Oh, LiveNation/Werchter, I've given you my money again, and I don't regret it. It'll probably be the last time, though. Hopefully.

Roger Water - The Wall - live. My friend Sam invited me to go to this and at first I didn't wanna go. After I came to my senses and realised I could see Roger Waters play The Wall in its entirety, I bought a ticket anyway. For 69 euros. Funny, right. 69.
So I survived the corporate machine once again in order to enjoy some fine music by a band that was once Pink Floyd. And I was stoked to see these songs live. Little did I know that the songs weren't the only thing to be stoked on.

HOLY MOTHERFUCKING SHIT THAT'S A BIG WALL. Mr. Waters and his crew had decided it's a good idea to set up a white wall, made of mostly seperate bricks, about thrice the length of the stage itself, which is already ginormous. So that was my first impressions. Little did I know that was just the start. The things this show would pull out of its sleeve, it's almost literally unimaginable. Of course, the existence of it proves that someone once imagined it, and even made it happen. That's cool.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to The Wall. If you're going to take photos, please put your camera to "flash forced off" or you'l only get pictures of a white screen and you will hinder the projections.
Whatevz you say man.
The start is a bit blurry. I remember a reenactment of a famous Spartacus scene, a stage filled with people holding flags, A FUCKLOAD OF FIREWORKS (only at the beginning though, thank God), and a bunch of other stuff happening, most notable a model airplane that flew from the back of the crowd right into The Wall. Roger Waters just gets into it. The setlist for the show was pretty easy:
Afte the first two songs The Waters introduced himself and such and started a speech about a friend of his who had been harassed by cops, basically saying, at age 70, the all cops are bastards. That's fucking hardcore, dude. I was captivated by this man, musically, ideologically and in terms of entertainment. I say ideologically cause the whole experience of watching The Wall get played live, with all those visuals, gave it so much more sense than I had got from just listening to the record. The Wall itself is about 35 years old as well, so it's created in a timeframe that I have zero affinity to.
Sure, the songs were great. The songs were amazing. That was a given. But the show was extraordinaire. The giant teacher-monster during Another Brick In The Wall. The backplay of the 1980 Roger Waters footage while singing Mother in 2013. The projections of airplanes dropping crucifixes, communist icons, and other imagery during Goodbye Blue Skies. It all made so much more sense to me. I knew The Wall was a coneptual fucking thing, but the way the show was given, it emphasized a lot on the Cold War, Red Scare and all that jazz. It just fell together perfectly, the balance of personal and literal wall-imagery. I loved it.
I loved how he integrated fallen war victims. I loved that they were building the wall during first half of the show, shoving the last brick in at the end of Goodbye Cruel World. I loved that they were right on top of the Wall during Comfortably Numb. I loved how the videos of kids seeing their dads again almost made me tear up for some reason. I loved how there suddenly was a big, black, graffiti'd pig in the air. I loved the cartoon during Run Like Hell (I think).

I love the fucking shit out of the show. It's pretty difficult and, frankly, stupid to write a blog post about it cause it was just too extravagant and over-the-top to discuss. Lots of things have slipped my mind, but it was definitely worth my 69 euros. Heh, 69.

In order to restore the punxness of my blog I wanted to include a Youth of Today reference but it didn't work out, sorry.
Break down the wall.


A culmination of life

I'm a pretty lucky guy. I've seen a ton of my favourite bands, some multiple times, some on reunion shows, some in different countries. There are a few bands/artists I really wanna see but haven't yet. Self Defense Family, for example, is a band I really wanna see live. I haven't seen Masked Intruder, even though I had multiple chances. House Boat should get their asses over here. I'm going to the Fest later this year so that'll resolve my issues with seeing Like Bats, Mixtapes, Dillinger fucking Four, Hold Tight, Crusades, Weekend Dads and many more live on stage.
But one band I've been waiting to see for ages (like, a good 6 years) is Defiance, Ohio. A band that is dear to me for some weird reason. I got the records, I got a t-shirt, I got the bootlegs, listened to and read the interviews, I've seen the live sessions, I even decided to get the Share What Ya Got bird tattooed a couple months ago, and I really like them.
So when I heard Ryan Woods, Theo Hilton and Toby Foster, who did a colab tape once, were touring Europe, I was extatic. Ryan Woods has been in Defiance, Ohio since the start, Theo Hilton joined in around the second record, and 2 years or so ago Ryan started this band called High Dive with Toby Foster and Nick Romy. Theo is also (in) a band called Nana Grizol, who I've never heard (of) actually. I bet they are/were in other bands wut that's the main deal. Theo, Toby and Ryan were coming to Europe to play songs their bands made. That would mean I could hear Defiance, Ohio songs live. Seeing as Defiance, Ohio is not playing Fest this year (which is actaully odd, cause they're kind of a staple band), this is, for now, as close as I'll get to the real thing.

