… the surprise return of Der Moderne Man!

As with all those young punks from the class of 1979 in Hamburg i went through phases. Initially primed by UK 1977 punk and shows at the Markthalle, i discovered also new German music, just before that part turned all sour by the hands of the Music Industry as „Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW)“ and luckily US Hardcore came by in 1983 to save my mu-sick-al mind.

But whilst digging into German post punk i saw a shitload of great stuff, be it D.A.F. prior to fame, be it Malaria or … Der Moderne Man. From Hannover. And a great band with both feet in Punk and their head already way out into what would become the so called New German Wave (aka NDW). I have all their records and their first long player still stands all tests of time.

Check this out, an early early video:

What did stand out was the vocals from Ziggy-XY, who left the band after the first LP to do much stranger stuff with Kosmonautentraum, Whilst being able to get a 2nd long player out by 1984, they called it a day after 5 energetic years, forever.

And now wind to 2019 and a huge surprise: Whilst the annual Hamburg Ramönes show was set the band in passing published that their support would be … Der Moderne Man (thanks to some overlap in Personal). Eager as a beast i got a ticket on the day of pre-sales starting (and thus was lucky) only to realize that changed leave plans would have me 550 KM north of the Hafenklang on that day.

I thus i enlisted a fellow regular by pushing the ticket onto him in exchange for a promise to take pictures and report back. So here is the 2nd hand account of someone who was far too young (actually born 1977) when i saw Der Moderne Man in the early 80s.

And it goes like this:

The pleasure came quite unexpectedly, because my dear friend Dos surprised me with a free ticket because of his holiday. It was an even bigger surprise as he must have been very fast in securing the ticket,  because the show was sold out within a few days. Due to great demand from all over Germany it was moved downstairs from the Goldener Salon to the main hall of the Hafenklang,  And here, too, the quota was exhausted within a very short time.

Personally, the band said little to nothing to me. So I had no big expectations, which is not the worst thing. Also on board were the Hamburg Ramönes, a local Ramones cover band. As it turned out in retrospect the Hamburg Ramönes were the headliners and Der Moderne Man had the honor of support, thanks to the fact that two members of the Hamburg Ramönes also played in Der Moderne Man, who were reanimated for this event after a 35-year break.

Der Moderne Man (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Der Moderne Man thus opened the evening in front of a happily attuned audience, who had traveled from all parts of the republic and partly even from abroad for this event. For in addition to the 40th anniversary of the band, it was also to celebrate the 60th birthday of guitarist Ecki.

Der Moderne Man - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

Der Moderne Man – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

The singer announced that the setlist would have been played exactly the same order about 35 years ago and opened the show with the Disco-Lied, which was celebrated by the crowd from the first note onward. And it went on in the same positive spirit. 

The performance lasted exactly one hour, with songs like Laut, Das Tier, Dauerlauf, 13, Telefonlied, Gib‘ Mir Den Tod and Frau Krause being highlights  for me. I am damn sure this band will now find their way onto my record-player (Note to self: Remind Dos that he agreed to sell me his record collection when he moves into the retirement home).

Der Moderne Man (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

After the obligatory encore, the band was duly adopted by the audience and they where visibly moved when the final curtain was coming.

The rest of the evening I spent talking with friends and regulars in front of the venue, so that I did not see much of the Hamburg Ramönes. Still i took  a quick look: The hall was no longer packed as during The Modern Man, but those who stayed were enthusiastic about Ecki and the crew still.

Hamburg Ramönes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Even gifts from friends, who found the exit from the island yonder that wants to Brexit, where presented: caps with the band name and the respective names of the cheerful tuned musicians.

Hamburg Ramönes - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

Hamburg Ramönes – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

It was a great event and I’m glad to have attended it!

B. like born in motherfucking 1977

Wow – i guess i missed something. Talking to others in the week after the show this was confirmed, though it was also noted to be a strange event: 100 tickets went to Friends of the Hamburg Ramönes and 100 tickets  where scooped up by people from all around Germany (with quite some prominent people among them), who were eager to see Der Moderne Man again (or finally).

