Colin's parts are in regular text and Emma's parts are in italic.
We decided to start our Sunday of Booze Cruise Festival a little differently to the previous two days – we went to board a boat! It wouldn’t be a proper ‘booze cruise’ without doing some actual cruising after all and this festival had two boat shows. There was a closing boat show on the Monday afternoon, that we didn’t go to, as well as five bands playing during the afternoon/early evening on Sunday. The novelty of seeing our first ever gig on a boat was all too appealing to consider missing. That and the fact that Überyou, The Run Up and Bong Mountain would be playing on this boat. It was possible to board (and disembark) the boat in between band’s sets but we decided to go all in and climb aboard for the whole thing.
Heading down to the harbour, we were a little bit concerned when we saw the amount of people that were gathered ready to board the MS Tonne. The sun was shining, everybody had shades on and spirits were high. I’m not sure what the ‘capacity’ of the boat was but it was all okay in the end as we got on without any problems. Going up to the deck where a stage was set up – by stage I mean area of the deck with a drum kit and amps (ie. it wasn’t raised up at all) – we claimed a spot by the edge so we’d have something to hold onto or lean on if things got choppy!
Before too long, the boat had set sail for its tour around the harbour and the first band was ready to go. The Muttnicks are a band that neither Colin or myself had listened to prior to seeing them live and so this was the perfect opportunity to check them out. We soon discovered that this was a local band from Hamburg itself that were keen to get this boat party started. Playing a straight-up, everyman style of punk rock, I soon grew to like The Muttnicks. I thought they reminded me a bit of The Bouncing Souls, particularly with vocalist Phil moving about non-stop not unlike Greg Attonito. A great start to the day.
I'd heard good things the day before about Arterials
from The Run Up's Larry so was looking forward to checking them out. When you think about it, it's a bit of a strange thing watching a band, that you don't really know, for the first time on a boat but here I was. Arterials are a four piece band from Hamburg so there was understandably a lot of enthusiasm for their performance. As soon as they began their set, I knew this was a band that I was going to absolutely love. Playing a style of indie/hardcore punk rock with raspy vocals I immediately began thinking of Wank For Peace. The energy from the band was infectious and the crowd on the MS Tonne responded to the band with some big sing-alongs. For me, this felt like a great warm up for their set at Molotow the following day – which I was now very excited for.
Following on from Arterials were Überyou
, playing their second set of the weekend. This was truly something else. The MS Tonne must have been at full capacity for the five piece, knowing what a phenomenal live band they are. Things really got wild here as the band blasted through their set which mostly consisted of tracks from this year’s brilliant Night Shift album. It was great to hear our favourites Survivors and Taking Chances played live again (on a boat!). Überyou connect with a crowd like no band I've seen before. Having three lead vocalists gives the band a great feeling of inclusiveness with the vocalist who doesn't play a guitar (Ian) spending a great deal of time wandering into the audience to sing. As their set went on, the crowd got more and more rambunctious with plenty of people getting hoisted up to do some crowd surfing. This had me a bit worried about somebody ending up going overboard (worries you don't have when you're not on a boat). This was one of those sets where my words don't really do justice of what an experience it was. Perhaps the biggest surprise and highlight of the set was when they broke out covers of Against Me!'s Sink Florida Sink and, what was perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire festival, Journey's Don't Stop Believing. What a set – if Überyou are playing a gig near you make sure you go and see them!
Having missed what I’d heard was possibly the best set they’d ever played the night before (due to seeing Überyou, Personal Best and Chamberlain at Hafenklang), I was very excited to see Bristol’s best punk exports The Run Up – and on a boat no less! We’ve been big fans of the band here at CPRW since seeing them play The Unicorn in north London in 2017 and they’ve come on a long way since then. It also turns out they are hugely popular in Germany and so I wasn’t the only the only one keen to see them on the MS Tonne. The deck had cleared a little after the intensity of Überyou’s set – which was going to be tricky to follow – but there were still plenty of people ready to sing along with The Run Up and sing along we did. This band just gets better and better every time I see them, whether they’re playing songs from their 2017 debut album such as Learning Loss (Colin’s favourite, you can guarantee his fist will be in the air) and Shark (dedicated to tour mates Bong Mountain) or something from last year’s EP like Captain (appropriate for when playing on a boat) or The Upside Of Being Down (what a hit!). These five chaps simply put everything they’ve got into each and every show they play, whilst clearly having a lot of fun, and it’s just a pleasure to watch. Extra kudos to bassist Dan for overcoming his seasickness to play on a boat – you smashed it!
