Monday, July 25, 2011


It's been a few weeks since the last lot of shows. I haven't written anything in that time. I haven't really had the energy to, although there is plenty that I want to write about. It's been a hot summer so far and the heat in the bar has been really exhausting, so the eleven shifts have been taking it out of me more than usual, leaving little energy for sitting indoors writing on my days off. I've been entrenched in Ian Glasper's superb book, Trapped in a Scene, UK Hardcore 1985-1989. Well worth a read I can assure you! I'm now nearing the end, and have started to feel a little more inspired to start writing again. And with this weekend, plus a tour of the States coming up in August, there are plenty of tour diaries on the way..

Not much has happened since we played the Leipzig show, although we played a show in Stockholm with Terror, which was organised by the people at Stockholm Straight-edge. There wasn't really much to write about that... I sat at home, played Pro Evo Football on the Playstation, walked the dog, played a pretty cool show and went home.

There have been a couple of things of note, footnotes if you will, since the last time of writing though:

After Leipzig we flew home from Bremen. It rained most of the journey and I slept for most of the time in the van. We flew with Ryanair, which is the first time I've flown with them in a while. At Bremen airport Ryanair has it's own “terminal”. It's a grey, steel hanger, with barely any lighting and a welcome mat by the door that was covered in dog shit! After checking in we walked through to the main terminal where we were almost blinded by the glow of light bulbs in the ceiling. We attempted to buy some food from a restaurant, which was ran by a middle eastern looking man with a face like a smacked arse. I don't know why but he seemed to hate us. Andy and I ordered pasta with cheese sauce, and when we got it there was pork all over the plate. We returned the food and were greeted by a mere grunt. We tried to explain we didn't want meat, but were left standing around as he completely ignored us. We left for the darkness of the Ryanair terminal and flew home.

The show we played with Terror was pretty good. The show took place at a nondescript square room with a small PA, the sound wasn't great but there were plenty of people there and although it wasn't our crowd, we had a good show. Strange playing a show without even one beer in the system. At one point during the show Jon made a quip about the fact that he was normally drunk by this point of the night (he's actually not, he's actually good about restraining himself, but I enjoyed his taking the piss out of the crowd), and then asked if he could get a cup of coffee on stage, adding he's like it with “real milk”. Johan, Andy and I seemed to be the only people in the room who found that funny. After our set we packed down and packed out into Johan's car, before going to the local bar for a quick drink with a bunch of friends that were there. I was surprised to meet a couple of the guys from Terror there., sat at the bar drinking alcohol free beer and alcohol free wine. They sat there complaining about the fact they weren't allowed to drink at the venue, that you weren't even allowed in the venue if you had been drinking. I spent about five minutes talking to them as I was waiting to be served, trying to work out if they were joking or not. I thought they were straight edge...

And finally, the people from the Crowbar in Groningen have been in touch and said they found Johan's jeans, or at least, they've found out who has them and it is indeed the person they had suspected...they are currently trying to work out the best way of re-obtaining them! Fucking weird! I'm guessing there is some local hard-nut punk who is known for stealing clothes from shows...

So the first show of this weekend is Potsdam. Our good friend Loffie was the promoter and his band Cyness were supporting us. It's always great to see Loffie, another of the many legends of this great scene we're involved with. It's actually my first ever time in Potsdam. I've been around Germany fuck knows how many times but for some reason never made it to this town. Strange really considering it's one of the bastions of the scene. There are a load of punks in Potsdam as well as some great squat venues. Tonight, we're playing a place called Black Fleck, which is a tiny little squat. It's going to be another packed and sweaty show by all accounts. Victims have played Potsdam a few times and it's always been really good shows for them. I'm looking forward to my first Potsdam experience.

Another bonus tonight is that our friends Hårda Tider are also playing with us tonight. They too, like us, are playing Fluff Fest this weekend, although they're playing tomorrow and not Saturday. There was talk the last time we were out about them playing the show, and thankfully it worked out.

We flew in to Berlin quite late today, so when we land, it's in the van and straight to the venue. Stachel has already been to the venue and loaded in our gear though, which makes things a hell of a lot easier for us. We get to the venue around seven pm. and the only thing we need to do is set up merch.

