91-07-07 Political Asylum – Bat Attack

Posted: January 13, 2012 in VV 1991
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

‘Political Asylum’ at that time was Steve Dewar on guitar, Ramsey Kanaan on vocals, Leo van Setten on bass (+ backing vocals) and Keith Burns on drums. The line-up changed a few times. We had them over at Smurfpunx gigs [5 jul 87 & 3 sep 88] and became good friends. Especially Ramsey who guided me to a lot of great literature…

‘Bat Attack’, from the Rotterdam scene, called themselves a post-punk band. Their drummer was Carla van der Marel and guy named Jeroen on guitar. Carla wrote an overview on the Rotterdam underground(punk)rock scene between 1983 en 2003. It’s titled Antiscene and has hundreds of photos of Rotterdam bands, “known faces from that scene and international underground stars”…

I can’t remember if ‘Bad Influence’ and the Groninger ‘Mushroom Attack’ played…? The first were on the flyer (thx Benoit Hanssens, for the suggestion!), the second were not…


I’d gotten to know Steve Dewar when I was living in Rotterdam, where he was squatting (he was in a relation with Marianne from ‘Stinksisters’). Him & Ramsey wanted to make a new start with ‘P.A.’ and were looking for a bassist. I learned to play the songs from the albums, together with Steve. A bit later I met Ramsey & Keith for the first time. We rehearsed a few times in the squatted Poortgebouw in Rotterdam and did dome gigs in the Netherlands. Then a short tour through Germany and Belgium.

I was a few times in Belgium with ‘P.A.’, around 90-91 I think – can’t recall the dates precisely. I think we might’ve played Kessel-Lo (Leuven). Some of the gigs were together with ‘Nancy and I’ [from Germany; friends of Stevie] and also once with ‘The Itch’ (another band that I was in). We had Kees [de Greef] (from ‘Anarcrust’ – Stevie knew him from the R’dam squat-scene) drumming some of the times too (when Keith had left)… A lot of my memories are vague and possibly I mix things up. I remember a concert where Ramsey kicked a hole in the stage… There was also a gig where a performer fucked a plucked chicken while shouting: “La Guerre!! La Guerre!!” Rather bizarre… [Brob: That was at the Vort’n Vis; the ‘performer’ was a French guy who named himself ‘Cortes’…] I also recall we once had to go to a do-it-yourself shop urgently because the plugs of our amps didn’t fit the sockets. We had to mount other plugs. We also once played soccer against another band.

Leo van Setten; nowadays singer/guitarist in the band ‘Weissmuller’

some pictures of ‘Political Asylum’ by Eric W.:

Stevie was living in Rotterdam. After our first (and only) American tour in 1989, when we came back to Scotland, Ewan, our bass-player, emigrated to Australia and Stevie moved to Rotterdam. So that was basically it for the band. But Stevie started jamming with Leo van Setten so me and Keith (the drummer) went over to R’dam for a few days and practiced for a day, recorded the acoustic radio-session that would end up on that final 10”, a studio-track and played a few shows. Really great stuff. I don’t remember anything about the Vort’n Vis show, to be honest. Actually, I don’t remember anything about any of that tour in any detail, other than at a gig in Germany, I fell through the stage! I went back to Rotterdam on another trip and we recorded 2 of the studio-tracks that were on that final 10”. Leo on bass, and Kees de Greef on drums. I don’t think he ever played live, just on that record.
On the last tour we ever did, we had a German rhythm-section [the bassist & drummer of ‘Nancy and I’]. Stevie had moved to Germany and set up a tour. I came over and practiced with them for a couple of days. We played those dates, and that was that really.

Ramsey Kanaan, ‘Political Asylum’ singer

I see the Vort’n Vis in front of me… I really enjoyed ‘Political Asylum’ but can’t remember our gig… Our vocalist JW and Costes knew each other from a performance in the Jazzbunker (Rotterdam) where JW was programmer at that time. A week before the concert at the Vort’n Vis, Costes played with ‘Putrid Cadaver’ (friends of ‘Bat Attack’ from Paris) in ‘my’ place, De Vlerk. Costes was extremely popular in R’dam.

Also in ‘Bat Attack’ were Hilde (Veenstra, on bass/backing-vocals), Jeroen (Wessels, guitar/backing-vocals). Our first real concert was opening for Nick Cave in Paradiso, Amsterdam. Jeroen had some connections and that’s how we ended, as starting late-bloomers, hardly knowing to play an instrument. Somehow we didn’t get a lot of response in The Netherlands but when Arnaud (Azzouz), at that time a 16-year old chap from La Louvière [Belgium], presented himself as our promotor, we quickly became notorious in Belgium. France and Switzerland followed. We toured a lot, mostly in obscure places. Memorable was a gig in the youth-centre of Ternat [Belgium]. Only much later we found out that Arnaud always hid a piece of hash in the cassette-tapes stating “Smoke this before you listen the tape”. Yep that explained a lot, hahaha… A few months before the concert in Ieper, we also played in a packed venue filled with frenzied French at Printemps de Bourges. JW met his future wife Cati there, with whom he started ‘Stinksisters’. Marianne (mentioned in relation to Steve of ‘P.A.’) was the guitarist/singer of the Stinx…

Carla van der Marel, ‘Bat Attack’ drummer

Not a lot of recollections either, just that Costes played aswell and that he stirred things up… Reading back the guestbook-quotes, I remember indeed that the microphones gave of electricity. I believe it wasn’t a very memorable concert of ‘Bat Attack’…

JW (Jan Willem van Hemert), singer for ‘Bat Attack’

This gig with ‘Political Asylum’ was the first I attended at the Vort’n Vis. I forgot much about that time. Too bad, because I enjoyed Ieper, the V.V. and the people there a lot.

Carsten Pötter, Frankfurt [became a quite regular visitor]

pics of ‘Bat Attack’ by Eric W.:


excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

Apparently that day there was a fair in town that Leo enjoyed…

Quite a lengthy epistle by ‘Bat Attack’s Carla, Jeroen & driver Henk (about the sweaty atmosphere, stormy weather, stinging microphones, etc.)

‘Bad Attack’s manager Arnaud (French-speaking Belgian) in a psychedelic mood… ;-)

The infamous Costes…

additions wellcome!…

  1. Leo van Setten says:

    There’s a link to ‘The Itch’ aswell…

  2. Karl Penando says:

    Hé hé; I remember this gig! Especially the set of Costes…when 90% of the people left the place when he began to fuck a dead chicken!

    • Eric React says:

      Yes, I remember the first part of this gig well; everybody went outside when ‘Costes’ played. (I did see one of his performances from the beginning to the end in Toulouse…) I should check if I get pictures from ‘Bat Attack’. I’m certain I recorded their set… I should rip it.

  3. If I remember correctly, that ‘Political Asylum’ gig was the first gig for me there. Ramsey in shorts is a picture I recall. :-)

  4. Michael Kopijn says:

    After ‘E.N.E.’ split up, Maynard, Robbie and Piet decided to start a new band with the help of Juul on bass and Janine on vocals. Their first gig was in the W.N.C. squat 89-08-13 as ‘Human Error’. The name was changed ‘Reality Attack’ into ‘Mushroom Attack’. After several tours and two split LP’s they decided to split up after a disaster UK tour in June 1992. There were just too many tensions in the band.
    Human Error (Groningen) @ W.N.C. 89-08-13

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