… not just boys fun: Ramonas & Bullshit Boy at the Hafenklang!

After having two week off (enjoying Danish sunsets and moving back into the vicinity of the Hafenklang) it needed a bit of lure to take the stroll downhill to the Hafenklang. The lure though was easy, one of the best Ramones cover bands was in town, so a neat sing-a-long evening was on the table.

Next to me they lured about a hundred odd folks down to the harbor front, some with 2020 tickets, some with 2021 tickets … and some with 2022 tickets. The show was moved twice … Covid times, sight.

Kick-off was with Bullshit Boy from Hamburg, 2 girls on strings and Carsten (Emils etc) on drums. I already came across them earlier in the year and took note of their EP on Bandcamp, as i do like Punk with female vocals and Girrrls in bands per se.

Sabine, the guitar, used to be around as a one girl band called Dark Horse, now she seems to have expanded and plays her songs under the moniker Bullshit Boy:

„WE KNOW IT ALL – WE CAN DO IT ALL – WE LOOK SUPER FIT AND WE ARE TALKING RUBBISH ALL DAY – WE ARE BULLSHIT BOY!!!“
Bullshit Boy (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Unfortunately this evening i had a negative Déjà-vu – very often i do like bands live but not their recordings, here it was just opposite. I had to let go after a half of their set and was not surprised to meet a couple of me mates outside, who already left and equally did not get the groove.

By all means check them out yourself, here is their 5 song 10″ (still the coolest format around). I will give them another chance for sure, maybe it was just me or a bad day for them. Or both.

The Ramonas came next and they have already quite some length under their belt: Started in 2004 as a pure female Ramones cover band they have added since 2016 also own material – all worth to check out.

With them it was speed, power and sing-a-long – a visible and audible difference to Bullshit Boy. From the first chord they emitted fun and energy from the stage and took the audience on a Ramones memory trip.

Ramonas (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Having seen the Ramones 8 times (and every single Hamburg show but the 1978 Markthalle one) and having seen plenty of Ramones cover bands (from killer ones like Hamburgs own Ramones Revical Band aka Ramonez 77, Hamburg Ramönes and eg. Gabba to not so good ones i’d rather not name) i gotta say they are one of the better ones.

Without a doubt.

Their song selection from the vast Ramones œuvre is actually on the more clever side (as above with Bonzo Goes To Bitburg), though they missed two of my favorite gems: Highest Trails Above and Strength To Endure unfortunately where absent.

Ramonas (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

The audience was happy though, so i did not complain. I anyway had zero complaints, the band was energetic enough (and getting the max out of their small amps). And by the smiles traded between them you could see that they like what they do. And when there where errors and mishaps – they just smiled it away and went on.

Sure thing they covered the cover (the best ever ode by a Band to another Band of a different genre) as their final song, well done.

If there was any complaint, then it may be my usual one: Dress code on stage. But that is just me and my anal view on stage related items. I guess they have better things to do then wash (or not) their stage attire after every sweaty show (and sweaty it was indeed).

Ramonas (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 13.09.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

In retrospective i actually would have loved to have gotten more of their own material, i think it was only about 6 songs – the rest was from NYC. But hey, still a great set and and enjoyable Tuesday evening at the Hafenklang, that i guess we left as the last consumers after midnight.

Next to the short stroll home the best was actually chats’n’drinks with friends and regulars and the simple fact 6 out of 7 musicians on stage where female.

Not just boys fun, as ever!

PS: Nothing, nothing at all, can beat this live set from 31.12.1977

… when the support also surprises the main act then it must have been a great show!

As i share my views on shows i attended i never shy away from pointing out items i liked and items i did not like. And there is no preference nor bitterness. What i do like is to get surprises, share surprises and praise surprises.

And this hot Tuesday was to be a show of surprises. The least surprise was that the Avengers used the Blackpool weekend as a lift off for a round of shows in Germany, it was actually expected and much welcome. Also a lesser surprise was to meet Biber, former Knallschoten Bass Player, as he usually attends Avengers shows at the Hafenklang.

A slightly bigger surprise was to meet an old school fellow long out of country, who actually was Punk #4 at my school in early 1979 when i was just about to venture into that mu-sick-al direction. I think he is to blame for my love for Sham 69!

