… sold out places all over: Preferring sunny Santa Cruz over the East End!

Now that was a tough choice: The Monkeys had the Rejects for a 40 year anniversary show that would be a killer and the Hafenklang had Good Riddance, which i believe  have not graced Hamburg for … say 15 years? So what to do? Both went on Ticket sale early and both reported good traction on sales.

Whilst a large part of me mates jumped to the obvious choice of the Monkeys (and reported a killer show afterwards) me and a small part of friends decided for Good Riddance, as this would mark their comeback: Both in Hamburg but also after their 2007 breakup.

And also the Hafenklang very early reported „sold out“:

Two support slots went to local bands, kick off would be with Hamburgs finest ramonescore outfit The Haermorrhoids, who are busy touring and playing support slots whilst preparing for their next release.

And this is what awaited the die-hard fans in the front row:

The Haermorrhoids - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.10.2019)
The Haermorrhoids – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.10.2019)

15 songs, 30 Minutes. Perfect „less than 2 minutes“ scenario of pure energy. They kicked off slow and then blasted away. As the have now played a lot they are very tight and have perfected their set, which on this evening also included some new songs.

The Haermorrhoids (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.08.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

The sound though was just not perfect, somehow it did not have the right balance to me: some of the vocals too low volume, some of the drumming not coming across right and it had a bit of an overcast of low frequency noise.

That was „1984“ and one of my favorite songs, specifically for the lyrics, an ode to mom:

When I peed into my bed 
My mom always cleaned up my mess 
Until I was 35 years old 
Never cared about nuthin' 
She solved all my filthy problems 
I lived in a fairy tale 
Oh yeah! 

As they only had a 30 minutes slot there was no fuzzing around, even technical issues with the hi-hat did not stop them of pushing forward and getting the front row dancing. Whilst the Hafenklang was sold out unfortunately some people did let them go and definitely missed something.

The Haermorrhoids (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.08.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

I would be more than happy if they just get into the speed and rhythm of them brothers Ramone and put a long player our every year. As such the news of them doing new songs and having another record on the horizon makes me fly high like a junkie – hopefully i don’t overdose:

As always „Overdose“ finished off their set and for me that was – despite the sound issue – a more than enjoyable set. With perfect sound and light it would have been killer actually.

Where The Haermorrhoids nailed it the next band would not. At least for me. And also for a few more who wandered outside rather for some beer and chats.

Kapot (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.08.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

It is not very often but sometimes a band either through look or sound, through vocals or something else fends me off, here it was the mu-sick – it just did not make klick for me. Check Kapot out for yourself and if you like them go out and see them!

After some changeover and some waiting the by now definitely packed Hafenklang got what they waited for – here is how GR kicked off:

Bang – that’s a perfect return onto a Hamburg stage. I have no clue into what cupboard people put them, i guess it the melodic element on top of that hardcore sound that makes them outstanding, almost never at the risk of being too slow, too poppy or just too much of a waste.

Good Riddance (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.08.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

With GR you have all elements that a band should bring onto stage: A near perfect drummer that hits hard and smiles away. A joyful bass that not only plays hard’n’fast but also has an eye for fun with the audience (and accepts the risk of being hit in the balls). A fast shredding and taken away guitar that drives the sound. And a singer that does not perform too many fancy items, schemes and maneuvers and just creates a center of attention through himself.

I knew immediately that for me it was the right decision to run AWOL from Cockney and with me many many folks smiled away or where throwing themselves into the pit, through the pit and onto the floor.

Good Riddance (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.08.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

The only bad item was that it was a very male pit with sometimes little attention to smaller and sometimes female members of the audience that also would love to be near the stage. I guess that is the price to pay for having GR at an unusual small location against what they used to draw (also in Hamburg).

There was another bad item and that turned out to be a technical one that i understand was on purpose: Russ voice sounded very odd and after the show i checked with the Hafenklang and they confirmed it was due to him using his own mike, which somehow gave that sound. If he likes it that way, than that is ok but it gives a distinct different vocal sound compared to the records. And not a better one if you ask me!

Speaking of records i was hoping to be able to score the new record in colored vinyl but they had none of that record at all with them. Damn, now i guess i need to team up with others and order from the US, greedy record collecting scum that i am. And me mates are. And we all are!

