… neither poor in taste nor weird in sound: 6x pure surprises!

Already the 7th edition of this poor mans travelling circus, this time with The Briefs as headliner (and – wild guess – name giver). Location was to be the Molotow, which is for me always something … dunno … painful. Like some others i never got warm with their new location (and layout) at the bottom end of the Reeperbahn.

Kick off was very early and with the Anger Boys from sunny Recklinghausen. The classify themselves as „weird n‘ nervous hardcore punk!“ and they come across as short bursts of sometimes structured and sometime less structured noise topped with some very capable female vocals.

Anger Boys (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

They had like a 20 minute blast into a largely empty room (once they had sorted some bass amp signal issues) and they indeed did surprise me. I will definitely check out their demo and for sure i will give them another chance (on a different stage hopefully).

With a very quick changeover Bad Affair from Hamburg took the stage and they too surprised me. I saw them in April and boy have they improved since then. I would not even know where to start …

Bad Affair (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

… i guess key item is that they have balanced singing and guitar and that they have been able to pen down some really good songwriting: Complex where needed, powerful and with a real drive. I will definitively watch out for more, time being you will need to resort to their demo (as the last 6 tapes did sell out on that night, or?). Good stuff and again female fronted … something that unfortunately did not last through the proceedings.

Local heroes The Haermorrhoids claimed the stage next and they have by now perfected both their setup and how they deliver:

Tick for stage attire. Tick for in-sync movements of Guitar and Bass. Tick Tick Tick for being solid, together, tight – just class. Can’t phrase it different. The sound though at the Molotow was less than perfect – i’d love to see on the perfect stage, with the perfect sound system and the perfect sound man. That’ll be fun!

The Haermorrhoids (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

The Molotow by now was well filled and sure their fan base was front row and cheering. If i noted correctly they have just come back from a short tour in Italy, so it was really a well oiled machine – delivering new songs and classics like this one from their debut record:

Boy do i look forward to the next album. And please do surprise me by having it recorded at Sonic Iguana and produced by Mass Giorgini or – if easier – record and produce it at the Blasting Room. Bang! That would put you and Hamburg on the map. Big time.

Class set as ever, quick, fast – no fills.

Next on from those alpine meadows of Switzerland the Bad Mojos. They took off where them Haermorrhoids left it: Fast paced and sunny one minute blasts of fun and joy. And they also knew that it take formal stage attire to be successful – so they dressed up for the occasion.

Nice cheap mans space outfit? Or sweat-suits as they have to make weight? What ever, it nicely fitted and gave their set the visual perfection that matched the music.

And another big surprise, as they got me left-field: I thought i have seen them before at a Get!Lost!Fest! but they did not impress me – now their less than 2 minutes blasts just sounded perfect.

Bad Mojos (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

And these blasts are lightweight high speed punk hymns with a strong fuck you anyway empathy, as expressed in their current record:

I HOPE YOU O​.​D. (Bad Mojos, released February 20, 2019)

 1. DIGGIN' MY OWN GRAVE 01:32	
 2. BABY I'M DOOMED 01:17	
 3. I WANNA BE DEAD 01:02	
 4. I HATE 01:09	
 5. COMMIT A CRIME 01:57	
 6. POLICE CAR 01:23	
 7. I HOPE YOU OD 01:48	
 8. TOO DRUNK 01:23	
 9. OUT OF CONTROL 01:46	
10. EVERYBODY HATES ME 01:28

Any doubts? Nope!

They were forced to play an encore (despite the running order not allowing for it) and gave an ode to Ian Stuart and safe car driving – indeed a perfect poor and weird extra! Well done lads!

With so much fun and high speed blasts it was time for something different. And something different we got: UK ’79 – ’81 (surprisingly the name of their recent effort) was the theme and the age of the musicians was slightly older than what we had seen before.

DefektDefekt (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

They hail from Bremen, have an English contingent and mix their string duties: Mid way bass and guitar swooped duties and with that also slightly changed the sound.

At the start it sound „hard mod„, later it sounded definitely like something i heard back then via John Peel on BFBS (and relentlessly taped it). They sing in German, in English and i believe i heard another language on top.

Great stuff, excellent musicians but … stage attired could be improved if you ask me. But to me they turned out as the biggest surprise: I tend to ignore Bremen where i can (for all sorts of bad reasons), so i did not catch them prior. Great set and towards a packed house by now.

It all felt rushed, or, in a positive way, without delays. Reason must be that the Molotow wanted to max turnover/turnaround on that Friday, ie. the live music should be over by 23:00 so that they can fill the club with entertainment seeking youth („suburban hipsters“ as someone pointed out).

Headlining thus came fast and furious … and from The Briefs – still one of the most entertaining party machines around. They conquered the Monkeys last December and they conquered indeed the packed Molotow this December.

