01 February 2008 ~ Comments Off on Tour report January 2008 United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium

Tour report January 2008 United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium

Pictures of the tour

Day 1: Thursday January 3
Venue: K2
City, Country: Oostende, Belgium
Other bands: Paleface, Take It Down, Brat pack

The first day of tour and we already had some problems with the traffic. We arrived in time, but still it took forever to get there. The show was in sort of a youth club in Oostende. Oostende is a typical harbor city, which is always a bit depressing in a beautiful way. I don’t what it is, but I find it a bit romantic.
It was good to meet up with Stijn from Take It Down again, he was the promoter of the show. He did a great job organizing the show, and quite some people showed up. Paleface was the first band playing that night. They reminded me a bit of old Satanic Surfers, they had a great guitarist!
Take It Down was up next. The energy of Stijn on stage was great, and the talks in between were inspiring. It’s always great to see bands care about DIY ethics. Our friends from Brat pack played a great show. Every time I see them, I’m overwhelmed. Especially how the singer Ken is walking around on stage, hitting the mic on his big afro… punkrock!
I played okay, but a little sloppy. A lot of kids really liked it and some of them sang along, which is always great.
This is also Jonne is coming along with us to do the merch, and he already had a busy night. We sold a lot of books too, and I had a good talk with somebody who was amazed we brought radical literature to the shows. For us it’s nothing more than normal, and why not bring books if you also bring merch and other distros?
Our driver Etjen now lives in Oostende so we could sleep at his place. I must say he moved to a great apartment, very black and white!

Day 2: Friday January 4
Venue: Cowley Club
City, Country: Brighton, UK
Other bands: PJ & Gaby, Imadethismistake, The Fair Fight

I woke up with the smell of sausages coming out of the kitchen. We weren’t even in the UK but Etjen and Maureen (his girlfriend) already treated us on a delicious vegan UK breakfast: coffee, sausages, toast, baked mushrooms and onions… yummy!
(for those who never read my tour reports: I can only talk about the vegan stuff we ate and the record stores we went to. I’m sorry, I’m a sucker for vegan treats!) Before we hit the ferry, we also made a quick stop at the local supermarket to buy vegan chocolate chip cookies, beer and non alcoholic white beer. And ten cans of vegan ravioli. Why? Because we’re going to the UK! That means no food and no drinks at the shows. At least at most of the shows.
Not the first show though, that was at the almighty Cowley Club. This amazing place is heaven on earth. It’s a collectively run social centre with a info shop, a café and what not. And they have the best shows ever! The atmosphere is really nice. It was great to be back and meet up with old friends and meet new people.
We arrived early and had some time to walk around. We stopped at the Punkerbunker of course, and we ate a chiliburger at Red Veg. Brighton is a simply one of the best places to play on tour, there’s a lot going on!
Anyway, we also had an amazing diner at the Cowley Club, right before the first band started playing. PJ and Gaby played acoustic folky punk songs. They explained the lyrics of the songs and they interesting things to say. He was on tour with Imadethismistake from the states. He also played acoustic punk, but it was really not my thing.
The Fair Fight was up next and they blew me away! Please check them out, they are super nice kids and the music is awesome! If you’re into heavy, intense hardcore, this might be your thing.
It was awesome for me to play in this place again. I was really excited and I loved the set we played. It was one of those shows you get so much energy from, you have to careful you don’t hurt yourself. We played the Propagandhi and that was appreciated. A lot.
We could sleep at Mikey’s place, he also did the show. And again we had a great breakfast with beans and sausages and coffee!

Two days before we left for tour, 2 shows in the UK got cancelled. We were doing everything to fill the gaps and we got so much help from so many great people. This day we got an email we could play in London on the 8th of January. And the news spread really fast ‘cause we heard from people they were coming to the show in London… incredible!

Day 3: Saturday January 5
Venue: Rocker’s Live
City, Country: Taunton. UK
No other bands

Tom contacted us a few weeks ago, saying he wanted to come to the show in Taunton. He said he’s from that town and he offered us a place to sleep. He also said he wanted to promote the show and print flyers and so on. It was awesome to hear this kid comes out of nowhere and just helps us out so much. And this show would have sucked big time if it wasn’t for him. The venue was okay, but we didn’t get paid, no drinks, no food, no sleeping place. Welcome to the UK!
But Tom ad his friends came to hang out, and right after we played (not a show to write home about…) we went to his house. We had a great time meeting up with all the friends of Tom.

