97-02-28 Subway Arts – Bullshit Propaganda – Counter-Attack – Katastrophobia – Holefiller – Les Schtroumpfs Alcooliques – Cornucopia

Posted: May 28, 2016 in VV 1997
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

intro: 97-02-28&03-01 VV Doe-Wat dagen

‘Les Schtroumpfs Alcooliques (“the alcoholic smurfs”) had been at he V.V. already (96-02-24). Hailing from Merchtem (near Brussels): Gerd Van Hoof (bass), Mike Du Bois (drums & vocals), Raf Du Bois (guitar; R.I.P.). Somewhere in 1997 Tim Leten of Filth Ear distribution released Screams From Belgium, a 4-way split with ‘Les Schtroumpfs Alcooliques’, ‘Muggles’, ‘Hirudo’ & ‘Honey Honey’. ‘L.S.A.’ also recorded a self-titled mCD (at Midas studio 98-10-17). Later Gerd & Mike formed ‘Sunpower’.

‘Holefiller’ (also played 97-12-26) was a misanthropic bunch (from the Ghent squat-scene) playing slow, dark, doom-metal mixed with industrial parts. Sometimes they performed as a combo producing industrial noise, then they’ld call themselves ‘Hellfiller’. The core of the band was Karel Busschop (bass), David Stubbe (drums; ex ‘Neuthrone’) & ‘Leffe’ (guitar; ex ‘Chronic Disease’, ‘Private Jesus Detector’). Their mate Billy did the electronics for ‘Hellfiller’. Michael Maes recorded their demo in his attic-studio in December ‘97. Both David & Karel were in the sludge-bands ‘Thee Plague Of Gentlemen’ & ‘Möse’ later on.

‘Counter-Attack’ had played their first V.V. the year before (96-04-27) and they’ld be back (98-03-29). Originally the band was from Alken in Limburg but gradually ‘embedded’ in the anarchist/squat scene in Ghent). They played anarcho-peace-punk influenced by ‘Crass’, ‘Flux Of Pink Indians’ & ‘Dirt’. ‘Groovy’ Jochen (vocals; replaced the original female singer), Stef ‘Irritant’ Heeren (guitar/vocals), Wim ‘Simsallabim’ De Neve (bass), Jeroen (drums; later replaced by Yvan Meers who’s now in ‘Visons Of War’). Autum of 1998 they would record for their Laments And Skulls LP on Prejudice prods (JP Vandestien, Louvain-La-Neuve). The recordings for Masters And Jesters (LP out on Nabate) were done at Michaël ‘Link’ Maes’ studio in December 1999.

‘Subway Arts’ played the V.V. for the last time here after an impressive series (9212-20, 93-02-06, 93-07-04, 93-08-01, 94-04-02). Guitarist ‘Diff’ had already set up ‘Petrograd’ in October ’96 but there was an overlap with the existence of ‘Subway Arts’. Can’t remember if he played here. He’d also been here with ‘Bakunin’s Children’ about half a year before (96-07-07). Since April 1994 the others in the band were Thierry Thill (drums; replacing Claude ‘Bourano’ Bour; ex ‘Because’, also ‘Bakunin’s Children’), Fränz Laureys (bass; also in ‘D’Rotzbouwen’), Sabrina D’Aurelio (vocals; also in ‘D’Rotzbouwen’) and ‘Gull’ Alain Gouleven (guitar; ex ‘Because’, also in ‘D’Rotzbouwen’).

‘Cornucopia’ had played here on 96-02-24 for the first time and would retun a couple of times more (97-10-04 & 98-04-19). Bert Dexters (bass), Erik ‘Smerik’ Minnen (vocals), Jim Faes (who probably played the drums by then) & the (new?) guitarist Robin served the audience their frantic brand of grindcore.

