… third verse, not different from the first two!

Punk Rock Hamburg with their own “Third verse, different from the first” rather – twice delayed due to Covid. By design another evening fully local (bands and audience alike) and off the beaten track (both location down south, over the mighty river Elbe, and spread of mu-sick-al styles).

5 Bands, early start and luckily only a fast train ride south with easiest access to the location: The Stellwerk (in English Signal Box) is an unused space in the Hamburg Harburg Central Station (warning, sarcasm incoming) – a former Signal Box given up when switches and signals where electrified.

In the spacious main room the Punk Rock Hamburg family setup stage, merch and was ready for a sold-out fun evening.

Punk Rock Hamburg Family Merch Booth

The hardship of being first came down to Nixda!, who had to embark with one member being off sick. In my head i had little bad boy saying “lucky“, as the missing member was the girl who normally operates the flute (and rather strange instrument in on single-minded mu-sick-al horizon).

Nixda! (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Thanks to Dennis on the front they had stage presence but taking all in it was not really up my alley: They do have excellent German lyrics, some even on the clever side but their music is at bad time rather Deutsch Rock to me, at good time Deutsch Punk. But they put everything in and thus had their share of applause.

What came next though was a welcome contrast: Punk Du Arsch! are local heroes with loud (and indeed loudmouth), intolerant and exhausting Asi-Punk paired with a real showman up front.

Punk Du Arsch! (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

They pick’n’choose from a wide variety of styles – a bit of Glam here, a bit of old Sparrer there but always fast paced and forward driving. And most of the times the lyrics aim to confront the listener or tell a tale – like this one:

And in Englisch it sounds even more hilarious: It is an ode to an unnamed Returnable Bottles Collector Of Love. Lovely stuff! They had more people in front of the stage and they had more applause – well deserved.

Next Fat Flag, a band that i never ever noted before. They already won me over when they changed on stage into stage uniform: One of the principals i stick to is that bands need to dress for the occasion and that this dressing should be orchestrated. Well done lads, you had my attention from the start.

Fat Flag (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Mu-sick-aly they took the audience down a more modern, more US like route with loads of breaks, speed changes and paired with German lyrics – sometimes on the clever side. And on the funny side, specifically for me mate Frosch, they had a song about spawn and pong. Very Froggy!

They where fun, they had humor and emitted that from stage And their sound actually did please my ear. I really wonder how i missed them, they seem to be around for a while. My biggest surprise that night and one of the reasons why it is worth to take such a local thingy in.

Next Norden, back from the ashes of Norden. Their start though was hampered with sound issues, not so much in front of the stage but more for Natascha on the stage. More than once she threw up her hands in frustration though whilst still trying to plow on.

Whilst she was frustrated with the sound i was frustrated with the light, it was washed up in blue with some little red thrown over, it neither looked nice in real nor anyway good on the few pics i took. Not sure if it was desired by the band, if so – just pitch dark would have worked too.

Norden (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

With Norden the sound was moving yet again into a different direction, to the bone song structures driven forward by Jan’s excellent guitar play and the rhythm section. And on top almost storytelling by Jan with again to the bone German lyrics.

I do like what they do, specifically as it is definitely off the beaten Punk track. That said, somehow i felt that appeal was not commonly shared – i guess only a subset of the audience actually did dig them.

Late (against the running order) came the headliner and this is how they kicked off:

Bang! Different style, different speed, different presentation. The Haermorrhoids just had a blast at the Puke Fest in Münster and following the account of those present simply blew the roof of the house.

The Haermorrhoids (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Back home they continued in that vein, though the audience never went fully ape shit like in Münster (no flying bodies anywhere) – it was the stereotypical reserved reaction. That said, the floor was full and people where moving and enjoying it.

Their set was sharp, delivered almost without break (to make up lost time vs. the running order) and at break neck speed. As always they finished their set with my very own favorite Overdose:

Following that stage time was up but they did not give too much shit about it – speeding up even more they bashed out three more perfect Ramonescore blasts!

They had plenty of cheers, loads of applause – though that all turned into a bit of a sad moment after the show when i got to know that their bass player is no longer able to play for them. I do hope that quickly they can get someone fitting in place as currently they are a very well oiled machine at an outstanding level of performance!

And that finished off Punk Rock Hamburg Fest #3, way after midnight. The train ride home was pleasant when it came to companions but really strange when it came to locals from down south doing a Saturday night trip towards the Reeperbahn. Strange people, strange behaviors.

