Monday, May 12, 2014


Yup....that band back from the eighties....groundbreaking...genre-defining.

I listened to them intensely when I was eighteen-nineteen years old, especially that famous first album of theirs, but I never caught them live. But there they were, spotted it by pure coincidence on Facebook...a comeback tour...original lineup, playing venues in Europe and Scandinavia

 "Nah -  forget it! I thought - what would I be doing standing in a run-down old factory with a crowd of kids half my age, listening to a band I was crazy about thirty years ago?  Stupid.

So I bought a ticket. Online, a few days before the gig.

I had to go by train to get to the venue. I had to go alone, because nobody I knew would be interested.
Just like the old times thirty years ago. As cliched as it sounds, it was also the pitiful truth: I was the only punk in town.

So I got to the venue. And thirty years IS a long time...the days of punk gigs in abandoned factories filled with angst-ridden unemployed youths were gone. This was not the rat hole of an entourage of squatters - this was a council supported house of youth culture! The place was fully refurbished, there was a uniformed security team, a well equipped bar, a friendly and smiling staff, the supporting bands showed up on time, and played well!

As old punks do, I found a position in the back of the room. And was in for another surprise,  there was  a specially designed platform you could step onto, giving you full view of the stage. I couldn't believe it. Everything had been done the right way.

I waited through the three supporting acts, carefully sipping on my glass of tasty, but also quite expensive beer . The bands were not bad at all, but me and the rest of the crowd all knew why we had come here...

Eventually. They mounted the stage, just walking on in the off-hand manner of the true hardcore punk band. No division between the bands on stage and crowds down below. Yes. There they were...the original four members, half of them with a considerable amount of extra fat, but who cares about that when we're speaking legends?...

The guitarist positioned himself on the left hand side and started making sounds...THOSE sounds... the sounds I remembered from thirty years ago... while the drummer and bass player joined in, testing if the sound was OK. Then the singer grabbed the microphone, announcing who they were and  the name of the first song.

And off  they went. The pure magic of the powerful songs being fired at us one after the other...a crowd of young punks jumping off, and onto the stage as the wonderfully droning SOUND of this band filled the room, and me... relieving pain, giving comfort.

And yes... there was also the opportunity for checking out young punk girls in tight leather skirts...but I couldn't help noticing that I was not the only middle aged person in the room...standing a few feet from me was another man also in his late forties, early fifties. Overweight and dressed in a worn dinner jacket, wearing glasses, nondescript shoes and baggy black jeans, he looked like a failed geography teacher...but there he was, his eyes fixed on the stage, and as I looked at him he looked back at me, and I saw the most beautiful thing: His face so grey, mask-like and motionless, his eyes so filled with hate and disdain. The clothes, the physique, his position in the world (whatever it was), had changed. But not him.

He was still a punk inside. Pissed off and angry. And here, with the like minded.

And so was I.

Panzer: Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
Damaged and abandoned Hetzers in an East European town shortly after WWII.
The factory applied hard-edge camouflage scheme used on many Hetzers is clearly visible on the vehicle in the foreground.


ste said...

nice piece. in 2009 the buzzcocks played my home town (pop.approx 15k). it felt like an epiphany, pissed it down though.......

ste said...

oh, the hetzer shot is just crying out for a 'then and now' comparison

lennard grahn said...

Thanks, ste, I saw Buzzcocks play here in Copenhagen seven-eight years ago, at a small venue called RUST, a fine evening. A "then and now" could be interesting, there's probably a Pizza Hut now where the Hetzers were :-)