SONS live @Turmzimmer (Hamburg): Review

As soon as SONS burst onto our radar they were pulling out all the showmen stops with amazing high-energy rock ‘n’ roll shows. I first ran into SONS when they released their debut album Family Dinner in 2019 and one of their best songs to date, ‘Ricochet’, ended up on my Release Radar playlist on Spotify. It took me one spin of the album to turn my living room into a moshpit. ‘Naughty’, ‘Keep On Going’, and the title song ‘Family Dinner’, together with ‘Ricochet’ made it one of the best garage punk albums of the 2010s. Later that year we met up with SONS for a chat at Molotow in Hamburg before they played double shows (it was Molotow’s 29th birthday party) and proved how frantic bursts of garage-punk noise can travel from nought to 90 in a millisecond and keep on accelerating.

Last year, SONS returned with the sophomore album Sweet Boy and although it’s not as cathartic as their debut album, it’s still an amazing collection of garage rock bangers, like the title track ‘Sweet Boy’ and the album’s best track ‘Hot Friday’, and once again we met up with the band for a chat after a rowdy show at Indra Musikclub during Reeperbahn Festival where bassist Jens almost knocked out our photographer with some sudden and unexpected bass moves.

Turmzimmer was my fourth SONS and the biggest problem when you’ve already been to three awesome shows before is that you expect a lot more – and two songs into their set everything is as normal and I’ve got my first punch in the face from another arm-waving gig-goer (give and get, ey?).

The Wednesday night crowd at Turmzimmer was buzzing with anticipation when the lights dropped and drummer Thomas Pultyn casually walked out, took a seat behind the kit, and began pounding out a beat. He was quickly joined by the rest of his bandmates, and SONS immediately kicked into ‘L.O.V.E’ off their second album Sweet Boy. That was followed immediately by barnstorming hit ‘Nothing’ (this is when I took my first punch of the night) followed by their moshpit-inducing hit ‘Naughty’. From there, they slammed their foot on the accelerator and didn’t let up until the end of the night.

On paper, there is no good reason for the SONS’ longevity. The music they play is knowingly disposable and borderline pastiche, it has been done before. Their songs operate as simply and repetitively as a hammer driving a nail into a wall. Their musicianship is taut and ferocious but rarely complex. However, what’s most important is how you embody your music on stage. I always whine about how important it is to perform your music according to what people expect. If you’re a singer-songwriter people won’t expect you to cause a moshpit; if you’re at an In Flames gig people expect an occasional middle finger between the howlin’ and growlin’; and if you’re Rage Against The Machine, people expect them to cause minor riots wherever they play. The point is not to embody your music as expected of you, it’s when you go beyond the expectations that people turn euphoric and start to tear down the venue. And SONS have done it since day one. The gig at Turmzimmer is no exception.

Ploughing onwards, driven by guitarist Bruder Arno’s array of memorable garage-rock riffs, they finish off a raucous ‘Hot Friday’. Not to be outdone, bassist Jens de Ruyte, the man responsible for those irresistible basslines, is quite the showman himself. When he wasn’t furiously attacking his instrument, he was at the front of the stage taunting the audience and working the crowd into a frenzy.

Just before they leave the stage they play two epic garage punk songs off their latest album, ‘I Don’t Want to’ and ‘Waiting On My Own’. But of course, a band as in love with the theatrics of rock’n’roll would never resist an encore. And so they return for three more, ultimately finishing the night with their biggest hit ‘Ricochet’.

The big question is not if SONS can pull off a good show, the question is if the world is ready to deal with such rowdy gigs.

Check out their website and socials (links below), buy tickets for their shows, and keep an eye on any festival with SONS in the line-up, you’re in for a treat!

Photos: Kevin Winiker
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About J.N.

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.