Friday, March 24, 2017


“Fuck guys! I forgot my passport..” Received that text from Lucas on our DB chat group just as I was arriving at Central Station on the tube. We were taking the Arlanda Express in twenty minutes time and Luc was coming straight from work. He was clearly troubled. His troubles weren’t helped by a barrage of pisstaking from me and Viktor. Luc was asking for advice, what should we do? Should he go home and get his passport? No he’ll never make the flight...all the while Vik and I write nothing but pisstake in reply. I tried to get all concrete for a minute and comfort Luc by telling him that he should be fine with his ID card. He writes back and says that his ID wonät work. “Where’s your ID card from? ICA?” I’m almost crying at my own humour by this point. I sense Vik is enjoying it too. I sense Luc most certainly is not.

The problem is potentially serious though. They don’t normally check ID on flights within Scandinavia, although they do check the at the borders if you travel by train. This situation has intensified since the Swedish government closed the borders in the face of the refugee crisis. With Luc being Brazilian and on temporary residence it’s all the little more precarious. When Luc explores the option of going back for his passport and getting a later flight Vik’s tone changes dramatically. He’d been banking on him and Luc taking the two for one option on the otherwise arse-rapingly expensive Arlanda Express. “OK, Gaz, we have to take the suburb train in that case. There’s no way I’m paying full price on the Express!” He’s been banging on all afternoon about drinking his favourite, expensive beer in Copenhagen and all of a sudden that dream is dying a sudden, violent death. Being a student, I get the Express train cheap anyway. Seizing the opportunity, I turn my pisstaking sights on Vik.

Luc decides to chance it and we agree on rendezvousing at the meeting point at Central Station known as the Gay Ring, which is a place that was a notorious pick up spot for the stigmatised gay community back in the 80’s. Even with that there’s a fair bit of fucking around since Vik ends up in a different spot than me and Luc. It’s one fucking spot and for a minute we manage to end up in three different places. Frantic text buzzing continues until manage to coordinate ourselves. Fucking joke… I laugh with the guys when we’re finally on the train about John in Speedhorn once turning up to Irish Sea crossing to Dublin with nothing but his forklift driver’s license. Thing is, we’d turned already turned back once after Kev had realised he’d forgotten his passport, but then we’d only been on the road about ten minutes. Of course, everyone took the piss out of his rookie mistake, John happily included, and then when John flashes his forklift drivers license, proud as fuck having just taken his test, we’re all amazed that he’s brought an ID card with no photo on it. No passport to back it up. He’d obviously been dying to put the driver’s license into action. Amazing.

We check in without a hitch and end up having about an hour to kill before boarding. We head to Max and tuck into some veggie burgers. Right next door O’Learys have a little table set up with some guy in a chef’s hat giving away mini Oumph Veggie burgers, so we tuck into them whilst we wait in line. Brilliant. We land in Copenhagen around eight thirty and get stuck behind a fucking convention of middle to old aged golfers by the Special baggage delivery belt. There must be about eighty of the posing old bastards and we have to wait an age for them to clear their mountain of golf bags before our gear is brought forward. Always hated golf and the wankers that indulge in it. Actually it’s not so much the golf that’s the problem, more the wankers. Anyway, it’s getting late by the time we’re on the train into town and by the time we get to our friend Sander’s place in Frederiksberg where we’re staying tonight, and we’re sat on his couch with a can of Tuborg Grön, I can feel the energy sapping from my body and the couch imploring me to stay. Vik is determined we’re heading out for a beer though and once back out in the fresh air I feel myself perk up.

We head over to a bar in Norrbro and Sander head’s straight to the bar and buys a round of IPA in. It’s good stuff and the spacious, generously lit bar is pretty cool, lots of good looking people enjoying their Friday night. The beer here doesn’t seem so expensive but then I remember that the Danish kronor is currently bullying it’s Swedish sibling mercilessly. Everything is the same price as back home, except it’s worth about 25% more. Hoping there is plenty of free beer going around at the gig tomorrow or it’s going to be a pretty dry weekend. I have a good chat with Sander, spend most of the time at this place talking to him about fuck knows what, this, that, everything. I’ve never really spoken to him all that personally, he’s an old friend of Luc’s from school, but I have a really nice time hanging out with him tonight whilst Vik and Luc chortle on like an old couple out at the bingo.