Kudos and happy birthday to Ecki for making this happen, i appreciate it though i missed it.

nb: The enlisting of an apprentice was a nice first, i think i must try that one again. But with respect to handing him my record collection (including Der Moderne Man records) i need rethink date and price tag!

… Football, Beer and Punk Rock: Always worth a try!

Knock Off have coined the „Football, Beer and Punk Rock“ theme and on this Friday me and 3 mates took it on full steam. First on the most local Derby possible in the Danish part of Hamburg (and the top match to conclude the season in the Oberliga Hamburg): Altonaer FC von 1893 vs. FC Teutonia 1905. The Altona clash. Followed by Wonk Unit at the Monkeys – what a great May evening!

Wonderful warm weather, wonderful surrounding: The good old Adolf Jäger Kampfbahn, one of the oldest football stadiums in Germany, filled with more than 3.000 people eager to congratulate AFC for the Oberliga Titel, allowing them into the play offs for the 4th German division.

The AFC has it’s own contingent of „Football, Beer and Punk Rock“ fans for years, many of them locals and some of them disgruntled FCSP Fans (and some of them even more disgruntled HSV fans).  But this season both Altona teams were top of the League and AFC did win the season right prior to this last game. As such it was a boring game were only Teutonia put an effort in and rightfully did win.

But nevermind the loss, AFC Fans started the party right after the final whistle:

All-in-all they deserved the league win but as it is with Amateur Footie they will have a hard time in the play offs to enter the 4th league. And once there it will be hard for them to stay up. Money sure is the issue here…

Altona 93 (Adolf Jäger Kampfbahn, Hamburg, 17.05.2019)
Altona 93 (Adolf Jäger Kampfbahn, Hamburg, 17.05.2019)

Nevermind future risks, the rather packed stands provided great amateur football feeling (paired with incompetent Beer supply) and gave the team a great cheer when they came around after the final whistle with a large“Hamburger Meister 2019“ flag. Kings of the city indeed.

Now it was time to cycle over to the Monkeys, just down the road towards the east. A small sidestep to grab a quick bite and then back through the hundreds of young urban hipsters cornering at the Alma-Wartenberg-Platz (boy, do i hate that lot). We arrived late at the Monkeys and Vomit already had taken the stage.

Vomit started in 1977 and disbanded in 1980, without a career. They phrase it nowadays as „Very lively punk rock band that play classic 70’s style punk songs. BEST SEEN LIVE!!! OR BEST SEEN WHILST STILL ALIVE!!!“ and indeed i would not buy a record (but maybe a T-Shirt, they had some cool ones).

Vomit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

At good times they sounded like early Lurkers, at bad times they sounded like rock but all in all they sounded ok and their singer was a real asset. Also some of the songs seemed to have some fun words, specifically that one with the Iro-sign. Great start into the proceedings and a good reason to ‚ave another one.

The Monkeys was like less than half full in the end when Wonk Unit took the stage and for me it just shows that nowadays folks are too tied to their self-defined or self-set niche. If there is currently a band on the circuit that breaks with tradition in a positive, inspiring and forward looking fashion than it is Wonk Unit. It is Punk, but sure not as you know it mate!

You get all sorts of variation, all sorts of Muzak and definitely you geat a great show with a top notch entertaining front man: Streetwise, funny and to the point when it comes to observing mankind (and fellows).

And they have structured their set to allow for interludes, this time round it was the constant joke and repetition of „Cyclists“. All sorts of variations where put forward and when there was a choice of next song to be made Alex did check back with the audience if not „Cyclists“ would make the audience happy.

Wonk Unit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Alex is not only a gifted entertainer and artist, he is also a schmoozer. In Hamburg he made sure it is known that he is much in sync with the local female punk contingent and he knows half of the audience by name. And sure he did not let go the chance to chat up ladies onto the stage to sing and dance with him.