We also got an email from somebody who could do a show the next day in South Wales. it was very last minute, but a show is a show! We wrote back to contact us the next morning about the details. We would’ve gone back to Brighton where we could stay and have a nice diner with friends. But again: it’s better to play show.

Day 4: Sunday January 6
Day off, kinda…

I’m sitting in the van, typing the tour report. We were about to head to South Wales after having an amazing breakfast made by our friend Tom. But we’re driving to Brighton, not Wales…
The guy of the show called us, saying he booked the venue, he had a place to sleep and there was another band playing. It all sounded good.  We called our friends in Brighton, saying we couldn’t come to the diner. We explained the situation and they understood.
We said goodbye to Tom and drove off. I got a phone call after ten minutes in the van, Willem took it. Willem looked serious, than surprised. And than he hung up with the most cynical face I’ve ever seen in my life. The show was cancelled… The guy said the venue didn’t want to do it, nobody wanted to help him and so on…. Silence in the van… than everybody just started laughing.
We pulled over, called our friends saying we were going to come for the diner. They laughed at us. I couldn’t blame them. What a country….

Day 5: Monday January 7
Again, a day off

We hung out in Brighton all day with our friend Mikey, and there are worse places on earth to spend you off day. We took a nice long walk to the beach and checked out the millions of great tiny shops Brighton has. Of course we had to stop by Red Veg to grap a cruelty free hamburger. A cup of coffee in some hipster café made this day off perfect.
We slept all these days at Mikey’s place, which is simply awesome! We had great after diner talks about subjects that mean a lot to us. For example, we talked about the (ab)use of alcohol within the activist scene. It’s sort of a taboo, which made the discussion really interesting.

Day 6: Tuesday January 8
Venue: Cross Kings
City, Country: London, UK
Other bands: PJ & Gaby
We went to London quite early to do some sightseeing. I’ve never been to London myself and I was excited to go there. Again, Mikey was our punk tour guide. He lived in London for a long time and knew all the good places.
First we went to the Natu
ral History Museum. The entrance is free so that was an extra reason to take a look there. I was overwhelmed by basically everything in that museum. The building itself is beautiful and huge. There are all these animals carved in the ornaments. The collection of Dinosaurs is insane, I felt like a little kid. I wanted to run around and roar and pretend I was a T Rex.
We went to this all-you-can-eat-all-vegan thai restaurant, it was heaven on earth. You pay five pounds and stuff yourself with delicious food. Yay!
The show was really last minute set up by Lucas and his friends. There wasn’t any support band so we called PJ & Gaby (we played with them in Brighton) if they wanted to stop by and play some songs. I thought they were even better than the first time I saw them.
We played a very intense show to my opinion. The show was in a great venue, there was no stage. Around twenty people showed up, and everybody stood really close to us when we played. People sang along to some songs, we said what was on our mind and that was really appreciated. It was one of those shows where I get a lot of energy from.

Day 7: Wednesday January 9
Venue: Bridge House Inn
Citty, Country: Copsale, UK
Other bands: Kelly,
The English countryside, driving over small roads, through the hills. Johnny Cash is playing on the radio. I’m wondering how the show will be like. Normally the shows in the small towns are the best. And this time was no different….
When we arrived the nice lady behind the bar offered us a cup of coffee right away (something that doesn’t happen very often in the UK. Than her husband came out of the kitchen, greeting us with the thickest Irish accent I’ve ever heard. In the first sentence he quoted Henry Rollins, these were awesome people.
I looked around and it looked like a typical English pub, some old folks having a beer. Brian (our new Irish friend) explained how this pub will be transformed in a small venue as soon as he moved the furniture. “But you gotta play loud lad”, he said. “Promise me to play loud, hard and fast!” Indeed we will.
Jay, the promoter, arrived with good food and a smile on his face. We already met him at the Brighton show and he simply has this positive attitude you can’t get around without noticing it. Kids started walking in, everybody was having a good time. To me this was already a great show.
The weirdest thing happened when we started playing. I really thought I was out of tune… I checked and nothing was wrong. So we continued and I still heard it…. I thought I was going insane. Maybe there was something in the pizza I ate. And after that particular song it also was gone. No more heroin for me.
Anyway, after all the bands played Brian decided to play some Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash covers on his acoustic guitar, together with his roar voice and Irish accent. I loved it, especially his version of I Walk The Line!

Day 8: January 10
Venue: Den Drempel
City, Country: Antwerp, Belgium
Other bands: Richie Don’t Die
We got up early to catch the ferry which would bring us back to the main land. We (well, Etjen did…) made reservations for a ferry later in the day, but we had to catch one ferry earlier to make it on time to the show. And normally you have to pay 50 euro’s more to get an earlier ferry. We just played dumb, got at the ferry-incheck-place early, the woman gave us the pass, we got on the early ferry without a problem. Fuck paying! But the ferry gods immediately punished because it was, well… a bumpy ride.
First we had to pick up Stijn. Stijn did the first show of this tour in Oostende and will be our merch guy for the rest of the tour. It’s good to have him with us. Thanks to our friend Jonne who did a great merch-job in the UK.
It was good to be back on the mainland. We hooked up with Kim, the promoter of the show and we went to grap something to eat. Kim is also a father and right away we started talking about being a punkrock dad… I won’t bore you with these stories. A very nice soup and pasta was prepared and I think everybody really needed it.
The show was in a big pub in the middle of Antwerp. It reminded me of the Vrankrijk, a squat in Amsterdam. Too bad the place we played will be closed within three months… Although it was a very last minute show, there was quite a crowd. Richie Don’t Die play their style of melodic punk, and they really get away with it. I enjoyed seeing them play.
I had a good time on stage, especially since last night. I mean, I had a great time in Copsale, but playing-wise… I really sucked. Tonight was a good interested crowd and that’s always really motivating.

Day 9: January 11
Venue: Sonic Ballroom
City, Country: Köln, Germany
Other bands: Sunset Down
The drive from Antwerp to Köln wasn’t too long so we had all the time in the world to hang out in the city of Köln. We went to one of the bigger music stores of in Germany and we all started drewling as soon as we got in. I mean, I’m really happy with the stack I have, but it can always be better. We hung out there for a while, everybody bought what they needed (strings, drumsticks and so on) and we moved on. It’s no use to torture yourself too long when you know you don’t have the money to buy that new bass guitar you’ve always wanted…
We arrived at the venue and I was really happy to be in Germany: everything is so well arranged. The Sonic Ballroom is a small venue where a lot of great bands have played. And now I know why they all play there: the place is perfect! Above the venue they have sleeping places for the touring bands including a private bathroom, and a washing machine to do the laundry. Let me tell you, we really needed to do some laundry after a week of touring! Everywhere I looked I saw stickers of bands that have played there, and I was amazed how many dicks in all shapes and sizes were drawn on the walls. Apparently musicians are not always talented and creative artists…
But back to the awesomeness of this venue: the kitchen is next to the sleeping room and a delicious vegan curry was made for the bands. And there would be breakfast the next morning. Now you can say this is nothing more than normal, to have a place like this with these facilities. But we’ve played in so many venues and there’s a difference when the place is run by people who know what it’s like to be on tour. And the Sonic Ballroom is definitely one of these places!
I always get a bit nervous with shows like this. Will enough people show up? Will the people enjoy our set? I took a little nap and when the first band started playing I went down to see their show. There I saw the venue was completely packed! I thought all these people were there for the local band, because they played a nice solid set….
But when we were setting up our gear, the place was even more packed, sweatier, with a lack of oxygen. The audience already stood in front of the stage, we hadn’t played one tune. We asked to move upfront and so they did indeed. We counted ‘till four, I took a deep breath and we started…
It was like the place exploded. People were dancing, singing along, stagediving, crowdsurfing. Amazing… It was one of those shows that give you wings. We played two encores and after that I was close to death. I gave everything, and more. My body was shaking of excitement. This is what we all needed, after a tough week in the UK.

Day 10: January 12
Venue: Café Monopol
City, Country: Hannover, Germany
Other bands: Couch Divers, One Strike Left
Before we said goodbye to Köln, we went to one of the best record stores I’ve ever been: The Underdog. For five minutes though because we were in quite hurry to make it to the show in Hannover. And that’s basically torturing yourself… I mean you want to go through all the boxes of records, yo
u want to make a list in your head of all the records you’re still looking for. You want to listen to those bands you’ve always been curious about. Bottomline: it’s easy to spend a whole day there. To do all that in five minutes is impossible. To go there anyway makes no sense when I come to think about it…. Whatever.
We’ve never played in Hannover before and I was excited to go there for the first time. We arrived at the venue which was on the first floor of the building. My back already hurt when I thought about getting all the equipment upstairs….
The venue was amazing. It’s completely run by the local youth. They get a really small symbolic amount of money from the local government, and for the rest they depend on themselves. It was quite small and at times like that I’m always happy we’re only a three-piece. It doesn’t matter how small the stage is, there’s always room for a three-piece. Everything was really arranged: nice snacks and drinks, good pasta for diner. And quite a lot of people showed up.
The show was nice, both The Couch Divers and Obe Strike Left played a solid set. Halfway our set people started dancing and after the show we got a lot of great responses. Everybody was asking about the record and when we would come back to play in Hannover again. All we could say is: hopefully soon!

