Thursday, July 19, 2012
I left work at four pm. and for a split second or two I was thinking about heading home. Thinking about what to have for dinner tonight, what was on the box, just the usual stuff. I was also thinking that I should really book an appointment with the chiropractor again. I'd woken this morning with my back feeling as stiff as an oak door and then, during a particularly heavy beer delivery at work this afternoon something had gone “ping” in the lower part of my spine. I've just been through a load of sessions for a twinge in my neck which has been causing me pain in my left arm, fucking typical that as soon as that starts clearing up my lower back hops on the bandwagon. I guess I've been taking these deliveries for the past three years now...but in all likelihood it's got more to do with all the touring over the past fifteen..well, not so much the touring as the years of neglect. I've never been one for doing stretch routines before a show. Stupid really. I guess the reality is that my body is getting older and if I don't start to look after it then I'm soon going to regret it. I'll book an appointment for next week. And with that thought I came back to the present. We're playing tonight...
We're in a strange period with Victims right now. Strange in that we seem to be playing Stockholm a lot. We rarely play Sweden never mind Stockholm, but tonight's show will be the third in six months. Must be some sort of record. I guess the first of the three was our own release party and so therefore not really a “real” show. But then we'd been offered this gig tonight playing with Poison Idea and Bombus, something which at the time, felt like too much fun to turn down, and with it being six months after the release party it wasn't much of an issue. Of course then the Black Breath tour came along and we didn't feel like we could say no to playing for three weeks with our good friends either, but of course, the last show of that tour was in Stockholm. I don't have anything against playing our home town but it's starting to feel like we're in danger of getting on people's tits if we keep appearing at this rate. I'm pretty sure tonight will be the last Stockholm show for quite some time though.
It's weird being sat at work all day and then instead of going home you're going to play a gig. Fuck knows if anyone can be bothered watching us tonight. I'm personally just looking forward to watching Bombus. The last time I saw Poison Idea was about ten years ago, when we played Full Force Fest in Germany with Speedhorn. I went to watch them playing really late in one of the tents. I was hungover to piss but even then, in truth, they were pretty cack. Maybe it was just an off night though, it was about two in the morning after all. Still, I wish I'd got to see them when Pig was still in the band.
I turn up at Strand around four-thirty. First time I've played this venue. Last time I was here was the Sleep show, which, in my case at least, was a complete fucking waste of time. I got stranded at the back of the crowd behind one of the huge concrete pillars that hold the roof up and the sound was shite.
I'm surprised by the size of the stage. From only ever having a spectators viewpoint I'd always thought the stage to be pretty big but in actual fact it's quite intimate. Always prefer it that way. I'm the first of us to arrive, but old Bengtsson is stood outside hanging around, waiting for the PI guys. He's known them since way back. Actually, he's known everyone since way back. Andy soon turns up and three of us hang out in the sunshine, chatting with Greken who is organising the show tonight. My back is really fucking hurting but I'm doing my best to get on with things. The trouble is that I can't really bend over, so lifting gear is going to be interesting. Fuck, I really do need to get this checked out. We've only got tonight and then a festival in Finland at the weekend, after that we've got nothing booked so hopefully I can get it sorted then.
Johan and Jon turn up in Johan's work van soon after. Jon is pretty fucked off since on his flight back from Germany with Nasum he'd managed to lose his Iphone and crash his computer in one foul swoop. His mood is not helped by Bengtsson, who is straight on his case, leaning through the van window taking the utter piss out of him. Jon refuses to even lift his head, he just sits there muttering to himself as Bengtsson continues his tirade of abuse. Bengtsson is of course pissing himself laughing, fully amused with himself.
On a less amusing note, Johan has with him some bad news. When they'd turned up at the rehearsal space to pick up some gear for tonight they'd found the place a few inches deep in water, with a couple of boxes merch upside down, floating about the place like rafts without paddles. There'd been a lot of rain over the weekend and our room, which has an escape shaft in the corner with a ladder leading up to street level, had flooded. All the other rooms were fine but ours had taken a hit. Luckily the only damage seems to be a couple of lp's that we're lying on the floor in a cardboard box, but we'll have to wait until further inspection until we know the full scale of it. Whatever the case the rehearsal space is out of use for a few weeks.
In the throes of panic the guys had forgotten my lead and pedal case, but luckily the guys from Bombus were cool with lending me their stuff. Once packed in we set up and sound checked since the Poison Idea guys hadn't arrived yet. They'd been delayed flying into Prague yesterday, meaning they missed their connecting flight to Sweden and their first show, which should have been Linköping. Shit start to the tour for them.
Sound check goes well enough, apart from my back throbbing every time I moved. How the fuck I'm going to get through the show tonight I don't know. I'm hoping adrenalin will kick in and carry me through. By the time we’re done checking the PI guys arrive. Their manager Jay, introduces himself to us. Seems like a really nice guy. Andy knows him of course and they're soon chatting away. Apparently Jay had put out a compilation of Swedish punk stuff a while back and V5 had featured on it.
