… Love always wins ctd: Three Chords, No Brain – Punk Rock Raduno #4!

2nd Part: July 13 – 15, from Saturday Morning’s Pop Punk Bus Tour to a last shot with Franz on a Monday Night at Edone

Hi again, so here’s part 2 covering the 2nd half of our 6 day trip to the latest Raduno (and for those who missed it – here is Part One). If you made it here through all my scribblings there’s a little reward: some videos that I promised, giving you quite a good impression of what’s it like at the Raduno I suppose.

Leaving Edone on the Friday night very happy, having seen Dan Vapid & the Cheats play a fantastic Riverdales set, waking up on Saturday morning just meant being in for 2 more short sets by Dan Vapid & the Cheats playing at the Roller Derby Game at the sports center, starting noon today.

So, we set off after breakfast to one of the bus stops of the Pop Punk Bus that was really close by. Arriving at 10:30am meeting more friends from Hamburg, the bus already turned up, full of Punx going crazy, drinking beer (included in the ride) and singing along to Menagramo, an anarchist country punk duo from Milan.

I guess you can imagine the puzzled, slightly shocked faces of passers-by who were just getting ready to do some weekend shopping. Next to the pics above her’s a lyric video for the song “Vajont”, great stuff, the world needs more Menagramo:

After a short ride the bus stopped for a special showcase by Menagramo at the Bikefellas Bike & Coffee shop. A lot of folks left the bus and walked there to see the busker duo playing a couple of songs on a provisional stage and to have a quick espresso before we all boarded the bus again to continue the ride to the sports center, where we arrived before noon and in good time for the Roller Derby Game.

Shortly after entering the sports center and before the start of the game we‘re already treated to the 1st set from Dan Vapid & the Cheats playing on the gallery of the sports hall.

Great fun to see them play a set of songs including a couple of new ones from their 3rd album as well as old faves such as “I Wanna Go to Macchu Picchu Before I Die” from their 2nd and a highlight for many, a cover of “Say Goodbye To Your Generation” by the wonderful Methadones, one of Dan’s several other great bands, he’s a truly blessed pop punk genius:

Dany Vapid & The Cheats – Say Goodbye To Your Generation
(fanx to Natali for the capture)

After that musical welcome it is up to the omnipresent Franz to introduce the 2 Roller Derby teams (Sheena Is A Punk Roller!), Bergamo’s own Crimson Vipers and the All Stars Italy. The punky fantasy names that the Roller Derby girls chose for themselves make it pretty easy for the ingenious head honcho of the Raduno to comment on (Maki Maniac, Lou C Fer, Baby Razor or Black Mamba being among the best).

Before half time of the game I am already securing my place on the gallery in anticipation of the Cheats’ 2nd set. And it’s going to be a short killer set that will be remembered for a long, long time: 6 songs in 18 mins, euphoric joyfulness, an absolutely thrilling show with quite a surreal touch as it’s almost too good to be true.

Probably even better than yesterday’s Riverdales set or at least on a par we are being treated to 2 Screeching Weasel hits to start with, “I Was A High School Psychopath” from Wiggle and “Guest List” from their 3rd, 1991 album, My Brain Hurts:

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Thanks to my lovely wife Natali and DosAlert’s editing skills we have the full set on video for you to enjoy, so here’s song #3, the brilliant Mopes song “I Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye”. You can look out for Andrea Manges singing along and smiling all over his face, just shows how much people are enjoying and appreciating Dan Vapid & his boys playing at Punk Rock Raduno:

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This one’s followed by the Riverdales classic “Back To You” – at the end of the song, after the music is over, you can hear everyone still singing along, encouraging the band to keep on playing – a nice proof for the big enthusiasm that everyone showed for the set :

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Same as yesterday at Edone the party had to end with the Riverdales anthem “Riverdale Stomp”. The one’s who know me can see me dancing my last pogo, quite daring as I’ve twisted my knee a few times before. But what can you do, you just forget when you’re going bonkers and had a couple of drinks already at this early time of day, and we don’t care about tomorrow do we? (Well, my knee still reminds me that I should have cared, 5 weeks later…):

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As happy as a clam we get ready to enter the Pop Punk Bus again, waiting outside for us to take us all back to Edone. Dan Vapid had told people that he is going to join us on the ride back. And as you can see from the photos and the video, he didn’t really know what he was in for, same as bassist Dillon who joined him. As all of this happened in a very similar way one year ago with the only exception that the Queers had to stand in for Dan Vapid (missing his flight, you know the story…), we knew what was going to come.

