As you do as a parent of a small kid, I woke up a quarter of an hour before the alarm went off. It took me a while to get to sleep last night too, thinking about getting up early and making the journey. Felt ok though. I got up and put a pot of strong coffee on, had breakfast with Poll, watched a couple of episodes of Plonsters and then it was time to go. Now it’s tour for real.
The sun is shining, a nice day for the drive. I pick up Luc and we head to the practice room to pick up his bass, and then we head over to Vik’s and load the gear in the van. It’s Good Friday, or whatever they call it, so there’s hardly any traffic on the road, in the vein of the Swedish tradition, everyone had already fucked off to the countryside yesterday being that it’s a long weekend. It takes around seven hours to get down to Malmö, me and Luc fighting over the air conditioning most of the way, the tropical fucker doing his best to create a sauna in the van. We make the compulsory stop at Max’s in Jönköping, always a good place to stop. Luc calling off his boycott of the burger chain that has lasted since the scandal they had last year. “Jävla Moderaterna!” he says chomping into his Green Burger.
It’s great to see the Pyramido guys, it’s been a while since I saw Ronnie. Will be fun to tour together again. They’re all waiting outside their practice room for us when we arrive. The sun shining in this part of the country too. I hope the weather stays on our side, I have a nice vision of sitting in the sun with a nice pint of draught in Prague. After the pack is done, I hand the keys to Ronnie and we head off to the bridge. As soon as we pull out Viktor Pyramido, who is sat beside Ronnie up front, turns around with a cheeky smile on his face and asks if anyone wants some booze, a bottle of something called Valhalla in his hand. As is usually the case in the beginning there is a bit of band segregation going on in the van, the Valhalla breaks the ice nicely, even if it tastes like shite. Bitters aren’t really my thing, I wash it down with a Plopp bar directly.
About ten minutes into the journey and me and Vik are talking records, the new Violent Reaction record the subject of conversation. I ask Vik how it is and he says it’s good, a bit more Oi than the seven inches. To my utter amazement Viktor turns around again and says, “On the subject of Oi I’ve got some reading material” and hands over a laminated print out of the Wikipedia on Oi punk. Completely fucking random! I can tell this is going to be a fun tour.
We get to Ungdomshuset around six pm, plenty of time since the nights here are normally pretty late. It’s good to be back here. Last time we played we were in the big hall for this grindcore fest, tonight we’re in the small bar, which suits us a lot better. There is a band from Slovakia playing tonight too, which is pretty cool I think. We load in and soundcheck, which takes a good while, they have a policy here like they do at 44 where beginners get to work the shows, which is great because they get a chance to learn their trade, although I can tell Vik is getting pretty tired after hitting the snare for fifteen minutes, and then when he stops the lady asks immediately, “Can I have a little more snare please?” When we’re done Ronnie tells us to crank the guitar and bass before we play, but it sounds pretty good on stage anyway. Afterwards one of the Slovaks comes up to me and Ronnie and asks what time we’re leaving in the morning. They’re playing in Copenhagen tomorrow too and our van is parked in the yard in front of theirs. Since we’re heading to Bremen we conclude that we’ll be leaving before and the Slovakian guy suggests we move the vans around so we can get out in the morning without having to wake them. Sure thing we tell him, let’s do it. “Okay, erm… I just need to find someone who is more sober than me to drive the van out”. We wait around for five minutes and then give up and head in to get some dinner. We hang out up in the dining room upstairs, enjoying slices of vegan pizza. Really nice stuff, I help myself to my fill. Me and Vik had taken a walk to the garage and Vik had got a six pack in, the can of Tuborg Classic washes the pizza down a fucking treat. We sit around having the crack, recounting old stories, as one does, stories I’m hoping to catch again with Kev and Ronnie when I interview them for my new Podcast.
Kev still worrying about how he’s going to cope on tour, his throat and all, is sat downstairs at the bar with his friend Sarah, having a beer. I know fine well that a couple of beers in and all that concern will be washed away. Sander, Luc’s Dutch friend who lives here has turned up too, and we sit around with him enjoying a couple of beers. We got five tickets each and they’re good for a bottle of Höker Bajer, or whatever it’s called, pretty good Pilsner that does the job anyway. I can feel myself warming up after a couple. Sander has bought five bottles from the Mikkeller bar for him, Vik fucking chuffed, looking forward to getting stuck into them after the gig. Vik and Luc start talking about the Brazil tour that Nitad did, which Luc helped set up. They tell us about this old guy called Joel who drove all the punk the bands on tour back in the day, this random old guy with no teeth, couldn’t speak a word of English. Apparently whilst waiting around before the first show, Benis had come into the guys, having being stood outside smoking, and says that there is this homeless guy trying to get into the building, that he couldn’t understand what he was saying, he was just stood there pointing. “That’s the driver!” Luc had assured him. They tell us this other mad thing, that when on the tour, there had been this torrential rain, a huge storm that had caused huge flood on the highway. Joel, who they’d nicknamed Quasi was driving full speed in this terrifying rain and then just stopped dead, and start reversing back down the road, the flood slowly following after. It was so bad that there were fucking dead cows floating along in the fields beside them. Horrible.
