Before every city trip, I look online for pubs, where I can hear music that suits my taste. The search is not always easy. This has made me feel free to offer some tips for like-minded people at this point. And to point out the new Metal Festival, which starts this summer.
Bremen pubs with guitar-heavy music
Actually, I can make it easy for myself at this point, and simply refer to my article 13 bars in Bremen. But there are also a couple which don’t really fit with metal and punk and so on. So, here’s another brief overview:
There is pure heavy metal in Danny’s Rockbar near the station. This is the only pub, which plays 100% metal and rock.
Depending on the – always nice – staff, the music in the Rock’n’Roll Couchclub ‘Auszeit’ in the Neustadt area is sometimes excellent and sometimes really good. Maybe my favourite pub in Bremen. Closely followed by Rum Bumpers in the Viertel area. In both, there is a mixture of punk rock, metal and a lot of musical stuff unknown to me. A ska evening would be nice again. In the past, there was also quite a lot of harder music in the 1st Class Suicide cocktail bar, but here I have also heard music I didn’t really like. If in doubt you can provide your own music on Wednesdays, a great option. Listen to your favourite tracks while sipping a cocktail from a skull glass. Music tending more towards Rock’n’Roll can be found in the wonderful Heartbreak Hotel. And then, handy on the corner, there is Eisen. All the places I’ve mentioned have an ambience I like.
Other pubs which you might like:
- Meisenfrei-Kneipe (Blues and Rock)
- Craft Bier Bar (good music recently playing in the background; more important are the 40 taps for beer-lovers; it’s the only non-smoking pub in this post)
- Capri Bar (Happy Hour from eight; it also often has gigs leaning towards punk/indie/garage rock and hardcore)
- Haifischbecken (just so nice)
- Steintor-Schänke (is a cult phenomenon, but apparently closed at the moment – I’ll update this as soon as I know more)
- If you want to go to Delmenhorst: the pure heavy metal pub White Lion is close to the railway station.
Concerts and Parties in Clubs
Most heavy metal concerts still happen in Aladin, also called Dröhn, with the connected Tivoli. Now and then the Veitstanz takes place, traditionally on Christmas Day, together with Hard Rock Night.
The Meisenfrei, also known as ‘Meise’ for short, is somehow represented in all categories here. With the pub, but also with individual concerts, often also from the metal scene. And below, I also refer to their Metal Festival. An institution in Bremen.
Other locations where metal, punk and rock and other loud gigs take place now and then, as a pick’n mix:
- Cultural centre Schlachthof Kesselhalle (larger concerts, for small people like me the ideal place for concerts) and Magazinkeller (small punk concerts), with a nice beer garden
- Die Friese (really a leisure centre, with a lot of punk)
- Zollkantine (in the Überseestadt)
- Cultural centre Lagerhaus (hmm, there was more in the past, but sometimes you still get lucky)
- Karo (nice pub with a stage in Walle)
- Lila Eule (originally a jazz-joint, now and again with punk concerts)
- Pier 2 (once a year on ‘Ice Saints night’, otherwise also concerts now and again)
- Tower (music club on the disco-mile with concerts and series of events such as Kerosene, Danger! Danger!, Tower Rocken…)
- Area51 (concert space in the basement of the Wall leisure centre; ‘Wilde Axt’ metal party series)
What places like the G18 in the Grünenstraße, the Sielwallhaus (for dates see Planlos Bremen), the BDP Hulsberg, the Wagenplätze Öl-Hafen and Querlenker do with their occasional gigs or the Alte Sportamt, I don’t know.
Tips about what’s going on in Bremen can be found on the Heavy Bremen Facebook page, the Metal4Bremen page (however, currently not that active) or in the Facebook groups Metal für Bremen and Punk & Hardcore Concerts in Bremen.
Otherwise, I am looking forward to Iron Maiden on the Bürgerweide. That’s in June. But unfortunately, such large concerts are the exception. In the past, there were more in the Weser-Stadion or in the ÖVB-Arena (still Stadthalle for me). Yeah, the Stadthalle, I’ve seen everyone there. I really remember the Ramones …
Festivals in Bremen
There are three real heavy metal festivals, I know about:
The Bremer Metal Festival always takes place in Meisenfrei in November. Two days with more regional bands, but fun.
Then there’s also the Hansemosh Festival at the Magazinkeller in the Schlachthof. I never made it to that sort of thing before.
And a new one which is supposed to start in September 2020 for the first time: the Hellseatic Open Air on the site of the old Wollkämmerei in Blumenthal, right on the Weser. I really hope that lots of people buy tickets, so that good bands can be paid for and the festival will be a success. I even love the logo with the little seahorse. I asked the Hellseatic team about its meaning. Here a couple of extracts from their statement:
‘… The name HELLSEATIC is based on the connection to our city, the Hanseatic City of Bremen. The musical orientation is clearly dedicated to harder music, but also undogmatically emphasises, compared to other metal festivals, the need for a broad and diverse representation of the scene. This is how we quickly arrived at a rather unusual kind of artwork for metal – water instead of fire – and the matching logo, something which lives underwater. …This animal from the underwater world is not the most eye-catching species in the sea, but instead is a fine, fragile but irrepressible animal which is notable not for its size, danger, weight or colours, but for its distinctive features. In the figurative sense, a non-conformist of the animal world. … The form of a skeleton is a common symbolism in metal – dangerous, dark and immortal because already dead. …’
There are other festivals in Bremen, but not necessarily much noisy music. Find out for yourself what the current programme offers for you:
- Breminale (the largest and oldest festival, on the Osterdeich)
- Horn to be wild (a relatively new festival in the Rhododendron Park)
- dreizehn°festival (also relatively new and in the Wollkämmerei, every two years according to my knowledge)
- Summer Sounds (music and culture festival in the Neustadtswallanlagen)
- Überseefestival (in the Zollkantine, in which concerts also take place)
- Sommerfest Vorstraße (a traditional festival at the student accommodation near the Uni)
- Rockabilly Earthquake in the Schlachthof (Kesselhalle)
- Close to Bremen, reachable by the train: the Burning Q Festival – Metal and Camping in Freißenbüttel
And what else?
You get good old records and CDs in the city at Hot Shot Records, together with clothes and accessories from Go Bäng. Then there are the record shops Black Plastic and Golden Shop in the Viertel area.
Super-delicious burgers and good music are available in Rock & Wurst at Dobben. But you should reserve your table. Sometimes dance & sausage evenings or small concerts also take place there.
I only recently noticed, coincidentally, that the Weser Label still exists. It makes me think about my youth, with the Golden Lemons (damn, they were still playing the Lagerhaus in May) and so on. And Rumble on the Beach, which I saw again at the Breminale just a few years ago. Now I can’t wait to grab the record player and dive into some memories …
Do you have any tips for me? Pubs, locations for concerts or something else? What else might be interesting in Bremen for people who like to hear something like punk, rock, ska, rockabilly, hardcore and, of course, heavy metal in its many guises? I can’t wait!