Wednesday, July 13, 2016


First show of the year for DB. I hadn’t even thought about that until Kev mentioned it as we sat on the train to our practice space in Hökarängen. I’ve been busy with Victims since the album came out in April, and busy with school and family too, with recording a DB album on top of all that there hasn’t really been a lot of time over to play shows with the guys, besides, we decided that we wouldn’t book anything else until the album was written and recorded, which it now is. We did have a show booked in Copenhagen in March, which would have been a couple of days before I went to the States with Victims, but as it turned out Luc’s visa renewal application hadn’t gone through in time. It still hasn’t for that matter. Things have gone a bit fucking crazy since they tightened the borders in the wake of the refugee crisis. Fucking horrible.

We had a quick run through of the set at our space in the afternoon before heading over to the gig. I’ve been working loads at the homeless shelter since finishing school for the summer so have hardly had time to think about this gig, or the Victims show in Poland tomorrow… Plate full as always. Viktor is delighting in showing us pics of the Forward guys. It’s the first time they’ve ever made the trip over from Japan to Scandinavia and they seem pretty chuffed. Kimingo, the drummer has plastered his Instagram account documenting the trip so far, loads of beer involved. Christoffer is putting them up at his place and he texted me earlier saying that he’d spent a couple of hours making them dinner last night, all ready for their arrival after their flight from Osaka, but when they turned up they said they wanted drugs, not grub. No hungry. A lot of the Japanese bands seem to go wild when they travel. Take it to the extreme. The pics from Christoffers flat of Kimingo and the guys getting wasted and clearly loving it, with their host sat in the background looking flummoxed had us all creasing up.

The practice went well anyway, just one quick blast through the set. We get the bus over to Cyklopen in Högdalen with the guitars and drum stuff, plus Johan’s bass which he has swapped with Eric Black Breath who is here on a short holiday with Jude after their tour. They were actually by my place on Tuesday for a very quick cup of coffee. Jon was supposed to take the bass with him after Victims practice on Tuesday, since the guys are staying at his place, but Johan had misplaced his guitar. All in a panic he assumed that somebody had lent it but it turned out it was in the practice space all along, stood in it’s case against the wall, so now we’re lugging it over to the gig where Eric will pick it up. Johan had a bit of a brass on about the whole affair. He’d even been on Facebook asking if someone had lent it.. We laugh at ourselves, as we struggle onto a packed bus with a load of large cases. Just like being on one of Kev's tours in the UK again.  I was hoping the driver would have a little sympathy with our situation and let us hop on the middle of the bus but she doesn’t even flinch as we fumble with our travelcards at the front and then shuffle awkwardly down the aisle with all the gear. Miserable cow.

We’re the first to arrive at Cyklopen besides Ronny and the sound guy. Ronny is busy making dinner and Vik is eager to sink a cold beer, the hot weather giving him a thirst.  Unfortunately all there is at the minute is a bottle of alcohol free Mariestad. At least it’s cold. The sound guy is looking a little bashful going about his business and he soon asks if anyone can help him hook up some cables. Ronny is chopping an onion and the rest of us just pretend we haven’t heard him. Luc, obviously feeling guilty, goes over to help him. The rest of us fuck off outside and go for a stroll around the area. Total wankers. When we get back a while later Luc looks over at us, and I can tell what he’s thinking. Since there are no other bands around we say that we can soundcheck. Probably a good idea anyway given the ridiculous backline policy this place has…

Apparently they get a lot of complaints from the neighbours way over on the other side of the skate park by Högdalen station. In an alleged attempt to curtail this problem they demand that any bands playing use their little in-house combo amps. It’s an absurd situation really, given the fact that there is still a full sized drum kit set up beside the piddling little things. It’s not as if the volume will ever fall below the sound of the snare drum and cymbals. And of course, it’s not about volume, but about sound, and the combo amps sounds shit. It’s just a real nonsense stance the house has taken, and from what I can make out it actually has more to do with the fact that the rest of the groups operating here don’t want the place to host gigs. Or punk gigs at least. But then it would be better that they just didn’t allow them instead of this nonsense solution. I love Cyklopen, it’s a great place with lots of brilliant stuff going on, I’ve been here with Polly when they have kids disco and stuff, but the house isn’t designed for punk gigs. It must be a nightmare for the people putting the gigs on to constantly have to be embarrassed telling touring bands that they have to play on the toy amps. As is the case for the sound guy tonight when Forward turn up.