I'm a lucky guy. Lucky enough to get invited by the infamous Lenny for a backyard barbecue and show by these three gentlemen, for his birthday. Once again, thanks so much, made my year pretty much. I'm sorry for the lousy present! Happy birthday.

So, with plenty of food and drinks (seriously, thanks) in my belly, and after the slip'n'slide activities, it was time for a show. The band set up the guitar, bas and keyboards in the yard and started playing and I couldn't stop smiling. They started out with Nana Grizol's Cynicism, a song that starts with the magnificent line I once saw a sunset so vivid and warm that I swore it was perfect which sounds so delightful for some reason. Theo's voice is really cute, actually. I don't know how the describe it other than that. Like, all his vowels are short and he has a pretty high-pitched voice, and it ends up sounding "cute"/"cool". I'm probably not making sense, whatevz. They constantly switched roles, Theo and Toby switch between keyboards and guitars, I think Ryan stayed on the bass throughout. As a bassist myself, I think it's really cool how he plays the songs, there's some really simple but effective riffs. They shared vocals on all songs. It's really a collaboration and a celebration of musicianship.
They played a couple of Defiance, Ohio songs like Old Dead Tree, Oh Susquehanna, Anxious And Worrying and maybe another one as well? You Are Loved? I don't know. That was great. Oh Susquehanna was really awesome to hear, for some reason. They also played quite a few High Dive songs, including Tennessee, and How To Grow and I think another one (Through All of It?) from the new These Are Days EP, which is amazing. There were some other songs that passed the repertoire (like Nana Grizol's Gave On) but I can't remember it all. I was just really happy those guys were playing their songs. The was definitely a moment I've been looking forward to more than anything else and my life is better now.

After the show I talked to and interviewed them, and they were just the nicest people. We discussed the difference in Euro and US cocktail sauce, how they ended up playing together, but mostly about their ideas and opinions about queercore, queer culture and their experiences with being gay or whatevz, which is, according to them, one of the reasons they tour together.

So I met some people I've "looked up to" for quite some time and they're actually really cool and nice. That rules.

So yeah, everything's swell, thanks Lenny, everything's cool.

Leave me alone

Do you know this booker/label/other stuff-doer Flood? Well, he did a showcase for his label this past Sunday and lotsa bands played and stuff. There was vegan food and lotsa beers so I was quite pleased/pissed. Plissed, if you will. Great Sunday.

When I arrived, Old Ivy was playing. They were alright. I remember hearing the lyric It's uncomfortable to be myself so I'll just keep pretending to be someone else and thinking 'oh god'. But yeah, it was pretty cool, young band, interesting.

Next up on the plate were Depths. With a period. I don't know why. Anyway, more hip 'core, cool I guess.

I think Cavalcades played next but I can't really remember. I might not have seen them.

I did see Rainmaker and I thought they were amazing but I don't know why. Swedish dark and heavy hardcore band, 2 vocalists, really cool. But why, don't ask me why.

I basically went there to see Nai Harvest on their tour, and they did a quick but great show. I'm not familiar yet with their new material, but it sounded more chord-y and really cool. The few old songs they played hit the spot as well. Talked to Ben later that evening, he's a really nice dude.

Then, I think, Disembarked, who I can't remember so probably I haven't seen them perform. That makes sense.

I did see Crows An Wra. Not really tight. Musically it was more up my sleeve than most of the bands playing but it sounded slow and sloppy. Might have something to do with the fact it was their last day of tour and they were probably tired. I told them what I thought at the merch table and they agreed, so that means my opinion is worth something maybe perhaps probably not.

Speaking of merch, here's some rekerdz I bought: Nai Harvest "Whatever", Jackals "Everyday Fabric", Blacklisted "Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God", Lich/Man Hands split, Let It Die "Let It Die" and the new Drug Church 7". Whoo!

I don't think I saw Continents. (yes, with a period) play. I did see Perceptions for a couple minutes. Can't remember Reason To Care, but also can't deny I saw 'em. Don't think so.

