Manopo Musikfestival, marburg, Germany


Molly Malone's - First gig - Thursday

You get up at 6.30am and pick up a couple of mates and then drive for 2 hours to get to Stansted Airport. You then wait another 2 hours for the flight. The flight takes about an hour and a half. When you land, you have a 3 hour coach ride to Marburg. When you get there, you find that you’re due to go on stage at 11.30pm. By the time you do, it’s more like 12.00am. Oh, you haven’t done a gig in 8 months and you’ve also been suffering with inflamed tendons for the last five months so you’re not even sure you’ll be able to play.

Not exactly the best preparation for a gig, even by Unit standards. We also had a tiny stage, tiny amps, and a crowd in an Irish pub that had two hours of acoustic singer-songwriters and folk to warm them up for the funkometal carpet ride. It was also approx. 1000 degrees Fahrenheit on stage as well. It was that hot, my fingers were actually slipping off the strings throughout most of the set. We were tired, strung out and a long way from home, so consequently, not the best we’ve ever played. Saying that, Sted was on point, carving huge swathes through smoggy air with rock solid wah wah chops. “Beaver’s” went down pretty well as did “Jaguar”, but my highpoint of the night was looking down to see the sound guy headbanging along with a huge grin on his face. Can’t remember the exact set list, but this somewhat underwhelming show would lead to much greater things….

Compass - First gig - Friday

Second gig of the Mano tour and stood out as the only gig where we got a proper sound check. Also stood out as the only gig where we had a stage big enough to fit us all on. With the previous night’s rustiness blown out of our sails, we were much better tonight, with the exception of the encore of “Warriors Of Metal”. We discovered that it’s very helpful for a drummer if they can hear the guitar they’re supposed to be accompanying during an intro. Kind of helps you know where to come in, but we didn’t let that stop us. Ploughed through the whole thing and thanks to much shape throwing and metalfacing, the crowd was none the wiser. This was an 8.00 kick off so we didn’t have that much of a crowd, but they seemed to dig it. Certainly we seemed to be popular with the sound men. “You fucking rock !!!!” was the testimony from the one at this gig.

Highlight of this one was Gumtree’s break in “Unit’s In Da House” which he ended with a proper old school “Aw Yeah” which almost finished the song as we cracked up so much, we almost lost it.

Bebop - Second gig - Friday

Sometimes things just don’t go the way you think they will, Life has this way of serving up these little surprises every now and then, and this was one of those occasions. When we arrived at this cosy, out of the way little bar, there was a female-fronted pop band noodling along, to some acclaim from the crowd. “Great”, we thought, “these guys are really going to be up for the Moriarty beatdown”. So we dropped the gear off and adjourned to a nearby bar for some Dutch courage.

When we returned, the first pop band had been replaced by another guitar pop band called Tot Am Strand (Dead On the Beach) who had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, with much German-speaking hilarity taking place between songs. We shook our heads and sighed, “we’re going to die here”. Gumtree observed “This will be like the Blues Brothers only there isn’t a fence in front of the stage”. In fact, one of the crew told us that they even said “The last band is a heavy metal band from England, we hope they aren’t here yet”.

So Tot Am Strand finished and we made our way up to the stage, to be greeted by the sight of a pair of 30 watt practice amps, from which me and Sted were expected to wring forth volcanic volumes of molten metal – we truly believed the gods were against us.

But then we plugged in and wouldn’t you know it, the sound onstage was perfect and so we said “Fuck it. Let’s just blow this place apart”. Don’t quite think the crowd knew what to expect, they probably thought we were gonna sound like a poor man’s Dragonforce or something, but they certainly appreciated the funk vibe. We got a decent reception for “Unit’s In Da House” and I think this was the point when the whole Schwein Einheit effect began to quick in. We’d basically decided that for this weekend, we’d call ourselves Schwein Eniheit (Pig Unit loosely translated into German) and it seemed to go down pretty well. Slowly but surely, they started to get more and more into it, ‘til they were bouncing up and down and screaming for more by the end of the night. It was the best “winning ‘em over” act we’ve ever done, and everyone played a blinder. Stedman was on point and rockin’ like never before, Rockwell was rockin’ well, Bustyaleep, Drumtree, everyone brought the noise, big style. Even Boabus managed to survive the dig in the skull I gave him with my headstock. The whole night was one big highlight, although Fat Tony singing “Fu Manchu” probably pinched it. We got a five minute ovation after we finished, and a chorus of “Schwein Einheit” which we added a Bavarian bassline to which seemed to go down a treat. This turned out to be an awesome gig, everyone was so cool, especially the owner who insisted we come back next year and showed his appreciation by continually plying us with free beer until the small hours.

