Archive for September, 2014

 93-09-04 Contropotere - Herb Garden - Bad Influence - Brawl

93-09-04 Contropotere banner

The baddies of ‘Bad Influence’ had a way of showing up with a lot of great bands and interesting people: 90-10-27 (with ‘Zygote’), 92-11-01 (with Steve Ignorant), here with ‘Contropotere’, 93-10-24 (with ‘Toxic Waste’), 94-09-17 (with ‘Citizen Fish’) and 96-09-21 (with ‘P.A.I.N.’)… Hard-working lads eh! ;-) This here was at the time when Tim ‘Crow’ Shapland (ex ‘Zygote’) played bass for them. Thomas Noppe did the guitar-work on the New Age Witch Hunt LP but only played about half a year or a year with the band after its release (’92). Here it was Egbert a.k.a. ‘Eggy’ playing guitar.

93-09-04 Bad Influence93-09-04 Bad Influence'‘Bad Influence’ pics, courtesy of Ben Wallis

‘Herb Garden’ was a 5-piece band from Bristol: David ‘Dave’ Crook (bass), Ben(edict) Wallis (drums), Phil(ip) Marsden (guitar), Richard Charles ‘Rat’ Crook (guitar) & Carl (Benedict) Graves (vocals). Their music was sometimes described as power-punk-pop and others labeled them as a “psych-thrash, absurdist funky-punk outfit”. Their 1st release was a 12” entitled Bulldozer Jones (’89). Then there was the Destructive Natural Agent LP (’92). Karl Horton (Words Of Warning) put out the H.M.S. Disaster LP in ’93 out. And in between there were a few 7”s; e.g. Forever on Ralf Sander (Stuttgart) ‘s 42 recs.

Herb Garden promo 2‘Herb Garden’

93-09-04 Herb Garden - Rat rhythm guitar & Phil lead guitar‘Herb Garden’s ‘Rat’ (rhythm guitar) & Phil (lead guitar) getting ready for the show

‘Brawl’ were a hardcore/punk band with great, fast, singalong tunes; from Wexford county, Ireland. The band consisted of Murt Flynn (vocals), Mark ‘Crispo’ Christie (drums; ex ‘Pink Turds In Space’ & ‘F.U.A.L.’, also ‘Bleeding Rectum’), Thomas Maguire a.k.a. ‘Tommy Trousers’ (bass; replaced Alan) and Greg O’Brien (guitar). The band had a demo (called Barney) out around that time and and a few tracks on compilation-LPs. Their tour had started with a disaster because their van and gear got stolen on the second day. The van was retreived but not their material. They got help (and some money) from the people of ‘Sedition’ & ‘Disaffect’. (Read Tommy’s contribution). This here was ‘Brawl’s first appearance at the V.V. They came back 2 times: 94-03-19 & 95-09-08.

‘Contropotere’ was an Italian anarcho-punk collective (not a real ‘band’ with a steady line-up; they called it a “laboratory” themselves…) that started in the squat-scene of Naples but there were people from various places involved: Lucia ‘Lucy’ V. (vocals), ‘Bostik’ Adriano C. (keyboards), ‘Alli’ Alessandro P. (drums), Andrea de M. (guitar), Andrea S.-H. (bass), Valeria M. (bass/vocals), Cesare ‘Cjzj’ M. (bass, guitar). Ben Sicko interviewed them during their UK tour for Raising Hell #22 (‘90): he mentions Ciro Greco as guitarplayer & Ciccia as bassist. They used to tour with sound-mixer Riccardo and ‘performer’ Anja M. Their ‘songs’ were sometimes quite lengthy and their approach could be described as D.I.Y. ‘hardcore-punk’ ideologically but their music was influenced by various styles. It was referred to as “a seething cauldron, dark and sinister with grating guitars, thin arabesques, eastern melodies and echos, sharp riffs… Lyrics were desperate, poetic, …; carried by screamy voice. It balanced from gothic to punk, from hardcore-thrash to industrial and techno-tribal.”. It all started with the E’ Arrivato Ah Pook! Demo in 1986. In ’88 they did the Nessuna Speranza Nessuna Paura LP. A bit later Oliver ‘Kleister’ Schmid (and his partner Andrea) – who ran the label Skuld releases – put out the Il Seme Della Devianza LP (’91) and the Solo Selvaggi 7” (’92). There’s also a live tape from 2 German shows: Nagold (93-05-21) & Münich (93-05-22). In 1994 ‘Contropotere’ changed their name in ‘CP/01’ and recorded the Cyborg 100% CD (experymental electro-industrial stuff).

