… kids day: Staying young and BEing WELL.

Setup indeed was for a kids show, early start (doors at 18:30, first band on stage at 19:00) and early finish. And, much to my surprise, there were a couple of kids out on parents day in the audience. And, also much to my surprise, it was a sold out show – but that surprise may stem from the fact that the bands are from another niche that i don’t follow that closely in my own little niche.

Kick off was with Hard Strike and i new fuck nothing about the band. But hey, experiencing the unknown is part and parcel of enjoying mu-sick so i am always open to it.

For me they looked like something randomly assembled (remember, i love consistent stage attire) and sounded to a certain extend like something thrown together from all ingredients that make up Hardcore, Metalcore and related niches.

Hard Strike (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 18.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

At moments it sounded surprisingly bad (and i guess a not optimal sound mix was part of that experience), at other moments just dull. Best moments where went they actually did let go the driving element and one guitar tried some flirting overcast – those where moments where multiple things actually fitted together.

Here is a snippet, a short blast that sounded actually on the better side for me:

Checking upon them after the show i realized that they actually never wanted to be a live band in the first place but are a circle of friends spread around Germany and the US that was initially focused on recording only.

So my feel was not too far off and listening to their recorded output that comes accross a wee bit more pleasing. And, also worth to account, it was their 3rd live show only.

Next Giver from Cologne and they pleased me already with consistent stage attire, so they had a bonus early on. They also used intro muzak for getting ready on stage, another little nugget of consistency.

Their sound was much more consistent too and i would guess could be filled under “Modern Hardcore” (if only ever such a mu-sick-al cupboard existed). They have two nice guitars with balancing sound, an energetic bass and an active singer – plus a pretty good drummer that turned out to be the real asset, keeping things together and pushing forward.

Giver (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 18.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Here is a short blast, rather untypical as their songs tend to be longer and much more complex:

For me they definitely had something, besides relentless energy also some few choice words, though their English lyrics are rather something to check out than to be able to understand from the performance.

They played a very short set and as much as Hard Strike got not too much audience feedback. Actually it very much felt that the audience was in it rather for Be Well than to enjoy and provide feedback to the support stints.

Not even 20:30 on the clock and it was time for Be Well to blast off, right from the first song with a lot of action from the audience and singing-a-long. The only thing i know about them was that the singer used to be in Battery (a 90’s DC hardcore outfit), is a well known producer and that one of me mates likes them very much.

That mate also loves the other football team in Hamburg, so his love choices are at least debatable. But he loves them so much that he took his son with him, so that tells you how much he believes in them (and that he wants to influence his son, who sported a Samiam hoodie) quite early before he hits 16.

Be Well (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 18.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

For me they were a blank sheet of paper, as they went on that sheet did fill actually with some good melodies, some harsh breaks and a singer keeping it all together with a unique stage presence.

The mu-sick sure is not 100% up my alley but what they do and how they do that is far off from being annoying. For me it looked and sounded like this:

They got loads of action, they got 10 year old girls crowd surfing and they looked after the smaller kids in the audience too. And the singer emits a lot of personal touch and seeks contact with the audience a lot.

That said, on a much more personal level he did a sort of confession as the lead up to one of their signature songs (that many in the audience where able to sing-a-long):

He is depressive, struggles with depression for a long time and has a hard time to live the life he wants to live (and that includes a small girl and a wife, giving him all the love he could ask for but him having problems to mirror that).

That very personal song has a great sing-a-long:

Depression is haunting and I’m not ok
Everything is going to be alright
Is just a thing people that don’t know say

I’m lost and worried and I feel afraid
Of all of the things that are inside my head
That I have been far too ashamed to say
But I want to get better, I want to change

Thanks Brian, that was brave and outspoken – well done.

From there on on-stage and off-stage where fully united and the Hafenklang literally exploded when they performed their encore with a class repetition of “Young ’till i die” from 7 Seconds. Apeshit galore!