All singing, all dancing and a huge number of smiles in the faces of the good people attending. Whilst on stage it was sans the female element in front of the stage a notable number of female enjoyed it and danced away. To get you into the mood spin the video and sing-a-long:

Outside the walls a curtain calls
i cant believe were here at all
what you see i do believe
i got no place, no place to bleed
i've got nothing left, i've got nothing right
i've got not place to sleep tonite,
cuz what you see is what you get
i don't want your sympathy yet

Ain't it the truth
ain't it the truth that hurts
there's no excuse
and it could only get worse

Faze in this world are hard to face
i must agree i hate this place
the cover ups have all been shown
we pay no mind, don't want to know
we don't hear a word, we don't need to think
we don't want no trouble don't change a thing
cuz life's much better when you close your eyes
But i cant live in your disguise

Ain't it the truth
Ain't it the truth that hurts
There's no excuse
and it will only get worse, and worse, and worse...

So all the morons stand it lines
we turn cheeks and eat the lies
the TV news is nice and dull
the networks keep us comfortable
leave it alone, there's nothing wrong
shows over folks so just move along
and in the end we'll wonder why
then we'll count to ten and say good bye

Ain't it the truth
ain't it the truth that hurts
there's no excuse
ain't it the truth that always hurts
ain't it the truth... etc...

Steve and Daniel on Guitar, Chris on Drums and Pascal on Bass – did anyone actually realize that this makes the Briefs a 50% German band? Chris lives here and Pascal is German. Great to claim such a great band!

There was no stopping in the barrage of hits and there was no stopping in the audience enjoying it. They are though not too much a chatty band, they rely on the songs to get their message across.

The Briefs (Molotow, Hamburg, 14.12.2019)

Once done the audience demand more and screwing the set timeline they embarked on a couple of songs encore, including their own little self-assessment of them as Americans:

Sing-a-long again:

We American's is dirty
We American's is positive
We don't know if we should be
We American's is cowboys
We American's love guns
Ain't no one can stop us
Not even them injuns

So shoot the president
Forget the national debt
It makes no difference to me
It don't effect my rent you see
And it has always been this way and it won't change
God bless the good old USA

We American's can't write
We American's don't read
And we don't want nobody
Telling us what we need

'cause were better then that
And were better then this
And were better then everybody else
We got the dollars and we got the cents

And it has always been this way and it won't change
God bless the fucked up USA

You know you can't complain
We'll just wipe out the stains
We like to suck before we spit
We spray pain on the walls
'cause we love those shopping malls
All those purple track suits make me sick
That's it, we quit

We American's is stupid
We American's don't write
Ain't no one can stop us
'cause we do what we like

Classic and actually no surprise. But how nicely it all fitted together over 6 bands and how great the tight schedule worked to give the audience a non-stop enjoyment from 18:30 to 23:15 – wow! And for the The Briefs the surprise i would like to see is … get them to cover the first two The Boys records!

Surprisingly good entertainment on a Saturday evening in December, at a location that just does not resonate with as much as the bands resonated with me.

Great travelling circus and by no means poor entertainment and weird music – i hope this now gets a firm annual repeat!

… some good simple Ramonescore does away with Easter easily!

A long and sunny Easter weekend was followed with the most simple but yet successful receipt for fun: Some good simple Ramonescore. And how attractive that was i could see be the diverse number of friends that came out to see the package in the well filled Molotow.

Them Haermorrhoids, with their hot album just out, had the pleasure of getting on dead early, at 20:00 sharp. I guess they have been practicing like hell as they are now totally in it and can deliver a 17 song set in like 27 minutes.

The Haermorrhoids (Molotow, Hamburg, 23.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

There are next to no breaks or delays between songs and the „all vocals, all chorus“ type of singing just works like a treat. I do hope that their support slot for Teenage Bootlerocket opens them additional avenues for success, they deserve it!

They finished their set with my favorite song, the sad ode to overdose.

You were your own worst enemy 
Now you're dead

Take it DeeD… er Nils:

If you like what you see and what you hear then make sure you buy the record. It is a perfect piece of DIY Ramonescore and it comes in a beautiful yellow cover. And it comes with 20 songs, so has a perfect balance in terms of money vs. what you get.

Rumors have it that the next recording is just around the corner, i do hope that they are able to keep pace and quality, as i would love them to be successful beyond Hamburg and on bigger stages.

As such: Give them a chance. Please.

And whilst we had some drinks and chats in the backyard of the Molotow after the set someone asked if the next band was on. He got multiple replies „naa, listen, they are still spinning records“ whilst Fat By The Gallon actually where already on the stage.

Fat By The Gallon (Molotow, Hamburg, 23.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

For me this was the my personal big problem with them: They sounded so perfect, so polished, so much like on a perfect studio production that i just could not relate to their light weight, fast paced pop punk. But as ever, #thereaintnuthinbetterthanlivemusic – even when the band does not work for you.

Make you own choice, i for myself won’t buy a record of them:

And that did lead to Teenage Bootlerocket, who have come a long way since 2000 and by now are playing „any size“ with an emphasis on bigger places in the US and the occasional rather small place over here in Europe. And all that playing has made them an almost perfect entertainment machine with loads of professional (and semi-professional) gimmicks thrown into the live performance.

Teenage Bootlerocket (Molotow, Hamburg, 23.04.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

And a live performance that is, the sad loss of Brandon has not stopped them from just being a great band that knows how to carry the audience along and to emit energy from the stage. And, bonus, the twin guitars and the distinct different singing between Ray and Kody is a definite unique selling proposition.

