… enthusiasm over talent: 30 Years of Gerd

This should have happened in 2020 but as with many other items it just was not feasible. But with G2 (and the ask for G2+ unpinned by some free booze) this was ready to be executed in 2021. Given the current bad situation in Germany, though less in our northern home lands, it may just have been the last party for this year…

Support was supposed to come from The Guts (formerly known as the Shanghai’d Guts) but due to illness they had to pull out. Kent Nielsen, who can travel light and does not need a lot of setup, jumped in and volunteered for the warm up.

He actually took two of his tiny uke’s to the stage, but largely resorted to taking the opportunity of the excellent sound of the Knust to let his voice excel. And not only for giving the lot some nice redemption’s of sing-a-longs but also as a chatty storyteller that can give a wide lead-in for a song.

Kent Nielsen (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

As a solo artist using that voice is almost the only item to bring, he paired that with a excellent stretch of songs running all the way from Joe Strummer to Husker Dü. And some excellent storytelling from his long presence on the mu-sick-al circuit was added as the iciong on the cake.

Just take his piss-drenched lead into A New England, paired with the juvenile trust that if Billy Brag would have ordered a revolution it would have happened instantly i det hyggelige danske kongerige:

His style is one of these that you just need allow in if you are a listener in front of a stage: It looks different, it sounds different but it is still the same as in Entertainment, Message – Stance. And that is what Kent gets across just purrrfect. Tak min ven!

Whilst Kent did enjoy some almost church like sounds as not all ticket holders (in total some 200) went to see him that sound was toned down once Gerd took the stage as many bodies filled the large hall.

And Gerd took all of the rock star grandeza to make their presence known:

For those who are not from Hamburg some of the intro might be glibberish but rest assured it is full of reference to the namesake actually:

“Rocker” is a 1971 movie with a real amateur cast drawn directly from the seedy streets of Hamburg. And the namesake for GERD and hero of the movie was in attendance of the show and provided some extra grandeza to the proceedings.

Gerd with Rocker Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Now thats a star celebration of 30 years of Gerd! From there they took it down memory lane and with a broad smile they provided high class entertainment.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

On top of all the baseline joy to listen to songs i can either hum to or sing-a-long loud & proud it is indeed the positive attitude and general joy that emits from the stage, pours into the ears of the audience and gets people going, like this old classic from The Nerves that had been covered by Blondie and had been ruined by Def Leppard.

Remember, whist it is Enthusiasm over Talent it does not mean there is zero talent. Where Def Leppard fail, Gerd does shine (and within that … yet again the excellent sound at the Knust enables Christianes voice to shine above).

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Looking back at 30 years Gerd also had changes, one of them was the seat behind the drums. For a long time that was filled by Frank “Magger” Martens and surprise surprise: he was back it tonight for celebrating a flash back towards how Gerd started off, simply slaughtering Kuschelrock!

Sure thing they have come a long way from that type of “lets kill that one with speed and shredding” into much more subtle variations. But it was fun to see that Frank was still able to push them ahead and unite them on the last chord.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

By this time the audience was in perfect mood, loads of singing and dancing. On top even a DIY stunt with 400 balloons raining down (actually onto the audience, i guess the better effect would have been onto the stage). And all of that showmanship did lead to not only one encore but also a 2nd one starting off with their Überhit “Born in Hamburg Horn”.

I would be very surprised though if the Knust would open a club on the Washingtonallee, out there in the deep East End, where i bet you the times of long haired rockers are long gone.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

For the final bit, the last song of the last encore, they resorted back to something that most likely sports the ultimate Glam Rock intro that everybody born in the earlier 1960ties can identify even in sleep.

Where the Sweet version (from 1975 actually) is grand, the 1:1 German version of The Hunters (Scorpions in disguise) in my mind is the biggest laugh (and my wish for the next Gerd party is that they take on this too).

Don’t forget – both are down there in the book under “Why did Punk happen” too.

With that one they finally exhausted what they had – less than more according to insider sources – rehearsed from their vast list of songs created since 1972.

For the collectors, archivists and librarians here is the full setlist.

Gerd – Setlist for 30 Years of enthusiasm over talent (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

A free drink of my choice if you can name the song they actually did not play…

And with Gerd walking off the stage drenched in sweat (but with broad smiles) the lot resorted to the next best thing: Carrying that enjoyment forward into the bar of the Knust and in front of the DJ’s, who gave the lot loads of old mu-sick to dance and sing-a-long to.

