Smurfpunx

10/25/2009

86-05-10 (Roxy) Indirekt – Stalag 17 – Vortex – X-Creta – Deviant Gedrag – Hate Crew – Statskirielja

>>‘Kankerkommando’ started the evening. It was OK but it was clear the band still needed a bit of work. The same goes for ‘Deviant Gedrag’ although I did like them. Slow punk; every song reminded me of something well-known. ‘Hate Crew’ ensured the fun for the local trashers. Simple, fast songs and above all good vocals. Then we were ready for ‘Indirekt’. Terrific! You just can ‘t keep quiet with a band like this. When I got away from the stage for a moment, there was murmur about a 75°C performance or something like that and the beer-bottles were passed around. […] Later we also got to see ‘Stalag 17’. Everyone had gotten tired and sluggish, which wasn’t to the liking of the drummer (“Has someone died or what?”). Their music wasn’t bad but the whole was messed up by terribly weak singing.<<

‘D.R.O.L.’ #10 (’86; Belgian fanzine)

Drol #10 over Dendermonde 10mei86 x

Apparently the ‘bill’ changed a bit the evening itself…

We’ve always felt very appreciated and very welcome in Belgium. I just remember the great atmosphere in the ‘Roxy’ at that time. Here’s a picture I found from that night. Looking at the chord my fingers are forming, I think it was shot during our song ‘Nacht und Nebel’…

Ruud Sweering (www.myspace.com/indirekt)

Indirekt x‘Indirekt’ (Nl): Guitarist Ruud Sweering & vocalist Anneke Knip …and a Smurf-punk on the bass-drum ;-) (pic kindly donated by Ruud)

A couple of months before I’d seen ‘Indirekt’ live for the 1st time (at the ‘De Waag’ in Antwerp)… That evening I got infected with their Dutch-spoken singalong punkrock for life. There was a huge pile-up on stage that night during their songs ‘Klitten’ & ‘Faust’ (ending up in their version of children’s rhyme ‘deze vuist op deze vuist’)… And, even today, I still feel as militant as in those days when I hear them burst out in ‘H.E.L.’ (‘onder de blauwe hemel’…). It speaks for itself I was very pleased to meet them here again. ‘Indirekt’ were Ruud Sweering (guitar), Anneke Knip (vocals), Rick Blom (bass) and Jeroen Hennis (drums). Niels De Wit was probably their stand-in drummer here.

Brob

No, not ‘Indirekt’ but the – at that time – snotty punx (smile) of  ‘Statskirielja’: guitarist Dirk ‘Torre’ Tondeleir – drummer Koen Schepens – singer Martine – bassist Ludwig ‘Ludde’ De Bock (see also 1st Smurfpunx-fest) (thanx to Ludde for the pic)

Some photos by Serge Harvent:

‘Hate Crew’ (1st incarnation); L=>R: Guido, Mone, Kris & Guy (Scalle in the corner)

‘X-Creta’: Erwin Vanmol (guitar), Erik Steppe (drums), Marc Maes (vocals), Peter Reynaert (bass)

‘Deviant Gedrag’: Izzy (guitar), Dirk Jans (drums), Danny (vocals), Jo ? (bass)

‘Indirekt’: Ruud (guitar), Niels (drums), Anneke (vocals), Rick (bass)

‘Vortex’: Marco (guitar), Vincent ‘Fax’ (drums), Steve (vocals), JP (bass)

‘Stalag 17′: Brian McCann (guitar), Joe Carey (vocals), Petesy Burns (drums), ‘Big’ Jim Gilmore (guitar)

Well, we arrived on the European continent as a completely changed band line-up and kicked off our tour at the Roxy in Dendermonde, but that was the Smurfpunx part of the story, a paint-brush sweep of the picture that was ‘Stalag 17’. So, let’s paint a bigger picture….