It gets pretty confusing for a dude like me who's used to simple, recognizable songs by bands who have simple bandnames that don't all sound alike. What would happen if all pop punk bands started to call themselves The Perceptions, The Continents, The Cavalcades, The Depths, etc. I wouldn't see the forest through the trees anymore.

Anyway, I missed the Homeless due to train schedules, but they were releaseing their new record and I think it's probably good or something. Maybe you wanna check it out.

I had a fun time, saw some frandz, had a lot of drinks, saw some awful people as well.

Also, someone at the shows tracked me down on the internet and contacted me which was cool but got really annoying really quick.
Here's a hint: don't be nice to people, it sucks and people generally suck as well.


A critical analysis of who's the boss.

I can be very short or very elaborate on the events of Saturday. I'll be both.

Bruce Springsteen ruled, everything else wasn't really good. Werchter sucks. Beach people.

Okay, so, you knwo how I like normal venues and small shows and the likes? Well, every once in a while I get luyred into some kind of mass event because I really like music. This time it was Bruce Springsteen, who was set to perform at TW Classic, a festival on the Werchter fest site.

I fucking hate Werchter. I carry the same disdain for it as I do towards den Humo, Studio Brussel and Pitchfork. Those are things that are considered cool, but, what a lot of people don't know, is that those are things that are actually not cool. You know what's cool? Independent music press. DIY shows. A genuine love for music. Musicians treated as people and not as demi-gods. You know what's cool? Buying records, making your own choices, not getting influenced by what's hip. Having an opinion. You know what's not cool? Werchter.
And don't be fooled. Don't think Werchter is cool because they booked Trash Talk last weekend. Doesn't make 'em cool. Au contraire, they're ruining alternative music, one band at a time.
Keeping everything underground is perhaps the only way to keep hardcore independent. At least - if that is what you want it to be. - VUUR (in Ten Fifteen fanzine)
Anyway, I wanted to see the Boss, and my friends were going, so off I was to Werchter. I'm not gonna point out all the flaws and vices, but there are a few. First off, everything is expensive. Okay, I saw that coming, and if you don't think about it too much it's alright. But the people, oh the people. What's up with people thinking they're going to the beach or some kind of pool? Beach blankets, camping chairs, the whole shebazzle. Ridiculous. Also, too many people. Way too many.
Luckily there was kind of a quiet spot in the back where we pretty much chilled a lot. We heard Balthazar in the background upon arrival, but that was boring. I was excited to see Blondie perform but they kinda dissappointed. Sure, they played the hits and it was alright, but it was alright. Nothing more, nothing less. And, if I'm not mistaken, not entirely live. But okay, I can scratch that off of my bucket list (if I had one). I did a dance or two, sang to the tunes, and then went for more fest beers and chills.

Ben Harper was a blues musician. All sounds the same to me. Background music. Sure, it's good, but it doesn't appeal to me. Santana was rather boring. The same could be said for Keane. Luckily I got to hang out with Petit, that was fun. Slept through a bit of Santana, because the beers and the sun were getting to me. Slept away my klopke and after that I had a coffee and I was ready for the rest of the evening. I encountered Sander, who awkwardly but consensually followed me for the rest of the evening. Cool. Cool dude.

So we went to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Now that was a good show. Fair enough, it was about an hour too long (he played from 10 pm til half past midnight) for my liking, and I got a bit bored in the middle, but only for aminute, cause, you know, he's the Boss, and the Boss knows how to entertain a crowd. Starting out (and basically ending as well) with the phrase "CAN YOU FEEL THE SPIRIT?" and going straight for the audience, he captivated the hell out of the crowd. He took requests from signs. Even played fucking Jailhouse Rock. Dude's a beast. And he played a show. Like, continuously. No yeah yeah yib yab, no 5-minute breaks, no 10-minute 'interactive yelling', no nonsense. He played the rock and the roll, the American way. New songs, old songs, hits, non-hits. He did his thing and his thing was amazing. He took a girl up on the stage to sing a chorus with him. She didn't sing too well, and you could see she was nervous as fuck and just wanted it to end, but the band stopped playing entirely, the girl sang the chorus like a fucking champ and Bruce stood there smiling like a motherfucker. Dude is 63 and still looks and acts like he just passed 30.
That's just one example of the joy-machine that is the Boss. He turned every frown upside down, and I can't imagine anybody in the audience who didn't want to marry the man. His vitality is inspring, as are his songs. He took people on stage to dance with him during Dancing In The Dark. There was this woman who pretty much dragged the Boss on stage to dance with her. It was delightful.
The moment supreme, for me, was of course Born To Run. I basically paid 78 euros simply to hear that song played live. He could've done just that, like a 5-minute set, and I wouldn't regret anything. It was as amazing as I imagined it to be. Cool. But instead he played a 150-minute set, without filler. That's cool.

