… 2019 in numbers

As i am not yet back at the treadmill it’s time to take a toll on 2019. As ever i kept track of what i read and what i listen too (via this blog and via the playlists published here).

On the show side 2019 was great, up to and including a single away trip to savior and pay homage to the Descendents in Hannover with some of me close mates. Biggest miss was not taking the trip to Punk Rock Raduno #4 in sunny Bergamo – i have been reminded more than once by the Hamburg lot attending it.

Here is the tally:

Bands seen:104
Shows attended36
VenuesShowsBandsBands/Show
Hafenklang14373
Monkeys7193
Molotow5133
other10354

Best show? I think that goes to D.I. at the Hafenklang, closely followed by Descendents in Hannover, Hag and Axe Rash at the Hafenklang and mOi!n it’s Hamburg #4 at the Monkeys.

And at that show also the biggest single surprise did play: Kalenko Urdangak from the sunny Basque country single handedly did not only blew the roof off but stunned 200 odd people versed in the genre.

Runners up where Nasser Hund with their record release party at the Hafenklang, Yard Bomb with their D.I. support and Loose Nukes during the K-Town Warm-up. And just slightly off the standard pattern Hola Ghost with their stunning Scandinavian B-Movie Mariachi Rock, Gringo style (at the Monkeys).

Biggest miss for me? Sharp/Shock at the Monkeys. Damn. Killer band.

Honorable mentions need to go the Mighty Mighty BossTones for coming back to Hamburg after 21 long years, Clowns for repeating last years blow-out of the Hafenklang and to the Bar Stool Preachers for matching the Adolescents in speed during their surprise show at the Hafenklang.

Most heart warming moment of the year was Old Erwin’s farewell at the Knust, there are no words that can spell out the loss for our little circuit.

So a big thanks to the venues, the bands and all those in attendance with me. I love you. Biggest surprise on that front was that the Hafenklang finally took up my suggestion to sell a season ticket. I am now proud holder of a 2020 All Shows tickets for the Hafenklang and i am even more spoiled by the fact that this is season ticket #1.

May i suggest that Sam and Ralf of the Monkeys give it a thought too? I would be tempted.

And on the reading front? Here we go:

# of books# of pages
Crime5920.765
Music41.075
History31.083
Scifi1878
Total6723.801

Now that is significantly less than 2018, namely due to the fact that we moved house and that requires you to pack / unpack your 1000’s of books and records rather than reading them or listening to them.

Pity that i did not get to read more music books, i think i will need to redouble the effort on that side of things.

Best read 2019 was Ivy Pochodas „Wonder Valley“ followed by anything from Garry Disher. And if you trust people – i trust those who run the Polar Verlag and Pulp Master. I buy their stuff without any pre-checks or hesitation.

And i can also safely recommend anything that has been going through the hands of either Thomas Wörtche or through a translation by the wonderful Conny Lösch. Honestly. Trust. Me.

And on the record front? Discogs count moved from 4.732 to 4.783 (this is due to my self imposed rule to only buy records from bands that i have seen live and preferably at the show itself – and yes, i do break that rule for the occasion).

Best records 2019 down below – get your own copy!

Best away record:

KHIIS – BEZOAR (2019)

Best home record (tie at 1st place):

Nasser Hund – Gute Idee (2019)
Yard Bomb – s/t (2019)

… friends getting wasted: Burn down the fucking Baum 13.0!

Another year gone by like nothing – prior to this one i had like 100 bands across 35 shows under my belt for 2019. And within that seen the Razors 4 times, Knock Off twice and Sixteen Again once. And guess what? I was still eager towards this one as besides loving all three of them in playing live it was the meet life long friends setting (and my dislike of YE Parties on 31.12. in general) that ensured it was a show not to be missed.

Kick off was very early with Sixteen Again, i barely made it on time to the Knust. From the small stage of the Hafenklang they jumped onto the vast space of the Knust stage, something they did not take full use of (as in roaming space).

Sixteen Again (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2019)

Their job was cheer leading and boy did they do the job well – people already at the Knust where lured from the bar and from chatting towards the front of the stage and into plenty of sing-a-long.

