Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Release Party

A couple of weeks ago we played a show at Kafe 44 in Stockholm. It was a show organised by ourselves in celebration of our last record, A Dissident. One could not really call it a release party since the album was released in May last year, and since then we've toured Europe and the States. 

It was the first show we've played Stockholm in a couple of years, I think the last time was with Municipal Waste at Debaser. In the tradition of the great London bus, we'll now be playing three times in six months, with shows with Black Breath and Poison Idea coming up.

We had a great time playing at the wonderful Kafe 44 though and it was great to see so many friends in the small, sweaty crowd. The sets from Swarm and Blackwhitesnake were both great, although it seems not everybody would agree with that. One drunken, “punk” chap took particular protest to the Swarm set, so much so he felt it necessary to express his feelings to the band whilst on stage. “Have you guys ever liked raw punk? D-beat punk?” he shouted continuously, whilst shaking his head in disgust at Swarm's post-punk beats. Obviously the three particular guys on stage to whom he was aiming this question lent the whole affair a fantastic sense of irony, completely lost on him of course. To be fair, “Punk” could hardly keep his eyes open whilst posing this particular question, and had to sit down on the front of the stage as his legs were not up to the job of supporting him. I don't know who the twat was, but to be honest, after initially finding him vaguely amusing, he quickly got on my tits. I was praying Johan would give him a boot to the head, but alas it didn't happen. It's not like “Drunk and obnoxious punk at Victims show!” is shocking news, there was just something about this guy that really pissed me off. Thankfully he fucked off and fell asleep in another part of the venue by the time Blackwhitesnake started.

Since my first ever gig at sixteen years old with my then band Sect, I've clocked up something like eight hundred shows. The only shows that ever give me nerves are those that are on home turf. There is something about playing to a room full of friends and familiar faces. When we played Ozfest with Speedhorn, in front of fifty thousand people, I didn't feel a thing. Actually, I literally didn't feel a thing given the weight of my hangover that day, so that's maybe not the best example. But I've played other big festivals in front of thousands and not had any nerves. I guess the crowds at those shows are so big that it's too surreal for your head to process it. But... put me in a small room with a hundred or so friends and my arse starts twitching.. I'm the same with heights. Stand me at the top of the Eiffel Tower and I'm fine. Stand me at the top of a ladder and my legs turn to jelly.

This was one particular home turf show where I didn't feel any nerves though. Well actually, that's not technically true. I was nervous, but not for myself. I was nervous for Jen since it was her band, Blackwhitesnake's first ever show. She hasn't played live in a couple of years and I think she was nervous too. It's always a bit tense when it's your first show with a new band. The nerves I felt disappeared about twenty seconds into their first song though. Fuck! I almost forgot what a guitar player my wife is. The show went great. By the time they were done I was buzzing and dying to get up and play our set.

We played what I thought was a pretty good show. The sound felt great on stage, and it was fun to see a room full of friends and broad smiles.  We played predominantly songs from A Dissident with a couple of oldies thrown in at the end.  With it being a party there were some faces in the crowd that were new to Victims. I had a bunch of people from work there. It was a bit weird showing them this side of me, but they seemed to enjoy it. Must be weird for them to see me on stage doing this whole other thing...

The party afterwards was a lot of fun. Andy, as usual, refraining from drinking before the show, drank like a man possessed after it. The night came to a close at one am. although Andy wanted me stay and help him finish off what was left of the wine. There were around ten bottles and he intended to get through the lot of them. For a split second I considered it, but sense prevailed and I took a cab home with Jen and Jon.

I called Andy the next day to see how he was, and to check what time we were meeting up to load out the gear from the Kafe. “Shite!” was his answer. He told me he'd slipped on the ice on the way home and scuffed his face. Of course, he wasn't drunk and neither was he hungover today. He never is. The next call was to Johan who quickly informed me that Andy had fallen over about ten times last night. I guess it really was icy...

To add to the joy of Andy's hangover, our friend Bengtsson, a dirty old punk of the finest calibre who works at the Kafe and had sorted the show out for us, was on Andy's hungover ass. Apparently he'd been talking to Andy's sister the night before and was now wanting her number. No fucking chance! It was top notch entertainment watching Bengtsson wind Andy up though. “Do you think I want to see you at Christmas dinner!?” Andy asked exasperatedly.. “Why the fuck not?” Bengtsson replied, grinning like a Cheshire cat. He slipped a not with his number under the windscreen wiper on the van as we were loading out...

I'm now really looking forward to going on tour with Black Breath. We start at the end of March and play around twenty shows. Most of the dates are now booked and I'm getting that familiar buzz from looking through the list of cities we'll be visiting. I'm really looking forward to playing Spain again, I think the last time I played there was in 2003. As always, playing the UK will be a lot of fun, if not economically rewarding... I'm hoping we can find time to swing by Corby and visit my parents place. And the Rock of course...

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