… when surprises get you left field: mOi!n it’s Hamburg 4!

I won’t be repeating that i dislike festivals in principle, as you will get just another praise of two great nights that actually belonged to a festival. Sam and Ralf from the Monkeys did put together another class event …

… the original line up!

… only to suffer from The Kids and Grade 2 having to pull out. Specifically The Kids are a mainstay in Hamburg, as such the loss was rather big. But with Knock Off and Rixe fitting replacements where found and the two days could set sail as per below.

… the final lineup for mOi!n it’s Hamburg, 2019 edition!

Given it was to be four bands on Friday the proceedings started rather early, too early for many that had to either travel or work on day. Snipper 66 from the US of A (and that’s Austin with a little help from Berlin this time round) thus faced a little bit of an empty space in front of the stage.

They not only brand themselves street punk i guess but they also look like it. And they hit hard, actually they have a rhythm section that not only provided that hard drive but also, and that was the best spin, added to the vocals. So with three folks singing (both solo and chorus) they provided some great variation.

Snipper 66 (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 27.09.2019)

Great to see the girl behind the drums: Not only hitting hard but also having fun and being able to emit that from stage. I won’t necessarily buy a record of them but i won’t pass them by, if there is an option to see them life. Great start.

With the 2nd band the visuals slightly changed, it was them unpretentious Lads from London, Fred Perry and Doc Martens and their unpretentious songs about Life (so fucking live it), Love, Footie and Politics. They love to be in Hamburg and Hamburg loves them.

Knock Off (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 27.09.2019)

They noted specifically that they love to play Hamburg for the size of the audience and i immediately wondered if they would know what the invite from the mighty Razoes for „Burn Down The Baum“ at year end would mean for them. They will face an even bigger stage and an even larger audience. And i damn sure then will win over that lot too!

mOi!n it’s Hamburg would be worthwhile event if it would not cultivate surprises and contrasts. But surprise and contrast came and it came with Gatans Lag from sunny Borås (city of the sheepshaggers eeer sheepshearers) and they not only flooded the stage but also had a large contingent in front of the stage.

Gatans Lag (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 27.09.2019)

They kicked off providing their essence: „We are Gatans Lag and we generally dislike people“ and took it from there. Where the singer from Bonecrusher likes to sing in the audience, the singer from Gatans Lag likes to throw himself into people in the audience and yell the words right there into their face. My sideline guess was he was drunk anyway, if not he got it during the set as he had about a beer per song.

… it was much more raunchy in Hamburg!

Sound wise they where great, well oiled, had a sax included and took no prisoners at all. They did not care about the audience they just cared about a force full show and that they delivered. For the encore they added another member and freed up the bass (who sported a great Doberman Cult shirt) and gave a final „in your face“.

Wow – that was an early high!

Headlining for the day was for them lads from Macclessfield, Cheshire, and was a return to Hamburg shores after 24 years (not so tricky, as they where on hiatus from 1996 to 2018): The Macc Lads, self-proclaimed „rudest, crudest, lewdest, drunkest band in Christendom„.

The Macc Lads (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 27.09.2019)

There where some from the Hamburg lot that just wanted nothing else then them, for me it was not really a burner. Their lad humor may work in England (less so abroad) and their silly songs (with a scent of silly humor) are glued into something that for me is just faster paced rock.

I listened, i watched and i gave in on the first doubt in my head. Rather than sustaining, i went home after day 5 songs and decided to catch a long sleep after the work week. Sorry Lads!

Without a doubt day one turned out better than i thought: Great bass/drums pair for a start with Sniper 66, lovely Knock Off and a massive surprise on what Gatans Lag where pushing upon the audience.

On Saturday it started even earlier (and that is me leaving out the reggae boot ride), that suited me anyway as i could take the short bike ride without being showered by the rain that was coming up. And luckily me and me mate where early, as we got to get the biggest surprise of the weekend as a starter.

I have never heard of Kalenko Urdangak, i have no clue what the name means as their local language does not lend itself to easy understanding and thus we had no clue what to expect.

To make it short: They tore down the place, they killed the audience and they left every single member of the audience (less those from Euskal Herria or Catalunya, i guess they knew what was comming) stunned. Perplex. Searching for words.

Kalenko Urdangak (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 28.09.2019)

And who did it? A thin singer with relentless energy, a full bodied guy with a Cockney Rejects shirt with a perfect harsh and driving guitar sound, a towering bass with perfect backup vocals and the coolest sideburns of the weekend on drums, always smiling away.

… thank god for subtitles!

