26-09-12

Dr. Kepi

In an attempt to not entirely forget about this blog I will now tell you a story about musicians.

ROCK AND ROLL IN THE KROENKEL

Part 1: The Austrian Man who Cut his Hand.
Once upon a time, there was a band, called DeeCracks. There were 2 guys in this band. Actually 3, but 2 main people. They toured and toured around the land, the continent and maybe even in the sky. They always played really loud and fast and everyone who knew them loved them. But then, an evil beer bottle attacked the drummer of the band! He cut his hand open and needed 5 stiches. 5 stitches, not one more, not one less. He was able to play but in pain. Terrible pain. It appeared DeeCracks' luck had turned.
But fortunately, the booking Gods provided them with 3 acoustic shows. So Mike DeeCrack, the drummer of whom I spoke, could rest his hand. He rested while Matt DeeCracks, who played guitar and sang their joyful songs, played the set of songs in an acoustic way. The kingdom was impressed. They had never expected that it would be actually good, because DeeCracks music is particularly created to be played electric, fast and loud. But Matt's hoarse, raspy voice trembled through the castle of Nijlen, de Kroenkel. It trembled in our ears and it made us feel warm inside and it delighted us. Although the songs seemed a bit odd and out of place, Maat DeeCrack pulled it off to deliver a powerful and enjoyabel set. The attendants applauded, cheered and exchanged hand-to-hand gestures to express common agreeance.

Part 2: The Savant American who Appeared to be a Doktor.
The kingdom went to grab beverages at the bar, but after a while the stage was encaptured again. Not only was the whole room decorated with lovely pieces of extraordinary art by Andrea Mange (of the clan of The Manges), Stefan Tijs (heir of the Stardumb empire) and Kepi Ghoulie (a musical wizard - some say he bleeds rock'n'roll), but there also appeared to be another bard, a very admirable bard I must say.
It was Frank Portman, under his moniker Dr. Frank, who was shining there, on that stage. And he started to play and there was a general delight. The citizens requested classic songs from the long-disbanded touring tribe The Mr. T Experience, and Dr. Frank provided the songs as best as he could remember - The MTX were around for a long time and they had a lot of songs in their archives. He delighted us with these classics that the citizens all helped to sing, and he added some of his recent ventures on the solo route.
This Dr. Frank seemed to be a very charismatic singer and he was able to play a full set without boring anyone, I would guess. Some say he is the greatest songwriting in the punk (ba)roque era, and although that is a rather daring statement, no one knows how far we are from the truth.

Part 3: The Returning American with the Blood of Rock'nRoll
After a quick but necessary interruption - and a visit to the vomitorium for me - the final act of the night would bestow its talents upon us. This travelling misfit went by the name of Kepi Ghoulie. If one was to ask him how he was doing, he would sincerely answer: "I'm doing fine, so leave me alone." He is a gentle man, however, and he was ever so excited to perform his musique for us.
People from all over the kingdom were gathered there now, and as Kepi was to begin, some brave man shouted out. "Stormy Weather!" it resonated through the room. And so Kepi played the songs. He seamlessly played songs, some by request, some by own initiative. He invited a lovely dame to the stage to play this magical board of keys that produced soundwaves. He did his utter best to create what would later be known as a "rock'n'roll party" to which we were gladly participating.
The compositions of Kepi were drawn from various eras in history. Classic traditional songs such as The Beast With Five Hands (which handles the topic of loving a monsters rather than slaying it on a quest - very eye-opening) as well as songs from the post-Groovie Ghoulies dispansion were chanted, and when the end was near Kepi even tackled some songs by other musicians, for example Billy Bragg of England.
It is not entirely certain if the man who calls himself Kepi actually physically bleeds rock and/or roll, but metaphorically we can assume so.

And so I want to conclude the tale of the nomads with guitars, travelling around the world in search of happiness and rock music.

08-09-12

THE SNIPS

Rockcafé shows can get out of hand, man. Sometimes they're just a quiet get together of 2 guys and a horse's head, but sometimes people actually show up and it becomes a party.
Wednesday was a party. I arrived "on time" so basically an hour too soon, and because of other issues I was two hours early. Beers it is! I was destined to go home early that night, as soon as the bands were done playing. Let's recapitulate how that worked out.

It didn't. The first guy on the stage was this guy Jeff, who went by the stage name Divided Heaven. Acoustic folk/punk rock. Y'all know tha deal, innit? Real cool dude, real nice voice, real cool songs. I liked him.

