… fun and energy fuels the best sauna in town: The Agitators and Cockney Rejects are real deal, no frills.

I’ll take the Monkeys was damn proud to have pulled this one off, getting the Cockney Rejects to grace their stage. The show was set late last year and sold out in record time, with many „seek a ticket“ request going on. Funnily enough many of these requests where met, as some people had spare tickets or used the long weekend to be away.

As an extra security precaution the door was moved street side and some more people ensuring no trouble where hired. The yard in front of the club turned to an open air disco, barbecue and  pub.  A great atmosphere with loads of friends, mates and regulars to chat with and enjoy a drink or two.

Kick off was with The Agitators, who will call it a day after Rebellion 2017. They already played their last home show and their support for the Rejects was down to joint love of the Hamburg crew for Rebellion and their love for Rebellion.

They have 17 years under their belt now, a couple of records and generally emit quite some joy from the stage. Their music is handsome, sometimes too polished for my liking, with great sing-a-long choruses.

The Agitators (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 03.06.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They got a fair share of singing and dancing from the crowd (who was in best mood thanks for all the outdoor booze and the outlook of the Rejects) and sure finished off their set with their own ode to the Rebellion Festival, simply called Rebellion:

And yes, the band had fun too and their set was tight and with a wink-wink when one of them got out of tune, specifically Bart stepped onto his guitar case a couple of times when moving backwards and did not expect it to be there (surprise surprise). Great set by a lovely outfit. Sad they will finally call it a day but i am sure the Blackpool pilgrims from Hamburg will cheer for them big time in August.

Next on with no stardom at all and eagerly awaited by the packed Monkeys … Cockney Rejects. And they took the stage like this:

A sneak into the set list got us sure thing excited, that was not only hit after hit but also some length. It sure was value for money from the real deal!

Cockney Rejects - 03.06.2017
Cockney Rejects – 03.06.2017

The selection is leaning wide into Greatest Hit’s Volume 1, Greatest Hits Volume 2 and Greatest Hits Volume 3 and it is a neat surprise that after all these years and all these changes the 1980 line up with Brothers Geggus plus Vince and Nigel is back on stage and rockin‘ it out. And thus here is Subculture from Volume 2 and done in just above a minute – stunning!

It was what people wanted and thus the audience did get going, dancing and sweating. The last time i saw them was in the late 1980s in London during their stint on Heavy Metal Records and during their venture into what i would call poor rock. Following that i did not take an effort to see them on their occasional visits to Hamburg and i think it was more than the right choice to be there in 2017 as they just had it all: Heavy where needed, guitar where appropriate and speed – so much speed.

Cockney Rejects (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 03.06.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And, to my personal joy, they also played one of the my loveliest records in a 2017 version that is definitely a killer version:

YES! Nailed! And they where not done yet. Thanks to the ever friendly security at the Monkeys also the crowds stayed and acted cool as they should. Any tiny scent of a brawl was managed with professional care and a smile – nobody was hurt and all could enjoy a great set.

That the Rejects and footie are one and the same is not only a simple truth but also the fuel for one of the greatest songs on football ever put to vinyl (and i am not talking about Bubbles here). It is War on the terraces and it nicely sums up the feel around footie back then. A masterpiece as far as i am concerned.

Great set, some extra songs on encore and the Rejects left behind a stunned, happy and wasted audience. I did not hear a single bad word after the show, rather i met people emitting joy and making happy statements. Great stuff.

And them Agitators? Had a 10 hour drive to Hamburg thanks to holiday traffic and just ignored that (despite a 6 hour drive back home on Sunday) and went party mode …

The Agitators ( (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
The Agitators ( (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

Great show, pulled off by people who run a great club with all ingredients to please those who thrive on this mu-sick. There ain’t no better place than in front of the stage in a great club, trust me (for once).

The hardest thing to do: Goodbye to a friend! The best thing to do: Remembering!

It there is one item that i am damn uncomfortable with than it is dealing with loss. And even more if it is a friend who disappears by the cold hand of fate – one day to the other. It is damn tough, as we all like to believe that we are indestructible. The older we get, the more we realise we ain’t. And that hurts. Hurts big time.

When Toni passed away waves of shock rippled through the community and quickly a feel was around „that can’t be the end„. The positive spirit that Toni had been spreading over all these years though came back – some good folks put together an evening to remember Toni.

