Four days of international extravaganza went down smoothly in Hamburg last weekend, when infamous Reeperbahn Festival took over the city for its tenth edition. The SXSW-like conference slash music festival hosted over 500 concerts, numerous panel discussions on the current state and future of the music industry as well as selected start-ups presenting themselves to audiences and jurors.
At 500 scheduled musical gigs, over 50 participating venues and no clear headliners, Reeperbahn Festival is no festival you can enjoy in flight mode sitting down and waiting to arrive. It takes a bit of an effort to find the many pearls you do not want to be seen missing out on. Luckily the tech savvy festival provides a stellar app that takes you to your Spotify loves and likes as a valid starting point.
So, fused by that, the best gig by miles turned out to be Danish ensemble LISS. Five lads out of Aarhus who seem to have sprung right through a 90s loop hole. They played their first gig outside Denmark and it definitely won’t be their last. Great pop music with this light scandinavian, innocent twist wrapped in carrot jeans, Nick Carter hair cuts and Fila sweaters. What more could you possibly ask for. Attached below is their red hot new track Always. Look out for their gigs in Manchester and London early November.
Another premiere at Reeperbahn Festival saw the rise of Hamburgs latest concert venue Häkken – nicely based in the all new St. Pauli Clubhaus right on Reeperbahn street. Sporting a stellar sound system and a balcony overlooking the mighty red light Reeperbahn road Häkken marks a fine addition to the indie-sized concert halls of the fair city of Hamburg. Accordingly, Häkken hosted the Spotify newcomers stage over the course of the four days. Among the Spotify-certified newcomers was UK radio popper HONNE who really pushed his beard and band to the next level, see evidence above.
What is really great about Reeperbahn Festival is the amount of venues that usually aren’t being used for concerts. Take for instance the mighty St. Pauli church. Built by French reparation money as an aisleless church in 1819, the building played host for a number of marvellous semi-acoustic sets including UK sensation Denai Moore, folk poppers Seafret and Scotsman C Duncan. All with standout performances, the latter maybe sticking out the most, see evidence below. C Duncan just released his debut album Architect and its among the finest collections of songs for the lazy Sunday afternoon or romantic Friday night you will find.
Meanwhile, german group of techno kids Lea Porcelain presented their latest treat to the hungry audiences at Prinzenbar. Julien is signed to good old Sven Vath’s label while Markus has been singing in the independent music scenes in New York and Berlin. Their gig featured great lights, smoke and fog, tons of reverb and them having a proper go on their high end equipment. Really nice. Their debut EP titled Bones will be out November 20th.
So there you have it. Reeperbahn Festival in its tenth year once again provided the city of Hamburg with tons of international visitors, great exciting new musicians and bands and an overall cultural and innovative feel around the old Reeperbahn street that has become scarce in the days of musicals and touristy silver ager bars. Over the course of the last ten years Reeperbahn Festival has established itself as a beacon to the larger German and European music and tech industry while at the same time giving loads of rising bands a stage and a place to showcase their art. The number of participating venues around the Reeperbahn street seems to be rising every year too, adding a sense of community and comradeship with that Reeperbahn Festival logo being placed as a badge for the greater good visible all over the district. Reeperbahn Festival, you have been magical. If you will have us, we will be back next year.