Way to fast it was over and for a Saturday i was home very early. As it was a kids show, i stayed off booze and that was a good feel too. Be Well worked quite well for me, though they won’t be my first love. I guess not even my 2nd. But as ever, if you do not dare to seek mu-sick that you have not seen before than you will loose out.

Give them a try, it may be worth it!

… Damned, been to a psychedelic rock show!

It has been a while that i have been to a Rock Show. And it’s been a while that i have been to the Grünspan (a place that i normally connect with Rock Shows only). Reason was lure by those who saw The Damned rather recently and where actually full of praise.

I saw them the last time early to mid 80s in the Markthalle and i think it was a show that had playback in it (at least that is my vague recollection). Never bothered about them after and Another Great Record From The Damned (1981) is the last Damned record in my collection.

But as always, sometimes it is good to challenge choices and habits, hence i choose to take them on. At the Grünspan.

Kick off was with the locals from The Jaded, who had to setup their gear in front of the Damned gear, in best Rock Show tradition. In contrast to that tradition they had a near perfect sound, maybe nowadays they guys on the mixing desks are more professional (and less influenced by the main band).

Known faces on stage and a very crisp set. Actually they grooved rather fast through their set and where done way ahead of the allowed time, so two encores where added citing some of their references.

The Jaded (Grünspan, Hamburg, 07.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

They claim they play Rock ‘n’Roll which i guess technically is true, i think they play a nice mid-tempo with loads of references to the sound of the UK towards the end of the 70 and early 80s, call it Punk Rock, New Wave or else. Their biggest asset sure is the native Englishman on vocals, it gives the whole thing a great glue, the needed banter and fits the sound perfect.

I never saw them before, i think i would not run away from them next time they take the stage.

After a quick turnaround it was time for The Damned, this year with Dave, The Captain, Paul Gray on Bass, Monty on Organ/Synthesizer and Will Taylor on Drums. All but the drummer came as stage personas, whereby the stage personas of Dave and The Captain sure being known icons. Monty sported a nice Skull nightgown (i’d say dressed for the occasion!).

The Damned (Grünspan, Hamburg, 07.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

They started of slow and with stuff years outside of the initial Punk Years. That said, the sound was near perfect and all of them are absolutely gifted musicians. And that made the whole thingy more pleasant.

For my ears though it was too much of both that Gothic and Psychedelic style that actually is way off my liking though sometime with great melodies, nice choruses and surprisingly well glued song structures. Albeit, way to the right of the 02:20 mark of a proper pop song. Yes, sometimes lengthy for my ears.

The Damned (Grünspan, Hamburg, 07.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Towards the end they did throw some of the old stuff in, sometimes super fast, sometimes as a nice deconstruction of an old hit. They played for i guess almost 2 hours, something that i did not expect, so cudos for that.

Within that and towards the end another Rock Show moment did happen, Paul had problems with his Bass and was trying to get first attention and sure then resolution of the Guitar Roadie that was stationed next to The Captain.

Paul Gray vs. Guitar Roadie, 3rd Round (Grünspan, Hamburg, 07.03.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

And from there it went sour, downhill and – for us at the front on the stage side where Paul was – rather funny (for an observer). I guess Paul pointed out he wanted the replacement Bass waiting for action on the side, the Roadie seem to have deducted that the problem was the sling on Pauls current Bass and worked on taking the sling off the replacement Bass.

More than once Paul point out that he needed the new Bass rather, but that fell on death ears. At the end it ended in a song break with Paul basically going on strike and Dave and The Captain taking the piss out of him for not being able to master his gear and the sling.

Although Paul had sun glasses on you could see that he was angry, furious and about to kill the Roadie. It took a disastrous amount of time (at least for a professional rock show) to get resolved.

Bets where taken if the Roadie survives the tour, some assumed he would be lifted home immediately. Lets hope he survived.

Did i like the show? Not too much. Did i enjoy the show? Yes i did somehow but more as an outside observer. Will i volunteer to see The Damned again? I guess not. Did i enjoy the company around me? Yes i did, plenty out of the Punk Rock Hamburg community where around.

