… after 27.5 years of stadium tours finally back in Hamburg: Gerd in a Top Of the Pops club show!

It has been a long time that a seminal Rock Band with decades of stadium touring has descended down on Hamburg – only 2nd class acts like Barclay James Harvest , Electric Light Orchestra or Slayer have come down to Hamburg recently respectively are to come. Within that rooster it was an outstanding achievement by the good people of the Knust to get their hand onto Gerd and somehow trick them into a club show.

The show was not only sold-out in record time (tickets basically where traded under the tables via tell tale) but also was setup with two class mates of Gerd (though of smaller rating): Worldlevel and DEVO made the cut for the most open secret club show of all times.

First on Weltnieveau and thus a seasoned touring engine that has been around Hamburg and lesser towns since 1996 or so. They bring all the rock showman ship that you need, starting with proper stage attire (including all wearing proper white showmanship footwear) down to inviting surprise guests onto the stage.

Weltniveau (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Weltnivau play fast paced rock with great German words and thus have made a fortune across the German speaking parts of northern Germany. And they have songs that many admire, be it about love, be it about no wanting to go home with her or being about the pure essence of life: BIRTH-SCHOOL-WORK-DEATH is their signature song that got everybody to sing-a-long.

How did it sound and look? See for yourself:

Great stuff, they even managed to throw a Gerd cover in (another Gerd original that went to fame on that island yonder with a band from Scotland called Bay City Rollers). They where the local heroes that the big stars want as support: Quick, efficient and getting some early movement into the packed house.

With some amount of changeover (and some installations on stage) the next star guests from Akron err Herne where to take the stage. They where indeed special guests and long traveled ones too. Their setup was not without hick-ups and the whole show was riddled with things that did not work out in the way it should.

DEVO-tion (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Lights where below perfect, stage layout small and it had all the rock star annotation of the main act being afraid of the support act to steal their fans and put down a much better show. I think Gerd even used some voodoo channeling from their backstage penthouse to bring songs to a spontaneous combustion:

The lot had some high hopes for this but somehow all i spoke to where at least a bit disappointed. They played too many covers (eg. from Gary Newman, Flock of Seagulls) and they bypassed all their early 70s hits. Maybe they get a 2nd chance, a bigger stage and someone who fixes setup and lights. I’d love to see that actually.

And that paved way for the stars, descending down onto the rather small stage of a small club in a small town (at least compared to their more recent stadium tours).

And with all the rock star glamour they kicked in like this:

G.E.R.D. – the song that Lemmy somehow took off them to give it to those brothers in NYC.  And with that they took the lot by storm, from the first mighty chords it was a set piece that would lead to a nice first goal.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

And Gerd followed up with song after song from their endless rooster of first class party hits.

Did anything go wrong? Nope! Did any chord sit wrong? Never! Where there technical issues (eg. „too hot for the guitar“ like)? No! They just had all the knobs of the amps to 12 and emitted all the routine of a perfect rock show from the stage.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

There where some in the audience that took note of the recent announcement of Spinal Tap getting back together in 2019 and there was somehow an undercurrent of fear that Gerds prime spot could be challenged.

But lets be frank: with that rooster of hits there is nobody in the whole wide world to succeed in a challenge…

Gerd - Set List (Knust, Hamburg, 24.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)
Gerd – Set List (Knust, Hamburg, 24.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Gerd are the simple message that plain simple rock music is not dead, that rock stars can actually descend down into small clubs and that a successful show includes always a medley.

And Gerd have that medley themed after their little home niche in Hamburg – Hamburg Horn:

And with that all barriers where crushed, all borders where open and the floodgates could no longer hold back the fans (from more visits to the bar and more booze).

Whatever you like for a living, whatever you like for entertainment: If you do not desire to see Gerd than you are a lost case.

Without Gerd large parts of the 70 rock circuit just would not have happened.

Without Gerd there would not have been a reason for the punk revolution.

Without Gerd there would be no need to drive back to Hamburg.

And without Gerd, there would be no stiffening.

You, me – we all love Gerd. Try to be part of that universal love!

… the only thing that matters: Unconditional love and support!

For a change this year me and me love stayed in good old Hamburg for the year end and thus i was faced with a dilemma: Sure i was due to attend the annual „Burn down the Baum“ Class of 1979 Party at the Knust but one of the greatest Ramonescore bands, The Manges from sunny Italy, where also to play Hamburg.

So what to do? Thanks to mindful promoters the stage time for The Manges down at the cellar of the Molotow was set to 01:10 of the 31st, so assuming that the Razors would finish around the midnight mark would make a swift change of venue possible. From where i sit, that was a plan! It came at the cost of dropping the after show party (and the associated hangover next day) but still it was good plan.