That’s sure a rather easy task if you play Buzzcocks songs but it also is about how it comes across. And here it is coming across with plenty of appreciation and love for the muzak from Messrs. Shelley and Diggle.

Great stuff, despite some chord hickups, some lost entry points for singing and other human failures that only ever brought bright smiles onto the audience faces. I dig what they do and i dig how they pay tribute to one of the greatest bands from the class of 1976 (and i did not even realize that Helge was paying tribute to the late Pete Shelley by sporting facial hair).

Next Knock Off, hand picked by the Razors for this occasion and i am totally with them: Whilst sporting a slightly different sound they share a lot of things with the Razors (though they write the more complex songs).

And that’s one of them – a great song about survival (and the one song that got me hooked on them). Super lyrics and perfect guitar. Those who aim to strum this at home … here you are:

Now get out there and do your own thing! Knock Off do it since 2013 and are going strong. An old mate of mine, who never saw them prior, asked me „are they the short haired Ramones?“ and i had to correct him: There is more than three chords!

Knock Off (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2019)

Hamburg digs them, Hamburg loves them and that love is being mirrored.  Andy T, Andy C and Lozz just get it across totally unpretentious, totally non-made-up and just refreshingly easy.

They devoted this hymn to Micky Fitz (now sadly gone for 3 years due to the big fucking C, something the Hamburg lot also had too much of it in 2019) and Hamburg joined in full force:

Stand up, Stand up, Sing it loud
This is our scene, we are proud

That feeling of unity that the Razors provide to us elderly, that feeling also Knock Off get across. Just perfect and fitting well for this year end occasion that is actually all about a (certain) scene coming together, talking, drinking and singing. And selectively some dancing.

Knock Off (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2019)

Knock Off did a long set though at times seemed speeding through it. They finished off with their high speed assault Jack The Ripper:

Well done lads, though a bit of a sad evening, as it was the last time that Lozz was on bass, he needs to step down due to health issues. I am sure the guys will pick a great stand-in on bass (just like the Razors did) and i also would like to see Knock Off back in Hamburg in 2020 – you guys are always welcome here!

By now the audience had been warmed up sufficiently, had taken in drinks and was more than ready for a class entry of the Razors:

Sufficient Pomp for the Circumstances i’d say, like dressed up for the occasion (hint: those with a sharp eye will note my involvement in dressing up one Razorette for the occasion). And nope – the well filled Knust won’t go away on you!

The Razors have played a lot this year and thus thrusted out their set like a well oiled machine – this time round with plenty of old hits and old audience favorites.

Razors (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2019)

What is forever striking me is that Wittes buzzsaw guitar sound is only ever getting better. Once i heard him back on 1982 on the Napalm EP he is one of my guitar heroes (only to sugar coat it later with eg. Noise Annoys). And that uptempo guitar also turns my favorite Razors song into the timeless beauty that it actually is:

Count me into the gang! And more traditions came upon us, it was Heiko joining them to take on the law (as the law is what we hate) and it was also time for more crowed favorites.

Razors (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2019)

It included Sven and Klaus bragging their way into their 1980 smash hit on their own little hate for DISCO:

And as tradition has it the end of the show was reserved for being „in it together“: Because You’re Young turned the stage of the Knust into a massive sing-a-long space and the Razors and their friends (which i guess was anyway everyone in attendance) said hello to the year end day (it was past midnight by now) and fuck-off to age.

Razors (Knust, Hamburg, 30.12.2019)

Great set, great fun and this year it felt even better than the years before. Maybe due to too much beer entrusted into my hands by friends, maybe because 2019 actually, besides all the painful losses, was still a great year for me.

From the stage the lot took the party to the bar, to the DJ and got treated with old classics to continue sing-a-long and dance-a-long.

... endless party galore ( (c) gehkacken.de 2019)
… endless party galore ( (c) gehkacken.de 2019)

I have not yet  done a full tally but it was like 36 shows, 103 bands this year and this was the perfect icing on that mu-sick-all cake. I was home very late, sufficiently loaded and the best wife of all took on YE shopping without me (as i was neither alive nor presentable to the public). The perfect wasted feeling for a rather perfect year, both with music and in private life (for actually both me love and my humble self).

