Saturday, April 14, 2012
It's like Jocke says...you almost feel worse when you're not hungover in the morning. At least when you're hungover you have something to blame. Pure, raw sleep deprivation is a fucker.
We were on the road around eleven this morning. Loading out in the morning was heavy again. The drive from Stuttgart to Groningen seemed to take forever. I thought we were done with the long drives but today took almost eight hours. I spent most of the time drifting between bouts of sleep, sweating in the back of the van. Every time we stopped we'd get out and gorge on more junk food, not even hungry .
It was after seven pm when we pulled up to the venue. We've parted company with Black Breath for the day, they're playing the Roadburn festival in Tilburg. We're playing a punk squat fest in Groningen.
The squat is quite new on the scene so I'm lead to believe. It seems to be an old office building, somewhere in an industrial estate on the outskirts of the city. We're greeted by a young, friendly looking crust punk girl called Eva, who is booking the show tonight. Literally the first thing she says is, “Nice van...”
We're tired and groggy when we climb out of the splitter and for a few minutes I have a hard time registering what anyone is saying. Eva then tells me that “our booker doesn't seem to trust her.” I tell her that the guy booking the tour we're on is not “our booker”, he belongs to Black Breath. She then asks me where we played last night and what kind of club it was. I'm a little confused by where the conversation is going, it seems to me our DIY credentials are being examined.
Looking back on tonight I guess we might have come across as a bunch of rock star cunts. It went like this:
We arrive in the big Mercedes van. We're then asked if we want to use the fest's backline. We go in and check out the band soundchecking, look at their equipment, turn around and bring in our own gear. I guess that's not too cool.. We're told that people have organised some sleeping places for us and we tell them we're driving to Bremen after the show to stay with another friend, I guess that's not cool either. The first thing I see when we load our gear in is a computer and a router, so I ask Eva the password for the wi-fi whilst waving my Iphone about. I guess that's not too cool either.. We then load in boxes of t-shirts and lp's, set them up and then sit down, pull out our Iphones and start checking the internet. And of course, we look like a bunch of emo kids...well, apart from Ozzy Lindqvist that is..
I hadn't even thought about any of this since shows like these are really quite common for Victims when we tour on our own.. It only struck me how un-P.C. we were being when three young, crust punk girls verbally assaulted us at the merch table, who jokingly started hopping up and down, hollering like school children, telling us we should stop being so boring, stop playing with the internet and have some fun with the rest of the people at the place. I guess maybe it did look a bit rude but we'd literally just arrived and nothing was even happening by this point. And in all honesty, the whole crust P.C. thing is so riddled in hypocrisy that I can't help getting pissed off with it. I got up and walked around to the front of the merch table and joined in with the jumping and hollering, only for one of the girls to approach me with her old Nokia phone and go in to some rant about how a phone like hers is the only phone you need. She asked me why I like the internet. I told her it's a free world and I can like what I want. She then tells me it's a stupid world and storms off.
Another guy has a go at us about selling lp's, wondering how we had so much money as to be able to afford such a luxury. I'm stumped by that one. Jon tells the guy that we work hard. The guy seems to know Jon from earlier, most probably through Nasum or something and apologetically explains that he's only joking...
Now...for a fucking start, this crust punk festival has a Facebook page to promote it. They're selling Coca Cola behind the bar, there are dogs running about the venue whilst bands are playing loud music and there are crust punks backstage fucking snorting cocaine. I don't have an opinion on this, I just think the hypocrisy of it all is hilarious. How the fuck can snorting cocaine be politically correct? And why are you a prick if you are on Facebook yet animal cruelty is ok? The whole thing is a bit fucked up if you ask me.
Anyway, after an admittedly chilly start, the evening warms up once the first band gets started. We get a game of fussball going which seems to break the ice. After a while, friends of ours like Esther from Fleas and Lice and Finnish Jenny, who is a stout Liverpool fan and a great girl, show up and we hang out and catch up on things.
