That was a perfect setting: A Friday, two bands who are favourites of the Hamburg Blackpool pilgrims and the outlook of a fun evening at one of the fun places in Hamburg.
The Monkeys should have been sold out but wasn’t, but that did not stop the good vibes: everybody had space and everybody had like half of the audience as buddies and knew the rest from sight. It was to be an evening of friends and with friends and and evening of thirst. Thirst for beer, thirst for booze and thirst for good entertainment. And entertainment the lot got, a lot!
First on Wonk Unit, a band that has been the talk of town recently and that people, who saw them live, described as „killer“. So many people where eager and i guess to much surprise of the band (and me) a lot of people where able to sing-a-long to Wonk Unit.
Wonk Unit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 20.10.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
From the first chord onward it was pure fun with loads of interaction between band and audience. I would not dare to push a singular label on them – they are very versatile and they do so much more than just clean cut fun punk fucking rock. In essence i think they distilled a very tight UK „we are the lads“ sound that branches out into other spaces too (for the sake of having a laugh and having a say).
Here is on of their beauties, their ode to Lewisham:
Wok Unit took the lot by storm and the lot was dancing, singing and smiling. A lot of smiling actually. The moments i liked best where when the singer moved left and pushed the rather shy guitar player into the middle and to the front. First he did not like it but later he started to smile too.
Sold, and i am god damn sold on Wonk Unit too. And a band that sells T-Shirts with „I love my vagina“ for sure needs all the love (‚cause they won’t sell a lot of T-Shirts). I’d say they can come back whenever they want, Hamburg will have the red carpet rolled out for them. And some more.
More beer, more chats and bang the first chords from the stage – Dirt Box Disco took the brand new stage of the Monkeys with only a short changeover and they knew they where up to even more love and appreciation by the lot.
Dirt Box Disco (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 20.10.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
For me it was a wee bit special, the last time they graced the Monkeys i was only a couple of miles away but in hospital, due to an emergency gall bladder removal. And thus missed them, dearly actually, though i was flying high on heavy painkillers and thus only had little bad feelings about missing them. But those who came by the hospital later told of a raunchy show and great fun.
Whilst back then my life was shit (for a split second) theirs forever is … fun:
And that fun down from the stage was echoed as every single song was a sing-a-long for the Hamburg lot, most of them Blackpool Pilgrim and thus Dirt Box connoisseurs for quite some time.
And in every single break it was the Hamburg lot who gave a loud and cheerful hooray to this Dirt Box Day until finally the band gave in and recorded it, so that they could wank to it back home. And in return gave the thirsty lot the final steer of the evening – to get fuckin‘ wasted:
And boy, i live to tell you, the lot got wasted later on!
But for now the lot stayed in front of the stage, fists in the air, dancing, singing and having a fun time. When it comes to good clean fun then Dirt Box Disco are right there, fuelling your energy and bringing on that one smile that cements itself right in yer face.
Finally it was time to end the set and the set was ended with the lot on stage and getting a full return of the appreciation – it was fucking Dirt Box Day:
Great stuff and frank i even liked Wonk Unit better simply because they paired the great British loudmouth attitude with so much more variable sound whereas Dirt Boy Disco, at least to my ears, came across well polished and more on a singular sound. But that is complaining on a very very high level and almost feels like being a stupid bum.
It was fun and it took off into the wee of the morning. I was home at 02:00 and knackered (and hungover next day) but the lot drained all liquid (and everything looking like liquid) from the club. The Monkeys crew had to do a thorough clean up on Saturday and had to replenish all beer stocks.
Legend has it that both band have now been contracted as house bands, so the fun will continue. Thanks to all there – that was a killer night!
I’ll be repeating myself forever i believe: I do not like festivals, i do not like open-air festivals. Period. But every once in a while there are small nuggets that go by the name of a festival and that i actually do enjoy.
Be it the annual Get!Lost!Fest! and the K-Town Warm-Up Festival (both at the Hafenklang) or be it … mOi!n it’s Hamburg at the Monkeys. And these nuggets i dig. And specifically when the bands are selected with a maximum in variation of styles, thus exposing new things to my simple mu-sick-al mind.
Day One came on a Friday and as an entry into a long weekend, as Germany was looking forward to a public holiday on Tuesday, hence everybody taking off Monday (everbody sans people working at Clubs, as they have another slot to fill).
And it came to Stanley from Italy to provide the kick-off to the proceedings. And initially they stood around in front of the stage on a rather empty dance floor and gave the impression that they where unsure to play in front of so few people. The tough life of the starter, as ever.
