Smurfpunx

09/27/2010

88-08-13 (Netwerk) F.F.F. – Decadence Within – Upside – Vernon Walters

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 14:43

Thanks a lot for the gig in Aalst, which we enjoyed immensely. My girlfriend, that was injured at the gig, is O.K.; although we spent some of the next day in hospital, having X-rays and shit like that. It has to be said that the gigs in the U.K. are NOT as good as the gigs in Europe: we loose more money playing in Birmingham than we do playing Belgium! It’s crazy…

Slug, ‘Decadence Within’ bassplayer (personal communication ’88)

I can’t remember too much about this gig in Aalst we did with ‘F.F.F.’ and ‘Upside’ but I seem to recall one of those bands having a violin [Brob: F.F.F’s singer Dolly played violin], which was kinda cool… We were always just so pleased to be in another country with like-minded people playing music and making friends, it was a magical time for me. Thanks for helping make it happen, Brob.

Slug

‘F.F.F.’ were different but that’s what I liked; I also interviewed them for my ‘zine. Very nice people too: drummer Dominik Schetting, guitarist (with Chilean roots) Vladi(miro), bassplayer Andi (Andreas Gohlke) and singer Dolly. The latter played her violin (black/red leopard-print, if I remember well) on most of the songs, which gave their music (‘electric violin thrash’ as they’d titled it on their LP) a special touch (sophisticated but still powerful). That summer they did this ‘Punkrock Tour 88 * Italohardcore meets electric violin thrash’ with their Italian mates of ‘Upside’ (great record ‘Tristi Orizzonti’ on TVOR)…

‘Upside’ got a first tape out in 1983 with Tritone on bass, Fonty on drums, Vanni on guitar and someone named Anguilla on vocals. A year later they released the 7” Nati Per Soffrire (Born To Suffer) with Mauro on vocals. Another tape followed in 1986. Their great LP Tristi Orizzonti would appear on TVOR On Vinyl a few years after this (in 1990). We’ld see those people back at a concert in Amsterdam’s Van Hall later that year…

We’d also invited my buddy Hans Engel’s band ‘Vernon Walters’. I’d seen them play (mostly together with ‘Indirekt’, both from Hoorn) quite often and my own band ‘Repulsives’ played some gigs with them in my hometown-area; plus: I liked their melodic hardcore-punk a lot. So it was an obvious choice to finally invite them over for a gig. I was helping Hans with the distribution of the material he released on his label (LMOOR) Lets Make Our Own recs (always very neat packages with decent graphics done by Hans himself, a professional printer) and we were mates. I’d gotten to know Niels (ex-‘Gepøpel’, -‘Indirekt’) also better through corresponding and distributing his various zines (Waakheer, Weekhaar, Weerhaak?,…) The ‘V.W.’ were: Hans Engel (vocals & guitar), Niels De Wit (guitar & vocals), Joost Warnik (bass) and Danny Schouten (drums). Niels, Danny & Joost teamed up again with Robert Bakker to form ‘Sack-O’-Woes’. Niels and Joost are also in ‘Uncontrollable Urgh’ (sort of a melodic ‘Buzzcocks’-punk revival).

After the concert, there was benefit-party in ‘De Gele Limonade’ (pub in the same street as Netwerk) in favour of the alternative free radio-station ‘Radio Katanga’.

Brob

Dominik: We organized the 1988 tour for ‘Upside’ and us by ourselves. It was our first big tour going to Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and through Germany. The show in Aalst was an exciting experience and our first time to play in Belgium.

Andi: I can remember just a few things of that show in Aalst. First of all the fact that the show started in the afternoon. It was really new to us having a punk-rock show in the afternoon (until the day). After our show at the ‘Weisshausstrasse squat’ in Cologne we had to get up way too early for the pretty long journey with our extremely lame van. Following us were a lot of people, as we toured together with ‘Upside’ and they had a lot of friends on the road with them. All in all we were 16 people, 8 of them playing in the 2 bands, 11 of them speaking barely a word of English or German. Needless to say that there was a bit of a confusion all the time. A new thing was the way people were dancing: they were all in a row running around in circles. Later we learned that was the ‘circle pit’. Another new experience was the food: I never ate that kind of vegan food (all vegetables were raw) [Brob: Of course: it was the middle of the summer! – smile] before and to tell you the truth,  that day it really sucked. The Italians, normally used to celebrate food (with meat) were the first to notice that and went of for a restaurant, but I didn’t have the money and ate some raw potatoes from a glass (there surely was better food than that but I have never been a friend of vegetables).