Then, The Snips. Never heard of 'em before. Apparently, they've been a band since 1998 or something. They play punk rock, like, I don't know, early Offspring or maybe The Vandals? Fun, energetic, with a definite 90s vibe but a fresh note to it. I really dug it. Totally forgot to buy a record though.
Cause I decided to interview them. Without any preparation or any knowledge of the band. So the interview was pretty lousy, but hopefully kinda funny so that'll make up for it. Then, all of a sudden I was staying to party. Hanging 'round, drinking beers. Jamming to At The Drive-In and The Weakerthans with the drummer. Being a wingman for the bandmembers, which was, I guess, ultimately to no avail? I'm not sure. I don't think you get blowjobs for playing punk rock. You have to play stuff like All Time Low or Enter Shikari. I bet they get all the blowjobs. ALL OF THEM.
Anyway, it was also a really cool idea to go on this giant fun fair swing that was in front of the bar, after a fair deal of beers. Shit was super fun. Super exciting. Super fun.

SO YEAH GREAT SHOW GREAT AFTERPARTY NEXT TUESDAY IN GHENT GO SEE THEM I LIKE THEM ALSO NICE GUYS AND FROM CANADA EH.

Oh snap I forgot to ask them about poutine! Damn.

"The meaning of life is that there is no meaning."

Monday. Deirmonde. I like to pronounce Dendermonde like that. After my first day of internship I went from Brussels to Termonde to go and see a hardcore show. Weird. I had fries in Deirmonde and the guy was a total dick so fuck that. Food was good though. I love fries from the fryture.

Got to the Zenith. First paying attendant of the night! Yay! Didn't get a price, but I did get to see Rebuild. Benji was absent again, which sucked, and Gijs had some vocal difficulties, which also sucked, but nonetheless they play every show the best they can do and I really admire that. I always love to see Chiel smash those drums, he has a really unique style and that's awesome. So despite the absence of the bass (who needs that anyway?) they put on an enjoyable show. The new songs are mindblowingly good. Really. Losing Love, wow. Abandoned, fuck. Really excited to hear the recorded versions of those songs.

Next up, The Homeless. Home game for these melodic hardcore dudes. Great shows, it had been a while since I've seen them, but they're definitely making progress. New stuff sounds stellar and they've definitely gotten better at making songs. Not that they were bad at first, they're just better now. The guitar dude should do more vocals.

Accept The Change. Second to last show. Really glas I could catch 'em before their end. Fucking great band. So heavy yet so delicate sometimes. Tom has such an... honest stage presence. He just says what's on his mind, that's awesome. They released a last 2-song EP with two of their best songs ever. Go out with a bang, I guess. Get Out There is absolutely fenomenal, a 5 and a half minutes outburst. "The earth is flat and jacking off will make you blind." Awesome show. Tough crowd.

Then I went to see the Midnight Souls. Again. I like that band. Let's just keep it at that.

OH SHIT I GOTTA GO CATCH MY TRAIN BYE GUYS SHIT CAN'T SEE TOGETHER MAN I WANTED TO SEE TOGETHER THIS SUCKS BUT I HAVE TO GET HOME.

Story of my life. Had a lot of fun though.

Punk a la France

The day after Skatefest I went to France! The lovely Jerome was driving over to Hazebrouck on a Sunday and he offered me a ride, which I gladly took.
So off we went to Hazebrouck, a 1,5 hour drive I think. Cool!

When we arrived the first band that played was Short Days, a folk/punk band. Really just a punk band with bagpipes. I didn't like the bagpipes, I did like the punk.

I don't remember the name of the band after that, but they were also punk rock. Surprise?

Then it was Burning Lady's turn. Streetpunk with female vocals. Really cool.

I Was A Teenage Alien was fun. Pop Punk Pop Punk Hey Hey Hey.

But okay, I was there to see Banner Pilot. I can't see them at Veusseleir Calling, so I was lucky top see them then. They played a cool set. I mean, they're not the world's greatest live band but I love the songs, I love the band, I love that fucking bass, so I was stoked as fuck. Played the hits and some more. Solid.

Then pizza and a sleepy ride home. Thanks again!

We skate/We're cool

Next tardy update. Skatefest, Olen. I don't skate.