‘Bullshit Propaganda’, from Hellevoetsluis (near Rotterdam, The Netherlands), were John van der Mee (bass/vocals), Niels van Beers (guitar/vocals) and Bowie de Weijer (drums/vocals). They played fast and heavy punk/crust with socio-political lyrics. They had done a demo called Belo-Fi. Later a 7” entitled Dirth World (‘97) and a split-LP with the Belgian ‘Karma’ on Tim Leten’s Filth Ear label (‘98) followed. There’s also a tape together with ‘Agathocles’) of their performance in Edegem, Belgium April 19th1997. After ‘B.P.’ split up (somewhere in ’98), Bowy teamed up with guitarist Joop ‘Jopie’ van Reede (related to ‘Die Nakse Bananen’) – who was also present here – to form the 2-piece (Mandy did ‘guest’-vocals) ‘Jesus Cröst’ (crust; they were supposed to play with ‘Doom’ but it didn’t happen…). John formed ‘Het Trio Broertje Dood’ (“furious mix of hardcore, grind and noise”) after the split. Niels became ‘Mr. Point’, guitarist/singer of ‘Low Point Drains’ (garage trashbluespunk).

‘Katastrophobia’ s first appearance at the V.V. (the second time was 98-02-13)… Some of the guys had to play twice: ‘Leffe’ (guitar; ex ‘Chronic Disease’, ‘P.J.D.’, etc.) was also in ‘Holefiller’, Stef ‘Irritant’ Heeren (drums) played also in ‘Counter-Attack’. The others were Gratiën Versypt (vocals; ex ‘4 Minute Warning’) and Nico Van Der Eeken (bass). In the summer of ’97 they would record (at Patrick Delabie’s 195 studio) their 7” (that came out on Nabate). Their next 7” (Homo Morticinus) was released by Morning Star and their LP (Age Of Aqvarius) by both labels.

Brob

Two-day fest. First day grindcore/crustcore. Second day straight-edge. First few bands on Saturday were cool. ‘Counter-Attack’ very neat. ‘Crass’-style with singer Stef. Totally my kind of thing. Then ‘Cornucopia’. ‘Smerik’ on vocals and just a bass-guitar then. We got to know Tim Leten of Filth Ear [record-label/distro] that night. He’ld become a good friend and he released some records on his label, ‘Bullshit Propaganda’ and ‘Jesus Cröst’. Also ‘Holefiller’ played. Sludge. It was quite likeable but it lasted too long for me. The venue was pretty much emptied when ‘B.P.’ played around 1.30. I sang 5 songs as guest-vocalist. We went sleeping – nackered and especially drunk – in one of the rooms upstairs with a bunch of Germans.

The next day fresh straight-edge boys. Also ‘Seein’Red’. We’d already seen them many times the last few weeks al and they made the same jokes between the songs, and we also reacted the same way. Brob was watching ‘Seein’Red’ through the window from outside… Because the distros were in the yard or he didn’t have the money to get in? I don’t know. We laughed about it.

It was a great weekend. Last time we were there.

Joop van Reede

A punk festival at the Vort’n Vis. One of our First ‘foreign’ gigs. A memroable evening, both in a positive and a way zin. In retrospect this had an influence on our attitude and view on the punk-scene, and perhaps this is also true for my later band ‘Jesus Cröst’. What left a positive impression were some of the bands that I saw for the first time that night. ‘Cornucopia’, with singer ‘Smerik’ rolling over the floor (on bare feet!), left quite an impression performance-wise. These guys became pen-pals; very nice people. Musically it was especially ‘Holefiller’ who impressed: slow, heavy music with fast eruptions. In my memory a kind of forerunner of powerviolence. It led ‘Jesus Cröst’ later to do a song called Fileholler – call it a  tribute. ‘My own band ‘B.P.’s kept being postponed; other bands kept getting priority: we finally got on stage around 3 p.m. Not very fair, being a band from The Netherlands, but we just started out and didn’t have much to demand. But because of that our show was for some 3 heavily drunk people and a dog. The audience had pretty much left or laid sloshed on the floor. I recall that most of my liking had already disappeared before we could start to play. A missed opportunity and big downer. Somewhat illustrative for the scene at that time indeed; I’ld experience it many more times later on. The lack of organisation, facilities, structure; the alcohol-abuse and the political correctness… (Our bassist got into a brawl because he ordered a beer – that was associated with being extreme-right…). ‘Bullshit Propaganda’s first and only album wasn’t entitled Don’t Support Your Local Scene [split with ‘Karma’] for nothing. And the first CD by ‘Jesus Cröst’ was – significant – entitled The Feeding Of The Party Punks. Our experiences in Ieper definitely played a role in that.

