94-03-19 Virtual Reality – Health Hazard – Brawl – Fleas & Lice – Neuthrone – Portobello Bones

Posted: March 27, 2015 in VV 1994
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94-03-19 Brawl - Fleas & Lice - Virtual Reality

‘Virtual Reality’ (Bradford) was a project/band that played ‘Black Sabbath’ influenced stuff (varying from groovy beats and heavy riffs to techno-based tracks) featuring Brian Talbot (guitarist of ‘Doom’; here on bass). He’d teamed up with Steve Butler (guitar) and Darron ‘Bill’ Ward (vocals), both of ‘The Next World’ (see 90-05-01). At this time they still used a drum-machine. They did a split-7” with ‘Neuthrone’ on Genet recs in 1994 and released their LP Dreamstate (Genet recs & Flat Earth recs) in 1995. During this tour here, they also did a show in Brugge where ‘Health Hazard’ played aswell (94-03-26) so I guess they were touring at the same time… Bruno (Genet) invited them over a couple of times more (94-05-08 & 96-04-27).

94-03-19 Virtual Reality (by Wim DL)‘Virtual Reality’; photo by Wim De Leersnijder

The Bradfordian invasion was complete with ‘Health Hazard’ (uncle Sned & Alec’s band between ‘One By One’ and ‘Suffer’) on the bill. They had been here already the summer before (93-09-18) and even earlier on this tour 94-03-05. They also did a gig here when Mandy had quit already 95-02-11. Their set in Toulouse (94-02-22) was recorded and Fred Jourdan (‘Ultimate Disorder’) put it out on a split-tape (with ‘Hiatus’). After this tour they recorded (with Bri ‘Doom’ Talbot behind the desk) for their 10” (released on Alec & Sned’s Flat Earth recs). For those who don’t know (?) or can’t remember: “abrasive, thrashing, overpowering blasts of hardcore fury with caustic female vocals”…

‘Brawl’ (another Genet band: they did their LP entitled Gulag on Bruno’s label – it was recorded July ‘94), had also been here before (93-09-04) and would come back (95-09-08). They toured with ‘Fleas & Lice. They were from Ireland and played straightforward HC/punk with some slower parts; some people said they have ‘Fugazi’ influences but I don’t hear that…

‘Fleas & Lice’ also didn’t need an introduction anymore (after 93-02-06). On the photo of this night we see vocalist Robbie Tempel, Joshua Lagerwerf (bass) & Esther (vocals). The others were Piet/Pierre Erickson (guitar) and Maynard Schut (drums). A few weeks after this, they recorded (in Dublin) for the split-LP with ‘Bleeding Rectum’ (another band with ‘Brawl’s drummer ‘Crispo’). The band would come back once more: 95-07-09.

94-03-19 Fleas & Lice (by Wim DL)‘Fleas & Lice’; photo by Wim De Leersnijder

Probably the band that holds the record of number of shows at the Vort’n Vis (being locals and having ‘signed’ to Genet recs): Steve Wackenier (guitar & vocals), David Stubbe (drums) & Tim ‘Nutje’ Denutte (bass). (Jan Lacante, an old budy of the band, just sang on recordings done in 1994 who were released in 2004). ‘Neuthrone’ had a split-7” with ‘Virtual Reality’ out. Their track Silverline (recorded Augustus 1993) should’ve been on another 7” already but something went wrong, so it was used for this split.

‘Portobello Bones’ were a “noise rock” combo from Tours/Orléans (France) with Lionel Fahy (guitar/vocals; Forked Tongues zine), Franck Leprêtre (drums) & Jeremy Johnson (bass/vocals). Or was Fabrice Metais still playing bass? At that time they had a 7” (Negative) under their belt, and a self-titled album. Not sure if they actually played (but they were announced in the newsletter)… Lionel says they didn’t but he did write me in ’94 thanking for the hospitality (see below)…

Brob

The picture shows ‘V.R.’ before we got a real drummer. L => R: Steve, Darron & me. Duncan (an old punk band from Hebden Bridge; he used drum in ‘Crash’, they did a split EP with ‘Crux’) joined on drums later.

