Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Gig Review: Hamburg Booze Cruise 2022 Day 3 26/6/22

It was now time for the third and final day of Hamburg Booze Cruise. It had been an incredible two days of music so far and we were very much looking forward to one final day. First we had to find breakfast though, which was harder than you might have thought. It turns out places open much later in Hamburg than they do in London so we decided to visit a local(ish) park first. It also turned out that the Hamburg half marathon was happening that morning and a lot of roads were closed. This all became quite a mission and we were sweating before we even got to see our first band of the day.

Park visited, half marathon negotiated and breakfast consumed, we headed down to the docks to once again board the MS Tonne. The first band we were seeing today was Wasted Years from Cologne. The five-piece play melodic pop punk music with some great hooks and big choruses. Given that we weren’t quite feeling our best this morning, this was a refreshing way to start the day of music. It was fun, breezy and punchy and certainly dusted off the cobwebs for us. The set did seem to go on for ten minutes more than we were expecting which meant that the following band had to cut theirs short – or so we thought. It turned out that because Shellycoat had to pull out that Wasted Years had been given extra time and the next band, The Sewer Rats would be splitting their set into two halves.

The Sewer Rats were next to play on the MS Tonne and immediately made it feel like a basement gig on a boat. Lead singer Chris prowled around the front of the stage, offering the microphone to folk in the crowd to sing along and getting everyone on the boat involved. As I mentioned earlier, we only got to see the first half of the set (we didn’t know there would be a second half) as we got off the boat when it docked to go and check out some other bands. We did get to see Rejuvenate, I’m Quittng My Job, Pch 101 and what I am told was a Social Distortion cover though and had a lot of fun. Roll on Punk Rock Holiday where we are seeing The Sewer Rats once again.

Back on my dry land we made our way to Molotow Club for The Muttnicks. Arriving at the club with a bit of time to spare, we immediately got drinks before joining the small crowd of people to watch the Hamburg band. Playing 90s inspired punk rock, The Muttnicks played through their set with a lot of passion and energy. I first became aware of the band in 2019, seeing them play on the MS Tonne. I’m really pleased I got to see them again as they played with the same magic that they did three years ago. Since seeing them for the first time, I’d gone away and listened to their music and it was nice be more familiar with their songs this time. I feel like The Muttnicks are one of the most underrated bands in Germany. They write killer songs and are fantastic live.

Next we headed down to Nochwache for a bit of emo courtesy of Fine And Great. Featuring Manu of Captain Asshole and Tooney from Call It A Comeback, Fine And Great were one of the bands I was most looking forward to on the Sunday of Booze Cruise. Heading to Nochwache I remembered the sound issues from the previous day and worried that they might affect Fine And Great as well. Thankfully the problems that happened on the Saturday seemed to be fixed and this pleased me greatly. In a set that I’m pretty sure contained their entire discography, Fine And Great wowed and astounded the crowd that had gathered at Nochwache. Both Manu and Tooney had a great presence on the stage and complimented each other perfectly. Both of their vocals were on top form, despite this being the third set Manu had performed in two days. I think the band are at their best when the pair are singing together or harmonising – it’s one of those things you really have to see live to really appreciate just how good they are. I was expecting to really enjoy Fine And Great and they still surprised me with just how good they were. Easily in my top five performances of the entire festival.

Following Fine And Great’s set we made the walk back to Molotow Club for skate punk legends Cigar. As we were walking up to the venue, we noticed a van pulling up and realised that it was actually the band just pulling up to the venue. This gave me flashbacks to the day before snd the delay with 100 Kilo Herz. Fortunately, Cigar were able to enter the venue and basically plug in and play and I don’t think there was actually any delay in starting the set. I was really impressed with this attitude and, to me, this really embodied what DIY punk should be. I only stuck around for about five songs, as I wanted to get something to eat before the final three bands of the festival, but had a great time watching the band do what they do best, playing really intricate and fast skate punk that has plenty of melody and super vocals. Cigar have been a band for a very long time now and, after seeing them live for the first time, it’s clear why they have had such longevity.

