So, Groezrock eh?
Okay, I have no clue what's the best way to review this fest but I think I'm gonna for the entire walkthrough of my experience as a real punk rock dude (from the new school).

I spent all Friday being anxious and hesitating whether I should go to the Lifetime/Cornflames show in Ham. I was unsure on how to get there and stuff so I opted out. I started regretting that decision as soon as I left for the festival, though. I hopped on the train to Diest, and I tried to go last-minute but the buses weren't stopping near the venue and I wasn't sure if I could get in. So anyway, I regret that, but that's life. Minus punk points.
Instead I went to the campsite. I had a tent/sleeping bag, a 24-pack of budget beer (it was cara, if you're interested), half a liter of whiskey (it was Jameson, if you're interested (it means that I'm not dead)), some extra clothes in case of rain, a big pack of cornflakes, 3 packs of rice wafers and a whole bunch of magazines. When I left I still had a big pack of cornflakes and 3 packs of rice wafers because I had beer for breakfast instead. I also still had a whole bunch of magazines, but thanks to the punk rock and my buddy/salesmanager Elias I also sold quite a few. Also gave some away, traded some and stacked some in the Shield records merch stand, who are really great people. I just really want to get them out to people, haha. 2 nice English girls even gave me 50 cents extra, which was really cool. One of them was really pretty. The other one was... not ugly.

This was the first year I got a reasonably good spot on the campsite. Not far from the entrance, not far from the toilets, etc. Cool. I put up the tent, drank a beer, spotted some Houthalen peepz near and went to hang out there because I was still on my own. I went to check out the acoustic shows as well, that were being held in the shower/bbq area, because PJ Bond was supposed to play. Apparently he would only arrive at around 3 AM, cause he had a show in Germany. Bottom line, I really wanted to see him but didn't, cause I was pretty fucked up by 3 am. I don't even know where I was at 3 am. Maybe I was sleeping already, I don't know.
I went to party in the party tent where there was a lot of nu-metal and stuff like that. Pretty good, pretty weird though. Got really drunk. Vague memories. Elias had arrived a bit later and we both have a tendency to drink lots of beer. So that's what happened.
"stoeme kut"

Woke up in my tent, without any clue on how I got there. Safe, though. First day of the festival. The syke was strong. The first band we went to see was Banquets. We saw the soundcheck, then decided it was taking too long so headed to the main stage for Chixdiggit! They ruled, of course. Kepi was on bass, he's a really good person. KJ is such a great frontman. So early, yet so vibrant and energetic and fun! Then we spend half an hour waiting for Mikey Erg's set. During those in-between breaks we would usually go get Leffe, talk to girls, ask them for jokes, laugh, be silly, go say hi to Shield Records, hang out with people, etc. Pretty basic, a whole lot of fun.
Mikey Erg played some songs on his, aside from touring/drumming with Off With Their Heads. The solo set was amazing. I love those songs so much. He played Hey Jealousy again, which is awesome. Great songs, a lot of singalonging, lots of fun. Also, side-to-side mosh to acoustic songq, pretty cool idea.
After he was done, the Copyrights had already started playing, so I went dancing to one of my very first pop punk band crushes. It's been about 4 years since they've toured Europe, I think, so I was happy. Fraser MBS played guitar. That was cool. They played really great songs. They ended with Weapons Of Math Destruction, of which the last part is the best part of music ever written. "3 drums, 16 strings, 4 mouths, 4 brains, 3 mics, 12 speakers, 4 tempers and 4 middle fingers." Incredible. Love it. Sound sucked a lot though.
I didn't went to see the Menzingers cause I didn't feel like it. Cool band though. Saw a fair deal of None More Black, great band. Mainly drank Leffe, hung out and met up during those hours I guess.
Off With Their Heads played at 4 pm and that was important cause they're really good. I have to say I don't remember a lot from the show. Pretty sure I danced and sang along. I can't really recall any songs though. This sucks.
The plan was to go see Bouncing Souls and after that Midnight Souls, 1) because they're great bands, 2) because they're both Souls. But due to circumstances (laziness) I only saw the Midnight Souls. I'd promised them to mosh at their shows and since I was drunk, they played pretty damn good and I was angry, I moshed pretty heavily for my standards. It was super fun. I don't know if moshing is supposed to be fun.
After some more carefree drinking, eating and unsuccesfully hitting on girls, I went to check Verse. Probably the best performance of the entire festival. Really damn good. Tight, hard as nails and full of power. I moshed to Story Of A Free Man. I hope I got scenepoints from that.
Next was Dillinger Escape Plan. Crazy. Also the best performance. Wack show. I went to check on Lifetime but they didn't really compare to Dillinger, so I went back, only to be just in time for Sunshine The Werewolf, which is an incredible song. Consequently, I was happy.
I didn't see Face To Face and only a few Lagwagon songs because I wasn't feeling like it. Probably lost some punk points there but you can't have it all. I saw a couple Parkway Drive songs and moshed super hard at the back of the tent, then went to see Rancid for 30 minutes, then hung out at the special beers bar. I probably lost a fucking lot of punx points for this. 16-year-old me would've have greatly dissapproved.
After that I went back to the camping, I lost my buddies and went to "bed" early. Maybe not the best idea, definitely not a bad idea though.