The biggest surprise though was the support act. I never took note of them prior and only got word from friends after the show that they had seen an incarnation earlier (and had been equally surprised back then).

And what did surprise me? It was Reverend Beat-Man & The Underground from sunny Switzerland.

Reverend Beat-Man & The Underground (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 09.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

It has been quite some time that i saw such an enigmatic front man who is able to not only command his troops but also literally confronting the audience in a way that glues eyes towards him. He is quite unique and acts like a real actor in the best positive sense of the word.

And how does their self proclaimed Doom Blues Nasty No-Future-Wave Synth Folk Trash sound? The Doom Blues element of it sounded like this:

Every song sounded different and on every song the Reverend assumed a different persona. I guess his fellow musicians (i understand stolen from other bands. eg. Milan Slick from the Synth-Punk-Duo Entartete Musik on Keyboards, Beatrice Graf from Ester Poly on Drums and Benjamin Glaus from Skinny Jim Tennessee on Guitar) and their respective abilities and background make that possible.

Reverend Beat-Man & The Underground (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 09.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

They not only got plenty of applause from the audience ( i guess almost 200) but also had Penelope Houston glued to the side of the stage and taking videos. I guess they surprised her as much as they surprised me.

The are unique, driven by a singular cause (and personality, i take) and they bring back a variation that frankly i sometimes lack on eg. H/C shows. Somehow it felt like being back at the very early 80s when Punk branched out way beyond the original rock rooted Punk Rock.

If you dare, try them out. I won’t dare to buy a record (as i am unsure if the music works for me at home or on the move) but if you dare on that front too than please rely on Sounds Of Subterrania to get their stuff. The owner loves them.

The Reverend and his disciples already made the evening a good one, as such i was in no eagerness for the Avengers actually. A rare feel in the context of support and headliner but to a certain extend if was here exactly for them in the first place.

The Avengers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 09.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

It feels really good to see Penelope and Greg still at it, supported by young guns on Bass and Drums. At the start the drums felt a wee bit loud, as the drummer had a high intensity, and Gregs guitar was way to low on volume. Down the road that got better and we got to enjoy not a 1:1 copy of the 1978 Avengers but got their classic hits (and they only ever produced hits) in a real 20th century fashion.

Here is Corpus Christi and a song that is covered in 2020 by a rock star is testament to that simple fact: Only ever hits!

And yes, Penelope is still a great voice and has aged well. Would she know that some of her 1978 pictures made an everlasting impression on me? I bet she does, as she has been a hell of a good looking punkette back then. And she does well in keeping the Avengers alive and kicking.

The Avengers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 09.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

They played for about an hour i guess but game back for some extras, including the all time sing-a-long and mantra: I Believe In Me!

I believe in me
I make my dreams real
I believe in me
I said I believe in me

If there is one 7″ you should get from 1977 US of A then it is the Avengers debut one on Dangerhouse.

To quote an infamous person:

These three songs are the Avengers recording debut. My all time favorite female punk singer, Penelope Houston, fronts the band and is just too great. What a voice filled with feeling she has! You just automatically believe everything she says.

True, so true. The Avengers left behind many happy people, the Reverend left behind many happy people – i can tell you i left happy too. I got what i love most: Live musik i can sing to and live music that surprises me. Paired with meeting people that share an equal vision. Just puuuurfect!

PS: The story of The Avengers is not without tears and one of the sadder element is the story of the original bass player James Clavin Wilsey, who went to fame and from there down to drugs, homelessness and … death. There is a book on this story but to get my hand on it i would have to spend 25$ on postage. Too expensive. Anyone with an idea to get it in Europe cheaper?

… downstrokes ad infinitum!

Despite all the recent setbacks and sad loses life is good. And for some it was extra good on this hot Wednesday as them Clowns (from sunny Australia) finally came back to Hamburg. Life though was not good for my mate Frank as he finally caught Covid and had to stay home. And pass on this ticket. Where is sun, there also is shadow.

