… sold out and pleasing the elderly: Harburg Fun, Pt. 2!

Last years 1st Punk Rock Hamburg Festival was a bit of a loudmouth surprise but still a real DIY exercise. Sold out and loads of happy elderly people. As such the good people behind the Punkrock Hamburg community decided to throw a 2nd – yet again the first 2nd in the world.

As much as the Ramones had it with „2nd verse, same as the 1st“ they did not change the setting nor the idea: local bands, from the scene, for the scene. And yet again that concept sold out the Stellwerk in Harburg, south of the mighty river Elbe (and thus a world distance for most people from Hamburg).

The hardship of the early start went to Pommespanzer, who traveled by Bus from their home in Bargfeld (north of Hamburg), together with a sizable Pommespanzer Crew all dressed up in team gear.

Pommespanzer (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

Their asset is their trumpet, their weak point is their singularity: Simple songs about beer, more beer and Holsten Pilsner Halbe Dose does not really suit my mu-sick-al greed. On the bonus side their only recorded output is on a single that was complementary with an Altona 93 Fanzine and is a song about the proud AFC. So they can’t be completely bonkers.

Their crew though, all looking loaded, had fun and thus their hardship was smoothed with cheers and support.

Next on Punktucke and with them it is only ever the same: I don’t really love them but they have their own sound, well played and they are tight together.

Punktucke (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

On top their songs have actually a meaning and some of the words are well crafted. Still, somehow it does not make click for me and i just don’t know what is wrong. They had their cheers but lacked the organized travel group supporting them…

When The Crimes took the stage the Stellwerk felt full, people were all chatty, cheerful and boozing and got a grand Las Vegas type showcase to many folks surprise.

The Crimes (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

They were dressed, as always, for the occasion (something that forever is a bonus for me) and delivered from the first chord pure showmanship, paired with class Punk Rock and Roll.

And to much surprise of the audience mid show they got three lovely background ladies up and thus enhanced it to a real Las Vegas style show. Word has it that some in the audience indeed where stunned to see their better half up there.

I love them and once they finished their set i had the feeling it can’t get any better tonight or at least that i have seen the winner of the proceedings midway. I wonder why i don’t see them more often – they would fit a lot of support stints, also in larger places.

For Gerd it was now a hard competition, though they remain uncontested Party Heroes for the Hamburg lot. In the running up to their 30 Years of Stadium Rock show later this year they knew they had to beat them Crimes and thus stiffened and delivered a crisp set.

And crisp means that they distilled their set down to those songs of their vast output that would kick the shit out of the fans. And indeed it did, the party mood was in full swing (and a large contingent of the audience by this point in time had performed some serious drinking in an coordinated attempt to deplete the stock of the club)

Gerd (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

For those not accustomed with Gerd there is the little hint that Gerd made a living prior to their stadium career on dumping the fixed element of their pay in return to a high percentage of the booze turnover that night. That old trick still serves them well and their fan base can’t let go the habit.

And they also delivered some of their lesser known songs, this one they sold in 1977 during an FC St. Pauli vs. Hibernian FC friendly to some visitors from Edinburgh, who recovered half of the money only when they got the song to #17 in the UK Single Charts in 1978 (and sure thing Gerd would have taken it to Number One!). Sing-a-long with Christiane:

And here you go:

Hold tight, now we're on our own
Cue light, now it's ready to roll
Tonight, how I've waited for aggravated for years
It's fun, oh I just can't wait
Hold on, do I look up to date
Your on, I'll do anything if that's the right thing to see

Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What is selling what to buy
The stock market for your hifi
Take the money, leave the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

There's one, born every day
Sing song, then fade away
Ding dong, what's the future in the pop music industry
Alright, so you make the grade
Hold tight, to the buck you made
Just wait, you been rated for constipated peak viewing time

Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What's in fashion what is seen
On the front of a television screen
Take the money, leave the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

Hold tight, now we're on our own
Cue light, now it's ready to roll
Tonight, how I've waited for aggravated for years
It's fun, oh I just can't wait
Hold on, do I look up to date
Your on, I'll do anything if that's the right thing to see

Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What is selling what to buy
The stock market for your hifi
Take the money, leave the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

Pay the money, watch the box
Everybody's on top of the pops

Everybody's on top of the pops

Oh boy do i look forward to their 30th anniversary show, i guess the landlord of the Knust is already double checking the contract clauses and the storage capacity for booze.

And from the all time classics penned by Gerd it was a harsh contrast to the headliner, as the Emils would stretch some of the lot away from classic punk into more hardcore. For myself i appreciate that stretch, as my own mu-sick-al upbringing happened exactly along these lines.

Here is a classic from their 1988 debut album (that got a decent re-issue in 2018):

They forever drag that crossover patch with them, despite them all coming from the same dirty streets like me and many in the audience. I noticed a couple of folks leaving but i also notice a number of people getting to the front and supporting them (and singing along).

Emils (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

Singer Ille kept the lot engaged and provided some good grounding statements between the songs. What indeed is surprising is that whilst they disbanded a couple of times and some have also other musical engagements it is still the same 4 friends they remain unchanged in their setup. And here is another sing-a-long classic from their debut album:

What did strike me most is how accurate, hard hitting and precise Carsten on the drums is. He handles the task like one of these Duracell powered toys without giving the impression to even a scent of sweat on his body. Class.

Emils (Stellwerk, Harburg, 08.02.2020)

And whilst they marched through their set they kept the icing on the cake for overtime. It started of with this Buttocks cover:

And from there they went into a something beautiful, someething real stunning: A 15 minutes medley of what felt like the first two Slime LP’s condensed. Sing-a-long galore by the lot and loads of fun. And in hindsight a perfect chosen headliner!

This was fun and it was Christian who went on stage to remind people that the fun was basically down to a small team of four running this as a total DIY exercise (though with a great loudmouth marketing attitude). So big FANX to you, you know who you are!

I will now eagerly look out for 2021 and i indeed wonder how this can be topped. I was home late, i was home gently loaded and i was happy as fuck.

… what a raunchy night: Adolescents matched by The Bar Stool Preachers in speed!

This was going to be a brilliant Friday night: Not only was i still on a high from the BossTones show on Tuesday but it was the Adolescents again (and ever since last years „For Steve“ show i would make any effort to see them) and a little not so well kept secret appearance of a band from … Brighton. As in United Kingdom. From that Island yonder. A band that loves Hamburg. And is loved over here.

First on and with a slightly shortened set due to the extra addition was Punktucke, the unfortunate locals. I guess they where not too happy with this but as ever had to bite that bullet. They had not more than a 1/3 filled Hafenklang in front of them but they just did not care…

Punktucke (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

A very precise and to the point set, for me deeply tied into a sound that also other bands from Hamburg do feature but with a fresh spin. They are not particularly my favorites but they got something meaningful to say, both on the mu-sick-al and lyric front.

Next on Fights & Fires from the UK. I saw them last year as support for Dag Nasty in Bremen and noted „The mu-sick to me was exactly that type of music that can’t choose what it wants to be„. This time they sported a wee bit less hair but they still came across to me as „no fish no meat„.

Fights & Fires (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Others in the audience liked them from the start, got dancing and flying (and some of those even where on the guest list, so they do have local support). One of me friends was even so convinced that after the show he took home their record. They where friendly, they where hard and they where fast. Nothing wrong, just not my sound.

And that gave way to the Adolescents and they kicked in like this:

In front of the stage the sound was almost ok but somehow on stage the musicians did struggle. It took a couple of songs, some stops, some interactions with Witte (who did sound) and the removal of a mike in the kick-drum to get the stage sound acceptable for the band. And frank, also in front of the stage it sounded better.

Adolescents - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019)
Adolescents – Set list (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019)

They got a lengthy set list prepared and they pushed forward almost relentlessly. They definitely where not going to take any prisoners this evening and they knew that someone else would mop the ground with the audience to finish off – so they did let go!

Adolescents (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They also traded some memories, like towards Jürgen Bitzcore (who to my surprise was in attendance) and a song long ago played for the first time in Hamburg. And they had people relentlessly dancing and singing along – to the known hits and also to the lesser known songs.

Adolescents (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

If there is one item that stood out for me then it is how tight, how fast and how energetic they where. It was thoroughly a killer set of you ask me and they never did hold back.

It was sure thing not possible to top last years show from a feelings perspective, the love & appreciation vibes last year where to heavy. But this night they topped it from a mu-sick-al perspective. Just puuuurfect!

Adolescents (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

You can see it from the many picture, loads of broad smiles and loads of fun on and off stage. And that forever makes a good gig, that simple recipe!

Whilst the Adolescents resorted from stage around midnight there was still one more fun item to enjoy: The Bar Stool Preachers had a day off in their schedule and needed a place to sleep. Hence they booked themselves into Hotel Hafenklang for a few hours and payed with some stage time.