After getting a pot of falafel, salad and chips we made our way to a new venue for us named Grünspan. It’s a much bigger venue than any of the other venues Booze Cruise use and allowed for all of the festival’s attendees to gather together to end the festival, which I thought was really cool. As we entered the venue I was taken aback by the beauty of the space. Most venues of this size are soulless rooms owned by corporations, Grünspan felt like a special building to be in.

New Yorkers Tired Radio opened the show. The band had been on a European tour with Überyou on the build up to the festival and we were looking forward to finally seeing the band. The four-piece were out on the road supporting their excellent 2020 release Patterns. That album is full of raspy vocals, big soulful tunes that I’ve always thought would be great to see live in a tiny basement. It turns out that they also work seriously well in big rooms as well. I was personally surprised by the energy that the crowd still had after a long, warm weekend of punk rock but that enthusiasm that started the festival remained and was potentially even bigger than before. During the set, the band’s lead singer Anthony Truzzolino spoke about how they had stepped away from punk rock for a while before finding their way back into it and forming Tired Radio – and now they were in Hamburg playing Booze Cruise and that was really cool. The story was so heartwarming and a great advertisement for continuing to do the things you love and going after your dreams. Tired Radio played a fantastic set, warming the crowd up for the chaos that was about to come.

The penultimate band for all of Booze Cruise 2022 was Swiss DIY punk legends Überyou. The previous two times I’d seen the band I was in absolute awe of their live show and I was so excited to finally see them again. The band took to the stage and there was this sense of atmosphere in the crowd until all hell broke loose. I’ve said many times in this blog, on our podcast, or just to people I’ve been talking to in person that Überyou connect with a live crowd in a way that I’ve never seen any other band do. Front person Ian spends a big portion of the opening couple of songs with the crowd, getting everyone hyped up – not that they needed much encouragement. Throughout the entire set there were massive singalongs and a constant stream of fists high in the air. Something I always enjoy with Überyou is how the band has three main singers, I think this gives them such a dynamic. As Ian doesn’t play an instrument in the band, it allows them to work as a hype man between the moments where he’s not needed to sing and it adds so much to the band’s live performance. I use the phrase passion and energy a lot when describing bands but it definitely applies more so to Überyou than any other band I’ve ever seen. There’s also such an urgency to the way they play that I love. Songs such as Survivors, Make It Last and Overdrive obviously go down really well with the crowd, as does their cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing where they are joined on stage with their friends in Tired Radio. I came away with the opinion that Überyou are the best live band in the world firmly cemented in my mind. What a moment this was.

Last and by no means least were emo legends The Get Up Kids. A lot of pals back in the UK were getting excited for their shows supporting Jimmy Eat World later that month. The packed crowd in Grünspan also seemed very excited to see the Kansan band. Now, I have to be honest and admit that I wasn’t especially excited to see the band. Not because I particularly dislike them, I just didn’t grow up with them like a lot of people did. They passed me by. In fact, I only really know one of their songs, Holiday, and that is because our friends Burnt Tapes covered it. All of this however didn’t stop me enjoying everyone else in the crowd really enjoying The Get Up Kids’ set. The band first formed in 1995 so are obviously a very polished live band. Each member of the band were so in sync with each other. Something I did like with the band is how they have two lead singers, something I was not aware of before the set. This really helped keep the set fresher for me, especially as the pair have different vocal styles. Speaking to friends after the set, they all said that they really loved the set and the band played every song that they wanted to hear. If you were a fan of the band, it was a real festival highlight and the best way to finish Booze Cruise Festival 2022.

Booze Cruise Festival 2019 was one of the best festival experiences I’d ever had and I was excited and had high expectations for 2022. The festival did not disappoint in the slightest. The bands delivered in a big way and the whole thing was very well organised but, much like in 2019, the true highlight was the atmosphere around the festival. Everyone was in such good spirits and just wanted to have a great time with friends, old and new, watching amazing punk rock bands. The punk community in Germany, and, I guess, in particular in Hamburg, is a special thing. It’s very welcoming to people from further afield and, despite being in a different country and only knowing about ten people at the festival, I felt just as at home as I do at the New Cross Inn (my regular punk venue) and that’s the best feeling. Most of us get in to the punk community because of the feeling of belonging that it brings and it’s special that this feeling spreads to different scenes all over the world. Booze Cruise remains one of the best festivals in the world and I can’t wait for 2023. If you’re reading this and have thought about attending the festival in the past but are on the fence then I couldn’t encourage you more to take the plunge.

