Friday, April 10, 2015


I’m woken at around six thirty with the usual fire in my bladder.  As always, I try to sleep it off, the thought of having to put my shoes on to walk across the dirty floor pains me.  I can’t get back to sleep though, Sideshow Bob and the Rost guys are sat on the other side of the curtain gabbing away loudly, I guess they haven’t been to sleep yet.  I lie there irritated for a while by the sound of his voice until Ronnie lets out a loud, annoyed shushing sound.  Thing is, Sideshow’s whispered voice is more annoying than his squawking voice if anything.  First Luc gets up for a piss, on the way back I hear them asking him if he wants some beer or something, he just says no and goes back to his bunk.  I get up after him, just ignoring the cunts and on the way back pull the curtain closed again.  I think they get the message.

I manage to get another couple of hours of sleep which are most welcome.  When we arise the first thing I look for is Kev’s face.  It doesn’t disappoint, he’s sat there with his head in hands, hair everywhere.  I ask him how he got so pissed last night, just seemed to come out of nowhere.  “From beer.  I had to drink a load to get through these boring cunts set” he says, a thumb pointing in Sticky’s direction.  I wonder if the fucker is still pissed.

Sticky tells us that he had to help Kev to the bog in the middle of the night.  He’d heard Kev shuffling around out of bed and then he trips over a bag on the floor, after which he shouts out in anger “Luc!”  Luc doesn’t even stir though.  Sticky gets up and guides him to the toilet, Kev grumbling as he does so.  Sticky goes back to bed for a bit but can’t get back to sleep.  He’s heard Kev come back out of the toilet but he hasn’t come back to the sleeping area yet.  Sticky gets up to look for him and finds him lost in the stairway outside, “Where the fuck am I?” he asks, totally scoobied.  Sticky helps him back to bed, receiving a hug and a wet kiss on the lips as thanks.

Kev can’t remember any of it of course.  The Rost guys are now passed out, the girl and Sideshow cuddling on a mattress on the floor, the other two on the sofas.  The couple pull the quilt above their heads as we talk around them, I actually feel a bit sorry for them.  Smiley told me last night when he was steaming that he’d be here around twelve to make breakfast, but we’re looking to get going before then.  Dan has been out and bought some bread rolls and there is some cheese and other spreads in the fridge.  We all get stuck in. Ronnie puts some coffee on but it tastes pretty rank, still, better than fuck all.

Smiley turns up just after twelve and opens up downstairs, we load out the van with the help of the girl from Rost, who is actually really sweet, we have a chat for a while with everyone, and then we get going.  The drive to Vienna is a short one, the shortest of the tour I think, just a couple of hundred kilometers.  It’s not without incident though.  We’ve not long been on the motorway when we hear a loud bang ahead and Ronnie is forced to slam on the breaks, for a minute I think we’re going to plough into the car in front but we stop in time.  Ronnie insists there was still margin for more breaking.  We look ahead and see a cloud dust and rubber in the air, a lorry has had a tire blowout.  A few other cars have pulled over, their drivers looking a bit shocked but thankfully nobody seems to be hurt.

We arrive in Vienna around four pm, a couple of hours before load-in.  The Pyramido guys have played here a couple of times before, it’s this huge squat on the outskirts of the city centre.  There is nowhere to park the van and we can’t load in right now so we take it around the corner and park by Lidl and then take a walk down the road in search of food.  Dan says he thought he saw a café on the corner, that maybe we could go there and eat some fried cheese.  Sounds like a fantastic idea to me.  The place he’d spotted looks a bit rough though so we continue down to a larger pedestrian street where there seems to be a bit more going on. We end up in a noodle shop, all nine of us ordering the same fired tofu dish.  The portion is huge and it tastes great.  Afterwards we head to a café for some coffee and cake, totally stuffed by the end of proceedings. We sit there gabbing for a while, I notice this old woman sat at the table beside looking totally fascinated by us.