Woke up to a sky full of clouds. Luckily, apart from some odd raindrops, nothing severe happened. Late Sunday afternoon it even became pretty damn sunny and warm. I asked the girl in the tent next to us for sexytime but she wasn't up for it.
Saw a couple of Red City Radio songs, which was awesome. I ate a broodje mexicano, which was pretty good. Sunpower played a great show.
Hung out. Elias got hit in the nuts, which was really funny. Drank Leffe and annoyed people until Hot Water Music played. Not super good but I like them so I had a good time.
At a quarter to 5, finally, the band I wanted to see most of all: Alkaline Trio. Although their performance wasn't too tight, they still played pretty good and they're just an awesome band. They played a lot of old songs, probably due to the Maybe I'll Catch Fire shows they did some time ago. I got wild during Blue Carolina, jumped a naked dude in the pit, sang along to basically everything, and hit everyone around me when they started playing 97. Sooooooo good.
The Bronx were amazing. 7 Seconds were awesome. Gorilla Biscuits were insane. Great show and outrageous crowd reaction.
Refused were about 7 times better than I expected. Really tight, great show.
I had to leave because I had an obligatory class at 9 am and wouldn't make it if I'd leave on Monday. Thankfully de Jelle helped me out and he is a great person.

A lot of people were great people this weekend. I've met so many people in the scene the last (few) year(s) and it's really great to meet up with them, hang out, do shit, sing along together/forever. Makes me feel a part of something. Makes me feel appreciated. Makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing.
Also thanks to Teun for letting me slip in at the line to the campsite, everyone who gave me a beer or a high-five, the people at Shield for being the best, the girl next to the Shield stand for also helping me out, the pretty girls for brightening up my day, the nice people for being generally nice and the organisation for setting this all up.

I lost a whole bunch of punk points by missing some great bands, but I had some spare points I think and I regained a few by having fun and watching other great bands.

I am really pleased. I love everything.


Expensive Monday

Hey! Remember Unbroken, that legendary hardcore/punk band from the nineties? Well, I don't, but they played a show in Hasselt yesterday and I had nothing better to do do yeah. I paid 18 euros for it as well. I bought 4 drink tickets at 2,20 a piece. That's already 26,8 euros. Da's meer as duuzend frang.

Anyway, the first band was This Routine Is Hell. Angry men from the North. The North is the Netherlands in this case. Just across the border, actually. Not really far away. Almost local, you could say. Anyway, they're angry. Dark hardcore music that sounded like a bad omen. But hell, it sounds awesome. Fast and pissed, Their new record is really good so you should pick it up! I scored a test press, by the way, pretty cool!

Second up: Midnight Souls. I had promised I would mosh hard but I didn't cause I wasn't drunk enough, I'm silly and the venue was too big. Maybe next time. Great band, great show, great songs, love 'em.

Unbroken played. Not my thing I guess. But for a lot of people it was their thing or it had been their thing so many years ago so I guess it's awesome they played another show. Couldn't see the entire set cause I had to catch a train, but that's life.


Leuven Apart

Tuesday night was showtime in de Sojo, mofo's.

First up were the Raunchy Rumors, a reduced equivalent of the Red Light Rumors, with only the guitar palyer and drummer. Rock 'n' Roll. Pretty good. Not necessarily my cup 'o tea. Kinda repetitive, perhaps? I don't know, I'd like to see them full-band once, though. That'd be better probably.