Say hello to my newest favorite live band. And it was not only me, also all of the Hamburg lot i was checking with had the same feeling of just being exposed to a perfect skinhead rock’n’roll set. The best was that the singer was able to bridge the language barrier in the songs by lots of gestures, so that you halfway could make out what it is about. And even with that barrier it was sing-a-long galore to great songs!

Kalenko Urdangak (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 28.09.2019)

Nowadays (and with a too large record collection) i live by the rule „only buy a record when the band has convinced you live on stage“ and my praise for Kalenko Urdangak thus ends with the confession that i bought their vinyl. Later at home i realized they have more out, i got to hunt that down too!

They also included Pour La Gloire into the set and got some prominent French contingent with them on stage to sing it. Me mate Thomas, as ever dressed for the occasion, proudly sported his Camera Silens shirt at the front of the stage.

After that killer set someone had the poor task to continue, it was the Warrior Kids, one of the best bands of the massive wave of early 80s French Street Punk. By the looks they arrived late in Hamburg and had to do a sound check right there on stage. As such sound was less then perfect and they where forced to play against an already exhausted audience. After a couple of songs Marc asked in frustration „…are you asleep?“

Warrior Kids (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 28.09.2019)

Once into the set and adding some ska and reggae themed stuff they got at least some people moving, that part of the set went well. The rest was just the wrong point in time stuff, unlucky them! I do hope they did not drive from windy Marseille all the way for this rather frustrating set. It was not their fault!

With a quick turnover La Inquisicion from Cap i Casal de Catalunya took the stage … and blasted the audience in all forms: Visually, stage performance wise and by their songs. I saw them last year at Barna’n’Roll where they played in the full sun as the first band. Back then my verdict was: „They got some cheers but did not manage to impress me. I guess that stage and that emptiness was just too big for them.

La Inquisicion (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 28.09.2019)

Boy did this change: Against my memory they have speeded up, tightend up, added a scent of hardcore metal and took it from there (and the by now massive Basque and Catalan contingent in front of the stage by storm). Wow, i felt yet again blasted away.

Thinking about it after the gig i am damn sure that coming from Euskal Herria or Catalunya is something that puts a shitload of energy into you: The need to fight. The urge to fight. The will to stand up. All of that accumulated right here at the Monkeys with both Kaleko Urdangak and La Inqusicion.

Rixe (out of Paris) had to climb that by now larger than life stage next and their attempt to blow it up resulted in beer being spilled into electrics and thus blown fuses forcing power cuts on stage. Not once but twice and that somehow took some of the early energy away.

Rixe (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 28.09.2019)

Still, their bare bones Oi! sound in it’s simplicity and harshness got the people moving and the longer the set lasted the better they sounded and the more the audience was up for it. I like them and they are of the same type of unpretentiousness as Knock Off. Well done and providing good vibes.

MUSIC IS LIFE. THAT’S WHY OUR HEARTS HAVE BEATS.
#HOMEISWHERETHEMUSICIS #HOMEISWHERETHEBOOZEIS
#HOMEISWHEREMEMATESARE

I by now was almost exhausted and thought about leaving, i could not think of this Upstarts version, with Mensi back from retirement, will do the trick. But given uplifting performances already seen, given the amount of friends met, chatted with and given the booze already taken i stayed on. It was both a worthy decision and one that would have a knock-on …

I think i have all their vinyl up until say 1987 and Sham, Cockney and the Upstarts where key bands for my early life in punk. But then i disbanded them somehow, some efforts where lackluster and some line-ups not fit for purpose. Here and now on the small stage they where greeted with cheers and as the first thing stormed into „2.000.000 Voices“ and had the audience sing-a-long from 0 to 100 in one go.

Angelic Upstarts (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 28.09.2019)

I got carried away in sing-a-long too, though my rationale inner self kept trying to remind me that it was a speeded up version of the Upstarts with Mensi (in Celtic outfit) giving an almost spoken word performance on top. It is clear that age and size disallow him to move at the same pace, so the best moments (at least for me) where stuff like „Solidarity“.

At the end i have to confess that they converted me from „doubtful“ to „accepted“, though i still won’t add any new vinyl of them to my collection. But as a highlight to finish of mOi!n it’s Hamburg #4 it worked perfectly well.

On that high and with some surprise mates joining the proceedings late (after missing out all other bands on Saturday) i should have resorted home but somehow got stuck in the pub, chatting, praising and drinking. And one more. And a free Helbing from Sam. And another chat.

In a nutshell it was late, later and … hungover on Sunday. Well done. I should have been up and to the Millerntor on Sunday but the bad weather and too much booze mixed with people smoking forced me towards the easy way out: I watched St. Pauli kill Sandhausen from the Sofa.