Clou - First gig - Saturday

If there was ever a gig that we weren’t up for, this was it. Our body clocks were totally out of whack by now, so at 6.00pm we were all totally exhausted. Rockwell even appeared to have had a minor stroke or something, and the thought of having to get through two more gigs this evening really preyed on us, so as a consequence, we eased off the gas on this gig. The venue was a pub way out on the outskirts of Marburg and had all the atmosphere of playing in someone’s lounge.

Actually that’s not true. We’ve done gigs in someone’s lounge and they had WAYYY more atmosphere than this place. We thought we were getting a sound check, but then the sound check actually turned out to be the first song of the set, so the whole thing started very low-key and to be honest, remained that way. We actually played pretty well, Boabus and Gumtree were certainly rocking, but the place just didn’t really have the vibe. To cap it all off, when we finished, the barman came over and said “good set, but metal ? Funk, yes, hiphop, yes, but metal ? That’s rock, surely ?”. Again, you probably have to be Rhapsody at a minimum to get considered metal over there, so we were a little nonplussed by this. (Yes, I’ve always wanted to get the word nonplussed in a gig review). On that note we left and hiked over to the next venue.

Szenario - Second gig - Saturday

Things could only get better after the Clou gig, but as soon as we walked in this place, we got a buzz. The venue actually looked like a proper venue, with a proper stage, proper lights, proper sound. The band on stage when we arrived were fairly low-key and we knew we’d get a reaction. When we got on stage, we also saw our new buddies Hannes and Max in the crowd and we knew we had to fully represent for them, so we really ripped in to this gig.

Right from the start, the crowd were really into it, and we had some proper mosh pit action going on, especially from some little kid at the side of the stage. Hard to pick a highlight from this one because everything rocked and we were all hyped up. Gumtree was channelling the spirit of Bonham, Sted was scything through with the wah and Boabus was administering massive beatdowns to the crowd. “Apeshit” was amazing, and a suitable climax to the show, especially with Hannes and Max lifting Rocky onto their shoulders and carrying him around the mosh pit. This was close to the best gig we’d ever done, but that was all about to change..

Hinkelstein - Last gig - Saturday

This was the Death or Glory gig. Originally we’d intended to do a couple of full-on gigs, with full razzle dazzles, intros, segues, all that good shit, but with the number of shows we had to do in these three days, and not knowing if my arm was going to hold up, we decided that we’d have to take it somewhat easy, but on Friday night, I decided that if we made it to this last show in one piece, we’d give it all. We’d represent 110%, sweat every drop of blood and sweat we had in our bodies, turn the dial to eleven, set the gauges for maximum rock and fuck the consequences – if my arm exploded, then so be it – Death or Glory. By the time we got here, we were feeling great from the Szenario gig (We even had guys shouting “Schwein Einheit” at us in the street) and we knew it was going to be glory. This little venue was packed to the rafters, people had followed us their from our earlier gigs and everybody from the flat at Bettenhaus where we were staying was there, it was an awesome atmosphere and it inspired us to ridiculous heights.

The whole set was phenomenal, the crowd were so into it, there was dancing, screaming, grooving for every song. We’ve never had a crowd quite so willing to come along for the ride – they all rocked, but king of them was Max, leading the mob like some insane conductor, and again him and Hannes lifting Rocky onto their shoulders for “Beaver’s Mountain”. All of us were totally on point, and there were two highlights for me. The first was the impromptu jam that broke out to the crowd chants of “Schwein Einheit”, with Bustyaleep deadpanning “That one was called “Schwein Einheit”. The other was “Unit’s In Da House”. The crowd were shouting “Schwein Einheit” so loud in the chorus that I could hardly hear myself playing, and during the breakdown, they actually applauded each individual band member as they were introduced, and that’s never happened before. We did two encores and I spent the whole gig laughing my face off because there was such a cool vibe.

Incidentally, Hinkelstein is German for menhir or obelisk. It must be destiny that we brought massive rock to a place named “massive rock” and this really was a fitting end to a truly amazing trip. Huge big ups to Fat Tony, Simon, Colin, Shabz, Kate, Andy and Dave Ablabab to following us all the way from Thampton and giving all the support a band could wish for and extra special “danke schon” ‘s to our new friends in Marburg – Daniel, Katharina, Till and Petra for taking such good care of us and making us feel so welcome – you guys are true Pirate Crew and we’ll never forget it, to Hannes and Max, for letting us have your room and for coming down and rockin’ hard with the Unit – too cool, too cool, for Eugin, Hannes and all the rest of the guys at Bettenhaus for coming down and rockin’ at the Hinkelstein – it really pumped us up to see you all there. We’ll be talking about this trip for the rest of our lives thanks to all of you.

Set List

Basically, we either started with Ape Shit followed by Northampton Rocks, or kicked in with Unit's in da House, and then made it up as we went along depending on the flow..

Fu Manchu
Beaver's Mountain
Mongoose and Snake
Unit Thang
Bullshit, Mr Han Man
Jaguar Wong
Eagle Has Landed
Warriors of Metal


More Pictures in Gallery