Leagues Apart. Missed them the night before in Zele, so I was excited. Guess what? These guys are awesome. It's weird I hadn't heard them before. Live performance was top notch, super energetic, loud and fast and gruffy. Check this out, No Idea vibe.

Nothington. Funny thing, I also missed them in Zele, although that was about 8 months ago. Great band, great show. I only really knew the last song they played (Where I Stand) but the rest sounded pretty good as well.

Mixed crowd reactions overall, but really fun night.
Also I went partying after and had to puke and stuff. Up the punx.


Monday morbidity


I didn't see the last band, Leagues Apart, cause I had to catch a train and I would see them today anyway, so yeah!

First up was Rebuild, all the way from Get Wood City, ready to play for a crowd of 10 in a place fit for 200 or something. And without a bassist. Silly dudes. They kinda pulled it off. The sound wasn't as strong without the bass and may not have been their best performance ever but I like seeing them play, hearing the songs and sing along every once in a while when I can remember the lyrics. I also moshed. I also was drinking a lot of beer, which could be the reason why I moshed.

Pizza time.

Minus Tree played next. They're from Italia. Hardcore with a somber edge. Not really good, but they had some jams, and Jordi was constantly saying I should mosh so I did. Alone. I guess they weren't bad but kinda uninspired.

Getting more and more shitfaced.

A Strength Within played next. I think they're a really great band, and especially the new songs slay. Great musicians, and Mike's a great frontman. But as always, lousy crowd reaction. quite a shame. People should dance to this.

Sleeping on the train.


Putting Off The Charts on the charts

Okay, here's the deal: Off The Charts is an awesome band from Dilbeek/Dildobeek/Chillbeek/... and they became good buddies of mine. They just now put out a new EP, completely DIY and stuff, and it has 3 new songs on it that take a huge step from the demo. I'm having the pleasure to listen to these songs right now so I'm able to do a review. Because I do that kinda stuff. I am good at listening to music.
You should buy the new EP from them for only 2 currency units. 3 songs for 2 coins is cheaper than, let's say, 3 songs for 3 coins. So buy it, it's good and it's cheap. (insert 'your mom' joke here)

So, let's do this in kinda real time. Play. First song. It's called "Final Master A - 01". I'm kidding, it has a different title but I don't know what it is. It's starts slow and dragging, with rung (minor?) chords and a (minor chord?) melody. It sounds sad. I'm becoming kinda sad. And then it becomes steady. Kim starts singing and it's great. Recording sounds bad-ass. Nicolas kicks in. He sounds like one of those Gainesville singers who drank too much whiskey and are now 40 and still drink too much whiskey. Only this guy isn't 40 years old. I now realise I've heard this song quite a few times in their live shows. Oh, it's speeding the fuck up. It's difficult to follow writing this. But the tempo change is something Off The Charts uses a lot so it's becoming a kind of signature thing to their songs I guess? I'm not sure. The little melodies in the transition are proof that they know what the hell they are doing. This isn't simple punk rock. I don't know if it's punk rock anymore. I think it is. But it's peculiar, in a good way.
Vocally, the dynamics between Kim and Nicolas are played out well, balanced. Then there's this instrumental break kind of thing, filled with blasting drums and a pounding bass guiding the riffage, including the famous contrast dynamic where you just can't avoid headbanging or airdrumming. This leads up to the final part, sounding like someone has some deep despair and needs to vent it. You can mosh/stomp to this part, I guess that's okay. It mellows down and with an off-strummed riff they introduce the outro (is it even possible to introduce an outroduction?), which is really powerful and probably the most memorable/catchy part of the song. They are singing "I WILL WAIT FOR YOU", and I guess that makes all the girls' panties wet as fuck.
I'll have to change my pants now.

