18 June 2009 ~ 1 Comment

Tour report Feb/March 2009: Germany

Tour report Germany February/ March 2009

Our journey will take us through Germany. Home of the ausfart, biergarten and best humor ever. I was looking forward to this tour a lot. We would meet up with a lot of old friends, and there were so many places we haven’t been as well. But we started off almost in our backyard…

Friday February 27
City + country: Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany
Venue: AZ Mülheim
Other bands: Possible Suspect

The drive to Mülheim was a little longer than an hour, a good short dirve to start the tour. I was looking forward to see Robert again. I’ve met him years ago at the Ieper Festival in Belgium. A cool thrash vegan straight edge kid who always says he’s depressed but in the meantime wears an endless smile on his face.
I have good memories of the JUZ, and this show was not different. It started with meeting up with the people of Possible Suspect. Possible Suspect is from Utreg (Holland) and I already knew Dick and Esther from working at the ACU (DIY venue in Utreg). I haven’t seen in ages so it was one big get-together in the AZ. At the same time Robert served the food. It was very good, nothing wrong about that. But what it made special was the warm vanilla pudding as dessert. In Holland we call it ‘warme vla’. Awesome! Incredible! I had two desserts! In retrospect I don’t know if that was such a good idea.
I was almost exploding when Robert started his story what he called: ‘the most punk-thing I‘ve ever done’. I was already looking forward to hear it… This goes way too far to actually tell the whole story because to tell you the truth: it can’t come close to the way Robert told it. The story had something to do with ‘taking a shit real bad’ and ‘no fucking toilet in sight’. You do the math.
Anyway, it was all good fun in Mülheim. We played a very decent show, people seem to have liked it. Esther and I kicked ass at tablesoccer and we did an interesting interview for get addicted. One of the questions was: ‘you put an bulletin on your website to visit a protest against the attacks on Palestina. So you’re pro-Palestina?’ I like questions like these. These are the ‘not-so-easy-to-answer-questions’. And I explained why put it on the website.
You see, it’s hard for me to be pro-Palestia or pro-Israël. The conflict is so complex and difficult that I don’t have the feeling I can say anything about it (if people have suggestions on books about the subject, please send me an email). All I know that the attacks on Gaza are killing hundreds of people. All I know is that innocent people are suffering from these attacks. On both sides, Palestian and Jewish. Innocent people put in terrible sitautions. And the tragic part is that those people who are responsible for these attacks are in suit and tie, sitting on their leather sofa at home watching the news. These people are making money from these attacks. Let’s not forget there’s a lot of money being made by any war. That’s what pisses me off. That’s the reason I put the bulletin on the website. It’s about time we stop waging wars amongst each other and start bringing those who are responsible out of power.


Saturday February 28
City + country: Bausendorf, Germany
Venue: Riez Rock Bar
Other bands: Another Day, Society Off

We had breakfast at the AZ and there was a Lady Fest going on as well. Since we were with (mostly) male people, we were asked to have breakfast in a different room. I respect that. Of course. I understand it can be a relief for female people to have something like a Lady Fest. It’s a place where women can do their thing their way, and not be bothered by this male-dominated society. Especially when women have bad experiences with men it can be a place where they feel understood, at home, safe.
We headed off to Bausendorf which was in the middle of nowhere. Hills, trees, birds. And a bar where they did live-shows. Amazing. I walked out in the fields and somewhere in the distance I could hear cars driving. Apart from that; absolute silence. I stumbled across a hunting-cabin and it really made me think how humans have to ruin everything. Why would you want to shoot animals who are just minding their own business?
There was a fireplace in the venue to keep everybody warm. Where are those vegan marsh-mellows when you need them the most? More and more people started coming in and there was a nice saturday evening atmosphere.
The show was a bit weird because I had the idea the kids were there to hang out and they didn’t care too much what band was playing. Not very motivating. But we did our very best and made the best out of it.
We met up with the nice people from Another Day and I really enjoyed watching how they had fun on stage. Especially the singer had this endless smile on his face. Good times. We could stay at their place for the night, so that was amazing.

Sunday March 1
City + country: Cologne, Germany
Venue: Lamäng
Other bands: Les Alignes

The drive to Cologne was really short. We arrived at the venue early and I think everybody was thinking the same thing: “a show, here?!?” It was sort of a brown café. Only locals at the bar who stared at us when we came in, nodded their heads and turned back to the bar. I looked around and I could see people sitting at dark-brown tables. There were also some Anti-Fascist Action posters hanging around. Weird, but nice. Not the typical punk-bar, yet I started feeling more and more at home. There was one punk-kid waiting for us, saying the others should arrive every moment. So that meant we were definitely in the right place.
We played in the basement on a skittle-alley (bowling alley, but than different…). Amazing. We played on so many different, weird, funny, awkward locations. And a skittle-alley was not on the list yet. Check!
The place was very small, very cosy and very cool. I liked it a lot. We played and it was crowded. Not too many people, but it already looked as if it was packed. People were singing a long. A nice, comfortable Sunday-evening show. Very good indeed.