Happy Gerd Fans (Knust, Hamburg, 20.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Whilst i started the evening with telling people off when they offered to buy me a drink i also now got carried away and ended up nicely loaded, talking sense and non-sense to people, singing along and too being a happy bunny. I can not recall when i last was home at 03:00 and had a great hangover next day – much appreciated my friends!

Thanks to Punk Rock Hamburg, Knust and Gerd & Kent for pulling this off, it was a grand show and hopefully not the last grand party of the year. Hopefully.

… welcome back, Norden!

Now this has been long in the making, both the show and the new (almost historic) 2nd Album from Norden. The record should have been out for a while but following a first test press early this year the sound was not up to the quality desired, hence a remix, remaster and repress was needed. And now, with shows under 2G again possible, the new formed line up of Norden (out Ratz on Drums, in Alex from Sheep On A Tree)  was able not only to sell the actual record but also take it to the stage.

For the warm up we got a debut: Sparclub took the stage for the first time … and had lost their bass just days prior to the show. But they did not give in and took the stage anyway, i guess it takes a lot of stamina to do so but with some bright smiles they took on the challenge.

Sparclub (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Sure the songs where done for Guitar, Bass and Drums and thus lacked something but listening i could sense that they had something: Humor, wit and some wacky ideas like a love song to the Unemployment Office or an instant hit on “Passive Agressiveness”.

I got to admit that the more they played the more i liked it and my friends around also got some bright smiles on their faces. Lets hope they find a new bass and they get another chance, it is worth it. If you want to know how i could have sounded check out their Bandcamp site.

Next Restmensch, who jumped in for Thrashing Pumpguns, who where supposed to give a surprise comeback, but could not. Also for them it was the first show after quite some time and whilst stage hardend their intro into the first song was cut short by … a string of the guitar going. Loads of laughs by the fellow musicians in the audience!

Restmensch (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

But that did not stop them, they just plowed ahead like a solid machine. They are not necessarily my mu-sick-al thingy but their hardcore leaning Deutsch Punk actually came across well. Speed variations, solid backline from Drums and Bass, for my liking one and the other metalic leaning guitar lick too much but hey, who am i. Check out for yourself… 

They got some cheers and by the looks of it had some fans in attendance. In setting a contrast in-between Sparclub and Norden they worked well, as much as the Metalcorecrossover from Thrashing Pumpguns would have worked.

Restmensch (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

My silly me only needed to complain about stage attire, i guess only the bass was setup correct. For the rest plenty of advice was traded secretly in the audience, which implies that we had good fun and that only ever happens if a band actually works. And Restmensch not only worked but worked hard on stage.

And that gave way to Norden and their return to the stage. I do not know the full story but their 2nd record had been fully recorded in 2005, following their 2004 debut on Mata Hari, but shelved. And i guess dropped. Only to be recovered during Covid times and, following a remix in 2021, finally put to vinyl.

Whatever the background, the songs sound as fresh as back then and actually deserved to be taken both to vinyl and the stage. And that was done in a very unpretentious way, almost in passing.

Norden (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Jan on guitar and doing the main vocals, Natascha towering on bass and Alex behind the drums hammering away. And they create an almost timeless sound that you can not tie to any of the usual styles, i recon it is just simple humble hard pop (like in popular) music with great (and clever) German lyrics (reminder to self: file for patent on the term “Simple Humble Hard Pop (SHHP)“)

I like it, it is both the German lyrics and the driving guitar sound that makes it so worthwhile for me (and looking around in front of the stage, also for others).

Norden (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Odd think though that under the conditions (rising infection rate, 2G for musicans, clubs and ticket holders) only around 97 (or maybe 103) good people came out on this rather cold Friday in November. Their return should have at least had 200+ people enjoying it and singing along, which many in the audience did.

What will be next for them? No clue, a tour circuit won’t happen soon so lets hope that the 300 record pressed (and inserted into a cool handmade cover) hopefully sell quickly. Trust me, it is a worthy investment!

Norden (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

I thoroughly enjoyed it and by the looks the band also did like what they got onto the  stage and out to the audience through the excellent sound in the Knust. Bonus: Also some excellent light was provided, cudos to whoever was accountable for that.