Great set, delivered with precision and professionalism (and with a slight risk of being too perfect in showmanship) and thus the perfect finish for this early show with plenty of friends. And looking at the bright smiles across the  packed audience of the Molotow also all the other people enjoyed it too.

The Haermorrhoids will enjoy a couple of more shows with Teenage Bootlerocket and be right back here with us in Hamburg soon.

Looking forward!

Early Friday: Footie waste and Power Pop excellence!

Last time the Pointed Sticks Europe Tour was dropped short notice, as such many of the lot in Hamburg where quite happy that in 2019 a fresh attempt was made to get us to savior that Canadian Power Pop that has sustained the test of time.

Timing of that show though turned out to be more of a nightmare, first there was footie (18:30 Kick off) and then there was also a conflicting show at the Monkeys (with TV Smith & Duncan Reid). On top of that the Molotow (for whatever reason) demoted the show upstairs to the Skybar and to an early start (18:00 doors, 19:00 Support and 20:00 them Sticks). Conflict all over.

Me and two mates choose one half of footie and thus dropping the majority of the support, others choose to drop footie at all.

Millerntor (29.03.2019 18:29 (c) gehkacken.de)
Millerntor (29.03.2019 18:29 (c) gehkacken.de)

Those who dropped footie at all where the clear winners, another goalless performance by the Boys in Brown and thus continued questions around the ability of the coach to drive consistent performance and improvements (and he indeed is the reason why i don’t cover footie currently in my blog).

So with an urge to get out we scooted from the stadium to the Molotow and got the last bit of Sheep On A Tree. Hake, the singer, is most likely the most knowledgeable person when it comes to Power Pop with a Punk background as such he was very eager to have them Sheeps supporting them Sticks.

Sheep On A Tree (Moltow, Hamburg, 29.03.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
Sheep On A Tree (Moltow, Hamburg, 29.03.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

For the short bit i saw Sheep On A Tree sounded just great, despite Hake having been moaning on social media recently that the band was hiding from him (and practices). Tight, hard and fast and Hake getting the message across. In hindsight my choice of footie was wrong, i should have devoted my time to Sheep On A Tree. Period.

Next on Pointed Sticks and i am now making a wild guess: Half of the audience was only ever there because 1990s and later American Pop Punk bands covered them – the other (older) half was there because they came across them in the early 80s. Here is how they looked in Dennis Hopper’s 1980 movie „Out Of The Blue„:

They have been around with local success (and, given they signed for Stiff at one time, international recognition too) from 1978 to 1981 and came back together in 2006 with some regular shows and some new output (next to a plethora compilations, best off’s, re-releases).

The good thing though is that it is still the same people, well aged. And here is how they took ownership of the Molotow Sky Bar:

Great sound, great light and most likely the 2nd best band backdrop behind the drummer i have ever seen (it looked like a ripped t-shirt). Love that humble attitude!

Fun fact: The drummer looked really old but did a stunning job (eagerly eyed by some of the local drummers in attendance, who raised more than one eyebrow and more than one surprise smile).

Pointed Sticks (Molotow, Hamburg, 29.03.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They started with some upbeat songs and sounded very well: An almost lightweight 80s power pop sound (thanks for sure to the keyboard) and not over paced (and error some bands that come together sometimes do).

They did lack consistent stage attire but at least they had a stage trick: Singer and keyboard had a drink being served to the stage by their tour manager after three songs. That is the wild life of world wide rock’n’roll i guess.

The initial songs got quite some cheering but i sensed in the middle of the set that the audience was bit more reserved. Their detailed discography is not at my mind at all times, i can only assume they slotted in some songs lesser known.

Pointed Sticks (Molotow, Hamburg, 29.03.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Towards the end came more upbeat and sing-a-long songs, some covers (where the Beatles cover could have been dropped but i guess because of the proximity to where the Beatles played in the 1960s in Hamburg they wanted to do it) and it all accumulated into the one song that for many defines them:

Somehow it must be frustrating for a musician i guess, feels a bit „one hit wonder„. It also does not do them justice, as they are indeed a gifted power pop outfit with a much wider œuvre than that song.

Appreciation by the audience at that point was large not to say enthusiastic. So enthusiastic that they did break the early curfew opposed on them and gave a Sonics cover as their final song.

Great show by a long lost beauty. And quite surprising how many people after the show got records, t-shirts, tickets and god knows what signed. I was stunned and i guess that small but tight circle of devotees keeps them Sticks floating and enjoying. I did read that Japan was the sheer reason for them to get on again in 2006 and bet ya out there it is even more crazy.

Now back to square one – did the singer had a bald scalp (he is now hiding under a hat) back then? No, he sure had not:

Just like Maniac the day prior in the depths of the Komet cellar the Pointed Sticks up there in the Sky Bar should have deserved a bigger stage and a bigger audience beyond Punk Rock record collectors.

Nevermind, thanks for finally gracing our shores in style my Canadian friends! Your are welcome to return!