…3 bands with 9 artists meet 14 consumers – that’s SCI-FI math to work out!

First off, i hope it wasn’t me! I sincerely hope that me was not the jinx, as i have been pestering me mate at the Knust for ages to put more Surf onto the rooster and i specifically named The Razorblades as a great addition for such an event. I am sure though that i also asked also for some other highlights, if my memory serves me well it was like Phantom Surfers, Huevos RancherosSatan’s Pilgrims, The Vulcanos and sure Man or Astro-Man? that i was suggesting.

So much to my fright i was hit with a particular empty Knust on a cold Friday evening and right away i had the feeling this will be an empty show. When i paid i think i was paying guest number four.

... it felt empty early on at the Knust!
… it felt empty early on at the Knust!

And it stayed like that, the Knust has a capacity of 450 if it stretches and i think barely 14 people paid and at max there where like 30something people in front of the big stage. So it was for Los Apollos from Berlin to kick it off against a large nothing.

Los Apollos (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
Los Apollos (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

They do traditional Surf i’d say (and i am far from an expert) and at times the guitar sound reminded me of Mark Broadie & The Beaver Patrol. They where relaxed and grooved themselves into it, despite the empty void in front of them.

Yes, i did dig them but in that large setting on that large stage it sure just did not work out. The one fun thing though was that the empty hall (paired with the excellent PA) created a perfect echo chamber for the guitar reverb to gain on. So something bad turned into a bonus – you always got to see the positive things in life!

Next on The Splashdowns from Hamburg and they where easy to make out: They are Sci-Fi Astro-Surf. And that not only because they had the story of the flight to the moon on the backdrop behind the stage as a mix of animation and real movie snipets but they also gave away some great astro infos between the songs.

The Splashdowns (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
The Splashdowns (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

They had a wee bit more twang and they had a different kind of charm in their songs. And they had a guitar player who kept standing on his heels and moving around on them – with a strange grin on the face. And, as all other bands of the evening, they had a stage uniform, something that i forever dig.

They had by far the most people in front of the stage, sure thing as they are local plus mathematically it will always work out like that if you play in the middle. The most though is an euphemism, as it was still less than 10% of the capacity. Bugger.

And that finally got us The Razorblades and they kicked off like that (following a short intro song):

I am actually sold on them, especially when they venture into „hard & fast“ territory and i have to admit that i am blown away by the sounds that Rob Razorblade get’s out of his guitar. And the speed by which he moves from one sound to the other – just stunning.

The Razorblades (knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They had to face a declining audience and they had to play every entertainment trick to get remaining people further to the front. Still, whilst all the effort, they did not get a front row together for the set. But i think they loved the big stage for being able to move around a lot and they did also benefit from the empty hall in terms of the acoustics. Loose some, win some – eh?

And they finished their set with speed and a nod off to where the sun is warm, the water is cold and the surf is up:

And in the end i think they even sold a T-Shirt and a record, poor fellas. I’d love to see them as support for say Descendents. Or play the Hafengeburtstag in bright sunshine. But never again lure them to Hamburg on a cold November Friday please!

So something did not work out, if i created a share of that misery then i am so sorry – i was obviously completely wrong in assuming that Hamburg would be ready for some reverb and some surf.  Damn was i wrong!

Something was not right with the audience count!
Something was not right with the audience count!

… there ain’t enough surf being played live!

( (c) gehkacken.de 2014)(
( (c) gehkacken.de 2014)

Next to punk rock there is only one style that touches my musickal senses in the same way – surf. I always adored the sun, the beach, the waves and the surf – anywhere, anytime. And Surf Music (and Surf Core or Surf Punk) has always been a mainstay. Sure fueled by bands from sunny California that did mix this, by bands like Man … or Astroman? or just  by the many traditional bands that perfected guitar play and sound effects. Still – i am seeing way to few shows with good surf bands. So when The Razorblades graced Hamburg it was a must – especially as they blend Surf and Punk almost perfectly. But by the looks all og Hamburg was out surfing with the two slick girls above – upstairs at the Hafenklang exact only 37 People (incl. bands and friends, Venue staff and audience) wanted to seek wind, wave and sun. Sad actually.

The Typhoons (Hafenklang, 20.11.2014 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Typhoons (Hafenklang, 20.11.2014 (c) gehkacken.de)

The Tyhpoons not from Hamburg but from Schulau (and insider joke you do not need to get) play a traditional type of surf, i’d say Dick Dale style (but i am not an expert) – but they miss out on the most important thing for a live band: All 5 looked different, behaved different and just looked odd on stage. If you close your eyes it works, if you see them – it does not. Nevertheless some great tunes, covers and originals, and some realy neat guitar work from their main men (the only one with a fitting Gretsch and a fitting outfit). Due to the lack of audience not really making an impact…the tough life of the support stint again!

The Razorblades (Hafenklang 20.11.2014 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Razorblades (Hafenklang 20.11.2014 (c) gehkacken.de)

They have it. And they hail from Wiesbaden – miles away from the next beach and surf. For more than 10 years now the play up and down Germany, Europe and even the US. And they are tight, together and technically gifted. And they have not only perfected the look (incl. „team“ T-Shirts), stage roles and movements and stage personas.

 

It took them 15 minutes to set up and kick off – brilliant. That’s self confidence paired with ability, i’d wish more bands can do that. From there it was non-stop speed, fund and great tunes including a clever cover of „Love will tear us apart“. And, in full ignorance of the empty place, just a professional show with all elements that go with it incl. getting people onto the stage. And Rob Razorblade used the empty pit to jump from stage and play F2F with the few people in the audience, making the best out of it.

The Razorblades (Hafenklang 20.11.2014 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Razorblades (Hafenklang 20.11.2014 (c) gehkacken.de)

I’d love to see them in a packed place with some great Ramones-core and Hardcore bands like Night Birds – that would be a match made in heaven (and would give them enough credit). So listen up for a final tune:

 

Note to self: I need to make sure i look out for more Surf shows! Hope you do the same – surf up, motherfucker!