We have a couple of beers and then tell Vik it’s time to go to a cheaper place. Time’s up on his hipster beer for tonight. We walk about ten minutes until Sander directs us into a decidedly dimmer bar. Looks more like the typical pizzeria bar we get back home, only bigger. I do the honours and get in four pints of Tuborg for just over half the price the small beers cost at the last place. I have to admit, Vik’s hipster beer tasted better but the Tuborg does the job all the same. We take a couple of free seats at the end of a table where some others friendly looking faces are sat and get chatting a little. As they’re leaving the guy in the group offers me a date from the pack he’s eating, to which I happily accept. Was never a big fan of the old dates but this one tastes pretty fucking good. Either he’s got some special hook up or I’m feeling the buzz of the four beers I’ve consumed. Before I get to finish of the fifth beer Luc gets up to go to the toilet and his jacket swipes my glass of the table and into my fucking lap. I’m up in arms, appalled by his clumsiness and my now soggy crotch. “You should have had your hand on your glass”, the cheeky fucker says. “That’s what I was using the table for!” I reply miffed. Luc is a bit sauced up though and just swans off nonchalantly to the bogs.

We have one more before heading home, stopping off for some really top notch falafel at some joint with this mardy faced fucker who wrongly accuses Vik of not paying for his can of Coke. Vik pays the man a second time, pretty much throwing the money at him as he does so, telling him to cheer up. Falafel is top notch all the same.

When we get back to Sander’s small living room I can sense there’s going to be a bit of debating about who’s sleeping where so I throw myself immediately onto the blow up bed, scoring myself the best spot in the room. Luc negotiates himself on the camper bed leaving Vik with the small couch. He’s obviously less than chuffed with this arrangement. Sorry buddy, it’s each to themselves by this point! Vik, with a slightly mardy tone says he’s fine and then announces he’s sleeping with his shoes on, says he doesn’t give a piss. Luc the cheeky fucker is on the camper bed and has doubled up on mattresses, which I feel maybe he could have shared with Vik on the floor, although obviously I have no intention of giving up the old blow up bed. Sander is stood looking at us, reprimanding us for not brushing our teeth before bed. I’m a hazy mixture of tired, drunk and wary of losing the bed so just roll over and close my eyes, knowing fine well I’ll have a minging mouth in the morning.

I wasn’t counting on the fucking headache though. I have one of those real bastards behind the eyes. One of those where just the slightest inch of movement sends a piercing pain through your skull, like someone slowly pushing a knitting needle through your eye, and you feel like you’re going to throw your guts up. Thing is, although I didn’t feel that drunk last night, and I certainly hadn’t counted on a severe hangover of any kind, I did account for a contingency plan in as much as bringing a couple of headache pills with me for the trip. Thing is they’re in my bag somewhere in the room and the thought of getting up and searching for them is enough to make me cry. What the fuck is this headache? I actually catch myself thinking back on that first beer, about how it tasted a bit suspect, but then realise I’ll be open to ridicule if I actually mouth those words.

I check on Luc and can tell from the slits of his eyes that he’s suffering from the exact same condition that I am. Maybe there was something wrong with that first beer? We didn’t drink THAT much for fuck sakes. Vik is also awake, seems we’ve all plugged into the same built in alarm clock and set it far too early. He’s looking at his phone and talking really loudly though. Just random shit. “Kenko’s birthday today”. Luc looks at me pleading, and then asks me under his breath why Vik is talking so loudly. I lie there for about an hour, mouth like a dead dog and head in the process of imploding before I finally crawl out of the wobbly air bed and find the magic white pills in my bag. They kick in after about twenty minutes and I get back to sleep. A couple of hours later the headache is just a distant, bad memory.

