29 April 2008 ~ 1 Comment

Tour report April 2008: Scandinavia

Tourreport April 2008, with Smash The Statues

Day 1: Hannover, Germany
Venue: Kopernitkus

I was really excited about this tour because finally we were hitting the road with our friends from Smash The Statues. We’ve been talking about this plan for years now and now we’re stepping in the van together.
We’re heading to Scandinavia and I’m excited about that as well. I’ve never been up there and I was looking forward to it. There are a billion amazing bands from Sweden (Adhesive, Refused, Satanic Surfers, Nof Fun At All, Millencolin, The Indecision Alarm and so on…), now we get to see where they get their inspiration from. Personally I think they these magic poisons in the water. If you drink it from birth, you’ll end up playing in a great band.
First we’re playing two shows in Germany, the first show is in Hannover. It was a good four hour drive. I like Germany a lot. It kinda stole my heart last tour in January when we had a good ten day tour in that huge country. And now we’re in Hannover, in a tiny venue below a railway. We were the only two bands, it was cold, the food was good and there were a lot of dogs.
There weren’t a lot of people but it was packed anyway because the place was so small. Everybody was dancing and having a good time when we played which was nice.

Day 2: Neumünster, Germany
Venue: AJZ
Other bands: Alert

Another short drive, I like it. It took us three hours to get to Neumünster where Vincent from Alert welcomed us. We met him in January and it was good to see him again. The venue was really nice, typical German AZ. Everything is really well arranged, the food is amazing, posters and flyers of Anti Fascist Action and other radical action groups on the wall… I always feel at home in places like this. The posters on the walls showed us the history told us the history of this place and that quite overwhelming. Bands like Propagandhi, Hanson Brothers, RKL, Satanic Surfers and Boysetsfire have played here.
There was a problem though. There was a nazi-pub two blocks away from the venue and it was raided by anti-fascists just some weeks ago. It was a saturday night, the next day the nazi’s would celebrate the birthday of Hitler and were making their way for some revenge. It was quite possible it would come to a confrontation…
We had talks about the situation. Of course nobody was looking for a fight, but what to do when it actually would come to a fight? Personally, I don’t know what to do. It’s stupid to act like a macho and say to kick the shit out of the nazi scum, but I’ve never been attacked by those morons. I guess nobody knows how they react unless they’ve been in a situation like that before.
One thing’s for sure, this situation made the show pretty intense for me. All the bands had talks about fighting fascism and everybody was ready to give everything they had that night. I played if my life depended on it. There’s no better place to be than to be on stage I guess. Eventually the nazi’s didn’t came to the show. Later that night some anti-fascists raided a house where nazi’s lived but we all heard it the next morning.
There’s quite a big problem with nazi’s in Neumünster and it’s great to see so many people are fighting back. I think it’s very brave to act and stand up for a truly free society where there’s no place for fascist scum. Not now, not ever again fascism!

Day 3: Halmar, Sweden
Venue: IKEA
Other band:

This show was really last minute. Johann did a very good job organizing it. It was going to be our very first show in Sweden and I was looking forward to it! I couldn’t care less if it was a last minute show, I couldn’t care less it was an eight hour drive; it was a show in Sweden! The show was in a small pub and I was told that normally only sailors and nurses come here… weird fetish but okay, I love a man in uniform.
Like I said, Johan did an excellent job, the food was delicious and quite some people showed up for a last minue sunday show. The sleepingrooms were decent as well so that makes me extremely happy. Now for those who have never been on tour might find it stupid I keep on getting back to the food-issue. In pretty much all the tourreports I write, food is mentioned more than often. One reason is because I’m vegan. Most vegans I know (myself included) are obsessed by food. They talk about food all the time, about what’s vegan and what’s not. New cookies and the latest recipes are discussed. It’s a worldwide web of insanely obsessed food addicts. I’m no exception. I’ll eat everything that’s vegan, just because I can. It’s stupid, I know, but it’s the truth. Somebody said to me one time I was a fat kid trapped in a skinny body. I couldn’t agree more… I would be five time the size I am now if I ate everything. So basically veganism saves me from that. In that way you could say it’s a sellfish thing to do… Now I wouldn’t go that far. But yeah, I’m a food obsessed vegan. And I love it! There! And the food this night was awesome. Falafel with potatoes, lentils and salad. BOAH!
We played first and it was kind of a tough crowd, but interested. So that’s all fine by me. Two kids from Holland were there as well. He was studying in this town, she was visiting him. Nice.

