Alexis führt das Label Straight & Alert Records und singt bei Harm Done aus Nantes. Für uns hat er die Erfahrungen seiner letzten Europa-Tour festgehalten.
This is the first time I’m asked to write a tour report so I’ll just write as it comes and see how it turns out.
The first gig that was supposed to happen in France was cancelled a few weeks before the tour (shout out to the venue for booking two gigs on the same night) so we ended up starting the tour in Antwerpen, Belgium which is about 750 km away from our hometown. It took us 10 hrs to get there, pretty cool for a first drive isn’t it?
The venue was sick (Music City) except the fact that pretty much everyone was smoking before and during the show, but oh well. We shared the stage with IMAGINARY DICTIONARY (they play mid tempo Boston ’82 influenced hardcore) and BAD NOIDS (Bad Brains meet crazyness). In fact we jumped on the bill. Not sure we really fitted in and if people liked our set but it was a good tour starter.
We had 3 days to drive from Nantes in western France to reach Vaxjö in the south of Sweden. Pretty long drives. The second day was in Leer, Germany, where we played a cool show in the 3rd floor of a post office building. We left right after the show and drove through northern Germany, Danemark to finally arrive in Sweden. Another 10 hour drive, this time mostly by night. I took the first shift and then we switched to another driver. I just about remember falling asleep and waking up at like 5 AM when we were crossing one of the big bridges that link two islands in Denmark. It was sick as hell. So early in the morning and already daylight with nothing to see but landscapes.
We arrived exhausted about 7 hours before get in time but Jorge who booked the show was cool enough to welcome us at his place where we spent the day chilling. The gig was the first hardcore gig in the city in 5 years so there wasn’t really a scene there anymore and we played in front of about 12 / 15 people.
Sweden is beautiful by the way. It was the first time the 5 of us were lucky enough to visit the country. Everything looks so quiet, peaceful and pure. We stopped on the road so many times to enjoy the landscape, either on the beach or in the forest. We were like kids. We played a total of 6 shows in Sweden: Växjö, Stockholm, Linköping, Örebro, Goteborg and Malmo.
The best reaction of the crowd was in Stockholm, the show was insane. The city was beautiful aswell. That’s one of the only cities we really took time to do sightseeing in. During the tour the best bands we shared the stage with were in Sweden: God Mother, On the Edge of Forever, Coke Bust, and LOWEST CREATURE! These guys killed it in Orebrö. Their Leeway‘s Rise And Fall cover had me moshing so bad I hurt my ankle while crossing our drummer who’s kinda bigger than I am.
Anyway if you don’t know them yet, imagine 20/25 year old dudes playing awesome and powerful crossover. Power Trip meets Foreseen. They are touring this summer, catch them live if you can, it’s worth it. We also played two gigs and made friends with THE HAMMER from Gothenburg, great guys and they put out a sick record a few months ago.
The last show in Sweden took place in Malmö. We headed directly to Copenhagen right after the gig since we could crash in the squat we were playing the day after. This gave us the opportunity to spend the day in Copenhagen. During that pretty short drive we all had the same weird feeling that the tour was coming to an end. Even if we still had 5 shows to play we were actually on our way back home and the first “it’s gonna suck next monday at work” started to echo in the van.
The plan for the night was to meet up with the girl (she was French) who was organising the show in Copenhagen and go to Christiania, before heading back to the squat. According to Wikipedia ” Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares in the borough of Copenhagen.” Well whatever, I didn’t like that place. Sketchy people and drug dealers everywhere, but we were told it was a place to see if we were in town, so we did. We didn’t stay there long and drove to the squat. The not-so-cool part of the story: the night before cops had broken into the squat without warning, and busted a guy who was living there. He was released a few hours later since they couldn’t press charges on him. So when we arrived at like 2 AM in the morning we saw a cops / riot van parked with lights on full beam opposite a big building painted with a large A.C.A.B on a white sheet hanging on the wall. We knew that was the place we would be staying at. The situation made us feel a bit uncomfortable. Thankfully nothing happened during the 2 days we stayed there even though that same van kept driving by.