Contropotere promo‘Contropotere’

see also ===> 93-09-04 Contropotere & Brawl (extra photos)

I remember their show left quite an impression. Not in the least because of Lucia’s expressive vocals and theatrical performance that grabbed us by the throat. Unfortunately it was difficult to communicate as they only spoke little English and most of us didn’t master Italian…

Here’s some live footage of them in Bremen & Frankfurt in 1990; and a full concert (Höfingen, Germany, 1992).


We were indeed an Italian anarcho-punk collective-tribe-family and not a standard band but it’s difficult to explain about this anarchism because there are many anarchist ways. We started with an anarcho-punk spirit in the hardcore scene in Italy but we were all different persons with different experiences, different ages. Our anarchism resembled to that of ‘Crass’, something more like spirit than ideology. We didn’t read that much books about anarchism and we all had different visions about it: someone more individual-nihilist, some more mystic and deep. We started (’86) in the squat-scenes in Padova & Venezia. Bostik and Lucia came back from Berlin. After one year we decided to go to Napoli and live all together in a big house (called Stella). We squatted a place called Tienament for concerts. ‘Contropotere’ was together for 10 years, our concept and philosophy transformed. Around the time of this concert (1993-94) the band was: Lucia (vocals) – Bostik (keyboards) – Alli (drums) – Valeria (bass) – Cesare Cjsj (bass) – Andrea D (guitar) – Lavinia (second voice & performer) – Riccardo Serpenta (mixer) – Anja (performer & driver).

‘Alli’, ‘Contropotere’ drummer

I got the call to fill in on bass for ‘Brawl’ from some old friends in Ireland who recommended me for the gig. I was living in London at the time playing in the band ‘Stockwell’ with some stalwarts from the Welsh anarcho-bands ‘Shrapnel’ and ‘Symbol Of Freedom’, in a more post-HC and melodic direction than all of us previously played. I heard that ‘Brawl’s bassplayer couldn’t do the tour and they needed a stand in. I was only too pleased to accept. It was my first time to get the opportunity to gig outside of Britain and Ireland, and I was delighted. ‘Brawl’s sound was fairly standard mid-tempo punk but the vocalist Murt had a distinctive Irish voice and great stage-presence. At this time ‘Crispo’ (legendary Irish drummer from innumerable bands [‘Pink Turds In Space’] over the years) handled the sticks, so I knew we would be a really tight musical unit. We rehearsed in Ireland for a week or so then started our tour in Glasgow. A great gig with ‘Disaffect’, and a great session that evening led to us being a bit hung-over and naïve in our parking-choice for our van in central Glasgow and it was stolen! All our gear and clothes were gone – including my Rickenbacker – we were snookered. Luckily I had my passport and money on my person. Anyway we thought of cancelling the tour but the rest of the guys had put too much time and effort into organising things so the decision was made to carry on. We got the van back from the police as luckily the thieves had not done too much damage to it. We borrowed guitars and drum-stuff from the fabulous people of ‘Sedition’ and ‘Disaffect’, and we picked up two amps from my house in London and carried on to the continent.

The whole tour was amazing but the gig in Ieper was one of the highlights. This was actually my first day ever in Belgium. We were struck by the WWI history of the town and were surprised to see they still play the ‘Last Post’ on the trumpet in the evening at the Menin Gate. It only dawned on us at that moment that we were in Ypres – we never knew the Flemish name of the town before as our history-books only ever used the French version and is referred to as ‘wipers’! But to be more accurate the thing that amazed us all the most was our first trip to a Belgian supermarket. Alcohol is relatively expensive in Ireland and in these pre-€ times the exchange-rate was around 50 Belgian Francs to the Irish Pound. We saw some beer on the shelves and it appeared that the deposit on the bottles was more than the cost of the beer inside – we looked like idiots standing in the supermarket trying to do the exchange-rate maths, giggling like children at the realisation that you could theoretically drink forever from buying one crate of beer. We got back to the venue and I reckon we came across to people as the worst bumpkins ever to hit town, telling anyone who would listen about our supermarket beer-adventure. However, we had a gig to play and what a line up it was!

I had never seen ‘Bad Influence’ before but I was aware they were ‘Amebix’ influenced and I knew I would enjoy them. I got talking to Herwin, their singer, and struck up a good rapport with him, a great guy who knew a lot of mutual friends from the scene. I was glad to make his acquaintance again in later years when the Baddies toured Ireland and for a period we broadcasted each others radio-shows that we exchanged on cassette through the mail – his show from the Antwerp [local] radio [Radio Centraal] and my show from pirate radio-station DLR in Dublin. It’s great to see they are still going.