Day 11: January 13
Venue: Lemuria
City, Country: Eutin, Germany
Other bands: Alert
The show in Eutin was one of the few matinee shows we ever played on tour. And I have to say it’s nice. You have a lot of energy during the show because it’s in the afternoon. And afterwards you have enough time to talk to everybody, have a good diner and go to band early for once.
We arrived in Eutin quite early, even for a matinee show. We played in a collective house where several punkkids lived. It felt like a typical Italian or American show. I always love to play at places where people also live, it feels kind of special. People invite you to their homes to play. People cook for you in their own kitchen. It’s fantastic.
The house was beautiful. It was really big and in the basement they had a small venue. Everywhere I looked there were posters, flyers and stickers of anti-fascist actions, anti-capitalist protests and anarchist propaganda. It didn’t take very long the first talks and discussions started about all these subjects. And they would continue for a long time…
The people of alert organized the show and also were playing. I was really impressed by their show. They play melodic punkrock in the style of Anti-flag and had very interesting things to say in between the songs. It was one of the best bands I’ve seen on tour!
After seeing Alert play, I couldn’t wait to play myself. And the show was great indeed. Like I said, it was really a small place. So people were standing close to us, enjoying the set.

Day 12: January 14, 2008
Venue: Fährstrasse 105
City, Country, Hamburg, Germany
Other bands: Fuzzbeer
I’m writing this down now because I can’t sleep. I’m sitting in bed, in a huge room in an even bigger house where we just played. We played in the basement of this building. It’s rented by punkkids who are living here and doing amazing things. Like I said, the place is huge! And it’s really beautiful too. The whole house is very clean, wooden floors everywhere, a big kitchen (where we had an amazing pasta!). The building is not in the city centre, but closer to the harbors of Hamburg. And close to the famous St. Pauli district too.
I’m still really excited about the show. Not only because I had the feeling I played well, not only because this house is so inpsiring. Not only because there a lot of people in the small basement where we played. It’s all a combination of those things. It’s a monday night, and normally those shows aren’t very good. But this show, this night is definitely an exception. Again, the place was packed when we played. And there was a great atmosphere. Some people were dancing (or at least trying, because there wasn’t much room…) and I could feel everybody was comfortable. Incredible. And I think that’s exactly the reason why I can’t sleep! I’m deadtired, but I’m still too excited!!
After the show I had a talk with one of the people who’s living in this house. She read the lyrics of our song Raisedfistfuckyou and she explained how she liked them. Normally she’s more into hardcore and crusty punk music, she said. But she was overwhelmed by our show and could really feel we mean what we are singing about. It was my to respond. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, what do you say to such a big compliment like that? All I could come up with was ‘thank you very much’… but I wanted to say so much more. So I took a sip of my Bionade and continued. I said that the song means a lot to me, just like every song we’re playing. And we started talking about how we, as a band, try just make the music we love and sing about subjects that are important to us. We talked about how the band, as a whole, is important to us. And I realized now that a conversation like that is also part of it.

Day 13: January 15
Venue: Black Fleck
City, country: Potsdam, Germany
Other bands: Another Taste Of Chaos
The drive to Potsdam wasn’t too long and still a bit boring. It felt like we were through the Veluwe, a natural area (i have no idea how to describe it otherwise…) for hours. But as soon as we drove into Potsdam, we were overwhelmed by huge historical buildings. I noticed a lot of the buildings are abandoned and I was wondering why people don’t squat these beautiful soon-to-be free spaces. But apparently squatting in Germany is really difficult and most of these houses were bought by investors to speculate. That makes it all even more depressing.
But it was good to arrive at the Black Fleck, which is a venue in an even bigger complex/ building where people live, and do whatever they want.
The Black Fleck itself is a small, dark venue: perfect for a weekday show. We played together with Another Taste Of Chaos and it was their very first show. From the first second they started playing, I completely forgot it was their first time on stage. They really blew me away with the typical Eastern German metalcore.
We set up and pretty much stayed to check us out as well. The sound wasn’t too good and I played like shit. Despite that I got very good responses and we had a great time.
We also met up with Joe of Fond Of Life Records again. Fond Of Life release our new record in Germany and the UK. It was nice to talk to him again. He said to be at the last show of the tour as well and we can’t wait to meet up again!

