… downstrokes ad infinitum!

Despite all the recent setbacks and sad loses life is good. And for some it was extra good on this hot Wednesday as them Clowns (from sunny Australia) finally came back to Hamburg. Life though was not good for my mate Frank as he finally caught Covid and had to stay home. And pass on this ticket. Where is sun, there also is shadow.

The DeathSet, who provided support, where completely unknown to me. Maybe due to stickers on them that read “Art Punk” or, a more sizable sticker, “Experimental Music“. They seem to be half Australian half American (i think that is what i heard from the stage) and they sport Drums and twice Guitar. And they add soundscapes, film snippets and background noise from tape respective computer.

How does it sound? Surprising!

It was a bit of everything in a surprise box. A lost luggage auction where you buy a large travel bag without knowing the contents. You may hit gold, you may hit 6 weeks of dirty underwear from a disillusioned “i take a break and trip the world” person.

The DeathSet (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I was just about to leave for some outside chats when something made click. I can not pinpoint what it was but somehow it glued me to the stage. And from song to song the show got more entertaining and more diverse.

And then i knew that i was double lucky: Not only them Clowns (where i knew what i would get, downstrokes galore) but also a surprise with something very unique on both sound and presentation. And more structured songs and longer snippets actually where way outside the bad annotation of “Art Punk” or “Experimental Music“.

I chatted a bit with someone in the know on them and understand they got quite some length under their belt as a band, including a sad loss with one of the founding member passing away in 2009 and driving an extend hiatus.

My verdict: Check them out. It is worth it. You might be fended off initially but listen in and get into the groove. I will definitely check out their recorded output.

Changeover was easy, as The DeathSet placed their minature amps in front of the Clowns gear. Though size does not mater really (thanks to a PA) the kit of them Clowns gave away what was next. Big heavy riffs and downstrokes.

And this how them Clowns, all the way from somewhere in Europe, came down on Hamburg:

Back with a bang. And the new guitar player adding a slightly more metalic scent. Eager fan boy that i am i took note of the setlist and was well prepared for the entertainment to come.

Clowns - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022)
Clowns – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022)

That is about half/half old and new stuff, with actually one very old one in it (fan boy me). As always Stevie (singing) and Hanny (shredding the bass) took stage center and the action but the hidden gem of the Clowns is the twin guitars and the near-perfect drumming. Boy, they push a great sound forward in front of them.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Stevie took frequent leave crowd surfing and also Hanny (who sat lonely at the merch when i entered the largely empty Hafenklang but still managed to throw a smile when i said “Hi there” in passing) took a dive into the pit.

From start to finish you realize that they are stage and tour hardened, fully in sync with what they do and they are very self aware on how to throw a perfect set under any condition. And on top those in the know assured me that they are non-nonsense, professional, always friendly, grateful and always delivering 150%.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

And they leave behind each and everyone of the participants satisfied and happy. For me little fan boy that was being served my fave song.

Here is “Pickle” in just another live version:

As always, sing-a-long:

i’ve woken up in gutter
turning shades
of yellow, black and blue
the only thing keeping myself alive
is a memory of you

take this iou
promise that i’ll do
a little better 
next time

i’ve got my self in a downward 
spiral
and there’s nothing you can do
the only substance in your life
is a bit 
of substance abuse

take this iou
promise that i’ll do
a little better 
next time

self diagnosing
self prescripting
self destructing

pickle

I guess it is the third time now that i got to report that it is a perfect song, with brilliant guitar work, perfect breaks and build up and words that make absolute sense to me. Kudos Clowns, Kudos.

The audience was fully engaged, loads of sing-a-long and many able to complete verses when Stevie was lending the mike down the to fist wielding front line. It was also great to see quite a number of female fans in the pit enjoying it.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Puuuurfect though after 15 songs with no encore a wee bit of an aborted ending after i guess about an hour of stage time. But it was a damn hot day in Hamburg, though cooled down a bit in the evening, and them Clowns had been on a very long run in Europe. Forgiven, without a doubt.

And me sad mate Frank? He got some live pics from me, was phoned by another friend and could listen to s song via phone and another Good Samaritan took home a setlist (hopefully signed) for him. Does it feel better now, Frank?

Them Clowns though are expected back at the Hafenklang next year. This is non-negotiable. Everything else would result in a trade war vs. Australia. Brace yourself Melbourne!

And if you can not wait you get a chance on a slightly bigger stage with better sound at the Knust, 06.12.2022 that is, in support of some Nathan Gray. But it’ll be a bit pricey.

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