When we get back it’s time to load in. There are two other touring bands on the bill tonight, a couple of screamo bands, one from the UK, one German.  They seem friendly enough, they’re all there to help with the load in.  I get talking to one guy who’s the drummer in the UK band, Cassus, seems a nice guy although a little lost.  I ask him where they’ve been but he says he’s useless with names.  This is his first time in Europe.  I ask him where they played last night but even that has him stumped.  They’ve only been out a week.
We load in downstairs to the basement where there is a smallish concrete room with a small concrete stage.  Ronnie and Dan head off in search of parking, he won’t be back for a almost two hours.  Mental, the guy who booked us who is a friend of the band, ends up having to go meet up with them to try and help find something.  Nightmare.  Apparently they have these weird parking zones in the city center where all the rich twats pay for a year’s worth of parking, the EKG squat is just on the other side of the zone’s border and everyone who lives in the park zone that can’t afford to pay for parking parks here instead, making it impossible to find anything.  Last time the guys played here they had their van towed and had to pay two hundred and fifty Euros to get the cunt back.

Of course, being that we ate ourselves absolutely stuffed earlier, for once dinner is served early.  It’s pretty similar fare to that which we ate in Prague, a soy meat stew of sorts.  I’ve never seen so much soy meat though, they have a huge skillet filled to the brim, it’s just a huge stodge of soy meat with the odd bit of potato and carrot thrown in.  It’s not bad but I’m glad we ate out today.  It was cheap as fuck anyway.

After dinner Luc and I head up the dormitory where we’d put our bags earlier.  It’s up five flights of stairs, it’s pitch black about half way up and there’s another gate that needs to be opened.  Mental takes us up with the help of a torch and unlocks the gate.  This is a one secure squat.  There is a huge riot draw gate that sits in the ceiling of the stairway beyond the locked gate that would take a fucking bomb to breach.  A relic of an time gone by, the guys here actually pay rent on the place now.  We had been talking earlier though about this film that exists on the internet about one of the famous squats in Warsaw that was attacked by Nazi’s during a march, firebombed and all, the punks barricading themselves in and throwing missiles at them from the top floor, the police doing nothing to prevent the Nazi assholes from attacking, simply letting them past them.  Things are a bit different in Poland.  Hopefully we’ll be okay tomorrow though.

We hang out in the band room upstairs for a bit.  It’s cold up there, we’ll have to cuddle up in the night. Rappy and Crappy are with us.  They show us to this outer terrace they have on the floor below.  Really cool area, a wide patio that has bathtubs around the circumference, all filled with soil for growing food.  Really cool idea.  Dan says he slept out here last time under the stars since it was so warm.  It’s actually not too cold tonight, certainly warmer outside than it is inside, not quite sure that works.

We head downstairs to the bar and take a beer.  It’s going to be a very calm night tonight since we have a long drive tomorrow, and drinking the beer is almost going through the motions.  I don’t particularly want one, but there it is in my hand all the same.  We head downstairs to the gig room and have a peek about.  Adjacent to the small room we’re playing is another much larger room that used to be an old theatre which they mainly use for parties and raves these days.  There is this huge sculpture of a beetle hanging above the stage that we’re told when powered up starts flapping its wings about and spouts a one meter flame out of its mouth at the crowd below.  Looks mad.  We go back into the small room where they have a sofa in the shell of a burnt out VW Beetle which Kev and I sit in a have a chilled out chat for a while.

It feels quite obvious that there are not going to be a lot of people at the show tonight.  Mental had warned us earlier that there is another big gig on in town tonight, some neo-crust band from around here that has signed to Metal Blade Records and have a huge hype.  Bastard.  The only saving grace may be that the gig costs sixteen Euros which is seen as obscene by the punks around here.  It proves to be true though, by the time Cassus start their gig there are only the German band they’re touring with and our lot, plus a few stragglers.

