Trip into the Heart of Darkness: Scooter live at Uebel & Gefährlich, Hamburg

As Hurricane Xaver raged outside, Scooter—Germany’s most polarizing band—were active raising their own hell within the cement walls of Hamburg’s Uebel & Gefährlich club. But , as Electronic Beats’ editor-in-chief Max Dax found out direct, there’s more to the band than simply thunderous volume. Photos by Luci Lux and Elena Panouli (to view more photos click here).

A serious storm warning overshadowed last night’s Scooter twentieth anniversary show at Hamburg’s tiny Uebel & Gefährlich club. The strongest typhoon in over fifty years, Xaver, hit northern Germany’s port metropolis with complete effect. Large parts of the city were shut down, roads and bridges were closed. Lucky were those who found refuge at the Electronic Beats gifts 20 Years of Hardcore anniversary concert as the club is located behind shellproof concrete walls on the fourth flooring of a huge old Nazi air-raid shelter in St . Pauli.

As one can imagine, the overall vibe prior to the event was loaded. Simply no tickets had gone on sale; the 750-plus audience consisted of friends, family and the winners of various ticket raffles. In the days before Scooter’s smallest actually club gig, fierce discussions on Facebook and other social media sites recorded very well how the band is still among Germany’s most polarizing groups. The particular discussion was fueled by yesterday’s release of the Winter issue associated with Electronic Beats Magazine that features the conversation between acclaimed contemporary painter Albert Oehlen and Scooter’s vocalist H. P. Baxxter as its protect story. In the conversation, Oehlen requires Baxxter if “volume” was “an archaic tool”, equal to Damien Hirst’s shark, “which impresses thanks to its sheer loudness”.

“But volume, unlike gold, is totally free. It’s nothing classist or dividing”, Baxxter answers. “Volume can’t disguise a bad performance”. Scooter prove the accuracy of his statement soon after 9. 30 p. m.. The particular trio blew the audience to kingdom come by diving into a twenty-four-song tour de force hit list, featuring all of the band’s twenty-three top hits plus their current smash hit in Russia, “4 a. meters. ”. Ignoring all rules associated with dramaturgy, they kicked the display with their signature hit “Hyper Hyper”. As a matter of fact, even the hardest sceptics within the audience had to accept that it isn’t really at all about volume or overwhelming the spectators with sound. Jens Balzer, staff writer of Berliner Zeitung, recently wrote about Baxxter: “Among the avant-gardists of the latest music, Leer-born Hans Peter Geerdes (aka H. P. Baxxter) is one of the most forceful and radical. In his music he commits himself to answering the pestering questions from the post-electronic age: What is there to follow after minimalism? How can the designer re-inject subjectivism back into the repeated patterns of late modern art associated with composing? ”


Well, Scooter basically solved the question by offering collective fatigue. “We never played this setlist before, and we’ll never play it again”, H. P. Baxxter shouted into the audience early on, and one can easily imagine why: even though Scooter’s live shows are known for their simple-minded relentlessness, the lack of a single ballad or breather within the setlist basically pushed the audience into higher spheres.

Meeting Baxxter, Rick M. Jordan and Michael Simon backstage prior and after the gig was tale-telling. In the book Always Hardcore, the band describes their re-occuring traditions of pre-emptive partying (before the show) and forced partying (after the show). While the former indicates getting high on Vodka Red Half truths and listening to insanely loud Skrillex tunes before hitting the stage loaded, the latter is basically the continuation of this, only that the dozens of guests associated with Scooter’s after-show party at the Turmzimmer club can watch the band doing this.

Somewhere in between signing books, another long drink plus patiently allowing fans to take their photos with him, H. P. Baxxter must have realized that this craze will probably never end. In the meantime Hamburg survived the typhoon. ~


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