Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Reality’

“Don’t mention the war!”… No problem here: Germans and Brits getting along just fine…

‘Scum Of Toytown’ (from Stevenage) played fresh and very danceable but political ska/reggae/dub/punk with female vocals: Craig (drums/vocals), Ni(c)k Hooper (guitar/vocals), Jo(h)n Thurlow (guitar/vocals; ex ‘Chron Gen’), ‘Toad’ (bass/vocals) and Lea (vocals & keyboards). Jon wrote me shortly after this gig that Lea (who wanted to concentrate on other things) was replaced by Georgia ‘G’ Howson. I’d gotten to know them via their 7” Destruction Of Both Houses Of Parliament By Fire that Karl of Words Of Warning (who’s stuff I was distributing) put out in 1993. I recall the 1994 LP Strike (also on Words Of Warning) sold very well via Tilt! distro. The enchanting/empowering anti-fascist anthem Jackboot Crusade gave a lot of people (including me) goosebumps and motivation… The band is still performing! (check www.toytown.org.uk)

‘Scum Of Toytown’ – Nick , Craig, John, Toad & Lea

‘Virtual Reality’ (Bradford) was a project/band that played ‘Black Sabbath’ influenced stuff 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). The years before they still used a drum-machine but I think they had a real drummer here. They’d done a split-7” with ‘Neuthrone’ on Genet recs in 1994 and released the LP Dreamstate (Genet recs & Flat Earth recs, 1995) – “groovy beats and heavy riffs to techno-based tracks”. This was their 3rd time here (see: 94-03-19 & 94-05-08).

During ‘Doom’s tour in Scandinavia (Sep. ’95) Scoot had to leave (Tom Croft had already dropped out before). In ’96 the band did their LP (Rush Hour Of The Gods) for Sned’s label Flat Earth with Wayne Southworth (R.I.P.) on vocals, Brian Talbot on guitar, Denis ‘The Deuce’ Boardman also on guitar, Chris ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne (ex ‘Health Hazard’, ‘Suffer’) on bass and Anthony ‘Stick’ Dickens on drums. The Monarchy Zoo 7” was recorded with Denis on bass (Sep. ’95). Michael Kopijn put a video on-line Doom – Live In Europe 1996; but no footage of this show here…

‘Doom’ (photgraphed by Wim De Leersnijder)

‘Pink Flamingos’ (Berlin) played powerviolence; Thought Crime ‘marketed’ them as “highspeed ultraviolence glamrock heroes”. Carsten Kissler (drummer; also ‘Cold War’, ex ‘SM-70’; he’d been at the V.V. when he organised the ‘M.V.D.’/‘Suffer’ tour – see 95-04-29), Jens Walter (bass; ex ‘SM-70’), Stefan Hinsch (guitar) and Lars (guitar/vocals, ex ‘SM-70’). A Slovenian tape-label released a split-tape with recordings of them and ‘Hiatus’ live in Zorro, Leipzig (95-11-18 ‘Pink Flamingos’, 96-03-21 ‘Hiatus’). The years before they did some 7”s (including splits with ‘M.V.D.’ and ‘Man Is The Bastard’) on the Hannover label Farewell recs; and Thought Crime recs (Thomas Franke/Jens Walter) did the Poppin’ Eye Effect 7” in ’96. Their last release was the split-7” Germania Meets Britannica with ‘Substandard’ (UK) in ’97 (on Wicked Witch recs). A lot of all that was on their discography (Crippled Silence).

‘Y’ was a grindcore band from Berlin: Tino Schulz (vocals; replaced ‘Froesi’ Hendrik Froese), Hartmut Barsch (guitar), ‘Keule’ Matthias Franke (drums) & ‘Spremme’ Thomas Franke (bass; Thought Crime recs). First there was their Überall Ist Kotze demo (’94). They also had a split-7” (with ‘Discript’) out on Anomie recs (from Bochum) and just recorded for a 7” (Feb. ‘96). Later had several releases on labels such as Thought Crime recs, Sound Pollution recs, Flowerviolence recs, etc.

‘Y’ (pic from Sascha May’s zine Evilspeak #3)

‘Y’ (courtesy of Thomas Franke)

‘Counter-Attack’ (originally from Alken in Limburg but gradually ‘embedded’ in the anarchist/squat scene in Gent) played anarcho-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 of ‘Visons Of War’). Stef sent me a letter and their demo (Demonstrate Or Demolition) around that time asking to help/support them with gigs. This was their first time performing at the V.V. They came back 97-02-28 & 98-03-29.

‘Up In Arms’ (from Leipzig) consisted of peolpe who used to be in ‘D.M.B.’, ‘L’Attentat’, ‘Der Schwarze Kanal’: Stefan ‘Schnö’ Beckmann (bass), Thomas ‘Reudnitz’ Henschel (guitar), Jens ‘Jose’ Schossee (drums); Thomas ‘Tommi’ Schliephake (guitar) & ‘York’ (vocals). The Czech label Day After recs released their Up In Arms ‎EP (‘93) and in ’95 they had an LP out entitled Rotation. Their music was described as hardcore/emo and references were made to ‘Quicksand’, ‘Neurosis’ & ‘Prong’.

Brob

I can’t remember this gig but we did that in Greece too. I went over with ‘V.R.’ and then ‘Stick’, ‘Scoot’ & Tom were supposed to fly over and meet me there; except: only ‘Stick’ & ‘Scoot’ made it as Tom couldn’t find his passport (an excuse I think). So we got Gordy (ex ‘Psycho Flowers’) to sing for the Greek gigs as he was just on holiday with ‘V.R.’!

The one & only drummer in ‘V.R.’ was Duncan. He used to drum in ‘Crash’, an old punk band from Hebden Bridge (They did a a split ep with ‘Crux’: Keep On Running). We did a recording too (in Leicester while Darron was at college there). I lost my copy but it sounded dead good.

Brian Talbot

Belgium was definitely the best place to play for ‘V.R.’ Don’t think we ever went down very well though, not many of the regulars were into our style of music (the audience seemed to be more into the noisier bands) but we always were looked after well there and enjoyed it in Ieper.

Darron Ward

Don’t remember much only that it was a good show and I liked the other bands and felt pretty floored to play this. I think I might have a few pics…maybe that will trigger some memories (if I find them)…

It´s a bit hard to recall details now, also because at the time we did experiment with alcohol quite a bit. Especially when ‘Pink Flamingos’ were also part of the action things usually ended with a horrible hangover but also some good stories. I do remember that I felt a bit overwelmed playing with ‘Pink Flamingos’ and ‘Doom’, something that two years before would have been a wet dream at best. Also looking at that picture I must say that we were some good looking brats at the time, looking at us now makes it hard to believe it´s even the same individuals, haha.. It definitely was a very special show to me.

Thomas Franke, ‘Y’ bassist

excerpts from the V.V. guestbook:

additions wellcome!…

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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!…