03-07-13

Kalmthout punx city

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...
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.

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