… at times Spinal Tap, at times perfect rage: Gust and Burn in an early short blast!

BURN? That NYHC band that basically had one single in 1990 and that’s it? OK, there was more output later but that was already re-union type of efforts. And their mu-sick anyway never fitted that one NYHC sound that people at least over here had in their mind. But now they are back for good and en route to Oslo did a quick stopover and early show in Hamburg.

Support where Gust from sunny Trollhättan, SE. They place themselves as „metal d beat hardcore hardcorepunk punk„, a nice set of boxes to place them. Very polite young dudes that explode in a 24 Minute set of noise and energy.

Gust (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 11.03.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

Great visuals (including traditional Swedish Björn Brog underwear) , exceptionally hairy chested guitar dude (first Spinal Tap sighting) that had plenty of gear (2nd Spinal Tap sighting) to sound very harsh and an angry staring singer. My type of mu-sick? Nope. But they where tight as a band and they pushed it out with quite some energy. And even if i do not dig the sound that makes it worthwhile.

Burn provided the next Spinal Tap sighting:

Burn - Set List (Hafenklang, hamburg, 11.03.2018)
Burn – Set List (Hafenklang, hamburg, 11.03.2018)

A set list that provides the name of city they are playing in. Well done. Or was that for the die hard collectors that take set lists home and archive it? Then signatures where missing (and that would be a Spinal Tap Bonus point).

Burn (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 11.03.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

And how did they sound? Complicated is the very first word that comes to my mind and it ain’t meant to sound negative. They do have a very unique sound, with loads of little breaks, speed changes, bridges, flirting guitar and what have you. And they have presence in the middle of the stage – Chaka Malik is a hell of a singer and get the message across big time.

Listen to him talking about the old days:

There was also another Spinal Tap sighting with them: They guitar player had an unbelievable amount of effect devices and pedals lined up to create his guitar sound – specifically the flirting parts. He also had his eyes mostly down there and most of the time one of his feet on a pedal. And yes, it was not all Spinal Tap – he could play too, boy could he play!

Some of the songs where just perfect and spot on, others where just too complicated to my immediate liking (and tended to be too long too). But indeed it was worth it come out and see them, actually only 70 odd good folks did so. Star of the day was one guy who apparently already appeared at the club in the afternoon, fully drunk, managing his way in appearing like belonging to either of the bands. And then falling asleep. The good folks at the club woke him up at the end of the soundcheck and asked him to leave and went into tears „did i miss the concert?“ – Spinal Tap sighting yet again!

For me a good show, slightly excessive at the door but needed to get both bands and club to make the required margin. So fine by me. I’d love to see Burn again in a slightly different setting eg. support a bigger band on a bigger stage – i think that would fit even better.

How did they sound back then – here is the classeffort from 1990:

And why are they together again – listen up youth:

… fallen out of time and fallen upon the youth: Johnny Moped in a sold out pub rock rampage!

Oh boy, what an amount of noise this show created upfront. On the one side due to the fact that Johnny Moped should actually be a no-one over here (but is loved by the punk rock connoisseur crowd) and thus the for weeks sold out show created frustration by regulars (who counted on door tickets) and on the other side due to the support, who are handled locally and in the younger circuit as hottest shit.

Cavity Search hold some familiar faces, at least two i connected to other Hamburg bands like Plastic Propaganda (on hiatus) and Violent Instinct. And they portray themselves as coming from London and whilst that is a bit of a simple joke it might also hold some truth: I doubt that they get anywhere near success with their sound over here but i bet ya they would have a chance in London.

And this is how they kicked off:

Whilst some of me mates liked them instantaneously i had some reservations, without being able to really pin-point them. A nice variation in the guitar sound, a sturdy bass and a very vocal female voice. And then the bit that brought that itch – in my head the drumming did not always fit the songs well. But who am i to complain, it is their sound and if that is what they want – off you go!

Cavity Search (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 02.03.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

Some people have them down as „Post Punk“, some as „Garage“ – i don’t have a clue what label to put on them. At least they seam to nurture a unique sound, that’s great. Some of older people around in the audience, who sure where in it for Johnny Moped only, complained about the punk styled visuals of the band and their prime followers in a way to express the word poser i guess.

I don’t think that does justice, you lot might have looked that way at 20something too in the eyes of elderly. The ultimate litmus test was coined by Mykel Board in 1985 and only ever that test should be applied! Despite that hidden undercurrent Cavity Search got a fair share of support and even an encore. Let’s see where they end up in future.

And that got us Johnny Moped and got me to see the drummer setting up his gear with professional obsession (and with his cymbals in rock star style) that made me fear the worst. He also took longer than needed, whilst the rest of the band was easy and quick. But in the the he turned out just as such – a professional drummer that hit everything with precission.

What to expect? Johnny Moped was around before punk, as you can see on this almost legendary 1974 snippet that has Captain Sensible of the Damned in the frame too:

The best ever quotation is from an older Guardian article from 2013:

"Listen, Johnny Moped were better than the Clash and the Pistols put together," a young Shane MacGowan assured me 30 years ago. I can't remember if he was drinking, but he had a point.


Johnny Moped were funny, fully dysfunctional and fortunate to form when they did, but what set them apart from the army of Ramones' re-fits was their frontman, Paul Halford (aka Johnny Moped).

Diagnosing themselves with typical 70s insensitivity as "82% mentally disabled", Johnny was a complex case: part park bench liability, part open-hearted poet. Their charismatic vocalist, Poundland sound and risible styling (the colander-as-headgear never really took off) found a loyal audience in Britain's stickier, strike-struck pubs. 

