It’s no secret that I get excited about good music, especially, good live music, which is really how music should be enjoyed in my book. We were guests to Hanni El Khatib last night here in St.Pauli and before I get into all the nerdy music detailing, let me get one thing off my chest right away: it was one of the finest gigs I have been to in a long, long time.
Fortunately, for me, I’ve known Hanni for a few years prior to his real calling, back when he still worked with HUF. When he first told me he was going to bring out a record, I was a little surprised, but whatever, open to it, seeing that we had discussed music at great lengths beforehand, and the man knew what he was talking about. As with many other of his fans, the first couple of tracks that I heard promised to bring us all something that we have been missing for a long, long time. The actual album didn’t disappoint, on the contrary, it’s great beast of an album that if you don’t have already, need to rectify right away.
As great as the album is though- watching and listening to Hanni and his drummer Nick play live is a whole other ball game. Last night was the first time I had the pleasure of experiencing what they do, the venue was a staple, small joint here in St.Pauli- the Molotow, small, no stage, 100 people max. Anyhow, I was instantly blown away by the first 3 songs, which were jammed out in succession. What I hadn’t realized from listening to the album, is how much heavier, darker and intense the songs come across live. As a band, Hanni and Nick work excellent together, the drumming adds a whole new lawyer to his music- and throughout the entire gig I kept on thinking to myself- “shit, this is like the scene in Dusk Till Dawn, when Tito Tarantula plays in the Titty Twister- but better” I hope you know what I am trying to get at- Hanni’s way of playing these songs is a new, exciting and just plain awesome mixture of rockabilly, blues, doo-wop and what doesn’t come across on the album but worked wonders for me live is his background in punk/hardcore/metal, which, creates a sonic and emotional atmosphere I haven’t really experienced yet. When he threw in Danzig’s “Mother”, lyrically at least, into one of his songs, I was amped.
More interesting than this fans observation though, was the crowds reaction I thought- bear in my mind, this is Germany we are talking about, we’re not generally known for balls to the wall public display of enthusiasm- 5 minutes into the show, Hanni and Nick had people dancing and hollering. That’s something I rarely see at a rock show here.
Take it from me- if you get the chance to see this cat live, do it. This is as authentic as it is going to get. It’s bare knuckled blues rock, doo-wop jammed out, without ever leaning too heavy on the past, but creating something new. If you give a shit about supporting our generations talent, this is where you need to be looking at.