Fitting live mu-sick into me weekend plans normally is a piece of cake – a „just do it“. But there is one time in the year where this needs to be carefully balanced with another obsession that me love and myself have: Watching stars. And watching meteors. And meteor showers.
Say hello to comet Swift–Tuttle and his tails of debris and to the fact that the earth rotation around the sun crosses that tail on a very predictable course. So every August, around the 12th, there is this thing called „Perseids“ and it will enable you (best with no moon and sure on a cloudless sky without light pollution) to see a lot of shooting stars.
And sure thing the best night to see them was Saturday, so all my hopes where on an early start of the show, so that i could bugger off quickly, hop into the car and drive away from the light doom that the city created.
To my dismay I found the planning of the Hafenklang and the bands to create some friction with my plans, both Küken and Gorilla Angreb where to take stage way later than planned. What also hampered the show was the fact that an early show by Swedens Baboon Show around the corner and in an open air setting was moved to later and further away at the Knust, so some people who would have enjoyed both shows in sequence would not make it.
Kick off was with Hamburgs own Küken and towards a rather empty space in front of the stage. So their blast of 16 songs in 26 minutes went largely into a void, though they got one of the Gorilla Angreb guys dancing. And the blast sounded like this:
Whatever you like in mu-sick you got to accept that they have found and perfected their little niche and that they have become rock solid. No frills, no cheap bargaining with the audience just blasting through the set with almost no breaks. I would think they somehow even underscore the Ramones as in their early days and that sure thing is a bonus, on all fronts.
And with Küken being done, i had to make a call towards stars rather than Gorilla Angreb. And luck we had, after some drive towards the north and some waiting for clouds to clear off we had a grand view and saw quite some meteors.
That moon though was quite bright, so whilst you could see a lot of stars it took away the option to see the Milky Way … but hey, that is complaining on a very high level.
Great to see Küken, sad to had to let go Gorilla Angreb and more than happy to have seen the Perseid (despite me love not being able to capture them on Photo but that is an art we still need to fully understand and learn).
Did i take the right (hard) choice? Yes, out with me love seeking stars!
Oh boy, what a fucking weekend. Riots, peaceful G20 protest, 24×7 helicopter terror and a 20.000 strong police force under odd management to protect a bunch of people most inhabitants did not want to have in town in the first place.
Next to the chaos during the days it was also party, mu-sick and fun in the night.
First on upstairs at the Hafenklang was Christianes Birthday Bash, a party that was fuelled by two live acts. And a party that provided the charming bass player of Hamburgs rock legends GERD with plenty of gifts and that emitted loads of love.
Henry Cluney (Hafenklang, Goldener Salon, Hamburg, 08.07.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
Surprise guest number one was Henry Cluney of Stiff Little Fingers fame who gave one of his acoustic solo shows – ie. strumming great sing-a-long songs (and sing-a-long the party people did with loud voices) and throwing in some nice jokes. And as a lot of the great sing-a-long hits of SLF where pinned in the late 70 and early 80s under the sound of helicopter rotors during „the troubles“ he must have felt home in Hamburg that weekend!
And thus here is one of these signature songs, try yerself:
He joined up to get a job
And show he wasn't scared
Swapped boy scout hat for army cap
He thought he'd be prepared
At the age of 17 he was forced to choose
Now at the age of 21 he's in Catch 22
He joined up for just three years
It seemed a small amount
But they didn't tell him
That the first two didn't count
At the age of 17 how was he to know
That at the age of 21 he'd still have one to go?
Written by Ogilvie/Fingers
Listen up youth:
That was great stuff with no question on street credibility. He was there, we not! What did stun people too was his guitar which was largely … without a body. Someone suggest it is like one of the folding bikes to enable Henry to fly hand luggage only and that it actually can fold it into a small bag. I guess that one is true. Great stuff and flying start into party and booze!
To take the lot further any Undertones, Descendents or Ramones would have suited, Christiane choose the Melones and thus choose Tommy, DeeDee, Johnny and Joey.
Someone very sceptical in the crowd noted „but they are wearin‘ fuckin‘ wigs“ but he did not dare to test it. It was simply full on Ramones blasting from the stage and light years better than what the Hamburg Ramönes provided 6 weeks back on the same stage.
And it was all in style – though my critical eye noted that two minor details where handled slightly wrong: The joint „forward – backward“ movements of Johnny and DeeDee where not copied correctly and not executed to the required level of precission and Tommy did drum in a slightly different style. But hey, who am i to complain?
And that happy family then took the party to the next level with DJ Starry Eyes providing the dance muzak. The (cheap) booze plus the will to give Christiane a great night and leave outside the non-sense happening on the streets did drive them kids into extra laps and overtime. I was home late and knackered (and me love noted i stink of booze next morning), others had similar stories – what a great birthday bash!
So with some hangover me and others on Sunday eagerly prepared for the return of Rocket From The Crypt. A band that in 1996 and 1997 took us all by surprise and – i won’t stop mentioning it – gave us the future of rock’n’roll. At their 2nd show at the Logo me and me mates all got us RFTC bowling shirts and we wore them until they faded away. I kept mine in good condition so i could – as a first in my life – void golden rule not to wear a shirt of the band that is playing.