I'm in the mood for a couple of beers tonight. There is a good feeling about the small venue, what with Loffie and our fellow Swedish friends here. I have a couple before we play whilst we watch Cyness and Hårda Tider play their sets. The crowd is packed in by the time Tider play and they're already kicking off. It's going to be a good night. The best thing about playing these squat venues is that they almost always have sleeping quarters for the bands, as is the case tonight, which means, no packing the van, just play the set, cool off, after-party and then go to bed when ever you need to.

When I opened up my guitar case upon arrival tonight, the first thing I noticed was that my strings are crusty as fuck, completely doused in the sweat of the Zoro in Leipzig. We don't have any backup guitars with us on these fly in/fly out shows. I don't have time to change the strings tonight, so we'll have to talk with Peter from HT and see if we can borrow his guitar as a spare for the show. There is not a chance in hell I'm going to make it through the set intact. Peter, being the nice guy he is, happily lends us his guitar though. I just hope Jon isn't going to break a string, because that's going to put a serious delay to proceedings.

By the time we get on stage to set up, the sweat is already dripping from my brow. There are over a hundred in the venue tonight, which has the place pretty fucking packed! It's a low stage, that just about fits me and Jon either side of Andy's drum kit, but Johan is on the floor. And it's into V5 we go. We blast through the first block and the place goes berserk. Johan is going to well to avoid eating his mic tonight.

It is extremely hot on this small stage tonight. I have next to no room to move, which is probably just as well since my normal monkey having an epileptic fit routine would most likely have me puking up about half way through the set.

We experience small technical difficulties during the early part of the set. Jon seems to be having problems with one his leads and I of course break a string during the first song of the second block. Peter's guitar does indeed come to the rescue. It works out well for me though, he's got a lovely SG, which is exactly the same as the one I have just purchased for the States tour, so tonight is almost like a test drive. It plays beautifully...

Despite a stop/start start to the show, the set goes down really well. From the third block onwards it flows, and such is the atmosphere in here a couple of technical difficulties is not going to bring the energy down. Since my movement is a little confined, I actually manage to catch some glimpses of the crowd tonight. I feel a surge of euphoria rush through me when we play Lies, Lies, Lies and I see what feels like the entire crowd on top of Johan, singing along into his mic. He can hardly get near his mic to sing at times, with members of the crowd taking over instead.

We get to the end of the set, but there really is no point trying to escape from the stage and out through the crowd, since they want to hear more and they most likely won't let us leave. We pick our guitars up for one last song and blast through Scars. And then we're done. Great show, job done.

It takes a while to cool off after the show, the sweat is simply pissing from every pore. I take a cold beer from the bar and head out for the street, where most of the crowd have adjourned to. I hang out for a while, stood on my own, enjoying my beer and the fresh air in the company of about one hundred of Potsdam's finest citizens.

Once cooled down, I pack my gear down from the stage and leave it in the back room, ready for pick up tomorrow morning. I head to the bar with the rest of the boys, where we hang out with Stachel and Nico, who is driving us this time around in Micha's place. Nico works for Micha at Punk Distro too, so once again those boxes of records are with us, my wallet as usual itching in my pocket.

I don't know why, but I'm in the mood for some shots tonight. I feel like getting a bit drunk and partying. I know, I know I will regret it in the morning because I am a weak, weak man, but that has never stopped me in the past. Johan starts buying the shots in at the bar, they cost a mere Euro each (the beer we get for free), and by the time the third Jagermeister has gone down, I'm starting to feel a little tipsy...

At some point Johan has gotten hold of a permanent black marker pen, and since the venue is called Black Fleck, meaning Black Stain, Johan thinks it's funny to draw black marks on everyone's face. He gets me in the nose, the annoying fucker. At the time I don't realise that it's permanent marker, or at least, I'm too drunk to really compute the fact, so I think a simple rub of the nose will suffice in removing the stain. Not so it turns out.

We hang out for an hour or so with Loffie and his crew before moving upstairs to the band flat. I'm in a very happy, giggly mood and I have that loving feeling. We hang out with the guys from HT in the big living room area of the band flat, drinking beer and laughing over a few old stories. They are a great bunch of guys. I think I head to bed around three am, still in a sound enough state of mind to brush my teeth before doing so, although that is about the last thing I remember, that and frantically scrubbing my nose with a nail brush trying to get ridden of that fucking stain!

I only have a hazy memory of climbing a somewhat shaky wooden ladder up to the row of punk made bunks, that are built into the ceiling of the bedroom. I'm fucked if I wake up in the middle of the night needing a piss.

Head down, no pillow, just Stachel's sleeping bag and a dirty mattress.

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