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.
Punkrock Hamburg has been a theme for many years for the Blackpool-Pilgrims to show off force and localism at Rebellion. In the last years it also has turned into a little FB community that allows people to share, participate and promote.
And in January 2019 it has also turned into a venture that hosts a first – the first ever Punkrock Hamburg Festival (aptly named „1st Punkrock Hamburg Festival in the world“ in a bit of a loudmouth attitude (that actually pissed off some who saw the Adverts in 1978 and where present at the first Punk shows in Hamburg)).
And ahead of time it was actually sold out, though if you followed it on FB you could make out the gamble many venues and promoters are facing today:
At the ease of a finger move people are interested but in reality only few make an effort to get a ticket. Here it worked, also because it was a special location: The Stellwerk in the Harburg train station, south of the river Elbe – a rather grand room in the old station building.
Kick off was early and with Youth Of Altona and they do something special: They play only ever the Wipers songs they like, not the ones the audience would like to hear. From where i stand that is a very valid setting and if that is paired with mu-sick-al capability and some form of charm than it is valuable addition to entertainment.
Youth Of Altona (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
The most daring thing though was the guitar player, who played with some form of exoskeleton as he had a broken elbow. And that on the arm that moves the fingers up and down the length of the neck. Stunning that he was able to produce a clean guitar sound (as clean as it’s shiny acrylic glass body).
Great stuff but little movement on the rather small stage. But they got it right and they got the key item right: Wipers where not about speed and thus for some they played slow. I’ll say they played right.
Next local heroes Blanker Hohn. An outfit i believe i have seen only ever once in the early 80s, together with the then still small Toten Hosen at the FZ Nöldekestraße. I never tracked them, so missed their disbanding, re-union etc – but it seems they want to play again. How do they sound today? Check it out:
By and large they are to my ears rather painful and that is mainly because my ears never got to adjust themselves to what people refer to as Deutschpunk, specifically the class of 1984.
It just does not speak to me. What i did like though was the guitar, the guy could shred out some good chords. Still, local heroes with some songs on local themes though the words today just don’t work anymore (as all of them seem grown up men, fathers and lovers). I think they would benefit from creating something new. But who am i, their marketing director? Nope, just a listener!
The contrast to the next band on stage could not be bigger: Projekt Kotelett amassed 2 guitars, 2 singers, one bass and one drummer on the now really crammed stage. And they had one item that i always dig: They dressed for the occasion.
Projekt Kotelett (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
All clad in some form of Deutsch and seeming to represent the unnamed Wutbürger. And with them came action, fun and loads of beer. On the musical side they blend in everything but ground themselves in fast rock (with scents of Glam, Punk and whatever).
Their advantage sure is the solid back line and the two singers, who allow for some versatile back-and-forth within a song and for at least some form of aggression. And putting the danger back into Punk it at least something many (including my humble self) appreciate.
They got applause and they got some dancing. And they drowned some beer. And more. An even more.
And that gave way to another stark contrast – where Projekt Kotelett where like Cabaret it was now for Nasser Hund to take the matters much more serious. As i missed their previous shows i was really keen to finally get to see – so i took at good look at the details to come.
And did they meet my rather high expectation? Oh yes, they did. No frills, no fills and no nonsense down to the bone music and great, heartwarming and to-the-point German lyrics. To find a comparison is actually tricky and any comparison would actually fall back onto those who are on stage and their history in so many bands.
That’s Kai on drums, Arne on bass and Jan on guitar. Whist i could brag about in how many different settings i saw them individually i have to admit that in this setting it works stunningly great. And it also works that they let speak the music and the words rather then meeting my other fetish – stage uniforms.
I loved them, many of the attendees loved them and they got a good level of appreciation (and even some drunken nutty dancing). If you ask me they are a force to come and you should definitely check them out. They even did throw in an encore – so listen up youth:
With that i am now super eager to get the news that they finally found someone who releases their fully recorded record on vinyl. It would be a pity if that takes the fate of the yet to be released Platzangst record (which turns into a myth every year it stays unreleased).
What beauties you can expect? For example this hard knocking A1 material:
„Sie haben ihren Eltern niemals verziehen, sie lächeln nur auf Fotographien“ – absolute great line and rhyme. If they go for crowdfunding i am in. Worth the effort!
Speaking of effort: Just check out the great backdrop the friendly people running this show created. It was actually funded by you and me (when buying Hamburg Punk Rock City T-Shirts from them) and we gotta be thankful to them!
If you need such a shirt then seek them out on FB!
And after a long evening, plenty of beer and plenty of chats with friends it was time for the mighty Razors. And they kicked off like this:
There is not a lot to add to that: They pretty much enjoyed the evening (and the other bands) and they where eager to close out the evening with the same level of joy.
The new set list by now is in shape, mixing new songs with classics and obvious highlights like Heroes.
They almost rushed through their set, had everybody smiling and dancing and delivered the solid performance you would expect. And that, after all these years, as one of us in front of the stage.
Those who read here on a permanent basis most likely know that i am somewhat biased with them, still they simply deliver towards that agenda that get’s me out to shows and see bands live. And for that i love them.