2020 – bring it on! 20 years of happy marriage, 41 years of Punk Rock for me. And it is only ever going uphill, so i consider myself utmost lucky.

… neither poor in taste nor weird in sound: 6x pure surprises!

Already the 7th edition of this poor mans travelling circus, this time with The Briefs as headliner (and – wild guess – name giver). Location was to be the Molotow, which is for me always something … dunno … painful. Like some others i never got warm with their new location (and layout) at the bottom end of the Reeperbahn.

Kick off was very early and with the Anger Boys from sunny Recklinghausen. The classify themselves as „weird n‘ nervous hardcore punk!“ and they come across as short bursts of sometimes structured and sometime less structured noise topped with some very capable female vocals.

Anger Boys (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

They had like a 20 minute blast into a largely empty room (once they had sorted some bass amp signal issues) and they indeed did surprise me. I will definitely check out their demo and for sure i will give them another chance (on a different stage hopefully).

With a very quick changeover Bad Affair from Hamburg took the stage and they too surprised me. I saw them in April and boy have they improved since then. I would not even know where to start …

Bad Affair (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

… i guess key item is that they have balanced singing and guitar and that they have been able to pen down some really good songwriting: Complex where needed, powerful and with a real drive. I will definitively watch out for more, time being you will need to resort to their demo (as the last 6 tapes did sell out on that night, or?). Good stuff and again female fronted … something that unfortunately did not last through the proceedings.

Local heroes The Haermorrhoids claimed the stage next and they have by now perfected both their setup and how they deliver:

Tick for stage attire. Tick for in-sync movements of Guitar and Bass. Tick Tick Tick for being solid, together, tight – just class. Can’t phrase it different. The sound though at the Molotow was less than perfect – i’d love to see on the perfect stage, with the perfect sound system and the perfect sound man. That’ll be fun!

The Haermorrhoids (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

The Molotow by now was well filled and sure their fan base was front row and cheering. If i noted correctly they have just come back from a short tour in Italy, so it was really a well oiled machine – delivering new songs and classics like this one from their debut record:

Boy do i look forward to the next album. And please do surprise me by having it recorded at Sonic Iguana and produced by Mass Giorgini or – if easier – record and produce it at the Blasting Room. Bang! That would put you and Hamburg on the map. Big time.

Class set as ever, quick, fast – no fills.

Next on from those alpine meadows of Switzerland the Bad Mojos. They took off where them Haermorrhoids left it: Fast paced and sunny one minute blasts of fun and joy. And they also knew that it take formal stage attire to be successful – so they dressed up for the occasion.

Nice cheap mans space outfit? Or sweat-suits as they have to make weight? What ever, it nicely fitted and gave their set the visual perfection that matched the music.

And another big surprise, as they got me left-field: I thought i have seen them before at a Get!Lost!Fest! but they did not impress me – now their less than 2 minutes blasts just sounded perfect.

Bad Mojos (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

And these blasts are lightweight high speed punk hymns with a strong fuck you anyway empathy, as expressed in their current record:

I HOPE YOU O​.​D. (Bad Mojos, released February 20, 2019)

 1. DIGGIN' MY OWN GRAVE 01:32	
 2. BABY I'M DOOMED 01:17	
 3. I WANNA BE DEAD 01:02	
 4. I HATE 01:09	
 5. COMMIT A CRIME 01:57	
 6. POLICE CAR 01:23	
 7. I HOPE YOU OD 01:48	
 8. TOO DRUNK 01:23	
 9. OUT OF CONTROL 01:46	
10. EVERYBODY HATES ME 01:28

Any doubts? Nope!

They were forced to play an encore (despite the running order not allowing for it) and gave an ode to Ian Stuart and safe car driving – indeed a perfect poor and weird extra! Well done lads!

With so much fun and high speed blasts it was time for something different. And something different we got: UK ’79 – ’81 (surprisingly the name of their recent effort) was the theme and the age of the musicians was slightly older than what we had seen before.