The guys come walking in, looking chuffed, all of them clutching a beer, Christoffer walking in behind them wearing short shorts and a bewildered smile. Kimingo walks up to each of us in turn and shakes hands with us, grinning like a child in a sweet shop. I try to engage him in chat, “So, you stayed at Christoffer’s place last night?”

“Very fancy!” Kimingo replies, still smiling and giving me the big thumb. The rest of the guys check the place out whilst Ishiya pulls out a little mirror and starts to fix his mohawk into place. I hear Souichi the guitarist talking to the sound guy and looking at the little amp on stage. The guy, awkwardly explains that he’ll have to play on this little thing and Souichi in perfect Japanese accent replies, “Awwww. Little amp. I normally play Marshall.” He’s not being a dick though, he’s totally nice about it and just gets on with it.

When they soundcheck it’s a bit of a struggle with the sound, but with a bit of tweaking it gets a little better. A little. This big Finnish punk guy, called Marku, who is an old friend of the scene and an avid record collector, is fucking wasted already and stands there in front of the stage going crazy as Forward soundcheck, much to the guys amusement. When they’re done Marku gives a rapturous shout of appreciation. Apparently he’s also staying at Christoffers and making the trip up north with them and DS-13 tomorrow. The Glorious guys have turned up, with Jonas and Love from Skit Kids in tow, looking a little bemused by the backline situation, as everyone else. Jonas has a quick peek at the stage and then says to me, “Peavey Bandit, that’s a nice one”. I can’t tell if he’s being genuine, just being kind, or simply taking the piss. They all fuck off again anyway and leave us to soundcheck.

All things considered, it doesn’t sound too bad. Our friend Fabbe lending his ears and opinion on the matter. When we’re done we fuck off to Hank’s Heaven pub, having eaten a bit of Ronny’s grub whilst Forward were soundchecking. I’m with Vik, gagging for a beer. As we leave the place I notice a handwritten sign to patrons of Cyklopen that reads, “If you’re going for a piss in the woods, take a friend”. Never been aware of any trouble here. Strange. Although Nazis did burn down the old place where Cyklopen was housed… Hence they built this place to be fireproof, the thick plastic walls lending the place a greenhouse like feel.

I’d been hoping for a cold pint of draught beer but the fucking tap is off, so have to settle for a bottle of Mariestad, this time with alcohol, but still not really what I’d been looking forward too. Still, it does the job. Hilda from Axe Rash meets us at the pub and we joke with her that we’re not cool enough for those guys anymore since they’re only interested in speaking to Kev. He’d put them on at the Nest a while ago and it seems like they all hit it off pretty merrily. Most people hit off pretty well with Kev though, if you know how to take him. We just have the one and then head back to the gig in time to see Glorious? There are a lot of people hanging in and around the house, lots of old friends, lots of old faces from the scene that you don’t always see anymore but that’s the pull of having a legendary Japanese band on the bill. And Meanwhile of course.

It’s great catching up with everyone. To think I’d considered taking the car to the gig tonight.. I’m soon into beers two and three, chugging them down and doing my best to ignore the fact they’re a touch on the warm side. It’s one of those nights where everyone seems to be here, absolutely magic hanging out. Even Jon is here. Will be the first time he’s ever seen us play I think. Although, he does live just down the road from here, seems like it takes something pretty special to get him to go to a gig that isn’t at Cyklopen these days.

Glorious? play to a pretty packed house, something I’m sure Ronny is relieved about. He was sweating the fact that nobody had bought advance tickets and had gone as far as selling parts of his record collection off to cover the costs for the Forward guys. Quite a remarkable commitment from the guy. Been doing it ten years this year, which sadly but understandably will be his last. We’re actually playing his ten year fest with DB here at Cyklopen in September, making it three times for me here in as many months… All going well. Anyway, Glorious? play noisy d-beat, although with the volume set to low, it’s not all that noisy. The thing that impresses me the most with Glorious?, to be fair it’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen in ages full stop, is the fact the gloriously (pun) moustachioed bass player is playing with a cast on his arm. Fucking broken arm and there he is, rocking away like fuck. Complete and utter respect to that guy!

