A 30.000 pies por viajeros para viajeros

Of Gigs In Hamburg

Some myths about European cities could do with an upgrade. One of these has Hamburg labelled as an eminently professional destination associated with the work sector. While there is some truth to that, it would be a crass error to reduce Germany’s second largest city to the sole status of business haven. Indeed, under the hood of that metropolis, which forms its own federal state (it covers an area of 755 square kilometres), seethes a cultural scene which is well worth venturing into. This nerve centre of Germanic arts also boasts a highly prominent music scene.

Any fan of The Beatles knows that Hamburg is the place where the group hatched their plot to rise to stardom. There are even routes which take you to the spots trodden by the Fab Four. But, far from aiming to live off the past and beatlemania,Hamburg features a powerful network of concert halls with highly varied programmes, both in terms of live music and DJs eager to blast out any kind of sound. Hamburg is a cosmopolitan capital and this comes out in their open-mindedness about all artistic activity.

A tour of these live music clubs might start at III&70, a venue on Schulterblatt street which spotlights upcoming artists. From singer-songwriters to rock groups, electronic music and jam sessions (the most crowded nights of the week).III&70 also has a café famed for its generous breakfasts and an outdoor terrace with some fabulous table football.

Still in the Schulterblatt area, a short walk away we come to Kleiner Donner, the hub of Hamburg’s hip hop scene. While small, this basement locale packs a punch. Here, DJs and MCs eager to make their mark combine explosive scratches with freakish rhythms. This is one of the city’s coolest clubs – be sure to get there early at the weekend; otherwise you are likely to get shut out, as their capacity is rather limited.

Pressing on with the itinerary as far as Nobistor street, in the city centre, we stop off at Molotow, one of the most respected concert halls in Hamburg. Inaugurated in 1990, in the run-up to the times of alternative rock fever, such groups as The White Stripes and At The Drive -Inhave graced their stage. Their current offerings are headed by punk, as well as independent pop and rock bands. Like Kleiner Donner, this is a basement venue which acts as a pressure cooker when crowded. A hundred per cent rock and roll.

Let’s leave behind the “modern” styles and venture into the world of jazz and swing – the latter on the up and up of late. Indeed, Hamburg’s Cotton Club is a living history of live music in Germany. In fact, it is the oldest venue is in town devoted to jazz – in 2009 they celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. Located near Planten un Blomen, a park and botanical gardens in the heart of Hamburg – their own Central Park, to be sure – Cotton Club offers live music all days of the week. And, their gigs are reinforced by an exquisite array of house cocktails.

Another historic place of mandatory pilgrimage is Logo, sited next door to Universität Hamburg. Opened in 1974, its small stage was honoured by the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, The Jayhawks, Peaches, Modest Mouse, Rammstein, Blink 182, Ben Folds Five, Dillinger Escape Plan, Phoenix and Oasis before their rise to stardom. Nowadays they feature established groups interspersed with upcoming talent touting to make a name for themselves in pop and rock. Logo also offers an appealing programme of tribute bands.

Fire up and discover Hamburg’s musical scene – book your Vueling here.

Text by Xavi Sánchez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS


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