.. twice packed, twice fun (at least for some): Friday Night!

Sometimes the early footie kick-off on Fridays is an advantage if there is a show on the same day. On this Friday me and some mates where down for the Hamburg Derby and then Steve Ignorant with selected CRASS songs at the Hafenklang.

The story of the Derby is quick and single sided: Plenty of stupidity outside the stadium, loads of fireworks inside the stadium and a favorite being outsmarted by the FCSP coaches (and their 5 in the back tactic).

... it was Derby time (Millerntor, 14.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

It did sure help that HSV was red carded early on and it definitely did help that for a change FCSP did score. In the end it felt almost uncontested.

We hit the road to the Hafenklang after the final whistle quickly, to a certain extend to avoid being dragged into Football trouble or being blocked by the Police (closing certain streets to avoid potential confrontations) – and because it started to rain anyway.

Arriving at the Hafenklang it was packed (and sold out) and Headsticks where about to start. Their self-selected mu-sick-al cupboard is an odd one:

With an ever growing fanbase at their side, Headsticks are reaching new heights with their self proclaimed 'Revolutionary Punk Roots Rock'n'Roll' which has cross genre appeal seeing the band gaining endless plaudits from pillars of the Folk/Roots, Post Punk, Punk, and even the rock and blues fraternities.

In my selfish world that is a turn down, but as ever i wanted to give them the chance to convince me.

Headsticks (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 14.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

And whilst some songs actually where pleasant and very English revolutionary Punk songs indeed others where more on the folk side (and not my thingy). But stance and message they had, so i bet they have their audience (but it won’t be me, sorry).

Next Steve Ignorant, of Crass fame, with a selected backing band performing Crass songs from 1977 to 1984. It was one of these “canceled 2020, canceled 2021 again” shows that finally did happen.

From the last time Steve came out to Hamburg to do this there was loads of praise, it was actually to no surprise that a) the Hafenklang was packed and b) that almost all of the Hamburg Punks who sported a Crass Logo on their Leather Jacket in 1980 where there. Even i had to admit that back then at least for some time i sported a Crass badge (still around somewhere).

And how did it sound? It sounded like this … Steve and band kicking off into the set:

Wow – time warp ahead! Not an updated, adapted or modernized version of Crass songs – it sounded indeed like straight out of 1980. And “The Gas Man Cometh” was a worthy start into more songs that today would defeat most of the mu-sick-al cupboards used. But – give or take – they all had enough of a beat to get people actually dancing (and those older to sing-a-long).

Steve Ignorant (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 14.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Back then i was more the “Sham, Upstarts, Cockney” or “Fingers, Ruts, Members” Fan and did not take biggest notice of Crass, only of selected songs. But here and now to a certain extend i am regretting it – there was so much more.

Unfortunately half way through the set i had to leave: I was under the weather the day before (and had to miss Mobina Galore for that reason) and the humidity and bad air (lack of oxygen) inside the Hafenklang gave me cold sweats and definitely an ill feeling … so i simply strolled uphill and home.

Those who stayed on until the wee of the night assured me it was indeed a great set and perfect show (and many where quite vocal about the perfect and hard hitting performance by the drummer). Well done Steve, well done. And Thanks anyway.

… back on the map: MOi!n It’s Hamburg, Edition 7

After the 5th and 6th Edition being bogged down by Covid it was time again for the Monkeys to throw a proper MOi!n It’s Hamburg for the lot from near and far. And as ever i was eager to be there, as there are often hidden (and overlooked) gems to to be found – like on the last full 2 Day event in 2019 with Kaleko Urdangak.

Kick off on Friday was with Strikt from sunny Stockholm. Young lads and already fully in sync with rule #1: A band should dress for the occasion. All white, dark trousers – tick! Despite the Monkeys being more empty than full they where able to lure folks from the bar towards the stage.

Strikt (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I would not count them strictly into Oi! territory, they rather have a nice balance of sing-a-long, slower stuff and more old Swedish Punk annotations. The singer sported a nice KSMB tattoo – can’t be a coincidence. They did not have their brand new record yet but in best DIY did some self burned CD’s with the songs (a highly limited edition you #recordcollectorsarepretentiousarseholes). How did it sound? Check out their ode to their hometown: Stockholm.

Next The Bois, originally from Singapore. They date back to 2001 but if i understood correctly they are now a slightly different band, with members from SG, UK and DE. With them it was more traditional Oi! with a proud and clear SHARP message.

The Bois (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

The songs are sometimes musically heavy and loaded (with complexity) but still carry simple messages (like in Till I Die). They sure had the Hamburg lot in front of the stage, singing along and dancing. Not particularly my cup of tea but by all means check out their stuff. Their old stuff is available here as a nice compilation.

The Analogs where on next and for them it was a return to the Monkeys following their support slot in 2018 for Bonecrusher. The have a long history but i take technically they are no longer that band from the 90s.

