Thursday, September 18, 2014
Slept alright once I finally drifted off last night. We were meeting Viktor at Victoria Station to take the Mega Bus to Leeds. We didn't have to be there until eleven so there was no real rush. We popped by Café Bianca for some breakfast, Karl, Alec and Mucky meeting us there. I normally make a point of getting at least one fry up in per trip to the UK but somehow I wasn't feeling it today. I guess my appetite wasn't it's usual ravenous self.
I've also come to the realisation that every time I eat a fucking fry up I regret it immediately afterwards... It's the same with the chippy most of the time. Sometimes you do certain things purely out of nostalgia, things that were habit when you were a kid because that's just what you did, or ate as in this case. The fact is, I don't like a fry up. Haven't done for a long time. I guess that means I should apply for a Swedish passport as the last few ounces of Britishness are slowly sifting away. Wish I had one of those fuckers right now...
Whilst we were sat eating our breakfasts and drinking our greasy mugs of tea, the TV was showing the Oscar Pistorius verdict, live from South Africa. It seems he's getting done for “involuntary murder”. He's getting fifteen years but still, what a joke. His defence has been cringe worthy at best. The power of celebrity is truly wondrous. Kev doesn't agree with the fifteen year sentence either, “I reckon they should take his daft legs away and replace them with little feet on his stumps, keeping a three foot restriction on it him at all times, and on the feet there should be a really big toe on them so he looks like a right twat and there should be little speakers on them playing a little voice that constantly says “I killed me wife, I killed me wife””. I love how Kev's mind works.
After breakfast we head do to the DLR train at Deptford, Kev greeting numerous people on the way as usual. The DLR is almost like one of those futuristic monorails you see at some airports and it provides a pretty great view of the Canada Water area of London, it's like riding a train through Legoland or something. Whilst we're stood waiting at the platform Kev says that we should try and get a seat up front since there's no driver and you can pretend you're driving the train yourself. Chuffed with this idea I dive towards the front seats, completely ignoring the fact there is a guy with his little son who obviously had the same idea I had. I feel like a bit of plank when the little boy shyly shuffles up and sits beside me, his dad taking the seat behind. Kev and Luk are a few seats back, presumably shaking their heads. I feel like a bit of a twat.
We meet Vik with little time to spare, it's a bit of a walk from the train to the bus station, and there's little time to buy refreshments. We board and settle in for the near five hour journey. A couple of the Deptford Irish contingent are on board too, Laura and her fella and another guy Jack, who is going to share a room at the Travel Lodge with us tonight. I'm already looking forward to the luxury of a hotel bed and I feel it would be a complete waste to wake up in it tomorrow with a raging hangover. We'll see how the night pans out...
Five hours on a coach feels like a long time and by the time we arrive in Leeds Vik and I are gagging for a pint. We check in, wash off quick and then head out for an ale, a couple of hours to kill before we need to be at the venue anyway. Jack says he's meeting a friend at the oldest pub in Leeds and wonders if we'd like to join him. Seems like an ok idea so we follow him and the GPS on his phone. There's some sort of mix up though and we don't find the pub we're looking for. After walking around for the best part of five minutes Vik informs us he's already clocked a pub we'd past and leads us there. He's sat enjoying an ale before I've even reached into my wallet. “I love a good point of oil” he chirps in mock Irish accent. I can only agree though as the cold pint of Pale Ale slips down my throat like liquid silk.
Our hotel is right next to the Cockpit, a venue I've played many times over the years, both with Speedhorn and Victims. My favourite memory from there has to be the time Kev's old band Helvis supported us, they'd been added to an already tight bill and given there was a tight curfew Doug our tour manager, and also old friend of Kev's from Nottingham, made them go on before the doors opened. I remember the looks on their faces as they started their set up on that high stage to just the Speedhorn guys, standing about the large dance floor and Doug side stage, having a fag and laughing to himself. What a bunch of cunts we were.
We head back to the hotel to grab our gear for the gig tonight and I make the mistake of lying on the bed for five minutes. The temptation to rip of my jeans and crawl in under the covers is almost too great to resist. I really don't want to wake up in this thing feeling like piss in the morning. We arrange for a cab to pick us up and we're off in search of the venue. It takes a little while to find since it's hidden down some little back road in an industrial estate just out of the city centre where a lot of the students live. Chuffed once we find the place though, it's a really nice set up. It reminds me of the many well run squats you find in Germany. It has a decent sized gig room with a pretty deep stage, and then a little bar room with some sofas and armchairs about the place and an adjoining courtyard area with tables and chairs. There is also a studio and rehearsal rooms here, really cool set up. The place is actually owned and run by Lecky, the singer in the legendary band Voorhees, who were supposed to be headlining tonight but pulled out a few weeks ago when Atko the guitarist realised he was going on holiday the day before. They're playing Bloodshed next month with us anyway so we'll catch them there.
