Posts Tagged ‘Shortsight’

In the Dutch zine Trauma the band ‘Point Of No Return’ (with Roger NBH) had been announced…

At some timepoint, there was also rumours that the Rotterdammers of ‘Anarcrust’ and ‘Aphrodite’s Lawyer’ would play…

In Dorst #1 (written somewhere in ’92 by ‘N.O.F.’s Edward Verhaeghe), there’s mention of the first ever gig of ‘Shortsight’. Here it was with Hans Verbeke singing… A bit later, on 91-12-21, still in its early stages, the band played with with David ‘Mong’ Dumont on vocals (the one and only time; later he started playing guitar), Björn Lescouhier (drums), Jeroen Lauwers (bass; also ‘N.O.F.’) & Kurt Deprez (guitar; later bass). I believe the 1st time ‘Shortsight’ performed with Saskia singing was 92-09-05. On the first demo (released on Edward Verhaeghe & Jeroen Lauwers’ label Warehouse recs in ‘92) Hans did vocals…

‘Behind The Smile’ were a French (Valenciennes) melodic hardcore/punk band with my mate Arnaud Huftier on bass (he did Uprising Decay zine). They had just recorded their demo-tape (June/July) with Laurent (drums), Rudy (guitar) & Christophe Chojna (vocals). In 1992 they did a split 7” with the Finnish ‘Juggling Jugulars’ called ‘A Wish To Dream’ on Sylvain Vilette’s Bad Card recs (1992) on which Laurent & Christophe were replaced. (They took a second guitarist, Pierre, later). They played a second show on 93-02-21.

‘Behind The Smile’

Trottel’ had already played here the year before (90-10-13). The band is also sometimes referred to as ‘Die Trottel’ (German for “the fools/idiots”). In 1991, Armin Hofmann released the double album The Final Salute In The Name Of Human Misery (on his label X-Mist recs). That music was described as “a melancholic variety of punk” or also “jazzy, eclectic, experimental hardcore”. Only bassist Tamás Rupaszov remains of that era of the band (from Budapest, Hungary). I believe the others were Ildi(kó) Asztalos (vocals), György ‘Kaztusz’/‘Kaktusz’ Kakuszi (guitar) and a drummer nicknamed ‘Garfield’ Péter Nagy (drums; or was it Sándor Orosz? Or Csaba Ákos who played on the double-LP?).

‘Billy & The EPs’ was a band from the French-speaking part of Belgium. They did a split-tape with ‘Noise Gate’ (from Brussels) in 1988 (also released as a 7” on the French label On A Faim!), a promo-tape (recorded with a drum-machine, bassist Sylvie Hendrick, guitarist Philippe Boulanger & Philippe Petit and singer Jean Vanesse) and Yves Baudhuin of ‘Noise Gate’ released some of their songs on a 12” EP.

Brob

I left ‘Trottel’ in 1991, September or October. Nobody replaced me. They did a kind of instrumental stuff.

Ildi Asztalos

‘Billy & The EPs’ were more industrial rock than punk… In 1992 they were on the compilation Reunion De La Famille (as ‘The EPs’). The band was from Liège. The drummer is well known in the pop/rock-scene (playing in several bands) but I don’t remember his name…

Marcor Aredje

‘P.O.N.R.’ was the precursor of ‘Feeding The Fire’. The bands overlapped for a while but after a bit I continued with just ‘F.T.F.’ alone. In the beginning ‘P.O.N.R.’ was in: Rob [Franssen], Michel [‘Mike’ Senden] (first ‘F.T.F.’ guitarist/later in ‘Bloodsport’ & ‘Rancor’) & Roy (a guy from Maastricht) and myself. Later Har [Har Brosselt] (‘F.T.F.’/‘No Sense’) took over the drums sometimes… As far as I remember ‘P.O.N.R.’ never played the V.V. ‘G.O.D.’ (‘Gloves Of Destruction’), another project of Rob & myself, did.

Roger NBH

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

additions wellcome!…

 

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Intro: 94-08-19&20&21 Hardcore Festival

see also: 94-08-19&20&21 Hardcore Festival * Italian impressions

‘Fabric’ was a (post-)hardcore band from Brighton/London that we all got to know through Vique ‘Simba’ Martin (and/or Françoise ‘Hazel’ Lepers & Jeroen Lauwers)… Another great thing she introduced us to. ‘Fabric’ would also play on 95-01-29 (and 95-01-28 @ the ‘Arsenaal’ in Marke) when Jeroen Lauwers wanted to present their EP out on his label Machination recs; but this was their first gig on Belgian soil. ‘Fabric’ was Andrew/Andy Hartwell (vocals), Anthony/Tony Sylvester (bass; ex ‘Ordinary Eye’), James ‘Jamie’ Tilley (guitar; ex ‘Long Cold Stare’), Chris(topher) Turner (drums; nowadays in ‘Orange Goblin’) and Kevin Williams (guitar; he’s on photo so he had joined the band already by then). At the time of this fest they had done a demo (that also contained a cover of ‘Heresy’s song Genocide) and released (a bunch of 7”s (e.g. Colossus, Saturnalia, Dislocations) – on their own label (Whole Car recs) and/or Doghouse recs. Not sure if the Body Of Water LP was out then…