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Gig Review: Hamburg Booze Cruise 2022 Day 2 25/6/22

Day one of Hamburg Booze Cruise had been a brilliant day. Day two was now ahead of us and was scheduled to be our busiest day of the weekend and we were excited to get started.

After some delicious pizza at Überquell, we made our way down to the docks to board the MS Tonne. Something quite unique about Booze Cruise is that they takeover a boat and have bands playing as they do a lap of the docks. As we approached the boat, there was already a big crowd gathered and I became a little worried about getting on before capacity was hit. Thankfully it seemed as if everyone got on and were ready to see some great bands.

The first band of the day aboard the MS Tonne was Second Youth. If you have read our day one review (if you haven’t, go do so and then come back to this page), you will know that we also had the pleasure of watching them the night before at Hafenklang. On the boat, Second Youth only had a twenty minute set and the band wasted little time as they tore through their set. The good thing about seeing a band multiple times in quick succession is that you quickly become more aware of their songs. This meant I enjoyed the set even more than the evening before and even had myself a little sing-along. In a moment that really tickled me, once again the guitarist went to introduce a song and it turned out that again he skipped the song Morons. This was a great way to start the day.

Following very quickly on from Second Youth were Snareset. I was really impressed with how prompt the changeover times managed to be on the boat, given that it’s not your traditional gig setting and they were on a tight schedule. This was my first time seeing Snareset and, if I’m being completely honest, I hadn’t listened to them a whole lot before either. I should have however, as they were great. Playing a melodic and emotional form of gruff punk rock, the band had me hooked from the very start of their set. The lead singer’s vocal was phenomenal and I really loved watching their drummer as it seemed like he was having the time of his life. At one point, something went wrong with the drums and the band impressively managed to continue on with the song and pick things back up as soon as it got sorted. Sadly the boat sets were only twenty minutes long today and I would’ve loved to see more of Snareset.

After the boat returned to the dock, we raced up to Überquell to see our favourites Captain Asshole play an acoustic set. We arrived back at the venue as Manu and Basti were just getting started with their set. I’d seen Manu play an acoustic set online during the lockdown and I was really excited to see it live. The duo played through some songs from both of Captain Asshole’s albums. Between the songs, they joked about being unpractised with the set but I don’t think anyone would have noticed if they hadn’t said anything. This was a really fun and unique experience for us and it was fun to have a quieter sing-along with the band in preparation for their full band set later in the day.

After Captain Asshole finished we headed back to Molotow Club for an afternoon celebrating fifteen years of Gunner Records. By the time we reached the venue it was already in full swing with Jeff Rowe, Kirsty & Cory Call and The Carolyn already having played earlier. Learning from the heat in the venue from the day before, we made sure to get drinks quickly and we ended up getting two Fritz Colas (the best cola) and a pint of water between each band just to keep us going. We were full of sugar, refreshed and set for an evening of great punk rock. Chartreux were the first band we saw during the Gunner Records party. I first became aware of Chartreux thanks to my friend Chris ( on Instagram). He recommended them to me and I quickly became a fan. There’s a bit of the Hot Water Music’s about them with their two main vocalists, though their bass player also joined in with the gang vocals as well. I was really impressed with their stage presence. They felt like a band you couldn’t take your eyes off for a second and sounded every bit as good as they do on record. Chartruex are one of many bands who played Booze Cruise that more people need to be aware of!

After catching up with some friends in the Molotow backyard and picking myself up a Chartreux LP, it was time to head back inside for Little Teeth. I first saw Little Teeth back at the 2019 edition of Booze Cruise. This wasn’t the plan, they had been kind enough to fill in for another band. I enjoyed them and went on to enjoy their album Redefining Home as well. Since then, Little Teeth has gone through some line-up changes and are now a three-piece. For this gig they had the bass player of Dankeschatz filling in for them. Little Teeth were perhaps one of my biggest surprises of the festival. I really loved their set. Lead singer Cory Call has such a great vocal. If you haven’t ever heard him sing I seriously suggest you go out and do so – it’s just magic. I believe the band only played songs from Redefining Home during the set and as I was so familiar with them, from my review of the album, it really added to my enjoyment of the set. Little Teeth were superb.

