… 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.

… DIY with a loudmouth title: Hamburg Punkrock throws a first!

Punkrock Hamburg has been a theme for many years for the Blackpool-Pilgrims to show off force and localism at Rebellion. In the last years it also has turned into a little FB community that allows people to share, participate and promote.

And in January 2019 it has also turned into a venture that hosts a first – the first ever Punkrock Hamburg Festival (aptly named „1st Punkrock Hamburg Festival in the world“ in a bit of a loudmouth attitude (that actually pissed off some who saw the Adverts in 1978 and where present at the first Punk shows in Hamburg)).

First ever Punk Rock Hamburg Festival - A sold out not a sell out!
First ever Punk Rock Hamburg Festival – A sold out not a sell out!

And ahead of time it was actually sold out, though if you followed it on FB you could make out the gamble many venues and promoters are facing today:

The risks of trusting the internet generation!
The risks of trusting the internet generation!

At the ease of a finger move people are interested but in reality only few make an effort to get a ticket. Here it worked, also because it was a special location: The Stellwerk in the Harburg train station, south of the river Elbe – a rather grand room in the old station building.

Kick off was early and with Youth Of Altona and they do something special: They play only ever the Wipers songs they like, not the ones the audience would like to hear. From where i stand that is a very valid setting and if that is paired with mu-sick-al capability and some form of charm than it is valuable addition to entertainment.

Youth Of Altona (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

The most daring thing though was the guitar player, who played with some form of exoskeleton as he had a broken elbow. And that on the arm that moves the fingers up and down the length of the neck. Stunning that he was able to produce a clean guitar sound (as clean as it’s shiny acrylic glass body).

Great stuff but little movement on the rather small stage. But they got it right and they got the key item right: Wipers where not about speed and thus for some they played slow. I’ll say they played right.

Next local heroes Blanker Hohn. An outfit i believe i have seen only ever once in the early 80s, together with the then still small Toten Hosen at the FZ Nöldekestraße. I never tracked them, so missed their disbanding, re-union etc – but it seems they want to play again. How do they sound today? Check it out:

By and large they are to my ears rather painful and that is mainly because my ears never got to adjust themselves to what people refer to as Deutschpunk, specifically the class of 1984.

Blanker Hohn (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

It just does not speak to me. What i did like though was the guitar, the guy could shred out some good chords. Still, local heroes with some songs on local themes though the words today just don’t work anymore (as all of them seem grown up men, fathers and lovers). I think they would benefit from creating something new. But who am i, their marketing director? Nope, just a listener!

The contrast to the next band on stage could not be bigger: Projekt Kotelett amassed 2 guitars, 2 singers, one bass and one drummer on the now really crammed stage. And they had one item that i always dig: They dressed for the occasion.

Projekt Kotelett (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

All clad in some form of Deutsch and seeming to represent the unnamed Wutbürger. And with them came action, fun and loads of beer. On the musical side they blend in everything but ground themselves in fast rock (with scents of Glam, Punk and whatever).

Their advantage sure is the solid back line and the two singers, who allow for some versatile back-and-forth within a song and for at least some form of aggression. And putting the danger back into Punk it at least something many (including my humble self) appreciate.

They got applause and they got some dancing. And they drowned some beer. And more. An even more.

And that gave way to another stark contrast – where Projekt Kotelett where like Cabaret it was now for Nasser Hund to take the matters much more serious. As i missed their previous shows i was really keen to finally get to see – so i took at good look at the details to come.

Nasser Hund - Setlist (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
Nasser Hund – Setlist (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

And did they meet my rather high expectation? Oh yes, they did. No frills, no fills and no nonsense down to the bone music and great, heartwarming and to-the-point German lyrics. To find a comparison is actually tricky and any comparison would actually fall back onto those who are on stage and their history in so many bands.

That’s Kai on drums, Arne on bass and Jan on guitar. Whist i could brag about in how many different settings i saw them individually  i have to admit that in this setting it works stunningly great. And it also works that they let speak the music and the words rather then meeting my other fetish – stage uniforms.

Nassser Hund (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

I loved them, many of the attendees loved them and they got a good level of appreciation (and even some drunken nutty dancing). If you ask me they are a force to come and you should definitely check them out. They even did throw in an encore – so listen up youth:

With that i am now super eager to get the news that they finally found someone who releases their fully recorded record on vinyl. It would be a pity if that takes the fate of the yet to be released Platzangst record (which turns into a myth every year it stays unreleased).

What beauties you can expect? For example this hard knocking A1 material:

Sie haben ihren Eltern niemals verziehen, sie lächeln nur auf Fotographien“ – absolute great line and rhyme. If they go for crowdfunding i am in. Worth the effort!

Speaking of effort: Just check out the great backdrop the friendly people running this show created. It was actually funded by you and me (when buying Hamburg Punk Rock City T-Shirts from them) and we gotta be thankful to them!

Coolest community backdrop ever!
Coolest community backdrop ever!

If you need such a shirt then seek them out on FB!