94-08-20 Fabric (by P Federli)94-08-20 Fabric' (by P Federli)94-08-20 Fabric (by Albert C)‘Fabric’ photos by Patrick Federli (1 & 2) and Albert Cheong (3) [Nick Royles bottom pic R]

Dennis of ‘Refused’ had been sending me their (second) demo plus a note asking for concerts the year before and they ended up playing in Kortrijk. They were an sXe band from Umeå. Their first tape was with Dennis Lyxzén (vocals), David Sandström (drums), Pär Hansson (guitar) and Jonas Lindgren (bass). Jonas left and was replaced by Magnus Björklund in August 1992. They also added a second guitarist – Henrik Jansson (of ‘Step Forward’). The new tape (Operation Headfirst; that Dennis sent me) was released by the end of ‘92. In ’93 they’d recorded the EP This Is The New Deal, an LP entitled This Just Might Be… …The Truth and the CD Pump The Brakes. The Everlasting 12” was registred in July ’94 with Dennis, David, Magnus, Pär and guitarist Kristofer Steen. Pär left after the recording… Magnus and Henrik were doing their military service. They took Jesper Sundberg as bass-player…

94-08-20 Abhinanda' (by Massimo Mosc)94-08-20 Abhinanda (by Massimo Mosc)94-08-20 Abhinanda (by Q)‘Abhinanda’ photographed by Massimo Moscarelli (1 & 2) [René Natzel (‘Spawn’) behind the band] and Jean-Paul Frijns (3)

Also José of ‘Abhinanda’ had provided me a tape of his band, inquiring for gigs… They were on their 1st Euro tour (we’d seen them at Nieuwland in Herentals 94-08-14; and later played they at the V.V. 95-08-19 & 97-08), also came from Umeå. José Saxlund, their vocalist, was running the label Desperate Fight recs, which released most of their early recordings): Darkness Of Ignorance EP (‘93), Senseless LP (’94; recorded a month before this), Neverending Well Of Bliss EP (’95), Abhinanda (’96), etc. The others were Jonas Lyxzén (drums; later replaced by Daniel Berglund; played also in ‘Separation’, ‘Demon System 13’, etc.), Adam Nilsson (guitar), Kris(tofer) ‘Stone’ Steen (guitar; also ‘Refused’; later replaced by Pär Hansson) and Mattias ‘Abris’ Abrahamsson (bass). They were one of the first Swedish sXe hardcore bands. The members were good friends with the band ‘Refused’ (they did a few shows in Norway together, earlier that year).

94-08-20 Abhinanda info94-08-20 Jose Saxlund letter about touring

‘Backdraft’ played moshy sXe HC. They were: Rob Franssen (vocals) & Illona Stephan (guitar) – both also in ‘Feeding The Fire’ – and Marc Vleugels (drums), Kay Roderburg (bass) & Luc Vleugels (guitar). The Stream… 7” must’ve been out on Crucial Response recs. Peter Hoeren was there bringing that along, I believe. I think they’d also been recording already for their CD (The End)…

94-08-20 Backdraft (by Massimo Mosc)94-08-20 Backdraft' (by Massimo Mosc)94-08-20 Backdraft''' (by Massimo Mosc)94-08-20 Backdraft‘Backdraft’ photos by Massimo Moscarelli (1, 2 & 3) [Vik B. (1 – R)] and ? (4) [Saskia Verbeke (‘Shortsight’) behind the band / bottom pic L José Saxlund (‘Abhinanda’) & Chris van Dornick (‘Spawn’)]

The next months (Sep-Oct) ‘Blindfold’ recorded (@ Midas studio) for the World Of Fools 7” (in the original line-up). It was released on Jeroen ‘Goofy’ Lauwers’ Machination recs in ‘95. Hans reminds me that it was available on green vinyl only at a local show (94-12-23 at the Pits in Kortrijk). Also some recordings for the Astreroid 164 LP were started here but that one was only mixed in ’95 to be released in ’96 (by SoberMind and GoodLife recs).

94-08-20 Blindfold' (by Massimo Mosc)94-08-20 Blindfold (by Albert C)‘Blindfold’ shots by Massimo Moscarelli (1) and Albert Cheong (2)

I believe this was the last time ‘Shortsight’ played at the Vort’n Vis. (Their very last concert ever was in November 1994, in Poperinge.) They just finished the recordings for the Cold Wounds Waking CD (at Midas Studios, July 1994). Drummer Björn Lescouhier would move on to ‘Regression’ (nowadays he plays for ‘Smoking General’). Guitarist David Dumont and Saskia’s relation finished in ‘95 and after finishing his studies he became a backliner/roadie for several (commercial) bands (‘Goose’, ‘Das Pop’ and Flip Kowlier, etc.) and later played for ‘Waldorf’ & ‘Drums Are For Parades’ (all mainstream bands). He’s also into “electronica” and vintage synthesizers. Bassist Kurt Deprez lives/works in Indonesia and singer Saskia Verbeke withdrew from the scene…

