… 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!

… labor day: An evening of laborious and painful enjoyment!

Last years triumphant show upstairs at the Hafenklang (one of the top 2018 shows in town) was still making waves in the circuit, as such their April 2019 run passing through Hamburg was given the prime stage – downstairs. But what should have been a prime event turned somehow into a laborious and painful evening.

Kick Off was with Waran from Bremen, an outfit i have never seen before, never heard off and, by the looks of the stage setup, may be slightly different. And different they where: A funny looking bass (who tried to hold back fun to the inside but every once in a while there where giggles and smiles on his face), a drummer from a showband, a non-descriptive guitar and … a vocalist.

Waran (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

And what they do is quite a concept: Whilst they play complicated Noise-Rock, or Noisecore or Math-Jazz the vocalist sings, speaks or recites word drawn up by a homeless guy (who ain’t no more). Bit of an arty thing, at good moments it was a bit of Victims Family, at better moments it was driving, hard and fast and and most other times it was … painful for my ears.

No clue how booking for this show worked, for me the wrong pairing as a starter.

Next on Dark Web from Philly (as in Philadelphia, US of A) took the stage, unfortunately with a full change of equipment. They looked just different (and younger) and yet again i have never seen them before nor heard any of their mu-sick.

Dark Web (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Whilst Waran where painful for my ears it turned out that Dark Web would rather be … not painful, maybe anoying … for my eyes. They had a good twang, a solid beat and maybe too much reverb (specifically on vocals). But they looks did not match their sound and after a mate hinted to me „try to listen with your eyes closed“ i tried it … and was surprised that the mu-sick indeed worked better without the visuals.

They played a short set, most like the label „Post Punk“ is the right sticker for them. I guess you should check them out for yerself, my mu-sick-al limits may just be too prohibitive (for my humble self):

And with that it was Johnny Moped time. By now the Hafenklang was well filled, though it lacked the age mix of young and old: It was old farts predominantly. Last years pairing of a young local band (with local supporters) with Johnny Moped just did drive a much more healthy mix.

And to that audience and with a triumphant return from the Rock’n’Roll Butterfahrt Festival on Heligoland (that little high sea rock that them Brits tried to blow up after WWII) Johnny Moped took the stage:

The band excused Paul (and themselves) before he hit the stage as „we are worn out and Paul lost his voice .. but fuck that, let’s do this“ and indeed you could barely hear Paul and his voice was cracking. Bit time. You could even see the pains he got through trying to sing. Not good. And thus many feared the worst … either a weak show or Paul having to back out.

Johnny Moped (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 01.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

But Paul stayed on and actually his voice got a wee bit better during the show. The pit was packed and people enjoyed it big time with loads of sing-a-long and some cracking jokes from the stage.

And thus finally Labor Day came through laborious (sustaining two bands i most likely would not want to see) and painful (for Paul). But still they did a perfect set under these circumstances and they got a lot of appreciation.

Crazed up fans from near (Hamburg) and far (Bremen) actually entered the stage to demand an additional encore:

They ain't Rock'n'Roll Rookies! ( (c) gehkacken.de 2019)
They ain’t Rock’n’Roll Rookies! ( (c) gehkacken.de 2019)

Well done lads and i do hope that Paul saw a doctor next day, got some medication for his throat and vocal cords (and hopefully he has not destroyed something there) and a good rest before he and the troops hit upon Rebellion this year.

And can someone please explain the math (just to not use the word logic) behind the booking/pairing of the three bands for that labor day?

… relentless energy: No Problem!

I think it is the 4th time that No Problem graced Hamburg and boy was i eager to see this powerhouse yet again. Be it on record (with that heavy scent of dark wave or whatever you call that) or be it live (aka atomic explosion) they are just a force. And friendly folks on top.

So not only my humble self made it to the matinee show on typical April Sunday but also 5 of me elderly mates (and plenty of younger folks).

Support was from Bad Affair, who played their 2nd show ever and their first in their home town. A chord-strumming wild bass, a guitar that could also play in something more metal and a sturdy drummer paired with a female singer.

Bad Affair (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 28.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

It wasn’t particular my thingy, at times the rather brave vocals annoyed me, sometimes the guitar was just too … hairy. But at other moments their whole thing glued together well, specifically when the high vocals paired with a high and flirty guitar against the wild back line.

They only had a couple of songs but still played an encore: Whilst i do appreciate when a band does a hats-off to a legend it was very very cumbersome to list to Bad Affair slaughtering Civilisation’s Dying from the mighty Zero Boys.  Not a good job, sorry. Paul Mahern will not be happy!

But by all means check them out for yerself:

And with little changeover it was No Problem who took the stage. Their bass player could not make this time, so they had a girl filling in. And with quite some great soundscapes they kicked off:

Wham! They hit the audience indeed like an explosion and they take no prisoners. Against their marketing spiel they matched everything:

Attacking the crowd with catchy choruses, and dark brooding riffs, a No Problem performance will hypnotically pull every member out of the audience and into a war-dance like atmosphere. 

Taking a bit of a hiatus in 2017, No Problem are back with a new album Let God Sort’em Out scheduled for release on June 25th 2018 on Deranged Records and Taken By Surprise (Europe). 

With their most complex material to date, No Problem have created the perfect soundtrack to a world careening into madness. We’re standing on the precipice of a world circling the drain, let’s pray God sorts us out.

There ain’t no rest, there ain’t no holding back and still it is just not trashed out in speed but beautiful gems of songs and brilliant guitar work. Twin guitar work that is, some of the songs with the single guitar tended to sound imperfect (to my silly untrained ears).

No Problem (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 28.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

It was upstairs at the Hafenklang and about half full but No Problem had the crowd right at the stage and got loads of people moving. It took though one of the elderly to start a circle dance and get additional (and asynchronous) movements in.

I am sold on them. They have killer records out that stand the test of time and they are live just so full of relentless energy that i wonder what fuels them. It may be because they are from Edmonton (home of the mighty Oilers) out there in nowhere Alberta, Canada (and by my guess deep in Canadian redneck territory). They may not get a lot bands traveling through and they most likely get hassled big time day in day out.

No Problem (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 28.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

But here, over in Europe, they treated much better and so good that their short and relentless (can’t use the word on them often enough) set ended with a Viltones cover if it did make it out correctly:

Perfect! And though they only had little merch most of us got something: A missing record, a badge or myself a shirt. They deserved it. And some chatting, starting with my American Nightmare shirt being adored to discussing the great performance this season by Leon Draisaitl for the Oilers (105 Points make him the highest scoring German ever in the NHL). Did i ever note that i love Hockey and love playing Hockey?

Fun was also that me mate Riebe got carried away so much by No Problem that he dodged our „4“ taunting (footie inside joke) and exclaimed that „ … us 5 are the last survivors„. This was hinting at the fact that all of us where attending shows together since like 1980 and at this occasion nobody else from those days was around.

That fun moment got some icing on the cake when we realized that one of us sported the original shirt whilst a younger comrade in front of the stage could only sport the copycat version (though the Night Birds have all rights to do so).

The Copycat Youth vs. The Instyle Elderly (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 28.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Great show, good entertainment and an early end – some used that early ending to hop over to the Monkeys to see NYC H/C by Bold, i resorted back home for an early night. Age, you know?