I had a feeling of slight anxiety in my stomach for most of the day, both the leaving Polly thing and the fact that we’re playing Stockholm and we’re organising the gig. We needed a good start to the tour tonight. You never know what awaits us in mainland Europe, it’s our first time playing down there, although Pyramido have been down a few times so maybe a few people will show up. Anyway, a good few people in tonight would give us a boost for the trip down to Copenhagen tomorrow.
I had asked the Pyramido guys if they wanted to come up for the show tonight, understanding full well that it doesn’t make any economic sense for them to travel up to Stockholm only for us to head back the exact same seven hour journey tomorrow, but it would have been fun to have them on the show, they’ve never played Stockholm before. Instead we asked Massgrav and Damaged Head to play, which makes for a real good line up too. Funny thing is, a few weeks ago another gig got announced, at Lilla Hotel Baren, just around the corner from Kafe 44, with Viagra Boys playing, which is Benke and Benis from Nitad’s new band, making that two shows within a couple of blocks of each other, each with two halves of Nitad on the bill, Vik and Modde being with us. Nitad are actually back for one last gig in a month’s time but I’ll miss it since I’m going to a wedding in Corby, would have been fun to see the show but never mind. “We’ll always have Jersey” as I said to Vik on the subject.
The other reason for the heavy feeling in my stomach was a disaster of a maths exam I took at school this morning. Total crash and burn stuff. Maybe I’m exaggerating but it didn’t feel good. And then straight from school I jumped on the tram and took it all the way to the van hire place that my old mate Tim Switchblade works for. He wasn’t around but the keys were waiting. First time I’ve driven a van of this size too, but I acclimatized myself to it pretty quick. After picking up the van I dashed by the flat to pick up some last bits and bobs and then picked up Vik and Kev on the way to the practice room to get the gear for tonight. Non fucking stop. Straight from school to tour. I get home in ten days, Sunday night, and start back at school on the Monday. Ambitious as I know it sounds, I actually have school work with me and plan to study on the road. I know how unlikely that sounds but I think I might actually manage it. How times have changed…
Anyway, Kev looked in pretty good shape, the day at Vik’s seems to have done him good. We head to the practice room and load the gear into the van, there isn’t much to take, just my guitar cab with the broken wheel, a couple of heads, guitars and drum bits. Most of the gear we’re taking is Pyramido’s. Even so, despite Vik asking me to do an idiot check we manage to forget Luc’s bass. We only realise once we load the gear into the venue. Fuck… Lucky the first show wasn’t in Copenhagen anyway. Both Massgrav and DH are willing to help us out though so we’re good. I could tell Luc wanted to head back and pick his guitar up but I really didn’t want to drive back in rush hour traffic and on top of that sacrifice the parking spot we’d pinched right outside the venue for the van. Last thing I could be arsed with is arriving back half hour before show time and then stressing around Södermalm looking for a space to fit a seven meter van! Still felt a bit bad about it though, which only added to the weight in my gut that had been there all day.
Soundcheck went okay anyway, the usual fare for 44, a young kid doing the sound, just finding their way in the profession, a whirling sound coming out of the PA between songs that nobody could locate. I was happy enough with the sound by the time we were done though. So was the sound guy it seems, well there were two of them, one long haired punk, one short haired, and the short haired one had been fist pumping away during check and then went straight to the merch stall and bought a shirt. Chuffed. Polly and Jen had turned up too, Poll with her big ear protectors on, looking really cute. God I’m going to miss her, still could be worse, could be going to war instead or tour. Or something like that…
Luc and Vik went to pick up some beer for the bands and I went in search of coffee, a headache deriving from a lack of caffeine intake. Jen and Poll headed off after a while, Poll disappointed that there were no cinnamon buns as promised. Typically, just as they left Tompa Eken turned up with a plate of newly baked rolls, something he’s been doing for the bands since the Eighties. Tompa’s buns are famous within the scene. Fucking beautiful too, I’ve hardly eaten today. Kev even give me cash for some coffee, things starting to level out thank fuck.
I was talking to Modde in the back room, he was asking about the new podcast I’m doing and I invited him to come and have a chat. Modde, obviously a few beers in already, gets choked up, telling me he’s really honoured. I cracked up. Should be fun to do when I get home though. I was pretty chuffed with the fact that by the time Bengtsson opened the doors at seven there was a queue of punks outside waiting to get in. The show is all ages, meaning no booze, so I guess a few were coming to get the stamp and then fuck off to the pub, but surprisingly a lot stuck around. A lot of younger punks seem to be in the crowd, making it a refreshing change for us. I had a bunch of friends coming down, most of them in the pub talking of coming along earlier. We have the usual Stockholm problem where we had to warn everyone earlier that they’d have to turn up early because it was looking like being busy, nobody takes it seriously though. My friends Erik and Maya from school came along anyway, chuffed to see them here, and we had a quick chat before they fucked off to get a quick beer.
