… Kahuna Surfers & Hamburg Ramönes: A (little less) happy family!

Axel from Partysprenger Records not only does a DIY Label but also does DIY Marketing: Every time he puts out something special i get an email offer. So last year he persuaded me towards the Kahuna Surfers LP and it turned out to be a worthy catch.

Their self-acclaim is pure understatement:

Kahuna Surfers, the perfect party band! 

Think Hot summer nights, high waves, palms, sun and umbrella drinks. At the beach, Kahuna Surfers plays their nice mix of classic surf music like The Beach Boys with 60's harmonies, which are mixed together into a fantastic drink with a big dash of Punk Rock and Power Pop. You will definitely not be able to stand still. It is guaranteed to give you more taste! 

Hey, Mr. Bartender pour me another Kahuna Surfers!

He lured them over to Germany and Hamburg too and paired them with the Hamburg Ramones for a Record Release Party, as the locals where putting out their 7th LP finally.

And whilst in Hamburg they also took the opportunity to surf the mighty river Elbe on the MS Hedi, playing Frau Hedis Tanzkaffee.

Thursday was sunny, the evening though turned more and more chill, still plenty of folks turned up to set sail with the Swedes – sold out i believe.

A Tiki Girl, Kapten Snuss and a misspelled Frau Heidi – Kahuna Surfers Setlist
(Frau Hedi, Hamburg, 18.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de)

A quick inspection prior to the gig showed that the band came well prepared: A Tiki Girl, two sets and Kapten Snuss. So nothing could go wrong. Pity though that their 5er setup includes a keyboard and thus 4/5th of the band played broadside whilst the keyboard was facing down backwards the MS Hedi, 90° offset to the rest.

Kahuna Surfers (Frau Hedi, Hamburg, 18.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Still, they all had steady feat and graced the audience with their own mix of feather light sugar coated beach pop (and remember, the “Pop” in “Pop Music” comes from popular). And it was delivered with both a twang, a smile and multi-vocal harmonies.

If there was something “odd” then the only thing was that for my liking there was just a little bit of thrust missing and definitely not enough surf guitar (and associated spring reverb). But the joy that came from the stage was a fitting balance.

Kahuna Surfers (Frau Hedi, Hamburg, 18.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

They played two sets with the 2nd one being a wee bit better (as having some more songs on the thrust side). But all-in-all a perfect match to put those Nordic surfers out onto the chilly Elbe.

Extra bonus: They all where perfectly matched in stage attire, for that only i would take them on again (and was about to, next day).

Friday upstairs at the Hafenklang though started sad: I already heard through the grapevine that Ecki from the Hamburg Ramönes got hospitalized on Thursday and that made it in the end impossible for the band to play.

Partysprenger Axel and 3/4th of the Hamburg Ramones: Sad News! Get well soon Ecki!
(Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

The rest of the lot, who had plenty of Friends and Family around, nevertheless asked the audience to enjoy and all send best wishes to Ecki – i guess he would not have wanted anything else.

So instead of “just” seeing a support stint from the Kahuna Surfers the audience was getting yet again two sets, slightly re-arranged. There was an initial disappointment though:

The consistent stage attire was not achieved: The drummer – who was a stand-in for the original drummer that could not travel due to medical reasons – only was equipped with a single shirt and could not match the rest. Damn!

On the sound side the whole setup was much better, the room and the PA sure helped to get a much better sound (and much better feeling of thrust) towards the audience.

For the first set they played with sub-optimal lights: Initially the stage lights where left on, once they where switched off they played almost in the dark.

Kahuna Surfers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

In the break Axel and a volunteer (plus a bar stool) took on to rearrange the spots that where all geared towards the dancing floor. After that there was a much better visibility on stage.

What did surprise me was that they where able to emit even more fun, smiling and joy from the stage than already on the MS Hedi. Sure one and the other joke as part of the show was repeated but all-in-all it was a near perfect set.

Kahuna Surfers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

In the end the Hamburg Ramönes where not fully absent from the stage, once California Sun was next they jumped to action and made it a happy family delivery – listen up youth, that was not rehearsed:

Loads of applause and by and large happy people around me (though the Hafenklang felt only like half full). I liked it, me mates liked it and i think i will see them again. Best setting maybe is indeed a warm summer evening, on the beach, with all the ingredients that the enchanting Chinchilla Vanilla put on heavy rotation:

Beach, Sun and Sex (and not Beer; as me mate Frank insisted).

