NEW HAMBURG POST - / by Zack Smith

HAMBURG 88KM

Trying not to give tonight’s club or promoters any ammunition to cancel the show, Trach is hauling ass in the monster Mercedes van trying to beat the clock. Through narrow construction two lane highways, and GNR”s “One in a Million” Blaring on the surround sound, we are coming w/ in inches of cars that we could easily crush or run off the road. We’re already half hour late with another hour to go, due in part to a GPS machine that keeps freezing up every few hours.

Coming up on Hamburg, we begin to see a very industrial type of town, think Lake Charles but more spread out on the countryside. Hamburg has been described as a rough port town, maybe like what New Orleans was 100 years ago. My last run in w/ a “rough” port town was Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. It was as if the booze and lowdown women had claimed many a sailors careers, and they weren’t happy about the reality that was forced upon them.

From the van I see what looks like now as the San Francisco skyline of Lucas inspired AT-AT Walkers from the Star Wars series. Glorified container movers they are. We arrive at the HAFENKLANG right in the middle off port town Hamburg. There’s barbecue outside, and we are welcomed by open arms and popping champagne, a far cry from last nights hello/goodbye. Its one of J’s good buddy’s birthday parties tonight, and to be honest, the reason why this tour could even happen.

Tonight will be a special night. The marquis reads that SABOT, a local group, will open and then followed by Ratty Scurvics Singularity. It’s a surprise to even Ratty. And although it’s a surprise, nothing less of a special occasion: he just put on pants.

The crowd surrounding is mostly in black, some silver metal studs, but much of what you’d expect from a German port city metal club.

I struck up a conversation with the folks from CESTA, Hilary and Chris, which is the Cultural Exchange Station in Dabor, Czech Republic. Those two made music that sounds like if The Jesus Lizard was a drum and bass duo. But the drummer was a chic. This was one of the best women drummer’s I’ve seen, she killed it. The place was slowly getting full, as the night wore on, and from the vibe of the band, the place, and just the room, tonight was going to be a good show. And it was.

Before Trachs set, Wendy, aka Sub Zero Permafrost, a New Orleans transplant living in Hamburg, did about 20 min.

After Paris’ flop, Hamburg made up for it. The songs were loose but rocking, the band was tight and stretching songs as long as they needed to. We hadn’t seen Bisquit or Chris on stage since Bordeaux, and tonight they created the atmospherics that were missing from the Toulouse show. Even as a punk trio with Urine, Trachs’ band can get it done, but without that psychadelic meanderings of Bisquit on turntables and Chris Capdeville on his circuit bent keys, the total package is not delivered.

Ratty was given the closing slot this night. Rattys’ set was not his typical Singularity set, since there was no kick drum or modified snare, but he entertained nonetheless. He was pulling out songs out of his hat, one after another for the next half hour. His songs made you feel as if we were witnessing street theatre, or we were in a tiny cabaret in France. And just as if the impromptu nature of street theatre crept into the Hafenklang, Rattys’ set was pulled by the soundman blaring the house music after he cut the mic. Ive never seen anyone jump from the stage so fast. Ratty took off towards the sound man and had some words, not sure what was said, but that was it for his show. What I found out later was that the soundman had “crossed some wires” and the house music came on. After the club owner, and soundman profusely apologized

We packed up loosely, and hit the town with out host Marge, and our guide who is known only as Sex Magic.

For the next 3 days, we are without a show in Hamburg. We are staying in the Schanze section of St. Pauli, in Hamburg. Our host Marge, a gracious host at that, and her hostel is amazing. Its like a dream. Marge has been squatting here for almost 3 years – but you would never call this a squat in derogatory terms. It’s not the huddled around the oil barrel fire, with cutoff gloves kind of squat. It’s a taken over apartment complex, reminding me of the projects in New Orleans but a lot nicer. The common area outside is a maze of political graffiti and German slang. You walk down the small dirt road, and it opens out to a communal area where people are skating, playing ping-pong, and hanging out.

These are common areas to a much large system of a powerful, organized, political movement by the people. These squats are community driven, and those that want to take charge, clean up an area, and live in it, is there right to do so. That goes without saying that even in the community run squats in Hamburg, they have their fair share of politics. But it is manageable.

There are even riots. Every day around our Labor Day weekend, there are standoffs in the streets as the squatters from the Schanze’s squatting districts band together and crowd the streets, and inevitably the cops come, windows are smashed and the cops are driven back eventually. In my 3 days in the Schanze, I saw 4 cops. And they walked together, very close, and didn’t interact at all. That’s how hands off this area is.

These days are downtime for the band, and its well needed. The last few days of driving is getting to J’s back and legs and its time for rest. WE get a chance to catch up on some current happening in the MC Trachiotomy world, and not so far off future of the music.