Sander arrives in the room bright and breezy and tells us the room stinks like men. Luc asks him if he can get some water to which Sander replies, “What am I? Your dog?” He then proceeds to make woofing sounds as he goes and fetches Luc a glass from the kitchen. Kev arrives after we’ve showered and we head off for some breakfast at some nearby café that is all ecological, all good, all expensive. Kev has been here since Thursday hanging out with his friend Sarah, who is actually the sister of Rebecca who has booked us for the show this weekend. He seems ok, a little down maybe. Says the café back home is having a bit of a hard time since the bastard Tory government released their new budget which is small business unfriendly to say the least. The thought of the Waiting Room being forced to close fills me with great sadness, can’t imagine what Kev’s next step will be if that happens. After slagging off the Tory filth for a while over a mug of black coffee and bread rolls we go for a walk in the welcoming sunshine. What a difference an hour’s flight south makes. Spring is alive and kicking here. Back home the skies are grey and the ground is covered in wet, slushy ice.

We walk through the Assistens cemetery where HC Andersen is buried and then on through Norrbro until we come to Vik’s target destination, a brewery called Brus. He buys a few pricey beers for after the show tonight and then a pint for the now. We gather around him as he sips through it, enjoying the bright sunshine streaming through the windows. We’re practicing at our friend Lasse’s studio this afternoon so we head back to Sander’s place to get the gear and take a cab down to the lakes where the studio is situated. Jesper from Night Fever meets us and let’s us into the place. It’s a beautiful afternoon and it feels quite the shame to descend into the dark, dank underground corridors of the rehearsal complex. Practice is good though, feels worthwhile going through the set with Kev. When we come back up to the daylight it’s turned markedly colder, the afternoon sun slowly fading into evening. We get another cab over to the venue, Jesper tells us he’ll catch us later.

The venue is right in the city, pretty new looking place and very fresh. Has one of those longer, shallow stages that runs along the back wall. Wolfbrigade have already been and gone and their merch is already in place. We set up beside them and hang one of shirts over theirs just to see if they notice. Luc has made flyers for our upcoming LP and he slides them into the Wolfie’s vinyl’s as a little bit of free advertising. It’s nice to finally meet Rebecca. I’ve mailed back and forth with her a lot over the course of the last year. We were supposed to play this event last year but had to cancel due to Luc’s visa extension not processing in time. The show was in March, Luc’s application was approved in August or something…

With little else to do we head to the side room and eviscerate three large bags of crisps that are sat on the table and tuck into a couple of bottles of the old Tuborg Grön. I wasn’t really feeling the beer, still pretty tired from last night, but looking at everyone indulging it felt rude not to join in. The Wolfies arrive back at the venue, having been to drop their gear off at the hotel. They’re all starving and look forlornly at the empty packets of crisps on the table. Tommy the drummer picks one up and inspects it to make sure there really is nothing left, “Three packs, all gone?” he asks no one in particular. We say nothing. Dinner is soon served anyway.

It’s good catching up with the guys over dinner. They’re a good bunch. Dinner is pretty good as well, I was expecting the usual punk stew but there are a few different options including potato wedges. Funny how spuds are always seen as some sort of luxury when served as dinner at a punk show. We sit about chatting about this and that and then head back down in time to see the first band, Bliss, which are some young kids from Copenhagen that look like they’re from New York. Some of the Deptford lot had been here a couple of weeks back on Tobs’ stag do and had seen them, Karl had said they were great and advised us to check them out. They are indeed pretty good. The singer cracks me up, he talks the whole show in English since the drummer seems to be from somewhere other than Denmark. He introduces the band before the start the first song, “Hi, we’re punks”. They kick in and rattle through the first song but the drummer seems to be struggling with the kit and it gradually falls apart before. “Hi, we’re punks”, the singer snorts again. This really cracks me up. They play the first song again. They are good value for the twenty minutes they play anyway and I pick up one of their demo tapes. I ask Kev how come he wasn’t here on the stag party a couple of weeks back since he loves Copenhagen so much. “I didn’t have the money. And besides, I couldn’t think of anything more awful”.

The second band are quite horrible. They play some metallic hardcore and the singer is a poseur extraordinaire. He has this mardy pout on his face and keeps making these motions with his non-mic hand whilst making sharp movements with his head from one side to the other. He’s a good looking guy and he knows it. He looks like he craves fame. Of course, none of us talk to any of them, this is all just judgement from what we see during the gig. Which makes us absolute wankers I suppose. They’ll probably think we’re shit too. “Fucking daft!” Kev texts our chat group as we’re stood in various parts of the crowd watching.