Punk Rock classics played at loud volume by the DJ on board, Ciaccio from the band Semprefreski. If you can find a little fault with something at all it is the bus driver, who doesn’t do an “encore” after arriving at Edone: This time the deafening “Vive la Rotunda” (“long live the roundabout”) shouts from everyone on the bus do not convince the bus driver to start his engine again and do a couple more rounds in the roundabout at high speed, which just feels like a wild ride at a fair – great fun!   

Arriving back at Edone everyone wants to take a picture with Dan Vapid. The charming guy fulfills all requests, a great down-to-earth guy. As I am quite drunk, plus having an adrenaline kick from the fantastic shows and bus ride, I do not follow my wife & sensible travel fellows back to the apartment to get some rest and stay on the parking lot at Edone instead. So, we are standing here in the midday heat, Debbie & Benni from Berlin, Dan Vapid, Dillon and me.

Dillon is a fantastic guy: we are talking about music and politics, and Dillon is telling me how he met Dan in the little town near St. Louis where they are living and how he offered him to join the band. I also learn about Dillon’s soft spot for Green Day and Queen. We are talking for more than half an hour, getting quite a sunburn, before we leave for the festival grounds next door. Great memory to this day when Dan asks Dillon about the bus ride while we’re walking up to the bar area at Edone: “Did you think it’s going to be that rowdy?“.

As my wife and all close friends have left me on my own, I’m ordering a burger at the bar, meet the Yum Yums, and join Greg from Hamburg’s phenomenal Haermorrhoids (playing the Raduno last year, Greg being back to enjoy the festival) & his lovely girlfriend Kati sitting on one of the long benches. So, we have a burger together before the action starts.

When all friends returned to Edone we kept on enjoying our early afternoon rest in the bar area and did not see (but heard) The Ferrets and I Like Allie from Italy play before it was Sweatpants Party who got us up on our feet again. They are a new band lead by Kevin Aper on Vocals, with Jake “Jagger Holly” and Kasper Keen from the 20 Belows on the guitars and backing vox. They have the song “I Hate Pineapple” on the Raduno compilation and I can only agree, I hate pineapple too.

This is only their 3rd show and they really rock, no wonder with these guys at the helm. As bands should only play the festival once and they have all been here before with their other bands, Apers, Jagger Holly and 20 Belows, you could ask yourself if they only started the band so that they could play the Raduno again, but hey, who cares as long as they are that good.

Then it’s back for some drinking and chatting at the bar area and we miss Gli Ignoranti, a well-known Italian punk band who only reformed once more to play this festival. And as the name suggests it is pretty ignorant from us to miss them, as we could already tell from hearing them play that they must have put on a good show, but watching a video of their show on the small stage on Youtube later on, with everyone going crazy (once again), we definitely knew what we missed out on.

Next up on the main stage are Kurt Baker and his Combo. I must admit that I did not go to see them at Hamburg’s Hafenklang in January this year (excuse: it was raining cats & dogs), and they put on a pretty great PowerPop show, with enough of that Oooomph I mentioned earlier.

They are followed by the DeeCracks, featuring Matt DeeCrack who did stand in with his bass for many bands before at earlier Radunos, and they are receiving a very good reception with their Ramones, low hanging guitar style Punk. I have to admit that I couldn’t really get into them yet.

Next up are Airbag from Spain and it seems as if they did bring their fan club over from Spain. So you had plenty of people dancing and singing along to their pop punk sound. A highlight of the show, and I’m sure for the band themselves, is Dan Vapid joining them on stage to sing a version of the Mopes “My Heart Won’t Bleed For You” with them. Another moment where Dan almost made fans cry for joy!

9 pm and it is time for one of today’s headlining bands, the McRackins from Canada, a band that is going for 25 years. Although I own most of their records released in the 90’s I did never see them play live and I’m not sure if they ever played Hamburg actually. So, I was quite looking forward to this. They always show and play in costumes, dressed as eggs with the dog Spot on drums.

