up the folx

JH Tijl in Diest once again welcomed PJ Bond on their unplugged night. He's one of my favourite persons in the world. Literally. He's on tour with Austin Lucas and Emily Barker.
Contrary to the event name, the night was partly unplugged, but also partly plugged. Exciting!

First artist I saw, after I missed Queefy the Rat, was Deman Rogue, a local duo consisting of a guitarist and violinist. Cool stuff, they had a good vibe together and the songs were pretty powerful. I only saw a couple tunes but it sounded good.

Emily Barker was up next, and she has a wonderfully fragile voice. Whoa. Her songs are very well-composed and captivating. Really cool.

PJ Bond ruled the place, I've seen him a lot of times and each time I'm just so happy I'm seeing him play. He's great, his song are stellar, and he played part of his set full-band-style this time! That was cool. Some of the songs definitely shined when backed by a band.
I missed his full-band set at Fest, with Arliss Nancy, so that was stupid. This was another band, they did really good, great musicians. Bought the new split 7" with aforementioned Arliss Nancy and convinced my ladyfriend to buy his records cause they're real good.

Austin Lucas kicked it up a notch. Really cool set, and when the violinist from Deman Rogue joined in, that was amazing. The band's synergy was spot-on and the songs translated really well in the given setting. JH Tijl is quite big so when you do a night like this there's a risk the atmosphere is gonna evaporate in thin air, but it turned out alright I think.

After the show, when they had to be quiet, Emily, Peej and Austin did some more songs and it was lovely. Really fun.
At first I was gonna miss those final 'intimate' songs because of the train schedule but my friend hooked us up with a free hotelroom so that was really weird and awesome. My life is pretty weird and awesome and also sucks. Whoa.

Alfonso Ribeiro Jumpers

Normally I have work on Saturdays, but last week I didn't, so I went to the River Jumpers show in Mol! Fun times.

I arrived when Coma Commander was finishing up their set. Solid band. Singalong punx for low lives.

Harsh Realms was up next, all the way from The Netherlands. They're great. Gruff punkrock done right. The show was a lot of fun, and the bands successfully transposed their energy towards the audience.

The Priceduifkes are one of those bands that I've seen so many times but I'm still excited to see them play every time. Dancing ensued. The new songs fucking rip, I'm very much excited for the studio versions.

River Jumpers completed the line-up. From the UK, so obviously I love them. They're really really good and their show was just so fun. I haven't taken the time to thoroughly listen to their records, but they're a live treat! Someone heisted me in the air and I ended up crowdsurfing for like 2 minutes which was... you know... pretty fucking annoying. Hehe. But anyway, fun show, check them out if you're into music or whatever. I don't know.

I played an MC Karel afterparty show but I guess no one was really waiting for that so I kept it pretty short I think. I did play some fun covers of Bomb the Music Industry, xChampionx, Napalm Death and Parry Gripp songs. I only really messed up one song of my own, and I wasn't really super drunk, which made it musically better but entertainment-wise less interesting. Luckily I had Gert-Jan to back me up on the entertainment part. He's a comedian.

Afterparty was rad. Dancing to punk songs is my absolute favourite thing to do.


Hangover Hop

I have a love/hate relationship with this guy Jordi Ostir. He was at this show on Tuesday, where 3 Slovenian bands played. I guess he felt compelled to go and see his people play? I don't know.
Anyway, SeeHearSpeak played a rad set, as did Real Life Version and the Mor[r]ons. Great techincal and catchy punk rock all the way from the outskirts of Western Europe (i.e. Eastern Europe). I missed Face The Fax cause this dude, Jordi, decided it'd be a good idea to go to a bar in Hasselt and drink. I thought that was good idea as well. Of course, I'm a fucking idiot.
So instead of seeing Face The Fax shred, I was given a 0,5 litre glass of Hoegaarden that I was supposed to chug, which obviously didn't work. It all went downhill from there. Very downhill. Was it better than watching 'The Fax play? Most definitely not.

So, on my hangover hop I was glad to go to another show the next night, on Wednesday. Hateful Monday and Struggling For Reason played. Both solid fucking bands. Both very Fat/Epitaph-y, with a fresh and modern sound. I was really impressed by Struggling For Reason. Dangggg.

Anyway, that night went a bit better, I ended up eating pizza and watching the Hobbit quietly at my dorm room.



I'm not a hardcore kid at heart. You know that. I love the music, absolutely, I love a lot of aspects of the hardcore scene. But I don't consider myself a hardcore kid. You know why?
Hardcore kids wear hats, or as they like to call them 'beanies', indoors, where it's, you know, warm. They have no sense of rhythm, apparently. They dance weirdly. It's just odd. I don't get that.

Anyway, that was how I felt when I entered the Kavka venue last Sunday. Tons of kids, cool kids, uncool kids, whatever. I didn't feel part of it. It was a kinda 'big' show, you see? Big shows are generally not my scene. And this was a big hardcore show, so although I do spend a lot of time wandering in the local hardcore scene, meeting friends, interviewing bands, listening to records and discovering new and interesting bands, I didn't feel part of the crowd at this show.