Stanley (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 29.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
The hardship of the early bird but Stanley made the best out of it. And – one of the bands new to me – they surprised me with a tight sound and some great vocals. And – something that i would keep an eye on – they won the contest for the best set-list, single handedly.
Where Stanley had all the anger and all the power, them PennyCocks from Barcelona had all the fun and all the simple melodies. And stage personas. And at least a small professional step: They kicked of with an instrumental song to allow Adri, their singer, a stage entry like a star. Well done for that one lads, that too was you almost winning on the professional side!
I do love their records and i saw them for the first time live – quite entertaining and providing loads of energy down from the stage.
PennyCocks (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 29.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
And the PennyCocks where not afraid to bend their stage time to the maximum and trash out a classic punk rock song as an encore, providing great sing-a-long moments for the audience. A first high, early on!
Next The Brains from Montreal who jumped in for Bovver 96, who had to cancel their show for private reasons. And with them the spread of styles was just taken to another corner, not only by the massive double bass that was pulled on stage.
The Brains (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 29.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
Boy did they have power and speed and oh boy did they have vocals. Fast paced with some scent of psycho and loads of melodies. Thus they won the contest for speeding melodies, a rare art. And the best on top? Their drummer. I have never seen someone with that high speed drumming literally bend forward on this drums. How often does he see the physio after a show? Stunning! And stunning also was their sound, listen up youth:
If it had been for me, that could have concluded Day One. I was sold, actually on all fronts. But there was the headliner of Friday still to come, Die Lokalmatadore from Mülheim (Ruhr) … a band with some classic hit songs but never one of my favourites.
And they turned out to be loved by the majority of the crowd (who sang along to all their songs) and not liked by the friends i was with. One after the other retreated to the Monkeys Pub to have a final sip and i’ll take all of us had similar reasons: To much of proll rock, to little mu-sick-al quality and just general dislike. But hey, if the majority of the crowd did dig them – then all of that is sure ok. And 1 out of 8 on the bad side for me ears? Still a good percentage of good sounds that is indeed!
That thus was Day One – a packed Monkey, a good selection of drinks, bands and audience and the running order done without too much breaks. Well done!
A decent sleep, some weekend shopping and some preparations later i was back at the Monkeys, quite early to catch the 2nd half of HSV vs. Werder in the pub. A not so great game and a bad result for HSV, i do really feel with those friends who support them and just seem to have a another season in pain in front of them.
And with the final whistle blown on the telly it was time for live mu-sick again. And on stage where The Jollars from Cork (in sunny Ireland) and with them just another style hit the Monkeys. They most likely would be almost spot on where people would put down the needle to mark „Oi!“ but that was not a bad position at all.
The Jollars (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
I did dig them and the also had more than one message (and invited a friend on stage to sing a union themed song). And they not only had a message they also had something very special that i dig: They had a female drummer and that female drummer performed her art with a broad and engaging smile that made me melt. Female drummer are rare and most of those i saw had a similar way of drumming with a smile – whilst in contrast most male drummers tend to rather grin hard. Whatever would come next – i was sold!
That said next came Shandy from Brisbane in Down Under. And on their stylish singles i was sold too! Why? Let’s see how they describe themselves:
Any question? By that description they where the quintessence of the two days and they heated up the fire and entertained the crowd in style.
Shandy (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
They really have a unique sound together that is very very appealing and that only used the best ingredients. That melting pot Australia, cooking under the sunny heat, has something that we North-European will never get, let alone the emptiness nor the wildlife. And wildlife on stage they had, much to the surprise of the audience:
Quality. Fun. Street Credibility. And style, loads of sharpie style. And, in hindsight, to me they have all that Die Lokalmatadore are lacking nowadays. And, remember, they came from a land down under where women glow and men plunder. So the it was them who win the longe haul flight contest (on Emirates, as the stickers on the band gear told us).
And the energised the audience was somehow cooled down by something opposite – sunny dance mu-sick packaged as working class reggae. And with them even old farts like myself could not resists to get more than a tapping toe moving.
Actually they got the whole dance floor moving, sweating and smiling. And it was time for that very special moment: Sweat condensing at the ceiling rained down on the band and the dancers and nobody gave a flying fuck. 100% fun, 100% moisture.
8°6 Crew (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
I specifically liked their bras section and when their guitar player descended on a little surf guitar detour – just great. And they too got a great appreciation from the crowd. I think the crowd love contest clearly had a winner here!
