… the post Covid return of Moving Targets (and surprise Finns thrown in & out by Covid)!

It has been a while since i saw a band up on a stage, most down to work duties. This was followed by the urge to spend time away in sunny DK with me love, mainly to recharge the batteries. But good timing allowed to be back fully charged for the Moving Targets annual return to Germany (which was skipped twice due to the Pandemic).

Support was from Finland, my secret love and home of the reigning Hockey World Champion and current Olympic Gold Medal holder (an almost exclusive feat!). Maybe the guys partied to close last weekend when Finland did beat Canada 4:3 in overtime? When the Van Dammes arrived in Hamburg they where sans Bass Player, who tested positive on Covid and could not travel.

It was a bit hard thus for the band to achieve both sound and stage presence but they at least tried – though not necessarily always successful. Maybe due to that they faced a rather empty Hafenklang (that anyway was way too empty on this Wednesday evening).

Van Dammes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.06.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I stayed on, mainly down to the fact that i try not to let down support bands. But i also sensed that they actually have some decent songs, some twangy beat and some neat choruses.

I sincerely hope that they get a 2nd chance with full line up, all in all they seem a worthy effort. How do i know? Because i took home two EP’s after the show, one aptly named “Best Of” (from previous releases) and the other one a near perfect Football tribute.

It was done for the occasion of Finland qualifying for the first time ever for a Euro Tournament which first of all tells me that the band is supporting footie rather than hockey. Also not a bad choice.

But once home and on the record player i have to admit it is a real gem: catchy songs, clever use of synthy & in-the-know lyrics on – yep – grass green vinyl. Try yourself, be convinced and buy the EP, now!

… most likely the best football record of the 2020’s!

Without too much hassle the Moving Targets prepared the stage, got ready and kicked off like this:

Not 100% perfect, as the guitar volume was too low but the sound quickly improved and actually turned out to be near perfect (at least on my side of the stage).

What always strikes me with the Moving Targets is how perfect they work as a team on stage: Emilien with powerful precision drumming, Yves mastering the bass without pickup whilst bouncing around (and emitting the joy of music from his face) and Kenny providing the guitar layers, defining the tempo and applying the final icing on the cake with his voice.

Moving Targets (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.06.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

What i liked best this time round was that they where able to stretch the songs into something i can only describe as soundscapes: Layers of layers filling the room up so that you felt engulfed in it – at times i even had my mind drifting away. Isn’t that what music is all about and tries to achieve?

Moving Targets (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.06.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Unfortunately the turnout was low, whilst pandemic restrictions have been removed the live show circuit has not yet picked out again. Be it that people finally got sick of postponement and late cancellations (hence not getting a ticket in advance – venues tell me that pre-sales are at an all time low) or be it that the current non mu-sick-all situation (War on Ukraine, cost of living crisis) takes it’s tall.

Moving Targets (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.06.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

On the other hand most of the attendees got out to see exactly this performance, see the Moving Targets and get carried away by their sound. I saw a lot of smiling faces and i saw a lot of people silently moving their body to the music.

At the end the Moving Targets put an extra on the already extended extra of “Youth Of America”, they gave us Fear Of God on top:

Perfect ending for a perfect show. Period. I would love to see them eg. on a bigger stage and packing say 350 to 400 good folks into eg. the Knust (where they would get a full perfect sound and have a larger space for filling it with soundscapes).

And a Moving Targets show would not be over unless the band came around and asked how it was, as such we had another beer and some good chats more. Luv it!

And for those who are really into it: Get the phenomenal Moving Targets 12″ with Youth Of America and Dead Wrong. I guess the special edition with the band as action figures is sold out but the limited edition with the hijacked covers – just click below!

… them ladies love them Kids!

My last visit to live mu-sick did throw me into 12 days of Covid isolation until i finally came out “negative”, though not really with difficult symptoms thanks to being fully vaccinated and having had my booster shot on top.

To cheer me up once allowed out again The Kids from Belgium (Belgium, Bloody Belgium) where in town. They are a beast of a party machine, playing a simple recipe of Punk’n’Roll ever since they came about in 1976 and putting out two killer records full of juvenile & catchy sing-a-long songs (deeply grounded in Rock) in 1978.

The pairing was perfect, kick-off was with Küken who defined their little niche very much in a similar way: Deconstructed and simple, though driven hard. And unique twin vocals. For them it was pretty much also a return back to stage and hopefully touring, so lets hope that they can be back at it with the success they deserve.

Küken (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.04.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

They still do what they do without too much interaction with the audience but it is the beauty of the sound that indeed speaks for itself. They even have songs with subtle & clever variations and bridges. I am still convinced that they have dug deep and uncovered gold.

I rekon i do not need to be asked for supporting statements (Küken are one of the tightest outfits i have ever seen) but i do hope that they get some bigger chances.

And whilst down at the wishing well i’d love them to take on songs from other bands (and other times) and strip them down to their style. Actually, whilst thinking, they should cover a full album. I guess i got to win in the lottery and make them advances. Whilst i try to achieve that you got to check out their output!

Without too much fuzz The Kids set themselves up and about 120 good people where eager to see them. And from the start it was the female contingent in the audience that went singing and dancing, something that was clearly visible. And indeed their simple Punk’n’Roll, nicely speeded up vs. 1978, goes direct into the legs.

I bet you them ladies love them Kids!

From the original Kids only Ludo Mariam is left, the brothers De Haes have been replaced with other gifted musicians quite some time ago. But from the first song there is loads of sing-a-long (Yes, young people know these songs from 1978), broad smiles and all-around happiness in the audience.

The Kids (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.04.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

They vary nicely between their short smashers from way back and a bit more complicated songs, they even turn to songs that are a wee bit slower and complex. But overall it was all up there in happy-land for most of the audience.

They are a bit more talkative than Küken without giving away too much. And the more they played, the more they smiled also on stage, getting into the groove and loving it.

As encore you almost all the time get a little nod from The Kids, so here is “If The Kids are united”. They also covered a Ramones song but here i need to agree with my mate Marcel (who scooted over from Amsterdamned to see this show – and a few more in Hamburg): You should not cover an early Ramones song, you got to try to cover a late one!

Never mind that ill choice of cover, with this nice sing-a-long them Kids ended a great show with two great bands. If you want their stuff go here!

Happiness on my end and with most of the folks around me. I was also able to pick up my season ticket for the Hafenklang, so i am now well prepared (vaccinated, boostered, recovered) for more shows in 2022. Bring them on!

On the way uphill for my train home i came around the back of the Hafenklang and saw these leftovers in the rain… sad view!

Trash, go pick it up, don’t throw your love away (New York Dolls)

… the return of Snuff as the return of normal?

Oh Boy, it has been a while – actually pre-wave 4 and wave 5 of Covid i guess – that me and me mates enjoyed a more or less unconstrained (though 2G+) show. The Hafenklang waited long to reopen the flood gates for show but now is back at it, though still not filling the place to 100% of the capacity.

Kick-off was with The Rumperts, from Austria, and it was somehow strange. I expected 3 females and one male singing (at least that is what i saw checking upon them prior to the show) and i got 3 males and one female operating the guitar (through a cool tube powered Laney amplifier). I did not really get what happened there and frank wasn’t bothered to check after the show …

The Rumperts (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.03.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

… as they did not really get into my mu-sick-al universe: Too much mid-tempo, too many expected sounds and somehow sounding way too … indifferent to my ears. They did have some small sections that worked well (and where uptempo) but they also had moments where i (and some folks around me) where just shaking heads (especially when they literally slaughtered Nervous Breakdown by Black Flag). I am happy to give them a 2nd chance but then please let it be the girls with the singer.

Without a great deal of delay Snuff came on and surprised some in the audience with the full brass section to the left of the stage. I wasn’t surprised – i was rather eager! And this is how Duncan forced his troops into combat:

Just perfect. Back where they took a break i’d say. And all of the drive that unfortunately i missed with The Rumperts, also all of that umpfff, sing-a-long feeling and sugar coating from the brass section. And that drive into the legs of the audience that visibly go most of the people moving, either big time in front of the stage and less around the pit.

Snuff kept tempo and did drive through new stuff and selected old stuff (always accompanied by a some form of on-stage banter around “buuuhhh, boring old stuff”). They had as much joy on stage as the folks in front of the stage.

Snuff (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.03.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Looking at the setlist the first item to note was that it was too short. Actually way too short. Me and me mates traded like 20 more songs that should be there plus a couple of songs we individually would love to see. Riebe pointedly remarked: “A Snuff show without Do Nothing is not a Snuff show” but that maybe was taking the discussion too far.

Also sans brass they kept the pace and the beauty of the mu-sick. Within the audience where some Swedish Exchange students by chance (apparently they stumbled across the club and took their chances to see live music in a seedy punk place).

Their in no way or form conforming outfits (see the young lad in the white sweater at the start of the song on stage) and their non standard behavior on the dance floor where actually a welcome break from the uniform styles normally attending these shows.

The longer (the still short) show went the happier people in front of the stage got. Live music, only constrained by an own decision on keeping a mask inside, with friends and dancing … it felt a wee bit like the return of normal.

Great show, great return by Snuff, scored a nice shirt from Riebe and had a couple of beers with friends. Whilst Covid numbers still go up in Germany i do hope that finally we get back on track with some form of normal.

A regular pattern of shows. Please. #thereaintnuthinbetterthanlivemusic