… when an empty club gets the best out of a band: Then it must have been hard working Bonecrusher!

That was destined to be a tough Monday: First FCSP DFB-Cup away game at the Monkeys Pub, then 3 bands on a Monday evening. The we go out in round one of the cup vs. a lower league team is also destiny and so it happened. A very frustrating game and not the best entry into the proceedings.

First on The Sideburns from Sankt Petersburg and the young lads had the tough support the support spot and faced … an empty club at 20:45 with 12 people in front of the stage and some where friends of the bands. Tough.

The Sideburns (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
The Sideburns (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

And much to my surprise they blasted straight forward Skinhead Rock’n’Roll without to much humpty-bumpy: Actually they delivered quite a fine set and had definitely some mu-sick-al abilities.

Really sad that it was Monday and it was early. And that it was August, the month of Blackpool, pre- and post-Blackpool and general overkill on live music. A couple of more folks came later but it did not change the impression of a rather empty show, much to my frustration.

Next on The Welch Boys from sunny Boston and me mate went as far as pointing out that they are at a space where the Dropkick Murphys left it after the first LP. I am not sure on that one but sure thing they come with melody, chorus, hocks and great sing-a-long.

The Welch Boys (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017 (c) gehkacken,de)
The Welch Boys (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017 (c) gehkacken,de)

But also for them it must have been sheer frustration to play a rather empty space in front of the stage though initially they seem to put everything into it. And they have a great rooster of songs and a band that has a hockey themed record cover can’t be bad at all. Here they are gently covering The Who:

I’d love to see them in a packed Monkey, people high on Guinness, Monkeys Red or Cider and everybody moving and singing along. I think they would deserve that setting and then they would not just shut down as i had the feeling towards the end of their set.

The Welch Boys (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017 (c) gehkacken,de)
The Welch Boys (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017 (c) gehkacken,de)

I do share their frustration but that is sometimes the hardship of touring. You hit a town on the wrong day and after the potential audience already had a weekend full of live music under their belt and just choose to let go this opportunity. It is actually the F.U.’s who can claim that one on me, as i did not have the energy to see them on Sunday and make it three days in a row to be out.

An then it was time for Bonecrusher, eagerly awaited by i guess 50 odd people. And they kicked off like this:

And being kick-ass working class they did not care about how many people where there but just took off to deliver what the fans asked for: Hit by hit by hit and then some more. They were tight, together and well rehearsed and just gave a full on!

Bonecrusher (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 14.08.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

By now i guess everybody has accustomed to Bonecrusher being fronted by a different face and i hear a couple of folks mention something along the lines of „he just fits perfect“. And guess what? Folks where right.

What was even more stunning was the fact that they just did not stop, did not let go and pushed forward. And they crowned their performance with a heavy heavy interlude of two-gun duel of the guitars, inclusive of some stunning guitar wanking solos.

Wow, that indeed was kick-ass! They played until midnight and then did send people home, quite a few took advantage of the well stocked merch table from actually all three bands – mine sure thing was a Bonecrusher shirt for me love.

And whilst cup and low turnout where frustrating we were greeted outside by a stunningly calm and warm summer night (Hamburg did not have a lot of these) and i could enjoy a gentle bike ride home.

I do hope next time round the bands a re more lucky on the date and the turnout – they and the club deserve it!

… there ain’t not better Tuesday night than the one where the sweat keeps dripping from the ceiling and on stage!

It’s been a while since Face To Face made it to Hamburg (i think it dates back to August 2013) thus this club show was sure a must. And it turned out to be a must on a miserable rainy Tuesday and that grim setting normally would lead to low turnout. But old and new fans of Face To Face had been loyal and they packed the Monkeys: A great turnout for a damned Tuesday.

Support stint went to the Spoilers from Cunt … er Canterbury and with them the US (and CA) branch of UK Punk graced the stage of the Monkeys, something that did not happen that lot prior. 4 young lads and fast paced sound (with a wee bit too loud drumming if i may say).

Spoilers (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 25.07.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They had fun, disliked Berlin (extra round of applause from some in audience) and told us of the mystery of the Canterbury Ring Road (something that happens to exist by the virtue of the Canterbury City Walls which date back to the Romans if i am not mistaken).  I did not get the argument about round-a-bouts but they had a neat song on them Kreisverkehre!

They got quite some feedback from the audience and their fair share of applause. With a little tale about the band (toss that birthday cake mate and play on!), how nice Face To Face are (actually we knew that mate) they stormed into their final song … and that goes like this:

That was not bad and a wee bit of a surprise, i think i’d like to see them again and headlining. Well done lads!

With little changeover but some waiting time Face To Face came on and kicked off like this:

Wops, that’s another one for my little series of „band comes on stage and somethin‘ goes wrong„: The rest of the band could hardly stop laughing upon Trevor Keith picking up his guitar and storming into the song just to realise there ain’t no sound. And missing that he just did not plug in. Luv it, even professional musician sometimes are so relaxed that they miss the obvious step.

Face To Face (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 25.07.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

From the first chords and the first „whooohoo“ refrain it was Face To Face and it was Face To Face with full energy and loads of fun. And that fun was transported from the stage down to the packed floor, which had a surprising large number of rather young (from my pensioner perspective) female fans in the front, all fanatically singing along to every single song. It provided a healthy mix in the audience that i’d love to see so much more.

Halfway through the set and with Trevor quoting that he rarely had so much fun on a rainy Tuesday night the ultimate AAA-Rating for both the club, the audience and the band happened: Sweat started to condensate on the stage rig and the ceiling and dripped back down on the band and the audience (or the Monkeys roof surrendered to the torrential rain coming down on Hamburg).

Face To Face (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 25.07.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

What was also noticeable was that sometimes only a look or an initial chord united the band onto the next song, they worked together hand-in-glove and gave the audience a wide range of songs from all their records. And all of that with their distinct backing vocals that carry a lot of the sing-a-long feel of the songs.

They played for more than an hour and then took a rest. And from that rest they came back and gave the demanding audience more songs, more time to dance and more time to sweat.

Great stuff and really turning the Monkeys into a centre of fun and enjoyment, all around. Sure thing that Californian-style H/C would have worked so much better on a warm summer night but Face To Face gave their best to replace the sun and emit fun down from the stage.

And the audience? The audience had maximum fun in front of the stage!

Spoilers / Face To Face (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
Spoilers / Face To Face (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

Yep, that was a near perfect show! A lot of smiling customers and hopefully two more bands that dig this place and consider it for the future. I did see Face To Face in large settings (4 digits numbers in the audience) and i have to admit that the smaller setting is so much better (as always). With a broad smile if faced the bike ride home, which turned the rest of me into full wet look (as the rain just did not stop).

HARD TICKET (Monkeys)
HARD TICKET (Monkeys)

… 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).