I hope they sold plenty of records and shirts, as i had my LP already i resorted to the new Hamburg Ramönes LP called “Harvey”. You can get your copy from the Band or from Partysprenger! It sports a great cover done by Paulinho from Flanders 72 fame, go check him out (or see him and Flanders 72 at Punk Rock Raduno Six)!

Nice to see Kahuna Surfers twice (and get assurance that they are not a one hit wonder) and really sad that the Hamburg Ramönes had an ill fated record release party. But health of us aging old punk rockers is a – at least for me – not a thing to take lightweight.

Hope Ecki gets well soonest and they can have another go at presenting the record live!

As always … buying records at the show helps DIY bands!

On the more funny side: One of me mates, who has the season ticket next to me at the Millerntor, decided to boycott the show “as the Hamburg Ramönes are the house band of Teutonia“. Football trouble even within the family, Silly, ain’t it?

… the surprise return of Der Moderne Man!

As with all those young punks from the class of 1979 in Hamburg i went through phases. Initially primed by UK 1977 punk and shows at the Markthalle, i discovered also new German music, just before that part turned all sour by the hands of the Music Industry as “Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW)” and luckily US Hardcore came by in 1983 to save my mu-sick-al mind.

But whilst digging into German post punk i saw a shitload of great stuff, be it D.A.F. prior to fame, be it Malaria or … Der Moderne Man. From Hannover. And a great band with both feet in Punk and their head already way out into what would become the so called New German Wave (aka NDW). I have all their records and their first long player still stands all tests of time.

Check this out, an early early video:

What did stand out was the vocals from Ziggy-XY, who left the band after the first LP to do much stranger stuff with Kosmonautentraum, Whilst being able to get a 2nd long player out by 1984, they called it a day after 5 energetic years, forever.

And now wind to 2019 and a huge surprise: Whilst the annual Hamburg Ramönes show was set the band in passing published that their support would be … Der Moderne Man (thanks to some overlap in Personal). Eager as a beast i got a ticket on the day of pre-sales starting (and thus was lucky) only to realize that changed leave plans would have me 550 KM north of the Hafenklang on that day.

I thus i enlisted a fellow regular by pushing the ticket onto him in exchange for a promise to take pictures and report back. So here is the 2nd hand account of someone who was far too young (actually born 1977) when i saw Der Moderne Man in the early 80s.

And it goes like this:

The pleasure came quite unexpectedly, because my dear friend Dos surprised me with a free ticket because of his holiday. It was an even bigger surprise as he must have been very fast in securing the ticket,  because the show was sold out within a few days. Due to great demand from all over Germany it was moved downstairs from the Goldener Salon to the main hall of the Hafenklang,  And here, too, the quota was exhausted within a very short time.

Personally, the band said little to nothing to me. So I had no big expectations, which is not the worst thing. Also on board were the Hamburg Ramönes, a local Ramones cover band. As it turned out in retrospect the Hamburg Ramönes were the headliners and Der Moderne Man had the honor of support, thanks to the fact that two members of the Hamburg Ramönes also played in Der Moderne Man, who were reanimated for this event after a 35-year break.

Der Moderne Man (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Der Moderne Man thus opened the evening in front of a happily attuned audience, who had traveled from all parts of the republic and partly even from abroad for this event. For in addition to the 40th anniversary of the band, it was also to celebrate the 60th birthday of guitarist Ecki.

Der Moderne Man - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

Der Moderne Man – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

The singer announced that the setlist would have been played exactly the same order about 35 years ago and opened the show with the Disco-Lied, which was celebrated by the crowd from the first note onward. And it went on in the same positive spirit. 

The performance lasted exactly one hour, with songs like Laut, Das Tier, Dauerlauf, 13, Telefonlied, Gib’ Mir Den Tod and Frau Krause being highlights  for me. I am damn sure this band will now find their way onto my record-player (Note to self: Remind Dos that he agreed to sell me his record collection when he moves into the retirement home).

Der Moderne Man (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

After the obligatory encore, the band was duly adopted by the audience and they where visibly moved when the final curtain was coming.