Our first band in the Molotow backyard were Zurich’s The High Times. The High Times are Zurich punk heroes Überyou’s sister band. They formed just before the lockdown and this was our first opportunity to see them live. I can remember Überyou filming a live set during lockdown for Booze Cruise and during that set The High Times performed some songs and they were fantastic. They then released a superb debut named Heat. I was pumped to see them. We made sure we got ourselves a good spot down the front of the stage to watch their set. As they began their first song, the thing that struck me was how much less polished they were than on record. I don’t mean that in a bad way either, Dom’s vocals have a bit more of a raw style to them live and I really enjoyed that. The highlights came when Dom and Marc shared vocal duties and created this huge sound. The band have this great chemistry on stage and this pours out into the audience. I think there were a lot of people saying “wow” at the end of their performance.

Back inside Molotow for Arterials was next on the agenda. Arterials were my find of Booze Cruise 2019 – I was blown away by their intense take on 90s melodic punk rock. Lead singer Flo has an incredible stage presence making them a hugely watchable band, as well as excellent songwriters. Since then the Hamburg four-piece have released the excellent The Spaces In Between and I was so excited to see some songs from it live for the first time ever. It was nice to enter Molotow and see that a big crowd had gathered to see the band. They started with a bang and were every bit as amazing as I remembered. Much like in 2019, I was captivated by what I was watching on stage. Even in the Molotow Club heat the band were giving it everything, playing a mixture of songs from Spaces In Between and previous album Constructive Summer. There was little banter between songs as the band continued to tear through their set, this only added to the band’s intensity and it was absolutely great. The set sadly flew by far too quickly for my liking – I would have happily stared open mouthed at the stage for much longer – but unfortunately all things must come to an end. The set ended in quite confusing way (especially for a non-German speaker) as partway through the final song (The Spaces In Between, I think) the guitarist chucked their guitar at their amp and that was that. Despite this abrupt end, Arterials played one of my favourite sets of the entire festival.

We then ventured outside to the backyard to watch a bit of Lagwagon before moving on to our next venue. I can’t admit to being the biggest Lagwagon fan but I do always enjoy them when I see them live. I was also very intrigued to see what it would be like to see Lagwagon in a venue setting such as Molotow’s backyard. It was a packed crowd to see the Californians play their set. We only hung around for three songs (After You My Friends, Falling Apart, Violins) before heading off and letting some of the folk waiting outside the venue in. It was so packed that a one in one out system was happening.

Next we headed to Nochwache to see Hell’s Ditch. The band had been one of my highlights from Bristol Booze Cruise a week earlier and I was keen to see them again. I was especially keen after speaking to bass player Christian earlier in the day and learning of Nick and Jonny’s travel woes. Their flight had been cancelled and the pair had chosen to drive 600 miles to get to the festival instead. That’s some dedication to playing their first show on the mainland! If you read the first part of our Hamburg review you will know about my dislike of the Nochwache long thin stage with the drummer in the corner. It’s weird. It looked even stranger when a band has six members like Hell’s Ditch do. Unfortunately there were some sound issues in the venue that plagued not just Hell’s Ditch but Captain Asshole after them as well. This didn’t prevent Hell’s Ditch playing a stunning set however, having seen them the week before and at MPF in April there weren’t any new surprises in the set for me – except when Nick got on someone in the crowd’s shoulders to sing during the set, that was new. It was a super fun set with bangers such as Vacant Hearts, Hope Is Hope and The Likes Of Us sounding great despite the sound issues. Hell’s Ditch are playing gigs here, there and everywhere and I seriously suggest that you go see them, they are the real deal.

