01 January 2009 ~ 1 Comment

Tour report December 2008: United Kingdom

This is the tour report of our last tour in 2008, through the United Kingdom. For this trip we brought Pieter and Boris to help us out with left side driving and pound counting merch sales. This is Yvo's first tour after his paternity leave. He kept a diary of everything (and more) we experienced. Enjoy!

12 December
Venue: Bedford Park
City + country: London, UK

It is just one of those days. Everything goes wrong. The whole world is against you; you’re against the world. That day there’s a battle between you and the tour-gods. You know it’s a losing battle, but you won’t go down without a fight. It is just one of those days.
We got up really early and drove off from Nijmegen, Holland. It was a long drive to the tunnel (from the North of France to the UK). We arrived early, got on the train and drove to London. So far, so good.
We had all the time in the world when we arrived at the venue, so we had a cup of coffee and decided to go and see Buckingham Palace. We decided to go there with the van. On a Friday-afternoon. In the centre of London. Worst idea ever, anyone? It took us forever and we ended up not seeing the fucking palace, and driving back to the venue. Everyone was tired and cynical.
The show started and we were only playing with local bands. Six of them in total. We played last and there was hardly anyone left. The show wasn’t very good. But the people who were there had a good time. Our friend PJ came out to hang with us, sing with us and drink all of our beer. Edd (from Last Hours) stopped by to say hello as well, and have nice talks about Propagandhi.
After the show we loaded in, drove off… and found out we had a flat tire. So there we were, in London at three o’clock at night, changing a tire in the rain. Keep in mind we got up at six o’clock in the morning. That’s not funny, that’s fucked up. Even in retrospect. Fuck the tour-gods!

13 December
Venue: The Fawcett Inn
City + Country: Southsea/Portsmouth, UK

After the best start ever, we needed sleep. We slept ‘till two in the afternoon, which felt actually really good. It was like I was reborn. Goddamnit, three cheers for whoever invented sleep. I think it’ll be pretty big in the future.
Before we could get going, we head to buy a new tire. And luckily there was a shop under the place where we slept. So the tour-gods were with us again… And off we went, to Portsmouth! I heard good stories about the shows there so I was looking forward to the show. Besides, we’ve never been there.
And everything was true, the show was amazing. We played with good bands (especially Above Them knocked me of my socks!), El (the promoter) was taking very good care of us with good food and some drinks. The show was quite crowded and everybody was simply having a good time. Alain came out to the show, which was cool. Alain lives in Switzerland and helped us out several times with shows. Unfortunately I’ve never met him in person. It was quite funny to meet up with him on the other side of Europe. We played a good set (I think…), people were standing in front and one guy stole the show with his lovely dance-moves. I believe his name was Kevin.
We stayed at Harry’s place where I saw the biggest jar of Marmite ever! I was in heaven! And Harry told me you could buy it pretty much at every supermarket. So I had my mission on tour; get me one of those!

14 December
Venue: The Hobbit
City + Country: Southampton, UK

I slept in the van that night and it was actually quite okay, not too cold indeed. We had to leave early unfortunately, but the reason was all worth it. We arrived at the house of Rich (the promoter of the all-dayer) and he was making an incredible lunch. Something with mashed potatoes, beans, in the oven, vegetables, drewling dutch kids, hmmm and aaahhh. Rich had an overwhelming record collection, shelves full of books I’ve always wanted to read, posters of shows with Tragedy he put on… awesomeness!
Brito was also joining in for lunch with us. Brito is from Holland as well and on tour, as well. Really nice people.
The all-dayer was a real ALL-DAYER. There were over ten bands playing and we were second to last on the bill. I checked quite a few bands that were playing and some I really enjoyed. Especially Brito and Wreck Of Old ’98 were good! What I liked most about the show was the whole atmosphere. People were having a good time; the venue was beautiful with a garden in the back. Plus some kids were doing insane graffiti on the walls. I also spotted some Banksy clones, but just slightly different.
I didn’t play the best show of my life because I had some trouble with my sound. The day before water fell over my sansamp-pedal and now it wasn’t doing what it should be doing…
but the show was great. I had the idea nobody knew us when we started playing, but really gave us a chance.
We also sold quite some books that day. There was one guy who was interested in the whole phenomenon of direct action. He wasn’t an experienced activist at all, and he was wondering why people were so motivated and determined to fight for a bigger cause. We had a long interesting talk. I love interactions like that. It reminds me why we are singing about subjects we care about, why we bring books to punk-shows.