That sunny lads from Brighton, who had all fun during the other bands, took the stage like this (in self made and highly stylish gaffa makeup):

From the first chord two items where clear: Compared to Tuesday as support for the BossTones on the big stage of the Freiheit they injected some nitro and supercharged the engine in what felt they were trying to match them Adolescents in speed.

The Bar Stool Preachers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Maybe the just did let go? I definitely like this raunchy & speedy version of the Preachers more and it sure fitted the location and the evening so much more. And raunchy and speedy it was also with bodies flying left right & center, up to and including crashing into me mates beer.

... when Beer gets hurt the fun ends!
… when Beer gets hurt the fun ends!

Someone should have pressed that big red „STOP“ buzzer – you can’t hurt a beer glas, that is very very unfair! But the mood was fun on a Friday night out so nobody was prosecuted and me mate simply strolled back to the bar: Knock it back and ‚ave another one!

The Bar Stool Preachers (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 05.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

In record breaking time the Preachers did drive full speed ahead through their set, always at the risk of speeding. Outside they would have been fined, inside they just got love, showers of love.

They finished their set off at around 01:00 (against a 02:00 curfew backstage) and if i am not mistaken their alarm clock was set to 05:00 as they had a long drive on Saturday in front of them. Still, they put everything in and they got they audience still going – see yerself:

Wohahow – Bar Stool Preachers. Full. Stop. Thanks lads for the surprise addition and the extra umpf, the extra speed and the extra fun.

I was thoroughly done after a long day and took the gentle uphill stroll home through a peaceful and quiet city with almost no traffic. Just over at the docks, some folks still did the good old hammer work.

... strolling home through the empty streets and the docks never sleep!
… strolling home through the empty streets and the docks never sleep!

The Adolescents had it a wee bit easier, their last date on this EU Tour was Berlin on Saturday and then back home. In this form they can come back every year (and every year i will put a little memory in … For Steve!).

… The Freeze conquered Germany, the punk rock capital of Deutschland (apparently)!

Their last real effort is from 1999 and their only steady member is Cliff Hanger, the manic singer. But their records are timeless beauties and i can still sing to any song from Rabid Reaction – so the choice between Anti-Pasti at Monkeys and The Freeze at Hafenklang was easy!

Punktucke (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
Punktucke (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

Support was Punktucke from Hamburg which was feared to be a bit of a downside, though they proved much better in the end. Me mate said „…they are boring, let’s go and see if we can have a drink outside“ prior to the show but then we stayed on. They have some good tunes, some even wander into post-punk territory. But what they don’t have is stage presence. And that add’s to the downside i guess. But a tight set and even some appreciation from the audience (120 odd who where there for The Freeze predominantly i’d say).

And then the fun started. It took The Freeze like 5 mins to get on stage, plug in, setup the drum and Cliff saying „OK, i think we are ready“. And real, rough and ready they where.

And there was no holding back, after Nazi Fun they stormed into American Town.

Bang! There are only few bands that could kick off with such a blast from the past i’d say. Sing-a-long galore!

The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And surprise, Cliff Hanger this time round was almost well behaved – last time in Hamburg he behaved a wee bit more … crazy!

Bloodlights! Another classic!

And sure no hiding, backed by a rather sturdy band Cliff muffled his way through one classic after the other.

The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And that gave way to one of my loveliest songs – with just brilliant words:

That little story about loneliness is just on of the best songs ever.

The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And the people thoroughly enjoyed it, loads of singing, head nodding and dancing. And with a lengthy explanation they blasted into 25 seconds of „This is Boston, not L.A.„.

A nice way to sum it up indeed! Me mate Frosch, who sports a Boston (as in BossTones plus Boston skyline) tattoo had a big smile on his face!

The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Freeze (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And with some few choice words about how useless walking off the stage and returning is they threw themselves into what was the encore (not to forgetting to place a reminder on watching our backs when out there and facing them cops).

And a random bloke from the audience gave the classic that makes the headline on this one – trying to convince The Freeze to play another one he screamed famous word „… Germany, the punk rock capital of Deutschland„.

And Violent Arrest was followed with one of the fewer played old songs, Halloween Night.

And that finished off a great show and was some good Boston Hardcore. Loved it. And me mates loved it too!

Frosch, Thomas, Nickel (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
Frosch, Thomas, Nickel (Hafenklang, 10.10.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And that gave way for a few more drinks in a dingy bar with some more classic sing-a-long punk. Great night out, best way to prepare for a work week away.