Dominik: Since we were ashamed of not eating more than a few bites of the packed plates, we tried to make Earny, our roadie eat our meals. But there was no chance…

Andreas: But I can still remember that show as a one for people who really cared. Everybody was happy and in a good mood, was enjoying the music. For example you, Brob: You were very friendly, interested more in the people you came in contact with than in the name of their bands. I still have to apologize because in the case of another show you organized for ‘F.F.F.’ I once told you that you looked like a ‘Belgian Fried Potato’ (Fritte) when I was drunk, which is the typical term for a Belgian by Germans. We had to leave straight after the show because our next show was the following day in Hamburg, Störtebecker. I remember rather well that we stayed for more than two hours at the border with Germany. The German customs checked us and were sure of busting us. In the beginning it was quiet funny because we were sure they wouldn’t find anything. After a while it got really boring. It was late at night and we still had a lot of road to go…. The customs-official told us that we would have to go to the hospital in order to get our asses checked but it all ended with the officials needing a hand with German-Italian translation. They were sure of getting one of the Italian guys who showed up in their computer due to a positive drug-control. But in the end we could leave without any bigger problems.

Dominik: As for the organisation, the other bands, the people we met; I recall that at least some members of ‘Decadence Within’ surprisingly showed up in a car with their family (dad, mom and sister) as we believed, coming straight from a beach-holiday (sorry if I get that wrong). Later I accused the guys to have spilled his drink onto our guitar-amp but later I found out that it was my band-mate Andreas. The sound and organisation of the show was great and we all had a lot of fun playing, with the dancing audience and the Smurfpunx-crew. It was one of the biggest venues we ever played. We knew Brob from his Tilt! fanzine and were happy he could set up a show for us in Belgium where we were almost unknown at that time.

Andi: Vladi returned to Chile (where he was born) in 1996 and is living there. He married and has a daughter but is not playing any music any more. It is very hard to get in contact with him as he is very lazy in writing. I went to visit him there twice but it is a very long and expensive journey (the flight alone takes 15-20 hours).

Dominik: Dolly is living in Italy (in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere), together with her boyfriend Gamba, drummer of ‘Upside’, since 2009. As we go to Italy regularly, we still meet. Most of the ‘Upside’ people have children and they don’t have contact anymore.

Andreas & Dominik (bassist & drummer of ‘F.F.F.’)

During a visit (2013) to Dolly (Enzenberger of ‘F.F.F.’) & Gamba (the later drummer) of ‘Upside’ – who got married, Dominik of ‘F.F.F.’ had a chat with the ‘Upside’ guys in Italy… Tritone (bassist) said that they did the show in Aalst with a drummer called Massimo… “After the show we had to get to Hamburg and we had trouble at the border.” Vanni (guitarist) remembers that the stage in Aalst was very big and that he saw a circle-pit for the first time. The band refers to this show as being in “La Palestra” – the gym – the circle-pit was something they had never seen and which was very impressive. Mauro (singer) remembers that he did not like the food, as it was all vegetarian, raw, from cans: “We all spent a lot of the money we got on food – vegetarianism was in vogue at venues at that time – but we were not at all vegetarian. We went to eat to another place.” Tritone remembers that after this show the authorities stopped them at the German/Belgium border. They were all searched because he was registered in a computer-database. “The border-patrol searched one van (8 people) – threatening us that we all had to go to a hospital in Aachen to get our arse checked for drugs. A girl in another car that did not get searched at all but forgot her bag at the gas-station right just past the border. She only noticed it about 100 kilometres further and the car that went back with her ran out of fuel on that way…” He has some pictures of this gig… The British band used their equipment…. It was a very positive experience to visit other countries and get to know people from Belgium, none of us had been there before. The people at the show were rather young, compared to other countries.

