It´s been more than 24 hours til the end of the festival and though I did take a long bath afterwards I still can`t get that smell out of my nose. But that`s why I went to Packebusch. To get smelly with the Punks. As every year, it`s been a great festival!
Just to get this out of the way first: I will try to report as much as I remember and be as fair as possible, but of course it will be a little one-sided. I couldn`t see every band and I do have my own taste. A lot of people will have seen it completely different…
I arrived late on Friday and then set up my tent as fast as possible because I didn`t want to miss any of the bands. It had rained in Berlin and I had expected to find the festival site all muddy and wet but luckily the weather was great the whole weekend. I hadn`t missed any bands so there was still plenty of time to say hello to some of the Berlin gang and to get a very tasty vegan burger at the „Vegan Wonderland“ booth.
The first band was FLEAS & LICE. I was never a big fan of their music, but they got a lot tighter since I saw them last time some 15 years ago. The punks liked them and it got the whole fest in swing…
Next up were AUTISTIC YOUTH. I had seen them the week before and was curious how their anthemic punk rock would go over with this crowd. It took a while, but then most people seemed to have liked them.
The Packebusch festival is basically a crust festival and most of the people come there to listen to some really hard and brutal noise. MASSHYSTERI are pretty close to being a pop band. If you stripped down their punk rock and played the songs slower, it would reveal some really good song-writing and melodies. So I was even more curious how they would be received. But contrary to their appearance the punks were pretty open minded and they went down real well.
LOSER LIFE had played in Berlin as well and I like their sound and their records a lot. Laurance, a girl I had met on the train from Berlin, had travelled more than 10 hours to meet them in Packebusch. They do not sound like them, but LOSER LIFE remind me of early Hüsker Dü. They have something else in their music besides hardcore and it seems to want to escape cliches and break out into new territory. I`m looking forward to their „Warehouse: Songs And Stories“ in 4 years. If they get that far. This time their set didn`t quite grab me as much as the first time. I don`t know why exactely. They played real well. Their last song was cut short due to a power failure, a problem I remembered had also happened the previous year. Luckily that was the only time and the generator didn`t cause any more trouble.
After that I sat down with a couple of older guys and we all talked about how it felt being over 40 at this punk festival. I was into my fourth cider and had kind of not paid attention what was going on on the stage. When we all finally got up to see what the noise was all about, we were in for a big surprise.
RIPPING HEADACHE from Copenhagen were playing some blazing-fast hardcore and really seemed to explode on stage! Their singer is my favorite type of hardcore singer: a maniac, skinny and aggressive! Bully-types always make me think, they could vent their aggression any time they want, but for the skinny, nerdy types it`s still a real release. RIPPING HEADACHE really ripped and I bought their 7″ and a t-shirt. The only stuff that I bought at the fest. Too bad many people missed them because by that time the disco was already in full swing. I went to my tent and heard the crusties boogie to „Sex Machine“ til I fell asleep.
Early on Saturday morning I was awoken by a bunch of punks who had set up their tent next to mine and now they were arguing loudly about all kinds of bullshit. I was still very hung over but it all seemed to center around the girl in their company who had pissed in front of the tent. One guy couldn`t stop pointing out in detail that a lot of people had seen her ass and how that made her look and the girl always tried to shut him up. After they got out of the tent to argue some more I looked outside, said hello and discovered that they were some really ragged street kids from Magdeburg. After that I tried to sleep some more, but it kind of escalated outside until their „boss“ , these types always seem to have a leader, had enough and hit the big-mouthed guy and then came back and boasted about it. After that they made up again and finally they left. I slept til 2 in the afternoon.
The first band was BCM. They put on an entertaining show and got the punks into the mood for all things to come. The spandex-pants wearing singer was one of the only front-persons trying to communicate with the audience and their german lyrics also helped that.
I missed ANTIMOB who I had seen at the Turm in Berlin a couple of days earlier.
Next were APOCALIPSTIX who I hadn`t seen before and I enjoyed their set although the singer had lost her voice singing at the disco all night long. Her voice sounded really harsh but still fitted their hardcore punk sound. She was the only person making longer speeches in between songs and while many people think of that as preaching there really is an art to filling the time between songs. She seemed quite confident in that respect and I liked her short personal explanations of what her songs were about. Great band!
The next band LETHARGIE I missed again. I heard a lot of good things from punks about their brand of crust punk, but by that time it was just getting to be a little much for me. A lot of people seemed to feel the same way. One of the reasons to come to Packebusch, and for that matter to any fest, is to hang out and to enjoy the atmosphere. So that we did..
BLANK STARE were supposed to play next but were still on the road, so MORDARE were on next. I missed them too. Okay it was getting dark and I was getting tired…
It was about 12 when DICARGA from Brazil took the stage and suddenly I was wide awake! I don`t think anybody was prepared for the hardcore assault that was going to happen. Thrashmasters DISCARGA opened with „Ace Of Spades“ for sound-check and then blazed through a set of pure energy ! Their sheer physical fitness made all the other tough bands that had gone on before them look tame and static in comparison. The bassist had broken his arm before tour. The doctor in Brazil had told him to call off the tour. He came to Berlin with a cast around his arm but then just took it off. He couldn`t even really stretch his arm but now he was up on stage going crazy and showing the punks how explosive Brazilian hardcore can be. It looked so easy and fun and was unbelievably ragin`!!!
I had thought: that was it! Nobody can top that ! But WORLD BURNS TO DEATH came out with full force at 1 in the morning. I had seen the singer sit in the shadow all day at his booth looking grim. Nobody had really cared for his stuff. Now he came out with all the rage that he seemed to have built up all day and delivered a angry as fuck set. Now everybody paid attention. Awesome and brutal !
Originally that would have been the end but BLANK STARE had arrived in the meantime. After these two, very hard acts to follow, BLANK STARE with their Boston straightedge hardcore seemed to be a little bit out of place. Especially at two in the morning in front of a drunken crowd of crusties. First song into the set and all double thoughts were gone. BLANK STARE were on fire ! Jumpin`, kickin`, screamin`, the singer showed all of his straightedge vitality, had the crowd moving once more and led the festival to a fantastic finale that left nothing to be said.
After that everybody went to the karaoke van to sing and drink some more. I just went to bed and had a wonderful sleep without any night-time disturbances.
It was a great festival and I`m looking forward to going once more next year. Thanks to everyone in Packebusch for setting up the fest and letting us come again to detroy your place. Thanks to all the bands who played and thanks to Andi Thrashbastard for bringing the bands that I enjoyed the most.
More photos of the Festival ( Click on any of the images and thew will get much bigger ).