The next day there were a few Hardcore en Straight-Edge bands on the bill. Also ‘Seein’Red’ performed. Brob – who reminded us strongly of Jopie’s (guitarist van ‘Jesus Cröst’) dad – was eager to hear them play. Unfortunately he obliged himself to stay outside with his distro. We’ll never forget his face, peering through the tinu window during ‘Seein’Red’s show. Something that was discussed many a times afterwards… [Brob: By doing so I wanted to give expression to my conviction that distros should all be treated alike and that it was unfair that I had to pay entrance because I wasn’t part of the association anymore.] There was another great image on Sunday: the exodus of the punks vs. the entry of the ‘new’ audience. A bigger contrast is hardly imaginable. A stumbling procession of staggering, stinking crusties with an excess of dreads and patches, observed by a row of fresh, shaved urban hardcore dudes. Instinctively I was appreciating the second group actually more, while certainly at that time I belonged to the first. At the same time the image also represented the sectarianism of the scene. The narrow-mindedness, the uniformity and the peer-pressure. In fact nothing that you would associate with the ideals of punk (freedom, individuality), but it was there: clear and to a large extent. By the way: the ‘Seein’Red’ show was fantastic (sorry Brob!), and was marked by another funny occurrence. The guys’ talks between the songs were identical to tose we heard at a previous gig. And therefore also the shouted reactions (“Feyenoord!”).

By the way: I can’t remember if, and if so where, I slep that weekend. Probably that’s a good thing. It wouldn’t have been unworthy of man. Luckily the human mind works that way: so that on the long term only the positive things remain. For Ieper these were: the other bands, the meeting of acquaintances and the growing of new friendships. The mentioned negative things didn’t disturb me not very much back then, but would prove a cruel equation over the course of the years.

Bowie de Weijer

We had to play with ‘Holefiller’/’Helfiller’ and ‘Counter-Attack’ as for some reason or other, people tended to ask us in 3s. Some of the ‘Holefiller’/’Katastrophobia’ guys lived together at that time and Stef from ‘C.A.’ was our drummer so in a way it makes sense…I guess. Although we each had a pretty different style. We weren’t anarcho-punk and we definitely didn’t play sludge, although our sound intensified and got more heavy and more guitar-oriented over time. We had played a gig with ‘Bullshit Propaganda’ shortly before in a squat in Ghent (and I saw them for the first time in a squat in Venlo or Veldhoven, in Holland). I especially remember the gig in Ghent because the guys from ‘B.P.’ actually made quite a fuss about some packages of meat they found behind the counter (which actually turned out to be food for the dogs), which I found pretty disrespectful at the time. Not that a lot of people bothered to get their facts straight at the time…

We played pretty early on in the day because there was still light and it was in February so it must’ve been pretty early. There was quite the crowd and we played a long time (or so some people said, which isn’t quite the ‘compliment’ I expected… I mean, gigs who turn out “too long” aren’t mostly the most successful ones). We didn’t have too many songs, as we were just starting up the band but they were all pretty long for a punk-band (one song clocked at around 8 minutes, so yeah). But every crust-band wanted to be a bit like ‘Nausea’ or ‘Antisect’, plus I really like long songs and actually we initially constructed the songs around the lyrics, that’s why they mostly turned out pretty long. It became a bit of a trademark in the long run, I guess because our later songs were really long, the lyrics taking up pages and live we spun ‘em out with a lot of guitar-improvisation and noise which always was a lot of fun. We always tried to approach things a little differently and, of course, that didn’t always turn out as good as we planned. But at least we tried…

