Thursday 18 December 2014

Day 8. Azyl, Liberec, Czech Republic

The way from Griefswald to Liberec was long, and uninteresting (at least I don't remember any moment of it), and we were happy to reach the border and to feel again at "home" (not that we did not enjoy 99% of the time being away:). From a 3-bands weekday show the Liberec gig swole to a mini-festival with 6 bands. We joined the line-up shortly before leaving on tour (we were lucky and very grateful for the organizer) and in the last moment Hello Bastards were also added from the UK (yes, I believe it was hard to say 'no' to this offer:). It was suspected that almost only the bands will be the audience that day - there are many shows in Liberec lately and on a weekday noone could expect hundreds of people even if the line-up sounded as illustrous as today.
For us it did not matter, though, we have already played in Liberec and we enjoyed the whole atmosphere that this nice pub/ place called Azyl has. We were just hanging aroung the bands until the gig started, got friends with the Brazilian guys as well as with Hello Bastards, and said hello to our friends from here (ahoj Petra!!!:), had some drinks with them etc. First band that night was a thrash/ black/ punk (?) band from this area with the name Evil Regiment. What they played was very much old shool, reminded me of Venom, Hellhammer or Bathory. Absolutely simple song structures and ancient, rusty mood. Do not expect much musical skill from them, simply the atmosphere of their music which they created was cool. Then we played our set as normal, and realized (as also people said) we had a superb sound that night (just like Bricanyl following us did have).
OK, then the foreign part started with Countdown To Armageddon, an unknown name for me so far, playing Crust/ Post punk. Typically it is the type of music which I cannot take for too long live, so I'd better wasted my time at the distros, which was worth it as at Hello Bastard's stalls I have found many interesting anarchist 'zines, which they were willing to trade. By the time I got back to the concert room it was already Brazilian Nuclëar Fröst on the stage terrorizing the audience with their crust/ metal. I would make them similar to Defy or Subterror from their country, but somnehow they reminded me also to the first band that night: their songs were simple and the atmosphere it conveyed played a more important role again than how talented (or not) the musicians were.

The best band of the night was just to come: Hello Bastards, anarcho-vegan straight edge from the UK. Their set-up and conception about the need of a stage was unique: they placed the drumset in the middle of the concert-room and started their set immediately. They are a trio, with the drummer, guitarist and a vocalist (no bass at all) an these latter two found their places somewhere in the room and the craziness could start... Fastcore/ hardcore/ power violence is what they play, very energetic, powerful show with short songs which made the audience move (running around the drumset like hurricane was the highlight of their performance that night). It was a worthy end of our tour to see this band and get some future inspiration for our next gigs  (which we have already had since that, stealing the idea of placing the drumset in irregular places:). 
And the party was not yet over: as a habit in Liberec, we settled down at the bar drinking, chatting, enjoying the atmosphere till morning, until all of us passed out... :) The awakening some hours (?) later was a bit bitter, but we were just a few hours off from our long-awaited beds, feeling totally like zombies from the grave, but filled with life-long experiences, without any financial, physical and mental loss. Thanks for all the people making this tour possible, we are grateful for their friendliness and hospitality and we promise and hope to be able to give it back one day!!!

Monday 1 December 2014

Day 7. JUZ Klex, Greifswald, Germany

In the morning with tears in our eyes we parted ways from Charlie's and hurried to the ferry, which we successfully caught. Two hours of relaxation was waiting for us, meanwhile we realized the tax-free shop on the boat was surprisingly cheap, so we filled up our alcohol store for the night. We did not expect anything from this Greifswald show, being a Monday and having a Swedish band (Totem Skin) as headliners (we were lucky to get in as support bands). It is always better when you expect less and get more - we were given super and abundant food, excellent sound and even some gas money (which we did not even expect) as well as a handful of enthusiastic people coming to the show and buying our merchandise.

Greifswald for me was a night of encounters: I met one guy who remembered seeing Bombatölcsér in Brno (pub "u Babicky") years ago even with Tereza on vocals. He lives just 40 kms from Greifswald and when he saw our logo on the placard he thought of coming to visit this Monday gig. The second surprising person was some Hungarian guy I met in a pub in town at the afterparty. He spent his Erasmus college period here, and was just accidentally  (and already drunk:) in the pub when we arrived. OK, but let's not run that fast: the concert was all right, but a bit short: even the Swedish band did not play more than 20 minutes I think (our standard programmes were that long/ short, too).