So headlining instead are Kylma Sota from Finland who are over for a run of shows. They’re also a great band so it should be fun. Last time I'd seen them they were supporting D-Clone at Kafe 44 and they were so fucked that the guitarist had to keep playing the riffs to the bass player before each song since she had no idea where she was. They'd taken the ferry over night to Stockholm and had been up drinking all night, and then Bengtsson had found them outside the venue on his way to work where they were stood drinking Jagermeister miniatures and wondering when they could get into the venue. After being told that they wouldn't be getting in until four pm they went and sat in a park and carried on drinking. It was a wonderful mess, punk as it should be, completely stripped of any pretension. Love the Fins.
The show tonight is actually part of a two day Fest and the man in charge tonight, who is sorting us out, is Liam who plays in the band Perspex Flesh who are on later too. He's drinking one of those famous flagons of Weston's Old Rosie cider and has a permanent smile on his face. I like him already. I shoot and admiring glance at his cider, “Wouldn't leave home without it” he smirks.
We dump the gear in one of the rehearsal rooms and sit down with the Fins who have been stood here drinking since we arrived. Kev booked them in London before so he kind of knows them already. Marko, the singer is another one of those people who looks constantly chuffed. He also seems to constantly have a drink on the go so there might be a connection there. Vik heads off to the bar for the first round, it seems the choices are Stella, Carlsberg or Strongbow. As much as I hate Stella there's no way I'm drinking Carlsberg so I order a can of the old Wife Beater. “Fucking hell Jazzy, on the sauce tonight!” Vik laughs. He's fucking gutted when he sits down beside me and I point out to him that his Carlsberg is a measly 3,8% though. “Fuck sakes, that's like folköl” referring the infamous “people's beer” we get back home, which is the only kind of beer you can buy in the supermarket and it's limited to 3,5%. You can only buy real beer at the State ran shops that close at seven pm, three on a Saturday and doesn't even open on a Sunday. Sweden. Marko picks up on the “folköl” comment anyway and asks us if we're Swedes, and hence a conversation and a kinship between the two bands has been struck.
Marko is drinking a cloudy looking pint of Strongbow. He's been drinking them since we arrived. It turns out that it's actually Strongbow and gin and tonic, a heady fucking concoction if ever there was one! It actually doesn't taste quite as revolting as it sounds. When asked by one of the Irish crowd why he's drinking such a thing he replies, “One hand!” as if it's the most obvious thing he's ever had to point out. He explains further how much of a pain in the ass it would be if he had to carry the Strongbow in one hand and the gin and tonic in the other. Love the Fins.
We hang out with the guys chatting for the next hour or so, Marko chuffed that I'm wearing an Angel Hair t-shirt, one of his favourite bands ever apparently. We get talking about everything punk, Swedish and Finnish bands, practice rooms and the scenes in our relative homes. Marko summaries it quite nicely, “One thing I think Seeden is much better than Finland, especially Shtockholm. Seedish people know how to dress. They dress really nice. Finish people dress like sitt!”
The first of the night's six bands starts around eight and there are already a lot of people in the place. I have a feeling it's going to be a really good show tonight. The sound is kind of echoey, bouncing of the brick walls, but the atmosphere is good. The first band is a girl band playing pretty noisy punk, and the second band are called No Form and are about as artsy as it comes, a little too much for my liking. The young lad on vocals is dressed in a suit and is bellowing into an insanely reverbed microphone, since the Spain scene has taken off this last few years reverb has really become the thing.. They're ok but erring towards the silly just for the sake it I feel, the singer pulling out a trumpet at one point and huffing and puffing it into the reverb. I don't know.. I watch about five minutes and fuck off for one last beer before we're up.
As we're travelling by bus and train we don't really have any gear with us, just guitars, cymbals and snare. Band of fucking gypsies. I have a word with Liam about heads and it's all sorted, we can use theirs. He's almost through with the Old Rosie now. I ask him if he's looking forward to playing, he tells me he is although the band is not in the best of shape right now, “The drummer's full of the flu, he'll be turning up just before we play, and I've been feeling a bit gutsy too” he says, swilling round the last of the cider in his flagon as he does so. Not fucking surprised mate, two and half litres at 8,3%, I'd be fucked by now, never mind gutsy!
There is no soundguy tonight, just a small mixing board on the side of the stage, over by Lucas. The amp I'm lending from Perspex Flesh is insanely loud. I start at about four on the master and Luc just gives me those eyes, kind of like a parent looking at their kid and saying, “Come on now..” After the scratchiest of line checks we're ready to go. It's one of those stages where I have absolutely no idea how it sounds out front, I can barely hear Kev at all although that's not important and wherever I move on the stage I get a completely new guitar sound. Still, a few songs into the set and it feels tight, a lot tighter than last night. The room is pretty full and by the look on most of the faces in the crowd I get the feeling the sound out front is good. Kev is up and down from the stage the whole show, really getting into it. It feels like we're all enjoying ourselves. About half way through the set I feel this fucking pain in my knee though, really sharp, as if it's locking up. I have to hobble back towards my amp, mid song, and straighten it out. It fucking hurts, like I've been stabbed just below the knee cap. Once I get my leg straightened the immediate pain subsides but there's a little left, somewhere there in the background. I sometimes wonder to myself if it's time to retire from this game... And then I see Kev down on the floor, ten years my elder, screaming like fuck into his mic, mouth lip bleeding a little from accidentally gumping himself in the mouth. Beside him I see Marko, playing air guitar and smiling broadly.
