Strange combination at a strange place, but who the heck is to understand promoting companies? What was odd though was that The Talks did play the Hafenklang at the same time and thus it was a hard choice. I did stick to OFF! but at least one person did sell his ticket and did hop down to the harbour to see The Talks rather. First on Cerebral Ballzy, a young band from NYC and apparently „the hip thing“. As i am not tuned into hip items and specifically not hip internet phenomena (and skate hipsters for that matter) i was skeptical to say the least. Friends warned me „… record great, live a defunct/miss/pain“ whilst others just said „great stuff“.
It turned out to be no fun. The band was a disjoint something with bad bass sound, bad drumming and the sound simply not together. And the singer was … a pretentious actor. Acting like a half-dead-eyes-closed drug addict muttering vocals on stage and then after the show walking through the audience in clean clothes, speaking coherent sentences is just odd. The songs where shite (from where i stand) and the the show was just a show. Did not like it at all.
I have searched the internet after the show and it only confirms my gut feel – they are not for me. A band that receives this in the Guardian is to be ignored (by myself at least):
„Cerebral Ballzy, famed for their songs about pizza, puking and punch-ups – a band described as „Bad Brains on crystal meth“ – are leading the way for a more gnarly and grizzled punk aesthetic, attitude and sound. However, the New Yorkers experiment with the parameters of the genre, operating in a world of indie link-ups rather than a low-key DIY approach. The Strokes’s Julian Casablancas signed them to his label and their new album is produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. And as well as running a beat poetry night and landing the lead in a horror film (both of which are pretty punk), Cerebral Ballzy’s frontman, Honor Titus, also dabbles in modelling, posing for glossy magazines and fronting campaigns for fashion label Rag & Bone.“
Don’t get me wrong – they shall be doing their thing as it pleases them, it is just not my liking.
So it did require my old pal Keith Morris, my long time musical companion Steven McDonald plus genius RFTC drummer Mario and an hard rock axe man named Dimitri to set the evening straight. OFF! have been dubbed „Hardcore Supergroup“ which is an odd title but they had all CB had not (and where missing something that CB had plenty, nevermind): From the first chord they where tight, to the point, determined and had real visible fun.
Some people complained the show was too short, but i fear they miss a point: The average OFF! song lasts a mere 1,22 minutes and they do not have the set filled with useless bable about this, that and the other. Clear messages, both in the songs and between, and with an Opus of roughly 60 songs that does not make for 2 hours of playing. And, playing at that speed and with that preciseness it draws on you, as such no point going beyond the 50 mins they did play. What i did like tough was the key message: Enjoy, have fun. Simple.
What did i miss at the Hafenklang? A great fun, sing-a-long and dance show by The Talks in front of only 60 people and the chance to grab their vinyl output and get it signed. Ok, neither CB nor OFF! appeared to sign records. But hey, does not matter!