Melanie Haack, Sebastian Gram, Thorsten Volkmer, Samira Alinto
First, a small remark: you definitely need to have a look at the big photo gallery and check out the party video clips in our video section!
When do you ever get to see a troll at karaoke? Or Danny and Les from Anathema, imitating Bob Marley? Or almost just as good: an allstar jam session at the end of a long night of partying and concerts? And what about a freaky fashion show? The answer is simple: at the STALKER Anniversary Party at the Martkhalle in January.
THE DAY BEFORE
In between the final preperations for the party, the first bands arrived at Hamburg City airport! Complete panic, even though everything would go smoothly, the STALKER crew was traveling back and forth from airport to the Kogge hotel. Finntroll, Anathema and The Skreppers got along just fine, drank and partied together – this party already started at the airport and the eve of the party was a success. A few nice STALKER readers came by the Kogge and brought some beer from the south of Germany with them, which was gladly accepted by the bands. Although, .... didn’t the Skreppers get lost on the Reeperbahn (probably completely unintentionally, of course) and we at the Kogge could constantly hear heads being banged on tables?! But we also learned a lot that evening, for instance, we never knew one can apparently nap very comfortably leaning one’s forehead on a beer bottle...
THE DAY OF THE PARTY
A couple of hours of sleep, many small errands, preparations and lots of sweat later, at 19h the big moment was finally there: doors open! We were all staring at the entrance excitedly, and there were actually people there, braving the cold, wanting to get in – insane! About 1000 people showed up and together with all the participants, they filled up the Markthalle completely. Small wonder! After all, Hate Squad, The Traceelords, The Skreppers, Finntroll and Anathema were gracing the stage with their presence that evening – a sort of mini festival with a high party level. The things organised around it also did well, like the Play Station Sing Star and P2 game corner, and the sofa corner was literally besieged. Good! And the raffle to benefit the Luchtfeuer EV (Aids benefit) and some other things, were well-visited.
A TROLL GONE ASTRAY
Wilska, in his capacity of Finntroll front man, came onstage before Hate Squad and fired up the karaoke machine, kicking off the evening. A party goer from Hamburg, however, got even more applause, when she faced him in the karoake battle and used the stage like a pro – that girl up there, bloody hell – some people must have been thinking.
The first gig unfortunately didn’t really get the crowd moving. Hate Squad entered the stage and played their thrashy hardcore. Front man Burkhard Schmitt swept the stage like a madman, but only managed to get about half the crowd to nod their heads wearily, if at all. What was wrong with the audience? Not enough beer? Well, the other half of the audience partied twice as hard.
JAMAICA IN THE BLOOD
Later on, Danny and Les of Anathema grabbed the mics for the second round of karaoke and sang „No Woman, No Cry“ by Bob Marley. Fairly well done, and one got the impression that somewhere inside Les lurks a small Bob Marley, trying to break free. Even though their opponent from the audience was quite a few beers ahead of them (which Les and Danny easily made up for later), the audience favoured the competition – 2:0 for the guests!
Time for some rock. The Traceelords – like The Skreppers – formed a big musical contrast in the program, but they tried to make the best of it. The guys really rocked, only the poses were a bit much at times – but that’s Rock’n’Roll. Singer Andy got some help from the audience to congratulate his mother Hildegard with her birthday over the phone halfway through the show and it was quite amazing when his former employer uncle Tom Angelripper climbed onstage and performed „Ace Of Spades“ with them. The first couple of rows showed their appreciation by head banging...
FASHION QUEENS AND INSANE FINNS
The Jungbluth (a shop in the Marktstraße in Hamburg) fashion show was more than just an interlude between two gigs. Professional and nice to look at – especially for the male party goers. Individual, extravagant, daring, punky gothic and sexy.
The prize for best outfit of the evening, however, goes to the front man of The Skreppers, Special K. He is none other than the successful Finnish producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. Dressed in a patent leather cat suit, which covered his whole body, and high heels, he got everyone’s attention. Later on, the man from Helsinki could be found wearing his comfortable woolen pullover, remnants of eyeliner around his eyes – also quite an image!
