… a professional rock show despite good music may not make you happy!

The Interrupters caught my ear early on in their career thanks to Hellcat Records, ie. the wings of Tim Armstrong. Their pleasant sound and quite fresh approach to fast paced Ska works well on record, hence i regretted it all along that they bypassed Hamburg over the years (they only ever came around as support for Bad Religion).

So when the show came up i got two tickets and was quite right, as it sold out in record time even being at the Markthalle (one of the largest club venues around here). So in the end a lucky mate, who missed buying in time, got the ticket. In return he treated us with free beer in front of the Markthalle.

Support was Not On Tour, the relentless touring machine from sunny Israel. They do Pop Punk and they never really caught my ear, though i tried multiple times.

Not On Tour (Markthalle, Hamburg, 26.07.2019)
Not On Tour (Markthalle, Hamburg, 26.07.2019)

They had to setup their gear in front of the Interrupters gear and that provided me with an initial feel of „rock show„. It was paired with a shitty sound, another „rock show“ feel. I endured a couple of songs but then resorted back out for fresh air.

Next on, sharp at 21:00, them Interrupters. They came on stage backed by „Ghost Town“ from The Specials and made a rock star entry. And kicked in from „0“ to „100“ in no time. From the first minute they commanded and pleased a willing audience, got plenty of applause and cheers.

The Interrupters (Markthalle, Hamburg, 26.06.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

All through the 80 minutes they delivered, they gave me a twist in the legs to move and dance (and many people did move) but that twist never arrived at my heart. My initial feel of „rock show“ was now paired with „professional“ and that would tear myself into two corners. One the one side they play pleasant and very endurable mu-sick, on the other side the whole show looked completely … mmhhh … rehearsed? Staged? A choreography (as someone suggest from Andrew Lloyd Webber)?

Not sure what words would describe it but is just did not feel real, it did not feel they way shows should feel or how shows should touch me. As such i now found a rare case where the records work for me (though they are getting more mainstream (radio ready) from album to album) but live it just did not work. No joy. No feelings.

Nevermind, the largest part of the audience did like it, including a wheele guy crowd surfing.

Dangerous trend sport: Wheelesurfing!
Dangerous trend sport: Wheelesurfing!

He got some flak from the security after the show, as despite him being a professional skater with his wheele and knowing how to handle that in extreme situations those that carried him won’t. And they could hit other, specifically to the front. It may be a cool thing (and a cool visual) to be up there but if you hit someone … it ain’t so cool anymore.

Once it was over 98% of the audience seemed to be happy. I had a final „rock show“ itch at the end: The Interrupters made a final curtain gesture but omitted their keyboard/horn enlist for it.

I enjoyed the music but not the show. It was 20€, so a fair deal. Will i continue to buy records of them? Maybe. Will i ever see them live again? Most likely not.

And on the sideline: Is Aimee the best crowd winning singer? Nope, whilst having a great voice and always reaching she falls way short of Jenny Angelillo. Way short.

… 40 years of Teenage Kicks: The Undertones!

Two years ago The Undertones surprised the lot at the Markthalle big time – an endless barrage of 2 minute party hits delivered in a maximum joy setting. As such the return to Hamburg as part of the „40 Years of Teenage Kicks“ Tour was a fixture that even lured people from far, even a mate of mine from Rotterdamn came over after being blown away by them during their September show at the Paradiso in Amsterdamned.

It was an early night as they even sported a support band, but me and me mates happily let go that opportunity. And once it was 21:00 it was time for The Undertones, kickin‘ it in for i guess 850 odd people:

And from the first chord something was missing. On the one hand the „Undertones“ logo on the backdrop (has it gone AWOL?), on the other hand something with the sound was not 100% to my liking.

Nonetheless the only valid start if your tour is „40 years of Teenage Kicks“, as this was the A1 from their 1979 debut album. Most likely that record everybody has in his cupboard though it lacks said „Teenage Kicks“ (as it came out a year ahead).

The Undertones (Markthalle, Hamburg, 30.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

What i did like was the humble setting on the big stage: Two Marshalls, one AMPEG and drums on the riser. Three mikes. And loads of free space that was rarely used, as they tend not to roam around that much. That „tend“ does not account for Paul McLoone who sometimes likes his Morrissey poses way too much (for my and some of me friends liking).

Did the rest of the audience like it? Yes they did!

Cheering for encore (Markthalle, Hamburg, 30.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)
Cheering for encore (Markthalle, Hamburg, 30.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

For me it was slightly less enjoyable than in 2016 as they played less songs and did threw in a wee bit more that came out later. Sure thing that is my very personal problem and they have all the right to give the audience a full view of their 40 years – it is just that i have a wee bit a narrower view on them.

The Undertones (Markthalle, Hamburg, 30.11.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Still, it was lot’s of fun and we even got Teenage Kicks twice in the set as a customer in front of the stage complained to the band that he was delayed into the show and missed the first instance. Sure aiming to meet customer demand they did threw it in again – nice trick.

If they come back every other year and if they but a different spin every time then i will still be loyal and go and see them – they deserve it, as they continue to be humble and friendly  musicians from Northern Ireland.

And they played my loveliest song too … here it is straight from a January 1979 Peel Show with an intro by the honest John Peel himself:

And now sing-along:

If you say no 
It would break my heart in two
But don't you realize
There's too many watching you

We're making too many problems
Making matters worse
Maybe its a curse
But oh baby its hurts
oh baby its hurts

If you say no 
It would break my heart in two
But don't you realize
There's too many watching you

We're making too many problems
Making matters worse
Maybe its a curse
But oh baby its hurts
oh baby its hurts

If you say no 
If you say no 
We're making too many problems
Making matters worse
Maybe its a curse
But oh baby its hurts
oh baby its hurts

Songwriters: William Edward Martin Doherty
Billy’s Third lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

And for me and me mate the night ended in way too much beer, and then some more. And then being thrown out of the venue (due to closing). But there are more humble and friendly Nothern Irish lads in Hamburg – one manages a watering hole not too far away and we even got a free pint there to top the night.

