… Comeback Kid and SOIA – short and crisp!

This was a flashback to 1980: Me and me love recently moved house and we moved out of the city into green suburbia, actually back to where i grew up. And thus this show at the Markhalle was a copy of my adventures back then  – taking the S-Bahn down to Hauptbahnhof and then the short walk over to the Markthalle to see great bands.

Because of SOIA the best wife of all was part of the expedition, so it was not only down memory lane but also … hand in hand.

Kick off at the Markthalle was rather early and for those attending a day job tough. And surprisingly it was 4 bands rather than 3 – when i arrived Additional Time (from down south-west in Germany) just finished their early early set. No clue how they sounded but they had to play a rather emtpy Markthalle way before 20:00.

Next on Cancer Bats, playing towards an only slightly bigger audience. I guess it was the night driven to Antwerpen that followed the Hamburg show that force all timing to the rather early side (and made all sets rather crisp – not to say “short”).

Cancer Bats (Markthalle, Hamburg, 06.11.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
Cancer Bats (Markthalle, Hamburg, 06.11.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Some have them down as Sludge Metal and others point to Metalcore, i frankly don’t care about the cupboard they are put into. I just have to admit that i don’t dig their sound. So it was chatting outside and some drinks.

Once Comeback Kid from sunny Winnipeg (that’s Manitoba, Canada) took the stage the space in front of the stage and the rest of the Markthalle was well filled (but sure not sold out). And they took the audience by storm as much as i did like them (even in this rather big setting).

Comeback Kid  (Markthalle, Hamburg, 06.11.2019)

They got the audience moving and had a number of fans singing along to every song. I am not too detailed into their output but i take it they played a variation of old and new songs. I guess if i would see them in the coziness of the Hafenklang i would dig them even more. The set was short but crisp and little did i know that it would set precedent for the headliner.

Sick Of It All took the headlining slot with all grandeur of a headline – dark stage, intro music and … bang, they stormed  into Injustice System (as far as i recall, as i am late in writing up the show). The audience went full throttle in the pit and i saw many smiling faces (and people singing along) in the wide auditorium of the Markthalle.

Sick Of It All  (Markthalle, Hamburg, 06.11.2019)

Lou gave as ever the commandeering front man, Pete jumped and twirled around with loads of killer chords, Craig with his double strap for the bass driving the rhythm and Armand doing what he does best: Hardcore drumming with a precision that is rarely matched.

I loved every minute, me love loved every minute and me mates (actually fewer than normally) also did dig it. When chatting prior to the show i tried to reconcile how many time i did see them, i arrived at about 20something times (single-handedly beating the best wife of all with “only” 7 times).

Best moment was Lou singing a song in the audience and the pit doing a circle pit swirling around him – first time i saw such a stunt (specifically a stunt with a microphone on a cord).

Sick Of It All  (Markthalle, Hamburg, 06.11.2019)

SOIA took the stage at 22:04 and … gave us a coitus interruptus at 22:50. When they left the stage we thought it was for the encore but nope, they did not come back. When Lou came stage side to shake some hands i think i picked up he was quoting vocal problems, it may also just be the setting of the upcoming overnight drive to Belgium. Whatever it was, it was a little disappointment on an otherwise near perfect set.

I do hope SOIA return soonest in a sole setting and give us some extra time. We want it. We need it. We love it – no matter what!


Bonus, Bonus, Bonus: Milo, Stephen, Karl and Bill reloaded in sunny Barcelona.

I am not necessarily a big away follower when it comes to shows, i prefer the smaller clubs in Hamburg. Some of me mates tend to go wide and far for mu-sick but that itch rarely get’s me: All attempts to lure or shanghai me to Blackpool for Rebellion just did not succeed. That said, there are some mu-sick-al items that make me at least listen. And so i did listen to the proposal of seeing the Descendents twice on this years short European Tour despite my dislike for festivals per se.

The destination was Barcelona and the weekend was going to be a long one, fly in on Friday and leave on Sunday. That gave time for us to see something more, including for me visiting an old work mate that got stuck in Barcelona 14 years ago and never got around to leave.

Following an easy flight out our little travel group split apart, my two friends went to town to dine with others of the Punk Rock Hamburg travel circus and i went down south and suburban to Castelldefels to see me mate.

