… sold out and pleasing the elderly: Harburg Fun, Pt. 2!

Last years 1st Punk Rock Hamburg Festival was a bit of a loudmouth surprise but still a real DIY exercise. Sold out and loads of happy elderly people. As such the good people behind the Punkrock Hamburg community decided to throw a 2nd – yet again the first 2nd in the world.

As much as the Ramones had it with „2nd verse, same as the 1st“ they did not change the setting nor the idea: local bands, from the scene, for the scene. And yet again that concept sold out the Stellwerk in Harburg, south of the mighty river Elbe (and thus a world distance for most people from Hamburg).

The hardship of the early start went to Pommespanzer, who traveled by Bus from their home in Bargfeld (north of Hamburg), together with a sizable Pommespanzer Crew all dressed up in team gear.

Pommespanzer (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

Their asset is their trumpet, their weak point is their singularity: Simple songs about beer, more beer and Holsten Pilsner Halbe Dose does not really suit my mu-sick-al greed. On the bonus side their only recorded output is on a single that was complementary with an Altona 93 Fanzine and is a song about the proud AFC. So they can’t be completely bonkers.

Their crew though, all looking loaded, had fun and thus their hardship was smoothed with cheers and support.

Next on Punktucke and with them it is only ever the same: I don’t really love them but they have their own sound, well played and they are tight together.

Punktucke (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

On top their songs have actually a meaning and some of the words are well crafted. Still, somehow it does not make click for me and i just don’t know what is wrong. They had their cheers but lacked the organized travel group supporting them…

When The Crimes took the stage the Stellwerk felt full, people were all chatty, cheerful and boozing and got a grand Las Vegas type showcase to many folks surprise.

The Crimes (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

They were dressed, as always, for the occasion (something that forever is a bonus for me) and delivered from the first chord pure showmanship, paired with class Punk Rock and Roll.

And to much surprise of the audience mid show they got three lovely background ladies up and thus enhanced it to a real Las Vegas style show. Word has it that some in the audience indeed where stunned to see their better half up there.

I love them and once they finished their set i had the feeling it can’t get any better tonight or at least that i have seen the winner of the proceedings midway. I wonder why i don’t see them more often – they would fit a lot of support stints, also in larger places.

For Gerd it was now a hard competition, though they remain uncontested Party Heroes for the Hamburg lot. In the running up to their 30 Years of Stadium Rock show later this year they knew they had to beat them Crimes and thus stiffened and delivered a crisp set.

And crisp means that they distilled their set down to those songs of their vast output that would kick the shit out of the fans. And indeed it did, the party mood was in full swing (and a large contingent of the audience by this point in time had performed some serious drinking in an coordinated attempt to deplete the stock of the club)

Gerd (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

For those not accustomed with Gerd there is the little hint that Gerd made a living prior to their stadium career on dumping the fixed element of their pay in return to a high percentage of the booze turnover that night. That old trick still serves them well and their fan base can’t let go the habit.

And they also delivered some of their lesser known songs, this one they sold in 1977 during an FC St. Pauli vs. Hibernian FC friendly to some visitors from Edinburgh, who recovered half of the money only when they got the song to #17 in the UK Single Charts in 1978 (and sure thing Gerd would have taken it to Number One!). Sing-a-long with Christiane:

And here you go:

Hold tight, now we're on our own
Cue light, now it's ready to roll
Tonight, how I've waited for aggravated for years
It's fun, oh I just can't wait
Hold on, do I look up to date
Your on, I'll do anything if that's the right thing to see

Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What is selling what to buy
The stock market for your hifi
Take the money, leave the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

There's one, born every day
Sing song, then fade away
Ding dong, what's the future in the pop music industry
Alright, so you make the grade
Hold tight, to the buck you made
Just wait, you been rated for constipated peak viewing time

Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What's in fashion what is seen
On the front of a television screen
Take the money, leave the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

Hold tight, now we're on our own
Cue light, now it's ready to roll
Tonight, how I've waited for aggravated for years
It's fun, oh I just can't wait
Hold on, do I look up to date
Your on, I'll do anything if that's the right thing to see

Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What is selling what to buy
The stock market for your hifi
Take the money, leave the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

Pay the money, watch the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

Everybody's on top of the pops

Oh boy do i look forward to their 30th anniversary show, i guess the landlord of the Knust is already double checking the contract clauses and the storage capacity for booze.