gig-review in Kwalpol #6:

>>Looking for the answer on the question “Would Brob be running up and down the venue so nervously at every Smurfpunx-concert?”, I decided to give that a closer check. The answer is, indeed… What a person doesn’t have to invent to come up with an original opening-line. This aside… Endless adoration and gushing with a band comes across as boring at long last; I’m fully aware of that. I get –pardon me- a big dick when Bert starts talking about ‘Public Enemy’ but when ‘Vernon Walters’ are performing in Aalst, I really can’t help it. Songs like ‘Fit In’ and ‘Welcome to Our World’ do creep into your head and stay there until an unspecified date. ‘Decadence Within’ played it safe with a kind of metal-core or whatever one can call it. People who know the correct name of this kinda music: write me; ‘cause it’s important to know.. No, let’s take ‘F.F.F.’ then. Fast but melodic hardcore, wit a female singer and a violin!!!§)°. 3 kisses for who came up with that. ‘Upside’, from Italy, also sounded like that. A bit like ‘Wretched’ from earlier days, no?<< [;-) Sorry for non dutch-speaking people but it’s really hard to capture Bart’s irony and play on words.]

09/18/2010

90-03-31 (Netwerk) Subterranean Kids – Pullermann – Within Range – Decadence Within

The 3rd gig of the ‘Decadence Within’ in Aalst. The previous years they came over to the continent, I booked most of their shows myself. But this time, I was busy with other things so when Kurt Horemans (who was goin’ to release a 7” on his label, Hurry recs – he might’ve gotten help from Stefan Joosten) offered to help them out, I could concentrate on these and got to see them play anyway when we invited them for this one. At this time they were about to record their second album, had a new vocalist (Rid, replacing Kev) and were moving away from the many bands that were playing fast grind with grawling vocals… “A constantly evolving band, from England. After their 1st crossover-album, they got a new singer. Their music got more complex and power.”.

That afternoon was an example of an excellent gig to me. 4 great bands playing excellent music, supporting D.I.Y., no competition, nice atmosphere, etc. Most people the bands were friends or were to become friends… A pity that only about 200 people showed up. Not very much, considering we had an average of 300-400. The people that díd attend were surprised how great the bands sounded but unfortunately a growing majority only wanted the big, hyped, trendy outfits…

“Mix the power of ‘So Much Hate’ and the melody of ‘Stëngte Dører’, add some ‘Motörhead’ riffs and you get another great Norwegian band… Ex-‘Kafka Process and a genuine Blitz-product!”. The Norwegian trio ‘Within Range’ (Hans K. Gaard on guitar, Eirik ‘Billy’ Nordheim on bass/vocals, Stian Løken on drums) was introduced to us by Tanja Boelicke (from the Hamburger Stortebeker team that wellcomed ‘Hate Crew’ there; she had good connections with the Norwegian scene) and by Gunnar Nuven (singer of ‘So Much Hate’) who put out their 1st record on his label X-Port Plater. Stian was in ‘Kafka Prosess’ (together with Gunnar) and all of them are closely related to the Blitz-scene in Oslo. Perhaps Jan-Martin (sound-engineer), who sold my zine Tilt! at the Blitz’ Bokkafe, was also with them?

I’d been introduced to them by Jörg Rosenbaum (R.P.N. recs) and had been distributing their records so I definitely wanted to see them live: ‘Pullermann’ from Frankfurt (can’t remember if I met some of them already in the ‘In Der Au’ squat, touring with ‘Hate Crew’ the year before) but we had to be patient ’cause their bass-player had had a heavy car-accident (couldn’t play until Dec.’89)… Hell, we made that up by inviting them over twice that same year! They totally deserved it! And I enjoyed them!!! (Still do!) The band had 2 singers: Cybèle (de Silveira) & Mathes ‘S.A.M.’, which blended very nicely: the outgoing, almost boisterous male and the more intimate female (not to be stereotypical). Instrumentalists were Tobias Schlepper (bass), Jörg Wabnitz (guitar) and Stephan Grohe (drums). On the poster I described them as “This young band from Frankfurt is part of the new German HC-generation for the 90s: inspiring HC (‘Bad Brains’ influences) with male and female voice. Very promising!!!”.