Second song is the second song. I also don't know the title, but I'll find out soon enough. Another slow-paced intro. These guys love melody, and I love their melodies. They don't make me happy but ultimately they do make me happy because it's good. This is a steady song. I kinda want to make a comparison to other bands but I'm having a hard time pinpointing it. I guess they have a lot of influences, they take some of the gruffy punk rock, some new wave/indie hints, this and that of the pop punk/hardcore thing (the Title Fight, Basement, ... kind) and every once in a while it sounds like a Dillinger Four single played at 33 rpm. I hope that makes sense. This song is definitely more of a grower rather than an instant hit, but it's really interesting in terms of song structure and evolution. Off The Charts are taking their stuff seriously, and they're on a consistent path to finding their exact wanted sound. In my opinion they can still tweak it (but I guess any band in the world will always think they can do better, so that's that really), but I'm digging it already.
Fast part at the end, maybe time for a circle pit? I don't know, they should ask to do a circle pit at shows. After another batch of sincerely sung/screamed "Take me back"'s they break it down with dual guitar riffage and end in a mainstream as fuck WHOAAAAAAAOHOHOH chant. It's not really mainstream actually. I don't think the 'kids these days' would sing along. It's too hoarse for their fragile voices. But if you've been drinking and listening to punk rock for a while you can probably flawlessly sing along to it. Also, this song is almost 5 minutes long. Actual proof that this is not punk rock anymore. It's the sound of (OT)C, the sound which creates a new dimension. This is a new style of music. Although it's 5 minutes and that's a long time for a song, like I said, it's pretty interesting and it stays focused. It doesn't flatten or become redundant. It's pretty damn epic.

Now, the third song is called Imposed Future. I know this because that's what it says on the Facebook. So I guess this is their ultimate hit song. It starts out with a piercing riff just waiting to explode into what is commonly known as a song. Armin (I think?) kicks in with one of his signature guitarsolo/melody kind of things and you could slowmotion-mosh to it. It now sounds like if you want to play a video game and it's "loading ??%" and then suddenly the menu screen pops up and you hit play as fast as you can so you can start. I really hope I'm making some sense right now. This is a very powerful song once Jelle's bass part completes the picture and it gets going for real. Lots of catchy riffing, dynamic/contrastive vocals and powerful rhythms and the variations thereof. The middle part suddenly sounds like a straight-up old school hardcore break, with the hardcore beat pounding and a tough-ish "The anchor holding me down. We'll not let go.", reminding me of Verse or something of that ilk (not the best comparison but I can't think of anything else right now), and going into a raging stomp party where you can sing along and point fingers at the band (at their shows, obviously) and then dance your ass off. And suddenly it's over and that's it.

TOO LONG/DIDN'T READ: Great songs, great band, buy it, buy them beers.

It's funny how it takes me 2 days to come up with this amount of text on "the semantics of discourse-embedded tag question in English" but on the other hand I just have to listen to a few songs and I can write this bullshit in an hour or so. I wish English linguistics was more like punk rock music.

Back to the garage

Garage shows are something else. They're DIY. They're cool. They're hella fun. They have a kinda different atmosphere throughout and it's punk as fuck. So good job to Bartje Punk of the Tantras to put on a show with the Respirators in his garage.

Before the show I quickly interviewed the Respirators cause Bart was all like "hey maybe you could interview them" and I was like "yeah, that'd be cool" and so we asked them and they were like "oh yeah, sure" and then I asked some silly questions because I had no idea what to ask but we had a fine chat and it'll be in the next 'zine. So stay tuned for that! The Respirators are really super cool dudes.

De Tantras started the night though, playing a classic Tantra show. They opened with Bitchkrieg, and played a bunch of great songs. TNT show, Danny, Old Generation, ... All the hits, plus some covers of the Ramones, the Trashmen, 2 Misfits songs, and even a Priceduifkes jam! I did a blitzdance, sang along and high-fisted Bart. (I went for the high-five and he went for the bro-fist and it ended all wrong and awkward but that's alright.) Great band!

The Respirators are a great band. They have the whole Off With Their Heads, Banner Pilot, ... Midwest sound and I totally love that. Their singer also kinda looks like Zack from Rivethead/Dear Landlord/House Boat/... And there's two Jakob's in the band, fun fact. Also cool to see a European band do the gruff punk rock thing that cause I don't think there are many like it around. Anyway, they're on tour, from Denmark all over Europe and the show in the garage was super fun. Great musicians, great performance, bass player was incredible, vocals were sweet and the melodies ruled a lot. Just a great band. Get fucking psyched for their full length, which they are writing/recording at the moment. It's gonna rule.
New European sensation right here, putting Denmark on the pop punk map (together with the 20Belows).