Day 14: January 16
Venue: Zoro
City, country: Leipzig, Germany
Other bands: Unkind, All Or Nothing HC
Again it was a short drive to Leipzig (I love touring in Germany!!) and again I was completely amazed by the enormous buildings! The Zoro was quite a big venue, also very dark. It reminded me a bit of the Leoncavallo in Milano because you could get lost there quite easy. Three stories up there was the kitchen… and it smelled incredibly good. I peeked inside the kitchen and they were making lasagna! A second later I saw this gigantic chocolate cake in the corner of the kitchen, still warm. As I wiped away the drewl from the corners of my mouth, I realized this couldn’t be for the bands.
I walked further and met up with the people of Unkind and All Or Nothing HC. We were all touring bands so we decided to share the same backline. We were playing first so we did the soundcheck and when we came up, my dream (well, for that day…) became true. The lasagna and the cake were indeed for the bands!! I don’t believe we’ve had such a good diner on tour, ever.
On contrary to the day before, I play
ed a really nice set and I had the time of my life on stage. Too bad it was in front of a crowd that couldn’t care less. Or at least that’s how it felt. There wasn’t a real reaction at all….
All Or Nothing HC was up next. They’re really friendly people from the states (yup, overseas) with a woman on the vocals. They play hardcore. Not really my kinda thing, but I really liked how they were on stage (and before and after the show we also had a great time). Renée (the name of the singer) explained on a very personal way the songs and it was definitely impressive. One song she explained was about how she was raped. Heavy, I know. But she pointed out it wasn’t a sad song, rather than a strong song because she survived and can deal with it. I had a talk to her about it after the show and it was really nice to hear her story.

Day 15: January 17
Venue: JUZ Mannheim
City, country: Mannheim, Germany
Other bands: Smash the Statues
I woke up with the most terrible pain in back I’ve ever had. I slept on two pieces of cotton that used to be a mattress…. And today was the longest ride of the whole tour, to Mannheim. It wasn’t too bad though, I slept a couple of hours and I woke up when we already arrived. I stepped out of the van and our friends of Smash the Statues welcomed me. We were playing together six hours away from Holland, but it felt just like any other show we played with this awesome band.
Litty (promoter of the show) welcomed us inside and within minutes we were playing Kicker again! I’m really addicted to this game! And the best thing of touring in Germany is that there’s a kickertable at every single venue. Germans take this game really serious. Just like I do…
There weren’t a lot of people at the show but I always love to see Smash The Statues. It was a solid set with a great I Spy cover. Our set was okay, but my back hurt a lot. I couldn’t really move and I couldn’t really concentrate on my vocals. Maybe it was good there weren’t too many people haha…

Day 16: January 18Venue: Pfarrheim St. MichaelCity, country: Völklingen, Germany
Other bands: New Noise Project, Sock Dolager, Captains Dinner
The breakfast Litty made for us was amazing. Fried tofu, pancakes, fresh breads, spreads and so on. We had to leave a bit early because the last show of the tour, we had to be there in time for the load in.
We arrived and saw that the venue was directly next to the church. And the venue was quite big, a hall for schoolplays and what not. I was wondering how it would sound if a punkband plays in this place, and how in hell this place could be filled. Ten minutes later the PA company arrived with enough equipment to blast a hole in the earth. So that was settled. Than I found out we were playing with old time local heroes New Noise Project. THey split up a few years ago, but this was one of their reunion gigs.
Even before the first band started it was already pretty filled. Someone came up to Willem, mentioning he saw us this summer in ABC No Rio in New York City. And I remembered there was a German couple at that show. What a coincidence!
The crowd was kinda weird. Most of them stood in the back at the bar, almost piled up on each other, while there was plenty of room in front of the stage. It wasn’t that the bands were terrible, the audience just didn’t care.
And the same happened when we played our set. Sure there were a lot of people interested and liked our music, but most of them were in the back. Oh well, shit happens. It was good to see some movement in the crowd when New Noise Project started playing. They played a perfect Gorilla Biscuits cover and that definitely made my night.

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