… a neat entry into a joyfull power pop weekend: Litterbug and Cyanide Pills upstairs!

A rainy Thursday evening is actually the least best day for a crowded show, specifically if there is other entertainment in town too. Crowds where either drawn to the Fabrik (to see MC50 and Wayne Kramer) or to the MS Hedi (to see Nothington) … or upstairs to the Hafenklang in order to get ears ready for more serious power pop with the Undertones on Friday.

Me and many friends decided for the Hafenklang and whilst initially it felt empty it later was decently filled (though not sold out). First on Jitterbug from sunny Blackpool (that seaside town up north that is subject to the annual pilgrimage by many of the Hamburg lot).

Litterbug (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 29.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Jitterbug play fast paced punk with some great bass play (and an almost hyperactive bass player) and less great singing. One of me mates noted „the guy on guitar seems to have too much on his plate when he also sings“ but for me it was still on the ok side.

Would i go the extra mile for them? Nope. Did i appreciate their set? Yes indeed, at times their sound had some great speed variations and – as said – some great bass lines. In most of the songs actually the bass did carry the melody, something that only few bands make their unique selling proposition.

What did stand out too was their merchandise, brilliant T-Shirts and a killer T-Shirt for all UK Punk literate collectors:

... one of the greatest T-Shirts recently!
… one of the greatest T-Shirts recently!

#1  Love for 1977, #2 A Tape and – with all tongue in check needed – #3 A Porky Prime Cut (and those who can not relate to that never ever called records from the hey days of Punk in the UK their own). Well done mates, well done!

Without too much hassle the stage was turned over to them Pills . If you don’t know them – here is how they set themselves:

Biography

Born a loser
Alcoholic, substance abuser
Hated, loathed with no fixed abode
Jinxed, given a curse
To never be best, always the worst
A peasant who wants to be king
PHIL PRIVILEGE attempts to sing

Bad tempered, aggressive
music obsessive
Never the banquet
Only the crumbs
CHRIS WRIST bangs the drums

Glassy eyes, greasy skin
Constant depression is a state he’s in
A dirty, nasty rat faced critter
Runt of the litter
SY PINKEYE guitar picker

Petty criminal
Small time crook
Broken home, bad neighbourhood
The human race hates his pretty face
ALARICK ‘THE TRICK’ plucks the bass

Liar, faker, liberty taker
Sleazy vain, a wannabe stud
A rotten piece of Norwegian wood
A drunken lout with insatiable greed
ALEX ARSON strums the lead

A gang of c***s from a desolate land
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the band….
CYANIDE PILLS

And they stormed into their set like this:

Just perfect: High energy power pop, scent of glam and and undertone of punk. And 5 different stage personas with unique schemes, grins and … sound. I felt victim to them a long time ago and i am always stunned that they are able to re-surprise me. In principle i know what will happen but when it happens i am still stunned.

Cyanide Pills (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 29.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

They blasted song after song, had fun on stage and fun off stage and made a lot of people in the audience smile (and some even to dance). To many outsiders they may look like a degenerated lot but in fact they are there to remind people that music is relevant for quite some time (when repacked every once in a while).

And after blasting through 20something songs they ended the set on another highlight:

Conquered!  Though forever i will put forward the request that actually they do play my loveliest song! Please!

When the lot dissolved after the show it was a lot of „see you tomorrow at Undertones“ and that is exactly what i will do. Just to get more of those 2:00 long power pop pearls!

… the fate of a rainy Monday: Small turnout but big smiles – young guns with retro party sound and old lads with new unique sound!

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.

C³I (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.03.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

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!

Cyanide Pills (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.03.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

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.

… theres a harmony in me head!

11th of March 1979: The Buzzcocks graced Hamburg for the first time. And this year both remaining original members Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley will celebrate their 60th birthday so there was no doubt that the Hamburg Oldpunks would be there to give them a hats off in 2015, 36 years later!

Cyanide Pills (Knust, 06.03.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
Cyanide Pills (Knust, 06.03.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

The support stint was for the ultra cool and retro Cyanide Pills from Leeds and the Buzzcocks confirmed stardom rumors („…Champagne mandatory„) by pushing them and their gear to the front and by limiting their stage time. Odd. But the Pills made the best of the small space that was left. It did though take away some of the energy and moves on stage and that transpired through on the music. I liked them, they where tight, cool moves and cool non-punk white leather jackets. Class!

Next on the Buzzcocks. Almost 40 years in existence. And still going strong.

They kicked off with Boredom and i had some doubts if this was really going to be quality time – the sound was not really good and they where not together. I do not think that they practiced allot prior to their tour kicking off in Hamburg. But from then on it went better, sound was tuned and they got into it.

Fun was that though the average age of the audience was near 49 there where still some younger people in the audience, predominantly female. And even a full family was there and the daughter (i’d say 16 by age) was dressed in a Buzzcocks T-shirt and did sing all old songs, i guessed influenced by their parents. Good parenting by the way!

Buzzcocks (Knust, 06.03.2015 (c) gehkacken.de )
Buzzcocks (Knust, 06.03.2015 (c) gehkacken.de )

Somehow the packed (and sold out) show had an icehockey setting: First 20 mins old songs and slowly getting into it, 2nd 20 mins new songs and the audience cooling down (but the band gettin‘ tighter and tighter) and then the final 3rd 20 mins with all these songs that can only be described as timeless beauties. And by now the band was at it, played even hidden gems like Autonomy and Harmony in my head (and in that one Steve Diggle managed the audience like it was his private army, which indeed it was).

A short sip on Steve’s stage bottle of Champagne (mandatory perk) and off they where after 60 mins plus 3 songs encore. What did stick? Pete’s beard and belly. Steve’s Army and that he looked sober. And the backline (drum’n’bass) that was lacking some of the groove that should be injected into the timeless beauties that are indeed the Buzzocks love songs.

But finishing early is most likely an age thing and thus i was home early (where me sick wife needed to let go the show).

Still, quality time indeed. So hats off to both bands!