By Peter Paetzold
Hamburg 17 August 2010. Exactly 50 years ago this day the Beatles first appeared live on stage of the former strip club "Indra". In those days the Indra was a seedy club accommodating about 200 people off the beaten track of Hamburg’s red light district, not far from the Grosse Freiheit. Bruno Koschmider took over this club to launch a Rock 'n' Roll club similar to his Kaiserkeller. The project failed after only few weeks and the Beatles moved into the Kaiserkeller on 4 October 1960.
Beatlesfans around the world, and also the media, were surprised and disappointed that the City of Hamburg had no plans of celebrating this historic date. The BeatleMania Exhibition in Hamburg however, organised a party in its building local DJs and live acts which attracted quite a lot of young people from Hamburg. A Hamburg-based record label wanted to celebrate this memorable 50th anniversary at the small Indra venue in collaboration with four American musicians, and very nice guys, from various rock bands (Ira Elliot from Nada Surf, Eric Paparazzi from Cat Power, Mark Rozzo from Maplewood and Darron Murphy from Moby). The project was called "Bambi Kino" after the original Bambi Kino, as we all know it, where the Beatles stayed during their first visit to Hamburg in 1960, although actually the place was called "Bambi Lichtspiele" at the time and not "Kino". The Bambi Kino musicians all have phenomenal voices and they are fantastic at their respective instruments. The show got some great reviews and the fans were all thrilled.
What springs to mind when thinking of Beatles tribute bands in Hamburg is for me the Milkshakes, a band that desperately wanted to play at the Star Club in 1981. Rene Durand of the Salambo Sex theatre, formerly the Star Club, opened his doors and let the band fulfill their dream. The Milkshakes hit the nerve with the audience and gave a great performance featuring "Shimmy Shake" and other original songs from the Hamburg era. In fact, they presented the last perfect gig on the holy stage of the former Star Club.
So much for the anniversary week in Hamburg. However, in November we'll hit it off at the Kaiserkeller with a series of Sunday concerts. A few highlights so far: Tony Sheridan! The Bats! The German Bonds! More details on the concerts and package tour offers with "Beatles-Tour Hamburg + Kaiserkeller concerts" will follow mid-September, here on the Beatles International website and on www.beatles-tour.com.