Alex Wonk loves them firsts … last year he was just about the first visiting foreign musician with an acoustic set for the Solidary Punk Rock Days at the Knust. This time round Wonk Unit must have been just about the first touring band from the UK hitting Hamburg under the revised post-Brexit scheme recently published.
So Alex and his revised band hit the road, the ferry … and had their first breakdown in Belgium. One Van down, and barely making it to Cologne for the first show. Next day they set sail to Hamburg, only to break down again around Osnabrück. Two vans down they left two Wonkies back there and Alex and the Bass Player took the train to Hamburg … arriving just in time for this rather intimate show at the Monkeys in Exile, aka the beer garden of the Indra Club.
They where quite done after too much travel and way too much hassle and for a start they took it mellow, soft and with not too much stretch on Alex vocal chords.
That’s “Horses“, sure an all time favorite and a specific favorite of Heidi. You don’t know Heidi? Spare that question for later.
The longer it got, the better the two grooved in, the more chatty Alex got and the more he started to actually stress his vocals chords. And from then on it was a perfect set: The rather low-fi acoustic (though electrified through a small P.A.) music was paired with harsh, angry and sometime screaming vocals. A near perfect clash, a near perfect contrast.
The about 50 good folks where happy, enjoyed the banter and hopefully took note when Alex did divert the story line to rather serious items: Be it his deep dive into drugs or be it his recent struggles around is small daughter. That part was actual really hard and chatting to him after the show i realized how hard the ordeal around it has hit and continues to hit him.
Wonk Unit Acoustic (Monkeys in Exile, Hamburg, 19.08.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)
As ever, they have friends in Hamburg and these friends gave them and Alex specifically an uplift. It felt just like a bit of a living room show with friends all around. I was actually happy that i did let go Arrested Denial and Berlin Blackouts a couple of 100 meters down the road at the Molotow for this lovely evening the intimate setting was much better.
After the show Riebe revealed to Alex that his daughter Heidi actually wanted to sing “Horses” with him but being too young she was not allowed out and into the club. Hearing this and having a big heart for little girls Alex immediately did a special redemption for Heidi:
I bet you Heidi was the happiest girl in Eidelstedt next morning!
Looking at Alex you can actually see that they where done, so quickly they hit off into the Monkeys band apartment to hit a long sleep and to prepare for next day travel, via Osnabrück to pick up the rest of the troupe and all the way to Karlsruhe. Erratic tour planning anyone? At least i could see from the internet (damn internet, never forgets) that they arrived in full and took the stage as 4 piece. Perfect.
And, if not mistaken, the show was recorded in quality and Alex was also quite happy with how it went – so it may be put to Vinyl as a Wonk Unit Acoustic Album.
Let’s see and let’s pray that soon we get a conscious decision from our local government about revised Covid rules for Clubs and indoor shows and we can enjoy such fun more packed, much closer and without masks. I am all in for 2G to make that happen and i am all in for Wonk Unit as a full band to come back to Hamburg for a big raunchy party.
Hit the road Alex, hit the road!
PS; You don’t know Heidi the headcase? Listen up youth…
Cranks up her Rickenbacker
Blasts away for hours
What’s she doin’ now on the escalator
Snorting up some speed on the picture of or Stiv Bators
I’m so glad to know she’s mine
My little headcase, yeah
Ooh, ooh, yeah, my little headcase, yeah
Ooh, ooh, yeah