Their year was 1977.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/02/basically-johnny-moped-punk-rock-documentary

And the fun thing is that whilst generally just an oddity in the greater schemes of the mu-sick history they did sell out the upstairs room at the Hafenklang. And when it came to proof it they kick off with one of their instant classics:

And that should set the tone – it ain’t punk but it is perfect pub rock, speeded up to meet current consumers preferences and Johnny at time with an almost spoken words performance. People loved it from the start and early on got into it.

Johnny Moped (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 02.03.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

And whilst that one was from the 1978 „Cycledlic“ Album on Chiswick (that one where dependent on how you put the needle you either got VD Boiler or a Mystery Track) their set covered all the years of output (though that is only 3 Albums and 8 singles, i guess you can make out how successfully Johnny Moped where). This one is another pub sing-a-long with a worthy cause (and it is from 1990):

Would i go out with Johnny and save them seals? Naaa, don’t think so, i would not trust him enough to be frank. But what emitted from the stage was fun and wit, something that normally puts the spark onto the audience. Same here, the crowed got singing, dancing and provided loads of applause – be it the old folks at the front and at the very back or be it the young ones in between.

It also got us into overtime and some more, until a final encore was provided with another pub rock classic – Something Else (yes, that one that Sid Vicious did cover).

Wow – all in all it was much better than i expected and a worthy entertainment. I would not go an extra mile for Johnny Moped but for a Friday night out with -10 degrees outside it was the perfect sound for some chats and some beer.

If you want to know more about Johnny Moped then here is great documentary to watch that will give you all the insights and all the answers. And beware, there is a lot of fame talking about  Johnny …

And whilst some people liked it to the max i also need to report that some did not like it all and that is fair, you can’t always match it for everyone. And, surprise, that pairing of Cavity Search and Johnny Moped did work as they had not a single overlap in style and sound.

Mu-sick, best served live. I can only repeat myself.

… 61 and still a lot to say: When the fast pace of the youth almost ruins the beauty of the age old songs!

Timothy Smith aka TV Smith (of The Adverts fame) has been around on solo trips for quite a while, lashing our songs with loads of energy paired with an acoustic guitar. For this years visit to Hamburg he paired up with some Spanish friends to back him … once they called themselves Suzi & Los Quattros, for this occasion then went under the moniker The Bored Teenagers, something sure more meaningful.

First on where G31 from Hamburg and they looked like this…

G31 (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 16.02.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)
G31 (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 16.02.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

.. and they sounded like … mmhhh … errrr … one of me mates said „Deutschpunk“ and spat it out in a way that his intentions where quite clear. I had an immediate dislike of the optical setting on stage (and yes, i took offence mainly on the one that would look and sound better in a metal band) and i really did not dig their mu-sick.

They had some good moments though they lasted not very long and most of their songs where ruined by what i call complexity. Simple is more, in my humble opinion. But they had fans and got some support as such i did not feel as bad.

And next on TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers and they kicked off like this:

Wow – what a contrast. Both the visuals (TV Smith in white, rest of the band in black and the lights only on TV Smith) and the mu-sick where hand-in-glove and just perfect in delivery. Wow – did not expect that power, that energy and that drive. And what stuns most is that he still has this crystal clear voice that almost pleases yer ears.

TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 16.02.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

And the audience in the well packed Hafenklang went all quiet and all attentive, just like an audience receiving a play in a Theatre. And once the all-time hits came about then audience went from shy appreciation into full time sing-a-long, just like here on one of the greatest ever Adverts songs – The Great British Mistake (a song that you better check the lyrics out, so relevant still today):

And now that hand-in glove thingy got a little rupture. That was too fast paced and actually crushing the simple punk style of the original and in fact crushes the vocals that actually carry the song (and the message). This song in style relies on less speed and more drums Mr. Smith! Remember?

(and that one is too for all those punks who where in love with Gaye Advert, one of the neatest female bass players of all time).

And fast paced it went on, this time in a much more fitting mode getting one of their signature songs across – indeed we where all Bored Teenagers!

And bored triggers another memory from that memory lane leading down to 1977 – The Adverts had a minor success in a German cinematic youth movie called Brennende Langeweile in 1979 (and where seen by Mr. Stickel of Channel Rats fame at the Markthalle in 1978, he’s got footage from the Bravo to proof it!):

It with all these annotations and memories it was a very worthwhile evening with lovely people on stage and in front of the stage, thought it was not really a run down of the first two Adverts records like some people did think it would be. And that is another great reminder: Whilst Crossing the red sea with The Adverts is one of the definite punk records (though 1978 not 1977) the follow up Cast of Thousands remains an industry ruined overproduced something that never gave the band the chance to capitalise on their success.

And that is why TV Smith ended up going solo and playing with everybody and anybody (almost). But he is still able to pen down hit’s, be it for himself or others. So here are his encores – first No Control, a premiere and and a song with a simple but so well fitting message. Listen up youth!

And they ended the rather long set with a song he penned down for Die Toten Hosen – let’s hope that stuff like this helps him to pay the dues and allows him to have some money saved up (so that he won’t fall victim to the NHS if he gets older and weaker).

Did i like it? Oh yes, i liked it. Mr. Smith is a splendid friendly chap and – given he has got an audience out here in Germanistan – well able to converse in German. And his backing band brings the power that nowadays is needed (though they should get some speeding tickets). Some of me mates had a bit more reservations but that was ok. Given that the show was followed by some mu-sick from the platter people stayed on for beer and chats … overall a perfect Friday after a week of being plagued with a cold.

And Suzy & Los Quattro? They did a fucking great job some time back transporting another gem of Crossing the read sea with The Adverts:

And that by all means is another worthy cause and effort!

PS: In case you want more about Mr. Smith then check out this BBC documentary (though you need a VPN via the UK to see the full one hour):

The full video is here!