Wow! That word is really enough to describe it!! The current album „Call Of The Trash“ is a lot of fun, musically very good and simply funky, but live, the whole mixture of patent leather, high heels and fun, was pure madness! Front man Hiili was so lovely and slithery (in a good way), and the rest of the band members were also not to be sneezed at. As was to be expected, the audience was a little huffy at first; many of them quickly left the hall to recover from the shock with some beer. However, more than half of the audience surrendered to the pull of Hiili and Co. and seemed enthusiastic and surprised. Very cool!
While during the performance of THE SKREPPERS a lot of people had left the hall, now – shortly before Finntroll was to come onstage - it was amazing how many people were packing together in the Markthalle to see the next group of Finns. The Finns had oiled their vocal chords and the rest of their bodies adequately before the show, and kicked off with „Fiskarens Fiende“. The tension and excitement in the air was building up by the minute, as the trolls belted out two of their biggest hits: „Trollhammaren“ and „Jaktens Tid“. „Nattfödd“ also got a good response, especially in the first rows. Finntroll had a fair amount of alcohol in their blood, but they rocked Hamburg, like they always do, despite the – at least to my ears- poor sound. „This song is about mushrooms“-„Ursvamp“ couldn’t be left out, of course, and Tapio Wilska announced the song charmingly, even though the aforementioned phrase is getting a bit old. „Midnattens Widunder“ and „Rivfader“ would be the last two songs the trolls would fire at the fans, since.... well, all of a sudden the drummer, whose disappearance initially went unnoticed by the band itself, was missing; he had an urgent appointment with the toilet bowl.
Whether Anathema would end the evening with a nice, calm contrast to the rest of the band, or whether Finntroll should bring a powerful close to the party, was left up to the bands themselves. „We wanted to start partying and drinking earlier and watch Anathema in peace,“ Wilska commented with a grin, concerning the decision to let Anathema play last. Ok, a lot of them had been drinking before the show. But what can you do, when the backstage area is full of temptations, just waiting to refresh dry throats?!
Anathema were reason enough for many people to undertake the trip to Hamburg. I personally hadn’t seen them live since 2001, and on that occasion LOGO in Hamburg was filled with emotion, so the people in the hall were waiting anxiously to watch the band play. Anathema aren’t as loud as Finntroll by any means, but they worked hard, really hard. The band was relaxed (and latently boozed) and played songs like „Fragile Dreams“, „Closer“ and „Forgotten Hopes“ for the people who were still there, with ecstatic smiles on their faces. Even though Mr. Cavanagh and Mr. Smith were drunk as lords – it was good! And when they played the most wonderful song in the world „One Last Goodbye“, goose flesh all over. In the end, „A Dying Wish“ did the rest – and keyboardist Les Smith was forgiven for pressing the wrong button in the course of the evening, causing the keyboard to produce a techno beat. The Brits completely left their musical concept, when Carass’ Jeff Walker entered the stage to perform the Sex Pistols cover „Pretty Vacant“ with them. In the meantime, the hall was getting pretty empty, due to the late hour, but still: brilliant!
NIGHTS IN HAMBURG
Even after Anathema and the following allstar jam session, for a lot of people the party wasn’t over yet. After all, there were plenty of ways to continue the party on the Reeperbahn. Hotel Monopol and the Kogge also have nice hotel bars with nice drinks... and seemingly nice counters to sleep on, beer bottles still in hand. And what can you do, when the lady running bar wants to close up at six – why so early anyway? - and has put away most of the drinks already? Obviously, you start on the bottle of vodka, that was still behind the bar. Yes, at some point, even straight vodka tastes good! And who says there aren’t any other hotel bars open a this time of night? Only the recovery time after a night like this, which for some lasted until 8 in the morning, is a little long... Some of the musicians stayed in Hamburg for another couple of days and joined us at the Pungent Stench concert the next evening. But all good things must come to an end: we’ll do it again next year, so that we’ll get used to it!
One more huge thank you to the bands, the Jungbluth team, our sponsors, the crew and last but not least, the guests. You were amazing!