DefektDefekt (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

They hail from Bremen, have an English contingent and mix their string duties: Mid way bass and guitar swooped duties and with that also slightly changed the sound.

At the start it sound „hard mod„, later it sounded definitely like something i heard back then via John Peel on BFBS (and relentlessly taped it). They sing in German, in English and i believe i heard another language on top.

Great stuff, excellent musicians but … stage attired could be improved if you ask me. But to me they turned out as the biggest surprise: I tend to ignore Bremen where i can (for all sorts of bad reasons), so i did not catch them prior. Great set and towards a packed house by now.

It all felt rushed, or, in a positive way, without delays. Reason must be that the Molotow wanted to max turnover/turnaround on that Friday, ie. the live music should be over by 23:00 so that they can fill the club with entertainment seeking youth („suburban hipsters“ as someone pointed out).

Headlining thus came fast and furious … and from The Briefs – still one of the most entertaining party machines around. They conquered the Monkeys last December and they conquered indeed the packed Molotow this December.

All singing, all dancing and a huge number of smiles in the faces of the good people attending. Whilst on stage it was sans the female element in front of the stage a notable number of female enjoyed it and danced away. To get you into the mood spin the video and sing-a-long:

Outside the walls a curtain calls
i cant believe were here at all
what you see i do believe
i got no place, no place to bleed
i've got nothing left, i've got nothing right
i've got not place to sleep tonite,
cuz what you see is what you get
i don't want your sympathy yet

Ain't it the truth
ain't it the truth that hurts
there's no excuse
and it could only get worse

Faze in this world are hard to face
i must agree i hate this place
the cover ups have all been shown
we pay no mind, don't want to know
we don't hear a word, we don't need to think
we don't want no trouble don't change a thing
cuz life's much better when you close your eyes
But i cant live in your disguise

Ain't it the truth
Ain't it the truth that hurts
There's no excuse
and it will only get worse, and worse, and worse...

So all the morons stand it lines
we turn cheeks and eat the lies
the TV news is nice and dull
the networks keep us comfortable
leave it alone, there's nothing wrong
shows over folks so just move along
and in the end we'll wonder why
then we'll count to ten and say good bye

Ain't it the truth
ain't it the truth that hurts
there's no excuse
ain't it the truth that always hurts
ain't it the truth... etc...

Steve and Daniel on Guitar, Chris on Drums and Pascal on Bass – did anyone actually realize that this makes the Briefs a 50% German band? Chris lives here and Pascal is German. Great to claim such a great band!

There was no stopping in the barrage of hits and there was no stopping in the audience enjoying it. They are though not too much a chatty band, they rely on the songs to get their message across.

The Briefs (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

Once done the audience demand more and screwing the set timeline they embarked on a couple of songs encore, including their own little self-assessment of them as Americans:

Sing-a-long again:

We American's is dirty
We American's is positive
We don't know if we should be
We American's is cowboys
We American's love guns
Ain't no one can stop us
Not even them injuns

So shoot the president
Forget the national debt
It makes no difference to me
It don't effect my rent you see
And it has always been this way and it won't change
God bless the good old USA

We American's can't write
We American's don't read
And we don't want nobody
Telling us what we need

'cause were better then that
And were better then this
And were better then everybody else
We got the dollars and we got the cents

And it has always been this way and it won't change
God bless the fucked up USA

You know you can't complain
We'll just wipe out the stains
We like to suck before we spit
We spray pain on the walls
'cause we love those shopping malls
All those purple track suits make me sick
That's it, we quit

We American's is stupid
We American's don't write
Ain't no one can stop us
'cause we do what we like

Classic and actually no surprise. But how nicely it all fitted together over 6 bands and how great the tight schedule worked to give the audience a non-stop enjoyment from 18:30 to 23:15 – wow! And for the The Briefs the surprise i would like to see is … get them to cover the first two The Boys records!

Surprisingly good entertainment on a Saturday evening in December, at a location that just does not resonate with as much as the bands resonated with me.

Great travelling circus and by no means poor entertainment and weird music – i hope this now gets a firm annual repeat!