94-08-20 Shortsight 1 (by Miguel Angel Lorca)‘Shortsight’ or ‘Blindfold’? (pic by Miguel Angel Lorca) [yours truly with the AK Press sweater]

‘Acme’ from Bremen played metal-core with ‘screamo’ vocals with references to ‘Born Against’ & ‘Rorschach’; Heavy stuff! Hannes Stang did the vocals, Gregor Iwanoff drummed, Sönke ‘Sonne’ Gabriel played bass (he also hit the drums for ‘Systral’ & ‘Carol’, later he was also in ‘Mörser’ for a while) and Sven Thora was the guitarist. They had been here already on 94-04-09, a day after Jeroen of Machination recs did a show for them in his hometown. We also were able to see them perform in Herentals (94-07-22). Even though they always left a big impression, they didn’t leave a lot of ‘traces’ (unfortunately). Jeroen Lauwers (‘Nations On Fire’s bassist) released their only 7” (referred to as The Demo) in ‘94. There was a ‘post-mortem’ discography (with some extra tracks from compilations) later on…

‘Nothing Left To Grasp’, an emo band from Augsburg, were: Marco Walzel (guitar; he ran Join The Team Player recs, owns and operates Avocado Booking), Simon Czermak (drums), Ralf Bamberger (vocals), Nina Hille (bass) and Markus Hofko (guitar). After their initial demo, they did 2 7”s: The Monotonous Beat Of Nothing New (Emotion X recs ‘94) and a split with ‘Kassiopeia’ (95; on Christian Mix-Linzer’s Outlet recs). They would be invited back the next year (95-07-02)…

Vique Martin had become the zine-queen and heroine of many. We’d been writing and I think we’d met the 1st somewhere in spring ’94. Talking to her showed she’s a damn intelligent woman; the kind of person that can influence a whole bunch of people (in a positive way)…

Brob

I was staying at Hans’ house… ‘Macca’ [Mark Wilkinson] was there, Edward demanded a lot of my attention… When the ‘Fabric’ kids arrived, I was with them all of Saturday night. I was also absorbed with Marco [Walzel] & the Americans (Sherry [Beth Sacks; see picture in the intro] & ‘Iconoclast’)…all good friends. There were many kids I left feeling I didn’t talk to ‘properly’; Kurt for one, a friend from France, Olivier for another. I had a fucking fabulous time, didn’t want to talk about negative things (consumerism, etc.) I didn’t want to be ‘brought down’. I wanted to stay on the high of being with friends, seeing bands and being really happy.

Vique Martin, Simba zine, personal communication Sep ’94 [This was a response on a column that I, Brob, did on the fest…]

I remember having a great time, we were treated well and well received from what I can recall. The place was full, kids standing on top of stuff to see the stage. Cool stalls set up, good vibe. It was hot as fuck too, I remember that much. I’m sure I was asked to lend my cymbals to ‘Acme’. Hadn’t seen/heard them before at that time. When they started I thought the dude was going to destroy them. Terrifying and awesome at the same time. Didn’t people also sleep over there? I have a memory of the gig finishing, and then people throwing sleeping-bags everywhere they could and crashing; it was nuts.

Christopher Turner, ‘Fabric’s drummer

94-08-20 Fabric (by Vique)‘Fabric’ chillin’ in Ypres (photo by Vique Martin); L=>R: Jamie-Kevin-Andy-Chris-Tony

I can’t believe there was so many bands! Have been racking my brains trying to remember stuff but I’m coming up vague… It’s 20 years ago! I remember I had a cool ‘Parliament’ shirt. The food was great and we did a lot of hanging out with all kinds of people, was fun times to be in Europe. We were at the festival the whole weekend but we did stay with someone… I still do music, just my own one man band (soundcloud.com/dootraanougat); I play the drums, the gits, the whole shabang!

James Tilley, one of ‘Fabric’s guitarists

I know that we where on our first Europena tour ever. We played Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. The Senseless album was released just before the tour and we sold alot of CDs at the festival. From what I recall we stayed there the whole weekend, played some soccer (we were the unbeatable Swedes!!) and watched a lot of bands. I think I even made a guest-apperence with ‘Refused’ and sung some silly Swedish rap (not sure though!). As it was our first time we got to know alot of people and made a lot of new friends. I discovered bands such as ‘Spawn’, ‘Blindfold’, etc.