Brian Talbot, ‘Virtual Reality’s bassist

‘Neuthrone’ indeed did a split-7” with ‘Virtual Reality’ and we toured with them (also with ‘Health Hazard’) in April 1994: Belgium, The Netherlands & Germany.

Steve Wackenier

Our track on the split with ‘Virtual Reality’ was from the same recording-session as the second single – relased right before or after the tour with ‘V.R.’ & ‘Health Hazard’. The title was “Silver Linings” [Silverline] but I hadn’t gotten that… Jan Lacante sang for ‘Neuthrone’ for about a year (e.g. on the Tilleherte demo).

David Stubbe

We all have great memories of Belgium becasue over there people know how to be hospitable. We’re definitely not anarcho-punks nor do we play pure, politically engaged hardcore but we all know which side we’re on…

Lionel Fahy, ‘Portobello Bones’ guitarist; personal communication ’94

About sleeping-places… Last time we played there, people were coming in and woke us up all night. Early in the morning someone was also playing drums. So we didn’t get much sleep. But the breakfast was excellent…

Piet, ‘Fleas & Lice’ guitarist

94 Brawl - Fleas & Lice tour

Six months after our first appearance, it was back to the V.V. on tour again with ‘Brawl’. Their bassplayer was still not touring with them so I got the call again to fill in. On this tour we were out every gig with ‘Fleas & Lice’ from Groningen – we are life-long friends at this stage, and they are one of the main instigators of the annual GGI festival which is organised every year rotating between the punks and bands of Groningen, Glasgow and Ireland.

I also had a replacement Rickenbacker thanks to ‘Kleister’ of Skuld releases (organising for me to buy one of Flo from ‘Squandered Message’ in Berlin who was selling it – a real stroke of luck). Unfortunately this one would also be stolen in later years! I am on my third Ric now – if that is ever stolen, I will take that as my cue to retire…

Anyway, there was a big Bradford contingent on the day there too with both UK bands containing mutual friends and acquaintances of members of ‘Brawl’ and ‘Fleas & Lice’ – it was always great to play such line-ups as you were guaranteed to meet up with old friends and to make new ones. I think ‘Sned’ from ‘Health Hazard’ may be the only person who could equal ‘Crispo’ for the amount of great bands he has played in over the years. Murt of ‘Brawl’ was a non-drinker and never missed a chance to network at such gigs to get the band new contacts/gigs/releases, etc. – a shrewd and charismatic guy when it came to promoting his band – that combined with the fact the guys had their own van (a total rarity in Ireland at that time for any band) meant they were the first DIY punk band from the South of Ireland to tour Europe. I was so glad to be along for the ride. Good times.

On the gig itself: I remember very little of it other than some of the bands on the bill were a bit too noisy for my liking – I had started to get older and do the old jaded touring guys trick of half-listening to the bands whilst drinking outside and talking shite to whoever would listen – a habit I carry with me to this very day.

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

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 94-03-19 - (book B) Virtual Reality

VV 94-03-19 - (book B) Health Hazard + Virtual Reality

VV 94-03-19 - (book B) Neuthrone

VV 94-03-19 - (book B) Fleas & Lice

VV 94-03-19 - (book B) BrawlVV 94-03-19 - (book B) Brawl''

VV 94-03-19 - (book B) comment WardEdward Verhaeghe (‘Nations On Fire’):

“This concert was the first in a long series where everyone felt really good. What a wonderful atmosphere! Everyone was super-friendly to everyone: Liège ‘loves’ 8000 crew … or something of that kind??? Fantastic. This is the day where cook Hans [Verbeke; ‘Blindfold’, SoberMind recs] decided to ‘sign’ ‘Virtual Reality’. Also a day where all bias and stereotyping was contradicted. Some would describe this in many poetic verses.”

additions wellcome!…

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