It took quite a while for ‘Subterranean Kids’ from Barcelona (Spain) to get to us. I think at that time the line-up was: ‘Boliche’ (drums), ‘Mimo’ (vocals), ‘Damned’ (guitar; who replaced ‘Pep’) & Marc (bass)… ‘Semolina’ had already told me about them when we stayed at Van Hall (see: Smurfpunx @ Van Hall, Amsterdam). They did tour before (as ‘Semolina’ commented) but somehow I had missed that show (88-10-08 Bredene, Belgium)… Anyway, in 1990 we were able to witness them playing live, when Frank Babel (Blasting Youth tours) set up the ‘2x Hardcore Wrecking Europe!’ tour for them and ‘Pullermann’. Frank was at this show too. He’d spent time with ‘H.D.Q.’ in a studio in the UK and he came to Aalst on his way home… The poster says “Probably Spain’s oldest and best-known HC-band. Uptempo, melodic and powerful.”.

Brob

90-03-31 (Pyrobolum #3 review)gig-review from Pyrobolum #3

My preference always went to melodic HC… ‘Pullermann’ was fantastic, with male and female vocalist. A lot of vocal variation. I still like the song ‘Rubbish’ very much. There was a good atmosphere that whole day, with four bands all of different nationalities.

Joeri Vleurick

Here’s an exerpt of the ‘Decadence Within European Tour Diary’ that Steve of Crisispoint ‘zine (who did the tour with them) wrote:

>>Ferries are like time-warps. You get on them for four hours to cross 30 miles of water and the whole thing seems to last a week. Four hours will never seem so long. The band is due to go on stage at four in the afternoon in Aalst (an hours drive from Ostend) and as we come into port it’s already half past four. Things are not looking good. Kurt the promoter is waiting for us and by this time he’s had more than enough kittens to enable a vet to retire on the back of the neutering fees. We drive off to the gig at full speed on the right hand side of the road – I’m grateful someone knows what they are doing.

‘Subterranean Kids’ from Spain and ‘Within Range’ from Norway are down to play and both bands turn in fine sets as do ‘Decadence Within’ but somehow the whole thing doesn’t seem real. And then there’s the best part, you get food and drink at continental gigs. We tuck into platefuls of veggie nosh upstairs while a band we can only just make out through the floorboards are playing away. I stroll casually downstairs to find I’ve been missing ‘Pullermann’ from Germany. I didn’t know they were playing but luckily I still caught the last half hour. I saw this band in Brighton the year before and they rocked but this time round they’re nothing short of amazing (‘Bad Brains’ meets ‘Civilised Society’ and all your favourite bands in a multiple pile up). Track down some vinyl by this lot and you won’t be disappointed. What a gig, four bands from four countries and about four quid to get in! We have a long chat with ‘Within Range’ and then it’s off to find somewhere to crash. Some sleep in the van and the rest of us crash out in Kurt’s flat and try to get some sleep…<<

[One can read the whole diary on http://www.artofthestate.co.uk]

We played with ‘Pullermann’ and ‘Subterannean Kids’ in Aalst indeed; they were both great bands… We blagged onto another show with them in Germany (this was how we used to ‘tour’ Europe! We would get 5 or 6 gigs booked, and then try to beg our way onto other shows on our days off, haha)… I remember the singer from ‘Pullermann’ looking at our singer’s scruffy beard and saying: “Hey, you need to lose the goatee!”. He was gutted but the rest of us were laughing for hours!

