Jeff Burke (of The Marked Men and The Reds fame) is not only relentless when it comes to playing but also song-writing, collaborating and helping other to record their music. He is also relentless when it comes to do things quick end efficient. And thats why i like to watch him setup, tune and play. Forever.
Kick off at the Molotow on a warm evening though was with Hamburgs finest, at least according to a singular acclaim by one of me mates, The Dutts. He claims they are currently the best thing in Hamburg though i would have some doubts. I’d recon they are at least very active currently and make sure they are heard.
The internet (damn internet, never forgets) has them down as:
Equipped with a Sean Wood-like, gloomy, denouncing throat, border-cracking guitar, an unstoppable rolling bass, precise and pulse-strengthening drums, The Dutts are the maximum charge of atropine against the simplicity and clichés of our small universe.
The Dutts (Molotow, Hamburg,09.05.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)
And funnily that is exactly what you get: A sturdy bass, yet again played by a lovely female contingent, a metronome like drum player, pushy guitars and a voice that you either love (some) or hate (few). And hows does it sound? It’s sounds and looks exactly like this:
I like them but i would not necessarily go the extra mile for them (eg. to Bergamo for Punk Rock Raduno– that would require The Windowsills plus The Veterans). But they have some neat edges that make them actually worthwhile plus they definitely have humor. And a local fan base in numbers. I guess i will see them soon again, looking forward.
With a quick changeover it was time for Bad Sports (one of my secret favorites), who initially where quite nervous as they faced a complete empty Moltow. They had to be persuaded that just a little noise would be enough to bring the lot back from the fresh air of the backyard into the main room – and quickly that happened.
Bad Sports (Molotow, Hamburg,09.05.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)
They started off with something that almost did tear my ear – for my liking the guitar had way too much of a metal sound. I am not an expert on these matters but somehow that – at least for me – took some of the groove away. During the set that was corrected and they sounded so much more fitting. And, as a start, they got the first people moving.
And that lead towards Radioactivity, with was Jeff Burke plus Bad Sports with changed strings. And they kicked off, efficient and quick, like this:
And from that moment onward there where a lot of happy people in the now packed Moltow. And specifically there where a lot of happy ladies in the front row, some of the frantically dancing throughout the whole set. A nice change in audience look and feel and stark reminder on what type of mu-sick is being played: (Power) Pop Music like in Popular Music.
And as ever, efficient and quick, Jeff did not talk to the audience nor introduced a song but only ever let his music be the message. And that message was well received and got quite some cheers and movement. Just puuuurrrfect as i’d like to say.
Way to early (though with an encore) Radioactivity finished up around midnight and the lot reverted to plundering the merch stall. From the 100 singles in red vinyl done for the tour exclusively some stayed right there with me and me mates.
And as it was a warm May Wednesday evening leading up to a a public holiday next day plenty of people stayed on having some more beers and chatting away. Lovely, that is how it should be: Popular live music and some drinks and chats with friends.
For me it was the 3rd show in less than 24 hours, so the setting must have been special else me at my age would let go the opportunity. And the setting was special as it was them DeeCracks, Klagenfurt’s finest Ramonescore band. And in tow The Haermorrhoids from Hamburg, who have also turned out as a quite a force.
I would have had preferred both upstairs at the Hafenklang actually, but i had to resort to the cellar under the Molotow and i had to bridge more than an hour with chatting and listening to classics by DJ Starry Eyes. It started to feel late indeed, but i was there and a couple of other folks who made it over from the rather early Gerd show.
The Haermorrhoids had been a surprise to me when they played support for Chixxdigit on the MS Hedi as such i was looking forward to see them and see if they have been able to improve even further.
The Haermorrhoids (Moltow, Hamburg, 24.03.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)
And improved they have indeed. The set is even tighter, the chorus is spot on and the three different vocals work quite neat and give a good feel of variation. Their speed is high and they rarely pause or break. If they now get some more own songs in that quality i would hope that someone would actually put a record out.
See yourself how they sounded on that tiny stage down in that dark cellar:
From where i sit a good set and i do hope that they get a chance on a bigger stage, supporting a bigger US band from that fast paced pop-punk genre. Could be fun to see!
Next on DeeCracks, who not only have a new LP with them but also a little gem they and Pirates Press did for Valentines Day 2018: A heart shaped flexi disk at a bargin price of 2€ – that is something so beautiful that i am lost for words…
And with little setup and just a very short redress them Austrians took the stage and blasted into their set:
And with that all of my tiredness was gone – just perfect fast paced Ramonescore with some unique selling propositions: Matt and his rather harsh voice provide the main vocals, Mike provides a sturdy and exact drumming (and provides the visual fun with all his smiles and faces) and Paul being the introvert (and could not provide the jumping, he would have hit his head given the low ceiling).
I am sold on them, they mixed old and new material and kept the pace. Those from the Hamburg lot that went to see Descendents in Vienna last year confirmed that it is a pairing that worked perfect, i’d wish they could support the Descendents in July in Hamburg and they could thus expose their beauty on the big stage of the Markthalle. They deserve it, period.
And whilst they finished at the wee of the night i took tally of those who attempted the triple crown: At least one candidate gave in on wear and beer between the two bands and took of home as he felt wasted and did not want to wake up somewhere on the street (but rather on his host sofa). The crown finally went split but i spare you to whom.
I took off on my bike towards home and it was a short and beautiful ride at 03:30 in the morning. En route (it is a 5 minutes distance actually) is a small park and that had the birds already singing. So i stopped there, listend to them and took the last meters with a big smile.
And on Sunday i was fucked but all three shows were worth it! As ever, mu-sick is to be served live, first and foremost. Go there! Enjoy!
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.
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.
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!
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).
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: