Sunday, July 18, 2010


The five hours of sleep was actually four hours. I woke up at seven in the morning, the sun shining directly into the room and heating it up like a fucking oven. I lay there for an hour, sweating, needing a piss but too tired to get out of bed. That classic vicious circle..

I eventually get out of bed at eight, get a shower and go downstairs. Filip and Magda's place really is something. And Magda has prepared breakfast for us out on the veranda. This morning we're treated to a vegan kind of salsa, which is really tasty. We lap it up with some crusty bread and wash it down with black coffee. Touring with Victims, we're almost always given vegan food, even though Johan and Andy are vegetarians and Jon and I eat whatever is put in front of us. Vegan food and crust punk go hand in hand though, and most of the time it tastes really good. I'm, as a rule, always grateful for free food, whatever it is.

After eating breakfast with Filip and Magda, we hug them goodbye and get in the van, It's a long journey today, eight hours or so. We drive off, following a map that Filip has given to us with a short-cut route drawn out. Our GPS charger is broken, so until we find a store selling one, we're navigating old school. The short cut lasts about an hour and half. The roads in Poland are infamous to touring bands. The roads we're travelling on this morning are at least tarmacked, but they are very narrow and constantly winding.  And the locals drive like they believe they're on a German autobahn, so we have to keep our wits about us. It's a little unnerving and I'm looking forward to getting to the motorway, though the scenic route we're taking certainly is just that. The sun drenched Polish countryside is beautiful. If only the other drivers on the road would let us enjoy it...

We finally get on to the motorway, which is still only one lane, albeit a wider one, and progress picks up. Six hours later, after a stop for some pizza, we arrive in Berlin.

I'm really looking forward to tonight. Our friends, Helene and Elenor are putting the show on, in this really cool cellar bar where Helene works. The room is small, with a tiny balcony above it and we're playing on the floor. A hundred people in here and it's going to be chaos. Helene is really excited about it and is promising a good turn-out.

Stupidly, tonight's show actually has had some controversy surrounding it. The famous squat venue in Berlin, Köpi, has apparently blacklisted us from playing there. There is another show happening there tonight and strangely enough, someone from the venue had contacted Helene last week and asked if Victims wanted to play their show instead. Before we even had the chance to reply, the same person had gotten back in touch with Helene and said that we were actually banned from playing there so it wasn't going to happen anyway.

Now let's get this straight. We wouldn't have wanted to play the Köpi show tonight. Our friend, Helene, has already put a lot of hard work into this show and we would never just blow her off like that. Do Köpi think they are punk rock royalty or something? And the reason we are banned from playing there? Well, nobody in the band knows for sure, but it probably has to do with the fact that Victims have on recent occasion, played Berlin with some bands and venues that don't fit Köpi's agenda. If Victims play a bigger venue with Rotten Sound and Trap Them, or Municipal Waste, then we're turning our back on DIY punk and the squat scene. It's a story that has been repeated over and over since the days of Black Flag and it remains as amusing to me now as it ever has.  But so it persists.

So, it's hardcore politics tonight. People have to decide whether they are coming to our show or the show at Köpi, and by doing so, pledging some sort of allegiance. Pathetic. To make things even more hilarious, a certain member of that scene has spread the rumour that we're not playing Köpi since we need to make enough money to pay for the night-liner we're travelling on. Night-liner? I fucking wish! Amazing all the more then that the venue we're playing tonight is smaller than Köpi. As I said, pathetic...

It turns out that there are plenty of people coming to see us anyway. One of the faces that come through the door that I'm not expecting to see, is Modde Nitad. I'm just about to walk upstairs to the bar when he comes walking in, his usual smile spread across his face. It's a nice surprise. He's here on holiday with his girlfriend and he thought he'd pop in and see his friends play a show in a cellar. Good times. We catch up over a beer.

There's another addition to our travelling party tonight. Our old friend, Stachel, who put out the Kylesa split 7”. He's coming along for the rest of the shows, helping us drive, taking care of things and generally making us laugh. He's always fun to have along.  It's always nice to have a couple of other people outside the band on tour, keeps cabin fever to a minimum.

There is a great buzz about the show tonight, despite the tiredness wrentching through all of us. We're treated to some amazing vegetarian food, the beer in the bar is ours to feel free with and there are loads of people coming through the door.   As Jon would say, "Pepp."

The show is absolutely spot on. One of those shows that, even after all these years, still gives you that buzz. I mean, most shows you get a kick out of, but shows like these give that little bit extra. We're playing on the floor. There are a wall of people in front of us, packed into the small room. There are people looking down on us from the little balcony above and there are people stood to the sides and ringed around behind us. We're playing IN the crowd and I love it. The show is a pleasure to play and despite the heat, it flies by on auto-pilot. Lots of energy from the band, lots of energy bounced back from the crowd. Jen, who is selling our merch for us in the room beside, can't even get in to see us, it's so packed.  It's a truly top fucking night!

We finish the show and cool off in a room beside the "floor-stage". We're chuffed with the show.  I've played big shows in front of thousands of people but there is nothing like the buzz of playing a packed DIY show in a tiny room, full of people who belong to a community.  It's something very special.

When we're packed up the gear, we head upstairs to the bar. It's incredibly humid, even outside in the street, and we need a drink. Unfortunately the barman is a miserable bastard and refuses to make us any, so we have to do with beer. Most of the people still hanging out want to party but after just one glass I can feel sleep taking a hold of me. Four hours of sleep, followed by eight hours in a van and a hot show is taking it's toll.

After a pint in the bar down in the cellar, which is by now far cooler than the bar upstairs, it's time to go to bed. Helene makes me some vodka/caffeine soda drink, but I'm done. I can't manage more than a sip. It's time to go to bed. We've got another long drive tomorrow and it's already gone three in the morning and we're getting up to load the van at eight.

We get taken to an apartment above the venue where we can sleep. It's comfortable and I'm looking forward to putting my head down. Before I do though, I can't resist having another plate of the food we had earlier. Now, head down.  Sleep.

I really wish we were fucking travelling in a night-liner..

1 comment:

  1. ah man I remember those Polish roads they are pretty scary at times. Anyway who needs a bloody sat nav, you just need me and the map and i'll get you anywhere.