Kev and I are big fans of the scream genre, especially the early San Diego scene in the early Nineties, at the same time Luc and Stix hate it, in general I would say they don’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about but this band tonight are pretty hard to defend.  It’s painfully calculated and pretentious.  They have the lights turned off, the only light coming from these spherical paper lamps they’ve spread about the stage.  The bass player has his guitar up to his neck and spends the entire gig poncing about the stage and the floor looking like he’s in emotional agony.  Every song follows the dark/light structure and becomes incredibly boring very quickly.  During the second song, during a passage of clean guitar and tinkling cymbals the bass player screams a verse into the air, no microphone anywhere.  Luc wonders if he should take a mic up to him and point out his mistake.  They’re said they’d play for fifteen minutes but it’s actually closer to thirty, I point this out to Luc.  “Let’s not start listing the things they’re doing wrong…” he says, insinuating that we’ll be here all night.  I’m wondering what Kev is thinking, knowing fine well what Stix is thinking.. As it as Kev is at the little cocktail bar they have ordering a Mojito.  At the end of the next song all you can hear is Kev sucking the last of his cocktail and sloshing ice around his plastic cup.  Wasn’t expecting that.  “Fucking dogshit” is his simple review.  It’s a shame because they seem like nice guys.  I guess the fact their band sucks balls doesn’t make them bad people though.  They probably think we suck too.

The German band offer more of the same, although a lot less of it in time of length of set.  The guitarist/vocalist has his mic stand set at half way though, which means he has to bend down very low to sing, leading Luc to more piss taking of the obvious variety, very much appreciated by me nonetheless.
We’re up next and there are not a whole load of people in this dark little concrete basement.  The Pyramido guys are stood around giving their usual support but there are only a couple of others.  It’s one of those gigs where it feels like it might be hard to find the inspiration, one of those where it’s easy to wonder what you’re doing here instead of being home with your little girl.  But as it turns out I have a good crack during the gig anyway.  I spend pretty much the entire set on the floor with Kev, Luc remaining on the small stage with Stix. It sounds ridiculously loud and I can tell Luc and Stix are struggling with it.  It sounds a lot better on the floor than it does up by the amps.  A few more people come down to watch during the gig, maybe twenty or so. We play pretty tight, even if it all sounds a bit chaotic.  The last song goes a bit bananas though, Kev so far ahead of the rest of us during I’m Still Drowning that he’s as good as thanking the crowd for the gig whilst we’re still on the last chorus.  I think it’s going to completely break down at one point but we manage to real it in.  The Pyramido guys seemed to love the show at least, they seem well chuffed.

Pyramido start line checking and straight away I can tell it’s going to be a night for ear plugs.  They’re waiting for the all clear from the sound engineer that doesn’t seem to be coming at any point.  Dan Arne asks through the mic, “Mr. Sound Engineer, are you ready?  Is it too loud?”

“Totally” comes an answer from somewhere in the dark.  “Good answer” laughs Dan and with that they go into their set.  I stand to the side and enjoy a beer whilst they play.  There are probably thirty or so people all in all in the place although most of them are stood at the back.  “Please come forward, I promise we won’t hit you.  We might hug you” smiles Ronnie.  Hugcore.  They only play the four songs tonight, dropping the older song from the set.  I get the feeling there will be no Discharge tonight.  They play a good show though and I enjoy it as always but when Dan Arne says afterwards, “Weird show” I can only really agree.  Still, we all sell some merch, we manage to shift a few seven’s and Mental buys a t-shirt.  He seemed to be really impressed with the show.  “I thought you guys were pretty ok on the records I heard online but live it was like…fucking hell!  You guys were awesome.”

We pack down the gear and order a couple of cocktails, the price on them is simply “Donation” written on a box.  The guys order some Mojitos following Kev’s lead, I take Tequila Sunrise, an old favourite.  It takes a fucking age to make though.  Still, it’s worth it.  I head upstairs to the bar with it and we sit at a long table together with  Mental and chill out for a while.  It’s really nice just hanging out and taking it easy.  Me and Luc start telling ghost stories which adds to the overall adventurers out camping kind of feel to it.  We head to bed, having received instructions from Mental on the best route out of Austria which avoids the cops and fines for the weight of our van.

This is the first night that everyone, even Kev, go to bed stone cold sober.  We all confer that it’s quite a strange feeling.  It’s cold in the room so me and Luc snuggle up to share some body warmth.  It takes me ages to get to sleep, my head spinning with sober thoughts.

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