The next band are something else though.  They have some Danish name I can't pronounce, or barely read to be honest.  The singer is the guy from Cola Freaks and they are fucking brilliant. His voice is so good, screamy but clear at the same time, fits perfectly over the breakneck US hardcore style the band plays. Me, and Micke Wolf stand to the side watching them the entire show. They’re the kind of band that make you smile and get you in the mood to play a gig, which is perfect since we’re on next.  I set up for the gig really buzzing.

The flipside is that you have a lot to live up to. And although we play tight enough I don’t think we really manage the task. It’s a bit disappointing since we sounded really good in the rehearsal space. I don’t know, maybe I have too high expectations, it’s not bad at all, but just not as good as it could be. It’s a little on the wrong side of fast in the beginning and Kev manages to sing the same song twice during the set. The second time he sings I Want to See You Die, we’re actually playing I Hate Your Life. He doesn’t even notice. Which I guess says a lot about our music. It’s nice to finally play to a crowd in Copenhagen all the same. The eighty or so people here tonight is more than the previous three shows we’ve played here put together. And it’s nice with some friends faces in the crowd. Beside the Wolfies, Ronnie has made the trip over from Malmö, and Jesper is here as well as Jakob from Junta and his girlfriend Christine.

I ask Ronnie afterwards how it sounded, and he said with his usual big smile, "It sounded hectic, but it in a good way.  As always".  Kind of confirmed my suspicions over the sound tonight.  The drummer from Bliss approaches us in the side room after the gig and tells he loved the show, thought we were the best band of the night. I smile and thank him, unconvinced. “No really man, just great intense, straight up hardcore. I loved it!” Luc and I tell him we really liked the Bliss gig too but he’s adamant they sucked. I assume we’re now into the whole false modesty routine but when we ask him if they have any more shows coming up, or if they’re coming to Stockholm, things become clear. “No, we’re splitting up soon. I’m starting another hardcore band, but not like this one”. Bad vibes…

Wolfbrigade do what they do and they do it so well. It feels like you could put them in any shitty venue anywhere in the world and they’d sound the same. I watch Jocke for most of the show, admiring his playing. He’s a total professional, in every sense of the word. I always crack up watching Erken on bass too, always has a cheeky look on his face. I remember the first time I saw them, years back at 44. They were all on stage waiting to play but Erken was nowhere to be seen. He finally arrives carrying a plastic shopping bag with his leads in. Punk as fuck, I thought to myself at the time. After the show we retreat to the back room and enjoy a few drinks, the room is full and there’s a good atmosphere. Rebecca is looking pretty pissed up, walking around with a bottle of champagne. She offers some to me and Jocke who are sat on the step and then thanks us for coming to play the show. She seems chuffed. Afterwards us and the Wolfies head over to a table in the corner of the venue and tuck into to a crate a beer as well as some booze. One of the guys from Halshug is on the dj decks, playing old punk rock to a handful of people. I look over to the dancefloor and Luc is pissed up, dancing on his own wearing a skin tight black vest that he’s acquired from somewhere. Fuck knows how he got so pissed. I taking it easy tonight though, just enjoying the company and the chat. I shift back and forth between the Wolfie guys and Vik and Jesper, who is recounting old Hjertestop US tour stories.

Luc and Kev are hanging out with Sarah and some other punks, having a bit of a dance when the mood takes. When Cock Sparrer comes on you can hear Luc “Whooo” ing a mile away. At one point I go to the toilet and find Luc sat on his own, eyes closed, mouthing the words to whatever song is currently playing.

The night peeters out to a close around one am when the house lights turn on and Rebecca informs us regrettably that it’s time to go. There is confusion for a while over ordering cabs. Vik is on the case apparently but he’s obviously pretty pissed up too. I’m really tired by this point and just want to get back to Sander’s place, who had headed home a while before. The Wolfie guys are waiting for a cab too but when our cab comes I make sure everyone gets their asses into gear and into the car. We wave bye to the guys as we head off back to Frederiksberg. We take a quick walk over to 7 Eleven for some late night snacks before heading to bed. This time I brush my teeth before climbing on to the inflatable matress, confident that there will be no repeat of this morning’s headache tomorrow.

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