Damaged Head end up going on about fifteen minutes early, for some reason, so I’m on the phone texting people frantically that they need to get down. I head down the side corridor to get to the front of the stage and from what I can see into the room, it looks packed. Modde is pissed up, talking nonsense between songs about Easter. And then Gonzo, my good friend who now lives about an hour from town, phones me, really gutted that he can’t get in. I think he’s joking at first but he tells me Bengtsson is adamant it’s sold out! I run upstairs and beg for him to be let in, I manage to sort it but Bengtsson assures me he’s the last they’re letting in. I guess that means a few of my mates in the pub won’t be getting in.
I head back to see the last of Damaged Head and Vik is pissing himself laughing. He tells me this punk guy who always bring a tape recorded with him to shows just stage dived and somehow got his wallet chain tangled up in his wristband it was flying around in the mosh pit, the punk frantically trying to reel it in. I head back out to the café where the merch is and see Andy Victims has just arrived. I asked him how the fuck he got in and in his usual deadpan style he tells me he just walked in, put his money in the jar and walked past. I reckon Bengtsson let him pass because he’s into Andy’s sister. The DH set is great anyway, tight as fuck. I can’t help looking at Linkan playing drums and thinking, what a talented bastard, one of those that plays everything, he was sat in the dressing room earlier playing Spanish style classic guitar. He wrote all the riffs to the Herätys record, that tells you all you need to know. I can’t help looking at the young long haired sound guy either, stood right at the front of the gig, headbanging away.
My friend Jimmy is here too, an old Speedhorn fan who turned into a mate, he’s working on tour himself a lot these days, as well being a film maker, and he’s brought his camera along tonight to record our set. He’d been filming some other band earlier anyway. Good to see him as always, as it was my mate Joran, one of DB’s biggest fans, or at least, one of Luc’s biggest fans, he really digs the artwork, got all the shirts. It’s time for us to head up and play, still no sign of Erik and Maya. Fuck it, they paid anyway. I missed it, but during switch over Luc has somehow managed to fuck himself in the jaw with the big iron handle on the door between the gig room and the café, right proper uppercut. Seems he’s ok, although if he’s caught himself in the teeth he wouldn’t quite be so cute anymore. He was in a rush to call Anja and tell her it was sold out and she’s not on the list. Great boyfriend.
The room is pretty full when we take to the stage, changeover is quick since all the bands are using my amp. Before we even start I’m pissing sweat, the new lights they’ve put in here are hot as fuck. It’s a nice feeling for a change to play a Stockholm The set flies by anyway, of course. I don’t know what Kev was worried about, he sounded solid. I guess there are another nine shows to go though. It was nice to see a bunch of young punk kids down the front, really getting into the gig. It’s great to see the contrast between this little skinhead, boots and braces, can’t be much more than twelve, and Kev on stage screaming at him. Better that than a bunch of mates stood around taking pics for Instagram. Anyway, great first gig of the tour.
When we’re done, I pack down, leaving my gear for Norse and the Massgrav guys, and check my phone. Erik has texted asking what time we’re playing again. I simply write back, played. They turn up a while later feeling really bad about missing us and buy a t-shirt. I call him a fucking poseur and we have a laugh about it. Seems like we’re selling good on the merch anyway, some guy tells Luc that the tape we did with Hello Bastards and tells him it’s the best hardcore record he’s heard in ages. These other kids are hanging around, telling us they’re still buzzing from the adrenaline of our set. Some other girl buys a couple of the badges Luc has made, the particular badge in mention is a picture of a small cock, the Luc thought he was going to get shit for from this girl, but she ends up buying two. Fucking great.
Massgrav play to an absolutely packed room, I can barely be arsed even making my way in, it’s so hot there. I check out a bit from the side, they’re tight as fuck as always. Vik is laughing again, saying they’d had this long intro playing at the start, all drums and stuff, and then when it ended all you could was Norse shouting, “It’s not fucking working, fuck sakes”. Brilliant. Massgrav pummel everyone as always, they know what they’re doing on stage. I really like the sense of humour Ola and Norse have too, take the piss out of the scene and everyone else, tongues firmly in cheeks.
The night is over and done with by ten, perfect. Bengtsson gets everyone out sharpish, we sort payment out, everyone happy, and load out. I’m hoping to get home as quick as possible, Jen has saved me some dinner, and she’s waiting up for me until I get back. Funny way to start a tour, sleeping at home, showering, eating left over dinner. We say bye to Tompa and Bengtssson and the rest of the guys and head off. There are a load of punk kids sat in the middle of the road outside, having an after party. I’m more than happy to drive around them via the pavement, they’re most appreciative, waving us off and thanking us for tonight.
We take the stuff to Vik’s drop the gear, packing it in to his very tight lift, and then I head home. Manage to make it before Jen heads to bed. I grab a shower, change Polly’s nappy, take Bonz around the block for a piss, heat dinner up and crack open a can of beer I’d saved from earlier. Been gagging for a beer since we played. Nice end to the night. The following nine nights will probably be a little different.