The rest of the evening I spent talking with friends and regulars in front of the venue, so that I did not see much of the Hamburg Ramönes. Still i took  a quick look: The hall was no longer packed as during The Modern Man, but those who stayed were enthusiastic about Ecki and the crew still.

Hamburg Ramönes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Even gifts from friends, who found the exit from the island yonder that wants to Brexit, where presented: caps with the band name and the respective names of the cheerful tuned musicians.

Hamburg Ramönes - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

Hamburg Ramönes – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 30.05.2019)

It was a great event and I’m glad to have attended it!

B. like born in motherfucking 1977

Wow – i guess i missed something. Talking to others in the week after the show this was confirmed, though it was also noted to be a strange event: 100 tickets went to Friends of the Hamburg Ramönes and 100 tickets  where scooped up by people from all around Germany (with quite some prominent people among them), who were eager to see Der Moderne Man again (or finally).

Kudos and happy birthday to Ecki for making this happen, i appreciate it though i missed it.

nb: The enlisting of an apprentice was a nice first, i think i must try that one again. But with respect to handing him my record collection (including Der Moderne Man records) i need rethink date and price tag!

… the art of covering vs. the art of adopting a style: A difficult art indeed – Flanders 72 vs. Hamburg Ramönes ends 1:0!

It would have been Joey Ramones 66th Birthday this year and the Hamburg Ramönes do have a habit of throwing a birthday bash for Joey. This time round it included Flanders 72 from Brasil, a Ramonescore band leaning towards a Green Day sound rather, and it was set upstairs at the Hafenklang.

For me it was a wee bit strange as i only knew two people in the audience and they had the same experience – it was a strange audience, to a certain extend due to many of the regulars being over in Berlin to see Razors supporting Cock Sparrer. Still, it was a strange feeling to be in an audience that seemed to be made up in majority of friends and family of the band (with an average age even above mine).

Flanders 72 kicked off and from the first second they proved to be experienced musicians – right from the start great sound, tight and on the point playing and moving to the music radiating joy. According to me mate Frosch they did the same on a not sold out MS Hedi (a small ship hosting bands for tours through the Hamburg Harbour), a trip & show the day before i did let go in favour of the record release party by the Spitfire Stevens.

Flanders 72 (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

For a 3 piece they had it all there was needed: Smile, speed and precision. Plus stage personas and some entertainment of the audience (“Danke ihr Penner” sure is a custom greeting in Germany) – all in all a great package driven by a great sound. The main reason for everybody thinking “… that’s Green Day style” sure are the vocals of Paulinho:

And i’d bet they are huge down there in South-America! Not for a reason most of Brasil and Argentina are Ramones territory, already back in 1996 when i saw Ramones in Buenos Aires that was a stunning thing to see. I’d love to see them though with a proper long set on a slightly bigger stage and getting say 450 people going – that would have been the right thing for them. I do hope though they come back!

Next and with only little changeover the Hamburg Ramönes took the stage. I saw them a couple of years downstairs at the Hafenklang and i was not too impressed. The good think though is that they graduated from being a cover band to playing also own songs. And they have by now 5 records out, though i guess not sold record quantities.

How do they sound? Like this:

Frank – i did struggle with them, specifically when they played Ramones songs: To much mid tempo, to bad drumming and i just did not get along with the vocal style of the singer. The art of covering is a tough one, you need not only play the chords in the correct sequence you also need to hit the groove and the intend – and them Hamburg Ramönes rarely hit it right for me (and my two fellow observers, one of them a professional cover musican).

Hamburg Ramönes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

The more they played though the better they sounded and i have to admit that a couple of their own songs had some groove and the vocals did fit – but it was one out of 10 if i dare to judge (and yes, i am a hard judge).

The audience (friends’n’family?) though liked it and ensured a couple of encores. The final encore was sure a hats off to the mighty Ramones and Paulinho of Flanders 72 joined to sing the bubblegum ode:

A strange evening, with heavy rain and thunderstorm outside, and an evening with a clear winner: Flanders 72 played “Green Day style” but in their own fashion and with both heart and quality. The Hamburg Ramönes did not score for me, though i bet they have their heart in it (i saw a Johnny Ramone signature Mosrite on stage).

Never mind, it was a pretty Friday and i was home all wet (but not too late). And as always mu-sick is enjoyed best live!