Next were the band I was most excited for over the entire weekend/month/year of music, Munich’s Captain Asshole. Gosh, I love this band. I had already christened the day Captain Asshole day as soon as I’d woken up that day and everything was leading up to this next thirty minutes. I positioned myself at the front of the stage, right in front of singers Manu and Max and I was giddy. This is what I expect that people who care about Christmas feel the morning of the big event. Sadly there were some issues getting the sound right, especially with the lead guitar, but that didn’t stop the band playing an excellent set and me having the time of my life. As soon as they began set opener Dave Lizewski, I sang as loudly as I could and my fist was constantly found punching the air above me. This was my first opportunity to see the band since they released their brand new album of the year contender, Successfully Not Giving Up, and all the songs they played from it fit the set list perfectly. Even with the lack of lead guitar, they sounded great. It was during this set that the ska kid in me came out and I sang the guitar solos like I would a horn line in a ska song. This might be too much of being a fanboy nerd but I was having the best time so didn’t really care. Of course, they also played plenty of bangers from What An Awful Life, the album that started my love for the band as well as being a big influence into my exploration into the brilliance of European punk rock. Captain Asshole played a set that lived up to all my build up, even with the guitar problems, and I’m so excited to see them again this year at Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia and The Fest in Gainesville. I look forward to the next Captain Asshole day!

After Captain Asshole’s set we made the trek to Hafenklang/Goldener Salon for Career Suicide and 100 Kilo Herz. When we arrived, Career Suicide were well under way playing to a super packed room in Goldener Salon so we went and found somewhere to sit and wait for 100 Kilo Herz. Enjoying a delicious Fritz Cola, I noticed that all of the band’s flight cases were still on the floor and it was about fifteen minutes before they were due on. They eventually got the cases cleared and began to soundcheck just before they were due to start playing. Then there seemed to be some difficultly with the monitors and it was getting well into their scheduled set time. By the time they seemed to be ready it was time for us to leave to go to Überquell for The Sewer Rats and The Jukebox Romantics. I was quite disappointed with what happened with 100 Kilo Herz but these things happen so I just hope I’ll get the chance to see them again.

We arrived at Überquell for the final two bands of our day and it was safe to say we were quite exhausted. I can’t think of two better bands to give you that last dose of energy to get you through the night than The Sewer Rats and The Jukebox Romantics. The Sewer Rats were the first to take to the stage. The band had become a firm favourite of mine since the last Booze Cruise and I was pleased for the opportunity to see them once again. Since I last got to see them, they have released the excellent Magic Summer album. If memory serves correctly, they opened the set with the album’s lead single Rejuvenate which was the perfect choice. It’s a song about recapturing your youth and forgetting about your day-to-day struggles. That’s what Booze Cruise and all festivals are really, a chance of escapism that everyone needs from time to time. The Sewer Rats are one of the most fun bands to watch. They write catchy songs with great sing-alongs and are played in such a fun loving spirit that makes it hard not to smile when seeing the band. I enjoyed The Sewer Rats set so much that I made plans to catch them again on the MS Tonne the next day.

Our final band of the day was New York’s Jukebox Romantics. It seems I only ever see the band in Hamburg and I’m fine with that because they are absolutely loved and pull such a good crowd. Starting the set with Buried With Children, which included frontman Mike Terry running through the crowd during the extended intro to get the crowd pumped up (not that they really needed it), from then on it was one big party. The band’s passionate style of punk rock is made to shout along with and that’s exactly what the crowd at Überquell did. It was great to hear older songs such as the aforementioned Buried With Children and Breaking Rad alongside newer songs like Hey Nora. The Jukebox Romantics also love to throw in a cover or two during their set as well, on this occasion it was True Believers by The Boucning Souls and Blink-182’s Go, they smashed both songs. JBR are one of those bands that seem to unite a room which, I guess, is a big reason why they get so much love. They come across as genuine fans of the festival and are so pleased to be able to travel and play Booze Cruise. It seems like Hamburg is just as much a home for them as New York is and it’s a wonderful thing to witness. This was a party and the best way to end the Saturday.

Captain Asshole day was a wonderful day!

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Gig Review: Hamburg Booze Cruise 2022 Day 1 24/6/22

In 2019, Emma and I attended Hamburg Booze Cruise and agreed it was one of the best festival experiences of our lives. We got tickets for the 2020 edition as soon as possible and got excited as the line-up was announced. Unfortunately, for reasons we’re all painfully aware of, we had to wait patiently until 2022 before we could go back again. But the time finally arrived and no pandemics, train strikes or awful airports were going to stop us!