First band I saw were the Adjectives. They're a fairle young band, playing catchy pop punk. I saw them last year and was still skeptical cause they sounded a bit gimmicky, but their show in Olen, at least the first part, convinced me that these guys are definitely in it for, well, 'it'. The set slowed down and got a bit sloppy after guitarist Sander broke a string, but my overall thought was "gee, these songs are fun!". I would like to say, though, that a lot of the songs sound the same. They start with a guitar riff for a couple bars, with or without vocals, and a couple bars in the rest of the instrumentation follows. Then there's a catchy solo and a final chorus or something and it's done. So I like it, but it doesn't stand out. Also, it seemed like the drummer/bass player were kinda disinterested, which could be untrue, but it looked like that.

Next band was, Stonepiler. Stoner rock, probably? I don't know, they were a rather heavy rock band. Didn't saw the entire show biut they sounded cool.

Gino's Eyeball. They could be Belgian's NoFX, but instead they're Belgian's Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. Silly covers, silly medleys, silly audience participation (even at 2pm, but they got some reaction), silly jokes, silly selfmade songs, silly stage presence and an overall silly show. You probably know how they roll. I mean figuratively, but you probably know how they roll literally as well.

Violent City, I think? Great band, I once again failed to buy the new EP, but from what I hear it's super good, you guys. If someone in Violent City is reading this, please remind me to fucking buy your cd next time! Thanks. Love, Karel.

The Octopussys. Despite the fact they play a lot of shows everywhere, I haven't seen them a lot. So Skatefest was a good opportunity. I'm not the biggest fan, but they're a real cool band, they work really hard and they play punk rock music, which is always a plus. It's pretty stupid to wear sunglasses in the shade, though. Anywayyyy.

I guess, maybe Perceptions was next? I don't know man, the whole day was a great show/hangout/beer combo so it all overlaps a bit in my mind. I do remember seeing Perceptions, though, and they were okay. Standard metalcore/hardcore guys. Got people moshing, which was fun(ny).

CanIrepeed didn't have de Jelle with them but they're a fun band. I like their Fresh Prince rip-off song, and some of the others as well, so yeah. Pretty wasted by now.

Wasted enough to dance wacky to A Strength Within! Yay! They were amazing. One of the best sets I've seen them play I think. But I think they just get better every time they play, so that could be the secret. Anyway, I danced superduper wacky, but I had so much fun. Only fell down once. Sang along with the few words I can sing along to, and sang along to some lyrics I didn't really knew but kinda guessed. A Strength Within is one of those bands I see live fairly often so I don't really put on their records anymore.

Same thing with The Priceduifkes, who were next. I have no clue how many times I've seen these guys. And every time they get me dancing, stomping, falling down or acting stupid.
This time, though, was the first time I've seen them play with a second guitar player/playah, with name (dutchism) den Tony Crackup. If you know the Crackups, then you should know den Tony can play some damn fine guitar. Pretty cool, i hope their new songs will surely benefit from having 2 guitars. Anyway, I'm drifting off. Show was great. Classic PDS. What did you expect?

The Crackups were up next. Amazing band, great show, too bad they're calling it quits. They played a Nobodys cover with Ricky PDS on vocals, and they also played all of their great hits, such as A Girl Is Only Good To Fuck. Which is, as you should all know, The Greatest Song Of Our Generation And Hopefully Of The Next One. So yeah. Cool.

After that things got totally out of control when people started to draw things on me. It was really funny at the moment, but I felt kinda stupid afterwards. I had a swastika the size of my back on my... back with the word "jizz" written in my neck. Okay, I guess that's still pretty funny. I also remember "TURTLE POWER" "VAGINA" "OTC" and a bunch of names and scribbles.

Spent time hanging out, being drunk and eating mexicano sandwiches during Campus (okay), Deadline (okay) and Pay No Respect (holy motherfucking fuck, what the fucking fuck was that?). Heard half of Saves The Day but I already seen them the week before so yeah. They were okay. I got a ride home with A Strength Within, who are real cool dudes and I'd like to thank them for that.

The Beach Men

Let's catch up. First up, a show I went to exactly one month ago, which was really cool but I still haven't talked about it on the blog.

On August 7th, The Lokerse Feesten were in full effect and they had booked the Beach Boys. The fucking Beach Boys, people. You can't not like the Beach Boys, even if they're old and worn out.

First band was De Mens, which is a good rock band but they should definitely consider making their songs shorter, cause that would have made the experience all the more enjoyable. Anyway, they have some hits so it was alright.