Belfast was dead, the Harp Bar had closed and all the local punk heroes had gone to London to ride the New Wave. Rumours of punk dying were very exaggerated though… It was just waking up, in it’s real form and the crowds at the early gigs had ideas of doing their own thing. ‘Stalag 17’ were still plugging away, covering punk favourites, while building up a set of their own material, implacably anti-establishment, playing where they could get gigs, probably the important one being in the Belfast Anarchy Centre, supporting other anarcho-punk bands ‘Crass’, ‘Annie Anxiety’ and ‘Poison Girls’. From this platform, ‘Stalag 17’ forged ties with like-minded Belfast anarchists in Just Books Anarchist Bookshop. They faced a great deal of hostility, wherever they played.

With the impetus built from the Anarchy Centre, punks got established venues in and around Belfast, who didn’t want us, but they needed us, as Belfast was so polarised, few people went into the city, ‘Stalag 17’ playing alongside local bands such as ‘Asylum’ and ‘Toxic Waste’, encouraging stalwarts of the anarcho-punk scene to play Belfast. Bands such as ‘Conflict’, ‘Subhumans’ and ‘Dirt’ travelled over to a thriving scene. ‘Conflict’ offered ‘Stalag 17’ a place on their label Mortarhate’s compilation >We Don’t Want Your Fucking War< and the interest created by that compilation led to a split 12” with ‘Toxic Waste’, >The Truth Will Be Heard<.

The band toured Scotland and England and Wales, over the next few years with varying success, releasing a demo >From Belfast with Love<. During the rest of 1985 the band recorded a track for the Words of Warning label’s first release >You Are Not Alone< alongside ‘Oi Polloi’, then going on to a three-week tour in Europe, in 1986. This busy year also saw the band recording tracks for the >We Will be Free< album, featuring Toxic Waste and Asylum. All through this time the band were working with others to set up an autonomous centre in Belfast. Read about it here: http://www.warzonecollective.com [There’s some videos in the comments.]

Oh yes, Dendermonde! The first gig of a tour where we had to completely rebuild the band, having lost a drummer and guitarist. Locals Werner [Exelmans, Hageland Hardcore] (tour-manager) and Gunter [Wiebel] (beer-adviser) were great fun. On the day of the gig, Gunter brought us to some local bars and introduced us to Duvel beer. Unable to resist a challenge we got much drunker than we intended and turned up to a gig where 3 Irish bands were listed. We lost ‘Asylum’ in England and ‘Wee Joe and the Slithers’ never existed. It was a joking reference to our new line-up – someone, somewhere took it seriously!

The Smurfpunx gave us more beer and we watched the other bands, watching with great interest, the reaction of the crowd. The forming of crowd-circles was surreal and still the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen at a gig. It was fantastic to watch. I still wonder sometimes if Gunter had put something in the beer and we imagined it all! It was a long and very hot night, so maybe they were saving energy? Unfortunately for us, the fashion in European punk was speed and thrash, so some of our energy was drained by people shouting for us to “play faster!”. The sound was a bit odd too. Fortunately for us, we met up with people after the gig, who appreciated where we were coming from. I remember being disappointed in the D.R.O.L. review but I also remember some real positives from the gig. The people were fantastic and the daisy-chain dancing…wonderful! It set us up for a real fun tour, as it gave us so much on a positive side.

The band recorded two more demos (>And All the Birdies Sang Fuck This for a Lark< and >Erection 87< [Below, Julia provided a link where it can be downloaded…]). In late 1987 the band folded. The demo >17 from 17< was released after the bands break-up. As life turned full-circle, Petesy, Joe and Mickey reformed the band to play with Steve Ignorant on the Belfast part of his Last Supper tour and as his guest at the Incubate Festival in Tilburg. A bit more notice and we may have met up with some old friends and maybe have done a last ever gig in Dendermonde?