José Saxlund, ‘Abhinanda’ vocalist

There’s a ‘black hole’ in my memory for Friday and Sunday (2 nights of no sleep). I think the UK bands played on Friday, and Sunday ‘Iconoclast’, ‘Undone’ & ‘Vanilla’. [???] On Saturday ‘Refused’ did a semi acoustic set, ‘Fabric’ played their first show outside the UK, ‘Acme’ probably their last ever. ‘Iconoclast’ was another US band that had actually already split but toured to get a free European tourist-trip (same as ‘Downfall’, ‘Merel’, … during that period). For me personally this day was the best ever at the V.V.: no bullshit, good atmosphere… I’m certain that everybody knew everybody that day. It also was the last time the fest took place in the pub. The next year it was in the ‘barn’ in the back and there were loads more people. I also attended in ‘96 or ‘97 and that was totaly shit, with 2/3 of the bands being metal-core ‘Congress’ clones an the rest playing uninspired emo-core. Then there was a huge crowd but you knew nobody and most had no idea about hardcore/punk before GoodLife recs. Most had never heard about the ‘Dead Kennedys’ or ‘Zyklome-A’ according to me…

Jeroen Lauwers

I remember our first European tour and our first Vort’n Vis gig quite well. We recorded Senseless in the spring of ´94 and in August we rented a van and drove the long way from Umeå down to play HC in Europe. To afford the trip we brought Sara Almgren [‘Doughnuts’ guitarist; see guestbook-entry] and Jonas Lyxzén’s girlfriend Jenny along (they contributed with gas-money, great spirits and helped selling merchandise). On our way South we stopped in Stockholm and the record-store Sound Pollution (with which Desperate Fight and Birdnest [Swedish punk label formed in 1980 and run by Per Granberg] collaborated with for distribution) to pick up a few boxes of our newly pressed album which none of us had seen prior to that. Excited we set off to Hultsfred (12-14 of August), Sweden’s biggest music festival at the time, where our friends ‘Refused’ were to play. Since we could only stay for one day (and didn’t have the cash to pay for the entrance); me, Adam and José gate-crashed the festival by pretending to have bracelets to be able to see the ‘Refused’ show, worked like a charm. I remember that we gave the guys in ‘Refused’ a copy of Senseless and they seemed a bit shocked when they could hear the massive improvement between Darkness of Ignorance and the new album. The contributions and musical influences Kristofer Steen brought with him to ‘Abhinanda’ had really upped our ability and musicality.

José had set up the tour so we didn’t really know what to expect but we drove South and played a couple of decent shows in some punk-squats in Holland. On the 19th of august we arrived in Ieper and we were greeted by some truly amazing people (Bruno and Edward) who took the time to show us around. The first night we slept in the loft assigned for the bands but then decided to sleep on some of the grassy spots around the city, running naked around the cemetery and a church became a regular routine.

At the time vegetarianism hadn’t really taken off in Sweden so we were really impressed with all the vegan alternatives Belgium could offer. On the 20th we were supposed to play and we received a meal-coupon for a fantastic vegan meal that we all appreciated (having only eaten punk-stew and chips for the last week). The atmosphere at Vort’n Vis was amazing, everybody seemed very supportive and though the ’94 festival was quite small it was quite big for us, since we hadn’t really played any HC festivals earlier.

‘Refused’ arrived quite late on the 20th (if I remember correctly), just in time to see our show. They were probably the only ones who had heard the new material. But it seemed like the audience had heard a rumor regarding the new album because the small venue was packed with people when we entered the stage. I remember that we wanted to start the gig with something different (as many of the bands we heard played a quite generic version of HC), we wanted to stick out. And for some reason I had the idea to play Bulletproof Poet by Dogs D’amour in a semi-acoustic fashion. Still don’t remember why but I did and the crowd cheered on and gave the start of the show a real boost in energy. The show was amazing, a milestone for us, the first really awesome show in Europe with one of the best crowds in my life. I think a real starting-point for us and Desperate Fight. That show made the word of mouth spread about the new album and the intensity of our live shows all across Europe. Hardline was a big thing at the time but our new song Competition In Hatred that opposes it was really appreciated, we had the ‘Refused’ guys on back-ups on that one, easy to sing along to…

Later at night ‘Abhinanda’ and the other Swedes got a guided tour of the Ieper (by Edward and some other guys). I remember David Sandström reading a book about WWI and the battles in the trenches in Europe at the time. And finding some names off the memorial arches that contained names from the book, crazy coincidences like that happen often on tour. The next day we enjoyed playing football and all the other bands. I remember another band borrowing the 5150 head we had borrowed from Pär Hansson [guitarist of ‘Refused’] and blew a fuse so we had to drive around in order to search for a store that could replace it so that we’d have something to play on. Big hassle back then without internet, GPS, etc.

After the festival I remember Edward setting up an extra gig in order to help us out with money for gas. Fantastic how the HC-scene can help you out! The rest of the tour we played with a self esteem and energy that the festival had given us. Thanks again for a fantastic festival. August of ’94 still has that extra place in my heart and Vort’n Vis especially.

Mattias Abrahamsson, ‘Abhinanda’ bassist

94-08-20 Abhinanda soccer‘Abhinanda’ soccer-team (in Herentals, Belgium), by Jean-Paul Frijns

We only played Ieper once and it was a pretty wild. We had a good time. I remember that all the punks were really sceptical about us since we showed up wearing new shirts but the show was great. Really sweaty and intense!