Monday March 2
City + country: Würzburg, Germany
Venue: Immerhin
Other bands: –

We slept at Sandi’s place and he took us around town for some time. Willem wanted to stop by this huge music store to try some new guitars. I just walked around, amazed by all these pricey instruments. It appeared the ugliest guitars are the most expensive. That’s what I’ve learned that day.
We were drewling in front of the Underdog Store because it was closed. The Underdog is probably in my ‘best record store’ – top 5. When you’re in Cologne, stop by and find all the records you were searching for. By the time it did open, we had around ten minutes to peek in. I had my hands on a Pg. 99 split, but decided not to buy because I don’t have the money for it. I guess it’s a good choice to spend my money on food instead on vinyl, right?
On our way to Würzburg! We arrived and heard the local support was cancelled. I had this scenario in my head where we would be playing in front of zero point zero people. Luckily Pölle (promoter) took really good care of us. He and his girlfriend cooked great food for us, had the coffee ready when we arrived, all good.
By the time the doors opened, nobody. An hour later, nobody. I said to myself: “fuck it, it’s a Monday night. We’ll survive. We’re having a good time anyway”. I decided to play some guitar in the backstage, take it easy. When I walked out, there were actually quite some people. And when we started playing, it was actually quite crowded. Nice!
I really enjoyed this show because the vibe was good and the venue was very cool. It was wasn’t very big at all but you could really see it was run by the kids who cared about their scene.
It was actually owned by the local church so we were a bit afraid we were dealing with convinced christians, ready to convert some punks from Holland. Pölle explained the situation and it appears that the Immerhin can do whatever they like. They are completely autonomous and don’t have to deal with the church. The downside was that the building is on a list to be torn down. They are looking for a new building, although this building is in perfect shape. Throwing money away, anyone?

Tuesday March 3
City + country    : Nürnberg, Germany
Venue: Kunstverein
Other bands: Deny Everything, Cutting Class

The drive to Nürnberg was a piece of cake. Nürnberg is known for it’s beautiful old city. But above that it’s known for it’s “ehemaliges Reichsparteitagsgelände”: Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Now this is not something to be taken lightly, these nazi’s had their shit together in the thirties. They were building huge buildings for different reasons. A lot of these buildings were destroyed in WOII, but some are still there to see.
We couldn’t wait to do some sightseeing. One the this day we wondered through the city-centre of Nürnberg because the Rally Grounds are very close to the venue we were playing. So we had a busy schedule for the other day too!
After eating one of the best falafel I’ve ever had, we headed to the Kunstverein. It is a venue in a huge building, which belonged to the SS in WOII. The Kunstverein have tons of shows, Patrick (promoter) is doing shows for over ten years already. So also for punk-history it’s a good place to be.
We played with Cutting Class (UK) and Deny Evertyhing (Germany). I was looking to see Björn from Deny Everything again and finally see his band live for the first time. I have their record for some time now but somehow I always missed them when they played in my hometown. They sound like Kid Dynamite, they sound pissed off, they play fast and have short songs. Lovely.
The show was pretty crowded (especially for a tuesdaynight) and it was good to finally see Deny Everything. I got my ass kicked with tablesoccer by Patrick and his friends. Damnit, those guys were good! I think we played a decent set. I also had a lot of fun, feeling at home in places like the Kunstverein. On top of that there were some familiair faces who came out to the show. Good to see them again!  

Wednesday March 4
City + country: Regensburg, Germany
Venue: Alte Mälzerei
Other bands: Deny Everything, Cutting Class
After breakfast and checking email, it was time to head to the documentation centre of the Reichsparteitagsgelände. The documentation centre of the nazi party rally grounds is located in the unfinished structure of the congress hall. It’s build like te Colesium in Rome, only twice as big. It was build for the capacity of 50.000 people. The documentation centre gives very detailed information about the history of the part rallies and exposes them as manipulative rituals of nazi propaganda. It was intense. We walked through museum and it took us a good three hours. With open mouth I looked at the photo’s, the old news papers, the (unfinished) plans of the buildings. I was completely overwhelmed by the perfectly planned ideas of the nazi’s. This is immense. In a very, very bad way.
It showed how the people were manipulated, how young kids were brainwashed by the national-socialists, young married couples got Mein Kampf as a wedding present: everything was planned. Above all: it showed something like this must never happen again. Ever.