And from the all time classics penned by Gerd it was a harsh contrast to the headliner, as the Emils would stretch some of the lot away from classic punk into more hardcore. For myself i appreciate that stretch, as my own mu-sick-al upbringing happened exactly along these lines.

Here is a classic from their 1988 debut album (that got a decent re-issue in 2018):

They forever drag that crossover patch with them, despite them all coming from the same dirty streets like me and many in the audience. I noticed a couple of folks leaving but i also notice a number of people getting to the front and supporting them (and singing along).

Emils (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

Singer Ille kept the lot engaged and provided some good grounding statements between the songs. What indeed is surprising is that whilst they disbanded a couple of times and some have also other musical engagements it is still the same 4 friends they remain unchanged in their setup. And here is another sing-a-long classic from their debut album:

What did strike me most is how accurate, hard hitting and precise Carsten on the drums is. He handles the task like one of these Duracell powered toys without giving the impression to even a scent of sweat on his body. Class.

Emils (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

And whilst they marched through their set they kept the icing on the cake for overtime. It started of with this Buttocks cover:

And from there they went into a something beautiful, someething real stunning: A 15 minutes medley of what felt like the first two Slime LP’s condensed. Sing-a-long galore by the lot and loads of fun. And in hindsight a perfect chosen headliner!

This was fun and it was Christian who went on stage to remind people that the fun was basically down to a small team of four running this as a total DIY exercise (though with a great loudmouth marketing attitude). So big FANX to you, you know who you are!

I will now eagerly look out for 2021 and i indeed wonder how this can be topped. I was home late, i was home gently loaded and i was happy as fuck.

… after 27.5 years of stadium tours finally back in Hamburg: Gerd in a Top Of the Pops club show!

It has been a long time that a seminal Rock Band with decades of stadium touring has descended down on Hamburg – only 2nd class acts like Barclay James Harvest , Electric Light Orchestra or Slayer have come down to Hamburg recently respectively are to come. Within that rooster it was an outstanding achievement by the good people of the Knust to get their hand onto Gerd and somehow trick them into a club show.

The show was not only sold-out in record time (tickets basically where traded under the tables via tell tale) but also was setup with two class mates of Gerd (though of smaller rating): Worldlevel and DEVO made the cut for the most open secret club show of all times.

First on Weltnieveau and thus a seasoned touring engine that has been around Hamburg and lesser towns since 1996 or so. They bring all the rock showman ship that you need, starting with proper stage attire (including all wearing proper white showmanship footwear) down to inviting surprise guests onto the stage.

Weltniveau (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Weltnivau play fast paced rock with great German words and thus have made a fortune across the German speaking parts of northern Germany. And they have songs that many admire, be it about love, be it about no wanting to go home with her or being about the pure essence of life: BIRTH-SCHOOL-WORK-DEATH is their signature song that got everybody to sing-a-long.

How did it sound and look? See for yourself:

Great stuff, they even managed to throw a Gerd cover in (another Gerd original that went to fame on that island yonder with a band from Scotland called Bay City Rollers). They where the local heroes that the big stars want as support: Quick, efficient and getting some early movement into the packed house.

With some amount of changeover (and some installations on stage) the next star guests from Akron err Herne where to take the stage. They where indeed special guests and long traveled ones too. Their setup was not without hick-ups and the whole show was riddled with things that did not work out in the way it should.

DEVO-tion (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Lights where below perfect, stage layout small and it had all the rock star annotation of the main act being afraid of the support act to steal their fans and put down a much better show. I think Gerd even used some voodoo channeling from their backstage penthouse to bring songs to a spontaneous combustion:

The lot had some high hopes for this but somehow all i spoke to where at least a bit disappointed. They played too many covers (eg. from Gary Newman, Flock of Seagulls) and they bypassed all their early 70s hits. Maybe they get a 2nd chance, a bigger stage and someone who fixes setup and lights. I’d love to see that actually.

And that paved way for the stars, descending down onto the rather small stage of a small club in a small town (at least compared to their more recent stadium tours).

And with all the rock star glamour they kicked in like this:

G.E.R.D. – the song that Lemmy somehow took off them to give it to those brothers in NYC.  And with that they took the lot by storm, from the first mighty chords it was a set piece that would lead to a nice first goal.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

And Gerd followed up with song after song from their endless rooster of first class party hits.

