Hamburg’s own Reeperbahn Festival finished strongly on Saturday night after four action packed and panel rich days and nights. This year’s edition attracted over 4,000 international professionals and more than 40,000 local visitors. The program evolved around 70 venues on and around the infamous Reeperbahn street, and listed no less than 400 concerts. Team Poule wasn’t able to go see even half of them, but still got a good feeling for the 2022 inclinations of Reeperbahn Festival.
Caught on camera above is Canada’s Ekkstacy who sounds quite tame, and indie, and balanced on recorded tape, but brought on stage a most powerful post-punk’esque rendering of his great tunes. Though losing his voice on the first few songs, his husky voice only added to the experience. Stellar performance.
Another one particularly standing out was a Balkan automobile salesman, going by Bulgarian Cartrader. Showing up with two “mechanics” and sporting a racing overall as well as, confusingly, a vintage cyclist jersey, he went on to play a charming and personal set in the attic of Grüner Jäger, driven (pun intended) by his crooning voice and riffs. His debut album Motor Songs is out in November, including an 8 minute skit with him telling his story over soft guitar and beats – which he didn’t shy away from playing live. Brilliant stuff. He has an EP out right now, find the breezy track No Other Drug attached below.
Probably the most star-struck performance was stamped in by Scottish singer Brooke Combe, in the smokey tinted rooms of Moondoo. Ace melodies and witty lyrics all powered by her truly incredible voice – definitely won’t be playing a small place like this again anytime soon, purest pop music in the best sense. Evidence, pasted below. After a smooth line of singles, her debut album will be out at some point, soon.
Further scribbles in Team Poule’s notebook include Berlin’s showman and regular ZDF Fernsehgarten connoisseur John Moods. His tunes sound already well on record, but framed by a live band of four, he catapulted himself into new spheres, being held back only by the low ceilings of Nochtwache. A wonderfully immersive performance, and one that featured almost all of his songs that were released by Berlin’s favorite Mansions & Millions.
Finally, and closing out the festival, came Dutch super stars and their Poule d’Or co-presented Hamburg-leg of the Germany tour: Donna Blue. Straight from an azure blue 60s movie, the mighty people of Reeperbahn found these words to describe them: “Donna Blue sound simultaneously nostalgic, idiosyncratic and wonderfully asynchronous. Danique van Kesteren’s singing is a vocal dream in sepia, embedded in harmonies soft like endless velvet curtains behind which the subconscious slumbers” – sepia, velvet, soft. It was quite a show, evidence provided below.
So that was that. The 17th edition of Reeperbahn Festival saw it picking up where it left off before the pandemic, albeit in an ever bigger, ever grander ambition, and quite successfully so. Still, while many venues and locations on and around Reeperbahn struggle with maintaining their place, be it for economic reasons or for having fallen for covid-conspiricies, for the four days of Reeperbahn Festival, it feels like music and art and culture take back this prestigious and historic place within the city. It’s truly the best time to visit Hamburg. If you will have us, we’ll be back next year – tickets are on sale, now.