Getting into the train at Saarlandstraße, I look at the time – 20.30 – great, I’m on time for once. I’ll have time to hang around before the show and chat with the girl I’m meeting, Milena, who also writes for tba. I’m looking forward to some good old, four-on-the-floor, garage rock. Well, old and old, Ty Segall in its current form has existed since 2008, but their sound is heavily inspired by 60’s garage rock, with sing-along tunes that would make the Beatles proud, but covered in a dirty, lo-fi buzz with Ty’s shredding howl riding on top of the groove. The venue, Hafenklang, which mostly hosts the harder sounding part of the new, alternative music scene, seems to be an appropriate location for the San Francisco-bred Ty Segall. Somewhere on the way from Königstraße to the harbour, which should only be a 5 minute walk in my quick pace, I lose my sense of direction, and suddenly find myself at Altona railway station. Flustered and annoyed, I jump on the train back to Reeperbahn, since I’m sure to find the way from there. As the male voice in the train calmly announces Holstenstraße as the next station, the pressure in my chest rises and I realize I didn’t wait to see whether I got on the right train. Obviously, I should have taken a moment to make sure. From Holstenstraße I take the train back in the opposite direction, or, that is what I think I do, until the unknown man once again calls out a station, that I do not know.
At this point, I laugh out loud, and ignore the dull stares that I get, because there simply is no reason to laugh on this Tuesday evening in Diebsteich. I write a desperate text to Milena, telling her about my absurd situation, and hope I’m not missing any of the music. Counting to ten and closely examining the train direction, I finally manage to get on the right train and arrive to Hafenklang just shortly after the support band, The Trash, a local quartet, has started playing. Their garage rock has a bluesy and 70’s feel to it, with organ tunes and longer passages of guitar improvisations. With the bountiful energy of youth, they finish their set in a long drone of feed and leave the audience warmed up for the main name. This night in Hamburg must be one of misfortunes, I think for myself, as the technical equipment offers complications shortly after Ty Segall has gone on stage. Several intermissions of varying lengths drain the energy from the atmosphere, which is a shame, because Ty Segall actually had the audience at hello with his 2-minute all-fun and no-messing-about pop-blast “Girlfriend”. Luckily, The Trash is still hanging around and lends the band an amplifier, and this time we get a break-free set of mixed goods, including a new song, and, determined not to let a bad beginning ruin the evening, a small mosh pit forms in front of the stage, praising the band and each other, but ultimately ending up by pouring beer into some guitar pedals, making the band’s farewell greeting a “we will go now so you don’t break any more of our equipment”. Walking to Landungsbrücken, reflecting on bands and groupies, against the backdrop of the always impressive harbor front, my love for Hamburg, and rock ‘n’ roll, reaches a new high.