I don’t recall how i stumbled across Hola Ghost (from sunny DK) but it has been a while ago. And ever since i was either yearning to see them come to Hamburg or trying persuade my favorite clubs to book them. As such i was happy as a fuck when the Monkeys took them on and stopped worrying about attending Ruts DC and The Stranglers at the Fabrik – i had a much better option for the Friday!
The support was from less sunny Dutchistan, The Cavallis where not really a fit for Hola Ghost but a fit for the Monkeys. A tall bass in the middle, a sturdy drummer in the back and two guitars: One without hair and solid rhythm, the other with loads of hair and quite some neat licks and stuff (and some stunning reverb stuff later).
The Cavalli's (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 06.12.2019)
The claim to play Punk ’n Roll, something that is not really easy to define. I would put them spot between Pub Rock, Power Pop, Rock and … early Punk. They sing in English and most of the songs seem to have been about Girls and Love. And they sounded like this:
They got some appreciation but the audience was more in a Ghost mode. They tried to make up for that by penetrating their names – more than twice the band members where introduced. Nice running gag. They totally surprised me when they played a Surf song and that in perfect style. So for me it dipped to „good“, other noted „so lala“. As ever – the hardship of support.
Next on Hola Ghost and they where greeted with some cheers by the now say half filled Monkeys. And they took residence like this:
Great visuals, great horn section and great sound overall. And different and as such quite interesting. Some people call it Mexican Death-Surf, some call it Death Psychobilly – for me it is Scandinavian B-Movie Mariachi Rock. Gringo style. And from the mu-sick-al perspective they cover all sections: From slow burial marches all the way to high speed Lemmy tributes (that would fit any Motörhead album).
Hola Ghost (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 06.12.2019)
And within that they have both feet in the stuff like adore most, thus they also have a Rancid song in their rooster:
The audience was very cheerful, some where even totally surprised. Me mate Frosch had friends from England over (Hola Jay, hola Andrea) and took them along based on my advise (and nicely handing the blame to me if this would have gone pear-shaped) and they too where taken by surprise and joined the fan club.
Hola Ghost (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 06.12.2019)
For me it was exactly what i thought it would be, those songs i knew i could mumble along to, other i could simply enjoy. This song nicely sums it up: Slow, fast, horns, great singing, great variations … i think these 5+ minutes have it all…
I am sold on Hola Ghost and i would love to see them on a bigger stage and in front of a surprised full house in Hamburg. In front of an audience that had no clue what would be coming down on them … great idea! For a start i would be happy if the just come again.
Big fanx to the Monkeys for taking them on in parallel to a sold out Stranglers show next door. Luckily some regulars that attended at the Fabrik came over to have a view drinks at the Monkeys, for me that resulted in a well loaded status, carrying two 10″ and a shirt home and a late but happy drop into me bed next to me love (that claimed the shirt).
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 …
… 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Knock Off have coined the „Football, Beer and Punk Rock“ theme and on this Friday me and 3 mates took it on full steam. First on the most local Derby possible in the Danish part of Hamburg (and the top match to conclude the season in the Oberliga Hamburg): Altonaer FC von 1893 vs. FC Teutonia 1905. The Altona clash. Followed by Wonk Unit at the Monkeys – what a great May evening!
Wonderful warm weather, wonderful surrounding: The good old Adolf Jäger Kampfbahn, one of the oldest football stadiums in Germany, filled with more than 3.000 people eager to congratulate AFC for the Oberliga Titel, allowing them into the play offs for the 4th German division.
The AFC has it’s own contingent of „Football, Beer and Punk Rock“ fans for years, many of them locals and some of them disgruntled FCSP Fans (and some of them even more disgruntled HSV fans). But this season both Altona teams were top of the League and AFC did win the season right prior to this last game. As such it was a boring game were only Teutonia put an effort in and rightfully did win.
But nevermind the loss, AFC Fans started the party right after the final whistle:
All-in-all they deserved the league win but as it is with Amateur Footie they will have a hard time in the play offs to enter the 4th league. And once there it will be hard for them to stay up. Money sure is the issue here…
Nevermind future risks, the rather packed stands provided great amateur football feeling (paired with incompetent Beer supply) and gave the team a great cheer when they came around after the final whistle with a large“Hamburger Meister 2019“ flag. Kings of the city indeed.
Now it was time to cycle over to the Monkeys, just down the road towards the east. A small sidestep to grab a quick bite and then back through the hundreds of young urban hipsters cornering at the Alma-Wartenberg-Platz (boy, do i hate that lot). We arrived late at the Monkeys and Vomit already had taken the stage.
Vomit started in 1977 and disbanded in 1980, without a career. They phrase it nowadays as „Very lively punk rock band that play classic 70’s style punk songs. BEST SEEN LIVE!!! OR BEST SEEN WHILST STILL ALIVE!!!“ and indeed i would not buy a record (but maybe a T-Shirt, they had some cool ones).
Vomit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
At good times they sounded like early Lurkers, at bad times they sounded like rock but all in all they sounded ok and their singer was a real asset. Also some of the songs seemed to have some fun words, specifically that one with the Iro-sign. Great start into the proceedings and a good reason to ‚ave another one.
The Monkeys was like less than half full in the end when Wonk Unit took the stage and for me it just shows that nowadays folks are too tied to their self-defined or self-set niche. If there is currently a band on the circuit that breaks with tradition in a positive, inspiring and forward looking fashion than it is Wonk Unit. It is Punk, but sure not as you know it mate!
You get all sorts of variation, all sorts of Muzak and definitely you geat a great show with a top notch entertaining front man: Streetwise, funny and to the point when it comes to observing mankind (and fellows).
And they have structured their set to allow for interludes, this time round it was the constant joke and repetition of „Cyclists“. All sorts of variations where put forward and when there was a choice of next song to be made Alex did check back with the audience if not „Cyclists“ would make the audience happy.
Wonk Unit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
Alex is not only a gifted entertainer and artist, he is also a schmoozer. In Hamburg he made sure it is known that he is much in sync with the local female punk contingent and he knows half of the audience by name. And sure he did not let go the chance to chat up ladies onto the stage to sing and dance with him.
Wonk Unit (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 17.05.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
And Wonk Unit Fan extraordinaire Christiane (of Gerd and Razors fame) was invited for her favorite song onto the stage to sing-a-long with Alex and the band. Great fun, great performance and indeed the true test that Wonk Unit are one of us and are much in sync with Hamburg.
They played long, they played longer and then they had an endless series of customer chosen encores (though some song requests where denied as the new drummer was not yet trained on everything). They also constantly declined to perform Bohemian Rhapsody, something that was well noted as a let down.
Following the Wonk Unit set a couple of folks demanded that we would now perform the full Monty: scooting over to the Lobusch and seeing Japanese Noisecore. One of our mates made some loud advertising for it but for the me these toothless grunzcore fellows just would have been a too harsh contrast.
I’d rather had another one in the pub of the Monkeys to round of a great evening with three of the pleasures in life: Football, Beer and Punk Rock.