-UP HAMBURG
K-TOWN WARM-UP HAMBURG
K-TOWN FEST 2017
K-TOWN FEST 2017

… fun and energy fuels the best sauna in town: The Agitators and Cockney Rejects are real deal, no frills.

I’ll take the Monkeys was damn proud to have pulled this one off, getting the Cockney Rejects to grace their stage. The show was set late last year and sold out in record time, with many „seek a ticket“ request going on. Funnily enough many of these requests where met, as some people had spare tickets or used the long weekend to be away.

As an extra security precaution the door was moved street side and some more people ensuring no trouble where hired. The yard in front of the club turned to an open air disco, barbecue and  pub.  A great atmosphere with loads of friends, mates and regulars to chat with and enjoy a drink or two.

Kick off was with The Agitators, who will call it a day after Rebellion 2017. They already played their last home show and their support for the Rejects was down to joint love of the Hamburg crew for Rebellion and their love for Rebellion.

They have 17 years under their belt now, a couple of records and generally emit quite some joy from the stage. Their music is handsome, sometimes too polished for my liking, with great sing-a-long choruses.

The Agitators (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 03.06.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They got a fair share of singing and dancing from the crowd (who was in best mood thanks for all the outdoor booze and the outlook of the Rejects) and sure finished off their set with their own ode to the Rebellion Festival, simply called Rebellion:

And yes, the band had fun too and their set was tight and with a wink-wink when one of them got out of tune, specifically Bart stepped onto his guitar case a couple of times when moving backwards and did not expect it to be there (surprise surprise). Great set by a lovely outfit. Sad they will finally call it a day but i am sure the Blackpool pilgrims from Hamburg will cheer for them big time in August.

Next on with no stardom at all and eagerly awaited by the packed Monkeys … Cockney Rejects. And they took the stage like this:

A sneak into the set list got us sure thing excited, that was not only hit after hit but also some length. It sure was value for money from the real deal!

Cockney Rejects - 03.06.2017
Cockney Rejects – 03.06.2017

The selection is leaning wide into Greatest Hit’s Volume 1, Greatest Hits Volume 2 and Greatest Hits Volume 3 and it is a neat surprise that after all these years and all these changes the 1980 line up with Brothers Geggus plus Vince and Nigel is back on stage and rockin‘ it out. And thus here is Subculture from Volume 2 and done in just above a minute – stunning!

It was what people wanted and thus the audience did get going, dancing and sweating. The last time i saw them was in the late 1980s in London during their stint on Heavy Metal Records and during their venture into what i would call poor rock. Following that i did not take an effort to see them on their occasional visits to Hamburg and i think it was more than the right choice to be there in 2017 as they just had it all: Heavy where needed, guitar where appropriate and speed – so much speed.

Cockney Rejects (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 03.06.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And, to my personal joy, they also played one of the my loveliest records in a 2017 version that is definitely a killer version:

YES! Nailed! And they where not done yet. Thanks to the ever friendly security at the Monkeys also the crowds stayed and acted cool as they should. Any tiny scent of a brawl was managed with professional care and a smile – nobody was hurt and all could enjoy a great set.

That the Rejects and footie are one and the same is not only a simple truth but also the fuel for one of the greatest songs on football ever put to vinyl (and i am not talking about Bubbles here). It is War on the terraces and it nicely sums up the feel around footie back then. A masterpiece as far as i am concerned.

Great set, some extra songs on encore and the Rejects left behind a stunned, happy and wasted audience. I did not hear a single bad word after the show, rather i met people emitting joy and making happy statements. Great stuff.

And them Agitators? Had a 10 hour drive to Hamburg thanks to holiday traffic and just ignored that (despite a 6 hour drive back home on Sunday) and went party mode …

The Agitators ( (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
The Agitators ( (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

Great show, pulled off by people who run a great club with all ingredients to please those who thrive on this mu-sick. There ain’t no better place than in front of the stage in a great club, trust me (for once).

… they get you, no matter what. Ruts DC mean it and they are here to stay!

A leisure Sunday, sunny and hot, crowned by Ruts DC returning to the Hafenklang and against all odds a second week of leave @home for me. An almost perfect setting though the expectation was a small turnout: A sunny Sunday on the back of a long weekend ain’t gonna lure people down to the harbour when they face a back to work alarm clock on Monday.

Still about 120 odd people showed up, most of them of age, and gave them Ruts a warm welcome, as always in Hamburg (up to and including some gifts from friendly members of the audience).

There where even some who mentioned „never saw them before“ and for those it must have been quite a surprise as they would get all of the Ruts/RutsDC: The sing-a-long classics from 1979, the Dub-Fusion from the 80s/90s and new stuff just released.

A classic sing-a-long for sure got the crowd moving:

But they mixed their set in a nice way between their distinct different output and given the sunny and warm weekend in Hamburg most of the Reggae/Dub stuff (including the all time classic Jah War) got the crowd into real dancing.

Ruts DC (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 28.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

It remains one of my biggest pain points that i missed their January 1980 show at the Markthalle (i was a 15 year old school boy who was not really in control of his agenda yet and short of money) and it remains one of my biggest mysteries why they did not break big and i mean really big – they had it all and they had it all beyond punk. Damn smack!

Here is one more from the later output:

Because it was Hamburg they actually played an extended set, we got to get so much more also because their next date was opening for Die Toten Hosen in a stadium show in Magdeburg, something that only ever get’s them a 30 minute set (but hopefully some dough). So they played on, got the crowed dancing, sweating and drinking and even lured the audience into serving them some beer.

They played an encore and left for good, only to be cheered back onto stage again to end the set with a furious smasher:

Them Ruts: Loved as The Ruts in 1980, safe bets on party hits (Babylons BurningStaring at the Rude Boys and and and), initial disliked as Ruts DC but soon converted to love their Dub output and today just a great band that is able to draw on a wide range of songs and styles. In within that, i feel back to 1980 when i first heard The Crack and was stunned by the variety of styles on that record.

And for those who want more – go and score the book. Heartbreaking but essential to understand why they did not reach the top. And make sure all Ruts records and all Ruts DC output is in your collection. It is worth it.

Responsible disclosure: I pledged for their book, i pledged for their last LP and 7″ and thus i must have been very biased. And guess what? I feel good about it, it is a worthy cause for musicians who should have made it bigger (and neither fallen early due to smack or later due to the fucking big C).

Ruts DC – they unite people!