Dennis Lyxzén, ‘Refused’ vocalist

I thought ‘Kassiopeia’ played there as well with us, at least I remember them being there… Claudius Gagalka was with us most of the time; he might have some photos…

Markus Hofko, ‘Nothing Left To Grasp’ guitarist

I do remember that show. I was there. But I never played guitar for ‘Acme’, that was Sven Thora. I was the singer of ‘Abyss’…

Sven von Thülen

Volker [Pohlschmidt] and me were just one time in Ieper for this one: we saw ‘Abhinanda’, ‘Backdraft’ and so on.

Stefan Uhe, ‘Steadfast’ guitarist

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 94-08-20 - (book B) Abhinanda & RefusedVV 94-08-20 - (book B) Doughtnuts-friends

VV 94-08-20 - (book B) Fabric

VV 94-08-20 - (book B) Shortisght

VV 94-08-20 - (book B) Spanish visiterSpanish visiter

additions wellcome!…

93-02-21 Citizen Fish - Hiatus - Blindfold

Benefit for an education-project in Indonesia (Kakak Asuh)… Sacha ‘Chatn’ Baelen (‘Blindfold’s drummer) (helped) organise(d) a couple of benefits for that organisation (also 94-04-23 & 95-03-25).

Brob

A friend of mine worked in Indonesia and supported the project there. That’s how the idea to do something for it grew. For a certain amount of money one could pay for a whole schoolyear for a kid, I remember. [“1.000 BeF (25 Euro) enables 1 kid to go to school for 1 year!”]

Sacha Baelen

When ‘Culture Shock’ (cultureshock.me.uk) folded (we had them playing for Smurfpunx; 88-05-13), Dick Lucas (vocalist; Bluurg recs) got back together with some of his old mates of ‘Subhumans’ to play ska-influenced punk with a touch of reggae: Phil Bryant did guitar and ‘Trotsky’ drummed. Jasper Patterson (who’d also been in ‘Culture Shock’) played the bass (see also 93-10-24) for ‘Citizen Fish’ (citizenfish.com). Getting home they would record the tracks for the split-7” with ‘AOS3’ and the summer of that year they went into the studio for the LP Flinch. Dick also released live recordings from 2 German shows (from Sep ’92). A few years before this I’d arranged a show for them in Liège (when they toured with ‘Cringer’) and I was looking forward to skank to their tunes…

93-02-21 Citizen Fish - Dick' (by Martin V)Dick Lucas (photo by Martin Vantomme)

‘Behind The Smile’ were a French (Valenciennes) hardcore/punk band with my mate Arnaud Huftier on bass (he did Uprising Decay zine), Frank (drums; Laurent on the demo), Rudy (guitar) & Laurent (vocals; Christophe on the demo). They had a second guitarist, Pierre, on their 7” (but I don’t know if he was playing here). Their 1st release was a tape entitled Suburban Wars. In 1992 the did a split 7” with the Fins of ‘Juggling Jugulars’ called A Wish To Dream on Sylvain Vilette’s Bad Card recs. They had played here already before (91-10-12)…

‘Blindfold’ started recording for their 1st LP (Restrain The Thought) at Cats studio (Brugge) the next month and finished it in September. It was released by Mike Warden on his label Conquer The World recs.

Just as the band of her brother Hans (‘Blindfold’), Saskia Verbeke’s band ‘Shortsight’ played here quite a few times already. Since this was before the summer-tour 93-07 ‘Shortsight’ & ‘Blindfold’, Françoise ‘Hazel’ Lepers (guitar) was still in the band here aswell. All of them (the women plus bassist Kurt Deprez, guitarist David ‘Mong’ Dumont, drummer Bjorn Lescouhier) were also locals and Vort’n Vis ‘shitworkers’. That year their 7” Why Spend Time Learning was released (Conquer The World recs). I did an interview with them briefly after they’d split up (’94).

About a month after this gig ‘Hiatus’ (Ben on drums, Azill & Phil doing guitars, Willy growling and Fred Alabas on bass) were also in Cats Studio for the recordings of their album From Resignation… To Revolt (to be released on Sound Pollution recs). Their live set in Liège a few days later (93-02-26) was recorded and released as a benefit-tape for the ‘Flamands Roses’ by Eric W. ‘React’.

Brob

Did we play with ‘Citizen Fish’? I was a big ska fan at the time. Still like it but I’m more into political/poetic hiphop nowadays… This was probably the first time we met the local SxE-ers. Never has been a problem for me, even if many crusties or “fans” of ‘Hiatus’ had stupid prejudices about it; just as some SxE kids hated crusties. Looking back at it after so many years, one can only laugh about this childish bullshit. Some time later, I had an American girlfriend that lived in Berlin. We went to see ‘Blindfold’ (together with Jeroen ‘N.O.F.’) there and they gave us their crate of beer. Better than throwing it away, isn’t it?