Big time thanks for Sam & Ralf and the Monkeys crew for pulling this off and big time FANX for all the mu-sick-al surprises (i got to name Gatans Lag and Kaleko Urdangak again here). It was two worthwhile nights that some people would call a festival. I call it two class shows!

nb: If you belong to the doubtful caste too then pen 02nd to 4th of October 2020 into your diary and give it a try at mOi!n it’s Hamburg, 5th edition!

… it was a love thing: Knock Off and Alternate Action!

I guess it was the headliner that lured folks on a rather warm Wednesday to the Monkeys, against competition from the Guitar Gangsters at the Hafenklang. Alternate Action are fronted by Greg of Bishops Green fame and thus people knew they would get an in yer face show.

For myself i have to admit that i was rather attracted by what would be the first (and early – some people missed them) band on stage: Knock Off from that island yonder (that want’s to split away but can’t decide on how).

They planted themselves into my ears (and me heart) with this beauty:

Whenever i hear this song there are tears in my eyes as it reminds me of a friend who’s heart gave way too – the first time he recovered, the 2nd time he lost the battle. He is gravely missed and he remains in our collective memory – so to him you shall sing-a-long…

you get one life, so fucking live it!

i nearly died...
it opened up my eyes
i though i was indestructible

but i was wrong
i fucked it up again
i thought it was the end
but i got another go

(2x)
don't get me wrong
this ain't no love song
i fucked it up
i broke my fucking heart

well now i am back
i am stronger than before
and so its time to live not just exist

to raise the glass
to those who passed
and make the most of what we all got left

(2x)
don't get me wrong
this ain't no love song
i fucked it up
i broke my fucking heart

(2X)
don't get me wrong
this ain't no love song
i fucked it up
i broke my fucking heart

(4x)
this ain't no love song

But it ain’t all sad, whilst enjoying their set i got the good news that they shall return later this year to Hamburg, onto a bigger stage and a larger audience – i am looking forward to that year end fun eagerly now!

They pride themselves „as an onslaught of energy, with hard and fast songs alongside anthems with stick in your head choruses.“ and indeed that is what these three lads deliver.

Knock Off (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Whilst lightning or showcasing was not their thing it became very apparent that what sounds like simple songs from the outside is rather clustered all over with brilliant songwriting. Just listen carefully, there are some real gem chords, guitar work and singing.

Knock Off - Set List (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.04.2019)
Knock Off – Set List (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.04.2019)

Good news was my fave song came early and it sounded like this:

Great stuff, delivered unpretentious but unfortunately to a much too low number of people in front of the stage (due to the rather early start). I was there but some mates came later and missed it.  Bad luck my friends, you missed a great set.

And according to my own rules (set to limit the extend of my record collection) of only buying vinyl once a band has persuaded me on stage i got Knock Off Vinyl and gear after the show. Try them yerself mate – you will not be disappointed!

Talking about disappointment provides a neat roll forward to the next band taking the stage: Aggressive from the sunny Ruhrpott. 5 distinct different folks on stage …

Aggressive (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

…. and just not getting me. Neither sound nor presentation. One of me mates noted „… a bit early to see the worst band 2019 already in April“ but i take that is an unfair comment. I do respect anyone who get’s up there and performs but if it does not work for me it just does not work.

... when the band does not work for me, black gold always works!
… when the band does not work for me, black gold always works!

By now the Monkeys was well filled for a Wednesday and people eagerly awaited Alternate Action. Formed a while ago (i think 2005) and with a more than 10 year hiatus they left behind only a small output. Still they hold still a bit of a status  most likely because they where and are fronted by Greg, who went to fame with The Lancasters and Bishops Green.

Alternate Action (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

That bass player looked familiar, it took some time for me to realize that he also takes duties with the Suede Razors. Just like Knock Off unpretentious stuff with Greg putting the needed bit of danger, anger and starring in.

How did it sound? It sounded like this:

I have none of their vinyl and only knew a limited number of songs but all in all they did surprise me. Sure the vocals stand out but the rest is also pure enjoyment: Some great hooks, some breaks and a sturdy backline.

Alternate Action (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Alternate Action had the space in front of the stage packed and the (rather) male contingent dancing. Loads of people had some silent smiles on their face, others did sing-a-long loud. I think Hamburg indeed was sold on Alternate Action and i am damn sure that we will see a triumphant return in the near future.

If i understood it right this setup of Alternate Action will hit the studio next and will surprise us with a new record. If you look for the old stuff then take up the „Thin Line“ LP, a collection of old stuff and unreleased beauties.

3 bands, lot’s of good chats, one hard memory and all-in-all a worthwhile Wednesday at one of my favorite places. Life is good to me and #thereaintnuthingbetterthanlivemusic so thanks to those who make it happen!