Kampnagel is the first decent sized live music venue I've been to in Hamburg. The setup is a bit weird if you're used to going to gigs in the UK. Firstly, they start late. Support at 2200, band at 2300, out by 0030. The building looks like some kind of former factory, and when you get in there it's very very civilised! You drink outside the hall first, in a huge factory floor, and go in just before the support come on. Everyone was queuing up, I presumed to get to the front. Not a bit of it! They were actually queuing to get seats! The magic of going to gigs in Hamburg is twofold then. You can actually just buy tickets on the day for most things, AND you can get right to the front, cause the Germans aren't interested in doing it themselves! Amazing.
The Decemberists themselves were really really good. I'd only got into them a day previously, so didn't know all the songs, yet came out on such a high I made a frivolous tshirt purchase! I love acoustic music at the best of times, and these guys play really interesting songs, sea shanties... bordering on trad folk at times. They're also really tight.
The highlight of the gig was the encore when they dived into the crowd, with instruments, and played "The tale of the mariners revenge" completely unplugged. Great stuff.
The Kampnagel surprised me even before I set foot in it's doors. One of my favorite bands, The Decemberists, were set to play there and those who heard that this little-known band (or at least, little-known in Germany) were going to be giving a show at the Kampnagel mentioned that playing there was a significant "movin' on up". Their previous show at the Knust, a smaller venue fit for a smaller audience, was packed to the brim. Playing at the Kampnagel is apparently a large step up for indie bands.
The location itself is large and comfortable, built for a middle-sized audience The location is part concert hall, part contemporary art gallery and part club (The "Casino") and is geared towards a younger crowd (students and 30-somethings). The acoustics in the concert hall are moderately good and the hall itself includes seating arrangements for the lazy.
Smoking is not allowed in the concert hall itself, which is a blessing. Smoking in the outer hall is allowed (where the exhibition takes place) however the lack of ashtrays and very few trash bins was a little odd.
Overall, The Kampnagel seems to be a lovely place for a concert, but I can assume that audiences would be more enthusiastic about the preformances if a lack of seating arrangements would force them off the chairs and onto the dancefloor.
Video link: youtube.com/watch?v=0R4t…
I came here recently to see the sort-of-metal band Ulver. When I was queueing to buy tickets surrounded by lots of 50-something dears, I figured that this is more of an arts venue than a metal venue. But then, Ulver is more of an art-band than a metal-band these days, so I guess it all sort of fits.
Anyway, I've only seen one medium-sized stage in what appears to be quite a huge complex of exhibition and performance spaces, so I can't give much of a review. The stage was all-seating (no moshing) and it was first-come, first-seated rather than seat numbers - definitely something worth knowing for next time. Thankfully it wasn't sold out though, so even though we arrived only one minute before the band came on, we got to choose some pretty decent seats.
My biggest problem with Kampnagel is actually it's location. It's really quite far from the city centre, and it's quite a pain to get to if you live on the west side of the city (like me).
I really like this location for events. Have only been here for business events but they were always enjoyable at this venue. Well executed for conference events. Also easy to reach with public transport and there's parking in the area. Only drawback is that it can be a bit too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter.
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