‘Herb Garden’ I had met from playing around the UK, nice guys and a solid band, we swapped some small talk about how great the set-up at the venue was and had the typical chat everyone had at that time about how few DIY venues of the calibre of the V.V. existed in Britain or Ireland.

‘Contropotere’ were simply incredible, one of the greatest drummers in a band I have seen to this day, and amazing vocals and stage-presence. We tried to chat but very few of their crew spoke English – and Irish people are really terrible at other languages; we are lazy monoglots like all of the English speaking world…

Anyway we got to use our beer-tokens on trying fancy Belgian fruit-flavoured beers as we had our own stock of ‘free’ beer and really enjoyed our set. For a small room the sound was really great and I think the crowd enjoyed it. Across all of this tour ‘Brawl’ got a good reception, a lot of the time we were the light relief on bills shared with heavier bands and the contrast in styles seemed to work well with most crowds. After the gig we got to stay in the place upstairs and as far as I remember this was without incident – I was probably blacked out from the ‘free’ beer and still telling anyone who would listen about the beer in the supermarket in town…. My other abiding memory of the venue was the drinkers vs straight-edge graffiti wars. It struck me at the time as idiotic and so pointless in a town so small to have such hostility within the scene, especially as it was plain to see how hard people were working to keep the venue operating, some people don’t realise a good thing when they see it..

Thomas Maguire a.k.a. ‘Tommy Trousers’

First time I played at the Vort’n Vis was here with ‘Brawl’. I remember it was on a Saturday and the supermarket was shutting early enough. We and a few mates that were tagging along (Conor, Bengy, etc.) bought a couple a crates of beer and realised that the supermarket would not be open the next day, at least not before we were leaving; so we had less than an hour to drink all the beer to be able to get the bottles-deposit back. No place better than outside the supermarket where one or two of us spewed up much to the disgust of some of the people there. But hey that was punk and we got our deposit back which was probably all the money we had between us at the time and then off to the gig.

I saw one of the best drummers ever at this gig playing for ‘Contropetere’ from Naples They were such a good band. I think we played OK, it was all a bit blurry after the supermarket. We stayed there that night and there was some weird sleepwalking incident involving a friend, Helen. Again very blurry.

I drummed for ‘Toxic Waste’ (93-10-24) at another gig there, within the next month or so, featuring Dino from ‘Dirt’ on vocals.

Mark ‘Crispo’ Christie

I was there, I was just in the van…

Conor Koresh, driver/roadie for ‘Brawl’

We were staying at Herwin’s (singer of ‘Bad Influence’), in Antwerp where he had a place with his girlfriend Benedicte. This we found unusual as she had the same name as me! This is from my tour-journal: >> Up and breakfast of tomatoes-bread-cheese in the top sleeping-rooms. Bloody moquitoes. Bit of football and frisbee outside Herwin’s, then Joris (‘Bad Influence’s great drummer) arrived to drive with us to Ieper’s Vort’n Vis. Smallish venue (bar/club) type place. Space only afforded a very modest light-show and projector. Got well fed [yeah!]. Line-up (first on): ‘Bad Influence’, ‘Brawl’ ‘Herb Garden’ & ‘Contropotere’. Quite a mix of styles. ‘Contropotere’, arrived very late as they had to travel from Bremen or something. They played an intense, theatrical, sort of heavy-metal-jazz, with an opera feel. We got paid 4.000 BeF (£ 76 !) [€ 100]. ‘Brawl’ have had all their gear nicked. They were in England (Bradford?) and went to a chip-shop, parking their van in a busy street. 20 minutes later they got back and the van was gone. Phoned cops – not towed away. Eventually they got their van back with nothing inside it. Bad. Also my bass-pedal clip had broken!! What? At the beginning of the tour. Why me? Why now? Why! Why! Why! … I drove the whole trip back to the sounds of an hypnotic highway and ‘XTC’s Rag and Bone Buffet. Bed. <<

There was an amazing buzz about the place and throughout the gig. For us it was a ‘European’ buzz! I also remember being seriously impressed with ‘Contropotere’s theatrical, dramatic stage show. They put so much ‘performance’ into their show with amazing lighting, tension and passion – along with ensemble drumming on industrial plastic containers. But my memories of them are mixed up with the next day’s music: we played two nights in succession with them together with ‘Bad Influence’. The next day’s gig was the ‘Clichee Alternatief Festival’ in Sint-Niklaas, where we were billed as “Bristol’s nicest boys”! It was also Joris’ birthday.

