Hamburg is melting under the heatwave, so it was a rather tough outlook to get down to a packed club and enjoy approx. 250 warm bodies on- and off-stage around me. But it was the DeeCracks from Austria and CJ Ramone on something like a farewell thingy – so most likely a great ramonescore night.
My short stroll down to the Hafenklang always takes me past the good old Kneipe zum Flohmarkt aka Krawall 2000. For a short time at the end of the 70s and the beginning 80s it was the home of Hamburg punk.
I think there were 2 or even 3 incarnations of it, the final one giving in on pressure from around (and sure above) i believe around 1984. This evening i noted that a „for rent“ sign is put up, so anyone with spare money and good nerves could rent it now and create, as me mate Dirk noted, the Krawall 2020! Anyone in for it?
It was quite surprising to see the audience in front of the almost (just a single number of tickets remained i guess) sold out Hafenklang: Sure loads of regulars (and the Hamburg Raduno contingent that had the luxury of seeing both in Bergamo) but also a distinct different type of Ramones-aficionados from far and older people for sure in for CJ only.
Kick off was for the DeeCracks and … somehow it came to a funny standstill. And a guitar being AWOL. Once all of that was sorted they gave the typical 3-piece ramonescore view: Feet wide, guitar low and a madman behind the drums.
DeeCracks (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 24.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
For me they have a great spread of hard&fast and slower stuff and also they do have some songs i consider killer hits. On this occasion though the sound was, at least for my ears, rather lackluster and at least towards me the energy did not connect fully.
Some around me found it a wee bit odd that a Austrian-German speaking band gave English announcements but that was the least issue for me as i struggled with the sound in the first place. They gave a perfect warm-up for more ramonescore to come and they got not only their own fan base cheering but also others.
For myself i would have loved more off the hard&fast and specifically my loveliest song by them:
After some much needed fresh air it was time to get back into the sauna. The last time i saw CJ Ramone on a stage was actually way back in 1996, 16th or March in the River State Stadium in Buenos Aires. After the Ramones disbanded i still followed some their individual output, for CJ for example Los Gusanos or Bad Chopper but avoided to see either Marky Ramone, Richie Ramone or CJ Ramone live.
But it is never to late to change and what i head recently and what folks traded to me persuaded me to say goodbye to CJ. With him he got half of the Street Dogs, when i saw Lenny coming up the stage i was already positively surprise but then i also recognized the drummer, who was wearing a St. Pauli Kit, as the Street Dogs drummer. On top CJ had enlisted a young gun as the 2nd guitar.
CJ Ramone (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 24.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
And what did i get? I actually got a wide mix of Ramones songs paired with his own stuff. At times it felt odd for me, at times it was actually great fun. It is a fine line to be a cover band of (partially) your own band. What was visible though was that large parts of the audience where only in it for the Ramones bit and i guess that is the reason why i stayed away from the three survivors.
That said, a killer songs like Wart Hog (a Dee Dee song from Too Tough To Die) can still send me shivers down the spine:
You don’t get the song? Here you are, try to sing-a-long:
Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog I take some dope, I feel so sick It's a sick world, sick, sick, sick Doomsday visions of junkies and fags Artificial phonies, I hate it, hate it Death, death, death it's the price I pay It's a sick world, what can I say? No such thing as an even break It's stealing and cheating, take, take, take Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog I wanna puke, I can't sit still Just took some dope and I feel ill It's a sick world, sick, sick, sick It's a hopeless life, I hate it, hate it It's a joke, it's a lie, it's a rip-off, man It's an outlaw life, we're a renegade band Doomsday visions of commies and queers Artificial phonies, I hate it, hate it Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog Wart, wart hog (c) DeeDee Ramone - 1984 Taco Tunes ASCAP
Yep, that was nice. And frank, the mix of own songs with Ramones songs worked nice too and they got it all nice’n’fast. And that made them really really sweaty, great that they managed to play what felt like 30 songs.
Hidden in there was also this beauty:
That’s from his current record and i guess i will have to buy that one. It also worked absolutely perfect live – i am sold! They played until like 23:00 and then said goodbye with some smiles on their faces. Thanks indeed and thanks CJ for all the years!
I took me another hour of chatting and having another non-alcohol drink until i finally went home sweaty, happy and not wasted.