… 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.

… a classic night already: HH-Soundtrack edition 2015 – unpretentious punk fucking rock!

Oh boy, that was a show! First set to celebrate the release of the long awaited and 32 years overdue Platzangst record it turned into just a different show because Platzangst could neither play nor was their record finished. Then C³I needed to call it off due to serious health problem (all the best Arne!) so that the rooster somehow came about by luck.

What took the stage instead: A new version of the reformed Channel Rats, transporting both their 1980s punk into these days plus new songs. Kein Hass Da, Hamburgs very special Bad Brains in German cover band. The Crimes, also reformed and with Kent Nielsen (Master of the Ukulele). And, to round it off, Sheep on A Tree watered everyone’s mouth.

Channel Rats (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
Channel Rats (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

Kick off was with the Channel Rats and their new backline (drums, bass) gave them the much needed drive. A great set of new and old songs played with some rigor and, as Bodo stated, „what used to be 3:00 songs now turned into 2:20 blasts“.

They have added some more stage appearance and seem more comfortable on stage. If they continue down that path and keep the pace then actually they are well back on the map.

Channel Rats (Knust, Hamburg 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

See them blasting through „Geisterstunde“ as the encore (and Bodo wanking the axe big time):

Next on where Kein Hass Da, the cover band that really ain’t a cover band. They took good mu-sick (Bad Brains) and gave it a great new meaning – new words in German. And just in case you know how different a word flow in German to English is you also then know how difficult it is to actually make that work!

Kein Hass Da (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
Kein Hass Da (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

Karl was the ever talkative front man and the band recreating the best of the Bad Brains sound (including the odd reggae tune). Fond memories on my side to that infamous Bad Brains show on 20.05.1983 in Bremen that had endless fights between Hamburg and Bremen punks.

At the Knust and with relaxed oldpunks on stage and in front of the stage there was no risk of those atrocities and Karl could even roam the audience…

Kein Hass Da (Knust, Hamburg 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

Whatever you feel about „covering“ you might want to re-think upon experiencing them live – the sheer joy by which they transform something old into something new and meaningful is just great. Go see:

Just great! By now the Knust should have been … let’s say at least „half full“ but i think it was not. There is space for i guess 450+ people and i would guess not more than 100something where around.

Next The Crimes, yet again something into a different direction – we had Punk Rock (Channel Rats), Hardcore (Kein Hass Da) and with The Crimes we now get a dose of Garage Punk. Hamburg can be versatile, against all predictions!

The Crimes (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
The Crimes (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

They got an A+ for stage appearance (all dressed in black with suits) but somehow Kent as the singer felt like „not fitting“. I imagine their raunchy garage punk paired with a manic singer who fronts (in all sense of that word) but i got bass and guitar standing front and Kent remaining more to the back in the middle.

The Crimes (Knust, Hamburg 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

So for me and some others it was the „dull“ moment of the day respective night but who am i to ask for all bands of such a setting to be 100% fits for my rather single minded liking? Make your own choice, here is The Crime live and loud:

I think by now it was way after 1:00 in the night and the audience has gotten „thinner“, „lighter“ or „scarce“ – it was just too fuckin‘ late!

On came the Sheep on A Tree and what did they do? They waited for the sound man, they waited for the lights to go off and then they took it on:

Singing, songwriting and stage presence – paired with the ability to actually play the songs in perfect tune: That makes a great band and an even greater live band.

That’s the classic hit from the first Schmuddelkinder Compilation from 1993 – no dust and no smell on it! Classic! Followed suit with they Hamburg hymn from the same record.

Just lovely and so many memories.And that was that other undertone that Friday at the Knust: The loving memory towards those off sick and those gone forever. Every single band made and effort into that direction and me and others in the audience

Sheep on A Tree (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)
Sheep on A Tree (Knust Hamburg, 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And as a 25+ years vehicle sure Sheep on A Tree have had their fair share of ups’n’down but that does not stop them to make it just a great show with loads of energy!

Sheep on A Tree (Knust, Hamburg 04.12.2015 (c) gehkacken.de)

And for myself i got carried away and taped more songs, including their final encore „Walfänger“ (a song by Hake’s other vehicle „Art of Tin Toys“) that finished as late as 02:15 in the night (and with most of the audience already gone, unfortunately).

First their ode to Diane:

Next they went crazy:

And the final final effort with Heiko joining on stage:

Wow – just stunning! And a long evening with good friends ended late but in hope that this will be repeated on an annual basis – just like the after Christmas show by The Razors at the same location. Great people, great bands and a long evening!

nb: Extra bonus – i have vinyl records from all bands (even a Channel Rats / R.A.F.Gier split signed by Stickel!) but from Kein Hass Da. Who is brave enough and dares a release now?