… Kahuna Surfers & Hamburg Ramönes: A (little less) happy family!

Axel from Partysprenger Records not only does a DIY Label but also does DIY Marketing: Every time he puts out something special i get an email offer. So last year he persuaded me towards the Kahuna Surfers LP and it turned out to be a worthy catch.

Their self-acclaim is pure understatement:

Kahuna Surfers, the perfect party band! 

Think Hot summer nights, high waves, palms, sun and umbrella drinks. At the beach, Kahuna Surfers plays their nice mix of classic surf music like The Beach Boys with 60's harmonies, which are mixed together into a fantastic drink with a big dash of Punk Rock and Power Pop. You will definitely not be able to stand still. It is guaranteed to give you more taste! 

Hey, Mr. Bartender pour me another Kahuna Surfers!

He lured them over to Germany and Hamburg too and paired them with the Hamburg Ramones for a Record Release Party, as the locals where putting out their 7th LP finally.

And whilst in Hamburg they also took the opportunity to surf the mighty river Elbe on the MS Hedi, playing Frau Hedis Tanzkaffee.

Thursday was sunny, the evening though turned more and more chill, still plenty of folks turned up to set sail with the Swedes – sold out i believe.

A Tiki Girl, Kapten Snuss and a misspelled Frau Heidi – Kahuna Surfers Setlist
(Frau Hedi, Hamburg, 18.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de)

A quick inspection prior to the gig showed that the band came well prepared: A Tiki Girl, two sets and Kapten Snuss. So nothing could go wrong. Pity though that their 5er setup includes a keyboard and thus 4/5th of the band played broadside whilst the keyboard was facing down backwards the MS Hedi, 90° offset to the rest.

Kahuna Surfers (Frau Hedi, Hamburg, 18.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Still, they all had steady feat and graced the audience with their own mix of feather light sugar coated beach pop (and remember, the “Pop” in “Pop Music” comes from popular). And it was delivered with both a twang, a smile and multi-vocal harmonies.

If there was something “odd” then the only thing was that for my liking there was just a little bit of thrust missing and definitely not enough surf guitar (and associated spring reverb). But the joy that came from the stage was a fitting balance.

Kahuna Surfers (Frau Hedi, Hamburg, 18.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

They played two sets with the 2nd one being a wee bit better (as having some more songs on the thrust side). But all-in-all a perfect match to put those Nordic surfers out onto the chilly Elbe.

Extra bonus: They all where perfectly matched in stage attire, for that only i would take them on again (and was about to, next day).

Friday upstairs at the Hafenklang though started sad: I already heard through the grapevine that Ecki from the Hamburg Ramönes got hospitalized on Thursday and that made it in the end impossible for the band to play.

Partysprenger Axel and 3/4th of the Hamburg Ramones: Sad News! Get well soon Ecki!
(Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

The rest of the lot, who had plenty of Friends and Family around, nevertheless asked the audience to enjoy and all send best wishes to Ecki – i guess he would not have wanted anything else.

So instead of “just” seeing a support stint from the Kahuna Surfers the audience was getting yet again two sets, slightly re-arranged. There was an initial disappointment though:

The consistent stage attire was not achieved: The drummer – who was a stand-in for the original drummer that could not travel due to medical reasons – only was equipped with a single shirt and could not match the rest. Damn!

On the sound side the whole setup was much better, the room and the PA sure helped to get a much better sound (and much better feeling of thrust) towards the audience.

For the first set they played with sub-optimal lights: Initially the stage lights where left on, once they where switched off they played almost in the dark.

Kahuna Surfers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

In the break Axel and a volunteer (plus a bar stool) took on to rearrange the spots that where all geared towards the dancing floor. After that there was a much better visibility on stage.

What did surprise me was that they where able to emit even more fun, smiling and joy from the stage than already on the MS Hedi. Sure one and the other joke as part of the show was repeated but all-in-all it was a near perfect set.

Kahuna Surfers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.05.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

In the end the Hamburg Ramönes where not fully absent from the stage, once California Sun was next they jumped to action and made it a happy family delivery – listen up youth, that was not rehearsed:

Loads of applause and by and large happy people around me (though the Hafenklang felt only like half full). I liked it, me mates liked it and i think i will see them again. Best setting maybe is indeed a warm summer evening, on the beach, with all the ingredients that the enchanting Chinchilla Vanilla put on heavy rotation:

Beach, Sun and Sex (and not Beer; as me mate Frank insisted).

I hope they sold plenty of records and shirts, as i had my LP already i resorted to the new Hamburg Ramönes LP called “Harvey”. You can get your copy from the Band or from Partysprenger! It sports a great cover done by Paulinho from Flanders 72 fame, go check him out (or see him and Flanders 72 at Punk Rock Raduno Six)!

Nice to see Kahuna Surfers twice (and get assurance that they are not a one hit wonder) and really sad that the Hamburg Ramönes had an ill fated record release party. But health of us aging old punk rockers is a – at least for me – not a thing to take lightweight.

Hope Ecki gets well soonest and they can have another go at presenting the record live!

As always … buying records at the show helps DIY bands!

On the more funny side: One of me mates, who has the season ticket next to me at the Millerntor, decided to boycott the show “as the Hamburg Ramönes are the house band of Teutonia“. Football trouble even within the family, Silly, ain’t it?

… showboating with the Razors!