Joe Carey

10/23/2009

85-10-19 (Gele Limonade) Deviant Gedrag – X-Creta – Pigs In Blue Glue – Vortex – Dirty Scums

‘Destroy facism’

On October 19th, we organised a concert in ‘De Gele Limonade’ in Aalst (‘The Yellow Lemonade’; a pub that can hold about 90 people) with ‘Pigs In Blue Glue’, ‘Deviant Gedrag’, ‘X-Creta’ and ‘Vortex’. About 120 people turned up. Great! A heterogeneous crowd of punx, cold-wavers, rastas and ‘normal’ people. That’s good, it shows they’re interested in punk and @narchy.

My own band (PIBG) were first up; I think we were appreciated, people started pogoing immediately and the atmosphere was good. After 35 minutes ‘Deviant Gedrag’ hit the stage and these were really really good. More melodic punk/rock; really worthwhile.

But afterwards shit hit the fan. There were also about 15-20 skins (from the Brussels area) who had kept quiet until then. Suddenly one of them went for a punk and threw him to the ground and started kicking him. This seemed to be the signal for an attack. You know how that goes… A punk helps his friend; another skin… etc. To cut things short: at a certain moment the whole bald-headed gang were punching away at everyone, also at the girls. This went on until the cops arrived. (Don’t know who called them, definitely not us: there was no phone.) They picked up most of the skins, 5 of them ran off.

The atmosphere was totally ruined by then. Most of the crowd had disappeared, was dispersed or arrested. So we shut down the whole thing. ‘X-Creta’ and ‘Vortex’ had gotten afraid, for themselves and for their gear; and it was no use continuing for a mere 10-15 people. Very annoying, off course, especially for ‘Vortex’ who came such a long way. We stayed to talk a bit.

Half an hour later the nazi-skins were released. When they noticed it was finished for us, they hit direction the centre. I don’t know (yet) what they did there. In any case, half of our concert was ruined by those filthy fascists.

Punx unite! Destroy fascism!

Duco (in ‘Lastig’ #10)

photo of ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’: Boge – bass, Reinout a.k.a. Reinzwijn – vocals, Dimi – drums, Duco – guitar (by Serge Harvent)

pictures (by Kockie) of ‘X-Creta’ – Erwin Vanmol (guitar), Erik Steppe (drums), Marc Maes (vocals), Peter Reynaert (bass):

This was a gig me and my mates in ‘Repulsives’ (Stinky & Disorder) had looked forward to. We took the train to Aalst, not knowing how to get back but that didn’t matter: we were gonna see/hear great bands and meet new people in this ‘far away city’.

The fascist attack sobered us up. I remember taking a few punches as well and ending up with a nose-bleed in the backroom of the pub. I remember Mokka, my brother-in-arms to be in Smurfpunx, trying to cheer me up. This is how I first met him: caring bloke… The whole thing was a bonding-experience with a lot of punx who were there that night.

It also inspired me to write the song ‘Fascist Skins’ which would turn out to be our most popular song. Later it would get us into trouble again: at a gig at the ‘Q 104’ in Leuven we were again attacked by skins while playing it. We had to be escorted out of the venue by our friends and the organisers.

Brob

Fascist Skins

10/12/2009

88-06-25 (Netwerk) R.K.L. – Squandered Message – Atavistic – [Chronic Disease] – Belgian Asociality

Smurfpunx (Aalst 88, RKL) bis

I definitely remember the fantastic show of R.K.L., where I lost a sole of one of my shoes while pogoing: it just got ripped off… Haha: I had to spend the rest of the evening on a beer-soaked sock…

Dirk C.

I found ‘R.K.L.’ not bad but at that time more some sort of fad-of-the month band for the kind of kids who are a bit into HardCore for a year or so before getting into yuppie-dom. ‘Squandered Message’ from Berlin were good. I can’t remember ‘Atavistic’s performance that evening while ‘Chronic Disease’ was just another crossover-clone. This was the very last Smurfpunx-gig that I helped to organise. It was quite a mess on the day itself because ‘R.K.L.’ had blown their guitar-amps on a gig in Germany the night before and we had to find other adequate ones on the last moment.

That evening, in the small meeting-room on the second floor, long held-back frustrations within Smurfpunx exploded as well.

