… Heidi ain’t no headcase, Heidi loves them horses!

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…

Heidi is a headcase, a rebel and a rouser
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
 
 
What ‘cha doin’?
 
When I look into her big brown eyes
I’m so glad to know she’s mine
My little headcase, yeah
Ooh, ooh, yeah, my little headcase, yeah
Ooh, ooh, yeah

COVID-19 IS KILLING OUR MUSIC – SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CLUBS NOW!

By now i guess everybody as figured out how impact-full COVID-19 is on his/her private life and i guess you have all noted tours and shows being canceled left right and center.

With that it is hopefully pretty clear to a regular connoisseur of music in recorded form and music in live form that without regular income bands, labels, promoters and clubs will struggle. Will financially not survive. Let one those people that work for them, often without a fixed contract, that will also loose work and thus income.

I’ll do the following:

  • give direct money to my loveliest places
  • order music direct from the bands
  • not exchange tickets back to money for canceled shows

I can only urge you to do the same.

Contact your favorite club an ask how you can directly support them.

I am giving / already gave to

  • Hafenklang (upfront, via a season ticket, plus a direct amount via Stiftung Private Musikbühnen Hamburg)
  • Punk Rock Raduno in Bergamo, as they are not only providing a free event but this year are spot-on in the heart of the Italian Corona Crisis. You can give via Pay Pal on their website. Be generous!

And for the rest be creative. Sell some records that you don’t listen to anyway and provide the turnover to your favorite club. Buy two records instead of one and give it to a friend who has less money than you.

And once the clubs can be open again, once bands can tour again – just buy: Tickets, drinks, merch – anything that gets money into the right hands.

Thank you, i love you.

… them spøgelses brødre rode into Hamburg and killed it!

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).