The place itself was a huge complex with a big yard (with a shy-looking but fierce cat living in), own bar and kitchen, concert-hall with a soundman, and rooms for bands to sleep. I think it was financed by the town and functions as some youth centre (there were brochures and leaflets everywhere showing that the house is aboundant in different types of programmes).

It was strange when I asked one of the organizers right before going out to town what time should we be back and if we get some keys to get in... He was confused and surprised, then said the house will be not locked for the night, it is not a habit here. And it was so... but not just unlocked was it, the doors were open wide by the time we arrived and it was rather late/ early morning:) Actually, Greifswald seemed to me a small, cultivated, well-preserved historical town with people willing to keep it cultural and civilized - all in all, I liked it very much. About the afterparty I will not talk too much this time (I don't remember much, to be honest), so here are some pictures to speak:) (But the pub which we visited had excellent atmosphere, indeed!!!)  


Friday 7 November 2014

Day 6. DAY OFF in Sweden/ Denmark - 14.09.2014.

To get a car mechanic on a Sunday somewhere in Sweden, who could fix our van for a reasonable price, might sound impossible. Lucky bastards as we were this time, with our eternal gratefulness to Niklas for arranging a guy (we just called him Magic Man) who could change our wheel within an hour for 100 Euros. More than that, we were also entertained by his professional work and attitude – we can say we got a full service (we have a video about the exchange of the wheel, but it is not available yet).

The funniest part (almost like in a burlesque movie) was when, after thanking him and saying goodbye to our hosts amongst hugs and hand-shakings, all of us got into the van, and Karel, our driver, started to launch the engine… then the van refused to make any move.  So again out of the car with desperate faces – but our magic man knew where the problem was: the new wheel had a different size and it got stuck by the backside of the brakeshoe – it is not anything he could cure with a flex :). This time the van worked perfectly and with shouts of joy and satisfaction we “set to sail” for Denmark, again. We planned to spend the evening in Christiania (part of Coppenhagen, famous for being a kind of autonomous district with their self-governing system, and of course an easy access to hash :), but we could not manage on time as we had to drive about 10 hours and due to the problems with the van we left Karlstad too late). We could still stay overnight at Charlie’s place, which we (again) are extremely grateful for. A huge joint by Jonathan (and a smaller one especially for Angelo :) was already waiting for us along with a nice supper and some beers making our day off relaxing and refreshing. We were kind of relieved not to play that evening, though we were already looking forward the next show :) 

Friday 24 October 2014

Day 5. Båten, Karlstad, Sweden - 13.09.2014.

In the morning we found a nice breakfast in the kitchen with 4-5 different types of amazing spreads and a superb local bread (with fruits inside!). Thanks for whoever has arranged it (still we don’t know who in person organized things in Oslo). The first thing we had to solve is the problems with our car – we called the Polish mechanic and arranged an earliest time possible, still we already knew there is a slight chance to get to Karlstad on time – we were to play an afternoon show for about one thousand people (not kidding!!!!) at 2pm. It would have been a special show, a particular attraction of a jogging race, which every year this small Swedish town holds – thanks to our organizers, guys from DeathTrap we would have had the chance to play there too. It would have been a unique experience, just see this video from last year’s event here:
So instead of blasting in front of lots of people who certainly haven’t heard anything of this type of music so far, we were waiting until the car mechanic managed to fix our car – but only the exhaust pipe, because there was no pneumatic there on Saturday, so we had to be content with our rusty reserve wheel and pray if it would survive the 230 kms between Oslo and Karlstad. As we were not in a rush any more (the afternoon show had already been started), we could fully enjoy the Northern nature for the first time on our way. Probably this was the most splendid landscape we crossed through with amazing dark forests and millions of small lakes around (we made a superb, relaxing picnic at one stop, that was really nice).

In the early evening we arrived to Karlstad, where we were about to play on a seemingly luxury boat standing afloat on Sweden’s biggest lake. Here we met and made friends with the night’s organizer Niklas (DeathTrap) and set up all the necessary arrangements before the show, and seeing the prices of drinks on the boat we were about to go to some shops to buy some supplementary booze for the night, when he informed us that all the bands will get a total of 70% discount on the consumption. Yeeeeaaahhh, that was excellent news, so our anxiety went away fast and we could get beers costing normally 6-7 Euros only for 1-2 Euros :) (Yes, the gossips are true, in Sweden the drinks are FUCKING expensive in bars!!).