And the scary part is this: right now governments are claiming every single form of privacy has to be exchanged for safety, for the war against terrorism. Look at all the camera’s, ID-pasports, DNA scans and all that shit. Very often it is stated: “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. Fair enough. Not! Just imagine if some lunatic like Hitler gets in power again with all this private information on all citizens. I can already see some frowned eyebrows from you reading this and thinking: “this won’t happen”. But that’s simply naive to think that. I surely hope it doesn’t happen (and we all should do our frickin’ best not to ever let it happen again!), but I can’t think what would happen if it happens….

Oh well, some band had some song called: “speculative fiction”. Let’s hope for the best. Let’s act for it.

After this intermission, Regensburg was next to be conquered. Flo is a good friend of us and he was setting up the show. We’ve played in Regensburg a few times and there’s a good scene with awesome people. I couldn’t wait to meet up with those lads again, hug, shake hands and such.
The venue was really clean and organized. Funny, because it was almost the opposit from the Kunstverein in Nürnberg. But both places I really liked. Pasta was for diner and I came to the conclusion this was really a pasta-tour. And I love pasta so I can’t complain. The only problem with pasta is that I always eat too much of it.
The show was cool, a lot of people came out to see us. Too bad we had some problems with the microphones, but we didn’t get boo’ed or dirty thrown at our faces. So it wasn’t that bad. I guess.

Thursday March 5
City + country: Berlin, Germany
Venue: Ballast Der Republik
Other bands: Alert, Aggronauts

First long drive of the tour. It didn’t even take that long, but we couldn’t see any of Berlin, which was a bit sad. I’ve been there once with my girlfriend and that’s it. I’ve read so much about it, so much has happened and is happening in this city, I wanted to see some more than just the venue. Oh well, good excuse to go back soon…
The squat we played at was dark, dirty, huge, filled with tons of people. Somebody said there were around 35 people living in the squat. When we arrived, we met with our friend Vincent. He was not very amused. Well, I’m pretty sure he did like to see us, but it was his first time to do a show in this building and apparently everything was going wrong. During the evening I understood what he was saying.
I mean, from Vincent’s side everything was more than perfectly arranged. He did good promotion, found good other bands, he made amazing food (vegan cupcakes ladies and gentlemen!), what more could you ask for? It turned out that we (as bands) were just not very in place in the squat. A lot of people drinking, doing drugs, fighting… We’ve been touring quite some time now and we’ve been in various locations. A lot of squats, some cleaner and more organized than others. No problem. But this was just something different. I didn’t feel safe here, which is weird because I always think I should be able to feel somewhat at home in a squatted punk-house. I guess that’s naive of me to think. Lesson learned.
Jan from Yo Yo Records stopped by to say hi and drop off some records. We went for some coffee and when we came back to the squat it appeared there already had been two fights. So we decided together to make the best out of it. We’d play the show, have fun with the people who came out for us. And as soon as the show was over; pack up and run for our lives!

At the end of the night no one of us got hurt, everybody still lives. So long to Berlin. Take care, see you next time.

Friday March 6
City + country: Bergkamen, Germany
Venue: JZ Yellowstone
Other bands: a lot…

The breakfast was amazing. Vincent even went out to buy coffee for those who drank it, because he didn’t have any coffee in his house. The apartment was really nice, somewhere in a cheap neighborhood in Berlin. It wasn’t expensive at all to rent, something I didn’t expect in a city like Berlin. It was just Vincent and his girlfriend living there, amazing. It was too bad we didn’t have much time to hang out because we had a long drive ahead of us.
Another long drive. And we were in a traffic jam for two fucking hours. Normally I really don’t mind long drives, but I hate traffic jams. They are the ultimate waste of time: everybody is his vehicle which suppose to take from A to B very fast, but you’re not moving. You’re behind each other, just polluting the air. It fucking sucks! There…

We arrived and apologized to Dave (promoter) for being late. He understood, Dave has been doing shows for ages and there are simply a lot of traffic jams around that area. Still we were in time for sound check and within an half hour, pasta for diner was served. Nice.

It was a weird show. The other bands playing were local bands. One of them played their 50th show. Other bands were starting. The audience weren’t really paying too much attention to all the bands, although the first band definitely brought some crowd; it was their demo-release party. What surprised me was the young age of the audience. I remember I went to my first punk-show when I was twelve years old and some of these kids were around that age as well. This was the new generation, starting to go to shows at their local youth centre. And I guess that’s exactly the cool thing about these places.
We played last and I was a bit afraid all the young kids would be in their beds already. When we started there were still a lot of people to check us out. It was nice to see that a lot of young punk kids were dancing, while in the back the older audience was knodding their heads to our tunes as well. It was a weird, but nice atmosphere.

So all in all this tour through the rough lands of Germany have brought us to the deepest dungeons, we slayed the toughest crowds, shared drinks mystical punk-knights and generous hardcore-heroes. It was a jolly good time indeed.

One Response to “Tour report Feb/March 2009: Germany”


Your Cart