The guys play for a while, and the running order is already behind track, this being the case Ronny asks Luc if we can get things moving between sets. Luc assures him that we’ll be up and done with the gig before anyone notices. As it is, there aren’t a whole load of people in the place when we start the show, I guess everyone outside taking air between bands haven’t noticed that we’ve started. Either that or simply nobody gives a piss. It gets better as the show goes on though, the guys from Axe Rash down front enjoying themselves amongst a few others. It feels pretty frustrating knowing that the sound out front is probably cack, since up on stage it actually sounds pretty good. I have a good time anyway, and it seems the other guys in the band do too.  Fun to play a couple of songs from the new album, although I was hoping to play more than just the three. Next gig in September I’m hoping we play predominantly new material. Fun to see Kenko at the front of the stage, giving signs to Luc and Vik about the sound. Being that he recorded the new record he has an inside idea of how the chaos is supposed to come across. All in all, a good show, one of the better Stockholm shows we’ve played, at least from our perspective on stage.

The place is packed again for Meanwhile, as you’d expect, it’s their first show in ages. I climb up on a bench behind the merch and watch from above the crowd. A couple of beers on the way and I’m having a great time. Jocke the singer cracks me up when he introduces a song, “This is from our new album, from ten years ago”. The sound, not to bang on about it, is not great, by any stretch. But I don’t really care, it’s Meanwhile, and I have a great time watching them. Marku the Finn seems to be flagging though, he’s now stood to the side of the stage looking like he’s fighting sleep. Somewhere near the end Domar, stood up front as always, takes the mic and asks for a minutes silence for Granath from Strul, Giftgasattack and many others, who sadly passed away yesterday. Not a shock by any means, but very sad. Another fallen compatriot. That observed, the guys finish off the gig with a few of the old Dischange songs, bringing a fun show to an end.

Afterwards Stefan from Trash Palace record store, pissed out of his mind, is up on stage ranting about supporting Ronny and making sure everyone comes to his Dead Rhythm Club ten year anniversary gig, despairing at the fact that he’s done loads for the scene and gets nothing back, how he had to sell his record collection to make this gig work. Incidentally, it was Stefan who bought his collection from him…

I don’t even realise Forward have started until Ishiya goes flying past me in the crowd and out the door with the mic singing to the punks stood outside. As fun as it is watching the guys, and being in the midst of greatness, it’s fucking Ishiya Deathside after all, the gig kind of goes by me a little. It’s just hard to get into when you can barely hear the guitar. And what a fucking guitarist he is too. Total fucking legend.

After the gig we hang outside for a while, enjoying the cool night air. The beer in the bar has pretty much dried up, Ronny bemoaning the fact that so few wrote themselves up to the gig’s mailing list saying they were coming, too right and all. In all honesty, I don’t need any more than the six beers I’ve already drunk. We’re heading to Poland tomorrow and I’m driving the guys to Skavsta and could do without the hangover. I still make my classic move and decline the train Jen is taking home, saying I’ll be on the next one. I’ve made this mistake so many fucking times over the fifteen years we’ve been together. Tonight though, it’s not about staying for one last beer, it’s just really nice hanging and chatting with everyone. Somehow a beer finds its way into my hand anyway though. Outside, hanging with Eric and Jude, Ragnar and a bunch of others I watch the clock slowly tick by the next train from Högdalen’s departure a half hour later and then end up having to make a dash just before the next one. Luc asks me how long I have, “Six minutes”, I hastily reply as I say bye to everyone and run off with two guitar cases towards the station. "Six minutes?" I hear Luc quaffing as I run off.  It’s fucking knackering! I have to stop a few times during the five minutes it takes to run to the train. When I get there I’m just in time to watch the train doors close in my face.

The rest of the gang, Vik and Bea, Julia, Kullman, Ragnar and a bunch of others soon arrive behind me, considerably less out of breath, and we hang out on the platform for the half twelve train. When we get to Gullmarsplan the last Skarpnäck train has already gone, so Kullman and I take the bus and a ten minute walk instead. We end up having a good chat about kids and living around this area and decide we’ll have to make a date with our kids over at Fyren park sometime soon. I leave him at the end of our street and curse myself for getting home so late. Jen and I have plans to go for breakfast in town early in the morning. I never, ever make the most of things when I’ve got the rare chance to sleep. I guess that’s how it is when you take time off from your kids or your job to play in a band. “Good gig by the way!” Kullman shouts back to me as he heads off down Sockenvägen.  Even though it's already one thirty, I still take time for a cup of tea and some toast before bed.  The beer munchies kicking in as I sit there falling aleep in my plate on the sofa.

Next stop Gydnia.

No comments:

Post a Comment