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.