The DeathSet, who provided support, where completely unknown to me. Maybe due to stickers on them that read “Art Punk” or, a more sizable sticker, “Experimental Music“. They seem to be half Australian half American (i think that is what i heard from the stage) and they sport Drums and twice Guitar. And they add soundscapes, film snippets and background noise from tape respective computer.

How does it sound? Surprising!

It was a bit of everything in a surprise box. A lost luggage auction where you buy a large travel bag without knowing the contents. You may hit gold, you may hit 6 weeks of dirty underwear from a disillusioned “i take a break and trip the world” person.

The DeathSet (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

I was just about to leave for some outside chats when something made click. I can not pinpoint what it was but somehow it glued me to the stage. And from song to song the show got more entertaining and more diverse.

And then i knew that i was double lucky: Not only them Clowns (where i knew what i would get, downstrokes galore) but also a surprise with something very unique on both sound and presentation. And more structured songs and longer snippets actually where way outside the bad annotation of “Art Punk” or “Experimental Music“.

I chatted a bit with someone in the know on them and understand they got quite some length under their belt as a band, including a sad loss with one of the founding member passing away in 2009 and driving an extend hiatus.

My verdict: Check them out. It is worth it. You might be fended off initially but listen in and get into the groove. I will definitely check out their recorded output.

Changeover was easy, as The DeathSet placed their minature amps in front of the Clowns gear. Though size does not mater really (thanks to a PA) the kit of them Clowns gave away what was next. Big heavy riffs and downstrokes.

And this how them Clowns, all the way from somewhere in Europe, came down on Hamburg:

Back with a bang. And the new guitar player adding a slightly more metalic scent. Eager fan boy that i am i took note of the setlist and was well prepared for the entertainment to come.

Clowns - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022)
Clowns – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022)

That is about half/half old and new stuff, with actually one very old one in it (fan boy me). As always Stevie (singing) and Hanny (shredding the bass) took stage center and the action but the hidden gem of the Clowns is the twin guitars and the near-perfect drumming. Boy, they push a great sound forward in front of them.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Stevie took frequent leave crowd surfing and also Hanny (who sat lonely at the merch when i entered the largely empty Hafenklang but still managed to throw a smile when i said “Hi there” in passing) took a dive into the pit.

From start to finish you realize that they are stage and tour hardened, fully in sync with what they do and they are very self aware on how to throw a perfect set under any condition. And on top those in the know assured me that they are non-nonsense, professional, always friendly, grateful and always delivering 150%.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

And they leave behind each and everyone of the participants satisfied and happy. For me little fan boy that was being served my fave song.

Here is “Pickle” in just another live version:

As always, sing-a-long:

i’ve woken up in gutter
turning shades
of yellow, black and blue
the only thing keeping myself alive
is a memory of you

take this iou
promise that i’ll do
a little better 
next time

i’ve got my self in a downward 
spiral
and there’s nothing you can do
the only substance in your life
is a bit 
of substance abuse

take this iou
promise that i’ll do
a little better 
next time

self diagnosing
self prescripting
self destructing

pickle

I guess it is the third time now that i got to report that it is a perfect song, with brilliant guitar work, perfect breaks and build up and words that make absolute sense to me. Kudos Clowns, Kudos.

The audience was fully engaged, loads of sing-a-long and many able to complete verses when Stevie was lending the mike down the to fist wielding front line. It was also great to see quite a number of female fans in the pit enjoying it.

Clowns (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 20.07.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

Puuuurfect though after 15 songs with no encore a wee bit of an aborted ending after i guess about an hour of stage time. But it was a damn hot day in Hamburg, though cooled down a bit in the evening, and them Clowns had been on a very long run in Europe. Forgiven, without a doubt.

And me sad mate Frank? He got some live pics from me, was phoned by another friend and could listen to s song via phone and another Good Samaritan took home a setlist (hopefully signed) for him. Does it feel better now, Frank?

Them Clowns though are expected back at the Hafenklang next year. This is non-negotiable. Everything else would result in a trade war vs. Australia. Brace yourself Melbourne!

And if you can not wait you get a chance on a slightly bigger stage with better sound at the Knust, 06.12.2022 that is, in support of some Nathan Gray. But it’ll be a bit pricey.