Good Riddance (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 10.08.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

GR ruled the Hafenklang definitely and the did wear out some of the audience, who sang most of the songs louder than Russ and who danced away relentlessly. They turned out to still be absolute perfect musicians, with a great sound and with some great songs. I would love to see them back in a slightly bigger environment and still sold out.

They did not play my loveliest song though but you can’t have it all…

… toss it, here it is – listen up youth:

Perfect guitar work and chords, driving and absolute stunning lyrics.

Thanks GR, on all fronts, for coming back!

At the end of a long evening i was like the 3rd but last person outside the Hafenklang after long rounds of chatting away. That normally tells me that i did like the proceedings. Back home and sneaking into bed i was wondering if it would have been the same at the Monkeys – i fear it would have been too!

Damn choices! But great to see that both clubs sold out and scoreing their share on drinks – we need them Clubs! So please all help to repeat this more often: Sold Out instead of Selling Out!

… 1 and 2,3,4 – another goodbye in a packed Hafenklang: CJ Ramone farewell!

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.

ex-Kneipe zum Flohmark / ex-Krawall 2000 - up for rent again!
ex-Kneipe zum Flohmark / ex-Krawall 2000 – up for rent again!

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.

… a killer debut, a solid farewell and a triumphant return: The best show 2019, so far?

It took the Descendents and the Mighty Mighty BossTones 21 fucking years to come  back to Hamburg … and it took the mighty D.I. 25 years to be back at Hamburg shores, a place that in the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s was full of D.I. devotees.

So when the news came around that they hit Europe the Hafenklang was sold out quickly: It was a Friday evening in Summer, they paired with Poison Idea on their farewell stint and had with Yard Bomb the hardest and corest local support that you could wish for. People came from far and also near – the Hamburg lot was in full contingent and even Bremen showed up in force.

The unpleasant support the support slot was for Causes from Hanover, they had to lure 200+ people drinking and chatting outside the Hafenklang into the main room and in front of the stage.

Causes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They did not succeed. I gave it a try, as i am always keen to see new bands. But they just did not touch my soul with their rather dark punk. They also looked a wee bit static on the stage, so i had to let go for another beer and another chat.  But by all means, make up your own mind and check them out.

With a swift changeover it was time for Yard Bomb, currently for me the hottest hard core unit on the local circuit. And they kicked of like this:

Their drummer was absent with leave, so their old drummer filled in after leaving 5 years ago to give them the opportunity to excel on the same stage as D.I. and Poison Idea.

They had a rooster of 14 songs prepared and from the kick off it felt that they wanted to shove it up the audience ears with no fills and no frills: Net they clocked in at 21:05 for the 14 songs, that is a near perfect 80 seconds per song on average (and allowed for 10 seconds between songs).

Yard Bomb - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019)
Yard Bomb – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019)

Their visual on stage is still a nice spread: Rolf yells, moans and groans and has every muscle full of relentless energy, Benny smiles and hammers the bass and Sven has his guitar strapped high and generates both knife sharp chords and a chaotic swirl. And all of that backed by solid drumming (though sometimes you could make out that they most likely did not have too many hours in rehearsal together).

Yard Bomb (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

I loved the energy, i loved the mu-sick-al Blitzkrieg and the take no prisoners attitude. At times i even had the feeling they would overtake themselves but i saw a couple of smiles on the stage so they looked all happy with the effort.

Yard Bomb (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They have a veritable hit (one of my top 10 songs by a Hamburg band) and that one sounded in a speed up trash’n’burn version like this:

Sing-a-long to this beauty:

Milhouse will be a better man
Next 40 years from now
Don't smoke
Don't drink
Don't fuck around
Everything is turning up 
On Milhouse right now

Will be a better man
The next 40 years
Will be a better man
Don't smoke
Don't drink
Don't fuck
Don't curse

Milhouse!

If you ask me for my humble opinion (and that comes with 40 years of listening to that genre called widely Punk or Hardcore Punk or even Hardcore) that is perfect song that you would think came out of California or Washington DC say 1983 – but not out of Hamburg, in the year 2014 resp. 2019. Kudos Yard Bomb – you got me!

That Poison Idea finally say farewell in contrast was less than a surprise. Too many in’s and out’s, too many health and other problems. And sure losses like the passing of Pig Champion  But Jerry kept things together like on this final tour, where a last minute change had to be done to guitars.

Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

What the audience got was nevertheless a great showcase of the wide variety of the Poison Idea output (that actually stretches from 1983 to 2016 and still puts #recordcollectorsarepretentiousarseholes to a stunning test in getting a complete collection).

And how did it sound? It sounded quite well:

The strength of the set to me was that for more than half of the songs the audience carried the band forward with all the singing, dancing and energy – one final time both Poison Idea and Hamburg where indeed united in their loved for hard & cheap.

Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Jerry smiled a couple of times and thanked people for coming out. I’d like to reply that this was the minimum to do, they have been around for me almost all the time (and stock 18 record in my collection) and some of their output is definitely stuff that i will carry into the elderly home (once the rest of the collection is auctioned off to pay the fees).

Thanks Jerry for all the years of effort!

By now it was quite late (10 minutes to midnight) and there was still the headliner to come back on us after 25 years.

And this is how D.I. came back:

They came back as a 4 piece (though i heard rumors they would come with two guitars, did not get to check out more detail) and with a lineup that has been together now since 2003 (so for a while, though it is Casey who has been around ever since and that is since 1981).

D.I. (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Their strength sure is their early output until 1988 – for us over here the stuff was just like honey: Sweet. Sticky. And of quality. Little did we know over here about the many line up changes, there must have been like 20 different line-ups with Casey being the only constant.

But what it always had was a quality O.C. Hardcore sound. That cool blend of various bits of Rock, Punk, Surf and all of that neatly given some speed (in both senses).

D.I. (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Those with an eye for the more historic side of Punk Rock sure know that Casey was the original drummer for the Adolescents and as such he took great pleasure in the design of both the Yard Bomb debut 12″ and the matching T-Shirt. He even took it on stage and used it to deliver praise for the late Steve Soto (and that was echoed from the audience with some For Steve! returns).

And his old Adolescents classic (actually, again for those versatile in Punk Rock History, a Detours song by Messrs Royer and Agnew) was his own ode to his old mate Steve – here is Amoeba, 2019 Version by D.I.:

To no surprise the audience went ape shit. Loads of dancing, loads of singing and across the board very bright smiles not only in front of the stage but also to the back of a fully packed Hafenklang.

The most smiles actually came from the stage: Joey Tatar on drums not only does every trick in the drummer book with his sticks (and then some more not in any book), he also pulls faces left, right and center. Once you fixed your eyes on him you could not let go – it was utmost fun!

D.I. - The Drummer (utmost fun and pulling faces galor (c) gehkacken.de 2019)
D.I. – The Drummer (utmost fun and pulling faces galor (c) gehkacken.de 2019)

They came back more than once and they gave the audience everything and a wee bit more. As one of me mates noted it is not custom for US bands to come back for an encore – but coming back three times and late into the night, that is just class.

D.I. (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

With all that fun, all that joy there where also toned down moments, moments where Casey (a heroin victim himself) praised those who made a step away from drugs (and never returned to them) and he was also careful enough to explain that „Richard hung himself“ is actually not a fun song but a hard truth. As such he urged people to take care of those around him. Well done Casey, well done.

Casey’s own issues with drugs have been in the news, up to and including not so fun family moments that made the press. His advise offered in an interview was simple: „My advice… hard drugs will ruin you and your music, unless you live in Amsterdam. Then you will write good music, but die young.

They played until 01:00 and they left behind a still full, fully sweaty and extraordinary happy Hafenklang. On top they also had class manners, thanking each audience member that came forward for a chat.

I resorted back to the bar for beer, to the merch for two Yard Bomb 12″ (that i have to picture below in color … because of the cover, sure thing) and a Poison Idea T-Shirt for me love. And more beer. And more chats.

I can only urge you to get this beauty upon real release (that’ll be 27.09.2019) or attend the record release party at the Hafenklang on 02.10. (with the mighty Razors and Suck). Make sure you buy like me an extra one to make it a gift. Try to convince someone outside of Hamburg of Yard Bomb! Mine will go south and i am looking forward for the feedback…

…  and with a broad smile i finally took off home, yet again through empty streets on my short stroll uphill and home.

Whilst i was on the way to bed, the docks yonder still kept working on the cruise ship – i wonder when that finally will be done with the makeover.

Thanks for Hafenklang for setting this up and thanks to lot and the bands for making it a very worthwhile entertainment. Farewell to Poison Idea, hello to Yard Bomb and dear D.I. – be back soon!