Then it was time for The Beach Boys. I've counted, and there were no less than 15 people on the stage, playing an instrument and/or singing. Of course what was left of the original Beach Boys, plus a backing band. And that backing bands had a backing band as well. I mean, 2 drummers? Holy shit.
The set started out with Little Honda I guess, or maybe there was a song before that. It started off awesome, that's for sure. The Boys were having fun, Brian Wilson was ruling a lot. They're all old (I'll stop saying that now) so they're stage antics are definitely not up to par, but the show did go on, for a good hour or so (i don't remember) and the dudes delivered. They fucking delivered.
All the hits (except for Be True To Your School, which really was the only song I missed in their set, so that's alright). The show slowed down in the middle so it got a tiny bit boring, but the pace was back near the end and overall I danced a lot, smiled a lot and had a lot of fun.
It was just wicked that I had the chance to see the Beach Boys perform in the year 2012, but the fact that they didn't let down is even better. Cause, let's be honest, those things can go really wrong as well.

So, kiddos, that's why God made the radio.

02-09-12

Run, Forest Pooky, run!

Look. I can't listen to everything. I want to, I really want, but I can't. Every once in a while I get a message from someone and they tell me "would you listen to my album?" and I'm like, "of course!" cause I love music and I love to support artists.
I'm pretty sure the reason why Forest Pooky send me his album was because otherwise I probably wouldn't have heard it, and that would've been a shame. Promotion is everything (well, a lot of things) so I'll gladly help out this fine chap by featuring his fine album on my blog. So the reason why I'm reviewing this is because otherwise you probably wouldn't have heard it. Now hear.
Out 14/09/2012!

Forest Pooky - Every Key Hole Has An Eye To Be Seen Through
(Production 386, 2012)
1. Deaf House
2. Walking Around The Block
3. Stones Hardly Move But They Can Always Think About It
4. Heart And Faith
5. The Darkness Comes
6. Side Of The Lane
7. Our Greatest Times Won't Dissappear
8. Broken Hands
9. My Shrink (Has Got A Lot To Deal With)
10. Attack Of The Tooth Picks
11. Soul Dealer
12. Hit And Burn
13. Deaf House (Tambien)

I had a stuffed bear named Pooky once. Actually, I still have it and I still sleep with it. Anyway. The name comes from his previous band, The Pookies. Other than that he has earned some stripes by playing in Sons Of Buddha, Black Zombie Procession, Opium Du Peuple and Annita Babyface And The Tasty Poneys (yes, that band!). So I guess he is to be trusted, music-wise. Let's get into this.
Let me start of by saying I like this album. Let's make that clear. It's a good album. I like it. Okay? Now, we'll go on.
The first track sets a tone of acoustic folk with a pop sensibility, including nice 'ooooh's and the title being set in context. It's more of an intro maybe than an actual song. It gets reprised as a full-blown song at the end, and I guess I like the reprise better but the first one fits better to the album. Which probably was the intention. Good job on that, Forest! He kicks it up a notch for the rest of the album. As said, he played in punk rock bands of all kinds so going solo, there's obviously that note of punk present. Walking Around The Block builds itself nicely and features and upbeat and fun guitar, backed by drums that come in later in the song. And maybe keyboards? I think I hear keyboard, but I could be wrong cause I'm not good at that. Most tracks of the album have this fun, uplifting quality that's typical for punk rock but transposed to folk instrumentation and songwriting. My Shrink (Has Got A Lot To Deal With), for example, sounds to me like it could be a Bowling For Soup song.  Which is a good thing, of course, I love Bowling For Soup. It's probably one of my favourite songs on the album. Same thing with Side Of The Lane, it's just a really catchy song, you can't help singing along, you nod your head immediately and it's easily recognizable. That's the kind of musical punk rock ideas that strike me, and that's what I mainly love about the album. Of course, the advantage of such folk/punk rock artists (see Chuck Ragan, Tom Gabel, Frank Turner, ...) is that they keep me interested because of their background but they also introduce me to quieter folk music, which I really dig sometimes. Forest Pooky does the same thing. He mixes and matches soft guitar picking and heavy strumming into this nice little album here (a good example of that is Our Greatest Times Won't Dissappear). In Our Greatest Times he sings, "I've heard that sleep is just an exercise for death", which reminds me a lot of the famous Nas lyric "I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.", which might be coincidence but I think it's awesome and shows intermusicality.
Noteworthy is that Forest is from Washington DC (where I met the President of the United States, again.) so he doesn't have a French accent that, well, French artists have. If I'd compare him to Greg Laraigne (from Genève), I think that would definitely be a distinguishing feature. Their music is kinda similar. It's the same idea. I think Forest experiments more with the songs, though. Most of the time that works, but only for example the song Heart And Faith... nah, that doesn't do it for me. The riff sounds really weird and I don't think it fits anything. But it's sandwiched between Stones Hardly Move... and The Darkness Comes which are both great songs. Especially Stones Hardly Move... is a standout track. The moment Forest breaks out "I'm so close to dying, I'll keep on digging, shoveling stones." is magnificent. Most lyrics seem pretty personal but very pictural. Lots of metaphors, not necessarily mysterious but clever nonetheless. There's anthematic choruses that I can imagine a crowd singing along to with all their hearts (Broken Hands, Walking Around The Block).
After My Shrink the album loses touch a bit, I think. The songs are still pretty good but they stand out less. The melody in Hit And Burn is amazing though, certainly when it combines with the vocal delivery. The album comes full circle with the reprise/tambien version of Deaf House. And I would certainly hit repeat.