The Analogs (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

They play Punk Rock with an emphasis on Rock and have a shitload mu-sick-al complexity in their songs. And seeing them on stage you note that they all seem to be experts with their instruments, specifically the drummer has a very unique style. The only think that was strange was the language – my ears are just not accustomed to hear lyrics in Polish, it all sound very harsh to me. But hey, it’s their mother tongue, so sure ok.

I liked them, to a certain extend also because they are indeed different (and great musicians).

Headliner for Friday was Giuda and i have not seen them live for quite a while, mainly because i had the feeling they where on the way to hit big. Not sure if they did, though i saw a couple of praises in the mainstream mu-sick press.

Sam as been giving them one of the first opportunities in Germany, dating back to 2014 with a stunning show at the Indra. They sure have grown beyond that, i was told they now employ professional management and a team for touring. In front of the stage you could note it by the simple fact that they now have a stage entry sound being played.

Giuda (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 30.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I was not sure if i still like them but from the first chord the songs, the stomping and the smiles of the singer got me into it, again. Not sure if the feeling was right but i took they concentrated on the older stuff more – sing-a-long galore for the lot. They also employ some orchestrated stage movement (and the bass player got some strong looks for being out of sync and too wild).

8 years after seeing them for the first time i have to admit that they did dig themselves a unique niche, filled it with old tube amps and great 70s glam rock sound (with stomping rock being key) and just do that very professional.

The audience loved it and it was a great finish for the first day, way after midnight (though Giuda did not play overly long).

Day 2 started early (with attending a Brunch thrown by a mate that just passed 60ty), lead on to the decisions to pass the St. Pauli home game (that oddly was timed for 20:30 kick off) and be at the Monkeys rather.

And it was a good choice to be early has the hidden gem was right there as the start of Day 2: Complete Loss hail from Dülmen in North Rhine-Westphalia and they hit my mu-sick-al nerve from the first chord.

Almost on the total opposite of the MOi!n spectrum they play very modern Skinhead Hardcore in an American style. Hard hitting, fast paced. Just right up my alley. On top the singer cultivates a “grabbing my ass” style whilst singing right out of the Milo Auckerman playbook (and thus hitting another nerve).

Complete Loss (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 01.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I was quickly sold on them and was so engulfed that i did not take note how many more people actually took them in (it felt open in front of the stage though). You got to check out their first vinyl that just has seen the light: It carries for example hit’s like Needle Park. I am now looking forward to see them again, maybe in a more hardcore setting at the Hafenklang?

After that high came … not a low but something that i could not get into that much on this evening. Bull Brigade from Turino play just another sound, a wide mixture of sing-a-long Oi! mixed with modern US styles from H/C. Loads of rhythm and tempo changes, loads of chants.

Bull Brigade (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 01.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

As far as i could make out there was footie in the mix too and the singer had like 3 faces & gesture that he mixed throughout the set, for me and some around that was a wee bit … posing? Boring? Nevermind, they do their thing and they seem to do it good – plenty of applause actually.

And whilst i was still mentally moaning i got hit by a 2 miles long fright train full of Canadian wheat heading for the US of A. Say hello to Reckless Upstarts (not Americans, as they pointed out) from Windsor, Ontario. It is the southernmost city of Canada, just opposite of Detroit. It’s called the City of Roses and what a beautiful mu-sick-al rose these Upstarts are!

Reckless Upstarts (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 01.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

16 strings with great guitar work to the front, all singing, and a heavy hitting drummer in the background. Their main asset is “being tight” and indeed they pushed forward like as a joint force. Their songs are about work, working class and about grinding down fascists. Check out Dying For A Living Wage or all of their output. Good Stuff, delivered perfectly live.

Next on Brutal Bravo from sunny Friburg im Brisgau and i never saw them live prior but based on their output i was keen to. They have some really cool bare to the bone songs out there and with “Brutal Bravo Über Alles” they have a tongue-in-check scene hit with pointed lyrics:

We corrupt morals and vitiate the air
And we are the resurrection of your saviour
We speak truth and we demand surrender
You`re ours for now and you will be forever.

You`re the lambs, we`re the birds of prey
We make the rules and you are forced to play
If you wanna make us happy, get down on your knees
This reign is unjust and we don`t kill to eat

It is pretty simple. a law of nature
If you don`t obey your master, you`ll be treated as a traitor
There are no more options, no more possibilities
God has no need for diplomacy.

We created evil and we created good
Brutal Bravo Brutal Bravo Über Alles
We bring the drought and we bring the flood
Brutal Bravo Brutal Bravo Über Alles
We turn day into night and night into day.
Brutal Bravo Brutal Bravo Über Alles
We are the mightiest and we rule - okay!
Brutal Bravo Brutal Bravo Über Alles
Brutal Bravo (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 01.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I guess next to me many more where eager to see them, just like with Giuda it was packed, though less dancing but more physical in front of the stage. And whilst, when playing, it was really great hard hitting stuff there was a feel of discomfort with me. And soon i had the impression that somehow they are a dysfunctional band, at least this evening.