Duco

Yes, I remember ‘Rich Kids on LSD’ as being cocky (no not ‘Kockie ‘- smile) very good musicians, but just a ‘fun’ band. Superb music! About 500 people (a swirling crowd) showed up to witness ‘R.K.L.’s wild rock’n’core. At first this day was planned for Homburg (Ger) in their tour-schedule but the youth-centre there burned down… And their gig in Leuven (then with touring support ‘No Allegiance’ – from Berlin; the tour was organised by David Pollack) was stopped after 3 songs (the owner of the venue shut down the electricity as demanded by the cops), that’s probably why so many people turned up. Nice guys without any pretensions. We managed to get things started at 4 pm and the ‘Rich Kids’ left the stage around 10.30 pm; too soon for the cops to bust in… The band, at that time, was (I think): vocalist Jason Sears (R.I.P.), bassist Joe Raposo, guitarists Barry Ward & Chris Rest, and the funny and hyper-active Richard Anthony ‘Bomer’ Manzullo (R.I.P.) on drums (who I think was wearing the cap of the cartoon-character featured in the booklet of their ‘Rock’n’Roll Nightmare’ album).

‘Squandered Message’ (also from Berlin; supported them at that part of the tour) was our good pal Flo’s band. ‘Atavastic’? I would have to listen back to their vinyl but if I remember well kinda anarcho-crusty. ‘Chronic Disease’ crossover? No way! Grind/crust, I would say, with a definite political message. They played another Smurfpunx-concert: they had to cancel this one because of exams. Their drummer Sling went on to play in many other bands and is now in ‘Soulwax’…

In stead of ‘C.D.’ the fun-core act ‘Belgian Asociality’ played… At that time, singer Mark tells me (see below), the band consisted of Tom Lumbeeck (bass), Chris Raffo (drums) & ‘Vlie’ (a.k.a. Patrick Van Looy) (guitar).

The frustrations Duco mentions were there. For some more or earlier than others. I went on a while longer but would quit later aswell…

Part of the profits of this one was going to the reconstruction of the local hangout/pub for youngsters that housed various leftist organisations, ‘Koerke’, that was set on fire (probably by an extreme right group)…

Brob

Actually we (‘Chronic Disease’) didn’t play that day. We were replaced by ‘Belgian Asociality’! The only gig C.D. played in ‘Netwerk’ was with ‘Spermbirds’.

Leffe

‘R.K.L.’, pictures by Kockie:

For more pics: Netwerk, Aalst, 25 jun 88 (R.K.L., Squandered Message, Atavistic) photos

RKL (Kokie) 1x

RKL (Kokie) 2x

RKL (Kokie) 3x

RKL (Kokie) 4x

RKL (Kokie) 5x

It was a really good gig for us and probably our biggest crowd ever, although they weren’t there to see us, of course. We also really enjoyed the atmosphere and the set-up there, and ‘R.K.L.’ were superb, as I recall. I constantly sang the praises of the Belgium scene and Aalst in particular for many years afterwards, as the organisation was excellent – very ‘professional’ and a great venue.

I don’t think we were very well received – I do remember some of the folk in the front rows asking us to tell them the names of the songs and what they were about as we didn’t ever speak between songs or introduce them. I have a few photos of us that someone took and very kindly forwarded… Our tour of Belgium only consisted of 3 gigs in the end. We did plan a couple more but ran out of money, our car was playing up and we had nowhere to sleep for 3 nights. The last gig was in a tiny venue, actually quite a good set for us but a very strange one (seemed to be very isolated and not many people around to sustain it). Steve ? was the local organiser who booked the shows for us – a great guy, and we did let him down a bit by missing the last couple of gigs, although I do have to plead that we were struggling to get by, and no food and nowhere to stay was difficult for us. This was during the earlier part of our existence and we continued for another couple of years after this – probably 20 more gigs and an album before we ended up all moving away from each other (I now live north of Edinburgh), with Patrick (McKernan; bass) in Brighton and John (Brenchley; drums, R.I.P.) living in London.

