92-09-05 Ironside – Strong Event – Blindfold – Shortsight – No More – Feeding The Fire – Spirit Of Youth

Posted: November 14, 2013 in VV 1992
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1st day of the 1st Ieperfest

(2nd day: 92-09-06 Abolition – Nations On Fire – Strength Of The Will – Inner Circle – Agent 86 – Punishment Park)

‘Ironside’ were a vegan sXe metalcore outfit from Bradford. Nick Royles (drums; ex ‘Sore Throat’ & ‘No Way Out’ 90-08-25) was in the band; along with Andrew Wright (guitar; later in ‘Unborn’ & ‘Voorhees’; R.I.P.), Doug(las) Dalziel (bass), Tom Chapman (guitar; later in ‘Kito’, ‘Baby Harp Seal’, etc.) and Richard ‘Rich’ Armitage (vocals; later in ‘Voorhees’). They had just recorded for the Neutered Innocence tape that Nick released on his label, Sure Hand recs, and they were about to put out the Fragments Of The Last Judgement 7” (on Ian Simpson/ Helene Keller’s Subjugation recs; 1993). Rich Armitage (somewhere on the internet) wrote: “We played in Belgium in ‘92 and blew away all the ‘88 straight-edge kids there, which laid the foundation for the H8000 thing. No one was doing slow, chugging metal with deep vocals and no recognizable straight-edge lyrics at the time, except ‘Ironside’.”…

92-09-05 Ironside' (by Subjugation) 92-09-05 Ironside'' (by Subjugation)92-09-05 Ironside (by Subjugation)‘Ironside’ photos by Helene Keller (Subjugation recs)

Not really sure but I think ‘Strong Event’ (from Mulheim in the Ruhrpott area) was the band of drummer René Natzel (who was also in ‘Inner Circle’ and ‘Feeding The Fire’ – see 92-10-10 – and did Common Goal zine) before he started ‘Spawn’…

I think this was the 1st time ‘Shortsight’ performed with Saskia singing. Can ‘t recall if guitarist Françoise ‘Hazel’ Lepers was in the band then; the rest was David ‘Mong’ Dumont (guitar), Björn Lescouhier (drums) & Kurt Deprez (bass). There was an incident with smokers when they played… (Dutch-speaking people can read about it on the excerpt from Edward’s zine Dorst #1, below)

92-09-05 Shortsight (Dorst #1)92-09-05 Shortsight Saskia (Dorst cover)Saskia ‘Shortsight’ (on the cover of Dorst #1)

‘Blindfold’ had just come back from a tour with ‘Onward’ (see 92-08-09)… Their Sober Mind Meditation 7” was recorded right after this fest and was to be released on Warehouse recs (that Edward Verhaeghe did together with Jeroen Lauwers). The band had a steady line-up with Jan Maelfait on bass (meaning he had to perform twice that day)…

With ‘Spirit Of Youth’ playing aswell, there was a total of 4 (more or less) local SxE bands… The month after this, they recorded the 7” The Abyss (released by Crucial Response recs). The line-up (see also 92-08-09) that day was: Jan Maelfait (vocals), Dominiek Denolf (guitar), Frederik Denolf (drums) and Ignace Demeyer (bass).

‘No More’ had already played here (92-05-24). They were from Luxembourg (the country, not the Belgian province). A political HC band consisting of Claude ‘Pattex’ Werer (guitar), Fränz Laureys (bass), Steve ‘Diff’ Differding (vocals) & Mike ‘Schof’ (93) (drums). See also 93-03-28.

‘Feeding The Fire’: Not the first time, nor the last time they were here: 91-12-21, 92-04-18, 92-10-10, 93-05-22, 94-08-21 & 96-05-12. Emphasizing the strong connection between some people… Léon Kleikers (guitarist of ‘No Sense’) stood in on drums here. He also did that for the ‘F.T.F.’/’Man Lifting Banner’ tour…

Brob

That day I met most of the Bradford guys, like Nick [Royles] and Tom [Chapman], etc. for the first time. ‘Ironside’ were hard as fuck. Their singer looked like a psycho. Turned out to be a real nice guy. They made quite an impression. Heyday of the first generation H8000 scene.