I guess the 3rd sold out Punk Rock Hamburg Fest was a solid success, though i have to admit that i hated the amount of smoking going on. When i finally woke up Sunday to get ready to enjoy a home win (and a home win was delivered) i had severe throat issues and felt hungover (though i only had a single beer) – all down to the smoke. If i could have a plea – non-smoking please.

I know that won’t deter the good people at #entstationpunk and #punkrockhamburg (who are to be thanked for this local festival, year on year) so here is the link for the early bid tickets for 2024. Be there or be square!

Klick! Me! for Early Bird Tickets!

… ready for Punk Rock Raduno 2023!

Hamburg not only has the Rebellion Pilgrims but also the Punk Rock Raduno Pellegrini. And whilst good old Charlie Harper (meanwhile at a whopping age of 78) would go on to play for the Rebellion lot on Saturday at the Fabrik the weekend started actually with a double feature for the Raduno lot:

On Friday it was Randells (Sweden) and Travoltas (Dutchistan) at the Monkeys and on Saturday it would be the Puke Fest in Münster. And not only Hamburgs local heroes The Haermorrhoids would be there, also a number of those attending at the Monkeys (and a few more) would take the train down to Münster.

Kick off was with the Randells from sunny Blekinge County in Sweden and they set the scene tongue-in-check with a sing-a-long that i guess everybody in Germany can sing to (at least in my g-g-g-generation):

And here is the original, in best Beat Club Fashion:

Her eyes were exciting her hair was golden,
The lips were inviting, and my heart she's stolen!

And whilst at it, there is sure a German cover:

With such a setting them Randells already have won me over, even more upon realizing that they adhere to one of my favorite ground rules: Matching and/or orchestrated stage attire!

Like many others from Sweden who play in the oddly dubbed Pop Punk genre (and remember, the “Pop” in Pop-Mu-Sick stands for “Popular”) they throw in a healthy dose of America, Beach, Sun and Surf. Which yet again on my side at least makes click for the last three.

Randells (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 20.01.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Their stage presentation was very structured, three songs, little break, next three songs. Between the songs just a few word to the audience, they where not really chatty.

And this is how it sounded, this is Cheese from their 2012 effort:

I liked them and the longer they played the more they won over the audience, as their songs are rather on the clever than simple side. They also seemed to build more confidence on stage and at at the end really had a big share of applause.

I would suggest you check them out, just go here! And, frank, sporting a Flying V Guitar out of genre wins me over at any time, anyway!

Next on my longest wait as i never had a chance to see them before, so this forever was my mental intro (hum away):

Responsible disclosure: I am a Travoltas devotee ever since this song was song #1 on my Playlist #1 (done back in 2000).

Their set list was immediately inspected by those in the know and positively comment with respect to the wide mix the songs originate from.

Travoltas – Setlist (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 20.01.2023)

So this is how they kicked-off, One For The Road from Endless Summer (2002):

Bang – all the ingredients i was yearning for: Speed variations, harmony bridges, vocal bridges, choruses. Plus energy. Plus positive vibes. Yippieeeee!

It sure ain’t a surprise that as a consequence their songs are considerably longer than the normal Pop Punk stuff, just looking at the stuff of them i have on file it is on average 3:31 (and all of the other stuff in the genre hoovers around the 2:20 mark).

With 6 people on stage they almost exceeded the capacity of the Monkeys stage but that is what creates their unique and wide sound: Keyboard, two guitars, bass, drums and the singer (with a very wide vocal reach).

Travoltas (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 20.01.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

It is a clever and damn simple recipe in the end, normally put to simple words as “… an energetic mix of the Beach Boys and Ramones with a dash of The Cars“. And to be frank, this is straight down my road:

Whenever i get mellow and the harsh sounds from H/C and Oi! need some offset it is this little niche of sugar coated harmonies that makes me smile, happy and sing-a-long. But it does need some Ramonescore under the belt, else it is too much sugar to swallow.

They played quite long, got loads of cheers and towards the end topped it with an endless barrage of hits:

First a cover of Major Tom (a true timeless beauty hat has also been flawlessly covered by Face To Face), then followed by Pray For Sun from their glorious Teenbeat album (all the way from 2000):

Little secret: That chorus always cheers me up and is in my mind when i stroll Danish beaches with the love of me life…

Let me go to the shore
On the beach where we belong
I always prayed for sun
There we go, don't say no
To the city by the bay
I know it will be home

But not without you, but not without you again, oh no
I'm not going without you
Please pray for sun

Next Waimea from Baja California (1997) only to return to another glorious sing-a-long from Teenbeat, that actually should have made it gold with any Radio Station serving a coastal area with sunny beaches:

Pacific Coast Highway, here we come!