It feels good after the show, a lot of people seemed to have liked it, there was elements of the crowd building up to kick off during the set, but as always when we play to a new crowd, by the time the tide rises we're done and it's all over. Upon leaving the stage the Kylma Sota drummer grabs Lucas and says, “Thank you for the songs” in typically monotonic Finnish. Chuffed. I'm no longer thinking too much about the luxury of the hotel bed, I'm buzzed from the gig and I want a pint, or two. Vik looks at me and suggests we have a shot, that he's feeling pretty knackered and he needs a shot injection to get him going again. I've been sworn off shots for a long time, I'm no good with them. But tonight I think Vik has a point. Luk isn't interested, he's sat at the merch talking to the Irish girl band who are playing after us, so Vik, Kev and I head to the bar without him. Captain Morgan Gold, reminds me of the many messy nights I worked at Debaser.
We chill out with a beer, or a cider, I'm not fussed which by now. Marko must be on to about his seventh or eight Strongbow GT by now, still smiling, still standing. Love the Fins. We watch a bit of Sissy, the Irish all girl band on after us. I'm not really a big fan of the whole Riot Girrrl thing although I have a lot of respect for it, but these guys do it well. Shame you can't really hear the vocals. I turn to Vik, “It's pretty fucking hot in here!” Vik looks at me, mouthful of Strongbow, “It's time for a shot?”. Back to the bar we go.
I'd been looking forward to seeing Perspex Flesh, I really like the lp they put out recently, but unfortunately the sound isn't so great. Whereas with Sissy the vocals were non existent, now Liam's vocals are literally the only thing you can hear, and there is a tsunami like amount of reverb on them. The music is good, but as soon as he starts singing, it completely fades to the background. Shame. Liam is pretty funny looking on stage though and entertaining with it, he looks like a cross between Paul Diano and our mate from Stockholm, Into. Whilst watching them some guy approaches me and tells me he follows my blog, says he came across it by chance. “I never liked Speedhorn, but I really like your blog.” We get talking and he asks me how it is balancing being a dad and playing in a punk band, he tells me that his wife is expecting and that he plays in bands and he's really worried about it. I reassure him that he's going to be fine, that being a dad is the most amazing feeling and that with a bit of planning you can make being in a band, or two, or three work. I mention to him that it helps if your wife also plays in bands, he shakes his resignedly and says, “No, mine's not into punk at all.” I tell him he'll be fine all the same. He tells me that his band is due to go out on a two week tour about a month after the baby comes.. Not entirely sure that will work out... Nice guy anyway, fun talking to him.
More beers and then Kylma Sota take the stage. This is a completely different affair to the last time I saw them at Kafe 44, although Marko is still drinking that cloudy cider.. I'm almost disappointed that they're not wasted at first, but fuck me, as soon as they start the show that disappears. They are fucking on it. So much energy, the crowd is loving it. Marko is a great font man. They rule tonight.
We hang around for a short while after they're done but not too long, the buzz of the booze has worn off and I'm not drunk, I'm just feeling really tired and bloated now. Just as well maybe, it's been a good night, now would be a good time to head back to the hotel and catch some Z's. Everyone seems to be on the same page so we gather our gear, say our goodbyes and head around to the garage around the corner in the hope of finding a cab. There are a few around, one guy, some old Indian bloke, is filling his tank. Kev shouts over to him, asking if he's free. It seems he is, he asks us where we're going. We tell him and he looks at us confused, “You can walk there.” He gets in his cab and fucks off. What the fuck? It ain't that fucking close. Weird old bastard. We hail another cab shortly after, some guy who apparently isn't opposed to making money, and we drive in the direction of the hotel. It takes about five minutes... Walk? My arse!
We get dropped off on a busy street next to the hotel, laden with shitty kebab shops, shitty nightclubs and hordes of drunken bastards looking to get in them. I convince myself I'm hungry and I need chips and cheese and regret it as soon as the first fry enters my mouth. Where the fuck do I get the notion I like chips and cheese from? It's absolutely horrid and these bastards are amongst the worst morsels of food I've ever abused my taste buds with. I throw about half of them in the bin, that's how bad it is! We head back to the hotel. Unusually for a Travel Lodge they have a bar. I'm all about bed but Vik is still thirsty. The woman working in the bar clocks us, “Are you guys wanting a beer? The bar's open”. Vik demands one more out of me and Kev. I say no but Kev is game, I join them, Vik goes to the bar and comes back with three manky pints of Stella. Kev falls asleep about half way through his, I manage about three sips. It's hard going. Vik and Kev plough on through theirs and I empty my pint equally into their glasses.
Time for bed.