Slug, D.W. bassplayer

I was really saddened when I heard Smurfpunx had folded!!! Our visits to Aalst and the shows there are some of the happiest memories for the band. It was so well-organised and the feeling was so good. All good things come to an end… It seems like there’s bad turn-outs everywhere nowadays – it’s a sign of the times, I’m afraid… We try to keep enthousiastic but it’s hard sometimes not to get frustrated at how little headway we seem to be making…

Slug (personal communication ’91)

‘Pullermann’ play melodic, powerful and intelligent HC with a girl and a boy (sometimes reminding of the ‘Bad Brains’ vocalist) singing. They got a self-produced, self-titled ep out and we (a friend & me) will put out their 2nd ep called ‘I’ve got My Role to Play’ on our label R.P.N. Since you told me you organise concerts, I would like to ask you to organise some gigs for them in Belgium and to help promote them – because they’re very, very good! [Brob: I fully agreed, got them 2 Smurfpunx concerts in 1990 and helped distribute their records.]

Jörg Rosenbaum (personal communication ’89)

‘Subterranean Kids’ in action (pics courtesy of Boliche) * …are these guys flying or what?…

09/11/2010

90-02-17 (Netwerk) Seein’Red – Force Fed – Kings Of Oblivion – Mental Disturbance

Filed under: Netwerk, Aalst — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 08:57

Brob was our host when we played in Europe. He made us very welcome.

I don’t really remember precise details, although there are pockets and misty memories. I remember mostly personal stuff of course, things people said to me directly for example. Being ‘patted’ on the back by a friendly biker in Austria after a gig in Vienna for example, except he was huge and his pat on the back more or less knocked me for 6! That was a memorable comedy moment. I remember a very red-nosed guy in Germany, I think called Larsen (maybe)… [Brob: Could be Andy Larsen from Dortmund, who did Limited Edition recs.] drunk all the time. I got very drunk while staying in his flat, in a bar in the town, drinking red stuff I had never had before in England…ooooh my head!

At the time of those tours I was studying for my first degree (Social Science) in Nottingham, and had been a reader of socio-history, etc. for many years – in a way that period was one of observation for me. I do recall finding the punk-scene to be quite naive and a little tiresome at times; lots of middle-class rebels having a good time until it was time to grow up and get the good job they were always destined to have [Brob: Sure there were people like that but also very dedicated persons who acted what they said.]. I did use my experiences of that period in an academic paper. I wrote on whether or not punk was as radical as the folklore it portrayed. Of course, my conclusions were that it was not, at least for the most part. I do recall being impressed by some of the organisation, in particular the squatted area in either Düsseldorf [Brob: Kiefernstrasse was almost a no-police zone.]. Shops, crèches, etc.; a much more organised alternative ‘society’ to those in the UK I’d witnessed. However, overall I do believe I was slightly disappointed with punk in general. The tours were great, I had a good time and met some good people, Brob included. I definitely go the impression that some people wore the punk-skin but beneath were selfish, just like the societies they were professing to be in opposition to; i.e. they were hypocrites. I hasten to add here that I don’t mean you.

The music of that period I find very patchy too. I wanted to hear music that was experimental and radical in some ways, but most of it wasn’t. I tried, with ‘Kings of Oblivion’, to make music that had some differences (within the range of possibilities available) without being inaccessible. Maybe it succeeded, maybe it didn’t. Some bands were great but most were so-so run-of-the-mill off the peg fast and ordinary….

However, my personal memories are good, I had a great time and the experience was very positive. Its a shame we didn’t tour much more. Musically touring is great for honing ones’ musical skills, certainly in terms of performance and stamina. And of course it’s great to meet lots of new people (even if some of them are, inevitably, not that great). Reading this back it sounds very negative…!! It’s not the intention, believe it or not figuring out some of the things I mention was a very positive thing for me.

I have played in bands ever since of course. I have always been a musician, from a long time before ‘Kings of Oblivion’and still to this day. Not all punk of course. It’s interesting to hear Ed Ivy [Brob: ‘Rhythm Pigs’ ?] and similar people talk on their periods in punk – he says similar things to me, it was great while it lasted. I did have another punk band for a few years (with Clarky [Brob: Nick Clark], who was the guitarist in ‘Force Fed’) called ‘Fokkewolf’ – which you can hear at www.myspace.com/fokkewolf if you wish. I now do a band that’s half way between punk and blues (we call it ‘bluespunk’!) called ‘Maneatlikepig’ – also to be found on my space and for sale at www.deadlybeefburger.com (my little label). Anyway that’s enough self-promo!!