Kick off at 19:30, final whistle after midnight, home in bed with a nice hangover and the best was to get the poor away game of FCSP on Friday out of me head. Mission accomplished.
Mission also accomplished for the good people that put this up: Sold out, all bands got their share and nobody was hurt and nothing was destroyed. I am not sure if they are in for a replay but i will sure lobby for it. Just the name for that little festival will need to be a bit less loudmouth.
Against all odds two years in a row we stayed in Hamburg over Christmas and New Year and as such the traditional Burn down The Baum showcase of the Razors was the best possible occasion to finish off the mu-sick-al year early and with friends from near and far. And far this year stretched from Calgary to Perth, so basically the Razors where able to lure the globe to Hamburg – perfect!
Kick off was by the Fro-Tee Slips up from the grim north, from the place all you yobs with driver licenses keep yer points: Flensburg, as far north as you can get without bliver dansk (though exiled danish lads where in attendance too).
They have been around since 1989 and for a reason i have avoided them all these years. Still, here and now, i was to give them a chance.
The Fro-Tee Slips play fast paced Deutschpunk with some Oh-Oh-Choruses and loads of talking between the songs. Actually the north Germans most like call the singer a Labertasche. But they are funny and they had a number of fans and a number of folks being able to sing along in the audience, so there must be some form of attraction (next to the cheap trick of free booze for the audience).
Did i like them? No, there won’t grow love. Do i appreciate what they do? Yes i do, as with any band going up there and play. Just not my niche. They get an extra bonus though for stage attire, as i prefer bands that wear uniform stage uniforms.
Having surveyed the grim north the lot faced some crazy nutters from down South. Switzerland that was, the country that invented punk („Wer hat’s erfunden? Die Schweizer!„) for the German speaking territories.
And with them we not only got stage attire but also stage personas. And a proper intro song based on the name of the band. And i can only assume that the name of band comes thanks to Peter:
You know those kids they get at school,
they've got a motorbike they think they're cool.
They've got a moped for their sixteenth birthday,
now you can hear them coming from half a mile away.
It's the moped lads, they like to think they're bad,
it's the moped lads, if you hit 'em they'll tell their dads.
They follow the school bus 'cos they think they're next,
they try to impress the girls on the back seat.
They go up the Youth Club and stand outside,
and talk about the bikes they can only just ride.
They're about as hard as a lump of shit,
but they've got two wheels so they think they're it.
They always show off and try to act flash,
but the best thing about 'em is
when they crash.
(Peter & The Test Tube Babies - Moped Lads)
A reference that today will only ever throw a blank face into any 14 year old – for us in our mid-50s it actually means a lot (and a youth reality).
And here they are – from funny Luzern – the Möped Lads!
Great stuff. And great stage personas indeed: On the far left one of the lads who played in Crazy (for me one of the most definite punk bands from CH) sporting a Johnny Moped Commando overall, a nutty singer in the center, another guitar with punk’n’roll outfit and a bass with a heads off to The Clash. And a drummer who got out of his seat for every final chord of a song. Lovely!
How did it sound? It sounded like this:
Maximum energy punk’n’roll with loads of power bulldozing the Knust. For some too simple as a mu-sick-al recipe, for me actually fitting very well the setup of the night.
And they just did not stop or held back, song after song they only ever plowed forward. They also recognized the language barrier and made and effort to explain some of the Swizz words used in the songs. Thanks mates!
Best moment for sure was their adaption of Crazy’s long lost hit „Weisst du noch?„. Just perfect!
Great stuff by some great people (who keep a great scene afloat at the Stedel in Luzern). They got some appreciation from the audience but i have to admit that they deserved even more. I liked them, for many reasons!
That gave way to the Razors, still with Christiane for the off sick Old Erwin (best recovery wishes to him, stay strong!) and in best shape.
They tailored the setlist down a bit and for the occasion, old classics like „Tommys Gang“ needed to make space for some new references like „Razors in the night„.
From the first chord they had the attention of the packed Knust and had the audience enjoying it. Song after song they got the people singing and dancing. Within that they also had some perfect memories all the way back to 1978 – it’s has been a while. It has been 40 fucking years actually!
I watched out for this rather new song – a fully fitting ode to our youth:
And now sing-a-long:
It was in 1977
when some school friends came together
No ideas - searching for beers
No more school - acting like fools
There was a new sound called Punk Rock
Driven by guitars - loud´n ready to shock
That give us the kick to build a band
Hey ho - we were in wonderland
We played for us - it was cool
We had so much fun
Rotten clothes - colored hair
Fuck the rules - we don´t care
1977 - punks entered the scene
1977 - smashed up systems dream
1977 - leather studs and booze
1977 - nothing else to loose
No rules - just beer and dope - we cried out loud
No Future - No Hope
And sing-a-long it was for the encore, the lot was up there on the stage and gave the best they had: Their looks, their voices and their energy.
The best perfect end for the show: There ain’t no boundary between those up there and those down there. Actually more often this years i saw those up there seeing other bands with me from down here. In footie it would be UNITED ON THE TERRACES, i’d say here it is UNITY.
Given my hangover from Friday i kept intake limited and headed off before the raunchy party with DJ Schaub was in full swing (and booze would be added to beer).