The only odd item was the aftermath, as i had to fly out to Amsterdamned on the red eye flight at 06:00 in the morning, facing a long work day. But it was not too cumbersome as i choose to stay sober and did not sip on beer nor booze. Lucky me!

… good Boys, bad and shitty Jobs: A Boys night out.

For the Bad Job Boys it was a long awaited date, as they had to push their record release party into 2023 following the release of their debut album in late 2022. Tongue-in-check they recruited Bullshit Boy as support so that the date, attended largely by family and friends, was a boys night out on stage.

Bullshit Boy kicked off and one thing was for sure: They will (and did) look better than the main act. When i saw them last time as support of the Ramonas at the Hafenklang i was least convinced but promised to give them another chance.

The chance came surprisingly quick and i have to admit that this time round the package worked so much better for me.

Bullshit Boy (Indra, Hamburg, 10.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Specifically the rhythm section worked well, sturdy drumming by Carsten and a very versatile bassline by Silvie, delivered with a bright smile. On top of that the very unique vocal delivery by Sabine, at some times screeching, at other times soft spoken.

The only shortcoming was that guitar and vocals where often way too silent, almost inaudible.

They had their good moments when the bass groove was carrying the song and to my pleasure they also now attempt a surf song (a well made mu-sick-al choice actually, right down my alley). The got friendly applause, a wee bit short of enthusiasm.

Quick changeover and this is how Bad Job Boys took the stage:

Thats His Holiness Monseigneur Larsson on drums and vocals, Frank singing, Bodo on guitar and the first show for Piotr, their new bass player. And their little ode towards the first Covid year with an upbeat chorus to sing-a-long:

Denk einfach zurück an den Frühling 2020
Die Sonne schien den ganzen Tag
Der Himmel war blau, die Luft war klar
Das Leben zu zweit so wunderbar
Alle waren locker, alles war cool
Man sah die Delfine schwimmen vor Istanbul

That was #1, 16 more to come – almost LL originals. And both in English and German lyrics. And with a wide array of style, almost to the point that it is hard to pin-point a mu-sick-al cupboard for them.

Bad Job Boys – Setlist (Indra, Hamburg, 10.02.2023)

For themselves they stick the following tags onto their sound: Punk, Glam, Hardcore Punk, Ska Punk and Power Pop. In my head (and for me ears) it was both a gift (and a positive choice) and a burden – too frequent sound respective style changes somehow do interrupt the flow of music.

Bad Job Boys (Indra, Hamburg, 10.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Initially they also had a bit of sound problems but luckily an expert from the audience insisted towards Bodo that his guitar needs to be a definite bit louder. How could a guitar player resist that plea?

I have to admit that i somehow had the feeling that most of them concentrated pretty much on getting their delivery right and as a result there was less action on stage. I guess that will disappear with more shows and getting more comfortable with their set (and stage presence).

Towards the end and as a start for an encore they actually scammed Bodo into a cover, so here is Janie Jones from The Clash (and Frank’s voice was already gone):

They got plenty of supportive applause along the way and i think they had done a much better job than their own name dictates.

At good moments i did like the songs, at very good moments i heard a Professionals like guitar and i can see a rock solid rhythm section with expert handling of their instruments. If they now get more relaxed, more audience engaged and maybe their songs into a different sequence it’ll be a neat set.

As i already had their record on hand prior to Christmas all i ever took home was a merch bag (Fanx Anja). But rest assured, their record is actually good and specifically what somehow offended me live does work on the record: Different styles, different delivery. It is a record off the beaten (Hamburg Punk) track, versatile and with a near perfect production.

In short – it is worth to get! Get it now!

Bad Job Boys – As i have the record already i only got a bag…

With that the lot went on to party, i had to leave early as i had different commitments for Saturday. Checking back with some on Sunday prior to the glorious St. Pauli home win it was a hung over Saturday for them, so it looks like it was a good record release party. And wasn’t that the intent?