Hamburg Booze Cruise takes place in five different venues, as well as on a boat, around the St Pauli area and hosts a selection of top quality international bands as well as a whole host of amazing bands from Germany. For me, I was especially excited to see the European bands as there is a whole host of brilliant bands in mainland Europe and now, because of Brexit, it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to come to the UK to tour which is really disappointing. When the schedule was announced we made our plans and, as with all festivals that have seriously stacked line-ups, we had to make some decisions over clashes but when the plan was finished we knew we were in for a fun-filled weekend.

After getting our festival wristbands from the lovely Cruise Records, our first band of the day was at Molotow Club. Originally we were hoping to see Bikini Beach open the festival for us but unfortunately they had to pull out and were replaced by Abramowicz. The five piece are from Hamburg, which I guess explains how they were able to jump on to the bill at the last minute. I was quite pleased about this as I’d been aware of the band for a while and this was my first opportunity to check them out. If you haven’t heard before Ambramowicz before, they play a soulful style of melodic punk rock, with the band’s lead singer having a deep a husky vocal. I really enjoyed Ambramowicz and they were a great start to the festival for us.

Next we made the fifteen minute trek to Hafenklang and Goldener Salon for the next group of bands. Due to the distance between venues, you do kind of have to make a bit of a commitment to venues for a sustained amount of time so you don’t tire yourself out jumping from venue to venue throughout the weekend. We arrived at Hafenklang not long after Saarbrücken’s Sidewalk Surfers had begun their set. The four piece play what I think is best described as street punk music. I had listened to Sidewalk Surfers a little bit in preparation for the festival and enjoyed it but seeing them live really took my enjoyment to the next level. I think a big part of this was due to the fact they were clearly enjoying themselves on the stage and I love when I see that. The band’s bass player in particular looked so stoked to be playing Booze Cruise. With plenty of songs about friendship, growing up and partying, Sidewalk Surfers were a perfect choice for the festival. I enjoyed the set so much I made sure to grab a record before leaving the venue.

Upstairs in Hafenklang there is a venue named Goldener Salon. I actually only ended up seeing one band there the entire festival and that was Friends With Boats. Friends With Boats are a new band in the German punk scene who have thus far only released one song. This was enough to make me want to see them live however as it’s a superb song. After seeing them live I can confirm that they have a few more superb songs. On the CPRW Podcast, I spoke about how Friends With Boats are a collection of older gentleman who all looked as if they were having the time of their lives on stage. I guess playing in the band acts as a bit of escapism for them. They played a hugely enjoyable set and I look forward to them releasing more music soon.

Back in Hafenklang it was time for Italy’s Second Youth. The band had been on a tour of Germany on the lead up to the festival and had had all kinds of van trouble on their adventures. They were probably quite relieved to have made it to Hamburg to play the festival. I wasn’t overly familiar with the band before the festival, aside from the small amount of research I did, and I was really keen to check them out. Playing music that’s a bit oi!, a bit melodic punk, a bit gruff and a lot of energy, Second Youth capture a sound that I don’t hear a lot of and I loved it. Down the front they seemed to have a bit of a fan club who knew every word, which is always great to see. I recognised Friday Night, On And On and 1992 from my brief listening before the festival and had a great time hearing them live. There was a funny moment where the band’s guitarist introduced Friday night when in fact they were supposed to be playing a song named Morons. This was a brilliant first time seeing Second Youth and I was now looking forward to seeing them again the next day aboard the MS Tonne.

After Second Youth we made the walk back up to Molotow Club for The Carolyn. The trio had travelled all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, to play the festival and I was pleased to see that a very nice sized crowd had gathered to see them. The thing that struck me hard when we went back in to the venue was just how hot it was. We were not expecting this and had no recollection of the venues being so warm back in 2019. It had been a very warm day in Hamburg and it definitely affected the venues. (Why don’t they have air con?) Trying to ignore the stream of sweat that had begun falling down my back, I settled in to watch The Carolyn. Something I really enjoyed and didn’t notice when I had listened to them previously is how the band had two lead singers. This always adds such a cool dimension to bands and does a great job in keeping them sounding fresh. I assume that the setlist was majorly made up of songs from their recent Gunner Records release, Rhythm Of My Own Decay, and they got a great reception. I hope I get the opportunity to see The Carolyn again soon, at a time where I’m not so distracted by being so overly warm and uncomfortable.