It will be a busy week for the Razors, they have a rather big show ahead at the Markthalle as support for Toxoplasma and Dead Kennedys (sans Jello). As a warm up they took largely Friends and Family in a perfect showboat setting through the Hamburg Harbor.

Best weather after another hot day in Hamburg, with a slight breeze coming from the east, calm waters and still beautiful sunshine … there ain’t not better way to cruise the harbor than that.

With a slight delay the MS Hedi took off for a first round towards the west, aiming to please the lot with a first “classic” set.

Razors – Set List 1st leg (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 23.08.2022)

As always on the MS Hedi it is the non-existent stage, the non-existent distance between band and audience and the need for steady feet (as the mighty river Elbe can be surprisingly bumpy, specifically for a tiny vessel like the MS Hedi) that makes shows so intimate and – with the right weather like on this evening – so joyful, almost like a holiday cruise.

Razors (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 23.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

The Razors kicked off and had some rather sympathetic hick-ups, false starts and missed chords along the way, all of them simply smiled away and laughed off – both by the band the audience.

From the start it was rather sing-a-long, having an after work drink with friends and enjoying classic Razors songs and classic covers.

Razors (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 23.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

After venturing out towards the big container ships moored at the Tollerort the Hedi slowly returned towards the landing bridge for allowing passengers off/on, just to start again.

This time round the Razors treated the lot with a different set and uncommon covers from Damned and Dirt Box Disco.

Razors – Set List 2nd leg (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 23.08.2022)

By now the Razors were in the groove and fueled the fun like a well oiled engine and the lot reflect the fun back to them … one happy family.

Razors (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 23.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

And believe it or not, that engine ain’t an old, battered and rather powerless engine like in Sven’s motorcycle (a 1974 Japanese device) but has the ability to go boost. And boost it got on “No Brains” – they offered it fast and where challenged to complete it below 30 seconds (on the first LP from 1980 it is 0:36, the re-recording on “New Trash” (from 2021) clocks in at 0:34).

Sven took that challenge and indeed battered them home below 30 seconds. Only to be challenged again for an even faster version. And they did! “No Brains” again, even faster, and reaching towards the 0:20 mark. Almost Weinerschnitzel territory!

Razors (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 23.08.2022 (c) gehkacken.de 2022)

And to the sing-a-long ode “Because You’re Young” the MS Hedi took back towards the mooring, alongside the Promenade that was full of tourists. Those tourists looked quite astonished down towards the tiny vessel full of singing people (being backed by blaring noise). Home bound we where – never walking alone!

Perfect evening out with perfect companionship. I do hope the Razors can play an at least half full Markthalle on the weekend and get the same cheering support. I will miss it, both due to not being really fond of the other bands and the simple fact that me and me love take off for some well deserved battery recharging at Jammerbugten.

… come storm or high tide: Power Pop sets sail (Sixteen) Again!

Now that shows are less constrained once a venue has decided for what is in Germany called 2G (attendees and participants on the band and venue side need to be either be proven recovered from Covid or vaccinated ) also the smaller venues come back: Be it Hafenklang or MS Hedi.

What under normal circumstances would have been a nice boat ride into the sunset turned out in late October as a battle vs. storm Ignatz, who provided both wind, waves and a high tide leading to some flooding in the harbor area.

Some 60something folks set foot on the MS Hedi and where greeted by some groovy Brit Pop singles put on by DJ Helge.

Whilst his choice of music was good i have to admit his handling of precious singles was less: Don’t touch the vinyl is a ground rule that we #recordcollectorsrepretentiousassholes should always maintain!

Everybody on board was quite happy (and chatty) that live-mu-sick now comes back also beyond local bands, everybody starts to buy tickets again, all the way up to March next year.

Eventually DJing stopped and Sixteen Again took the floor (due to lack off a stage on the MS Hedi). As the stormy weather was still difficult it was decided to have the first set moored at dock.

Sixteen Again – Setlist (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 21.10.2021 (c) gehkacken.de)

The first set was solely dedicated to the Œuvre of Esquires Shelly and Diggle, all those juvenile love or teenage angst songs we all can sing-a-long, day or night. And singing-a-long and dancing (as much as possible) did the connoisseurs whilst the band tried to keep their posture … even moored there was enough movement of the floor.

Sixteen Again (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 21.10.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Sixteen Again plowed through the set with both energy and fun and you could sense that they have managed to to fully get themselves into these songs. What sure also helps is that singing duties are split, giving the songs the different variations that are needed.

For the 2nd set the Captain of the MS Hedi decided to set sail, the low frequency feel of the engine did climb up our feet. It was to be a cautions route though, no too much into the open waters of the river Elbe, where wind and waves still rules the water.

Sixteen Again (MS Hedi, Hamburg, 21.10.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

The 2nd set was dedicated to other British Power Pop, some of these songs worked surprisingly good, others where impacted by the much more wobbly waters. Unfortunately my own favorite one (Ghosts Of Princess In Towers) was totally slaughtered – both their redemption did not work and the waves did impact the play.

In the end two and a half hours of good entertainment with friends on the road back to normal. Given the Covid numbers still a long road, but i guess we are getting there.

What still frustrates the hell out of me though are people that moan about venues that for themselves (and their staff) decide for 2G, i really do not see how can ask for everything from anybody but yourself puts noting in for somebody.

Whatever, lets crack on: Next stop Hafenklang. Looking forward.