Day 4: Halden, Norway
Venue: Feelgood
Other band: FORK

For the very first time in Norway, yay! It took us quite some time to get to Halden, but we made it safely. And the drive was absolutely beautiful. Roads in Sweden and Norway are completely different from the roads we have in Holland. In Holland we have highway that are packed with thousands of cars, stuck in traffic jams. In Sweden there are hardly any highways in the first place. Second, you don’t see so many other cars passing. It’s pretty quiet and all the roads are passing lakes and rocky (you know what I mean right…) landscapes. Holland is a small country where all the nature has to make way for houses and officebuildings. We drove for hours in Sweden without seeing even one big city. I find it breathtaking.
Magnus was the promoter of the show and everything was arranged nicely. It was a monday night in a fairly small city so I didn’t expect too much of the show. Some really young kids stopped by to watch what was going on and they obviously were having a good time. Unfortunately they had to be home in time so the audience was all gone when we started playing….

Day 5: Oslo, Norway
Venue: Paragrafen Pub
Other band: FORK

The past few days we had  to get up early because the drives were quite long. But today we had all the time in the world. Today we could sleep as long as we wanted. Today we drove to Oslo in two hours and walked around in Oslo for hours. We drank coffee in the sun on a terrace. We talked about how we’re putting ideals into practice. Hunk (gutiarplayer of Samsh The Statues) explained how he’s working for the Socialist Party in Holland. I’m not a big fan of political parties, but it was interesting to hear how they are organized and what they are doing.
I always love days like these. Everybody’s doing what they want and I get to know everybody a little bit better by talks like these. And when I realize I’m in Oslo because I’m there to play with my band, I can’t help but smile. I mean, we’re working our asses of the to go on tour, to arrange everything. It’s all done by ourselves and by the people who share the love for the music, for the politics.
I’ve reached a point in my life where there’s no more space for ‘fucking around’. What I mean is that I have to make concious decisions and stick with them. I’ve done that for a long already, but now it feels there&rs
quo;s a no point of return. I’ve decided not to have a ‘normal’ 9 to 5 job. I’ve decided not to live a life where certainty is garantued (if that means anything at all in the first place…). I’ve decided to follow my heart, to chase my desires and my passion.
These are all subjects that are not unknown for a lot of people in the punk/hardcore scene. We all know them, we all sing about it. But for me it’s a bit different when I was five years younger, still studying, working parttime jobs, live in a cheap appartment with friends. As I’m getting older, I see people from my age taking the safe road: steady job, buying a house, a car and so on. I play in a band and try to get by. No certainty. No safeplace. The only thing I know is I’m sticking to my dreams.
I’m making crucial decisions as well, on a different level. I have a beautiful son, and in September our second child will be born. Again, I’m sticking to my dreams. Parenthood is one of the things I’ve dreaming about ever since I can remember. I’m happy and proud to have such a amazing son, and I’m doing it together with the most inspiring person I’ve ever met in my life. And together we’re trying to sort things out so our kids can have the childhood they deserve, with parents who are sticking to their ideals. To their dreams.
This is supposed to be far from a tourreport. But for me this also includes being on tour. This is what I’m thinking of when I’m on the road. I can talk about how great the show was and the lovely people we’ve met. That’s all part of it, as well as these thoughts I’ve been describing. And especially when you’re sitting in Oslo, drinking coffee with my best friends.

I forgot to say anything about the show. The show was nuts! It was one of the smallest stages we’ve ever played and the venue was packed. And all that on a tuesday night! Awesome!

