Sometimes my stupidity gets the best of me and I do things which normally after rational thinking I wouldn’t do at all. So when I found out that EA 80 and Tragedy were to play at the AJZ Bahndamm in Wermelskirchen and a friend told me that the gig might be sold out by the time we were supposed to get there, my first thought was, I should just stay at home instead of risking a lonely evening in the cold of the region of “Bergisches Land” northeast of Cologne. But somehow I was curious enough to tag along and when we arrived at the venue there was still enough room for me to get in. The AJZ Bahndamm is sort of a legendary place for punkrock and hardcore shows in the area of Cologne and Düsseldorf. The town of Wermelskirchen is right in the middle of nowhere and you can only get there by car. I still don’t know if there is a train station. There seems to be a bus route to Cologne, but the last bus leaves at 8 pm, so that’s not going to help you in anyway. Still the sheer number of big acts who played the AJZ is enormous. So it was no surprise that big shots like EA 80 and Tragedy would pair up for a show there.
So the place holds a lot of memories for me and that became even more obvious when I ran into a couple of people I hadn’t seen in quite some time. Because of talking to them I kind of missed out one Burial and their crusty hardcore-punk sound, which seemed okay from the outside. I was inside for Tragedy though, a band I longed to see live on stage ever since a friend introduced me to their music in 2003, I believe. Back then I was looking for something to get me back on track for slightly harder music as I was getting bored with all that emo stuff and melodic punkrock. Tragedy came in quite handy at the time. So ever since then I wanted to go to a show which is why I took the trip to Wermelskirchen. The set was tight, the band was good and I really enjoyed it a lot. Although I have to admit that after about 30 minutes things got a little bit boring and I stepped outside to grab a smoke.
For those of you who don’t know: EA 80 are a legendary punk band from the rhineland area who because of their rare live appearances enjoy a huge following of fans whenever they enter the stage. Their sound is very dark and gloomy, think of dark wave with a huge touch of early 80s punkrock. Although I said that their live appearances are very rare it seems that they stepped up the pace recently, playing not only squats and very small clubs, but also normal venues like the “Underground” in Cologne. The room in Wermelskirchen didn’t seem to be as crowded as when Tragedy played, but the people liked it nonetheless. For my part I haven’t really made it to the point where I’d consider EA 80 to be the legend everybody thinks they are. True, the music is pretty good, but to me they are just another punk band, albeit a very good one.
So this was a very pleasant and laidback evening with lots of unexpected encounters, nice music and lots of beer. Every once in while taking a risk definetely pays off.