Due to a gig change we had a day off on Monday, 6 September and had some fun and beers in suburbia. But importantly Benedict & Benedict fixed the bass (kick) pedal – with wire, block of wood and yes, gaffer tape! A quality repair that has kept the pedal alive (with a bit of solder) to this very day – 2014! Lesson for bands: always have a spare of this kind of gig-accessory in the van!

We will tell more about our exploits on tour and elsewhere in future entries at the ‘Herb Garden: Bristol Band’ blog. People can listen to some of our music on ‘Herb Garden’s bandcamp.

Ben Wallis, ‘Herb Garden’s drummmer

93-09-04 Herb Garden kick pedal survival

From my tour-journal : >>Day 3. Good sleep, sat around Herwin’s, drove to Ieper, met Irish geezer from New Ross, did gig – it was jolly good, Italian crew were weird. Drove back to Antwerp and had disturbingly weird dreams… << I think I meant their music was ‘out there’ rather than they were weird people!

Phil Marsden, ‘Herb Garden’s guitarist

I remember playing football with ‘Brawl’ in the outside area of the venue. We had met them previously in New Ross (Eire).

Carl Graves, ‘Herb Garden’s vocalist

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 93-09-04 - (book B) Herb Garden

VV 93-09-04 - (book B) Bad InfluenceVV 93-09-04 - (book B) Cro

VV 93-09-04 - (book B) Brawl'VV 93-09-04 - (book B) Brawl'''VV 93-09-04 - (book B) BrawlVV 93-09-04 - (book B) Brawl''Tommy T: “There was a guy Benjy with us too – I presume he is talking about black moroccan hashish?? cryptic and stupid all at the same time!”

VV 93-09-04 - (book B) BregoVV 93-09-04 - (book B) LuxBrego and friends of the Luxemburger band ‘Because’ announcing their concert on 93-09-18

additions wellcome!…

96-08-16&17&18 HC The Next generation (1st)

96-08-16&17&18 HC The Next generation (pre 2)pre-posters

96-08 HC fest

Right before this fest Stephane Boens (74-04-17 * 96-08-06) a.k.a. The Famous Vegan (a friend of some collaborators at the V.V.) passed away…

96-08 VV frontphoto: Roel Brals

This trend that had silently been creeping in during previous years (commercialism, violent/sexist/homophobic attitudes) got even more established here. Earlier in ’96, I had been isolated, denigrated and vilified because of my criticisms (by the H8000 buisnessmen and their disciples). For many I wasn’t wellcome but I tried to be one of the few who offered radical/political literature, and went over to explain to those who wanted to listen and support my few remaing friends. This here below shows there were also still a few people trying to get (part of the) message across…

96-08 VV fest in SxE Bulletin x (-)someone from The NL in Yann Boislève’s SxE Bulletin #20

96-08 anti Windmilling

96-08 H8000 Violence (Lenny Sektor)96-08 H8000 Violence (Lenny Sektor)'

96-08 Lost & Found anti-campaign (-)

It was the last time I attended… I refused to pay entrance and hardly saw any of the bands. I believe this was the programme (but some might have been added):

96-08-16: Firestone (Bel), Facedown (Bel), Vitality (Bel), Outrage (Bel), Victims Of Society (Bel), Down For The Count (Spa), Liar (Bel), Spawn (Ger), Unborn (UK)

96-08-17: Voices At The Front (Bel), Kindred (Bel), Sektor (Bel), Saidiwas (Swe), Regression (Bel), Timebomb (Ita), Burning Defeat (Ita), Congress (Bel), Racial Abuse (Öst), Despair (USA)

96-08-18: Spineless (Bel), Resist The Pain (Bel), Stampin’ Ground (UK), Vanilla (Fra), Approach To Concrete (Ger), Bruma (Ita), Separation (Swe), Swing Kids (USA), With Love (Ita)

the marketplace… :-(

96-08 VV koer met distros (by Karel Deweerdt)courtesy of Karel Deweerdt (Wim ‘Blindfold’ & UJ ‘Liar’ on the left)

96-08 stalls (by Joeri H)photo by Joeri Hoste (central: Eric Allen, Marco Walzel, Justin Pearson)

96-08 VV yard96-08 VV yard'

the international crowd… :-)

96-08 upstairs room''96-08 upstairs room'96-08 upstairs room96-08 Spanish invasion'

