Tankard – Cologne 5 May 2017

Thrash Metal, the forefather of all extreme Metal genres is still able to deliver quite a punch right in the kisser! Fast and aggressive. That is what you expect both on-stage and off-stage. But is it really so wild, or is it merely coquetry with an image that must be taken tongue in cheek? The truth is somewhere in between. Most Thrash Metal fans are not really out hurt to hurt anybody, though certain bruises are to be expected, be it from a stage diver, crowd surfer, or from a more traditional ‘mosh pit incident’.

Given the sheer size of a sizeable portion of the mostly male audience that night the latter was pretty much to be expected and – not surprisingly – there were some really big guys right in the pit! However, mosh pit etiquette was still in place and in fact there were several incidents where the mosh pit took a break to help somebody up. Wild, but not heartless just as it should be. This is not to say that the big guys were necessarily the wildest. In fact there were a couple of smaller guys who were even wilder and also gave stage diving a try every now and then. There were also a couple of female fans who graced the first row with their presence and gave the bands something to smile at. So yes, Thrash Metal shows like this one require a certain toughness, but they are nowhere near as suicidal as they might look like to the uninitiated.

 

Abandoned - Thrash You

Abandoned

After this introduction it is time to write a couple of words about the support act, Abandoned. The first nice thing I noticed about them was the full sound they got. Nothing was muted which gave them the chance to shine, or rather the chance to thrash! In fact they did so in a way that one could not help but feel sorry for the fans who had not arrived early enough for their set, because why else if not for sweaty Old School Thrash Metal do you come to a Tankard gig anyway? Those who were there were able to enjoy a set from a band that clearly enjoyed themselves, the audience and the music. A giant hippy love-feast so to say, but with a mosh pit that likely left quite a few fans with bruises. In fact the connection between the band and the audience was so good that the fans even forgave Abandoned for drinking imported apple cider – Abandoned and Tankard come from an area where it is a very popular beverage – instead of the local beer. Those who know how serious Germans take their local brews will understand what this means.

 

All this is obviously not for everyone, but then, how many people happen to stumble into an Old School Thrash Metal gig without any clue about what to expect? So yes, Abandoned were graced with an audience that was extremely open for their music which caused their vocalist Kalli to joke around with the audience on more than one occasion. All this made their set a very enjoyable experience. Go and see them, if you can!

 

Website: Abandoned (Facebook)

 

 

Tankard Logo

Tankard

No matter how popular apple cider is in Frankfurt, Tankard are the self-proclaimed kings of beer for a reason. In fact it feels like every second song is about beer in one way, or another. But then, so what? They might take their music seriously, but they are also about having a good time, be it with music, or with a tankard full of beer. And they and their fans obviously had a good time. Mosh pits again, crowd surfers, stage divers, headbangers… the audience was going nuts from the beginning to the end of the set. It was simply about the music and the shared joy, but it was obviously not about pretentious looks. In fact nobody really cared about traditional beauty standards here. In fact Tankard seems to be hell bend on breaking these standards intentionally. This is not really surprising about Tankard, but in a way it is always interesting and fun to see how liberating this was. You’ve got a beer belly? Who cares! You have wrinkles? So what! You do not even try to live up to conventional beauty standards? You are still one of us! You happen to be sporty and in training? You are welcomed just like the rest of the crowd! Looks, weight, gender… nobody really cared about that. It was all about the music and the community amongst the fans and the bands.

But what about the music, you might wonder? Hello? This is Tankard! Mean hard Old School Thrash Metal! Riffs, solos, fast paced drums, shouted vocals! Song-wise the fans got their treats in the form of songs like ‘The Morning After‘, ‘Rest In Beer‘, ‘Empty Tankard‘, ‘Freibier‘, but were also exposed to ‘Minds On The Moon’ with its surprisingly serious lyrical content that is so totally not about fun, but rather about the political madness in the world today.


All the songs were played typical Tankard style, of course with Mr. Frank Torwarth (bass) making his typical  funny faces while Gerre (vocals) showed that he could not care less about his belly while on stage. Just the guitarist didn’t seem to fit in, no look-wise at least. Being a half-marathon runner simply makes you stand out when you rock on stage with bandmates like Frank and Gerre. Though, one has to admit that the drummer Oliver “O.W.” Werner is also surprisingly lean, but then playing the drums for a band like Tankard likely burns a lot of calories.

But no matter what, the quartet delivered an energetic show which was to be expected, but which is still kind of surprising. Tankard has been at it for about 35 years already after all. Not one day dead so to say!

Maybe their secret is that they actually celebrate themselves? Whatever it is, Tankard is like a hard rocking dinosaur (check out that song!) that is not likely to become extinct anytime soon, no matter how often Gerre jokes about the band’s age. Seriously, Tankard. One foot in the grave? Are you kidding me? You are strong as ever!

Website: Tankard (Facebook)
Oh, and if you should wonder about the band from Gerre’s shirt then wonder no more: Fleischwolf (Facebook)

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