Next we made our way into the Molotow Club’s backyard where a stage had been constructed since the last time we were in here. The first band we saw play the stage were Australia’s Press Club who were on a huge European tour. I know a lot of people talk extremely highly of Press Club’s live show and I was very keen to experience it for the first time. What an incredible band Press Club are! Natalie is one of the best front people I’ve seen in some time, doing an incredible job in controlling the crowd. They played to one of the most rambunctious crowds I saw at the whole festival with Natalie at times jumping into the crowd to join in the fun. The energy that the whole band displayed during the set was something else, I guess being from Australia they are better equipped to cope with the heat than we were as we had to take a little break during their set to grab something to eat before going back to enjoy the rest of the set. Songs such as Headwreck and Suburbia were the big stand outs for me but what a set it was. The band are back in the UK in November and I think we’ll do our best to get tickets to one of their shows. Press Club are a band that everyone should be talking about.

After Press Club’s stunning set we ventured back into the Molotow sweat box for Between Bodies. The four piece were only playing their eighth show ever which made their set even more impressive. The Internet tells me they released their debut EP just before the pandemic hit which sadly put a stop to any shows that they had planned to promote it. With no shows to play, the band focussed their energy into writing and recording their upcoming debut full length. But now they can play shows and it seemed that it wasn’t just us who were super excited to catch them. Playing a punchy emo style with elements of early Alkaline Trio and Spanish Love Songs, listening to the songs and getting the opportunity to see them live has me convinced that Between Bodies are on the track to some very big and exciting things. With three lead singers it means that they have so many options with the way that they approach their music and this works so well for their live dynamic. I was well and truly captivated by their set. Following a band as good as Press Club must have surely been quite daunting for a new band but Between Bodies absolutely delivered during their set. There was a tightness which given that they had to borrow Snareset’s drummer as a stand in was all the more impressive. I’m so excited about Between Bodies and I can’t wait to be that guy that says ‘I saw them play their eighth show’ when they’re taking over the music world. Get on board the Between Bodies train now!

Following the Between Bodies set, we hurried to a new venue for us – Nochtwache. After only one wrong turn we eventually found our way to the venue. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed by Nochtwache as a venue. It looked a cool spot from the pictures I saw online before the festival but upon arriving I realised that the stage was quite a long, thin one. This meant that the drummer, rather than being behind the band, was in a long line with them. This took a little getting used to and I think this did affect my enjoyment of Custody. I also messed up with my timings as the band were well into their set by the time we arrived. They started earlier than I thought they did and we sadly ended up missing quite a chunk of their set. I was really impressed by how tight they were however, as well as how good lead singer Sami’s vocals were live. I just struggled with the layout of the stage, it was weird to see a band play in that formation and took some getting used to. I look forward to seeing Custody again at some point.

The final band of our night was Shellycoat performing a No Use For A Name cover set at Überquell. In 2019 we’d seen Shellycoat do a Get Up Kids cover set but didn’t managed to see their own live set. This ended up being the case again as we managed to see the NUFAN cover set but sadly one of the members of the band got sick which meant Shellycoat had to drop out of their own set. I’m not the most hardcore of NUFAN fans but always enjoyed them whenever I listened and I was looking forward to seeing what Shellycoat would do with their songs. I expected an emotional set full of big sing-alongs and that’s exactly what I got. Karen Eumes’ vocals suited the songs so well and really gave the songs this extra emotion that I’m sure most of the room got caught up in. Running through timeless NUFAN classics such as Dumb Reminders, Soul Mate, Justified Black Eye, Not Your Saviour and, of course, International You Day. This was a special Booze Cruise moment and one I’m so pleased I got to experience.

That concluded the first day of Hamburg Booze Cruise 2022 and what a way to start the festival it was! We still had two busy days of music ahead of us and were so pumped for what was to come.

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.