By about ten there are only few that have straggled in, not that it will take many people to make it look half decent in here. The thing is, nearly everyone we know in Copenhagen is away on tour. It feels like Copenhagen and DB is never really going to happen, I don’t know. Nitad had a big thing going on here back in the day, but it was a different scene then, like Vik says, that scene died pretty suddenly here. Things change I guess. Once upon a time there was a plethora of great bands doing USHC style punk, not that we’re really in that particular pigeon hole either. Anyway, after a couple of beers I’m really in the mood to play, no matter how many are here. By the time we go on, around eleven, there are maybe thirty or forty people including bands. That’ll do me just fine.
I really enjoy the gig, we crank the volume up and bang it out. We play pretty tight and I feel a good amount of energy flowing through me. Fifteen minutes is more than enough for this shit though. At one point I bang in to Kev but the contact is soft, no wood on skin, at least I think. Kev seems alright anyway. We get a decent enough reaction from the small crowd, one guy, who buys a seven inch with an English fiver, seems to be a fan. Kev says he knows all about the band, about how I play in Victims and Kev’s history in Hard to Swallow, Speedhorn, the lot. This leads Kev to determine he’s a mongo. We sell a couple of shirts too, every little helps.
Pyramido start shortly afterwards and we stand down front, engulfed in the drowning wall of sound they produce, Vik now happily tucking into his Mikkeller beer. He’s got some strong as fuck IPA with a really bitter aftertaste, not totally my thing, too strong for Pappa Bear. I’m feeling a bit sauced on the Bajer as it is. I really love the Pyramido set anyway, they do this style so well, and they have their sound totally nailed. When they get to the end of their first set I’m trying to figure out who is working their sampler until I realize that sound engineer has forgotten to turn off the Tragedy album they’d been playing all night. Dan politely informs they don’t require a DJ right now..
After the Pyramido set we hang out at the back of the room by the merch, Kev is now well and truly sauced. “Bad things have happened Gaz” he says to me. I assume he’s referring to the bumpy cuts on his head that he’s obtained through bashing the mic off his head but he points to his broken zipper on his jeans and says they’re his only pair. Vik tells him that he can pick up a pair of pants on the boat tomorrow. Vik seems to think there’s nothing you can’t buy on that forty five minute boat ride tomorrow. I think the Mikkeller is getting to Vik too. I fucking piss myself laughing when Vik offers Kev a bit of his beer geek, fine cultured IPA. Kev takes a sip and then recoils in disgust, “That is fucking rank! It tastes like Ajax!” he shouts, scraping his tongue with his fingers, trying to get the taste off, “You’ve ruined my night” he moans as heads off to the bar for a Bajer
The Slovakian band start up a while later. I think they’re called Adacta or something, Wolfpack patches all over. They play a full song to line check which receives applause from the punters milling around up front. “No no, that was only soundcheck. Thank you” explains the guitarist. We hang out and watch from afar, they play pretty standard crust but do it well enough. I’m feeling a bit pissed from the beer, pretty obvious by the way me and Luc are pissing ourselves laughing at crap jokes, also the fact that I had a toke on Pyramido’s E Cigg, some sort of electric cigarette thing. Daft. By the time Adacta are done I’m starting to feel that it would be a good idea to go to bed, it’s past two as it is and breakfast is at nine. We head up to the dormitories and I pick a place in between Ronnie and guitarist Dan from Pyramido. I had planned on brushing my teeth, but once lying down I’m not sure I can manage getting back up and heading down the corridor to the bog. Luc reasons with me and I pull myself up and head down in my socks. What a fucking rookie mistake, I walk into the first toilet which has no light in and stand in a wet puddle of what I assume is piss, or sick. Fucking rubbish.
Back in bed and Vik and Kev, who has by now long forgotten any worries he had about his health on tour, are asking me if I’m coming back downstairs for a drink. No thanks boys. No thanks. I look forward to seeing Kev in the morning.