Darren ‘Daz’ Smith (‘Kings Of Oblivion’ singer/bassist)

I remember the bunker in Bielefeld [Brob: The AJZ in Bielefeld, Germany was an old bike-factory if I remember well…] and a few other shows. We weren’t doing it for fame or success, no one ever thought hardcore and extreme music would take off like it did. Great memories! Now I’m a freelance artist working for whoever. I’ve been building some stage-sets for big metal shows here in England, filming in Game Of Thrones  and all sorts of stuff.

Jamie Sims (‘Force Fed’ singer)

‘Kings Of Oblivion’ & ‘Force Fed’ (somewhere in Nl, 1990):

Upright: Nick Clark (FF guitarist) – Neil Humphries (KOO drummer) – Jamie Sims (FF singer) – Nige(l) Clark (FF drummer) – Jo(h)n Harris (KOO guitarist/singer) – Darren ‘Daz’ Smith (KOO bassist/singer) – ? – Kneeling: Kalv(in) Piper (FF bassist)

‘Kings Of Oblivion’ (pic by Philippe Anthonis)

250 people attended; sometimes we had a lot more, sometimes a lot less… Enough to cover expenses but I was always hoping more people would want to check out newer, less well-known bands…

Brob

Thank you for helping us in Europe and making us feel very welcome. We all enjoyed playing in Belgium & Holland so much we want to come back and do some more! [see: Brob’s tours]

Nick, ‘Force Fed’ guitarist (personal communication ’90)

I think ‘Force Fed’ during this period had real power and this was definitely our best line-up. I think our album Claustrophobia only proved that too well and just showed what we could do. We were always pleased with how the album was received and the reviews we had in various zines. However saying this and – Brob will agree, – It was always going to be a challenge to produce that kind of energy live – although on a good night I think we did.

I remember during this period, the old energetic ‘scene’ that was evident back in the ‘Hersey’ days, was in decline and just like so many underground movements in a state of flux, some individuals were beginning to take themselves far too seriously. So we were never going to please the narrow minded straight-edge crowd, which to be fair, were very easy to wind up. Fortunately many that did follow us, knew exactly what we were about.

While on the tour I did get a little tired of the ex-‘Heresy’ tag which I felt just got in the way. However, Kalv played a big part in ‘Force Fed’ and his contribution to the overall sound was immense. We did do one tour later with Daz from ‘Kings Of Oblivion’, filling in on bass, but in retrospect I felt his bass playing was never going to have the ‘hard edge’ Kalv achieved in the earlier shows.. They were happy days though – fun to piss off a few and great to play to those who loved us.

Nick Clark

The concert was great (again). It went well. Made a few mistakes but that doesn’t matter. We are a punk band.

Olav, ‘Seein’Red’ drummer (personal communication ’90)

Jos & Paul; ‘Seein’Red’ (pic by Philippe Anthonis)

some extra ‘shots’ (probably by ‘Kockie’):

90-02-17 Seein'Red 190-02-17 Seein'Red 290-02-17 Seein'Red (Olav)90-02-17 Seein'Red (Paul)90-02-17 Seein'Red (Jos)

Gig-review from Pyrobolum #3:

90-02-17 (Pyrobolum #3)

A line-up with bands featuring ex-members of ‘Heresy’ and ‘Lärm’…can’t go wrong with that right? Right… ‘Seein’Red’ didn’t live up to my (admitted: high) expectations although it had it’s moments. On a side-note: I really do appreciate the stuff they made later on. ‘Force Fed’ with Kalv was flat out boring and as far as I remember I wasn’t the only one with that idea. The surprise of the day was ‘Kings Of Oblivion’, the only band I didn’t have any expectations of blew me away, funny how things can work out…

Tom Van Hauwaert

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