The first band are fronted by two female vocalists and are a kind of crust/screamo crossover, not unlike Lich and other stuff coming out of London at the minute. They're pretty sloppy in their style but admittedly they have a certain charm and I enjoy watching them. The second band is a lot more old school punk and they have this young kid singing who is really entertaining, he looks like a mini Johnny Rotten. The squat is quite large but by the time the second band are done there are quite a few people in the place. The atmosphere is starting to improve and all of a sudden I'm looking forward to playing. I just love floor shows.
The Tormented show tonight is probably my favourite set of the tour so far, by any of the bands. It's a simple floor show, running pretty much straight out of the amps and it sounds great. They belt through four Tormented songs, which to my surprise, a lot of the crust kids are really seeming to get in to. And then Claes takes the mic, “Ok, this band is called Tortyr and we're going to sing in Swedish now.” It's so much fun watching Claes sing whilst the same four guys play their punk alter-ego band, just as a special for this very punk gig. The crowd look totally scoobied for the first song but when they break in to Ingen Kommer Undan it all starts making sense and the crowd goes fucking crazy. I'm down the front screaming along with the great hook line that both Claes and Robban chant “Fy fan! Fy fan!” It's an absolutely wonderful experience. I'm compulsed to give the guys individual hugs after the show. I'm now dying to get up and play.
We're good to go after about ten minutes and the crowd is slowly starting to gather in a semi-circle around us. There is just something playing on the floor. We raise the volume of the amps and kick in to the first song. It sounds a bit chaotic but it's a lot of fun. There are by now, a lot of pissed up, drugged up punks in the crowd. About two or three songs in some of them start spilling into the area we're stood playing, the stage if you like, except there isn't a stage. One old skinhead in particular seems to really want to hang out. He stands behind Johan, in front of the drum kit and just stays there, staring. I can't work out if he's taking this piss, or if he's just pissed. He's soon joined Pelle from Fleas and Lice and some other guy and so now there are three of them, just stood there. Someone comes along and moves them out of the way but shortly after Grandpa Skinhead is back, now crouched down behind Johan doing his boot-laces up. He remains crouched for the entire song, presumably hoping Johan will step backwards and fall over him..or am I just being paranoid? The song ends with it's usual abrupt stop and I walk over to him and take a hold of his head and rub it into my crotch. It only occurs to me then, whilst I'm rubbing his old wrinkly shaved head in to my balls that this could possibly be trouble..but nothing happens. He just gets up and stumbles back into the crowd.
The rest of the show is an absolute blast. Esther gets up and sings This is the End with us, by which time she's pretty steamboats. Sounds good though, her and Johan singing together, the crowd going wild for it. We're shouted back for a couple of extra songs, to which we oblige with Circles and Scars. It's a manic end to a manic show. For all the weird feeling in the beginning it ends up being one of the best shows on the tour. This is what Victims shows are all about.
Of course, not everyone is pleased. Pelle grabs me afterwards, pretty wasted, and says, “You know what? I'm actually pissed off. No really. Why didn't you play any extra songs?” I tell him that we did play two extra songs, to which he shrugs, “You know what I mean.” No Pelle, I don't really.
We pack up the gear and once we've stopped sweating, we start the load out. Eva thanks us for a great show, to which I return the thanks for the hospitality. Jon is at the merch stall and is actually selling gear. When we'd arrived I was convinced we'd sell fuck all. There is some girl though who does her best to piss Jon off. She turns her back on him and sits her arse on the vinyl’s and then commences to wriggle it about. Jon tells her that's not ok, to which she just arrogantly smirks, “Oh, am I destroying your records? Well, maybe just a little bit but you know, you shouldn't be so serious, you should try to enjoy life a little bit.” I have no fucking idea what she means with that.
Jon tells us in the van afterwards that some other guy had come up to him and asked him why he wasn't crazy any more. Ha, I have to laugh at that one. They should have seen the fucker last night! The drive to Bremen takes a couple of hours and we arrive at our great friend Stachel's place around four am. He's made up mattresses for everyone to sleep on. It's late, but I'm glad we're here. There was a French ska band playing after us tonight and I'm sure if we'd stayed at the gig, we'd still be there now watching them..waiting for someone to take us away to a place to sleep.