VV 96-08-xx - (book C) chiro (C) -even the local girl-scouts visited…

96-08-18 Vique Martin by Joeri H…and a little British kitten named Vique… (photo courtesy of Joeri Hoste)

photos by Sergi E. Costa (unless where otherwise mentioned)

There were people from all over but there was especially an Italian invasion… Quite a few bands from there played and some people who were in Italian bands that didn’t play also came over. One of them was Federico Oddone (ex ‘Maze’), the guitarist of ‘Sottopressione’ (from Milano). In that band he played together with ‘Diste’ Andrea Di Stefano (bass), ‘Kuku’ (drums; replaced Mauro Dossi ex ‘Crash Box’) and Mayo Maggiore (vocals). The band released a 7” through Mele Marce recs and 3 albums on Rudy Medea’s Vacation House recs. Federico wrote this entry in the guestbook:

Veganism was a big issue too… Animal Truth zine (by Cindy Frey & An Lehaen) a reference…

additions wellcome!…

95-10 Onward - Mainstrike tour

The Norwegian straight-edgers of ‘Onward’ had been here already during their tour with ‘Blindfold’ (92-08-09). Arne (Olav) Haabeth (bass), ‘Bhakta’ Ollie Andersen (drums), Peter Amdam (guitar; later did Words Carved Into My Head fanzine together with Arne) and Torgny Amdam (vocals; later in ‘Amulet’) were touring with ‘Mainstrike’ now. According to Peter Hoeren (Crucial Respnse recs) it was the first time they supported the In A Different Place album which he released in 1993.

‘Mainstrike’ had played their 1st show January 3rd of that year at the Goudvishal in Arnhem (the guys lived in the Arnhem/Nijmegen area) and in March they recorded their demo (Youth Crew 95), and they played the V.V. on 95-04-09 already. After this one here, they’ld also play at the Vort’n Vis festival (95-08-19). Their 7” Times Still Here was out on Peter Hoeren’s Crucial Response recs only a few days before they started touring with ‘Onward’ (recorded early September). In the band at this time were: Jeroen ‘Beertje’ Vrijhoef (guitar; he ran Left Wing recs and later – when he’d moved to Den Haag – Coalition recs, together with Marcel Palijama), Jasper Meijerink (bass; later replaced by Johnny van de Koolwijk), Jonas Moberg (guitar), Roland ‘Big’ ‘Lord Bigma’ Roller (vocals; also guitarist ‘Man Lifting Banner’) and Pepijn Oostenbrink (drums, later also in ‘One Day Closer’).

I knew ‘Big’ from the time he lived in Apeldoorn (late 80s), where he – together with his mate Marcel ‘Gummo’ Schilpzand – helped organise concerts for a few bands that I was helping out. They did these in a local squat (called De Bank)…

Manon Laméris, who I knew from gigs in Terneuzen (The Netherlands) in the late 80s, and by then helped program and organise gigs at the Goudvishal wrote something in the guestbook. I’m pretty sure her friend Diana B. (‘Big’s girlfriend at that time) and colleague at the Goudvishal was there too…


I remember the tour really well. Great memories! it was the second time ‘Onward’ toured Europe. It was the first tour for the Mainstrike guys, their Times Stil Here 7” came out right before the tour. It sold like hot chocolate. The first pressing of 2000 copies sold in a short time. Onward would regroup with a new singer Trond and Truls on drums and record their best record These Words Still Pray later on. The tour was quite chaotic and wild… Lots of good shows and energy!

Peter Hoeren, Crucial Response recs

My then girlfiend and me went to Belgium for a break. A few days in Leuven with Jeroen [Lauwers?] and a night in Brussels. Somewhere along the way we went to this gig. Mainly to see Bruno [Genet recs] as we were doing that ‘B.H.S.’/’Kosjer D’ split. Had a great trip although we missed our bus back to the UK, hence 1 night in Brussels. It was unusually warm for Autumn. Always had fun in Belgium and enjoyed hanging with the Belgian ‘Kids’ (pun). Maybe we also went to Brugge to see that guy with the glasses and shaved head who lived with his parents. [Joeri Hoste] He was really great. All the Belgians were great. Even Edward… I probably wasn’t the biggest fan of most of the bands but it was always fun because of the people and the scene. It was a euro straight-edge affair. We met up with Bruno and spent the evening in the kitchen, missing all the bands.

Jason Kilvington a.k.a. Jase Kilvo, Caught Offside recs

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 95-10-20 - (book B) Mainstrike

VV 95-10-20 - (book B) Onward

additions wellcome!…