Out there in the suburban homes of Castelldefels (c) gehkacken.de)

Out there it is indeed very very nice: Beach, Mountains (with Foxes not on the run) and many Football Player homes. We had a great Dinner at the local Marina and loads of chatting about work, life and family. And whilst i took the scenic route out with Public Transport (for cheap € 2,20) i choose the taxi home as the last bus was gone when we parted.

Next day we met late and did some scouting through the city in damn heat. It is nice but it is also very much a tourist destination – very crowded. We strolled around until we gave in and rested for cold drinks and food in a local cafe.

Following a nap in the strategically located Hotel near the venue we took on to get a bite and then into the proceedings. Proceedings that were going to be lengthy but hey, never complain.

We screwed up eating, as the place we choose was actually part of the location and thus did not serve as we thought. Never mind, food is overrated, so into the Poble Espanyol and drinks it was.

The location was uphill and an artificial Spanish town yard … and well empty when we arrived.

La Inquisición (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
La Inquisición (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

Up on stage where La Inquisición, a young local band. They had the fun to play vs. the sun and for a rather empty space. They got some cheers but did not manage to impress me. I guess that stage and that emptiness was just too big for them.

Next on A Wilhelm Scream and as they did not impress us on Tuesday in Hamburg we happily let them go. Watching them from the distance (as far as it got actually) we all concluded that they are just not what we like nor need.

Gatillazo took stage next and they seemed to be local heroes. Not only a couple of shirts where to be seen in the audience but also loads of sing-a-long by the locals.

Gatillazo (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Gatillazo (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

For us it was complicated: We do not speak the local language and we just do not understand what they are singing about. Luckily the singer was a bit single minded and from his many wanking gestures we at least where able to conclude it was either about lone male teenage sex or something similar. And we made out some potentially negative comments about the police and about Real (as in Real Madrid). From a musical perspective there where most likely the equivalent to Fun Punk.

Final local heroes where CRIM, who already have a name outside Catalonia and Spain. They had a huge fan base in the audience, the number of people with a CRIM shirt was by the hundred.

Crim (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Crim (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

And they have it: Good and mu-sick-ally more complex songs and an impressive voice by the singer. For them it was sing-a-long by the full crowd (sans the foreigners) and plenty of applause. Whilst they sport a particular bad logo they have something, that little difference. I will definitely check out their vinyl output and will get something from them into my collection.

By now we had 4 bands done and it was time to take account: Beer was good, plenty and cheap. Water was plenty and ever cheaper. The locals consumed red wine with ice and … the food was piss-poor. Damn. Outside there are so many good places for perfect food and up there … aarrgghhh. After a short trial we stayed with liquid food which given the heat was anyway better.

And whilst the sun gently came down it was Sick Of It All who had to play a stage that still did not need artificial light, a setting that for me was a wee bit strange.

Sick Of It All (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Sick Of It All (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

And with them a different league and a different sound took the place: Much harder, much more paced and – if you ask me – in absolute perfection. On top Lou, as ever, took every effort to engage the audience. For me this was one of the highlights and i do look forward for them to return to Hamburg with their new record, if i got the rumors right then that will be like January 2019.

What was also nice was that they had two little girls (i guess family) up there dancing happily on the huge stage and with these funny kid ear protectors. I loved that view and that sheer joy!

Next Mr. Biafra who was anounced locally as more Dead Kennedy than School of Medicine, something that actually is unfair to his band.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

I am not a huge fan of his recent output but i am a huge fan of his early stuff, be it DK or his collaborations with D.O.A. (was there ever a more epic punk rock song than Full Metal Jackoff?) and with LARD. My judgement thus was reserved and whilst i tried to ignore his (this time short) lectures i did have to recognise that his backing band has some very gifted musicans. And when they play old DK songs and the lead guitar goes into the East Bay Ray type of flittering guitar, allmost surf, then i am sold against my own will!

By now the yard was full but not full capacity, there was still enough room to roam around, get drinks, get to the front and get accross. I have no clue about the capacity but we guessed it was 2.500 folks attending.