Wonk Unit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

And Wonk Unit Fan extraordinaire Christiane (of Gerd and Razors fame) was invited for her favorite song onto the stage to sing-a-long with Alex and the band. Great fun, great performance and indeed the true test that Wonk Unit are one of us and are much in sync with Hamburg.

They played long, they played longer and then they had an endless series of customer chosen encores (though some song requests where denied as the new drummer was not yet trained on everything). They also constantly declined to perform Bohemian Rhapsody, something that was well noted as a let down.

Following the Wonk Unit set a couple of folks demanded that we would now perform the full Monty: scooting over to the Lobusch and seeing Japanese Noisecore. One of our mates made some loud advertising for it but for the me these toothless grunzcore fellows just would have been a too harsh contrast.

I’d rather had another one in the pub of the Monkeys to round of a great evening with three of the pleasures in life: Football, Beer and Punk Rock.

… i dislike open air festivals, period!

I have a natural dislike for Festivals and i have a much stronger dislike for Open Air Festivals. And i don’t like the big tourist things the city throws. Still, there was a small section of the line-up on the Jolly Roger stage during the annual harbor festival that did stick with me:

The Murderburgers are a top quality Pop Punk outfit from Scottland, the Monkeys Choir is full of friends and the Razors … are the Razors and a mainstay.

For me living on the harbor side it was a short but painful stroll through a zillion tourists, only to realize that them Murderburgers where reduced to a Duo. Their bass player was absent with leave, he was off sick in the Hotel. Still they decided to pull their set through, thanks for that.

The Murderburgers (Jolly Roger Bühne, Hamburg, 11.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Though the bass was sure a miss they managed to get the songs across quite nicely. I think this was down to the quality songwriting in the first place, some of them would also work on acoustic guitar only. Not a lot of people in front of the stage but still some decent applause.

Next Oxo 86, Ska influence Oi! with self proclaimed party potential. They had a huge crowd in front of the stage and they sure had a lot of movement in the crowd.

Oxo 86 (Jolly Roger Bühne, Hamburg, 11.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

For me it was not so interesting, it was just that niche that i like a bit (on the edge) but not really – some songs where ok, most songs just did not work for me. Maybe the singer just talked too much…

What became apparent at this stage was that the concept of selling beer in bottles and allowing bottle onto the concrete is just stupid, most of the bottles ended up broken glass of some form and some even ended up as danger.

Next Hamburg City Punk Rock Singers aka Monkeys Choir with i guess their 3rd official show, now on a big stage in front of a big audience. On the bigger stage they could position their groups well, the only thing that was lacking was a couple of more microphones to capture all participants well – but that would be a too big ask actually i guess.

Hamburg City Punk Rock Singers (Jolly Roger Bühne, Hamburg, 11.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They had fun and they emitted fun down into the pit – largely due to the sing-a-long potential. What definitely does not work is the guitar, way too dominant and way to many errors. It spoiled some of the great performances actually. I still like the concept and i do hope at one point in time they don’t need any electrical background anymore and the sheer volume of voices makes it happen.

Whilst the choir was singing there was also some interruption, a contingent of drug-infested street-living and on-the-ground-sitting-whilst-the-band-is-playing „punx“ did not behave and physical force was used to explain to them that their behavior was not tolerated. As much as i dislike violence i still believe sometimes it is justified like on this occasion.

By now it was dark and as it was river side it started to get a bit chilly, And i was annoyed by the too many people. But the Razors where still on and they do deserve my support, specifically as singer Klaus had his birthday that day (something that was celebrated in style earlier that day).

Razors (Jolly Roger Bühne, Hamburg, 11.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They took the stage, they kicked in with „1977“ and where i stood the sound was awful. The bass way too loud and harsh. I retreated to the other side, where the guitar was louder but the total sound was better.

Still, after a couple of songs i gave in to my dislike of the settings, a full week on antibiotics due to an infection and the cold.

Whatever the harbor fest will bring next year, don’t count me in. It does not work for me.