Did anything go wrong? Nope! Did any chord sit wrong? Never! Where there technical issues (eg. „too hot for the guitar“ like)? No! They just had all the knobs of the amps to 12 and emitted all the routine of a perfect rock show from the stage.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 14.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

There where some in the audience that took note of the recent announcement of Spinal Tap getting back together in 2019 and there was somehow an undercurrent of fear that Gerds prime spot could be challenged.

But lets be frank: with that rooster of hits there is nobody in the whole wide world to succeed in a challenge…

Gerd - Set List (Knust, Hamburg, 24.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)
Gerd – Set List (Knust, Hamburg, 24.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Gerd are the simple message that plain simple rock music is not dead, that rock stars can actually descend down into small clubs and that a successful show includes always a medley.

And Gerd have that medley themed after their little home niche in Hamburg – Hamburg Horn:

And with that all barriers where crushed, all borders where open and the floodgates could no longer hold back the fans (from more visits to the bar and more booze).

Whatever you like for a living, whatever you like for entertainment: If you do not desire to see Gerd than you are a lost case.

Without Gerd large parts of the 70 rock circuit just would not have happened.

Without Gerd there would not have been a reason for the punk revolution.

Without Gerd there would be no need to drive back to Hamburg.

And without Gerd, there would be no stiffening.

You, me – we all love Gerd. Try to be part of that universal love!

… 39 songs for 5€: How Gerd turn Thin Lizzy upside-down!

Out of the approximately 75 people at the Monkeys the evening before a large contingent also had tickets for Gerd, who sold out the Cafe Treibeis just around the corner of the Monkeys in record time. Against their stadium tours this was a small event but it was a „Thank You“ for the called off Christmas show last year.

Ticket Collectors are pretentious arseholes ... #7/85!
Ticket Collectors are pretentious arseholes … #7/85!

And Gerd being Gerd spared no cost and efforts to create a home for the lot: Special DIY tickets, a massive stage, new amps and cabinets and a light rig that would have made the Queen Mary II shine. Or glow. A bit. A little bit.

And the Gerd fanatics almost had a premature ejaculation upon spying the set list – within the 39 songs for the two hour set where some new gems: Gerd finally got a settlement with the estate of the late Lemmy and are now allowed to play their signature song G.E.R.D. on #25 (that Lemmy took for a bottle of JD’s in a moment of disunion by Gerd and transformed  towards is own ode to that NYC brothers Ramone).

Set list collectors are pretentious areseholes ... 39 songs for 5€!
Set list collectors are pretentious areseholes … 39 songs for 5€!

Sharp at 20:00 the Gerd ship took sail towards a packed Treibeis, bulkhead doors where glued shut and no-one was to escape. The proprietors of the Treibeis had stocked enough booze and the lot was yet again in happy mode.

Gerd (Cafe Treibeis, Hamburg, 24.03.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

OK, there was some shortcoming: The light somehow malfunctioned and left everything in the dark. Literally. And because the ship took sail in storm mode and everything was shut there was little to no air coming in. And the booze was too cheap and i guess you can imagine what cheap booze does to thirsty, wind and sun withered sailors!

And whilst half way into the harbor a mutiny occurred,  some of the shanghaied contingent where actually literate (and could perform computations) and made out that some songs had been skipped. Scandal! Money back! Just before Nessy was keelhauled Gerd took the wind out of the sails of these folks and re-arranged to play the missed ones.

And just within the 2 hour mark they finally made it port side with a song that someone in the know had on his shirt:

And that was a tight landing, the port had to shut down at 22:00 sharp!

Was the lot happy? As you can see below the lot was utmost happy…

Gerd fans doing what Gerd fans do: Enjoying the sing-a-long! ( (c) gehkacken.de 2018)
Gerd fans doing what Gerd fans do: Enjoying the sing-a-long! ( (c) gehkacken.de 2018)

That was a worthy effort by Gerd and that they still find the time to check back home during all their global travel is much appreciated.

Hardticket Collectors are pretentious areseholes ...
Hardticket Collectors are pretentious areseholes …

Next stop of the Gerd world tour is the big stage of the Knust and you can be damn sure that the little S.U.P.P.O.R.T. actually translates to a fucking big surprise. Be there or be square!

For me and 5 others it meant setting sail towards the Molotow in pursuit if the triple crown – more punk fucking rock awaiting us after midnight.