Willy ‘Hiatus’

I recall a great show by ‘Hiatus’…

Kurt Deprez

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 93-02-21- (book A) Citizen FishVV 93-02-21- (book A) Citizen Fish + friendsHerwin De Winter & Tim ‘Crow’ Shapland (ex ‘Zygote’; played bass in ‘Bad Influence’ around that time) travelled along…

additions wellcome!…

 follow-up to 94-08-19&20&21 Hardcore Festival

I admit that I don’t recall these events very well. I was 24 years old, I’m writing this 20+ years later. I don’t remember which bands played, what I ate, where I slept, and a lot more, but I still have vivid emotions about those days. The Vort’n Vis was the hardcore punk centre of Europe, the place where you had to be. I am very happy to be reminded about it. Yes, I was there and I can’t forget it.

It wasn’t easy to get to Ieper. I didn’t have the money because I didn’t have a job. Mum and dad payed a part, and temp jobs were my income. Air-travel was ruled out immediately, trains were cheaper. Another travel to Belgium after less than a year (after being there on tour with ‘Eversor’). This time a holiday with Interrail, discount-tickets to travel by train in Europe. What I did, is in the following report that was published in my zine Tough Guys Don’t Dance; it was an attempt to say something about things outside the confinement of our Italian boundaries. The English language was a means to communicate outside the country. I could have done more to distribute it though… All was translated by Andrea Marra (the author of The Vort’n Vis Experience). I did the rest (editing – a matrix-printer and a photocopier – and photos).

A fun fact: I remember that the bathrooms were partially out of order (too many people) after a couple of days; and there was a lake of water, piss and shit between the building and the yard…and crusties were wading through it as if it was a normal thing.

I don’t remember much about the bands at all! The concerts were only part of the fun, the main thing was the atmosphere. I liked almost all the bands and knew about them all, so it wasn’t crucial to talk about them in the zine. I still listen to hardcore music, I never quit it.

Massimo Moscarelli (Rome)

Tough Guys Don't Dance (023) 94-08Tough Guys Don't Dance (024) 94-08'Tough Guys Don't Dance (025) 94-08 impressionTough Guys Don't Dance (026) 94-08 impression'Tough Guys Don't Dance (027) 94-08 impression''Tough Guys Don't Dance (028) 94-08 impression'''Tough Guys Don't Dance (022) cover

Some of Massimo Moscarelli’s photos (grazie mille!) – band-pics will follow in the actual posts on the festival-days:

94-08 (002) crowd94-08 (002) crowd'94-08 (008) crowdcrowd-shots

94-08 (004) upstairs & Bruno94-08 (004) upstairs94-08 (016) stairs artupstairs [1: Bruno entertaining the Italians (L => R: Giangiacomo De Stefano (‘Ivory Cage’), Paolo Petralia (S.O.A. recs/’Comrades’/’Colonna Infame’), Andrea ‘Ics’ Ferraris (‘Burning Defeat’/‘One Fine Day’), Andrea Marra (‘Comrades’/’Notorius’/’Bruma’), one of the Marini twins (‘Comrades’/‘Timebomb’); 2: Paolo Petralia, Massimo Moscarelli & one of the Marini twins; 3: Andrea Marra]

94-08 (005) yard & Bruno94-08 (005) yard Vique+Ward94-08 (011) Bruno distroin the courtyard [1: Bruno ‘Genet’ & ‘Goofy’ (R); 2: prom-queen & -king Vique ‘Simba’ & Ward ‘N.O.F.’; 3: Bruno’s biz]

94-08 (011) street94-08 (013) street94-08 (015) Hazelwalk on by (or not) [2: Pawel ‘Scream’ from Poland selling stuff; 3: ‘Hazel’ (Bernd B. in the background)]

94-08 (012) Q & Joeri NOFMassimo, the warrior and his aid (Jeroen Lauwers)

additions wellcome!…

94-08-19&20&21

94-08-19&20&21 extra94-08-19&20&21 extra back

The first weekend of September 1992 the Vort’n Vis organised what was then called Hardcore ’92. A festival with a mix of punky/crusty bands and straight-egde outfits. The same was intended in September 1993. I wrote about the incident that happened there… Although it was unfortunate, even reprehensible; for myself the motivation to try and bring all sorts of people together stayed. However other people made it so that the 2 ‘factions’ wouldn’t meet so easily anymore. In 1994 an SxE fest (weekend around half of August) and the Leed fest (half of September; the Vort’n Vis’ alternative to the city of Ieper’s mainstream Leet festival) were organised independent from one and other; and caused this ‘split’. One of the protagonists in the aforementioned incident (Hans Verbeke, ‘Blindfold’) obviously was reluctant to see the same thing happening again and set up (with good intentions, I’m sure) a “Positive Festival” – together with his sister Saskia (‘Shortsight’) and Rob Franssen (‘Feeding The Fire’).

This setting would over the years grow into a huge event (not unlike a lot of the commercial summer-festivals) and moved outside of the Vort’n Vis premises. Unfortunately (and that already was from the beginning), it turned out to be a market-place for big/commercial labels and distributions (local and others). I’ve never been able to see what the value of that was and I kept reacting against it. Having SxE and non-SxE friends I also wasn’t keen on the separation.

