Monday, July 19, 2010


The alarm goes off at eight. Nobody welcomes the sound. Nobody wants to get up, having only slept for three hours. What's worse, we still have to load the van. And it's raining... The rain is actually warm though, humid as it is. I stand in the courtyard letting the rain fall on me.

Stachel goes off to get the van and we start loading. Jon is still lying on the kitchen floor, passed out. Johan has tried to wake him but has given up. I think Jon was up late last night. When we departed for our sleeping quarters, both he and Andy were at the bar, drinking, listening to Baroness and arguing over the Blue Album. Everyone is in agreement that the Red Album is a great record, but Jon declares the Blue Album to be a masterpiece, Andy doesn't agree. We'd left them to it..

Andy is up and looking fresh in any case. He'd not stayed up so late, I guess he tired of arguing with Jon about music. When Jon is drunk there really isn't any point in arguing with him, since he will just repeat the same thing over and over again. And besides, Andy knows that whatever he says, Jon will say the opposite. Those two are always that way. It provides entertainment for the rest of us.

So we're loading out, minus Jon, in the rain. There is some transvestite guy slumped in the doorway beside the van, beer in hand, whistling at us. He chirps along throughout the entire van loading process. Lucky Jon isn't here right now, since we'd never get the two of them apart if they met each other.

Jon finally appears just as the van is loaded, looking fucking ropey. He'd been up drinking until six-thirty, so he's had about an hours sleep. He says sorry to everyone, the transvestite says “byeeee” to us, we get in the van and go. It's a long drive, made longer by the winding Polish and Czech roads. I'm fucking knackered so I creep down on to the floor of the van between the seats and try to get some sleep.

I wake up when I feel the van stop at a service station. I sit up and put my head between the seats to check out what's going on and get Andy's elbow right in my fucking mouth. I'm now awake and not going back to sleep.

As expected, the roads through Poland and the Czech Republic are slow. There isn't a motorway in existence beyond Germany it seems. The border road between the two countries climbs through a high forest, and if the roads weren't making me feel sick then I would have appreciated the scenery. As it is, I'm just dying for the roads to flatten out and take us to the Obscene Extreme Festival site in Trutnov.

We finally arrive around five in the afternoon. The sky has turned a disturbing shade of black and it looks like we're finally going to be getting that thunder storm that the humidity has been promising these last few weeks. It's fucking pissing down as we pull the van into the back stage area. We wait in the van whilst Jon is charged with the task of sorting out passes and tickets. He's been here a number of times and is good friends with Curby, the organiser. So off into the rain Jon trudges.

After a while he comes back with a beer in his hand and passes for everyone. The rain has stopped, the giant puddle that was literally just outside the van door has already dried. We get some food, get some beer and chill out for a few hours. It feels really good to be out of the van. There are lots of familiar faces here today. Jon seems to know everyone. It is a grind festival...he's like royalty here due to his past with Nasum, Sayyadina and Retaliation. He's having a great time, and the beers are happily flowing down his throat. He gets a bit freaked out when he thinks he's forgotten his bag in Berlin, but Andy assures him it's in the van. He says sorry to everyone again. I give him a hug and tell him I love him and it's cool. Jon just isn't a guy you can be angry with.

He's been feeling really bad all day about missing load out this morning, but really it's not a problem. He's been in a lot of pain with his shoulder recently and is taking some strong medication for it. He doesn't need to worry about loading in and out, he just needs to worry about himself. Unfortunately that's not always something he's so good at.

The atmosphere at the festival is great, despite the fact it's pissing down again. We meet up with the General Surgery and Martyrdöd guys, who played a couple of days ago but have stayed to hang out. Our friend Atle from Mörkt Kapitel is here too, he's as drunk and happy as he was at Punk Illegal a few weeks ago. He's a guy that always makes everyone around him smile. He's always chuffed, and it's contagious.

The rain dies off just in time for us to load the few parts of gear we need for the show on to the stage. By the time we go on the sun is just about coming out. There must be around two and half thousand people in the crowd and the atmosphere is buzzing. Again, touring extremes. Last night was a packed out cellar bar in Berlin, one hundred and forty people wall to wall, tonight is a huge outdoor festival with thousands of faces pointed in our direction.

The show is an absolute blast. The crowd kicks off from the first song. People are up stage diving and the atmosphere is engulfing. At one point Jon announces to the crowd that this is the biggest show Victims has ever played. It feels great to be a part of that. I decided to go with Jen's guitar as my my main guitar tonight since I keep breaking the same string on my guitar every night. Typically, the strap comes off Jen's guitar during Breaking Out, so I'm down on my knees as usual, but it doesn't ruin anything. I get it sorted and get on with it.

After the show everyone is chuffed. As we're hurriedly packing our gear up I notice this strange sound, like the crowd is still isn't of course. It's the sound of the rain, hammering down on the stage roof. It is now rain of biblical proportions. There is now way we can load the van, so we wait it out and watch Misery Index. Fuck me, their drummer can play fast. I watch for a while, but it not really being my thing, I make a run for the backstage beer tent where Jon and the other Swedes are hanging out. By now, most of the Surgery and Martrydöd guys are in very high spirits.

I get a beer and some vegan soup, which turns out to be the tastiest soup I've ever eaten. Chuffed.

The rain shows no sign of stopping so we decide to make an attempt at loading the van in record time. Johan puts his rain jacket on, Jen waits in the back of the van, myself and Andy have the job of collecting the gear from behind the stage, pushing our way with it through the masses of people standing there and then passing it on to Johan who is standing at the entrance to the stage, getting pissed on in his rain jacket. He in turn, runs with the gear as quick as he can to the van and passes it to Jen who is waiting to accept it and put it in place. We repeat this process maybe ten times. It's fucking boring to say the least. When we're done we decide we've earned ourselves a couple of beers. We pick some up and head over to the merch tent to hang out with Stachel.

We hang out for a while, chatting to people and selling merch. After sharing some fried cheese and mushrooms, with potato pancakes, which are stunning, we pack up the merch and Stachel gets the van. Jen and Johan have a had a few beers and Jen is looking a bit merry, so Stachel drives the van back to the hotel we're staying at. Jon and Andy are also looking merry. Andy hadn't drank all day, but has obviously cracked open a few since we played. We get to the hotel. I'm really looking forward to a good night's sleep in a hotel bed. We're not leaving until noon tomorrow, so setting the alarm clock for eleven is a luxury.

When we're checked in we notice that there is a cosy little bar next to the reception. We decide to drop our stuff in our rooms and then come back down for a night cap. Jon has already sat himself on a bar stool and is waiting for the bartender. Someone says to Jon that we're taking our stuff to the room, to which he replies, eyes set firmly on the bar, “I don't have any stuff.” We all laugh as he orders a beer.

We come back down, grab a beer and sit on the sofas in the hotel foyer. Jen sits with Jon at the bar. Everyone is super relaxed. We're talking to Stachel about the new record and the plans for releasing it through his label. The drummer from Misery Index, a guy called Adam, comes in after a while, wearing a Victims t-shirt. He sits down with us and we engage in conversation. He's a really friendly guy. The conversation and the beers flow. I'm not getting drunk in the slightest, but the clock is ticking away and every now and again I find myself thinking about the sleep I'm wasting. The mood is so relaxed though that it's hard to leave. Eventually, after people have peeled off to the rooms, I'm sat there at four am, with Jon, Adam and a D.R.I. roadie. Adam has a taxi taking him to the airport at five am, so he's decided to stay up and wait for it.

I finally decide that it's time to go to bed, the nine hours of sleep I was looking forward to having now become six. I head off to bed, slightly disappointed with myself, leaving Jon and the other two to it.

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