Poble Espanyol (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Poble Espanyol (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

The audience itself was rather young and what did stand out was that a) whereever you stood there was like 20 young girls with krickel-krackel tattoo’s around you and b) the same amount of people (male and female) with spider net tattoo’s on their elbow. And on top i could not stop noting that about more than 50% of the female contingent in the audience actually sported lipstick. All in all the audience was very friendly and we felt absolutely great to be part of it.

Next on the reason for existence being here: Milo. Stephen. Karl. Bill. And they lured us into the front row so that we can live our groupie life.

Descendents (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Descendents (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

The set was about the same as in Hamburg, just a couple of newer songs where removed. What was stunning to see (and hear) was that like 80% of the audience was able to sing-a-long to the songs. And the older the songs, the louder the singing. We felt totaly home in the crowed and we did love every single second.

Descendents - Setlist (Barna'n'Roll, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Descendents – Setlist (Barna’n’Roll, Barcelona, 14.07.2018 – from the collection of SillyGirl77)

Fun moment was when Milo decided to leave the stage and realized that there were no steps down … after some head scratching he decided to just jump the 2 meters. And whilst he did so the Descendents Crew rolled their eyes about that unplanned stunt that also got the mic cable into trouble.

Milo in the pit (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Milo in the pit (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

Double-fun was to see Milo realizing only after finishing his close contact combat with the audience that missing steps down also mean missing steps up. First he tried to lift himself, then he resortet to the stage rig on the side and with some gentle help of a photographer he made it back up again.

I loved it even more than in Hamburg, as the set – due to time limits of the stage slots – was tighter. And that benefitet the net result. And i am now sure that the next time they will be in Europe i will consider an even wider round trip to stalk them.

With that i was well exhausted though not loaded. Me and me friends strolled back and decided to see Cock Sparrer from the distance and with some final drinks.

Cock Sparrer (Barna'n'Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)
Cock Sparrer (Barna’n’Roll 2018, Poble Espanyol, Barcelona, 14.07.2018)

Cock Sparrer most likely got the loudest sing-a-long (at least on their old hits) and most of the audience moving. What i did like was the option to see them sans idiots and their twin guitar work (i think that remains one of the best around). What i do not like is that they somehow evolved into something that is a wee bit Status Quo like: Same sound, same rythm, same gestures.

Long after 02:00 it came to and end, we left after the first encore from Cock Sparrer and whilst strolling down to our hotel slowley i think i heard another encore – but we were thoroughly done.

It took a loooong sleep and a late breakfast to get us going again, this time for a final sightseeing effort.

Out there in the Parc Güell (c) gehkacken.de)

Parc Güell, designed by Gaudi, is one of the attractions and given it’s hilltop location it also provides grand views and some fresh air. We strolled around, we saw the construction work on the monument and we resorted to a silent corner with some shadow to rest. And we all came to the conclusion that not only Barcelona was a lovely town that warrants a longer stay outside the main summer period but that it also was a great show.

With that in mind we took home and with some delay we arrived happy and tired at home sweet home.

nb: If we would have been super eager we could have joined the warm-up show too but that would have been another show into the wee of the morning. And thus we did give a pass to this opportunity (though Penny Cocks and Violets would have been great assets for the main event too).

… 30 years sweat aged hardcore beef: Sick Of It All don’t boot their fans off the stage (they butt them off)!

Now the start into the evening was … suboptimal. FCSP loosing at home and me mate Dirk, who runs booking at the Knust, confirmed that with two support bands SOIA will be hitting stage at 22:30 sharp, as such there was little hope to catch The Yum-Yums (who graced the Monkeys over in All-to-nah) as Sam confirmed they will hit stage over there in the same time frame.

Why can’t my favorite clubs not sync stage times how me, myself and I need it? Damn!

Die Heart (Knust, Hamburg 29.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Die Heart (Knust, Hamburg 29.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

First on Die Heart from Hamburg and from the start i was not able to relate to their sound. Too much grooowling, too much bam-bam. Sorry, not my thingy.

Next on Gone to Waste from Dortmund. And they kicked off like this:

Arrgghhh – in my world this is posing in an offending way. And metal core that i wholeheartedly dislike. From first chord to last. Where Die Heart at least where within city limits (mu-sick-aly) Gone to Waste where suburban. Boy did they suck to me (and those around me actually). That said, quite a number of folks in the audience seemed to take a rather positive look on them. Not my thing, by some length of rope!