I wrote about it in a column that appeared in my friend Joeri Hoste’s zine Emotive Impulse (Sep. ’94):

>> We were all very excited about it for months. Myself not in the least; as it came closer it promised to be something wonderful, something that could last a week instead of a weekend. (…) After some shitwork, I wanted to start a bunch of conversations but unfortunately practically all ended up being quite short and superficial (…) consuming seemed like the most important thing again… (…) “I BUY, therfor I am” (actually this goes for the whole capitalist system – ergo: the HCpunk-scene is not so diffrent form the capitalist system nowadays, no?) (…) Another thing: no matter what we all say, there are distinct cliques in our scene. We all pretend they don’t exist but they do… I’m not talking about the obvious devide between SxE and ‘crustpunx’. Also within SxE (as within the crustpunx) there are micro-communities with their own rules, prescriptions, ‘incestuous’ behaviour, etc. How are you ever gonna evolve, learn,… when you never break out these micro-units. You don’t have to know everyone but at least look for different things once and a while; and on the other hand: allow others to get into your group of peers. I try to pick up things from various people, why restrain and stick to one groove? This scene we’re in, this subculture – again – is supposed to offer an alternative to the mainstream, the capitalist/patriarchic system. Let’s all work to create this. Don’t fool yourself and others. (…) <<

The newsletter of March that year started out with announcing a “3-day festival with ‘Scraps’, ‘Blindfold’, ‘Voorhees’, ‘Iconoclast’ and plenty more”. A few months later there was mention of 3 bands on Friday, ‘Blindfold’, ‘Refused’ & 5 or 6 more on Saturday, and ‘Iconoclast’, Scraps’ & ‘Voorhees’ on Sunday. And as you can see on the flyers that were made this expanded/changed gradually.

This is from the newsletter right before the festival:

VV newsletter 94-08 (-)

As far as I can remember this was the actual programme:

19 aug ’94: Spawn (Ger), Congress (Bel), Kosjer D (Bel)

20 aug ’94: Refused (Swe), Abhinanda (Swe), Fabric (UK), Blindfold (Bel), Shortsight (Bel), Acme (Ger), Backdraft (Nl), Nothing Left To Grasp (Ger)

21 aug ’94: Iconoclast (USA), Neckbrace (UK), Feeding The Fire (Nl), Hopeman Path (Bel), Undone (Fra)

Also got on the bill/played: ‘State Of Grace’ (Bel), ‘Vanilla’ (Fra), … But can’t remember which day… Pretty sure ‘Stormwatch’ (Ger) didn’t play.

‘Nations On Fire’ didn’t do a show. Also Steve W. tells me his band ‘Neuthrone’ didn’t play, ‘Scraps’ cancelled and ‘Voorhees’ didn’t show up (read 94-08 [Voorhees])…

Even though this fest attracted a lot of people, it still took place in the pub (and not in the ‘shed’). The distros had a lot of space in the courtyard… So did the people who wanted to ‘socialize’…

94-08-20 VV patio (by Miguel Angel Lorca)L corner: Stéphane Cormary, Ludovic Hache and Agnes (photo by Miguel Angel Lorca); the ‘Abhinanda’ crew on the R

Besides the bands I remember Vique ‘Simba’ Martin was there. So were Nicole ‘Upsi’ Vokrouhlik (from Augsburg) – who was doing a mailorder/label and organised a festival – and her boyfriend Daniel… Volker Pohlschmidt (‘Steadfast’) most likely… Marco Walzel (‘Nothing Left To Grasp’, Speak So That I May See You zine); some of the ‘Doughnuts’ girls signed the guestbook; Albert Cheong from Barcelona (Heartcore zine) took pics… Alan Davis who did Train Of Thought zine (Bristol) was there… Also Nick Royles (Sure Hand recs, How We Rock zine and various bands)… Miguel Angel Lorca from Madrid came over with a friend. My correspondent Amanda Trevens (guitarist of ‘Timmy’ & ‘Huasipungo’) who was helping out Neil Ribonson at Tribal War recs (actually an internship, studying ‘music technology’), and volunteering at ABC No Rio (all in NYC) was in Europe (actually toured with ‘Scraps’) and visited… Some French non-SxE people came over aswell (which was great): Ludovic Hache (Ras l’Bol zine) and Agnes, Karl & Steph (‘6 Feet Over’). And a hell of a lot more… Olivier Lacoste (‘Öpstand’ singer, Bordeaux)?