Forest Pooky is in the same lane as Greg Laraigne, Mark McCabe, Chuck Ragan and all those punk frontmen gone solo guys. I'd like to see him perform, cause most of the times the songs have a lot more effect in an intimate setting, you know, with the guy singing the songs directly at you. Forest has a great voice and an affinity to make cool folk music. It's an interesting mix of sad and happy, but with an overall  realist vibe. Get into this if you like stuff like this!

I'd also like to applaud myself to have only made two Forest Gump joke.

01-09-12

Everyone Talks revised

Another Chalk Talk/Everyone Everywhere show, this time in good ole Belgium. In good ole Antwerpen, even. Good ole Antwerpen-Berchem!
Den Eglantier housed 3 bands this evening; It's kind of a tradition that there are delays, so instead of 18h30, the show started at 20h00. No worries, I was able to hang out and drink some beers so the waiting wasn't bad.

The first band, Accept The Change, played on of their last shows as a band. They're splitting. I hadn't seen them play in forever, so gladly I could see them one more time (actually, I'll probably see them on Monday too!). Their shows have always been incredibly intense, both hard-hitting as on the verge of breaking down.
They played most songs off of Escapism Is A Dying Art, and also a new song (even though they're breaking up, that's cool). Songs like Nameless Boys and Inhibition are pretty overwhelming (both featured guest vocals too!) but the whole show ruled. Sad to see you go, motherfucker.

Also, everything was really, really loud. Glad I had my earplugs.

Chalk Talk killed it once again by jamming immensely good songs in an immensely good way. I think I covered this here, right?
Same for Everyone Everywhere. Great band. They didn't visit Antwerpen they said, so I yelled "Tell us about Stonehenge!" (which they were going on about last week) and it got a laugh. I don't like to yell stuff at shows, but it was alright. They were awesome.

Also, good turnout! Check out Mendville and Steady Anchor bookings!

Losin' pounds

Rockcafé shows. I always love 'em. UK and Germany punk rock this time.

First band on and off stage was Nai Harvest. Guitar and drums. Nothing more. Beautifully crafted screamo in the vein of Algernon Cadwallader. Great songs, great performance except for some minor mishaps of the guitar cable letting go of its jack hole 2 times, luckily only at the end of the songs. Singalong sentences and riddling riffs. Nice guys too, I had some leftover pounds sterling and they gladly accepted a few for their records/changed some so I could buy Smile & Burn's stuff.

Hindsights were on tour with Nai Harvest. Both played their first non-Island shows, which was pretty cool and exciting. Hindsights are a total Title Fight/Basement/Daylight rip-off, but it was very good. I mean, rip-off might be a harsh term to use, cause they had some cool stuff going on of their own, like the dual vocals, some cool riffs and drum patterns. Enjoyed the show, bought the EP.

Smile & Burn closed off the night. At first it was okay. Fun punk rock with a No Idea edge. But ultimately the show really convinced me and I decided I liked them. Got dancing a bit, high-fiving, and all that jazz. They played a great show. And that's what I love about most shows. I don't have/make time to check out all music, so by going to shows I get immediate satisfaction in the checking out department.
There were small after-show hangouts, record buyin', high-fivin', compliments givin'.

Also some more beers and I tried to hit on a girl which obviously I was unsuccessful at.