In a great setting at the Monkeys (thanks for hosting) around 150 people came together and enjoyed talking (some of them had not seen each other in years), viewing almost 500 pics from Toni on permanent rotation in the pub and dancing to Jam Today (as a 3 piece with Meng on drums) and DJ’s. And then some booze. And some more. Until the wee of the morning.

Jam Today (Monkeys Music Club, 06.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

And Jam Today sounded like this:

and went on like that:

They did not rehearse a lot (only once) but got into the mood quickly, specifically as the circle of friends in front of the stage made them going rather than the other way around.

Lui wanted to turn to Heavy Metal but the rest of the band rather went … Underground:

… and into Art School!

Fun, Fun and … Fun! Big thanks to Lui, Meng and Helge for fuelling the positive spirit in the room and providing a close family feel.

In the end we all sang „That’s Entertainment“ and the stage was given to talent …

.. and future talent if i may say:

What a great night to remember a close friend, one of the most friendly, positive and generally nicest people around. As someone put it: „If there is ever a farewell for me and it is only half as good as this one for Toni then book it right now!

Toni, this one went out to you. Your friends are still here and we still care about you. RIP – see you in Punk Rock Heaven!

 

 

… a crisp Punk set paired with a Power Pop set porting the sun into Hamburg – a perfect Sunday package!

A wee bit more than two year ago the same package graced the Hafenklang and toyGuitar surprised me big time, be it their distinct pop sound or be it their unique drumming. So when that package returned to the Monkeys on a rather awful Sunday it was a sure must do for me and some connoisseur friends.

First on toyGuitar, entering the stage in front of a maybe half full club. Bad choice for those who should have filled the void, as they kicked off like this:

They have perfected their blend of pop, surf and punk – let’s call it Power Pop for now – even further and they are putting it out with a rigour (or drive, or force or .. joy) that feels unequalled. Sturdy drumming with a broad smile (a very broad smile indeed) , sturdy and hook line driven bass play, surf style licks on the left guitar and broad twangs and singing from the right guitar. Just perfect!

toyGuitar (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg) (c) gehkacken.de)

I have to admit i am sold on them, big time. The only pity was the missing merchandise (despite a lone T-Shirt), i think i would have bought anything off them. If i’d get a wish they should come back as a headliner for a Get Lost! Fest in the future, they would be able to send a packed Hafenklang dancing all night!

On the fun side they had quite some in-jokes of needing to speed up and not loosing time tuning instruments or replacing broken gear as that would make them Utters late, something that should not happen. Great band, great sound and a set that did make the audience smile and feel the sun on the skin (in desperate Hamburg April weather).

With some rearranging on stage, them toyGuitar members Miles and Jack where moved to left, Swingin‘ Utters took the stage and blasted into their set like this:

Something felt different from the start and throughout the set to me and me mates, we all had the feeling of this being a much tighter and efficient set than many of the Utters shows in earlier years. That feeling was also supported by the selection of songs – bang bang bang came songs with less than two minutes duration.

Swingin' Utters (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg) (c) gehkacken.de)

Show wise it was typical: Johnny being Johnny and raging it out, Darius being Darius and playing it out (and providing vocals to some songs) whilst the rest provided a perfect backdrop and as said a very very tight sound.

Yes, the even played one of me favourite songs! Sing a long:

What if I just sent away
Everyone and everything
And that alone was what I'd bring
My one and only offering

To all the tables in all of
Your open houses
To the parties with all of
the smiling spouses
The kindness of friends
Made a distortion
A personal apathetic erosion

Average
Agonist
Avarice
Catalyst

What if I was without pleasantries
And bounded across your balconies
Voided all your boundaries
Exposed you all to my disease

What if I spoke
What I sometimes think
Out of boredom, anger, mutiny
Felt no remorse
Or loss or pity
Came at you
Like a fucking banshee 

Yep, that is the style that is them Utters and that is perfect (incl. the lyrics).

As the show started early to give people a chance to not be home too late and catch an easy start into the workweek they decided to give the audience something extra – they did two encores!

And with that they where done, thanked the audience and … returned to the stage to pack up their gear and prepare for moving it out and on … to further tour dates. Don’t miss the package – it is a perfect package!

Was the audience happy? Yes the audience was happy – actually even prior to the show even starting, as you can see from the these smiling lads. Well done mates, you made the right choice!

Happy customers (Monkeys Music Club, 23.04.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Happy customers (Monkeys Music Club, 23.04.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

And as ever thanks to the Monkeys for setting it up as an early Sunday show, we all gotta go to work on Monday!