On Tuesday night Munich had the opportunity to see some of the world's best street punk bands in a fairly small venue with excellent sound. Unfortunately, the venue was only one third full and I believe the bands just weren't feeling any energy.
The show took place at the Backstage Halle, which is the medium size venue of the Backstage. The Headliners were Stomper 98 and The Old Firm Casuals with the local opener being The Lazy Bastards. All three bands can be summed up stylistically as street punk, oi, and punk rock'n'roll.
The Lazy Bastards took the stage first and received only a little enthusiasm from the crowd who were clearly just waiting around for the main event. They set the tone for the night rather well getting their biggest response for a cover of Cock Sparrer's 1982 hit single "England belongs to me" which is always a crowd pleaser with a street punk show.
The Old Firm Casuals are a street punk band from San Francisco, California. Although they are not that well known, the guitarist/singer/front man of the band (Lars Fredrickson) has made millions with his other band, Rancid. In fact, just last weekend he performed with Rancid at Groezrock, the largest punk event in Europe. I have seen Lars Fredrickson perform several times with a few different bands and he is always professional, charismatic, friendly, and inspiring. However, this time was a bit of a letdown as it was probably the worst performance I've seen from any of his bands. I'm not saying it was a bad performance; it just simply did not bring the energy one should expect from Lars Fredrickson.
The Old Firm Casuals performed every song they've put out (they do not have a full length album yet, only seven inch records, most of which have only two songs). Their biggest crowd pleaser was a cover of The Last Resort (whom The Old Firm Casuals have a split seven inch record with) song "Violence on our minds." They performed all their songs well, and then said thank you and good night without much commotion.
The final band of the evening was Stomper 98 who are one of the best known German skinhead bands, but since all their songs are in German, are not anywhere near as well known outside of Germany and Austria. That being said, their drummer Phil is known for his other band, The Templars, who are one of the best known skinhead bands in the world.
Their performance was one big long sing-a-long like any good street punk show is, but there simply were not enough people for the band to feed off the energy of and so it felt like more of a forced performance than a good time for the band.
Overall the show was a good time for all who attended though it won't make any record books. Lars Fredrickson will be back with his other band, Rancid, Friday July 20 at the Tonhalle. So if you missed this one, you can give Lars a chance to bring the energy to Munich in July!