Sing-a-long to that great chorus (that is also forever tied to my favorite shoreline on Jammerbugten):

And I will run to the ocean
I will run along the coastline
We'll be gone, no more worries
On the never ending shore

And those two songs in an ever better setting, live at Punk Rock Raduno (the best little festival in the world), all the way back in 2017. And rumors have it that this year the Punk Rock Raduno Pellegrini might have it yet again:

It was a pity that the turnout at the Monkeys was more small then medium (and sure not sold out) but all present in front of the stage by this time had a smile (or a broad smile) and where moving. Those who knew them sang along, those who did not where positively surprised.

At the end plenty of cheers, plenty of applause and a two song encore. As far as i was concerned i was flat out happy, as far as my friends heading for Puke Fest where concerned they where looking forward for yet another dose of the Travoltas.

And those who where at Puke Fest came back with even bigger praise about a complete tear down of the sold out place:

Puke-Fest description as per their Facebook site: Annual Punk-Festival in Münster, Germany. 100% pure old-school pop-punk!

Their conclusion on this years edition: „Puke Fest 2023 was beyond all of our wildest dreams! What a night! Unbelievable!" 

You could just leave it at that, but i got to go into a little more detail: It was a perfect one day festival exactly half way between Raduno(s).

Setting was inside the Sputnik Hall in a rather small club, completely sold out this year, so you don’t feel or think about the winter outside.

8 bands in 7 hours, with band #4, The Shivvies from Rotterdam, getting the party really started.  Consisting of the Real Danger rhythm section plus the pop punk genius Marien Nicotine of Apers/Windowsill/Giant Eagles fame on guitar and vocals, they play their s/t hit by hit album almost in it’s entirety, closing off with the faster Ramones style tracks.

Very hard to follow now but next band up on stage were our hometown heroes: The Haermorrhoids!

And … they simply played their best ever show, people went absolutely ape shit, bodies flying around from the very start. They did not slip a thing, all go no slow, it just could not have gotten much better than this. 

Can’t wait for their 2nd album, they should be HUGE, ideally releasing it on a label like Fat Wreck, ruling today‘s punk rock world beyond their current circle of influence! 

Things calmed down just a little bit with the Randells, who seemed very happy and more confident than in Hamburg in front of that wild Puke Fest party crowd.

Perfect bubblegum beach punk, not unlike fellow swedes Psychotic Youth. Austrias No. 1 DeeCRACKS followed up with more hard hitting Ramones style punk.

And from midnight the headliners Travoltas rounded off a memorable night, that has set the bar very high for live shows this year, a real contender for „Best Show Of The Year“, as early as January. 

Same as the Randells they really enjoyed playing to a full capacity, enthusiastic crowd, and delivered in perfect style. As if it needed another singalong after glorious hits like „Liv Tyler“ the Puke Fest crowd also got treated to Peter Schilling’s „Major Tom“: „…Völlig losgelöst von der Erde…“, nothing could describe the feeling of this night any better.

Now they only need to give us „Do The Gal-I-Gator“ next time they play, hopefully at Punk Rock Raduno this summer. Daan, je hebt het beloofd!.

Thanks to the Puke Fest crew to make this happen - the Hamburg/Kiel contingent was utmost happy!

See you at Punk Rock Raduno 2023!

Thanks to me mate Frosch for the summary and Kai Uwe and Kati for the pictures.

It is worth to note that since the Travoltas re-united they also face “long distance friendship” as their singer now resides in sunny Stockholm and runs a studio. Those interested in a wider mu-sick-al context might want to listen in:

In sum a great night that should have deserved more people in front of the stage and from where i stand a cemented love between Punk Rock Hamburg and the Travoltas (as visible on the tiles of the Monkeys loo).

Punk Rock Hamburg ❤ Travoltas

My dream date anyway would still be: Giant Eagles, The Shivvies, The Windowsill and Travoltas as a Dutch Package, during Summer on the Hamburg harbor front or on a boat cruising the harbor. Can i dream? Anybody willing to make dreams come true?