The final, and I suppose headline, act of the MS Tonne show were Bong Mountain
. The crowd on the boat felt like it was now beginning to thin out a little bit as more as more things were happening elsewhere around Hamburg. This, of course, didn't stop Bong Mountain playing another fantastic set. Sporting some very fetching sailor hats, Bong Mountain certainly looked the part as they worked through their set of some fantastic indie pop punk which is made for some big sing-alongs. The fine folk still remaining on board were still super enthusiastic for the band. Much like for Überyou and The Run Up, there were plenty of crowd surfs and people singing into the band’s microphones. At one point, a gentleman got right into lead singer Chris Lidstone's face to sing a part in the song that I assume really meant a lot to him. It was a pretty emotional moment and something that has since had me thinking about how special a festival like this is – where the bands and the crowd are all interacting together and there is no separation. All weekend I would see members of other bands in the crowd, hanging out and supporting whoever is on stage. It's always so nice to see.
Unfortunately we missed 7 Years Bad Luck's set at the Gun Club because getting some dinner took much longer than planned but we made it to Menschenzoo in time to see The Sewer Rats
. Whilst checking out bands I'd never listened to before Booze Cruise, The Sewer Rats were definitely stand outs. The four piece from Cologne playing 90s style pop punk and were really up my street. They are clearly a band that are extremely popular as the venue quickly filled up with other people excited to see them. Playing with a harder rock 'n' roll edge that I'd heard online added a lot more attitude to the songs which worked so well live. It wasn't long before the crowd, which included member of The Sewer Rats’ good friends The Jukebox Romantics, was getting quite rowdy. At one point a mini circle pit was opened up, which looked kind of silly in a venue the size of Menschenzoo. The Sewer Rats are clearly a band that are very good at getting a crowd in the palm of their hands. Playing songs such as I Don't Like You (When Your Girl Is Around), Danny Has A Date and Too Punk For You as well, as some fantastic covers of Bonzo Goes To Bitburg, Knowledge and Time Bomb, this set was fantastic fun and I can't wait to see them again. Hopefully they'll be in England some time soon.
After the sweatbox of Menschenzoo it was good to step outside for some air. We weren’t outside for long however as San Diego’s Western Settings were playing at Gun Club which is conveniently located next to Menschenzoo. Walking inside, we found three members of the band (drums and guitar x2) and all of their gear squeezed onto the tiny stage while vocalist and bassist Ricky was set up on the floor in front of the stage. My initial thought was that this venue was far too small for this band but if the band were bothered by it they didn’t let it show. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Western Settings live before then I will describe their live show for you in one word – intense. Guitarist Dylan is particularly captivating to watch as he throws his body and guitar around all over the place during the band’s set. Although he didn’t have quite so much room to do so at Gun Club, he still gave it a good go. I’m not overly familiar with Western Settings’ songs but everything sounded great to me, including That’s Pretty Good from their new EP Agnus. The set flew by and I was left wanting more. Which was good because we were planning on seeing them again the next day!
When Western Settings finished, it was back next door to Menschenzoo for Primetime Failure
. Much like it had been for so many of the German acts, the place was rammed. We arrived just as they were getting started and there was no way we would be able to get any sort of view of the band. We decided to hang around for a little while though and did get to hear such crackers as Stuck In The 90s, and from latest album, Memory Lane – Apologies, I Have Some. They sounded superb even though we couldn't see them and I urge anyone who is a fan of old school Fat Wreck bands to check them out. You'll love them.
After leaving Menschenzoo we headed to Überquell to round off the night with some cover sets. When we arrived, Arterials were well into their Kid Dynamite set and sounded very good. Towards the end of their set, Zock from Petrol Girls and Astpai joined the band on stage to sing a song which was a nice moment.
When the covers sets were announced for Booze Cruise Festival 2019 it was The Sewer Rats as Rancid that immediately piqued our interest. Before that on the Sunday night however was a set by Hell & Back, from Stuttgart, that they were calling ‘Free College Radio Gainesville’. We weren’t exactly sure what this cover set would consist of. Would it be Gainesville-based bands? Would there be some relation to Gainesville’s The Fest? Well, it wasn’t exactly either of those things but it was a variety of songs by different bands. Kicking things off with My Name Is Jonas by Weezer in tribute to Booze Cruise Festival’s Stephan Jonas immediately got the crowd excited. When things turned more punk rock with songs such as Linoleum by NoFX and Simple Song by Avail, the singalongs got serious. It was all a lot of fun but, in my opinion, they definitely made the right choice with regards to what song to finish with – True Believers by Bouncing Souls. The perfect DIY punk anthem.
Completing the night were The Sewer Rats, playing their second set of the day – this time as Rancid. It was clear from the opening song, Nihilism, that this set was going to be carnage but that wonderful punk rock carnage we all love so much. Like all good Rancid cover sets should do, the songs picked by the band were mainly from ...And Out Come The Wolves (Wars End, Time Bomb and Roots Radical among others) but there were also some favourites in Fall Back Down and the final song of the night, Radio. Radio was a perfect choice to finish the set and day three of Booze Cruise. The lyrics "When I've got the music, I've got a place to go" couldn't have been more fitting. Performance wise, the set was a complete shambles but my goodness it was a lot of fun. It was exactly what I would expect from a Rancid cover set. Well done The Sewer Rats.
This review was written by Colin Clark
and Emma Prew
. Photos also by Emma, although much better photos (that weren’t taken on a phone) can be viewed here