Rob Franssen, ‘Feeding The Fire’ singer

I visited again [92-07-25 & 92-08-09] for the Ieperfest. (Wasn’t that the very first time that fest took place…?) At least for the Saturday: I had school on Monday and couldn’t stay for the Sunday. The feeling on the first day of school after that summer was incredible. I actually just started in fall 1992 with my English lessons and picked up so fast, but not because of the teacher or the lessons but because of what I’d learned reading in lyrics and fanzines, and writing letters. Brob and me kept a somewhat regular correspondence since then until the summer of 1995. We met again for the fest in the summer of 1996, but the atmosphere at the fest was different and I was aswell; that was my last visit to the V.V. I visited the place (which was a pub) in early spring 2008 and early summer 2009 during field-trips with students of the University of Essen & the University of Siegen, respectively. I never saw the new V.V.

Jörg Jacoby, visitor from Saarbrücken

A couple of quick facts… ‘Ironside’ were never explicitly “vegan straight-edge” and certainly not metalcore. ‘Ironside’ was a straight-edge band. I really enjoyed that trip to Ieper, as I knew I was gonna be living in Lille in France in the near future. I was really keen on the whole Euro music scene and so for me it was great to meet people from ‘Nations On Fire’, ‘Spirit Of Youth’, ‘Feeding The Fire’, Jean-Paul [Frijns] from Value of Strength zine, some of the Lille people, etc. The scene was so much bigger than in the UK it seemed although in the UK the straight-edge scene was much smaller and less insular. We had a great time, going to the swimming-pool, watching a lot of bands that weekend…

In 1992 I lived in Lille, France for one year as part of my studies. I spent a lot of time travelling to Belgium, staying with the ‘Spirit Of Youth’ guys, hanging out with Ed, Bruno, Jeroen, UJ, Hans, etc. Also some of the Lille/ Roubaix/ Mouscron guys like Pierre ‘Six Feet Over’, etc.

As I commented [see link on top] I am sure there were plenty of people there whose intentions were misguided – whether it was just to make as much money, or young kids who were full on straight-edge vegan one weekend and turned back to a conservative lifestyle the next, and obviously didn’t look beyond the surface of what was going on…

Tom Chapman, ‘Ironside’ guitarist

>> With my twenty-first birthday looming in September 1992, I was where I always had been: restless and skint, devoid of potential fellow voyagers and lacking the guts and information to go it alone. But then there was Belgium – how hard could it be to travel there, to go to the first hardcore festival in Ieper? Was I just going to give in to my mates who didn’t want to go to it, or in fact go anywhere beyond their crap summer-jobs. So Belgium wasn’t Bolivia but it was a start, and it was a music festival and how cool would it be that I had been while other guys hung about the UK that summer? So I bit the bullet and got in touch with a guy called Jase [‘Step One’ Fox] from Manchester who was going too and together we headed over to Belgium. He had sorted staying with friends in Ieper so I managed to blag myself on to that ticket and got to stay with some lovely people in Belgium who were part of the beating heart of the hardcore scene there.

It is difficult to convey now how boundary-breaking it felt to travel abroad on my own – well at least emotionally on my own, not knowing my travelling companion very well. It all seems a bit silly now what with books and internet resources so readily available, but at the time I didn’t know that things like the Lonely Planet guides existed, which would tell how you how to get to a place and find somewhere cheap to stay. As far as I was concerned you had to buy a ticket for somewhere and hope for the best that you could figure it all out when you got there in your best pigeon version of the local language. All that to me – and to others where I came from – seemed a bit scary in the early nineties. I guess some of us just weren’t destined to be the world’s greatest (budget) explorers! At the time of my little jaunt to Belgium, it was quite a talking-point for the neighbours back home that I had just swanned off to the ‘continent’ on my own when most of us didn’t go much further than Bournemouth or if we did, it was just a touch of Spain on a package!

The Ieperfest was fab. The sun shone, there were loads of new people, bands, distros from right across Europe and of course many records to absorb and vegan food to devour – spaghetti I recall. There we go again, I can remember what I ate nineteen years ago but I’ll struggle to remember which bands played. ‘Shortsight’, ‘Feeding the Fire’, ‘Blindfold’, ‘Ironside’, ‘Spirit Of Youth’, that’s the best I can do! I don’t know if it was in part a consequence of the sun shining, compared to a dour and sour Yorkshire, and there being lots of people from around Europe having lots of super friendly conversations, but the whole event and the community gathered there seemed to simply ooze positivity.