During their set I recall a number of hits, such as “Life, Hey Mickey”, “We Like To Make Records” and 2 songs from their great Short & Sweet “10”, “Pollyanna”and “Mickey & Mallory”, their take on the infamous couple from the cult movie Natural Born Killers. Somehow I remember that they had more hits under their belt and there’s a slight disappointment about the setlist, still it’s good having seen them play live.

Next band on the main stage is Pansy Division, the first band that got announced for Raduno #4. The 1st openly gay band which signed to Lookout! Records in 1993 they spearheaded the queercore movement and are not only notorious for their cover art but also for song titles like ”For Those About To Suck Cock”, „Dick Of Death“, “Horny In The Morning” and my fav „He Whipped My Ass In Tennis (Then I Fucked His Ass In Bed)“. They fit this year’s set of Raduno bands perfectly as the festival is collaborating with Bergamo’s gay community and the Queer Choir is kicking off tomorrow’s festivities – and No Homophobia is one of Raduno’s major rules!

I am not very familiar with their musical output I have to admit: Checking their music out prior to the festival I was hoping for some more old songs, but they mainly play rather new ones tonight, more on the pop than on the punk side of things. That’s topped off by a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s A Sin”, and by that time we lose a bit of interest in their set I have to admit.

Last but not least and headlining Saturday’s bill are legendary Avengers from San Francisco, the band that supported the Sex Pistols at their last show in San Francisco’s Winterland in January 78.

But of course it wouldn’t do them justice at all to limit them to this, being one of the very first and best female fronted punk bands in the world makes them legends in their own right and their 1st album (a compilation really) is full of classic punk rock hits. Original singer Penelope Houston and guitarist Greg Ingraham kick into the set with „We Are The One“, leading song of their sole original release in 1977 on the famous Dangerhouse label.

That’s followed by smash hits such as „Thin White Line“, „Teenage Rebel“,„Car Crash“, „Open Your Eyes“ and last but not least the fantastic „The American In Me“. Although Penelope Houston has turned 60 last December she is still going strong, looking great and playing a powerful set with her band, but somehow it feels as if the spark of enthusiasm won’t really catch up with the Raduno crowd unfortunately.

Maybe it’s because their punk doesn’t go down that easily, certainly not the kind of pop punk stuff that everyone loves so much over here.

Following the Avengers set it’s time for the Golden Ticket lottery. Last year Natali was lucky and won one of the main prizes, a nice painting by Massimo from the Manges of Bugs Bunny in Guantanamo. This year it was Ulli from Hamburg snatching the main prize, an electric guitar, as already reported by DosAlert earlier in this blog.

We are the lucky ones it seems:

And… there is still an aftershow party (as every night), and tonight it’s Mass Manges turn as DJ. The bassist of the Manges is spinning hit record after hit record, but we are just too tired from music and partying and have to call it a day. Friends tell us later that all hell broke lose the next hour with Dan Vapid crowd surfing, a beer on his belly, without spilling a drop of it!

Sunday we have a long sleep and struggle to make it in time to the festival to catch Fuori Dal Coro, Bergamo’s Queer Choir doing a special rendition of „Smells Like Queer Spirit“.

First band this afternoon are Germany’s own Nimrods, playing their brand of Ramones Punk for the last 20 years. There are not too many people in front of stage yet, but they did bring their own fan crowd. Highlight of their set include a gimmick, when a guy in Gorilla costume did some crowd surfing before handing out small bottles of liqueur to everyone. Good fun!

While Red Car Burns and 7 Years from Italy & Flamingo Nosebleed from the US are playing we are mainly resting close to the stage, so that you can hear the music and catch a glimpse of the band without having to stand in front of stage.

Then it’s time for another RamonesPunk band from Germany, the Reekys, founded in Munich in the late 90’s. As they only released their 1st album last year I wasn’t familiar with them although the name rang a bell… and they really rocked, all wearing leather jackets just like the famous foursome from NYC.

Next up are the Murderburgers from Scotland and I have to admit that they couldn’t convince me with their kind of pop punk. I did check them out before but just don’t do it for me.

