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Reeperbahn Festival 2017 – The Debrief

Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival claimed back its territory for the past four days, Sept 20-23. The historic Reeperbahn road with its clubs and stages has long become not much more than a facade to entertain groups of tourists – preferably on Segways – but during Reeperbahn Festival the music (industry) takes back the streets, where the Beatles played first.

Among the more memorable concerts on the 500+ shows line-up were London electronic dance rockers Otzeki. They played a sweaty set at Häkken, breaking with traditional boundaries in both musical and physical fashion. Their music is a great blend a driving riffs, warm beats and commanding vocals. Attached below is their spring single All This Time. Go see them if you can.

And you can, actually, on a whole range of dates in Europe until the end of the year, find a handy list here. The Montpellier date places them on stages with another banger in fact, Kid Francescoli. The French duo does what French duos surprisingly often do so well. They produce an especially fresh version of electronic pop that has this extra layer, this extra bang, this right tone on the vocals. They played Molotow’s Sky Bar, as evidence above, behind the sea of bobbing heads, and it felt like an underground Paris nightclub.

More French smooth talking came by way of Fishbach. Her solo set had the audience on their toes. When she picks up that guitar, it just goes. Her debut album is one for the year-end-lists and her live sets, with or without band, are unique. Reeperbahn Festival got lucky this year, having her play twice, first under the blue Hamburg skies in the newly introduced Festival Village, below, and then in the cozy basement of Nochtwache. Only the right move then, to make France the partner country of Reeperbahn Festival 2018.

Further great performance included Liverpool’s timeless heroes All We Are, Denmark’s own IRAH and their spheric tunes, Norway’s grand Jakob Ogawa and England’s singing and songwriting Charlie Cunningham playing the great old St. Michaelis church just off Reeperbahn.

As well as local matadors Me Succeeds, who showcased their dreamy tunes, a unique mix of vocals and somewhat house’y beats, an altogether fresh and crisp sound. Get their mad album Into Randomness from last year, total banger. Another local performance came by way of Muutes, the two habaneros played their pulsing set under the skies of Reeperbahn, and into the night.

What’s great about Reeperbahn Festival is actually the amount of shows you miss, or rather are forced to miss. The festival’s growth over the past years has led to an ever more diversified line-up and an ever growing number of venues. 70 places this year for the festival’s 12th edition, ranging from Hamburg’s shiny new Elbphilharmonie and various churches to boats and a giant artificial dome. A total of more than 500 scheduled gigs, drawing in more than 40.000 people from all over the world. Reeperbahn Festival 2018 is penciled for Sept. 19-22 – gonna be exciting to see what they come up with, for the lucky 13th and French edition. Team Poule says, if you will have us, we will be back next year.


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