Maybe it was just because it was all new to me but things seemed definitely different to back in the UK. For one thing – and this really stood out for me – there was a mini manifesto on the gig-flyer [perhaps this: Fast music doesn’t mean violent dancing] about violence and violent dancing not being tolerated, and this was something that the guys there really held fast on. I had never been to a gig like this where was so much good natured dancing going on, where everyone felt safe and looked out for with zero posturing. A couple of hundred people were crammed into the café, watching the bands and there was lots of fun stage-diving going on and people hoisting others into the air to surf the crowd. Secondly, the pleasure and openness with which people met each other for the first time, and the thirst for conversation, information-sharing and political discourse. It felt like everyone was bursting with ideas and political perspectives they wanted to share. I met some really brilliant people there, from which I took much inspiration home with me. Also just as exciting was the recurring references by the bands to the tediousness of sexism in life but also closer to home in the scene. But best of all was seeing some of the coolest girls rock out in the bands, and even better was to come in that I would eventually have the privilege of releasing some of their work on the next Subjugation record.

But back to 1992. It was a bit scary being there on my own, a kind of strange British waif and stray amongst large groups of friends who rubbed along with an easy and gentle bonhomie. I am not very good at being the kind of creature who finds it easy to impose themselves upon someone and their circle of friends. I really didn’t know Jase, who I travelled over with, very well and was keen not to be a social burden to him. At this time I didn’t really know the guys from ‘Ironside’ and they always looked a bit scary to me so I was way too shy to barge my way into their gang and they didn’t exactly rush my way either to save me from being the lonesome British girl there! So I just had to get on with it, trying to look nonchalantly cool and OK about being totally on my own, reading zines and killing loads of time between bands while being completely out of my social depth!!

Zines being sold at gigs…to me that was one of the best things ever and probably not for the reasons you think. They saved my social dignity on many occasions! In the early days there weren’t too many girls at gigs and I think most of us felt pretty awkward being a minority – an alien being on the landscape, often finding ourselves behaving like wall-flowers on the periphery of the gathering – even if this was contrary to our ‘normal’ personalities. We often failed to reach out to each other while an easy bonhomie flourished between the boys, powered it seemed to me by talk of record-collecting and being in bands! The boys didn’t seem to want to engage with us very much at gigs. On a lot of occasions the most I could get out of them was a “Hello, how are you…”, without much enthusiasm for any further follow-up and inclusion! My favourite scenario was when I used to go up to a group of guys who weren’t complete strangers to me and say the usual “Hello, how’s it going?…” hoping to join in and hang out and they would all go quiet and look awkward… I can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible. It was like always being the new kid at school that people are polite to but you can’t be arsed to try with and let into your gang! It meant that there was often a lot of time to be killed on your own and so you needed strategies to help you stop you looking like a total pariah. This is where zines came in and saved me! So three cheers for zine-writers – the unsung heroes and heroines of the socially excluded at gigs!! On several occasions over the years I have tried to fathom why I wasn’t allowed to hang out with the same ease as those guys who were new to our local scene or visiting. The answers generally fell into two categories. Firstly I was someone’s girlfriend and that made people feel weird about approaching and including me. The second category is that they were frightened of me. This was nicely summed up some years ago by one member of ‘Bob Tilton’, confessing that he only had the guts to speak to me freely when he was drunk. There is a possible third category – that is I am tedious, but my friends promise me that I am not and just maybe they are right, as they have at least stuck with me for a decade or two.

Once again, back to 1992….so I probably did a lot of zine-reading at the Ieper festival but I could couldn’t hide away forever. I now ran a record-label and responsibilities to face up to, like shifting the 500 ‘Strength Alone’ records sat in Ian’s house in Darlington and more immediately the ones I had with me. I had to be brave and bold, and try and trade or sell them to the distros at the festival. I dread to think what they thought of this timid little thing trying to thrust my meagre offering on them. I also remember sitting there on my own with my little box of records, next to the big distros trying to sell them… Ah bless me. I totally thought the guys from ‘Ironside’ must be so laughing at me. I felt very small but nothing ventured nothing gained…for me the fight back against the under-valued and minority-status of women in hardcore-punk had to begin with trying to sell 50 ‘Strength Alone’ 7”s! And you know what…I did it, I got rid of them and came back with contacts for the major distributors in Europe. If first base is pressing a record, then second base is working with European distributors and I was on my way.