We slept at Sam’s house. Sam brought a shoebox full of old zines with him to the show, for free. It was from a friend who wanted to get rid of them. I picked up some old HeartattaCks, always good reading material. I think it’s pretty safe to say Sam and I share the same music interest: old nineties screamo, some good heavy hardcore, some d-beat…
His roommates were playing this videogame where they had to shoot nazi’s, with From Ashes Rise blasting out of the speakers. Beautiful.

15 December
Venue: Cavern
City + Country: Exeter, UK

In the morning I was introduced to Peepshow. Peepshow is an English comedy in the vein of The Office, but different. But the same, but different. It’s about two friends who have shitty jobs and get in awkward situations. Hilarious. I’m not gonna try to explain it, just give it a shot if you’re into English humour.
Anyway, after breakfast we hopped in the van to Exeter. Before the tour I also heard good stories about The Cavern, about all these bands that have played there (Face to Face, Converge, the Bouncing souls, A Death In The Family, Leatherface, Fucked Up, The Kaiser Chiefs), I had no idea what to expect. We arrived there and it felt like home. Everybody was hospitable, cool kids running a great venue. The venue was in the middle of the city centre, next to a hipster coffee shop where they served organic coffee and had vegan items. I was already looking forward to some breakfast/ lunch there…

I still had to fix my bass-pedal. The sound-guy advised me to put it on an amp that got really hot so the pedal could dry on the inside. I gave it a try and it actually worked. Hooray for the sound-guy!
Chris (promoter) and his friends cooked a nice meal for us, and I was wondering if people would show up. It was a Monday-night and those can be tricky… but the place was pretty filled when started playing, so that was great! On top of that, our friend Tom stopped by with his friends. We talked for a long time about his American friend who’s now in jail for protesting against the Republican Party. It’s a ridiculous but sad story, too much to explain. If you’re interested, please read this: http://helpdavemahoney.blogspot.com/

We slept at the house of the promoter; he lived with his parents right outside of Exeter. The house was huge and beautiful, in the middle of the countryside. A typical English scenery with hedges, fog and cold wea

16 December
Venue: Light Lounge
City + Country: Basingstoke, UK

Today we had some time to wonder around in Exeter. we stopped by this record store of somebody who was at the show. He was just starting up his own little punk record store. I always love it when people are following their dreams…
And I had to stop by the coffee-place next to the venue, just to check out the options. I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed because they only had one vegan sweet dish and it was kind of expensive as well. So only coffee for me…

We played in Basingstoke that night. We played with an awesome eighties metal band in the vein of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. They had it all; a skull of a deer with light bulbs in the eyes and a smoke machine. Leather jackets, leather pants, high screams and twin guitar solo’s. Sing-a-long tunes and clap-a-long parts, inside jokes and headbanger moves. Karrion! Best band we’ve ever played with, definitely! http://www.myspace.com/karrionuk

17 December
Venue: The Cooperage
City + Country: Newcastle, UK

Today we had one of the few long drives ahead of us. Today the GPS system failed. We had the right address but GPS send us in some suburban neighbourhood. Luckily Pieter had been to the venue once before.
The Cooperage is a beautiful old venue/ pub. It’s built on a hill and it has several storeys. It looks like it’s been built 300 years ago, a venue where you can get lost in. Did I mention it had several floors? Did I mention we were playing on the top floor? Did I mention we have heavy equipment to carry to that top floor? I know, I’m complaining. And it wasn’t that bad at all, especially since a lot of people helped carrying stuff upstairs. But I just like to complain, it’s a thing that I enjoy.
So when we were eating our delicious meal (vegan chilli in the oven, with rice and such…), young teenagers were getting ready for their karaoke party. Believe me, it was as weird as it sounds. There were fourteen-year-old kids getting completely wasted, puking over the stairs where I just complained about, and yelling at me in the most hilarious drunken English I’ve ever heard. Quite amusing.
The show itself was good. It was cold and there weren’t too many people, but it was good. There was a good intimate atmosphere. After the show the guys from ONSIND came up to me and it appeared we had some mutual friends (Vincent from Kiel). They told me that they kind of miss political bands, they’re not around much. In a way I agree; sometimes it’s like punk and hardcore is simply filled with bands that sound angry and pissed off. But somehow I miss the point where they are angry about…. Now I’m not saying that every band has to be political (personal subjects can be as angry and pissed off as political subjects) but I always enjoy when bands explain their songs/ music/ motivation. I want to hear bands that are driven. I want to hear bands that sound like they’re going to kill themselves if they don’t play music. Those bands play music because they have to, they must play music. There’s no other option. Okay, now I’m rambling.