Also Peabrain Records rules, buy their shit!


punk/no punk

Tuesday night was a great night. i went to Mechelen to check out the punk rock and also not the punk rock.

The punk rock was provided by an opening band I didn't catch because I had dinner later than expected, but also by River Jumpers, a band from Brighton in the UK. They were good. Definitely. Surprised me. Made me nod my head. A real fun band, they wanted everyone to dance but that didn't really work out. Sometimes people don't dance. It's alright.

Next band for the punk rock was Struggling For Reason, a band from Namur I think. It was better than the name made me expect. Kinda the Walloon version of Homer, I guess. Fun show. They play in suits and look kinda goofy but the music was good!

After the punk rock came and went, it was time for dudes with guitars 'n' shit. Mark McCabe started singing and wow. Just wow. This dude's amazing. I wish I had heard about him earlier. Strong, punchy songs with a celestial voice singing words that are as honest as... something that's very honest. He did an Against Me! cover of Reinventing Axl Rose, saying something like that his view on punk rock basically comes down to that song, and I can really relate to that. It's a great song with an amazing message of DIY and punk, and Mark did it justice. I was kinda singing along but I was also reluctant cause I can't sing for shit and I was afraid I'd sing too loud so people would hear me.
Anyway, great dude, great show, check him out!

After Mark, PJ Bond came up. I met PJ on his last trip to Belgium in October/November or something so I was really excited to see him again and chat a bit. Such a nice person. Either way, he started doing his thing and as usual it was great. His songs are nothing short of awesome and he is a great musician. I mouthed/sang along to some of the stuff. he was like "what do you want to hear" and I said "a song" and that's basically it. I just like to hear him play songs, that's enough. Also I'm really excited for his upcoming split with Brian Bond, he played a song off of it and it sounded really good.

This might have been the first punk rock show where I wasn't as stoked for the punk rock as I was for the non-punk rock.


Hasselt rules

I've been to Limburg 3 times in about 1 week. I'm starting to like Limburg.
Yesterday was another show in xHasseltx.

First band was No Solution, straight edge youth crew hardcore something something something from France. Not my cup o' tea. Great energy and such, though. I think they played a Justice cover.

Second band: Truth Inside. Same thing, different continent. They're from Florida. I was more into this.

Violent City closed the evening. Started out with Judge's Fed Up and then played cool songs and I bought a cd. Whoo!

Grim also played. They're a weird band but it's really cool. It's the drummer and singer from Get Wise and Gijs Rebuild on guitar. They play mosh parts. I guess they're not really songs, just mosh parts. It's awesome. I'm confused.

Also hangouts, beers, scored a Just Say Yo zine and stomped to the train station sings Straight Edge Revenge/Kersed.


Not Frank Turner

I don't know this Frank Turner dude so on Friday the 30th of March I went to a hardcoreshow instead in a venue just a stone's throw from the MOD. Cool venue, actually, 't Paviljoen.

I didn't catch The Homeless but they're a pretty good band.

Rebuild was the first band I could enjoy. Such a great band. People were moshing and all that shit! Gijs is slowly becoming Belgium's best frontman, the dude cracks me up. Also just really good vocals to really good music. Awesome melodies over wack rhythms. I love seeing Chiel play drums cause it looks like he has no idea what he's doing but he actually does. Weird, right? Buy their EP and get stoked for the new songs. They sound great! "Rebuild is den beste build van Belgiƫ".

By the way, I think I drank a beer for every time Gijs yelled "GET WOOD CITY". No surprise I was pretty hammered by the end of the night.

Next band: Midnight Souls. I just want to say one thing: Midnight Souls need more mosh. They have finally made a record people can mosh to but nobody seems inclined to go at it (including myself, I'm a huge wimp). Anyway, they played a great set as always, first day of their tour. Great band, whoo!

Daylight followed and they're basically Title Fight but slowed down, as Dennis managed to tell me and I agreed. But I like Daylight. They have great songs, great melodies and the guy's voice is quite something. Also super lame audience. Hardcore hipsters don't like to move or sing along I think. Maybe I'm just weird. I don't belong at hardcore shows.

Last band was More Than Life. They have a couple cool songs but generally don't appeal to me. The crowd was into it, though, so I guess they're pretty good, or just popular.

After that I got really drunk, a lot a fun stuff happened and it was a good night! HARDCORE