And after a long evening, plenty of beer and plenty of chats with friends it was time for the mighty Razors. And they kicked off like this:

There is not a lot to add to that: They pretty much enjoyed the evening (and the other bands) and they where eager to close out the evening with the same level of joy.

Razors (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

The new set list by now is in shape, mixing new songs with classics and obvious highlights like Heroes.

Razors - Setlist (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
Razors – Setlist (Stellwerk, Harburg, 09.02.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They almost rushed through their set, had everybody smiling and dancing and delivered the solid performance you would expect. And that, after all these years, as one of us in front of the stage.

Those who read here on a permanent basis most likely know that i am somewhat biased with them, still they simply deliver towards that agenda that get’s me out to shows and see bands live. And for that i love them.

Kick off at 19:30, final whistle after midnight, home in bed with a nice hangover and the best was to get the poor away game of FCSP on Friday out of me head. Mission accomplished.

Mission also accomplished for the good people that put this up: Sold out, all bands got their share and nobody was hurt and nothing was destroyed. I am not sure if they are in for a replay but i will sure lobby for it. Just the name for that little festival will need to be a bit less loudmouth.

Love you – you know who you are!

… the raunchy side of Surf down south!

Next to punk fucking rock i do dig Surf but never go into the live circut for that in Hamburg, only occasionally i realize that there is a a show with a twang and with a reverb. This time round it was them Splashdowns who caught my eye and a heads up from a mate towards the main band: Daikaiju was announced as hottest shit with a raunchy audience centric show. Sold i was!

The Stellwerk is former Jazz Venue at the Harburg central station, down south over the mighty river Elbe. It is located within the train station building has two nice rooms: A main hall with a colossal ceiling and a lounge that feels more like London Underground. So it fitted well that in main hall a Tango event was presented to almost nil customers and in the lounge it was Surfs Up! for … 20 customers…

Tango noir vs. raunchy Surf - Stellwerk style ....
Tango noir vs. raunchy Surf – Stellwerk style ….

It was Matrone, a local Guitar/Drum duo, to kick of the proceedings. Lacking bass and vocals they got plenty of gear as in effect board and computers: The sound was enhanced with loops, samples and playback from the computer.

Matrone (Stellwerk, Harburg, 05.07.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

I don’t know what they call themselves but on the flyers for the show they where down as Grunge, something i would recon that does not fit at all as they are lacking the angry white young male in flannel element (on and in front of the stage).

For me they got some good moments (slower songs with lots of samples, loops and soundscapes) and some less good moment (faster songs lacking the power of a driving guitar). I think they are fresh and as such they will for sure learn and grow. But they are already different and maybe the do land in a little unique space. Good luck!

Next on The Splashdowns, well dressed and well behaved. I guess the NASA currently is not busy (lack of $ to send people to Moon or Mars) so these ground technicians are not needed at Cap Canaveral and a free to roam the world. I did miss them when they played the MS Hedi in April due to other commitments and as such i was happy to get to listen again to their more traditional SciFi Surf.

The Splashdowns (Stellwerk, Harburg, 05.07.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

They seemed a bit frustrated with the show and the setup and they did not have their full Apollo Education Visuals with them – that for sure was a downside! But they had old and new songs and they are well rehearsed (next to well dressed). So here is one of their deep space songs (that transmits well with SCPS-TP via a PEP):

I love them. They are spot on where i want my Surf to be (and they are the next best option whilst Man or Astro-man? avoid our shores. I think i will need to do an effort to follow them more closely in order to satisfy my needs.

And that gave way to Daikaiju, 4 lads that came late and looked a wee bit different to all the other bands. And one thing for sure made them different and was that did set themselves up on the floor, in front of the stage. Now i realized what me mate ment when he noted audience centric. Once the drums where set it took them only minutes to undress, but on the masks, plug in the guitar and get going.

Daikaiju (Stellwerk, Harburg, 05.07.2018) (c) gehkacken.de)

And they did live up to the rumors: Very hard, very hard, very raunchy to the point speed surfing! It could have been guessed by the looks of band members, who could also be in a hardcore band.

And the audience? They liked it from the start, band members roaming around and taking actions with the audience. If only they would have been say 75 good people, then it would have a band in the middle of the circle pit and the audience roaming around in craziness – i’d love to get that view!

The stuns included ritual burning of drums and guitars plus guitar play lifted by the audience and as the final killer it was the full drums set (sans bass drum) and the drummer set up high in the air lifted by the audience. Below pic freezes that craziness quite well …

Daikaiju (Stellwerk, Harburg, 05.07.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)
Daikaiju (Stellwerk, Harburg, 05.07.2018 (c) gehkacken.de)

Sold! Big time. All i need now is to be able to buy more vinyl from them (they only had a split EP with them) and they come back and play a place like the Hafenklang, with a full house. That’ll be utmost fun – can someone please arrange for that?

Absolute great evening down south over that mighty river, i just about caught the last train back home (and me mate missed his to go further out of the city). The Stellwerk is a nice little something, let’s see for more shows there.