The Ieper festival was an opportunity to see ‘Shortsight’ and ‘Feeding the Fire’ play, both of which had female members in the band – Saskia, the vocalist in ‘Shortsight’ and Ilona, the bass-player [guitar actually] in ‘Feeding the Fire’. They seemed like warrior-queens, leaders of a tribe that were out numbered twenty to one, shouting “bring it fucking on”. I was in awe, not only of them but the friends they had that had the where with all to help them take their place centre stage. Being in Ieper was also an opportunity to meet Hazel, who was way ahead of the rest of us in breaking the mould, having played bass in the Belgian straight-edge band ‘Nations On Fire’. I also met up with a really cool woman over from Canada called Mel who wrote a straight-edge fanzine. It was pretty exciting to be, for the first time, around other women who were trying to make their presence felt in the straight-edge/hardcore scene and start to share experiences and find common cause. It is very liberating to come to the realisation that what you considered to be personal deficiencies are in fact systemic: you are not totally crap, the environment you are in skews your chances significantly in favour of being perceived as crap! The rush of oxygen to the brain when you finally work this out is quite something. It doesn’t make walking up to a group of guys to try and trade records any less daunting but at least you haven’t beat your self up too much before you try!!

With Jase I was staying at Hans’ house, who was the guitarist in ‘Blindfold’ and ran P.M.A. recs. For those of you that like your band-member facts, he eventually went on to be in ‘Liar’. Also staying over at the house was the ‘Feeding the Fire’ crew (Rob the singer went on to be in ‘Born From Pain’). I remember hanging out with them after the night ‘Ironside’ had played the festival, laughing at the impressions we were all doing of Arm’s, (the singer of ‘Ironside’), slightly scary stage-persona.

I was also probably trying to impress them with my world-domination plans for Subjugation, which frankly boiled down to trying to put together an Animal Rights benefit compilation 7”. We had been in touch with various bands over the summer and it was pretty much coming together. Signed up were ‘Feeding the Fire’ from Holland, ‘Shortsight’ from Belgium and ‘Struggle’ from San Diego, who had just released the most amazing 7” on Ebullition recs, and a track on the compilation 12” Give Me Back which was a benefit for Women’s support-groups. To get them on board was totally brilliant. Again for those of you who like band-member facts, ‘Struggle’ included Justin Pearson who went on to be in ‘Swing Kids’ and ‘The Locust’. […]

Feeling buoyed up and a bit giddy by what I achieved at the Ieperfest I made my way back to the UK. ‘Ironside’ were on the same ferry crossing as me. I said “Hello” without sounding too squeaky and secretly hoped that they would kind of indicate that it was cool for me to hang out with them for the four hour crossing, but sadly they didn’t, so I did my best impression of cool independence and sauntered off to get coffee, hiding my disappointment that I wasn’t getting the chance to hang out with the über-cool Nick Royles, the drummer of ‘Ironside’. Ian Leck (the singer of ‘Steadfast’/’Voorhees’) did find me later in the café and joined me for some chit-chat, which was a welcomed charitable act that I have clearly remembered for the last twenty years! The initial tepid relations between myself and Bradford boys was later in part explained by the unearthing of a snake in our midst’s! Someone was peddling tales and creating general mistrust been the Leeds and Bradford posses. In the following months the perpetrator was unmasked and confronted and the outcome of this was to be some cool collaborations between us all on gigs and record releases, general good times and an enduring friendship between Nick and I. It is shame that the petty power-games of this one individual prevented the cool stuff happening all the sooner, but I guess such games are all part of the rich pageant that is human relationships… <<

Helene Keller, Subjugation recs (subjugationrecords.wordpress.com)

92-09-05 Helene, Hazel and Saskia outside the V.V.the sisterhood (Helene, Hazel & Saskia)

92-09-05&06 gig-review in HolyHardcore #2 (a)92-09-05&06 gig-review in HolyHardcore #2 (b)review in Tom De Pauw’s zine HolyHardcore #2

92-09 Hardcore 92 review (-)review in Wim Vandekerckhove’s zine Reminder #2

additions wellcome!…

Advertisements
Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s