Concert Review

Hamburg take The Meffs to their hearts, again!

Colchester duo play to a packed Grosse Freiheit 36, just weeks after opening for NOFX

Words and pictures by Andi Callen Photography – All Rights Reserved.

Tucked away. at the end of one of the busiest side streets in Hamburg’s notorious Reeperbahn red light district, is one of the city’s legendary venues. Many international names have graced this stage since The Beatles passed through in 1960, and tonight it is US ska punkers The Interrupters turn to headline. However, they can wait as the real story is how The Meffs played to a packed room, with many fans having queued for over two hours in the pouring rain. There was a fair smattering of Meffs t-shirts in the crowd beforehand and considerably more afterwards! Having supported NOFX on one of their Farewell Tour shows at The Docks barely two weeks earlier, it seems that another chance to see the Essex two-piece was hard to pass up.

The venue itself is like a scaled down version of O2 Ritz Manchester, but without its famed sprung dancefloor. The audience have come early and five minutes before Lily and Lewis take the stage there is barely room to move and the atmosphere is one of pure excitement. Two days earlier they played to their biggest audience of their European tour with NOFX at Berlin’s Zitadelle Spandau, some 8,000 punks in the scorching sunshine. Tonight it feels more like autumn outside but inside it’s positively tropical.

Lily takes the stage and is immediately on the prowl. If you’ve seen them before you’ll know exactly what I mean. She stalks the stage, Telecaster in hand scanning the room for a friendly face, looking for a reaction. Tonight it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, the love in the room for The Meffs is tangible. You can almost taste it. They launch into a new song, Everything’s Gone and the reaction is instant. This is going to be a good night!

They’ve come along way in a reasonably short period of time, European tours with NOFX and The Interrupters, two Rebellions with a third in August, a Download appearance, arena dates with Alice Cooper and a Frank Turner support both to come later in the year. Oh and the small matter of a Kings of Leon support at London’s Hyde Park too. As Del Boy would say “Rodney, the world is your lobster”. Lily is engaging and she knows how to work the crowd. As a two piece I think that’s incredibly important and she knows which buttons to push. No Future and Stand Up, Speak Out follow which sees the first opportunity for crowd interaction, prompted by Lewis’s percussive prompting. Their lyrics seem to go down well with the German crowd, but then these are true European music polyglots. You might think we’re different but we’re just the same! Lily even manages to encourage the start of a circle pit this early in proceedings. She is truly Queen of all she surveys!

Another new song FRSF, the new single, gets only its third live airing just days ahead of its release on NOFX’s Fat Mike’s Bottles To The Ground label. The release date just happened to coincide with the start of the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany, which is apposite considering the subject matter of Little Britain and the Far Right flag shaggers in the song. Misplaced nationalism, which is also seeing a resurgence across Europe, but thankfully not in this St Pauli stronghold. The full title is yet to be unveiled, but my guess of Far Right Stupid Fuckers is pretty close according to Lilly. The impending album release will carry the song title in full I’m reliably informed. I particularly love the nod to fellow Essex combo Blur, with “you should cut down on your tabloids mate”. FRSF is fast becoming my favourite Meffs song. With the UK in the middle of the death throes of a truly horrible Conservative administration, and only weeks away from a General Election feted to be not only a Labour landslide but an obliteration of the Tories, this is the perfect foil to skewer anyone tempted by Farage’s Reform Party.

Their sound is surprisingly expansive for a duo, with lots of tempo changes and space for the music to bounce and breathe. You can take The Meffs out of Essex etc and it’s their cover of the Prodigy song which follows. Sadly no guest appearance by Giz Butt tonight, unlike earlier on their tour, but again it lands well with this already enthusiastic throng.

A quick “we hate our government” and the previous single Clowns ignites the crowd again. Seriously, it’s hard not to be moved to dance to this. If I was a wine taster my notes would mention traces of Bob Vylan and Noah and The Loners (RIP), neither of which are a bad thing. Dead In The City follows and has never sounded better.

Look At You turns up the heat further and I retreat to the upstairs balcony for a different vantage point. The view however, is exactly the same, the mosh is in full force and the end of of each song is cheered raucously. A few of the punters clock my Meffs hoodie as I move amongst them and smile knowingly. Unsurprisingly the band shift yet more merch during the rest of the night. Lily explains the story behind Wasted On Women as the tempo drops slightly before set closers Budget Luxury, the oldest tune in the set, and Broken Britain, Broken Brains ramp it up again.

This is the best set I’ve think I’ve seen them play amongst the previous dozen or so I’ve been lucky enough to catch. No fat, no filler. Pure adrenaline with an edge and a message to boot. So goodbye to Hamburg. I’ve a plane to catch and they’ve got a morning ferry from Holland, until we can do it all again two days later in Brixton when they play with NOFX on their last ever UK date.

If you’ve got tickets for Frank Turner’s impending tour, then get there early as The Meffs are tour supports.

Set List

Everything’s Gone

No Future

Stand Up, Speak Out




Dead In The City

Look At You

Wasted On Women

Budget Luxury

Broken Britain, Broken Brains

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About The Author

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Andi Callen (Contributing Editor)

Original punk. Done everything there is to do in music, except run a record label! Addicted to noise and taking photographs of live music. Based on NW England, I've previously contributed to Louder Than War, MancAndi, The Punk Site, and Backseat Mafia, where I was Punk/Post Punk & Live Editor. Part of the original review team when Rocksound Magazine first started.
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