Niklas told us it was the first time ever that this boat hosts gigs like this (and there are not really any other possibilities for making concerts in town), so he was not sure at all how the outcome would be. At 9pm there were no one around apart from the bands and organizers, but we were not worried at all (the number of discounted, consumpted beers were getting higher and higher really fast:). Then within 20 minutes, all of a sudden, the place got packed (yes, this is the right word, cos as Niklas informed us later there were 144 people who paid the entry!), so the show should start! Already with a great atmosphere created by the audience Bricanyl got on stage and rushed over their set – the sound was excellent even if the room did not seem like ideal for this type of shows at first. Niklas’ band DeathTrap provided some old-school based Death Metal/ Grind, it was really professional and could not be felt that they had played their set some hours earlier once more that day and might have been tired (especially vocals could have been affected). Then one more great local band came called Våldsamt Motstånd – raw Crust/ Metal mix with some inhuman vocals. The drummer showed it does not matter how much your cymbals are broken, they still can produce some harsh noise which give some dirtier sound (highly enjoyable!) to your music. It was well past midnight when we started our set and I was a bit afraid that the discount on drinks would have its effect on our playing (however, as usual for me not to drink before playing, I just had two shots of vodka at the bar, to the surprise of the barman – I suppose no one drinks vodka in itself at one shot here :) Well, my fears were baseless, and it turned out to be one of the greatest shows on tour – thanks a lot also for the enthusiastic audience. Here you can check some minutes of the vivid atmosphere:

The concert ended by 1am, which meant the closing time of the pub as well – the people disappeared as suddenly as they appeared some hours before. As in this small town apparently there were not many opportunities to continue in pubs, we made some funny afterparty at the sleeping place, which was a complex with offices, rehearsal rooms of the bands etc… We haven’t seen the videos made then, but maybe it is better, hehehe…  We knew we would have a day off the next day, still it proved to be busier as expected…

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Day 4. Blitz fest, squat Blitz, Oslo, Norway - 12.09.2014.

From Denmark to Norway it took long, but we did not see much of Sweden when we were crossing it – mainly we were heading the highway on the West. Not long after leaving Denmark we noticed some problem with the exhaust pipe, which we managed to fix temporarily using an empty can of Coke :). At Oslo we had to face a more serious issue with the car – just right after having parked one street away from Blitz squat we realized the backwheel on the left was extremely flat. How could we get as far as here with that? There was a small crack on the rim of the wheel and it was evident we had to repair it somehow. We found the squat and asked for help there – it was not easy at all. There were people already and even at the entrance the young guys could not tell us who the organizer is – they said there is no such a thing as organizer as a whole collective organizing the fest. Hmmm… In the end we managed to get a lever to lift the car and change the reserve wheel (getting screw-keys from some older women from the street, whose car luckily broke down right beside us), but it seemed rusty and was flat so we did not believe it would function for long. Later some Polish guy gave us a telephone number saying his friend is a car mechanix and can check our van tomorrow, so we tried to forget about all the shits and get involved in enjoying Blitz fest… which, opposite our expectations, turned out to be the weakest gig on the tour. 

 The squat itself is superb – it is somewhere near the centre of Oslo, has maybe 3-4 storeys with two concert rooms, two bars, sleeping places for bands, backstage rooms etc. It has a history and many well-known and lesser-known bands have played here. I have heard some Black metalist (maybe that idiot from Burzum?) already wanted to burn it to ashes many times, but apparently he did not manage as it seems to be alive and comprises a strong cultural centre for the youth of Oslo. Speaking about the youth you have to imagine it like people below 20 years old, because most of the audience and the organizers were really kids (maybe that’s why there were problems with organizing, they seemed to lack some experience). Anyway, some of them seemed spoiled having just got the nice opportunity to have this nice culture centre where they can get drunk and wasted and can be sure no one will harass them. It was my impression seeing those young kids and girls being more excited in the party-side of the things, they were not much interested in the bands as I felt. The starting local bands were not in a rush at all, after an hour sound-check they felt free to play one-hour long set, so it was well after midnight when the foreign guest could come to stage – staring with Led by Fear from Russia. They played some raw D-beat, but I missed most of their programme as my old Norwegian friend Hans (Diskord/ No Posers Please!) had just arrived right then and we had a lot to talk all at once. As expected by the time Bricanyl got to the stage most of the audience were too tired/ drunk/ stoned or simply uninterested to pay attention so they had to play just for a handful of people. The same with us, so it was well after 2am then we finished, of course a bit disappointed because we were really looking forward to play at Blitz fest.  Even the afterparty was a bit weaker than usual (they sold only beers, which they ran out of by that time), but at least we were sure to get up as early as possible to get the car fixed… which of course was not that easy as you will see in the next day’s report… :)