Smurfpunx

04/18/2010

Q104 concerts Leuven

People keep asking about other fests from this era that were not organised by our Smurfpunx collective… So let’s try to incorporate some of them here then. Counting on anyone for help/contributions again!

‘Q 104’

85-11-29: Heibel (Bel), Koyaanisqatsi (Bel), X-Creta, (Bel), Dirty Scums (Bel)

86-03-01: Disrupters (UK), Capital Scum (Bel), No Debt (Bel), Vortex (Bel), C.P.D. (Bel)

86-03-21: Varukers (UK), Sloth (USA), Dirty Scums (Bel)

86-04-12: Dirty Scums (Bel), No Numbers (Bel) [Capital Scum (Bel) on flyer]

86-04-18: Disorder (UK), Indirekt (Nl), Ear Damage (Bel), Pigs In Blue Glue (Bel) [‘Ear Damage’s first gig]

86-05-17: Repulsives (Bel), C.P.D. (Bel), Anguish (Bel), O.I.L.L. (Bel)

87-03-07: Disorder (UK), Dehumanization (Nl), C.P.D. (Bel)

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Between 1980 and 1992 I’ve worked myself through a pretty impressive list off concerts in Belgium and sometimes abroad (especially London). The concerts by Smurfpunx in ‘Netwerk’ were among the best I can remember (along with those in Scherpenheuvel), really! Splendid venue, good sound-system, great bands, excellent organisation… A genuine relief after other concerts that got cancelled or hadn’t started yet at midnight because the speakers didn’t make a sound. That was supposed to be the charm of punk but one should not be surprised that, after a while, people no longer show up – a bit of quality is in order.

Somewhere in 1985 the famous ‘Stel’ and I found it a bit odd that no punk-concerts were taking place in a ‘metropolis’ like Leuven, while we believed there certainly was an audience for. That made us decide to try it ourselves in a cheap (but a bit too small) place, named ‘Q104’. First we did a concert with a few Belgian bands, sometime late 1985 or early 1986, I can’t remember exactly who, because at the following concerts there were always a few Belgian bands ‘supporting’. But I believe that certainly ‘The Dirty Scums’, ‘No Debt’, ‘Capital Scum’, ‘Ear Damage’, ‘Anguish’ and a bunch of other bands played at ‘Q104’; it’s up to those ‘celebrities’ to confirm that. [Brob: Well, without claiming to be a celebrity: my band ‘Repulsives’ played the ‘big’ and ‘far away’ city of Leuven a few times; there was a memorable gig where we had to be escorted out of ‘Q104’ by Felix and his friends because skins were threatening to ‘lynch’ us. We were nicely accommodated at Felix’s place who even gladly drove us home the next Sunday-morning…]

I know for sure that the first gig was a major godsend in terms of turn-out, about 200 men, we hadn’t really expected that. We even made a little bit of profit that we invested neatly in the next one. It’s not that hard actually: make sure to come up with cheap flyers and word-of-mouth advertising at other concerts that the venue and sound-system are OK, don’t pay the bands a fortune but something respectable, make sure that there is enough booze, put a few valiant guys at the entrance (genre ‘Kockie’, ‘De Lange’ or ‘Den Bosse’) to ensure that not everyone gets in for free, and everything will be OK. The only problem was that from the first concert on, we had problems with the cops because of the noise at night; although the concerts were always over before midnight and nothing was ever demolished, but the neighbours were shocked of course by the many ‘dangerous’ punks on their square.

In any case, after the success of the first gig I gladly wanted to try a second one with a British group. I think ‘Stel’ then pulled out somewhat (he didn’t like that kind of bands much) but a lot of people from Leuven (Dirk [Ceustermans], Ludo [Vannoppen], sorry that I do not remember all the names) were helping out. I had written and invited some 15 English bands: ‘Conflict’, ‘Flux of Pink Indians’, ‘Chaos UK’, ‘Violators’, ‘Addicts’,… that genre. I recall that I offered them all together 15.000 BeF (and free accommodation) to come from England; nowadays that seems incredibly little: € 375. Yet there were three bands mad enough to come over: first ‘Disrupters’, then ‘Varukers’, after that ‘Disorder’. Each time that was at ‘Q104’, with some Belgian bands supporting and each time about 200 people turned up. I had the impression that they just came down because there was a punk-fest in Leuven, not because they loved that specific band. I know that all bands were very pleased afterwards because the atmosphere was great (and Belgian beer strong). I think ‘Varukers’ and ‘Disorder’ also played in Antwerp one day after Leuven.

At this concert with ‘Disorder’ I had established contact but didn’t have much to do with the organising of the concert itself anymore. Afterwards I also completely stopped because a whole generation of young people from Leuven was full of enthusiasm to organise gigs themselves. With that my intention had actually become successful: I certainly didn’t wanna become a big organiser but just trigger something that then could stand on its own feet. In addition, ‘Q104’ no longer wanted us because of the problems with the cops. Frankly: at one point there were just too many concerts in Leuven, sometimes poorly organised or announced too late, so the turn-out dropped dramatically and quickly bled to death a bit. A familiar story, unfortunately.

I kept attending a lot of gigs and occasionally wrote something for fanzines, until I moved to Mexico City mid 1992. [Brob: Felix was a free-lance journalist for Belgian newspapers.] I went to a lot to punk-concerts there too; they were running some 15 years behind and it was all really still in its early stages: rather a bunch of zombies with all those glue-sniffers – but good bands and lots of atmosphere. In 1996 I moved to Lima (Peru), where I also attended quite a bunch of punk-gigs the first years: a little more professional and better than in Mexico, with great bands from Argentina coming over. Names that no-one here would have heard about.

