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.

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