I missed the first band. They were called Blind Beliefs. Their name reminds me of a youth crew band that'd have a logo in graffiti lettering or something. I don't know though.

Ashes played, and they ruled. They always rule. They've got a new drummer and a new 7" coming up. It had been a while since I'd seen them, but they're still on top of their game. Angry, brutal, groovy and just really intense. Really angry. I love that. The new songs are better than the older ones, that's a good sign. They know how to write a fucking riff, man. Lots of moshing and stuff, as per usual to the wrong beat and at the wrong times. These kids ain't got no sense. Ashes is gonna be big, if they aren't already.

Then, the main reason I'm writing this blog thing a-here, and why I was at the show. A Strength Within. Release show. They have a new album, called Pushing Forward, and well, fuck me... It's so good. Their show was great, full of energy, Kevin and Tom are doing more backing vocals which I totally dig. The songs are hardcore pur sang, you know, these guys get it and they know what they're doing. Intelligent songwriting and sincere lyrics performed by a band that has very clear ideas on how they want their band to sound and to be organized. They work hard as fuck and I feel like that should be paying off.
Yet, the crowd was kinda fucking lame when they played. I didn't get it. They were going nuts during Ashes, but kinda just stood there during A Strength Within. And, seriously, I know they're two different bands with different sounds and songs, but dang, it's fucking hardcore, it all sounds the same. It's loud and fast and angry. It's weird to see that people are so fickle and ambiguous at shows. Was it a case of "I earned enough scenepoints during the first bands, I think I can take a nap now"? Or was it rather "nobody's doing anything, I don't wanna make a fool of myself by being the only one having fun"? Or am I deaf and don't I realise that A Strength Within is actually an awful band? That doesn't seem very plausible. Fucking hell.

Anyway, they put on a rad show, the new songs are ragers and the old 'hits' still do their thing. And the new record is very good. Here's why:
- It's a straight-forward hardcore record. No mucking about, no breakdowns for the sake of breakdowns, it's just fast, loud and honest.
- Leech has a guitar solo in it. Like in the old days. I love that they do such things. Kevin is a really talented guitar player as well. Same for the little solo-thing in Endless Roads. That's just so fun.
- It's faaaaaaast. YES! Fast.
- The rhythm section is at its fucking finest. Like I said, the songs are well-composed, and the drums and bass just lift them. The drum pattern in Endless Roads rules.
- Mike is angry. His vocals are clearer than on previous recording, but still harsh and spit out with passion.
- At times, his lyrics border on cliché, but he managed to write 10 songs that fit together and put his thoughts on a plate. It's a message, it's a vessel for his opinions and ideas and I think that's very important in hardcore. A lot of his writing is really interesting and clever.
- Confined. Yes, that's a reason.

It is a good record. Buy it. That's all.

I didn't really care about seeing Coldburn or Expire, but I remember them being good. So that was nice. People seemed to love them. There were a lot of people. Some friends. Mostly people I never see at other local shows.



à point

I just got back from a couple days of Edinburgh. Cool city, definitely worth visiting if you were thinking about that.

Anyway, the first night I went to Glasgow cause my bud Fraser Murderburger was setting up an acoustic show - 'rammy', as it's called over there - to put up Marc Ruvolo for the night. The dude was travelling the Old World with his guitar and stopped at Plan B Books, which is a rad comic book store.

First up, and the main reason why I want to write about this show, were the Kimberly Steaks. I've seen them before at Summer In October fest, and possibly before but I'm not sure. Anyway, With just a guitar and a bass in a small basement they really grabbed my attention and made me realize these guys are actually really fucking good. The songs are just really great, especially the new ones they played from their upcoming album. Some sounded really Bivouac-like, and that's a good thing, you know. Just listen to Terminal Boredom or Still Waiting! I'm really stoked on this band right now. Plus a cover of The Paul Collins Beat's Walking Out On Love, great! Greig vocals are piercingly catchy.

Tragical History Tour was Derrick from Uniforms, another cool UK band. He also runs Make-That-A-Take Records. He played a bunch of his own songs and a few Uniforms songs, so the set was really interesting. The first song was kinda alienating for me, as it wasn't really what I had expected, but his vocals and general sound grew on me during the show. He's a very interesting songwriter, really.

I didn't see the whole of Phil Taylor, of Paws fame, cause I was drunkenly buying Adventure Time and Scott Pilgrim comic books upstairs. I got a 30% discount, and the people at the store were super nice. I saw a couple of Phil Taylor songs and he was actually really good. He has nice hair as well. He took a quieter approach to his songs than with his regular band, which is an awesome garage-y rock band. Cool show, what I saw of it was definitely worth it.

Marc Ruvolo, who is in the Fur Coats and runs Johann's Face recs, put on a super fun set. Short, catchy, infectious burst of acoustic jams. He really caught my attention, even though I was pretty dang drunk, and he was just super fun and super nice and super cool. I forgot to buy some records though, that's dumb.

Great night, it's cool to see familiar faces when you're out abroad, and it's cool to meet new people when you're abroad.
I ended up pretty darn drunk, catching my train to Edinburgh, and having a Punk IPA at the Brewdog bar down the street just for the sake of it. I must've looked like a total mess. Fun show!