As always, once a band convinces me live, i do catch vinyl on the spot: Tonight not only the “2005 in 2021” 2nd LP (lower left corner) but also the 2004 LP (upper left corner), that was missing in my collection. Bonus: The C.C. Fliegen LP, which is the most recent output from Hake (bare song structures and sound scrapes largely).

And from the trusted folks that keep the Punk Rock Hamburg family floating i scored a shirt – almost a perfect weekend shopping!

A great night out, some good music, some new discovers (did i say Sparclub?) and some beers and chats with friends in one of may favorite places. Life, under today’s circumstances, definitely can be much more worse.

Thrashing Pumpguns waren leider verhindert, dafür gab es Restmensch

… one forth of the Hamburg Punk Rock Days 2021, only!

Also this year the good people that orchestrate the Punk Rock Hamburg community put a small DIY event foward, making it Hamburg Punk Rock Days 2021. Spread across the Molotow, the Dschungel, the Hafenklang and the Knust it was to ensure that the locations where not forgotten.

For many it was the local replacement for the Blackpool Pilgrimage that was due over this weekend but like many other events got canceled.

Planning was not easy, rules unclear and eg. a boat trip on the MS Hedi was not possible. Instead it started on Wednesday at the Molotow with Cavity Search and Wreckage Dance, a date i had to miss due other commitments. I also did not find the time (and frank energy) to have a beer at the Dschungel on Thursday but i had my tickets fixed for Friday and Saturday at the Knust.

Came Friday and in my part of town, just about when i was to travel to the Knust, torrential rain came down, thunderstorm and … flooding. I was just about to skip the trip when a friend already at the Knust messaged me “it’s all sunny here, we are waiting for you”. So a wee bit late i set sail.

I thus arrived only when Küken had already claimed the stage. They jumped in for another band from out of town who could not make it (and in my mu-sick-al chart would not have featured anyway). And they delivered a perfect broadside!

Küken (Knust, Hamburg, 06.08.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Some people claim “their songs all sound the same” but that is a naughty complaint. They have found their own niche and they fill it almost perfectly. They actually play very modern Rock’n’Roll if you ask, if only more bands would dare to do the same and not be copycats.

At the Knust they came tight, together and as one wall of sound … listen for yourself:

I am still hooked on them, their driving and fast paced guitar sound with the unique twin voices is really something i dig. Luckily i was not the only one and a number of the Blackpool Pilgrims in the audience took positive note too, up to and including fetching a record.

If you want to do the same, hop over to https://kueken.bandcamp.com/

Next on the best Ramonescore band in Germany (according to Luke) and with them a swift change of sound. Less “wall of sound”, more variation in speed and a different style of dual vocals.

I am definitely looking forward to this 4-piece hitting the studio to record the follow up to their epic 2019 LP Apparatus Of The Ultimate Power, if they again get to capture their energy it will be another class record.

The Haermorrhoids (Knust, Hamburg, 06.08.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

What did strike some (and me too) was the fact that whilst the outdoor seating at the Knust works quite fine the setup itself (2×4 people facing each other on beer benches) lures too many people into talking whilst the bands play. Somehow this leads to some “distance” and is quite unfair the band playing.

Maybe that is also the reason my recording device lost attentiveness exactly after 01:00 into this beautiful ode:

(Due to a malfunction the song is cut at exact 1:00, but i guess you get it folks)

In the end more than one of the Blackpool Pilgrims took a rather surprised note of them (finally!) and after the set they were able to sell some of their records in double quantities. Well deserved, though i still would want them to both do something on stage attire and with stage movements – for my liking it is all bit static.

And the folks attending? They were happy, they were chatty, they were smiling and the enjoyed time out with friends with good music. And that is what this small DIY thingy is about – from the community for the community.

Happy People at Hamburg Punk Rock Days 2021 (Knust, Hamburg, 06.08.2021) (c) gehkacken.de 2021

But somehow this was a fucked up weekend for me, as i missed 3/4th of the proceedings due to too many circumstances. But for the times we currently face this was well done, so capital Credit and Thanks to Punk Rock Hamburg (Arne, Perry), Knust, Molotow, Dschungel and Hafenklang.

Let’s get vaccinated, the sooner everything falls back into place for those who love and yearn for live mu-sick.