John’s death (he got killed in 1999 by a drunk driver in London) was a very tragic and terrible time for all of us and I couldn’t really ever seriously consider using the ‘Atavistic’ name again. I don’t think that Patrick would be interested either – and he is a very long way away (500 miles+) so unlikely that this would ever occur. There was a CD to accompany Ian Glasper’s book, which contains a previously unreleased ‘Atavistic’ track which we demo-ed but never used (and which sat in my attic on an old C60 cassette for over 15 years), so a real sense of closing the circle off. I have to admit that it has got me seriously thinking about bands again and I have been peeling off crusty riffs on my guitar for months, probably have enough to put some decent songs together if I could find some folk to play with, some local crusties of reasonable musical competence looking to form something. Not sure if the name ‘Atavistic’ would ever come back to life but in spirit and in sound it would roll back 20 years, and produce the spiritual follow-up to the first album! It’s probably a bit sad that a 45 year old would be starting bands and making a racket again…

As for me, I’m still HC, still veggie and sXe but have ‘slipped’ into family-life. Musical tastes are very similar, consisting of super-fast hardcore and metal with a political edge, but as you would expect, with a rural community and no scene here to speak of I am a bit isolated!

Jeremy ‘Jez’ Upcroft, guitar/vocals for ‘Atavistic’

insert of ‘Atavistic’s 7″ ‘Equilibrium’

This is definitely a gig I remember; Chris, our drummer has recollections of it as well. It was our 4th performance, actually the first concert we played without ‘Ear Damage’; before that they had they had taken us on tow in order to allow us a piece of the cake. I recall there was quite a lot of people at the venue and that suddenly the lights went dead during our set. But that didn’t bother us and we kept on doing our thing in the pitch-dark; when the lights went on again after a minute or so, the whole audience had turned into an enormous whirlpool of people pogo-ing, a stampede and a pell-mell of people. We were watching it with open mouths: “What the hell is!? Heavy!”. I can still remember that image vividly. It was also the evening that we ran into Dirk of Punk etc. and gave him our demo-tape to have a listen to. A few weeks later we were in Heist-op-den-Berg, in the Swan-studio recording our first lp.

Mark Vosté (‘Belgian Asociality’ vocalist)

What Mark describes, that was awesome. For a moment the light was gone, a lot of clamor and we didn’t know what was going on. When the lights went back on there was one hell of a mosh-pit, enough to get a hard-on. Another thing I recall was that ‘R.K.L.’s bassist or guitarist was allergic to his own sweat: his body was full of red patches. Pretty impressive for the young bloke I was then… ;-)

Tom Lumbeeck (‘Belgian Asociality’ bassplayer)

88-06-26 gig-review Genocide #6gig-review in Genocide #6 (Bert Gysemans):

>>First on were ‘Belgian Asociality’, one of the better and definitely funnier bands from what’s on offer regarding Belgian HC, an offer that certainly is not inferior to that of foreign countries, to be a tad chauvinist. They played all their hits in a row and that was catching on, even being the first band. Pity of the few misunderstandings regarding the stage-lights. ‘Atavistic’, a British band, produced decent HC with a firm dash of grindcore (Bert was ready to take up his censorship-pen). Most of the songs were lasting a bit too long though and for such a genre that gets boring easily. ‘Squandred Message’, from the West-side of the Berlin wall, brought us a hip guitar-sound, seemingly borrowed from the S.S.T.-corral. Sometimes interspersed with a bit too experimental piecs but for the rest more than OK. The ‘Rich Kids On LSD’ (‘R.K.L.’) were tripping for more than an hour, they made up for their hangover-blunder at the Leuven gig. There’s hardly anything bad to mention, it was an excellent gig. We’ll reamin silent about their noble HC and punk ideals. The audience was going out of their mind, the temperature was rising and the oxygen-level went down. Joe (bassist) was deservedly called back for a few encores. I was (again) glad that there’s carpet at Netwerk; ideal for HC gigs.<<

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