There were also some people that tried to get to the Vort’n Vis but didn’t make it (unfortunately)… In his zine J’Ai Le Regret A La Joie Mélé #4, Gérome Desmaison (guitarist of ‘Peu-Être’ / ‘Alcatraz’) describes how him and his friend Mickaël ‘Mike’ Ramounet (vocalist in the same bands) took of hitchhiking from Niort/Poitiers (France) to the Vort’n Vis but got stuck (spending the night in gasstation along the highway) before reaching the border, somewhere between Paris and Lille… They returned home but decided to rent a van the next time…

Brob

94-08-xx crowd + Wim Blindfold (by P Federli)audience (Wim ‘Blindfold’ centre); pic by Patrick Federli

I was at every ‘fest’ there in the 90s (I guess up until 2001) and all I can say, is that I always had the best of times. The first couple of times at the V.V. were the best. The yard, the stinky toilets, the little shop at the corner, playing football with the Swedish kids… The list is endless… Best of times and always the highlight of every summer!

Patrick Federli

94-08-21 yard Sherry (Heath)photo courtesy of Heath Crosby (Sherry Beth Sacks in the background)

94-08-19&20&21 Marco WalzelMarco Walzel

see also: 94-08-19&20&21 Hardcore Festival * Italian impressions

additions wellcome!…

92-06-27 Rorschach Needlepack cover

92-06 Rorschach poster

Charles Maggio, ‘Rorschach’s vocalist and owner of Gern Blandsten, at one point wrote: “Brob, I’ld like you to be my exclusive distributor for my label in Belgium.”. That was probably after the Fuse fiasco (a trial to merge 3 local distros – my own Tilt!, Bruno’s and Joeri’s) but I it didn’t actually happen (I wanted to keep things manageable)… A few years before I’d met Charles live when he was touring. Also in the band were Thomas ‘Tommy’ Rusnak (bass, replacing first bassist: Chris Laucella; later in ‘Ambush’ [95-01-29]), Andrew Gormley (drums; later in ‘Shai Hulud’ [99-06-27]) & ‘Bhakta’ Keith Huckins & Nick Forté (guitar). Their driver was Tobias Werner from ‘Ambush’ (van owned by Peter Carstens)… I’d gotten to know of the band through my correspondents Sam McPheeters (‘Born Against’ singer) – who released their LP Remain Sedate (on his label Vermiform) and the split 7” (with ‘Neanderthal’; came with Sam’s zine Dear Jesus) – and Freddy Alva – who put out the Needlepack 7” on Wardance (out 1991). This was before the Protestant LP (which would appear after this tour, I think). There’s also a tape, called Close Your Eyes And See Death…, of their show in Firenze during that tour (92-06-18). The music of ‘Rorschach’ (who were from New Jersey) was compared once with a bone-marrow biopsy; hard, brutal, painful,… It was also angry, intimidating and energetic. Here’s ‘Rorschach’ playing My War @ the 1in12 (Bradford, UK) on the 1992 tour.

The day after (92-06-28) ‘Rorschach’ played at La Zone in Liège with ‘6 Feet Over’… Tobias was driving Peter Carsten’s van (that broke down in France).

The band still exist today… But some of them are in other bands. The projects of Nick (who married Stacy Wakefield – of Evil Twin publications) are summarized on nickforte.eviltwinpublications.com

‘Blurred Vision’ were Marko (bass), Niklas (drums), Oliver ‘Olli’ (vocals) and Richard (guitar). In ‘94 Boezie released a split-7” (with ‘Jobbykrust’) on his Grinding Madness label but they’d already split up in Nov ‘93). They played “screamed emotional slow/mid-paced abrasive crust-core”.

‘Shortsight’ had played here a couple times (91-10-12, 91-12-21) but were still on their way to a steady line-up. Saskia wasn’t in the band yet…

I’ve no idea anymore who ‘Planet Coldox’ were (announced in the newsletter) or if I saw them actually play… I read somewhere Micha (bass), Emma (drums), Christoph(er) Nobis (guitar) & Heiko (2nd guitar; later replaced by Ingo) were from Manheim.

Brob

I have to admit that show has become a bit of a blur to me. What I do remember was sleeping in the van that night and being woken up by what I thought were jet-engines. After about 10 minutes of constant noise I got dressed and wandered out of the alley where the van was parked and almost got run over by a rally-car. I heard what sounded like a crowd so I started to follow the noise and ended up where I think was the finish of a rally-race. It was one of the most surreal things I have ever experienced. I know it’s not really show- or HC-related but that is what I really remember from that night. [Brob Indeed there’s the annual Ypres Rally end of June. The Vort’n Vis has always protested against it.]

Keith Huckins, ‘Rorschach’ guitarist

92-06 Rorschach - beginning of the European tour‘Rorschach’ & friend: (L => R) Nick Forte – Charles Maggio – Keith Huckins – Will Tarrant (Chainsaw Safety recs from NYC) * photo taken at the beginning of the European tour

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

VV 92-06-27 - (book A) Rorschach

VV 92-06-27 - (book A) Shortsight

VV 92-06-27 - (book A) Blurred Vision

VV 92-06-27 - (book A) Planet Coldox 2VV 92-06-27 - (book A) Planet Coldox 3

VV 92-06-27 - (book A) RudyNOT Rudee P. but a Belgian Rudy [that used to hang out with the Shortsight people]

additions wellcome!…

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!…