Then it’s time for the greatest power pop band in the world as Franz puts it in his introduction, and who am I to argue. The Yum Yums from Norway, a band that consistently puts out hit albums, but only released 4 LP’s in the last 26 years, which leads Franz to his charming assessment that they are stupid, lazy idiots…

No problem, as they can laugh about themselves, and singer Morten has a great sense of humour as you can see from the photos of us below, Morten sneaking into the picture making funny faces:

They play a fantastic set with a great selection of hits and get all of us up and dancing from the very first note. Standouts in a set full of smash hits are „I Wanna Be The One“, „Back To Rosie“, „Miss You Baby“,“Your Biggest Fan“ (I was stalking Morten the past 3 days telling him just that) & „It’s Gonna Be A Hit!“ – really wish it was, in a just world the Yum Yums would be bigger than the Beatles.

The Yum Yums also play a new song for us where they are joined by the Kurt Baker Combo doing backing vox and handclaps. And as usual they also pay hommage to some of the greatest power pop hits of all time and the fantastic „Out Of Luck“ from the Pointed Sticks is up for cover first.

Usually bands don’t play encores at Raduno, but the enthusiastic crowd and the commanding Franz made the Yum Yums play a couple more songs, topped off by their flawless rendition of the Real Kids „All Kindsa Girls“ that got many girls dancing and singing along on stage

A late great highlight of the Raduno, for me on the same level with Dan Vapid & The Cheats. Can’t wait for their next album which should be released very soon.

Last band of the festival is Senzabenza from Italy, also going for 30 years already and the best italian punk band ever, as one of the record sellers emphasized before. And they really are a very positive surprise, we really dig their set of classic punk sung in english, reminding us quite a bit of the Buzzcocks.

I can remember that we were also treated to some nice cover versions. It might have been Ramones „Bonzo Goes To Bitburg“ and/or Devo’s „Uncontrollable Urge“ as they have covered these songs before, but I just cannot tell for sure. A very enjoyable final Raduno set in any case.

Usually Sunday night’s close out early and pretty relaxed. This Sunday turned out differently as the Hamburg gang started ordering longdrinks to finish off the fantastic weekend. We had a few already when we met the Yum Yums outside of the bar area and asked them to join us.

So we kept on drinking with drummer Ulf Ramone and bassist Frank. When Morten was asked to join he gave us another example of his great humour saying: „I hate these guys“ – wonderful! But of course he joined as well and we really could have gone on drinking all night long, but (understandably) the staff at Edone wanted to close the bar at 2am.

Unfortunately a thunderstorm had come up earlier and it was raining cats & dogs, but thanks to the fantastic staff we are provided with trash bags that we cut to shape so that we are able to get back to our apartments kinda OK, only our socks and shoes are completely soaked (and won’t dry up before our flight home). Great fun anyhow walking down the street in that heavy rain, dressed as condoms.

On Monday we take it really easy, strolling through Bergamo, but still follow Franz invitation to everyone still out here at Bergamo to join him for a drink at Edone. Tonight there’s only Franz and some others from the Raduno staff at Edone, otherwise it turned into the usual place again, a neighbourhood meeting point to eat, drink & talk.

So we have a last shot with Franz and Raduno regular Nigel from the UK (great lad), but leave rather early as we are completely knackered from the 5 days and nights before… but not before handing him a list of bands that we would love to see at the Raduno in the coming years, well, hopefully there will be many, many more Radunos too come.

By now it’s really time to finish this festival review, it got very loooooong already, but there’s just too much happening at Raduno and excitement and joy lasts for days and weeks … until you start planning next year’s Raduno again (already booked provisionally), and start counting the days until mid of July 2020.

As DosAlert is thinking about joining us next year (even though he usually hates festivals), there is a good chance that he will be the one reporting from it in his blog next July.

One more huge THANK YOU to Franz, Andrea, the fantastic staff at Edone (Ciao Luca), the Take the Punk Rock Bus crew and last but not least the bands that make the best festival in the world possible!

Editorial note: Pics and Videos are either by Frosch/Natali or from the Punk Rock Raduno Facebook site (and used without specific consent – please shout if that is an issue). Fanx anyway!

And here is the Hamburg Lot on the Punk Rock Raduno casting couch – love and kisses to you! And special fanx to Frosch for this one! Love ya mate!

And if this does not get you into the mood…
… shed some tears to this one:

Your next chance is … Punk Rock Raduno #5 – July 16th-19th 2020!

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