Day 6: Karlstad, Sweden
Venue: Tolvmansgatan
Other band: Endslikethis

And we’re back in Sweden! The venue was one of those youthcentres that we have in Holland as well. Clean, all the facilities, excited youthworkers, and some sixteen year old volunteers. The load in was at four in the afternoon, soundcheck at five, diner at six. Me love yes! This is something different than, for example, Italian standards where the first band starts after midnight. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it can be a bit exhausting from time to time… Not in Sweden, oh no. Here the show starts around eight at night, and the last band stops at ten. Goddamnit, I sound like an old fart…
Anyway, I met up with Jonas who was the promoter of the show. He was also playing in Endslikethis, who were playing their first show this night. Jonas was working at the youthcentre as an employee, and he was obviously good at his job. Or he just knows how to take care of touring bands: good food, coffee, drinks, backstage. Everything was simply perfect.

Day 7: Märsta, Sweden
Venue: Garage
Other band: Strangler

The Garage in Märsta was such a new venue that it smelled like new furniture. The owner of the place seemed to be a bit bitter at first, but turned out to be an nice guy. The whole venue was pretty huge with a lounge bar, a dancing and a rockbar. We were playing in the latter of course.
I was wondering if any people would show up, because we heard all these stories that this city was nearly dead when it came down to a scene. Last Days Of April came from this town, and that’s about it.
It all didn’t matter much as soon as we got a plate of food in front of our noses. The venue also had sort of a tapasbar and an employed chefcook. He definitely did his very best at cooking a nice vegan meal. Goddamnit, it was good!
When Strangler (the first band) started playing it was pretty crowded to my surprise. Fredrick set up the show and was also playing guitar in Strangler, he also did his best to get as many people to the show as possible. And it was a vinyl-night: i don’t think we’ve sold any cd’s, only vinyl.
On stage I lost my shorts during the second song and finished the set only with my boxers on. I’m not complaining, it was refreshing indeed!

Day 8: Katrineholm, Sweden
Venue: Paladium
Other bands: Naive, For The Record

We woke up quite early, just to get in time to Geir from The Indecision Alarm. He had invited us to come over to his place to hang out, to eat vegan magnum icecreams and a whole warm buffet. It was good to see him again. It was even better to see that Tom (from Smash The Statues) and Geir are secretly brothers, only they don’t know it. We arrived, Tom jumped out of the van, ran to the door, opened it up and started yelling to Geir in their own ‘Arnold- language’.
Geir has been on tour a lot with a bazillion bands, so he knows how to take care of touring bands. Apart from a freezer full of those lovely icecreams, he made coffee as soon as we arrived. And he asked us if we’d like to have a piece of applepie with that coffee, homemade by his wife Veronica. “Oh, and some nice vanilla sauce with that perhaps?”

Does the pope shit in the woods? Of course! So ten minutes later we were sitting on the backporch, stuffing ourselves with applepie and coffee. In the meantime Geir was preparing diner…
Geir lives in the suburbs of Katrineholm in an very nice house, with a lot of green surrounding it. He said it can be a bit depressing in the winter, but now it’s absolutely lovely. I’m a real sucker for these places. Within a blink I start dreaming away of how cool it would be to live there… Of course I romantisize it to the fullest, but fuck it. I see myself living there with the family, having Geir as my neighbour. We could fight over cutting the hedge, and than make it up by having a nice bbq.
So Geir prepared enough food to feed a whole village, demanding we would eat it all. It was so good, so good… I don’t know how to describe it. Imagine your favorite dish, that times ten and you come close. Not quite there yet, but close.
At the show we met up with the rest of The Indecision Alarm, it was awesome to see them again. And of course there wasn’t enough time to catch up with all the stories. I was really glad to Niklas’ son Albin. Only seven months old but he seemed to have a good time. And Micke was there with his son Felix as well, a bit older than Albin though…
The show wasn’t really good to be honest. It was in a venue that was too big and oversubsidised. But I didn’t really give a shit because it was simply nice to meet up with friends I don’t get to see much.