We grab some food and hang out for a while, chatting with Jay and the Bombus guys. Johan goes home for a while after dinner, but Andy and I head for the terrace outside the bar and take a deck chair each, cold beer in hand. I'll have to be careful with the beer though since it's Kronenbourg 1664, which just happens to be my loopy juice. I don't particularly like it that much, it's a little sweet for my taste, but since it's what's in the fridge in the dressing room it will have to do. I've had a cautious respect for the old 1664 since I'd got pissed out my box on it at an Iron Monkey show in 98'. I'd only drank four pints of the stuff but that was enough to send me over the edge. I guess there had to be some other evil at play, it can't just have been the beer. Either way, I'd made a complete tit out of myself in front of the Monkey guys and then spent the entire journey home from Milton Keynes, puking out the window of Tony Speedhorn's mum's car, leaving a trail of vomit all over the car's exterior... Bad times.
I hold myself to just a couple of bottles before the show.
Andy and I sit there in the sun talking about the next Victims record. Fuck knows when that will be. There's no rush I suppose. In all likelihood we won't really get around to it until Jon is finished up with the Nasum touring later this autumn. Good to hear Andy is thinking that far ahead though. It's always a good sign when Andy starts to get enthused about writing again. He's got another baby coming in August though so we'll just have to see what spare time we can allocate. After this weekend I'll be concentrating on the new bang I've got going with Viktor, Lucas and Kev for a while. Good to have something on whilst Victims takes a break.
It's a few hours until the doors open but time flies by soon enough. I put a new set of strings on my Tele, vainly hoping that that will mean I'll get through the show without having to change guitar. One by one, friends of ours start to arrive at the venue. The doors are at eight, and we're on at half past so I haven't really been expecting much of a crowd for our set. It's pretty empty at quarter past. .. I really don't mind tonight though. I'm just hoping to get through the set without my back completely giving up. Christoffer, who is playing records tonight, has just put a Citizen's Arrest song on. Nice one buddy.
We were planning on on putting on the intro track from A Dissident tonight, before we go out on stage. But I convince Johan that with most of what crowd there is hanging out in the back bar, we'd be better off just going up and making a load of feedback, just to let anybody who cares know that we're starting. He agrees with me and we scrap the intro idea. Those things only really work when you're playing a big festival stage or a packed out club that you're headlining. We tried a few different intros with Speedhorn back in the day but it never really worked out, mainly because we always used to balls it up, we could never get ourselves together enough to all come in on time and we'd stand around looking like a bunch of cunts more often than not. What finally worked for us was turning the amps on with the guitars leaning up against them, about five minutes before we'd go on, leaving the venue soaked in a wall of feedback before finally taking the stage. It worked a treat.
I'm genuinely surprised that when we take to the stage tonight the place is looking pretty busy. Way more people than I'd counted on. We blast in to Theft and things are up and running. I have a bit of trouble hearing the drums at first but Martin, our friend doing the sound, soon gets it sorted and then things are feeling pretty good. As I'd hoped adrenalin has indeed kicked in and I'm not really feeling my back any more. It occurs to me that I'll probably pay for it threefold in the morning but I'll just have to take that then.
The set seems to fly by. Even though the show at Debaser with Black Breath a couple of months ago had been fun, there had been a lot of pressure at the show. I don't know why really, probably had to do with the fact that we were playing at the venue Johan and I worked at for so long. Tonight was just a lot of fun, pure and simple. I didn't notice it at the time but according to some friends of mine, Jon had at some point, puked up on stage in the middle of a song, without even missing a chord. He just leant his head to the side and let it out. I can't say I smelt anything on the way off stage. Jon tells us all the time that he pukes on stage but nobody ever really believes him. I guess maybe it's true after all. He wasn't even drunk tonight and for that matter didn't seem particularly hungover. I don't know what that says for the state of his health..
The show is a success anyway, and I even get through it without breaking a string. After cooling off backstage I head out to meet up with Jen and some other friends before grabbing a beer and taking a place in the crowd to watch Bombus. At first I'm stood a few meters back and the sound is fucking terrible. It's just so quiet. Unfortunately this venue just doesn’t have a good sound. What sound there is from stage just goes straight up into the roof and disappears. Only a few meters back you can talk to the person stood beside you without having to shout. It shouldn't be like that. I move a bit closer, to listen to what is basically the sound on stage and it's way better. After that I enjoy, along with everybody else, thirty minutes of Bombus. Without a doubt one of Sweden's best live bands. Fucking magic. Jon is side stage singing his heart out!
The sound is so cack for Poison Idea that I can't even be bothered. Stood at the merch stall with Jon's girlfriend Ana, what must be six or seven meters back from the stage, we can talk like we're sat on the bud or something. The music from the stage is barely background at best. To be fair, the sight of the Jerry stood on stage, mic in his hand, looking more like he's calling out the bingo at the Silver Band Club than singing a punk set, hardly inspires me to go up front and watch them. Nice guys, great band back in the day, but they just don't do it for me any more
Instead I retreat to the back room bar, along with a lot of other people, and watch what's left of the semi-final between Spain and Portugal. My back is feeling pretty fucking bad again. The game is shite too, eventually being decided on penalties in favour of the Spanish.
Jen and I decide to call in the night early. I'm working in the bar tomorrow and then the office on Friday before heading off to Finland on Saturday for what will be Victims last show for the year. Andy and Jon have had a few and they're more than happy to stick around and take care of the merch. So that's the last Stockholm gig for a while, over and done with. Weird. Instead of hanging out at the venue, drinking beer and hanging out, most likely sleeping in some back room a la tour, I'm off home for a cup of tea and an episode of the Wire before bed.