… 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.

…3 bands with 9 artists meet 14 consumers – that’s SCI-FI math to work out!

First off, i hope it wasn’t me! I sincerely hope that me was not the jinx, as i have been pestering me mate at the Knust for ages to put more Surf onto the rooster and i specifically named The Razorblades as a great addition for such an event. I am sure though that i also asked also for some other highlights, if my memory serves me well it was like Phantom Surfers, Huevos RancherosSatan’s Pilgrims, The Vulcanos and sure Man or Astro-Man? that i was suggesting.

So much to my fright i was hit with a particular empty Knust on a cold Friday evening and right away i had the feeling this will be an empty show. When i paid i think i was paying guest number four.

... it felt empty early on at the Knust!
… it felt empty early on at the Knust!

And it stayed like that, the Knust has a capacity of 450 if it stretches and i think barely 14 people paid and at max there where like 30something people in front of the big stage. So it was for Los Apollos from Berlin to kick it off against a large nothing.

Los Apollos (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
Los Apollos (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

They do traditional Surf i’d say (and i am far from an expert) and at times the guitar sound reminded me of Mark Broadie & The Beaver Patrol. They where relaxed and grooved themselves into it, despite the empty void in front of them.

Yes, i did dig them but in that large setting on that large stage it sure just did not work out. The one fun thing though was that the empty hall (paired with the excellent PA) created a perfect echo chamber for the guitar reverb to gain on. So something bad turned into a bonus – you always got to see the positive things in life!

Next on The Splashdowns from Hamburg and they where easy to make out: They are Sci-Fi Astro-Surf. And that not only because they had the story of the flight to the moon on the backdrop behind the stage as a mix of animation and real movie snipets but they also gave away some great astro infos between the songs.

The Splashdowns (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)
The Splashdowns (Knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017 (c) gehkacken.de 2017)

They had a wee bit more twang and they had a different kind of charm in their songs. And they had a guitar player who kept standing on his heels and moving around on them – with a strange grin on the face. And, as all other bands of the evening, they had a stage uniform, something that i forever dig.

They had by far the most people in front of the stage, sure thing as they are local plus mathematically it will always work out like that if you play in the middle. The most though is an euphemism, as it was still less than 10% of the capacity. Bugger.

And that finally got us The Razorblades and they kicked off like that (following a short intro song):

I am actually sold on them, especially when they venture into “hard & fast” territory and i have to admit that i am blown away by the sounds that Rob Razorblade get’s out of his guitar. And the speed by which he moves from one sound to the other – just stunning.

The Razorblades (knust, Hamburg, 17.11.2017) (c) gehkacken.de)

They had to face a declining audience and they had to play every entertainment trick to get remaining people further to the front. Still, whilst all the effort, they did not get a front row together for the set. But i think they loved the big stage for being able to move around a lot and they did also benefit from the empty hall in terms of the acoustics. Loose some, win some – eh?

And they finished their set with speed and a nod off to where the sun is warm, the water is cold and the surf is up:

And in the end i think they even sold a T-Shirt and a record, poor fellas. I’d love to see them as support for say Descendents. Or play the Hafengeburtstag in bright sunshine. But never again lure them to Hamburg on a cold November Friday please!

So something did not work out, if i created a share of that misery then i am so sorry – i was obviously completely wrong in assuming that Hamburg would be ready for some reverb and some surf.  Damn was i wrong!

Something was not right with the audience count!
Something was not right with the audience count!