… 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

… 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.

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).

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!

… the tale of the singer that can’t be heard: Saint Vitus, 2017 edition!

I generally do not like the „heavy“ section in the record bin, though sure Motörhead and some others are not alien to me (spare some time for The Moth from Hamburg if you can). But Saint Vitus, thanks to their SST Records legacy and their affiliation with eg. Black Flag do make sense to me.

And because of that we have a little custom habit with some friends, who are wider than my narrow mu-sick-al ambition, to see every Saint Vitus show in Hamburg. This time round it was at the Hafenklang and sold-out.

And that was strange, as Saint Vitus this time round where lacking Scott „Wino“ Weinrich (still not able to enter Europe since the ill-fated 2014 tour where he was caught with methamphetamine (or, if you prefer some street credibility: Crystal Meth, Meth, Ice or Crystal) at a border). Instead they sported Scott Reagers, who was the original singer during the early years.

We dropped the support band, Tombstones from Oslo, who claimed part of the full house as they are a much loved newcomer (as someone in the know put it). We had a beer and a bite around the corner and when listening to the last 3 songs from Tombstones i found them sounding really bad (and that was more on the account of the sound rather than the mu-sick). They got quite some applause still.

Next on Saint Vitus and … where are the vocals? You could see Scott moving his lips but barely hear the vocals. Also turning the stage monitors towards the audience did not help. Given he entered the stage with a pot of tea i assume his voice was weak or gone – and speaking to him after the show confirmed that.

Saint Vitus (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

Because of the missing voice it was somehow an odd one, as the vocals too carry some of the songs and are needed to blend in with the slower parts. But also on the faster songs they where missing, see „White Stallion„:

The good item though was that because Scott Reagers did sing they turned to a set list with a heavy load of early area songs. The bad one was that it was rather short and no bonus was to be expected.

Saint Vitus - Set List (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.05.2017)
Saint Vitus – Set List (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.05.2017)

The finished off with an 8-minute version of „Born to late“ that included Dave roaming the audience but i spare you that (as the vocals where not audible) and give you a snippet of „Saint Vitus“ rather:

So, was it worth it? From where i stand it was, Dave and his guitar are just killer assets and the rhythm section (Henry Vasquez on drums and an excellent Pat Bruders (ex-Crowbar) on bass) where perfect counterparts.

That said, to me it was lacking some of the Saint Vitus spirit that is injected when Wino is fronting and it did lack … the vocals being audible (confirmed by other people who roamed the room in search for a position that had it audible).

Lets see how they come back next time round – they still have credit with us!