And they thus paved the way for another French band – it was again Lion’s Law time in Hamburg and with that the audience in front of the stage changed a little bit from woman to men – it was time for some hard, fast and almost metalic mu-sick. And it was Lion’s Law who delivered from the first chord.
Lion's Law (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
I do follow them from the first record and indeed their records get better and better: Song writing, production quality and everything that goes with it. By now they are really a class outfit who are able to pin down class songs like „Liar“:
What was apparent was they live they maxed the speed and they added on the heavy side, much to the liking of the audience. Lot’s of singing, lot’s of crowd movement and some small hints of turmoil (silenced quickly). I’d say undisputed leader (and winner) on the aggressive Oi! side and to many a top notch end to the two days. I personally would have preferred to end with the sunny smile of the 8°6 Crew and then bridging it into an all-nighter but that is only me.
And with that Day Two ended late and with a final beer before it was time to head home and prepare for the away win to be at Braunschweig (which turned out to be an away win – as predicted by Mao, who not only attended both days at the Monkeys but got on the road to Braunschweig). Perfect weekend with two days of great mu-sick-al variety.
A huge thanks to the good folks who run the Monkeys: A perfect and diverse rooster, perfect service, perfect security and a perfect audience. Everything you can wish from your local club. I do hope that the club also financially was able to not only break even on this rather complex event so that i will be continued. And indeed thanks for the broad smile behind the drums.
I now know at least three more bands to see again (and keep one on the avoid list). Keep coming!
A year ago the Street Dogs had to cancel their European Tour rather short notice, much to the dismay of many folks in Hamburg. So when the 2017 Tour came about there was some scepticism if they really would find their way … and guess what, they did in stunning fashion!
Arrested Denial from Hamburg kicked off the proceedings and for the first three and about songs I thought „oh boy, that’ll be boring„. It took them a good while (at least for my ears) to come together and to ignite something in me old farts brain.
If i had to sum it up in very easy and black and white way i’d say „mu-sick-ally gifted“ and „to good for slow songs“ – once they picked up speed i tended to like them much more. What sure thing is a bonus is the voice (nicely harsh) and that they sing in German.
They got a fair share of support from the audience and by now the Monkeys was well filled. If they go down the route of less complex song writing and structures and keep it at pace i shall check them out much more (and eventually would end up buying a record).
Next on the Street Dogs, who have played Hamburg before but most times in a somehow odd setting: Down at the old Molotov in front of 8 people or out in a small youth centre north of Hamburg in front of some more. They never really got the turnout and the headlining they should deserve.
Street Dogs (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 06.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
At for once, this felt different. The Monkeys well filled (though not packed) for a Wednesday evening with some rain and people being in the right mood and eagerly awaiting the Street Dogs. From the first chords you had a tight band and a singer that was on top of everything. Oh boy, what did i miss them!
It was the last show of their European Tour and you could feel that they where happy and wanted it to end on a real high (like Mike trying to use the rig for climbing exercises) – so the audience was very fortunate. And somehow i sensed that with the Monkeys they have hit „home abroad„. That was too echoed by fellow mates in the audience and actually by the band itself down from the stage by single-handedly declaring it „the best club in Deutschland„.
Street Dogs (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 06.09.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)
Nevermind a stage lie in the heat of a show but it is indeed so that the little corner that the guys who run the Monkeys have grabbed has become a blossoming beauty. And it hopefully is there to last (and they requires you, you and yes you to fucking go out there and see bands).
With little more than an hour played and an encore it was me mate Frosch who said “ … no more encores, they are from the US“ (and thus giving away his 40 years of show experience) – and was proven dead wrong. Them Street Dogs had so much fun and felt so appreciated that they came back a 3rd time for even more.
And we not only got to the the full body suit of Lenny Lashley (who was admired for his vocals and guitar play by the plenty Darkbuster fans in the audience) but later also Johnny sans his cap (and showing a much better tattoo design on his head than Tim Armstrong – a much better beard he sports too btw).
Oh yes, that was Street Dogs and that was most likely one of the best Street Dogs shows ever in Hamburg (if only we would be able to get them all listed). I did like it, many of the other people in the audience did like it and i think the band liked it too. Now they need to make sure to come back on a regular basis and next time to a fully packed club.
And indeed that was the well deserved applause at the end of the show.
And folks, be assured: No matter how great the records sound at home – the real deal is out there in a club like the Monkeys. And the best: As it was the end of the tour the Street Dogs tried to sell off all the merch they had with them. So i picked up 3 lovely shirts for me love for 10€ each only. A fantastic bargain!
And because it is great re-write fitting the time – here is their 2012 hit single based upon the old Menace standard: