… sold out and pleasing the young: H/C Matinee.

I did barely finish breakfast and some relaxing at home following the Punk Rock Hamburg Festival in Harburg on Saturday when i decided to take up the pull coming from my Hafenklang Season Ticket. Though a fierce storm was announced i dared to take the risk of the train into town.

It turned out all easy but the decision in hindsight was wrong, as i never got into the groove of the show.

First on Angst from Hanover with a quick, fast and aggressive set that was paired with some rather dangerous caiporera dancing by some of their fans.

Next on Dagger Threat from Hamburg and they where just that barking noise that i tend to pass by.

Candy from Richmond, VA (in the US of A) took the proceedings to a more professional level with a much more complex wall of sound, both rooted in H/C and Metal and with some clever noise samples.

Spirit Crusher from southern Germany took a slightly different route, with some spiritual words from their singer (and lacking their 2nd guitar due to the Storm and the need for the guy to be home on Monday). They actually played some nice songs but somehow indeed something was missing.

No Turning Back from the lowlands west of us took the stage next and boy where they tight and together. The singer though was a bit of a loudmouth, a mate noted “ego character”. No clue if that is true, but they fired off some decent SOIA like H/C.

But we all where eager to see No Warning, as some of their recorded output is actually very very strong. It was five quite different stage personas taking the stage and indeed they provided the most perfect, most solid sound that evening.

For my liking they edged too much towards metal on some songs, whilst in between being just a perfect fast paced H/C band.

Maybe i was too tired, maybe it was the short sets and long changeovers – i never got myself into the show. What i noted though was that the absence of smoking at the Hafenklang was a sheer relief versus the Stellwerk on Saturday, where i felt like an Eel being smoked (and was not the only one complaining).

Less smoke it was, but also less booze. This empty view was never there on Saturday…

11 bands in less than 24 hours, i should next time be more cautious. But at last i was lucky, whilst the storm interrupted a lot of trains i was home with ease.

… 50 odd people only? Damn rainy Thursdays!

January is by far the most empty month in my show calendar, also 2020 it needed something extra to lure me out. Two items came together: On the one side Riskee and The Ridicule, which i had to pass by when they played the Monkeys previously and on the other side i was still to collect my 2020 Season Ticket for the Hafenklang.

So whilst i collected Season Ticket #1, Season Ticket holders #2, #3, #4 and #7 where in attendance too and Season Ticket #2 also took along Season Ticket #8 to hand it over. That’s a lot of Season Ticket holders out of the 12 sold but unfortunately not many more regular ticket holders or Abendkasse users came around. At the end only about 50 odd people showed up on a lousy, rainy and windy Thursday – bad timing for the bands!

First on the Bottlekids from sunny southern Wales and for me absolutely a blank sheet. 3 guys, different looks … what to expect?

Ups, that sounds like something from the US, something from the 90s, something that bounces around between a couple of mu-sick-al chairs. It took a bit of time but just like myself also others stayed and did not drop the support in favor of chats and drinks. They rather had the same feeling than myself of seeing something interesting, enjoying their sound.

Bottlekids (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.01.2020)

Most valuable asset? Both the bass, that carries the melodies and the scratched voice of the singer (who claimed that normally he would be sooo much softer – he simply ruined his voice the night before).

At the end people where quite cheerful for them, they are not particularly defining a brand new genre or are doing something extraordinary but what they do, they do great, with precision and with some good song structures. It is exactly the reason why i go out to shows and want to see something new – to be surprised. Thanks mates!

How good was it? I bought their 12″ on colored wax and limited to 200 pcs for cheap 10 € – and i only buy records nowadays if a band convinced me live. You know the drill.

Next on Riskee and The Ridicule, self proclaimed Grime Punks, whatever that label should be leading to. At least for my mu-sick-al cupboard i now have a new label that i can stick onto one currently empty drawer. And they sound like this ….

As far as i am concerned that is happy mix of Rap, Nu-Metal and whatever … largely it is somehow DIY with loads of street credibility. Some songs to my liking are too much dominated by the machine gun spoken words from Scott (but the beauty is within, the words definitely have meaning and once you get across the accent … they are class).

Riskee And The Ridicule (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.01.2020)

I have no clue if this is their normal setting but they dropped the bass and featured twin guitars. As the mu-sick was driven anyway by stop-and-go elements and less by melodies it did not matter.

Whilst i was still a bit reluctant most of me mates around me rather went GO BANG, some even in full family force with two generations happily singing and dancing away. Great to see, sad that the floor was – warning, euphemism coming – spacious.

Riskee And The Ridicule (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.01.2020)

Eventually they carried me away too, after i guess 45 minutes they took on some extras (or, with a different view, they did a class 1 minute rock star break to disappear and reappear).

For the extra Scott took on to get it agreed with #1 Fan Nickel in the audience, some chit-chat, some bartering and off they went into not another love song.

I noted above that i nowadays only ever buy records if a band convinced me live, but it does not mean that i always buy. Riskee And The Ridicule are live an energetic, catchy, dancing-instilling unit with a class message on all the naughty items in life (and some education on Millwall Bricks and Glasgow Kisses) but on record (or, for me, testing it out via their Bandcamp page) they do not work. As such i was one of the few not scoring a record.

Nevermind, it only ever proves that it is all about checking bands out live, on stage, in your local club. And supporting them there. Thus indeed it was a pity that a mere 50 peoples showed up for two class sets by two worthy bands.

Hamburg – next time round be more attentive! And remember that now that the island yonder has done it’s little exit it will be so much harder for bands to tour in Continental Europe, across the foggy channel. We must show them that we still want them to come, that we still want them to play … for us … at our places!

Catch of the day: Bottlekids 12″

… DOWNSTROKES galore: The triumphant return of the Clowns!

I was working in sunny Kyiv during the week but made it clear to my boss that i had to be home in time on Thursday, as the mighty Clowns would be back in town (he had no clue what i was talking about). Still, a risky undertaking, as only indirect flights would get me back and Lufthansa these days is not 100% trustworthy to be one time, always.

I made it just about, arriving at the Hafenklang only to be taunted to not have ticket #1 (an anal fixation of my humble self) and to the sound of the support already playing.

Playing towards a well filled but not packed house where The Gotobeds from Pittsburgh, PA from the US of A. 4 guys and loads of … Indie sounds rather than hardcore punk. Wild guitars and stomping rhythms.

The Gotobeds  (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 14.11.2019)

In good moments they created a neat swirl of guitar work, in rather dull moments it was typical (and to my dumb ears boring) indie rock sound – something that i tend to avoid. But i did not leave for chats and beer outside, as they at least had some good mu-sick-al moments. But not my thingy and paired with the Clowns maybe a shot too wide.

After a swift makeover it was then time for the Clowns, all the way from Down Under, to take the stage:

Bang! High energy rock’n’roll i’d say in a very modern setup. And little space for boring sounds as much as there was little space to gather your breath. They took off exactly where they left it back in August last year, on a hot and sweaty night at the Hafenklang.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 14.11.2019)

I am not sure about how many people they did draw this time round but they would not care – they seem to dig Hamburg and the Hafenklang and they gave the impression they love playing here. They fucked up the tour plan though, once done on stage they would have to pack up and drive to Belgium to catch the early ferry to England, they had to achieve a load-in time in London at 15:00 next day.

Hanny made a point of the fact that this would mean her missing breakfast, the most important meal of the day. She thus declared the audience to be her breakfast already tonight, something that was echoed by the lot…

Yep, thats full on fun right down from the stage into the audience. Someone in the know (as a guitar player) after the show made a point of how great the endless barrage of downstrokes was. Others just expressed pure appreciation of having been bulldozed completely.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 14.11.2019)

For me it was just outright fun, after a long work week abroad it injected the right amount of energy back into my body. Recharging that was and for me that works best with #thereaintnuthinbetterthanlivemusic! And just for me they finished off their set with an encore, giving me (and nobody else for sure) my loveliest song:

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 OF ABUSE
SELF DIAGNOSING
SELF PRESCRIPTING
SELF DESTRUCTING
PICKLE

from Lucid Again, released May 12, 2017
(c) all rights reserved

Thats “Pickle” if you are not in sync with their mu-sick-al output and it sums them Clowns up like no other song. I am happy to repeat my judgement from last year:

Oh boy, that got everything in the mix – literally. And that is why i got a ticket for them in the first place: They throw hardcore, trash, metal, psychedelic guitars and some scent of pop into a happy sunny mix and push it down from the stage with relentless energy.

Nuthin to add, just the complaint that many of the regulars going to shows with me did let this opportunity pass by – i don’t understand why. Is it the amount of hair on stage? Is the fact that they are – without fitting really – on Fat Wreck? Or is the metal connection on them fending you off? Trust me – they are just class and are a guarantee for a powerful evening.

I hope they did catch the ferry (in fact by the date writing this i know it), i did catch a free ride to my new home in the suburbs with a mate who already resides there.