Gone to Waste (Knust, Hamburg 29.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Gone to Waste (Knust, Hamburg 29.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

Puh, that (paired with the home loss of the FCSP) now did set a low mark for what was to come next. Sick Of It All, 30 years and going strong. I do not know how many times they played Hamburg but i think i saw them now for like the 11th time? Really sad that i do not run a show diary!

And SOIA took the stage, the Knust and the audience like this:

Let’s celebrate that we don’t give a fuck! You could feel that they came off a two week break in touring and had re-energized. To the maximum! From the first song all the way throughout the set they where just like i have them in my head for such a long time: Humble, nimble, full of energy and unpretentious. Or, in more simple terms, just class. NYHC Masterclass!

Sick Of It All (Knust, Hamburg 29.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Sick Of It All (Knust, Hamburg 29.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

And following that start me and me mates did shelf all ideas of somehow leaving early and hoping over to The Yum-Yums (who would have deserved our presence). But we smelled we were up the the best Sick Of It All show in quite some time (the last 2nd best was down under the Große Freiheit, on a lonely Thursday evening, with only 150 people attending) and we were not disappointed. Not the slightest.

Yep – Hit songs paired with age old shit from the beginning. By now we definitely knew we would be up to something special: Hit after hit and from any period of the bands vast Œuvre. Oh boy – what a joy!

And that was handsome Lou commandeering the audience and guess what – everybody followed without thinking. The sold out Knust was full of eager fans and eager “oldschool” fans.  At least when Lou asked only one was brave enough to hold up his hand and state “this is my first SOIA show“. Ups – where have you been lately my friend?

Sick Of It All (Knust Hamburg, 29.04.2016) (c) gehkacken.de)

By the pace of it we also by now knew we where up to a new record, at the end we though the tallied some 40 songs they played (though it might be memory and enthusiasm played a trick on us there). But it was just the perfect show. Gosh, that i’d ever say that…what have SOIA put into my drink?

In the underground, integrity lies within
In the underground, the image doesn't mean a thing
When the substance lack, plain for all to see
If the deal is right then respect is where it should be
It should be, it should be, it should be, right

There ain’t no lack of hits with Sick Of It All and hell yeah, most of them are sung full throttle by the audience. Ain’t live shows exactly for that?

Brother, I'll always look out for you
If I feel it back
Sister, we'll brave the outside world
Off the beaten track

When it's us vs. them
You can always count on me
When it's us vs. them
It's a global unity

Open the extended family
The family is growing fast
Friendship will transcend the borders
The world is shrinking fast

They have co-defined a genre and they have authored the right behaviors and they keep putting them forward to the troops. Though at the show they might preach to converted it is something to be done. Continuously. And as “us all” does not have the time to do it there are other people who get funded by us to do it. Guess who that is?

It is not everyday that you see a band making that statement (and that ain’t the ill-fated ska joke) on stage but here it is all so true. So thanks already Lou, Pete, Craig and Armand. My money and support you will always have, also for the next 30 years (then i am well over 80 and not sure if i can still blast SOIA in the retirement home, let’s hope the best).

Was that all? No, that ain’t all! Thanks to some bloke in the audience (Craig suggest he was the obvious drunken polish guy) we where also up for something that will put the Mighty Mighty BossTones (and their enlist Ben Carr) at shame most likely: The official “GoGo Night at Knust, Edition 2016” was on:

Already earlier that guy graced the stage with some dancing and pony riding, now he went full throttle. And where the stage hand from the Sick Of It All crew did not succeed (and got a bad bad middle finger though at least not licked on) Hamburg’s own Hardcore Osteopath came to rescue and butted the guy off stage and into a nice flight home. Well done Thomas, well done. Trust you gave the guy some stretches afterwards. We laughed our ass off!

And that was Sick Of It All, 30 years anniversary, in Hamburg. A masterclass in NYHC – no more, no less. In a perfect setting. Thanks Dirk for making it happen, making me forget the home loss and not needing to hurry over to The Yum-Yums (who would have deserved it and – by what i heard – also gave a great show).

Live mu-sick. Love it!