It started early and the Knust was facing another sold out „Burn down the Baum„, Version 11.0 actually.  And as ever it was one of the „Know 50% of the audience by name and know the other 50% by sight“ nights that had you say „Moin“ to an endless number of good folks – from near and even from out of town.

First off where Spit Pink from Recklinghausen, a young band that thanks to the Razors got the big stage. They sure where limited by the audience rather saying hello outside the big hall and, as far as i am concerned, they where also guilty of getting people to eye & ear them and move back out again.

Spit Pink (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Spit Pink (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

I have to admit that i did not dig them, too much Rock infused Punk and without a real hook. So after a couple of songs i strolled back out for more talk (talk is cheap, you know) and did not really continue to listen. Me mater Peter later mentioned on one song „Hey, they now sound like Ideal from Berlin“ and someone replied „That was an Ideal cover„. I think that nails it for me, i saw Ideal 1981 at the Logo in Hamburg and they where nice but too much Rock – full circle back.

Next on The Outcasts from sunny Belfast, a band that is up there in the Top 10 of 1978/1979 Punk forever. And a band that the Blackpool Pilgrims continue to praise as „they still have it„. Whenever they played Hamburg before i missed them so it was the first time for me to see the current version and make me own judgement.

The Outcasts (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And that judgement is all positive and mainly that is positive because they do not try to play 1979’s sound as a 1:1 copy today but they have taken the freedom to both turn their sound more modern but also give some of the songs a slight spin to another style. And that makes it worthwhile!

What is odd though is that many of their songs back then where under some sort of Teen Theme and thus make you smile when grown up men in best pensioner age trash out „I don’t wanna be no adult„:

They where good fun and they also gave the audience a wide spread of their recordings, including their Rockabilly area. And they included an excellent Rudi cover (and thus another teenage angst song).

The Outcasts (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

It was sure thing not „Hit or Miss„, it was Hit on Hit and presented with today’s energy and speed. And when at the end it came to one of their best sing-a-longs they had won the hearts and lungs of the Hamburg lot and their got the crowd singing (and many can still relate to the line „you better start running because the cops are comming„):

Someone mentioned before the show that the big stage of the Knust and the 450 folks in the audience is what they deserve, i tend to agree with that. If i had a wish to come true than someone would throw a Belfast Tour and give us SLF, Undertones, Outcasts, Rudi and Protex at the Markthalle. Damn, that’ll be a fun night.

And just because it is this time of the year: Here are the mighty mighty Outcasts at their height live at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. 24 April 1980:

Do i have to mention that i was and continue to be sold on The Outcasts?

And that gave way to Hamburgs oldest and finest, the Razors are now 40 years in and without a doubt they are a mighty force again. Nevermind the ups, the downs and the times of breaking up of sorts. They are here and they want to enjoy the time with the lot.

Razors (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And thanks to the excellent sound system and capable hands of the Knust they sounded better than ever and even old trashers like „Madhouse Meeting“ sound so much better today than ever before:

It is thanks to the Razors that so many old friends get together and chat, enjoy and booze and if that tradition ever stops than plenty of folks will miss that feeling of unity, that little spark that ignited in 1979 in Hamburg and is still carried around by so many, no matter what they do today. Just splendid!

Razors (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

But where is light, there is also dark. And times have come darker for one and plenty of folks in the audience knew that one is on a hard battle with the big fucking C. So between songs they gave him support by cheering his name and when it came to „Heroes“ at the end of the set for many the biggest hero was up there on stage.

That and some encores finished set and at the end the Razors had their friends on stage to give support with a mighty voice:

Because you're young, you're torn between
A world of hate and a world of dreams
So much to lose, so much to gain
So much to fight for, so much to change
You don't look back, you don't look down
You gotta turn everything around!

And being young is a gentle reminder, back in May 1978 the Razors played their first show with Klaus on vocals and some pictures of that made the long distance time travel. Legend has it they only had rehearsed 3 songs and played them all over (because the lot loved them instantaneously).

Razors (Grünspan, Hamburg, 19.05.1978) (c) Razors 1978)

It was a brilliant evening and i would have loved to stay on for cheap talk, cheap frills, cheap beer and not so cheap hits from DJ Schaub but, remember, i had a plan. And plans are there to stick to. So i muffled a quick „bye, see you at the Molotow“ (and got some „you’re nuts“ views) and strolled into home direction, which would take me to the Molotow.

I’d recon that for no other band i would have endeavoured such a double feature but The Manges are just a legend (and Andrea Manges has with The Veterans another high class outfit on the circut) and have never played Hamburg before. I made it just in time to see the support band packing up and realising that the average age of the audience has just dropped by 20+ years compared to the Knust.