Since 2004 I live back in Brussels but I do not go to concerts that often anymore because, to be honest, I can’t keep up with all these new names. I think one or two concerts per year, big bands like ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ or ‘Bad Brains’ (not really punk). But I keep listening  to punk at home, on my old East-German record-player – my old LP’s have survived, I will transfer them onto CD now. I really start to feel like grandpa punk (and an -unwanted- skinhead) nowadays.

To be honest, I’ve always loved listening to punk-music (and still am) but I was always interested in heaps of other things, like football, movies, foreign politics, journalism, NGO-work, travelling,… Because I never was in the punk-movement a 100%, I also never fully got out of it because I was tired of it. I still see myself listening to punk at the age of 85. [Brob: If I make it that long, I’ll join you!]

Felix De Witte

Felix! A legend! I still get sick thinking of the bottle of ‘Mandarine Napoleon’ we had at his place!!!…

The “LOT of people from Leuven” refers to the D.R.O.L. collective who helped out on the gigs and helped funding through the legendary D.R.O.L. parties ran down at the Q104. Here’s a few names: Chris, Gert ‘Gette’ Hambrouck, Murielle [Celis], Ludo, Bart [Willemsen]; gee my memory does not serve me well here…

A few more Belgian bands that made it to the ‘Q104’ were ‘Heibel’, ‘X-Creta’, ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ (I refuse to spell it like it was mis-spelled on the ‘Alle 24’ LP), ‘Pigs in Blue Glue’, etc. etc. The first 3 were on a same bill (in 1985) and it can be considered a legendary gig as these bands at that time played some sort of crossover punk/metal that was probably the first time it happened in Belgium.

Dirk C. (D.R.O.L. zine, ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, ‘Ear Damage’)

DROL hard at work'D.R.O.L. crew in action (pic courtesy of Dirk C.)

Q104 (DROL #10)Dirk in D.R.O.L. zine #10

Here are some pictures of ‘Anguish’ playing in Leuven, around June 1986. You will probably recognise some of the faces in the audience. The guy in the white shirt is, if I remember well, Chris, who had just started D.R.O.L. zine (in his cellar, together with his brother). That had a lot of potential. There was even talk of building a wind-mill… (one of the less risky ideas) but, as with many things, these were good initiatives but the know-how wasn’t present, and the kick-in-the ares was lacking. ‘Anguish’ and Dirk (at that time Heidi’s partner…who was still in ‘Koyaanisquatsi’ if I remember correctly) got together there on a regular basis. It was a lot more difficult to find info in these days…

Murielle (‘Anguish’ vocalist)

Crowd-shot (Leuven ’86) with a prominent Felix ‘in ecstasy’… surrounded by his ‘disciples’ Chris & Dirk D.R.O.L., Ludo (kindly donated by Murielle Celis)

86-06-xx Anguish crowd (met Felix)

pics taken 86-06, ‘t Stuk – Leuven (by ‘Gette’?)

86-06-xx Anguish trio met Ludo (Stuc Leuven) (by Gette q)‘Anguish’: Bart – Juul (on the shoulders of a giant – Ludo) – Kris

86-06-xx Anguish Steve' (Stuc Leuven)Steve (‘Anguish’)

86-06-xx Anguish trio (Stuc Leuven)Bart (‘Anguish’)

86-06-xx Anguish Mumu & Kris (Stuc Leuven)Murielle & Kris (‘Anguish’)

Ludo Vannoppen (by Dirk C)Ludo Vannoppen (pic courtesy of Dirk Ceustermans)

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5 Comments »

  1. Felix’s memory is not 100% accurate here. I was involved with the ‘Disrupters’, ‘Varukers’ (with an additional headliner: ‘Sloth’ from the US) concert-organisation. We got a LOT of help from a LOT of people in Leuven without whom we would not have been able to do the gigs.
    I remember also getting into an argument with a guy from SABAM [authors-rights organisation] at that ‘Varukers’ gig (and I convinced him that we didn’t have to pay rights because none of the bands that were playing were members of an organisation) and having to throw out a bunch of skinheads that just pushed in without paying (something for which I got a few punches in the face a few weeks later – the heroes).
    We used a mid-sized ghettoblaster with tapes to play music in between the bands. That would be unimaginable these days.
    I was not involved in the organisation of the ‘Disorder’ gig.
    [Have a look at the NON-Smurfpunx gig-list!…]

    Comment by Stel — 05/03/2010 @ 15:50

  2. I remember the majority of the gigs listed in this post and blog. Felix, Brob whenever you are in town let me know so we can have some beers.

    Comment by Bart 'Anguish' — 06/21/2010 @ 07:54

  3. I’m pretty sure that the ‘Anguish’ photos are shot at our second or third gig in ‘t Stuc Leuven…
    The stage at Q104 was not that high…
    And the giant is definitely Ludo…

    Comment by Kris 'Anguish' — 03/27/2011 @ 20:56

  4. I’d like to correct the reference to D.R.O.L. fanzine that Murielle made (Hi Murielle, I hope you are fine after all these years!?!):
    The fanzine was started by me, somewhere in 1984 (or 83?), later a guy called Gerd (Gette) offered his contributions. When I got to his place I was surprised that there was a whole gang of people there to assist and contribute. It was in Gerd’s cellar that we got together regularly to construct the fanzine and to have fun in general.
    Chris (in the picture) delivered the articles that were very political; that made the ‘zine a worthwile piece of literature.

    Comment by Dirk C. — 03/28/2011 @ 10:28

  5. Hi Dirk, I always thought the cellar was Chris and his brother’s place. Wonder how they are doing? Great lads!

    Comment by Murielle — 09/16/2011 @ 15:51


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