By the way that squat is probably one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, some kind of labyrinth building with so many rooms and stairs. Pretty cool. We had the whole day to visit the city since the doors opened pretty late. I’m not sure if I liked it or not, some spots were really cool but the city wasn’t as nice as I expected. I know all the others liked it. I didn’t really enjoy this day and a half in Copenhagen actually. I guess it was my “down time” of the tour. Everyone had one, mine happened in Denmark. The cool thing was to play in front of a crowd of crusty / grind lovers. We only had good feedbacks after the show so I guess they liked it.
We left Denmark pretty early because we were playing a sort of fest in Wolfsburg, Germany. It was quite a long drive and the show was starting early because there were 6 or 7 bands playing. That day was a holiday and the tradition that day in Germany is… to drink all day long and get wasted apparently, weirdos.
We played the worst set we ever played that night. The sound guy was an ass, our bass player broke his head amp, I fucked my voice during the soundcheck, our drummer forgot to play a song, our guitar player lost his pick during a guitar breakdown so he couldn’t play and cherry on top, a drunk scumbag started a fight at the end of our set (and knocked two guys out outside after our show). Worst live experience as a band but oh well, the rest of the night was cool. Guys from Spirit (Youth Crew with members of Test Of Time) played a cool gig, we sold some merch, there were vegan cupcakes.
Last 3 shows were Dinslaken in Germany, Paris and Nantes, our hometown. Dinslaken was maybe the best show of the tour. The venue was super sick, kids went bananas when we played and War Charge from the UK played right after us.
Our initial gig in Paris was cancelled (second venue who booked two shows on the same night, are we cursed?) but we jumped on a hardcore punk bill with USA’s Long Knife and local heroes Youth Avoiders. We were really looking forward to this show because the last time we played Paris it was rad and a lot of our friends were there. Even if we opened, the room was crowded and we did one of our best sets of the tour, even though we were all pretty tired and you could see it on our faces. People moshed, sang along, went nuts, like our SSD cover. Cool gig. Right after us Youth Avoiders killed it! It was the second time I saw them live and they definitely rule. Great 80’s hardcore with a melodic vibe.
Long Knife from the US were headlining, I had never heard of them before. They were kinda old dudes playing 80’s hardcore. Their set was half cool / half boring, I just stayed during the whole set because I knew they did a CRO MAGS cover. Let’s say it was worth the wait.
That was it, back to our hometown for our last show of the tour with our friends from Direwolves and Birds In Row who were just back from the 3 day Throatruiner Fest. It may sound weird but this was the show we were the most looking forward to. We were going to play in our hometown, in front a new crowd (people who were probably more there to see the two other bands) and see all our friends – they were all there. But at the end it was a really weird show. We all were super tired and felt like we were not there. We played an OK set, even if our bass player had problems with his spare head amp. In the end I don’t even know if the new crowd we wanted to play for liked it.
Since we were in town pretty early and Birds In Row were providing all the backline, we had time to unload everything and drop all our personal stuff off at home. So after our set we all left one by one. We were all way too tired to stay until the end of the show, some of us were working early the next day and the driver had to clean the van and bring it back to the rental company. So yeah we all left one by one on our own. And this was for sure the weirdest end to a tour I’ve ever been confronted to.
But in a nutshell this tour was a real blast. I really wanted us to do it by ourselves with no other band so we could get to know each other better. I toured several times with our bass player (and driver) since we both used to play in Raw Justice and some other bands before but never with the two others guys. I’m glad it turned out pretty well – even though our van window got smashed in Stockholm and hardly anyone turned up at some of the shows. It was really sick!
The moment I’m writing these lines it’s been exactly a year since we played our first show and I’m really super happy when I take a look at what we’ve achieved. So far we’ve recorded a 7″, a promo tape, did a two week tour, are about to record an LP and are already thinking about hitting the road again in Europe and even beyond. Thanks y’all.