There's lots more to say, but also not, cause I'll end up saying it was cool 30 times. It was very cool, I'm glad and endured a mainstream fest to enjoy the Boss and watch him play his heart and other organs out.



Kalmthout punx city

I organised my first show yesterday. First show I organised. I did it. I'm a real punk rocker right now. I organised a show for the first time. It was well cool.

It all started 6 months ago, when Koen/Cookie from Belgian punk rock band The Sex Toys e-mailed me (for some reason, I don't know) about setting up a show for them on their European tour, a show in Kalmthout, on a Monday, first of July. And I was like, why the fuck not? Right?! So I went over my venue options, and decided to go for the old socialist centre Volkhuis, now baptised the cultural centre of Kalmthout, O*KA. They have a big room, downstairs, which would be too big and expensive for this, and a small room, which would be perfect for this. It was way cheap to rent as well, so after contracts were signed and the bill was paid that was done.

In my search for other bands I stumbled upon my old bandmate's, Sander, new band Accides, who I'd happily book for a show cause they're cool and they're a local band, which is something I should allegedely support. For another band I dug a little deeper and thought Coma Commander would be cool, as they are one of my favourite Belgian punk bands right now and they're amazing live. I thought it'd be cool for them to play around these parts, cause maybe people here would like them.

I booked a sound system, which ultimately got a bit confusing but worked out really fine in the end, and so I was set on being a promotor for the first time, after having been going to shows for so long. I promoted the event pretty lousily actually, mostly through the Internet (the social media and the forums) and I spread some flyers around town.

Here's the flyer:

Pretty cool, huh? Here's a stupid header I made:

I made facebook event and all that jazz and I thought I was doing ok.
I know Kalmthout is not ideal for live shows (it's parties with stupid DJ's that are all the rage 'round here) so I was pretty nervous about turnout. I hoped to maybe convince some of my punk rock friends to make the trip but that didn't really work out. My friend Laurens simultaneaously set up a show for You'll Live and Nai Harvest in Leuven as well, which I would have loved to go to actually, but yeah. That's alright.

In June I worried about Sabam shit for a while but ultimately decided I wouldn't get into trouble over that and they could, obviously, go fuck themselves. I arranged another meeting to check out the venue and got all my shit together.

So, yesterday, the big day, I went to get the room ready for a punk show. The room is usually set up for quizzes, card games or cinema nights or stuff like that so I had to move a ton of table and chairs. And it felt good, cause I was being an organiser and it felt really cool to do that stuff. Next thing I realised is that, considering the usual activities that go on there, the fridge was obviously not ready for a punk show. One crate of beer wasn't gonna cut it. So I went to the Colruyt and got a few extra crates, and some extra coke and water for the bands. The I went home to chil for abit, until Sander showed up with the partial backline and their gear, so we went to set that up. A bit later the sound technicians came and set up their stuff, and everything started to look like a concert venue, which was rad. Paul from the O*KA management came by and asked if the "place wasn't gonna be torn apart". I said no. Then he asked if there weren't gonna be people with spiked hair and ripped shirt. I said no, while I repressed the urge to tell him the 70s are over and punk rock people actually got some common sense and stopped getting ridiculous haircuts and clothes that are uncomfortable. He was a really nice guy, but I could tell he was genuinely concerned about it being a "punk rock" show and the state of his venue. Funny. There was a red wine spill on the floor which I couldn't get out, I hope he doesn't mind that too much. Those youngsters with their wines and alcohol and whatnot! He came by again after Accides had played and he seemed really cool with it all. Maybe I can do another show there in the future. I probably should.

Since Accides were hesitant to use their drum gear as backline, The Sex Toys helped me out there. They got there at 7h30, set up everything and were really nice and helpful. I had made lasagne earlier that day so my mom brought it over, along with some change for to get the night going. My mom rules super much. The hungry people all ate some lasagne and everything seemed to fall into place, thank fucking God.

With everything set up, people actually started coming in. Entrance fee was €2, which was a real help in the long run. I decided, considering the infrastructure of the entrance hall I would do both admission and drinks, which was doable, but got pretty stressy at times. I didn't really want to bother anyone by asking them for help cause it was actually doable, but maybe next time I'll get over my self-reliance and ask for help. My mom's box of euro-pieces came in very handy when people started getting out their big bills out. Accides brought in a bunch of local people, friends and family to their first show, which conveniently helped me out massively in finances. Awesome.

When the room was filling up, Accides started at around 8h20. Perfect. I didn't see them play cause I had to stand-by at the admission/drinks stand, but what I heard was tight. Way better than what we used to do with Sander and I's band, the Reducing Tee's. It was tight, sounded good (thanks so much Sound Vision!). Ihad hoped they'd play some original songs, but sadly they weren't quite ready yet so the set consisted of all-but-one covers. They covered stuff like The Kids Aren't Alright, Teenage Dirtbag, On The Road Again, and a punked up version of Bad Moon Rising. And the coolest thing of all, they played Irish Girls, which is a song I wrote with our previous band, and they dedicated it to me, which was super awesome. It was just really cool to hear that song again, and hear them play it. Made me happy. Y'know. I like that. They encored with Sabbath's Paranoid and canned a pretty good first show on a high note. I just hope their originals will get the overhand soon. I wanna see them in their own element.

During the breaks I opened the windows cause it was fucking hot, and I served drinks and got a few extra people coming in. I was getting pretty confident about putting up a good show. I wanna thank Koen and the other guys from the Sex Toys for helping me with getting empty glasses and bottles back to the bar and just being all-round helpful and thankful throughout the night.
Of course I forgot to immediately close the windows and the neighbour from across the street went to complain about the noise cause her baby couldn't sleep. I got worried cause Coma Commander had everything set up loud as fuck indeed, but she didn't come back nor called the police so I guess that turned out okay.

Coma Commander soundchecked with the Misfits' Skulls and I saw a bunch of people leave the room, which obviously displeased me. I understood the old people who were just there to watch their grandson/granddaughter play, but why did the semi-aged rockers leave the room? Cause they had work in the morning? What, you're going to sleep at 9h30? Whatever.
I'm guessing it was just really too loud to stand there without earplugs, cause I can't understand why you would otherwise walk away from the punk rock Machinedramon that was Coma Commander. Holy fuck, that was awesome. Solid set, their songs are just so well crafted, their Dear Landlord cover rocks and vocally also one of the more interesting bands in the genre. I couldn't necesarily enjoy it like it should but I was happy just hearing them play. Force to be reckoned with!

In the mean time I was stoked I was seemingly getting around financially. I'm not sure if I broke even, I couldn't care less, but I definitely got most of my expenses backed which was super exciting. Again, mostly thanks to the first band and their fanbase, but also because of simply everyone who bothered to come out, stay and have fun, most notably the Noorderkempen punx (even Wim came down from Essen, rad!) and the bands who all played great music.

The Sex Toys went on to play their set, a bit later than planned but it all worked out in the end. and their brand of punk rock is a bit more accesible I think, so maybe some people came back in. I'm not sure. I do know their set hasn't changed much but has become much, much better. I really really really liked the show. The Zatopeks and Bottlerocket covers still rule, and their songs like Porno King, No Shame No Game, Puppets On A String and Danny OD are all catchy jams that made me fistpump like crazy. I went to check out the room a few times and people were dancing, THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME. I mean, sure, it's cool that people are dancing to a band, but I felt so accomplished seeing people have fun at a show I set up on a Monday night in a musically shithole town. That was the best moment of the night.
The Sex Toys kicked a lot of ass in their set and closed with a cover of The Separation of Church And Skate to which literally everyone in the room (like, 10 people) went nuts to. That was awesome.

After their set the gear was packed, hangs were hung out, and more people left. I ran out of beer, which was a shame but also not because that meant I sold quite a lot of beer. I put on Uncontrollable Fatulence and starting cleaning up to the tunes of my teenage years. I paid Coma Commander, who are currently getting together some funds for their new recordings, and The Sex Toys, who are heading to Italy now to continue their tour. I could even spare some money for Accides to fund their rehearsal room drinks and whatnot. So let's say it was a successful night. I might be over exaggerating. I don't care about money anyway, I was just happy I had some to give it to the bands, who can actually use it.

After cleaning up the room and putting the tables and chairs back in position, I hung out with the few remaining people, gave them the leftover lasagne and left everythng as it were. Light off, show done, I was stoked on life.
Sander drove me and all my things back home.

That was the story of the first time I organised a show. Probably pretty boring, but hey, there you have it. Nothing special to you all, who have been doing this for a long while, but it was pretty cool for me.