But you get it, right? Good.

To put things in perspective; that night Pieter and I walked to some supermarket to get vegan bacon and coffee (I know, best combination!) and talked about funny films and good films. Those are not one and the same. For example; we agreed “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” is one of the best films ever made in history. But it’s not funny. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” is a funny film. But not good.
And then there’s “Anchorman”. Somehow everybody is all about that film. Pieter loves it too. I saw it and I was not amused. Not at all. Two hours of my life in the trashcan. That night I put on “National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon”. That was funny. But not really. And definitely not good.

18 December
Venue: 1in12 Club
City + Country: Bradford, UK

We had breakfast in a vegetarian café, just down the street where we slept. I had a huge hamburger and some good coffee. I don’t think you can start your day better than that.
Bradford was next on the list. The 1in12 Club has been a social centre for years and years. I love going to places like that. They had a great venue (again, on the second floor goddamnit!!) a radical library with tons of titles I have on my to-read list. They have a vegan café. It’s incredible.
Luke (promoter) cooked us a nice, spicy curry and that night we played with Captain Hotknives. He covered The Clash’s White Riot, but he made White Rice out of it. It was actually quite funny. His other songs were also pretty funny. http://www.myspace.com/captainhotknives

19 December
Venue: The Cowley Club
City + Country: Brighton, UK

We had to get up early because Luke had to go to work early. That was okay since we were going to Brighton! Everybody was excited. Four hours later, we arrived in The Mekka of Vegan Treats and Hipster Kids. We decided to have breakfast/ lunch at the Dumb Waitor. I hadn’t been there before, but according the Pieter it was a good place for breakfast and not very expensive. It turned out to be a good choice indeed.
After that we wondered around in Good Ol’ Brighton. I came to the conclusion that there isn’t that much to do when you want to save money. I mean, they have great record stores, good bookstores and nice fashion stores. But I really don’t need that. Even when we passed Vegetarian Shoes I didn’t go inside because there was no use. We passed Red Veg (vegetarian Mc Donald’s, but really good and PC) and I didn’t want to grab a burger since I was still full. So we decided to stop and get back to The Cowley Club, the social centre where we would be playing that night.
Ariadne was doing the show and it was very good to see her again. I know her for some years now and we get along really well. She moved to Brighton some time ago so I don’t get to see her very often. That made this show extra special. We couldn’t stop talking, there was so much to catch up that there was hardly enough time.
The show itself was nice, but there were not a lot of people. Too bad. The other times we played in The Cowley Club, it was packed. Oh well, better luck next time.
This time everybody had gone home for the holidays. Another thing that really struck me. Those English people take their Christmas bloody serious! Everywhere we came I was blinded by Christmas lights, Christmas heads, Christmas this and that… fuck that shit! I mean, one time in the year we should think of the poor and love our neighbour and blablabla. First of all, fuck that one day! I have a plan; let’s eat each others brains, spit on each others head, fight our neighbours to death for one day. So the rest of the year we can get along.
Second; we don’t think of the poor. We stuff ourselves full with fancy food.

20 December
Venue: Le Baron
City + Country: Caudry, France

This was going to be the fourth time we played in Caudry. It was definitely one of the best times. This time it was the last show of François (the promoter) and the small pub in the middle of nowhere was packed with tons of kids. Everybody was having a blast. François will take some time off with doing shows because he wants to focus on other projects. He helped us out a lot of times and hopefully we still get to see him every now and then.
Our friend Bertrand from Le Havre also came out to the show and it was nice to see him again.
We played with Fire At Will (from Toulouse) and they turned out to be really nice guys. Their set was full of energy and that motivated me to play
as well! Despite that fact, our set was okay. We’ve had better shows. But I was also pretty tired. I didn’t play the best set ever, but I had a good time.

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