Crawling over the snoring Americans and Croats, I wandered down the street to a grocery store to buy bread and cheese and coffee. I sat in the sun outside Jeroen’s place until deciding to kick the rest of the crew into consciousness. Now armed with directions from Google Maps, the Croats managed to find the way to Hamburg, though not without the usual shouting and cursing at each other. Hamburg is a huge port city and despite the horrendous traffic on the outskirts is remarkably likable. Hafenklang is right on the river and there are huge cargo ships loading and unloading right across the street from the club. We were greeted by Thorsten from the band Lars Bang Larsen and Martin the club manager. They had gotten our message about the guitar cabinet input jack that had self-destructed in Leiden and their tech had it replaced in about five minutes. Jason borrowed a soldering kit and swapped out one of the switches on Josip’s Ben Adrian pedal.
The club is an awesome place with a great music room and stage, a comfortable backstage area, an a nice clean band flat around the corner. Again, we were treated to an incredible vegan meal with the ever-present (but delicious) vegetable fritters. Attendance was sparse as Joe 4 started playing, but a knot of enthusiastic onlookers clumped in front of the stage and obviously impressed. Bill and I jumped on stage a few times for sing-alongs of our favorite songs. Lars Bang Larsen played next. They were very German both in terms of appearance and sound. They had a teutonic restraint that worked best with grinding baselines and spoken/shouted vocals. At the they end of the set, they invited Bill and I up to sing on Conspiracy of Conscience, the song on the split 7″ we share with them. We wrote and recorded the vocals back in March and (obviously) had never had a rehearsal with them. Still, it was fun and I think came off pretty well. Bill dragged Sasha up on stage for the howling parts and despite his initial bewilderment, rose to the occasion.
Our set was a bit loose, but what we lacked in precision, we more than made up for in the rock. I fell off stage during Echota when I jumped and then lost my balance. I staggered backwards and knocked a monitor off stage on my way to the floor. Unhurt, I scrambled back up but had totally lost my place in the song. We stopped, Jason counted it off again, and we played it again without incident. Later during the last song, my boot caught the smallest of lips in the stage and I went down again, taking the mic and stand with me. I managed to keep playing this time. The small crowd enthusiastically demanded another song and since our German label boss, Bernd, was in the audience (and plays in the new-wave cover band, Boy Division) we quickly decided to play Shadowplay. I broke a string during the lead at the end but soldiered on and to rather tumultuous crowd response. After the show, we had a great time hanging out with Bernd and with Peter and Thorsten from LBL.