Debates about what (and how to play), raised eyebrows across the stage and a singer that either forgot the lyrics or was too intoxicated to call them from memory. And whilst resorting to printed lyrics he threw them around on stage and was soon unable to locate the right sheet.

And when it looked to go sour they somehow choose to play “Brutal Bravo Über Alles” to please the audience. Not once, not twice but three times. From where i stand no surprise that the band just a couple of days prior announced the end of the venture, i guess one more show and that’s it. Mhhhhhh, not what i expected.

With Gimp Fist at least the final headliner was far away from dysfunctional, to me they seem the friendliest people on earth and a well oiled machine. And this is what they set out for the lot:

Gimp Fist – Setlist (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 01.10.2022)

And on most of these songs the audience did sing-a-long almost louder than the band and both in front of the stage and on the stage there where plenty of smiles. My smile was big when they played my current favorite song – the starting one of their Isolation LP is a versatile hit, packed into 1:32 and still offering a cinematic intro. Check out Ambition and sing-a-long: Well i don’t give a fuck!

Gimp Fist (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 01.10.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Where Giuda as headliner threw a professional headlining show on Friday it was Gimp Fist as the headliner for Saturday to thoroughly break down the barrier between on and off stage and united everyone in the Monkeys. Simply by being unpretentious, honest and open – and with a message. They are the essence of humble and thus i had not even a slightly raised eyebrow for a mate who sported a Gimp Fist T-Shirt (that takes us back to rule #2: Never wear a shirt of the band that plays). Still loving you mate!

And much faster than anticipated it was over, two great days at the Monkey, two new discoveries, one disappointment, a St. Pauli home draw that turned out not to be that bad (though we simply need to score, more) and still a long weekend to recover as Monday would be a public holiday in Germany.

I had no hangover, as i stayed off booze both days and that indeed was a refreshing feeling. And frank, seeing some folks in various stages of drunkenness on Saturday it felt right.

Big Thanks again to Sam & the Monkeys crew for making this possible, much appreciated. Count me in in 2023 too!

MOi!n It’s Hamburg #7 2022

… enchanting feedback: All Girl Power Pop with Alvilda!

That is was going to be the lead in into a long show weekend was pretty much a given, that the cozy cellar downstairs at the Komet was half filled with people that looked like being around for MOi!n It’s Hamburg 7 was a bit of a surprise.

As much as a surprise that the support slot was with the Heartliners, as they turned out to be far off from Power Pop but firmly rooted into 1990’s sunny California Pop Punk.

It was only their 2nd show but it was far off from being amateurish … all of the musicians seemed to be very professional with their instruments and all songs where faultless.

Heartliners (Komet, Hamburg, 29.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

How did it sound? It sounded a wee bit fallen out of time – whilst i really did dig into this 30 years back (as it sounded new), it now sounds “old” to me. Funny feeling.

But hey, who am i to complain? It was a tight, fast and upbeat set and by no means it was boring. I guess they will make their way and i will come across them soon again.

Next Alvilda, traded by some as a really hot band. To be honest, i fell for them too last year and got their really sweet EP in August 2021 (from Alien Snatch!). And ever since was thinking who the hell will be able to lure them over? Wild Wax did and and put them on a short run from Hamburg to Dresden and then Berlin. Learning German in 3 days i guess.

Alvilda kicked off like this:

They where not really happy with the sound, specifically with the feedback from the main mike (as they choose to slip down from the tiny stage the mike technically was in front of the PA speakers – inviting feedback). Once the main singer move back on stage that got corrected and it sound a wee bit better.

They play exactly like on the EP, enchanting Power Pop presented by always smiling and singing ladies. And much better than some of the girly Schrammel Pop that was en-vogue in the 90s.

Alvilda (Komet, Hamburg, 29.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Whilst it was indeed enchanting it was also a wee bit amateurish, sometimes that added on the positive side, sometimes it actually destroyed the nice and cozy pop feeling.

What it sure was was authentic and real. And that by far outweighs any shortcomings. And whilst their songs are brief and their set is no longer than 12 songs they still please the ear (and, let’s be frank, the eye).

They did not play too long, smiled away all mishaps and got a good share of applause from the audience. I would love to see them on a bigger stage, with better sound, knowing that they would charm the audience anyway.

Alvilda – Setlist (Komet, Hamburg, 29.09.2022)

It was worth to note that they also lured Giuda into the Komet, who where already in town to headline Friday at the MOi!n It’s Hamburg 7 over at the Monkeys.

For me it was nice to now be able again to have short strolls to shows and it was a perfect start into the weekend already on Thursday. It was with best companionship, uplifting mu-sick and thus a good evening.

Fun fact: “alvilda” is danish and means “forever”. I guess i should have approach the band asking a question in danish…how would they have responded?