Speedo was somehow irritated at the start of the show, as he did remember they played the Knust in 1996 but could not fit the visual in front of his stage with old pictures in his head (no surprise, the old Knust was a cellar in a different part of town and so much smaller).
And like any great showman he took time to direct the lights to his liking:
And once the light was set and the amps on full steam ahead they kicked into the show like this:
Rocket From The Fucking Crypt are back and they are back for good. And better. And it feels like they have not been away (and, technically speaking, they haven’t – they just had few shows over the years due to the endless amount of side projects).
The Knust was well filled (but sure not sold out) and the audience took RFTC straight into their arms (and hearts). A lot of people where sure thing leaning to the older side but that would only ever change if RFTC release something new and return to the touring life – something that i do not anticipate in real.
For me it was just great – it felt like they never actually disappeared. Me mate Frosch, most likely hardcore as a fan, did travel over the years to the rare RFTC shows around the world and not only kept spreading the message but also enlarging his RFTC tattoo (a pity that it no longer gets you free admittance).
Rocket From The Crypt (Knust, Hamburg, 09.07.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
They where so much together and so well oiled, it was stunning. The only item that was odd was that the stage of the Knust is big but not that wide, so the horn section somehow was placed to the backside (and mostly out of view for my preferred show position on the left). But all of that was made up by the full visual of the glittery backdrop and the stage dresses: A rock’n’roll show like a rock’n’roll show should be – with a capital S for show.
And by now RFTC have accustomed to the European demand for encores, so they stroll off the stage, come back on and mock fans up about that artificial awol. I’d say it is always the bands choice – if they have more to give or a surprise then by all means go for it. If they are done, then be done.
So RFTC gave us the extra, the bonus, the encore:
Stunning. Just stunning. And just perfect. I do know why i have so many records of them (though within that, there are some songs that are … err … let’s agree on complicated) and i do love them. And that love has just been renewed. And i do understand why me mate Frosch travels to all German shows to see them over and over again – there is something in it!
And what did that G20 long weekend now provide? Fuck nothing! Lack of proper policing, lack of sympathy for them cops, lack of sympathy for them riot-hipsters and lack of sympathy for them politicians. But all love and sympathy for those throwing great parties for friends, those who book great bands and sure those bands who go on stage and just deliver (even after a long drive from Paris to Hamburg, a drive that included 5 hours of traffic jam).
And sure thing for those who got out on the street and said NO G20 and FCK G20.
And if you like reading with a backdrop of helicopter rotors and them troubles – why not try a book by Adrian McKinty?
An annoying entry into an annoying week, accumulating into the G20 summit that nobody wants to have in this lovely city and that only ever attracts chaos, riots and … hang on, sounds punk rock, eh? No, the annoying thing next to the G20 is that this very Monday had two competing shows that where hard to balance: NOi!se from Tacoma graced the Monkeys with their very unique blend of pop-infused heavy Oi! and them BellRays graced the Hafenklang with their very unique blend of funksoulgospel-infused punk rock (with an emphasis on rock).
I decided to bet on both and had tickets for both – stupid me. The final call went for the Hafenklang and my NOi!se ticket went to a mate. And a quest – unanswered though – went to another mate for some NOi!se merchandise.
I actually do not recall when i saw them last but it might have been in support of the Fleshtones a while back. First on and playing to an empty floor where a dutch band called Coppersky and … they meant nothing to me. They did not touch a single nerve, something that is really really rare. So i did let them go in good faith and concentrated on talking to an old mate.
Next on and after a complete refresh of the stage The BellRays and they kicked off like this:
And from the first song it was the voice of Lisa Kekaula that makes the difference. Boy would i love to have such a full voice on some other bands singers – volume, tone variety and and and. It’s a real asset and the BellRays capitalise on it.
For my liking they had a slow start, the longer the played the more the song selection went to the power side and that pairing brings out the best of them.
The BellRays (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 03.07.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
That said, they also can handle the opposite side of the spectrum and do it less loud, less hard and less fast – and still make an impression:
Whilst that was great, there was also something not that fitting: They had a couple of covers (Paranoid, Judy is a Punk, Dream Police, Highway to Hell) that me and me mate felt to be below standard: They should have transformed these more into the Punksoulgospelsound of the BellRays rather than staying near the original. In fact we would have loved if they stayed way out and put a different spin on it.
Nevermind, whenever i had the feeling they are loosing it they came with another smasher and proved that they can not only delivery a great rock show but also get the audience into dancing, singing and worshipping. They got the power!
Off they went and back they came for what turned out to be an extensive encore with even more return from the audience.
Great show, great band and more than impressive vocal capabilities. A pity though that the merch stall was rather empty and less impressive T-Shirts where on offer. But hey, they are for the ear not for wearing (though i saw quite some people with an old BellRays shirt in the audience and i do know some people who made a point to this being a mandatory show to attend).
nb: Them BellRays are forever down in my audio and graphical memory with this stunning performance of that stunning song (a pity they do not play it on this tour)…