Day 9: Lund, Sweden
Venue: Hemgarden
Other bands: Car Chase Terror + Atlas Losing Grip

Most of the times on tour we’re playing with really good bands, it happens we’re playing with shitty bands too. Sometimes we’re playing with a band that completely blows me away and leaves me with nothing but excitement. And goosebumps too. Atlas Losing Grip was one of those bands. From the first second they were blasting their wall of sound, hardhitting drums, shredding guitars and melodic vocals. The music was definitely inspired by the 90’s melodic skatepunk (me like yes!). It was tight as hell and before I knew it, it was over. Seeing them play motivated to play myself even more!
Atlas Losing Grip wasn’t the only good thing about this show. Pretty much everything about this show was great. It was perfect. Gustav (promoter of the show + guitarist of ALG) took good care of us in every single way. The venue was really cool, the people who were running the place were very friendly… I had the feeling we were friends with the ALG from the moment we shook hands. And above all, I met up with the guy I had the biggest crush on ever since I saw him for the first time: Andy!
It all starte
d when I was doing the Typewriter Distro with my girlfriend at the Funtime Fest 2005. Satanic Surfers was one of the bands on the bill. I was looking forward to their show since I’ve never seen them before. The Satanic guys walked into the venue and among them was the cutest guy I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was Andy (although I didn’t know his name of course). I grapped my girlfriend, looked her in the eyes and said: “if I ever get the chance to make out with guy, I WILL do it.” Suzette started laughing, saying she’d understand. She started making jokes and daring me to talk to him. Of course I was too scared to do it.
Years went by and again I saw him at a Satanic Surfers show in Holland. Again I didn’t dare to talk to him. Again I saw him standing there with his cute eyes and lovely smile. He was wearing thick black glasses and “I-don’t-really-care-what-I-wear-but-in-the-mean-time-I-know-it-looks-good-on-me” clothes: tight worn-off jeans and an old faded black shirt from some obscure crust- and/or metalband where I can never read the name of…. simply gorgious!
Fast forward: I was talking to Geir about his time on tour with Satanic Surfers and I confessed my crush on Andy to him. Geir giggled a bit, saying Andy might come to the show in Lund. Before I knew it I said he should text Andy. And Geir wouldn’t be Geir if he didn’t do it….
Fast forward: I walked downstairs in the venue in Lund and all of a sudden I saw Andy standing there with Julien (drummer of ALG). There was no escape anymore. What could I do? What should I do? I took a deep breath and took a step towards his direction. And another. I walked up to Andy and introduced myself to him. He smiled and said hi.
Of course it was a bit akward in the beginning. Of course Andy had no idea what to expect. This whole story was blown up and gotten uot of hand a bit (with a little help of myself, I admit. My bad.). But within minutes we were talking about records and books, so it was all good.
Apart from becoming friends, nothing exciting happened. I’m happy with the relationship I’m in, and if I may quote Andy: he ‘doesn’t drive on that side of the road’. He’ll always be my Swedish sweetheart, just like Gijs is my Dutch sweetheart and Dave’s my American sweetheart. It’s always amazing to meet new friends!

Day 10: Hamburg, Germany
Venue: Fahrstrasse 105
Other band: The Partimers

This is the last show of the tour and we’re playing in a familiair place. We’ve played in the Fahrstrasse in January, a tiny venue in the basement of a beautiful house. It feels like home from home. There were about thirty people at the show and it was pretty packed, so you can imagine how small the venue is. The atmosphere was really nice. Our friendsVincent and Sophie from Kiel came out to the show and surprised us with delicious muffins! It was also good to see people were interested in the books we’re selling. Aspects like that make a show perfect.
I could really feel it was a sunday show. Everyone was in that lazy sundayafternoon mood, and I was amazed people actually came out to see us because outside the weather was really nice. I couldn’t blame people choosing to hang out in the park above going to a punkrock show.
After the show I had nice talks about nineties screamo bands (like Circle Takes The Square, Pg. 99, City Of Caterpillar and so on). The conversation started when I saw a girl wearing a Yage tshirt, one of my favorite bands of all time. I said I really liked the band and she responded in Dutch, which was a bit weird. It turned out her mom was Dutch…
This was really good last show. We had a blast with our friends from Smash The Statues. I had good time seeing them ripping every night. Thanks to everyone that helped out, gave us food, a floor to sleep on, everyone that came out to the shows. We hope to be back in Scandinavia soon!

One Response to “Tour report April 2008: Scandinavia”


Your Cart