At the Knust it was Oldpunks and the Class of 1979, down at the tiny cellar of the Molotow it was Pop Punk 20somethings largely.  Just puuurfect, as puuurfect as The Manges intro with their Hockey classic „Panic at the Ice Rink„:

From the first chord i knew i had choosen the right plan, there is rarely a band of the Ramonescore genre that can light up a tiny dark cellar with their songs as much as The Manges did. And it was not only the mu-sick, it was also the joy that emitted from the stage that did shine like a sun.

The Manges (Molotow, Hamburg, 30.12.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

That sun though must must also shine on The Manges (remember, they are from sunny Italy), so my plea would be to get them back to Hamburg in summer and have them play together with their side-kicks The Veterans on the MS Hedi, down the river Elbe with a gentle glide into the sunset. Oh Boy, that’ll be like on of the best shows to watch out for. Most like that ain’t gonna happen so the 2nd best best thing would be to go down to Bergamo!

I do not even know where to start in my praise for The Manges, it was a perfect set – like 30 songs in 40 minutes, some Ramones cover and always with a smile.

Thanks to The Manges for waiting for me (and the two others that made way from the Knust to the Molotow) and thanks to that plan my hangover on the 31st wasn’t that bad – i was just fuckin‘ tired.

And because that genre is one of the genres i really dig and because it is that time of the year i give you two additional exhibits, both themed after a place definitely worth a visit!

Andrea Manges other band:

And that other band from that other band:

Now go for Easter Island, where the sky is full of light:

 

 

… Sgt. Peppers Loud Punk Rock Band returns with a twang!

Colt, who runs Colturschock, dared to take on re-issuing old Hamburg Punk mu-sick – be it rather well known bands like Razzia or complete unknown legends like Art Of Tin Toys (active around 1988-1992, with a sole 7″ in 1990). To sum it all up he threw a little label fest, providing Art Of Tin Toys with a return after 25 Years.

First on Plastic Propaganda, now also a Colturschock band, who filled in for Stahlschwester. They are young, they are bright and they have indeed something to say. Their sound ain’t hardcore punk, but they provided the perfect contrast to both Art Of Tin Toys and Razzia.

Plastic Propaganda (Knust, Hamburg, 20.01.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They have come a long way and if they are lucky then can even grow further – they managed to find their own niche: Grounded in 77 Punk, added with a scent of Wave and Post Punk and very clear vocals. Not bad, actually good – though still not my thing. But check out for yerself!

And that gave way to Art Of Tin Toys. By now the Knust actually was decent full, i guess it was namely Razzia that pulled around 400 odd folks – but whilst Public Propaganda provided their set into a lot of space Art Of Tin Toys had the front of the stage packed. And a surprise introduction:

Already now it was clear that is was supposed to be a grand show, with a focus on show, and that was what they entered into with their one and only hit single:

Whilst the start was a wee bit like finding feet it went only ever uphill from there. I do love bands that endeavour to create a show with stage outfits and/or stage personas and Art Of Tin Toys did that in perfect setting.

Art Of Tin Toys (Knust, Hamburg, 20.01.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They got plenty of cheers and loads of applause. Next to the songs of Hake themselves i take it is the setting of the different vocals to go with it: Whilst Heiko bellows it out and Mis Minerva provides a real singing voice (already a contrast in itself) it is Hake and his almost talking vocals that provides the last element in a huge spread – and that makes it so entertaining!

Now let’s hope that Art Of Tin Toys (and actually Spitfire Stevens) get their drummer back with a healthy wrist and that it does not take another 25 years for such a grand show!

Headliner clearly where Razzia and looking at the audience (and having listened into some conversations on the subway to the Knust) it was their 1980s following coming out to see them again. I never was able to warm up with them, though i have to give them that they had a distinct career (if such a thing exists) and largely did it DIY (and putting our records on their own label). But their mu-sick never did stick with me.

Razzia (Knust, Hamburg, 20.01.2017 Photo by Luke, (c) gehkacken.de)
Razzia (Knust, Hamburg, 20.01.2017 Photo by Luke, (c) gehkacken.de)

They have gone through many changes and when their initial setup from 1979 folded around the beginning of the 90’s it was a „B-Team“ using the Name Razzia until 2004. From 2008 onward most of the old Razzia where back at the helm but by now this has changed again. Frank – just like many of the UK bands, ain’t it?

They sound like Razzia, they had enough speed but it still was not to my liking. Some people enjoyed it big time (and where dreaming back 25 years), some made naughty comments like „… they look and sound like Kettcar„. I’d say both is unjust – they try to enjoy and i take they try to make their sound available to people.

Was the night worth it? Yes it was. Namely because of pairing bands from opposite spectrum, age and sound. That setting is the best setting there is, if that is paired with meeting and chatting with friends then it is great. Still loving live mu-sick!