Reeperbahn 2023: A Perfect Goodbye to Festival Season

NOISY, Temples and CMAT perform at Reeperbahn 2023

The Hamburg music festival delivers a whole host of German and international acts alike, sith stellar showings from the likes of NOISY, Temples and CMAT.

Every year, Hamburg hosts Reeperbahn festival; the last hurrah of the festival season before the Autumn cold closes in. For those who haven’t been, it can feel like the last kiss goodbye with summer, as outdoor stages and indoor venues combine to welcome a wide range of artists from across the globe.

Reeperbahn straße is its own beast, a wide boulevard flanked almost exclusively by food and drink vendors, venues and strip clubs. Bordering the town’s red light district-equivalent, music fills the air and drowns out the usual noise of the city. Leave behind your expectations of a young and wild demographic, Reeperbahn is an inclusive space for families and people of any age to come and enjoy the entertainment. 

An expansive lineup includes The Hives, The Pretenders and Arlo Parks alongside beloved German acts. Like the best European festivals, the plethora of bands on show open your mind to the sheer amount of talent that is out there and, removing your blinkers of a local or national scene, there are some gems to discover.

Reeperbahn’s varied stages include Bahnhof Pauli, as well as a disused U-bahn station, the rooftop of Molotow and an old bus. These smaller rooms become portals; mostly cut off from any natural sunlight, where audiences transport from the clouds to the moon, then under the sea (stage lighting can be amazing).

It can take some skill to energise a crowd who have just started their evening, and NOISY have the unenviable task of making a rave warehouse out of a disused U-bahn station at 6:30pm

This turns out to be the perfect venue for the rave-inspired dance and jungle group. Hyping up the crowd has a symbiotic effect and within a few songs, the audience are giving the same energy back to the Worthing band.

Dancing is infectious and the headbanging comes easily once the room is warmed up by bangers including ‘The Motive’ and ‘Desire’. Lead man Cody Matthews gets into thick of it. Parting the crowd like the Red Sea, Matthews gets the night off to a high speed start whilst donning a pair of gifted sunglasses. NOISY’s DnB has rave references sprinkled throughout, with nods to The Prodigy among other scene legends.

A full house at a festival is one of the biggest compliments a band can receive, and the queue for Temples stretches for hundreds of metres, with the Kettering band attracting more than their fair share of anticipation.

Temples pack out the small Mojo Club theatre and a sub-par view offered from a balcony is the best spot on offer as a capacity crowd prepares themselves for transportation. The band’s psych-inspired 70s rock packs a nostalgia that really resonates with anyone who has a leaning to the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty.

There ain’t no party like a CMAT party and, as night falls in Hamburg, the Irish singer-songwriter and rising pop supremo brings her sizeable energy to Nochtspeicher.

Accompanied by her skilled band, CMAT (real name Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson) charms the audience before a single note leaves her mouth. Hidden “backstage” (behind a sheet beside the stage), she speaks with her tour manager about how to get an unwanted electronic buzzing out of her ear.

Ciara’s charisma is unmatched and she wins the locals over by complimenting the Astra beer: her beverage of choice for the evening. With mere weeks to go until the release of her sophomore album, Crazymad, For Me, new tracks such as ‘Have Fun’ and ‘Where Are Your Kids Tonight?’ (performed as a duo with her keyboardist) get a warmly-received showing.

Incorporating choreography like doing the perfect splits to ‘Peter Bogdanovich’ and ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’, everyone in the room is having a ridiculous amount of fun. CMAT’s vocals are wonderfully passionate no matter the subject matter but a tear is brought to every eye in the room when she performs ‘Rent’. An unreleased track from her forthcoming album; ‘Rent’ is a heartbreaking recollection of a pressured and toxic relationship from CMAT’s past. You could hear a pin drop in the room as emotion fills Thompson’s voice.

Seeing any artist live is alwyas an exciting prospect but once an atmosphere of mutual respect between the crowd and the performer grows to this magnitude, this excitement turns to an honour. CMAT pairs fun and emotion in equal, passionate helpings and delivers an intimate and unforgettable performance for Reeperbahn festival. 

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