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Soul Kitchen - an old warehouse in Wilhelmsburg southern of the Hamburg harbour - was builded in 2009 as a film set for the eponymous film directed by Fatih Akin ("Gegen die Wand") with Monika and Moritz Bleibtreu, and was used after the movie as a cultural center. Due to the structural condition this building should be closed, but the operator could prevent the closure at the last minute and celebrated the reopening with a benefit concert for the hall with the local bands Vakuumulator (neo-Electronics), Elace (Pop) and Stimmwerk (Soul Rock).
In fact, I had come only because of the band Vakuumulator, whose special fusion of electronic music with violin and electric guitar I liked at this year´s Oxmox band contest very much. But not only Vakuumulator delivered again a great concert, the two following groups did their job so well that there was no mention of boredom and I was delightfully listening and photographing.
Vakuumulator had to open the evening. Originally scheduled for 8 P.M., but due to the fact that quite little guests appeared to this time at the place, that the real start had to begin two hours (and two beer) later. As almost always in Hamburg with unknown bands, particularly if their music - because individually - have to be adjusted to the experience, the Hanseatic audience remained at the beginning reserved and only a few brave dared to approach the stage.
Hard work for Natalia, Maksim and Kirill - the names already betray the Russian and Ukrainian origin - to enforce their mood in the hall. But their music, who mix classical, rock and metal with electronics and integrate rap, has just strong qualities. Natalia let very impressive sob her violin, Kirill strongly rocked his guitar, and Maksim is the word artist and entertainer among the three who let the minimalist, essential poetic sprechgesang flow into the music.
This was followed by Elace, who will join the upcoming tour as a support of the well-known German electro-pop band De/Vision. And indeed the music of Elace fits well with De/Vision and offers a similar gentle melancholy, an entertaining melancholy, served with well-kept introversion of the guitarist and enriched with beautiful melodies. Comparatively could say that there are elements to discover of Depeche Mode as well as of Placebo. Responsible for the bass and wide electronic fields was broad multi-funktionalist Daniel Zielonka on drums, who was also active as a background vocalist.
This lack of superficial party atmosphere was probably the reason for the safety margin between audience and stage. Meanwhile, many more guests had arrived, but they were clenched into a tight standing cluster, as they were waiting for something. They waited at least not on quality or successful songs. That was probably not the kind of light-footed party-pop that had been expected. And if the singer Andrew Kohlar said at the end, it would have "been quite a lot of fun with all of you", that was indeed meant lovely - but a little more commitment on the part of the audience would have been allowed to be, then the concert would certainly have been even more pleasant for the band.
Now the pointer was turned slowly to midnight, and the revellers were finally crawled out of their quarters and crowded the hall. Probably because it had become common knowledge around that now in the Soul Kitchen would be served soul music.
What the band Stimmwerk offered was - it must be said, even if someone shouldn´t like soul music - simply great. With left-hander David Klosinski was a very strong guitarist at work, who played a wide range of 60s Wah-Wah-Temptations tunes to some sophisticated solos. This was beautifully accompanied by a fat bass and a profound rumbling organ and keyboards, which added a multi-variant kind of depth to the sound.
In the center stood in a good mood and with a really amazing vocal range in the gracile body the voice and optical center of the band, Bea Jass. From gentle ballads to groovy funk and a broadside of rock the band apparently struck a nerve with the audience - at this time in this place. The people swayed, danced and applauded - and all this without a safety distance to the stage.
Outside, the moon lit up the romantic scenery of the rugged sky over silent warehouses and factory buildings of the port-related industrial park, where the Soul Kitchen is located, that day without the usual cold October rain. Let´s hope in conclusion that this concert with three very impressive musical acts can help that this cultural center may continue to serve as a forum for upcoming talents!