Giant Rooks @Cruise Inn (Hamburg): Review

J.N. August 28, 2020

Weedy-thin gambolling guitar lines pitched against hi-hat-spanking splashy indie pop beats – few movements in music were built on narrower tropes than late-noughties indie. To hear Giant Rooks launch into “Wild Stare“, one of their stock-in-trade breakout singles, and watch a fairly crowded Cruise Inn venue go bananas for it, is to appreciate how thoroughly music has changed in the last decade.

We live in weird times and Cruise Inn, the venue, is an example of it. An asphalt jungle in the harbour where huge tankers unload their cargo, but the backdrop is amazing for photos although a bit ill-fitted scenery for indie pop lads on the verge to have a major breakthrough (well, some people say they‘ve already had).

With the tone firmly set by an enthusiastic crowd, Giant Rooks entered the stage and opened with “The Birth of Worlds“, an excellent choice as an opener, as the track encapsulates all that makes Giant Rooks so compelling, from the pulsating synth layers on top of the piano and stirring lyrics to the immense musical talent of each of the band’s five members, and stellar vocals of lead singer Frederik Rabe. As he sang ‘we faint, the birth of worlds’ in the first chorus, the crowd was immediately on their feet, singing along – in a perfect socially distant manner.

Giant Rooks bring a brilliant, happy energy to their performances, commanding a real stage presence. Each of the band’s five members are brilliant performers, changing instruments and styles without pause, a true gift given the sheer skill required to move back and forth amongst their catalogue of songs and sounds. The gig also demonstrated the skill with which Giant Rooks are able to breathe new life into a genre that is in need of a complete rejuvenation process, and this may be it.

“New Estate“, “Bright Lies“ and “Watershed“ are potential indie pop/rock bangers here to stay for a long time. Our photographer Ms K is the best measure of a good show. If she wave dance, it’s amazing. And she wave danced the whole evening.

Originality seems beyond Giant Rooks, yet their melodic gift never lets them down. Pints and shirts fly through the air as the crowd thrash around singing the guitar lines to steadfast hi-hat spankers “New Estate“ and “Wild Stare“. So long as a loyal fanbase continues to sustain them, it’s not impossible to imagine more such bangers coming out of the Hamm band yet.

An encore culminated, following more favourites like “King Thinking“,’ in the powerful “Watershed“. After such a memorable, accomplished, and magical evening with Giant Rooks, there is no doubt at all that we have been changed for the better.

When it came down to sound and charisma, Giant Rooks were fantastic. There does seem to be an emphasis on audience participation and connection, and for one night we returned to the feeling of how it was to be at a great show and left our pandemic anxieties behind. The desire to involve everyone in a collective experience is so clear that these things hardly seem to matter at that moment.

Please continue putting on these amazing shows Cruise Inn!

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About The Author

Music researcher with an unhealthy passion for music and music festivals. Former studio owner, semi-functional drummer and with a fairly good collection of old analogue synthesizers from the 70's. Indie rock, post rock, electronic/industrial and drum & bass (kind of a mix, yeah?) are usual stuff in my playlists but everything that sounds good will fit in.