Header photo by Christian Spahrbier.

This article is part of our GIGsoup in Hamburg series! Make sure to check Zoe Anderson’s page for more coverage!

Wohlwillstraßenfest St. Pauli. Photo by Andy Xu.

After an electrifying Beatles Tour with local expert Steffi Hempel (read about that here), we stopped for a quick bite at Mr Kebab, a local hotspot that brought together both the protesters and police involved in the G20 protests of 2017. Is the road to world peace paved with doner wraps? It’s likely we’ll never know.

Passing back through the Wohlwillstraßenfest street party, we find ourselves at the end of the Reeperbahn, making for the red doors of indie rock club Molotow. This multi-storeyed club—more warren than a venue—oozes character with tiny tucked-away bars and stages just waiting to be found.

On this night, the St. Pauli venue played host to the annual Burger Invasion Festival that brings together twelve rock bands from all over Germany, squeezes them into the caverns of Molotow and lets them loose. Die Cigaretten brought a sheen of local grease to the occasion, whilst Berlin natives, Odd Couple, filled their room with smoky synth sounds. With an atmosphere so close and intense, many patrons opted for the sprawling outdoor area that was (thankfully) mostly undercover of the day’s heavy rain.! Red-lit and winding, Molotow is a haunted house made of rock; the spooky characters that dwell within providing thrills, spills and plenty of sweat. After a few bottles of Jever, GIGsoup ventured out into the thrumming Reeperbahn streets and down to our final destination of the evening—the legendary Golden Pudel.

After our record store tour with Booty Carrell (you can read about that here), we were looking forward to a night of dancing at this local dancing hot spot. Affectionately dubbed, “the Elbphilharmonie of the hearts”, the club has recently been refurbished after a mysterious fire destroyed much of the venue in 2016. Now the building looks shiny and new, sporting a pastel-colour palette and a familiar view of Hamburg’s historic dock area. Be sure to check out local author Gereon Klug’s beautiful stream-of-consciousness account of an evening at the Pudel (available here). It’s incredibly funny and includes such genius ponderings as:

And they`re really back in, all of them. Auntin Tina, the lighthouse keeper, Lumpy, the Fairy-without-Vaseline, the Piggy Boys and the rest of the individualised crowd.”

Humour and individuality are the bread-and-butter of the Pudel. Down on the club’s ground-floor level, most patrons find themselves outside, smoking and chatting as the night turns into morning. What sets the Pudel apart from most clubs is its willingness to take a chance on an artist, rather than booking in line with a particular genre or trend. “The variety at the Pudel is so huge,” said Booty Carrell earlier in the day over a light lunch in the café upstairs. “If they like you, they’ll let you play“. Late into the evening, an appreciative crowd were treated to an evening of techno by resident DJ Saturnine. Joining her were Snow and Zapata, who alternated through the night, thumbing through vinyl, and bobbing their heads respectfully along to the music.

Sound artist Andi Otto (who GIGsoup interviewed earlier in the week) even played a gig here recently. “If you get big at the Pudel, they’ll let you play whatever you want. There is no door to style”. They played old English music, like William Bird”.

The Fish Market. Photo by Escape Filmproduktion.

If you really want to experience a night out in Hamburg, then you have to wait until 5 am for the city’s famous Fish Market to come to life. Food trucks stuffed with sandwiches line cobbled streets, and the mixture of night owls and early birds makes for an interesting scene. As patrons waited impatiently for the doors of the Fish Market’s main hall to open, they nursed cheap cigarettes and sang the songs they’d heard in the clubs and bars on the Reeperbahn. Amongst the beer stalls and picnic tables, Grooveline (a local cover band) energetically delivered a string of hits. From Robbie Williams ‘Let Me Entertain You’ to Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk,’ the bleary-eyed crowd was up and moving as the sun rose over the harbour.

Stay tuned for more of #gigsoupinhamburg this week!

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