… 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!

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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.

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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!

… when you get surprised twice then it was a good show indeed: Pre-Easter Oi! for the bunnies!

Thanks good it is Easter break! My next break away from work is only end of May, so the 4 days off feel like short holiday. As such the Monkeys was the perfect place for sliding into these days with a great package of bands.

First on the Arch Rivals from sunny Plymouth (that one on the south coast of that island that soon seems to drift off that continent of ours) and they took me by surprise. Not so much from a musical perspective, as they are a package with an „to be expected“ sound.

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Arch Rivals (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg) (c) gehkacken.de)

What took me almost left field was their shouter, boy what a great shouter (despite having worn out his vocal cords during the week already) – he was not only providing some choice words between songs (that actually had a meaning) but also their songs where with great lyrics. I’d say great band and i am looking forward to see  them again – i am now on me toes for it!

Next Legion 76 from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in the US of A. Their name sure is a nod to the Philly history and the fact that in 1776 the declaration of independence for the US of A splitting away from that island now drifting away from … never mind – they come from a town actually smaller than Hamburg (ok, about the size off by inhabitants) and also neat on the banks of a river (Delware River instead of River Elbe) and they look like this…

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Legion 76 (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg) (c) gehkacken.de)

Where Arch Rivals had the word, Legion 76 had the (wall of sound) music. They caught my eye with their 2014 demo (later released as an EP) but have improved their sound considerably. Less guitar leads but really driving wall of sound, pushing the songs forward and paired with raw vocals (and harmonic background vocals). See yerself with „Into Darkness“:

And the word to it go like this:

It’s all across the their minds,
you know they’ve seen it on TV 
Blinds pulled across their eyes, 
they can’t decipher what they see 
Sense made from laying down 
with thoughts they can’t dispel 
Bought into hate again, 
I can’t believe the shit they sell 
Sold out, cashed in, 
chalk it up to apathy 
Time to find a higher ground, 
a place for you and me 

Into darkness we fall, watch the world go up in flames 
Into darkness we live, we can’t see the light of day 
Into darkness we watch cultures fall in despair 
Into darkness we breathe, waiting for a cleaner air 

It’s got the best of them, 
diseased views are all I see 
Suffering from helplessness 
and a mind that can’t be free 
What stops the rest of us 
from being one drop in the well 
Shadows reveal themselves, 
we know time will always tell 
Stand up, 
strike down anything that you can see 
Drive the demons out, 
cast them to obscurity

That is actually pretty good stuff and i did like them live as much as i savoured their records. On the fun side (greedy me) they where all also sizeable and that felt so american somehow (foregive me lads). Great band, great music.

And that gave way for Booze & Glory from London, who sure where the reason why the Monkeys put up a „SOLD OUT“ sign weeks ahead of the show. They are reasonable big nowadays and have played everywhere in the world with great success.

It took them some time to set up and get the music man to tune the monitors to their liking, sometimes their requests to change the vocals or the volume in the monitors felt like a running gag, at least off stage (maybe it was quite odd on stage).

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Booze & Glory (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg) (c) gehkacken.de)

Their sound is polished by now and they have developed since their early days in 2009 into loads of melody and technical capabilities paired with great sing-a-long stuff. But within that, they also have almost mellow gems like „Simple“ from their newest record:

Great stuff. What i did like too was the Hardcore Help T-Shirt their singer did wear, as this is also a charity i support on a regular basis with some of me dough. And they made their stance clear, even for the dumbest: „Booze & Glory was, is and always will be an Anti-Fascist band“. Well said lads, well said. In the wake of that only few noticed that a member of the audience was evicted from the premises as he sported a shirt from a more than dubious band.

And that got us to the end, more sing-a-long hits and an encore to the encore, thanking Arch Rivals, Legion 76, Sam and … FCSP. Cheap trick to lure the already completely enthusiastic audience into more sing-a-long:

Where the Arch Rivals had the words, Legion 76 had the music it was sure Booze & Glory who had the audience – singing, dancing and packing the space in front of the stage. That was just sheer good fun in a great club (and loads of booze, ok, i give you that).

Booze & Glory - Audience (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 13.04.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)
Booze & Glory – Audience (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 13.04.2017 (c) gehkacken.de)

And what did it proof? It did proof that music is to be listened too – both on record but also you need to ensure that you verify that the band actually works on a stage too – all three of them too, specifically in a great club like the Monkeys.

And the best? No alarm clock on Friday! Happy Easter bunnies!

… Bonecrusher – true respect for my alarm clock going off at 06:15 on Monday!

It is quite neat to have moved house into the vicinity of my favourite clubs, thus the Monkeys is only a short bike ride away and can now be frequented also on a wet and rather dire Sunday evening. Me and me mate from around the corner came late and the first band was already on stage.

Defy Your Dreams (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 09.10.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Defy Your Dreams (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 09.10.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

OK, that is a tough one now. I simply could dislike them because they are from near Bremen (a much too easy feel for anybody in Hamburg) but i do appreciate bands that go out and play – but them bands also need to appreciate that i need to be able to relate to their sound to like them.

And DYD where anything but my liking.  Why? The sound was „Metalcore“ and everything on stage looked orchestrated and copied from a number of US bands that play in the same way, look the same way and act the same way.

A quick scan of the Internet (damn Internet, never forgets) brings the following quotes:

By the looks of it i am not alone with my gut feel.

They provided the back line for Bonecrusher though, so at least one positive thing. And sure hey suffered the fate of many support acts, 12 people in front of the stage to see them – the rest talking and boozing in the pub.

Next on Bonecrusher, sans Ray though, and they kicked of like this:

From the first song full assault and actually a great sound. Hard hitting, bellowed vocals and quite some great guitar work. Working Class Rock some claim, Oi! some other and the overall they end up in the Street Punk cupboard in most record shops. Whatever you think – go listen and you will see that they have found and nurtured their own style and stick to it.

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Bonecrusher (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 09.10.2016) (c) gehkacken.de)

The one thing that made it feel somehow different was that it was sans Raybo and thus sans some danger. But maybe that is for the better, the last things i heard (damn Internet, source of all sorts of rumours) was that the 2014 Tour was cancelled as he was in Prison (i’ll take that as truth) and that since then he has gone apeshit on drugs (a whisper said „Crystal Meth“, not sure about that part) and just ain’t no more fit for the band. Or something to that extend.

They interacted well with the audience and singer Michael spend most of the time off stage and in the pit. In addition they blasted through their set as a means to ensure we all get home early, as we all have to work on Monday morning. And true that is and thus real respect to people who come out on a rainy Sunday night.

And whilst at it, they relocated into the pit and left their drummer behind to storm into the encore taking everyone as prisoners with them onto the plank:

Just perfect i’d say – they should have deserved a good 100 folks more (on a Friday evening)! But they where happy and thankful, something that the audience did happily return.

And my alarm clock? Went of at 06:15 in the morning and i switched it back to 08:00 to enjoy some more sleep – work can wait sometimes (and i am not really working class when it comes the role i play in the big corporation that pays the bills). Never mind – a big thanks to Bonecrusher, now make sure you come back in time!