That day, myself and my ‘Repulsives’ definitely moved our arses to Dendermonde. I was present but wasn’t part of the organisation (yet). I’m still not sure if this was a Smurfpunx only thing: the flyer mentions Ack Ack, which was the tape-label of our mate Kurt Boelens (who also gave my band ‘Repulsives’ a lot of opportunities when we just started out). Since he wasn’t from anywhere near Dendermonde, I’m almost sure that Mokka (who also did a tape-label then) and pre-Smurfpunx helped him getting things sorted for this fest in the Roxy (where the group of people that was to become the Smurfpunx-collective had previously set up their first hardcore/punk night).
Not all the bands announced on the flyers actually played… That’s just the way things went at that time. ‘Lärm’ had played at the earlier show but the other Dutch bands did show up. If I remember well ‘Loud Warning’ (vocalists Eppe & Volkert, guitarist Paul, drummer Erik, bassist Gwynn) were from the same town as ‘Lärm’, Amersfoort; ‘Laitz’ (Ferko Bodnar – guitar, Joep van Liefland – bass, Joost Teunissen – drums & Ron Goris – vocals) & ‘Kikkerspuug’ (“frog-spit”; Rob van Aller – guitar, Jerry van der Valk – drums, Jos (Frank Roemer?) – bass, Thomas van Straten – vocals) from Utrecht; and ‘Behind The Dikes’…from somewhere (smile). Why ‘Attic 22’ (from the Belgian coast) and ‘Verdomde Idioten’ (from even closer by) didn’t show up…? ‘Naked Nuns’ were from Deinze.
Casper (‘B.T.D.’ singer) and I (Marc, ‘B.T.D.’ bassplayer) had just finished our highschool-exams that friday. We didn’t know if we had failed or passed. Bart ”B.T.D.’ drummer) and Marco (‘B.T.D.’ guitarist) had already dropped out of school – after all this were the 80s – and couldn’t care less. We started ‘B.T.D.’ in 1982/83 when we were 15 or 16 years old, and whenever we had a show, we either went their with our bicycles or took the train. The latter meant that we usuallly had to wait to catch the first train the next day to get back home somewhere around 7 or 8 a.m. Neither coming from a big town, nor being part of a strong scene, we usually teamed up with similar, befriended bands, like ‘Indirekt’ or ‘Gepöpel’, or got a lot of help from our friends ‘Lärm’. I don’t remember how we got in touch with ‘Laitz’ and ‘Kikkerspuug’, probably through writing and tape-trading. They both hailed from Utrecht, were there was a somewhat stronger scene, with squats like Punkenburg and bands like ‘E.H.B.O.’ and ‘Vacuum’. ‘Loud Warning’ used to be called ‘Resistance’ and they came from Amersfoort – the ‘Lärm’/Definite Choice/Grachtkerk-connection. After playing a couple of shows together, hanging out at other shows, meeting up at each other’s place, the four bands got the idea of putting out a compliation-record together (which later in 1986 would be released with the title ‘On Our Way To Fools Paradise’).
Looking at the two different versions of the flyer for this show, the only thing I can imagine is that our Belgian friends first asked ‘Lärm’ to come to play and that both ‘B.T.D.’ & ‘Loud Warning’ tagged along with them. I guess that for some reason – Menno was probably occupied with something outside hardcore/punkrock ;-) – ‘Lärm’ wasn’t able to play the show so we got ‘Kikkerspuug’ & ‘Laitz’ filling in the open position on the bill. I remember that I just got my driving-license, but getting four bands – 16 people – to Belgium was pushing it. So Ferko and Joep from ‘Laitz’ managed to rent two beat-up vans with drivers from this squat/hippy-‘organisation’ called De Hoeksteen (‘The Cornerstone’) from Utrecht. We sat in an old Peugeot van, without seatbelts and with sliding front doors. They had two or three seats in the front & the rear and most of the people were just put in the loading-compartiment, together with some matrasses. Since it was warm we drove all the way to Belgium (about 150 miles) with the doors slided backwards. When we got to Dendermonde we found everything very exiting. The people from Ack-Ack/Smurfpunx who put up the show gave us plenty of drink-tickets, we had a dressing-room and the venue was something like an old dancing-hall; pretty big, high ceilings. For diner we got white bread with raw, grinded meat [Brob: Hardly anyone in the punk-scene had heard about vegetarianism at that time.], that – I now dare to confess this, after being vegetarian for 23 years – we fed to the chickens in a yard behind the venue. Anyway, the bread tasted good.