The gig felt quite comfortable, meaning I didn’t blow out my voice right away. The other bands I don’t remember clearly enough but I’m sure ‘Holefiller’/’Helfiller’ were nice, and ‘Counter-Attack’ as well. I wasn’t really into the other bands (and after their stunt at the squat in Ghent-, I tended to skip ‘Bullshit Propaganda’ a little..)…or in other bands in general. We lived in a place in Ghent where we organised gigs almost every other day and after a while I guess I had a bit of an overkill of bands repeating each other and sounding like everything else. Hope that doesn’t sound too condemning, it’s just how I felt at the time. And I always got attracted more by the art surrounding the music than the music itself, again something we tried to do with ‘Katastrophobia’, giving befriended artists the chance to get other people to know their work through us (as part of a live-gig or included in the artwork on our records,…). I still do… Don’t really recall if I stayed for the second day but I believe I did because we had our stalls from ABC and the Ghent squat-scene, and I helped out with that. All in all, there were quite a lot of people but I remember the videos and info-stands didn’t quite attract the crowd they should’ve had. I believe they were on the first floor somewhere? The videos disappointed me some, as this was the pre-DVD era: sound and image-quality weren’t always that good at the time, which had its charms of course… So, I guess that’s it, don’t remember all that much about them 2 days so I guess it must’ve been quite okay, considering…

Gratiën Versypt, vocalist of ‘Katastrophobia’

I’m not one to dwell on the past and I have to admit I hardly recall all our shows at the Vort’n Vis. I remember some moments but hardly a chronology. I think we were a 3-piece band at that particular moment. We had some technical problems due to our shitty equipment; a problem that followed us around during our short career. I don’t remember seeing much of the other bands and after all those years I don’t feel like commenting on their performance, although I remember most of them playing in squats, the Vort’n Vis and some other places during those days. ‘Cornucopia’ had a great name and a great singer; and every local hipster nowadays knows Stef from ‘Counter-Attack’ for a being a famous dark folkie. I remember the other bands by name but don’t ask for details. One is from Luxembourg, one from Belgium and there’s also a Dutch band, and they all played (fast) punk-rock: that is where my memory stops. I don’t recall the people in those bands but I have no bad memories of any of them. We played extremely slow, which was not the smartest move for a long standing career in punk-rock. We’ve met some very hostile audiences along the way but I don’t remember us caring much. Just wondering sometimes why we were such miscasts. I think we stayed in Ypres after the gig and probably got extremely drunk after the gig. A pattern that was often repeated and very common in the ‘scene’ both for audiences and bands. The extreme alcoholism in those days and in that particular crowd still strikes me to this day. I guess most of us got sober in the end and personally I pursued my career of evil in a whole different direction. Thanks for reminding me of my crusty pants days.

Karel Busschop, ‘Holefiller’ bassist

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Bullshit Propaganda

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Cornucopia

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Counter-Attack

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Holefiller

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Katastrophobia

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Les Schtroumpfs Alcooliques

VV 97-02-28 - (book C) Subway Arts

additions wellcome!…

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Comments
  1. Gratiën says:

    I really don’t know how other people remember all this stuff about what went on 20+ years ago… I mean, do they just make stuff up or what? But lately I tend to look back a bit more on the past, maybe it’s some kinda psychological thing… I don’t know. I don’t remember all too much about this gig but I hardly ever do, I do recall the more memorable gigs, tours and recording-sessions we did but I guess this just wasn’t one of them. I think, judging by the date, that we didn’t have too many gigs under our belt, yet. I believe our first gig with ‘Katastrophobia’ was in November ’96 in Lille (France) after a “stop-the-city” parade in some local, ice-cold squat. Alain from Nabate recs was there and he promised us he would release something of ours. Being the fine bloke he is, he actually kept word and we recorded our first 7” later in ’97 (in Patrick’s 195 studio). We were really pleased with the original recordings but the end-result turned out shit. I still have the white-label test-pressing somewhere, which actually did sound better than the finished product… Well, we always had alot of bad luck in those days. Actually, in the winter of ’97 we even played the worst gig ever: at a bachelor-party for a guy we knew which turned out to be an all-out brawl with local gangs, I got stabbed in the leg with a piece of glass, refused to get stitches (actually the doctor refused because I was too drunk to get stitched up), the wound got infected pretty bad and I remember pulling out pieces of glass one month after the incident. I still have a pretty nice scar from that one. The full-length (also released by Nabate) we did in 2000 turned out to be much of the same deal but I guess that was due to inexperience. Our last 7” which we released ourselves sounded pretty good and that was maybe because we played a lot at that time, did some pretty long, wild tours, got a little bit of better equipment and racked up some skills. I was actually learning to find a way to sing comfortably without straining my voice too much.

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