I can assure you i had a decent hangover going to the St. Pauli game on Saturday and that little snippet tells you actually how great The Undertones have been, are and will be.

Thanks Lads!

… a smile, a warm laughter and heartbreaking songs: Thanks Descendents!

It has been 21 years. Twentyone fucking years. A painful long period without my loveliest band gracing home shores. Damn. Others where lucky and caught them abroad but i am a homie and specifically i’d love to see them at a place like the Markthalle.

It was a great show back then and all of Hamburg seemed to be eager to make it a great show again. And thus it was sold out in record time. When FLAG played the Knust two years ago we chatted with Mr. Egerton and he confirmed they were keen to get back to the Markthalle and sell it out – which indeed they did. He noted that for them it is a cozy club show they love compared to the bigger places they play in the US.

With two support bands it was an early start and Spider from Long Beach had the unfortunate task to play the rather empty hall.

Spider (Markthalle, Hamburg, 10.07.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)
Spider (Markthalle, Hamburg, 10.07.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

They did not play long and they did not get a lot of applause. For me they were just not to the point – they had elements old LA punk, elements of H/C and then some more. But all crushed into a rather long song. I guess i would need to see them in a smaller setting to make an accurate judgement. I gave them some of my time but then resorted back out for more chats with the endless number of mates around. Check them out for yerself over here.

Next on and competing with France vs. Belgium where A Wilhelm Scream and neither myself nor most of my friends where anywhere near being fond of them.

A Wilhelm Scream (Markthalle, Hamburg, 10.07.2018 (c) gehkacken,de)
A Wilhelm Scream (Markthalle, Hamburg, 10.07.2018 (c) gehkacken,de)

They had the space in front of the stage pretty full and they had a number of fans apparently. And they had a mu-sick-al style that i just do not like. Period. Form your own view but i will forever avoid these soundscapes.

Frank, if i’d have a say (and the money) i would have paired the Descendents with Daikaiju as the sole support band. They would have blasted the room to the max (and their speedy and heavy surf would have been a perfect match).

And once the support was done all of the 1000+ folks attending moved into the main hall, filling it up like it was filled up in the hey-days of Punk (79-83) in good old Hamburg. But before they took the stage they did have a date with my football team in the afternoon and joined the cast of US bands that do cross promotion with the FCSP. I am not necessarily a fan of it but hey – if the band wants it, why not.

Milo and Karl at Millerntor Stadium
Milo and Karl at Millerntor Stadium

The one thing though that i do accept is that is carries a cause and the cause is a shared good one. And the Descendents went quite some length with Who we are (and got some flak in the US of A for it) and they got a message across that also the FCSP and the majority of it’s fans dare to carry – loud and proud. The only item of concern is actually the lackluster artwork on the front, sorry that can’t be the work of Chris Shary (else i need to divorce with him!).

And then they took the stage and they took it with grace, a broad smile and pretty relaxed. And off then went into „Suburban Home“ and the Markthalle went apeshit. Lots of dancing, lots of fists and some singing. Yep, the Descendents. Yippie!

Descendents (Markthalle, Hamburg, 10.07.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

And what did they do? By and large they played songs from all periods and records. They also played one song that i still believe is a hidden gem (and for me has an annotation to a long lost girl that did not turn out to be me love) – here is Clean Sheets (and listen up youth, keep yer sheets clean!):

What did strike me yet again was the broad smiles all four carried on stage with Bill up there behind his drums sporting the biggest one. They are up there, very self aware and self confident and they do know what it take to deliver some of that joy, love and energy back to an eager audience.

Another example is Good Good Things, a song that many passed by on „I don’t want to grow up“ and that i believe ranks in the top 10 of the perfect pop songs (next to stuff like Sunstroke from Guns’n’Wankers). And yet again it carries a message for the youth:

So come on down and walk with me, and tell me I'm your man
Let's see if I can get it right with you this time around
I'm not afraid of losing you my little girl
But do you still believe in me like I believe

I taped this song for me love ages ago with a singular intent (and me love later said YES, lucky me). Here it is youth:

Fun fact: At 00:55 on the lower right corner you can see a very famous person entering the picture and singing along. Little did i know that i was actually standing next to a Punk Rock legend from sunny Brasil. As i was tipped of the day after by Paulihno (from Flanders 72) it was their executive producer Davi, who is the capable guy behind recording, mixing and producing every single Flanders 72 record. It is a small town world on the punk rock circuit!

I think the Descendents gave the lot something like 90 minutes, they took on a couple of encores before hitting home with an on stage improvisation that had elements of Catalina and other songs. A really cool jam but most likely way too heavy food for most of the audience.

Just a perfect set in most likely a perfect setting (venue, date etc) for Hamburg. But this time round that ain’t the limit for me. With a gentle push by some of the Punk Rock Hamburg Descendents connoisseurs i took on to see them again, together with SOIA and some others, in sunny Barcelona.

In hindsight i should have just taken the week off, travel to Berlin and Munich and then Barcelona. Or i should have just abandoned all of these plans and travel south for some Ramonescore and Surf at the Punk Rock Raduno in Bergamo (something that some others of the Hamburg lot will do).

But hindsight is a silly thing (not a silly girl) and thus i just stick to what makes my heart warm and me feel good: The Descendents and their œuvre!

And for those who ignored it so far: It is you sole duty to get this movie into your household – you will be proud of the tears you will shed.