In my memory the show wasn’t sold out but there was a decent crowd. I don’t remember too much of playing the actual show, besides that I have some pretty speeded-up tape-recordings of it [Leffe posted them here: http://systemsabotagechaos.blogspot.com/2011/02/btd-live-03-05-86-roxy-dendermonde.html], so it sounds really tight and fast but also pitched too high, like the ‘Bad Brains’ on ‘Rock For Light’. What I really remember was the aftermath: a big fight between the punks (us, amongst others) and the local yokels, that weren’t really attracted the the whole concept of punkrock and hardcore. Folkert, the singer of ‘Loud Warning’, was sitting outside the venue by himself right after the show. He was approached by 3 or 4 local rednecks and before he knew it he got some blows to head. Right behind him, he felt a lose brick on the pavement that he – in pure self-defence – threw into the face of one of his attackers. When he ran back into the venue he was bleeding too. When we ran out to see what was going on, I guess some guys from the local redneck pack had thought the same thing. I also vaguely remember a wooden, temporarely placed bridge, that we used to prepare ourselves for the upcoming battle. In the early stages of what could have become an all out local war, the Belgian police arrived at the scene. Which is a different kind of police then what we – hailing from Holland – were used too (after all, the Dutch police likes to ‘talk’ first). So somewhere in all of this, I think Marco, Bart and myself ended up face down on the curb, handcuffed. Which was a serious problem, besides just being uncomfortable.
Let me explain: in Holland, back in those days, we had a general draft for all 18 year boys for the army. Which was not that hard to get out of, for social or medical (‘insanity’) reasons, in which BTD, Marco and myself all managed. But Bart even refused to go the physical/medical examination; he was what was called a ‘totaalweigeraar’ (‘war resister’), for which he was sought by the Dutch government (and served jailtime for it, 8 months, in 1989/90). So Bart travelled without passport,and being arrested by the Belgian police could lead to him being jailed immediately. Anyway, back to Dendermonde, being face down on the street. I managed to get my passport – which was in my backpocket of my pants – in my cuffed hands, I walked over to one of the officers and said “Look, I am a Dutch civilian, we are with 20 people from the Netherlands here, we have absolutely nothing to do with this, so if you remove our handscuffs, we will pack up our stuff and leave quietly.”. Somehow they believed us and took of the cuffs, and we could pack up and leave.
I still feel sorry for Folkert but all in all it was a great punkrock night, with a good show, nice people and a (small) fight and encountering foreign police. When we got home, somewhere around 4 p.m. or so, we all had this great feeling of satisfaction, we really accomplished a small milestone in our little punkrock universe. Thank you Ack Ack and Smurfpunx people!
Marc H. (bass for ‘Behind The Dikes’)
Here’s some ‘B.T.D.’ photographs (kindly donated by Marc):
Heavy riot that night, indeed! (started when our singer was harassed by some blokes from outside, a brick in someone’s face out self-defense)… Anyway, I was 14 then… We were part of the ‘Kippenhok’-crew [Grachtkerk, punk meeting/concert-place in Amersfoort], did16 or so shows, (including 10 with ‘Lärm’ ;-)…
The rest of Loud Warning’ was Eppe (female singer, was living in the U.K. in a -sort of- hippy commune), Folkert (male singer, haven’t heard of him for more than 10 years either), Erik (drums, used to hang out with his hooligan friends), Paul (guitar, at one time psychobilly and drug-dealer)…
Gwynn Ten Boske (‘Loud Warning’ bassplayer; later ‘N.R.A.’)
The only thing that comes to mind (I was extremely drunk and stoned then) is that the audience was pogo-ing on stage and someone touched me with his pinkie: and because I was always singing at the top of my lungs, that little touch made me fall into the drum-kit…. Our drummer Joost couldn’t appreciate that really…
Ron Goris (singer ‘Laitz’)
Rob, guitarist of ‘Kikkerspuug’, here… Strangely enough I can remember very little of the concert, but a few minor things.
We drove to Belgium in two vans together with ‘Laitz’. I recall that when loading so many supporters and interested people got that the drummer and myself were almost left behind in the rehearsal-space and we could barely be crammed in. We were sitting in the back on the ground of the cargo-space between drums and amps. Everything was rattling and the road was long. I remember the moment we finally arrived in Dendermonde and got out, we were accosted by a Belgian punk: if we “had a spoon” with us, because he was just getting to eat from a newly opened tin can without any cutlery. I suspect it was beans.
Nothing comes to me about setting up the gear and the sound-check, but indeed about the white bread with – oh horror – raw minced meat. Maybe this is a Belgian delicatesse [Brob: Not really; guess none of the Smurfpunx knew how to cook at that time. The food-quality changed drastically in a positive way later…], but we had never seen that before. In my mind, I still see this big hunk of minced meat on a soup-plate, uncooled, in the middle of a rickety table; but time of course influences the memory… Perhaps it was fresh and well-cooled filet americain on a brand-new table. Who knows. We fed the chickens who were walking around with some of the white bread and went into town looking for some French fries.
About the gigs of the bands, including my own, I can’t remember anything. Just that at the end of the evening a Belgian stormed in, shouting that people were “scuffling with the snobs”, an act that came across as mysterious to us. Shortly afterwards we heard that there had been a fight with – as we understood – the local disco-crowd and the venue was swept clean by the gendarmerie. So we quickly packed and left quitely.
Rob van Aller (kikkerspuug.nl)
stickers that came with 4-way split ‘On Our Way to Fools Paradise: