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It’s been a long time since my last update (as usual, unfortunately); but what can I say? The last months were pretty crazy. There were too many good parties, and too many great shows to mention. Here’s my selection of the cream of the crop, including my trip to Sweden, The Black Halos, The Briefs, and the obligatory Bones update. Enjoy!
Winter ISPO, Munich (GER)
This winter has been the craziest winter ever in northern Europe. We had almost 6 months of winter weather, including heaps of snow here. In Munich, they even had to stop all sorts of public transport (except for the subway system) because it was absolutely impossible to get from A to B without getting stuck in the snow or sliding on ice. I took some pics that will speak for themselves. Anyway, the good thing about living in Munich, is that it is really close to the Alps, so I went snowboarding almost every week. So for me, this was the best winter ever!
What anyone who is interested in winter sports should do, is visit the annual Winter ISPO, which is a big tradeshow for sporting goods here in Germany. They provide you with all the news on products by brands like Burton, Nitro or Volcom. Tradeshows are also well known for their parties, and the ISPO is no exception to the rule. Volcom had a ‘Toga Party’ every day at 5.30pm at their booth, with free drinks and music. Yeah, sometimes it’s good to be a writer. The ‘after trade show parties’ are also infamous. The best party this year was probably by a skateshop called Chicas, which is an all girl skate shop, by girls for girls. They threw the best party at the Zerwirk Club, and everyone showed up. Of course, the ISPO also had a snowboard and free skiing contest going on outside. They built a quarter pipe, and a little fun park underneath it. The riders were towed in by a motorsled, and when they dropped in from the ramp, they used the speed to show 1, maximum 2 tricks on the parcours. To watch it wasn’t that exciting, but it is pretty hard to have a snowboard contest going on at all on flat land. Nevertheless, riders from all nations showed up and tried their best, by mainly showing slides on the rails, and little jumps on the banks.
“Demons“ Tourstop, Munich (GER)
This isn’t really a show review or anything, I just wanted to mention that one of my favourite bands from Sweden finally made it to tour Europe again for the first time in 3 years. The “Demons” are one kick ass punk rock band that always try to put the big R into punk again. They are fast, rock’ n’ roll-influenced punk, reminiscencient of the 60s and 70s. They always stay true to their ideals musically and personally, and that’s why it’s taken them so long to return to Germany and Italy again. They had to solve some personal and professional problems, and now they are back on the map with a new line up, and a new EP called ‘Her Name Was Tragedy,’ which is probably the best thing they have released so far. The songs on it just get to you immediately, and it’s impossible not to sing along to it after listening to it for a second time. I think it’s a perfect EP. Go and get it. The new line up is basically Mathias and Micke, the heart and soul of the “Demons,” and a new guy on bass called Tristan. The “Demons” originally were a 4 piece; but interestingly enough, they are now a 3 piece with a more intense sound and more energy than before.
Unfortunately, it was impossible to get a venue for the guys in Munich (because one week is just too little time to set something up, Micke…) but regardless, they came here for some drinks and a place to rest their heads, before they took off to Italy for the second part of the tour. I want to thank my friends for their hospitality: Jasmin, thanks for letting them stay at her place; and Claudia, thanks for the beers & tequila. I think it’s no big secret that Scandinavians are prone to drink and party insanely, so we did a party marathon, which took us to a couple of different locations and ended in ‘da party bus’. Yeah, well, what can you do? It was good to see them again, and hopefully the next time they will also play a show here.
The Briefs, Orangehouse, Munich (GER)
The Briefs are a punk band that is as original and as individual as it gets. That’s why it is pretty hard to describe their punk/wave/whatever sound, or even to describe one of their energetic shows to those of you who haven’t seen them live yet. (Shame on you!) Their latest record is called ‘Sex Objects’, and I can highly recommend buying it. The members are:
DANIEL J TRAVANTI/guitar&vox
STEVE E NIX / guitar & vox
Just after the “Demons” left Jasmin’s apartment, The Briefs showed up to move in there for the next days. The first night out was dedicated to Chris Brief who did a DJ set at Munich’s best punk bar, the Kings and Queens. The rest of the band, especially Kicks, got really, really hammered; and the Briefs were the last guys to leave the place.
The next day was probably the first sunny day in Munich for ages, and so we took them out for some sightseeing. After that, we went to the show venue. The Briefs are one of the best live bands ever, and it was a very, very entertaining night out. They played all their hits, including ‘Poor and Weird,’ which is probably their most popular tune. The crowd went absolutely crazy, and it was so much fun. I can’t wait until those guys come back on tour. Just leave Seattle and come to Germany again, dudes! Let’s get some metal ballad action going!
The Black Halos, Monofaktur, Munich (GER)
Oh well, the Black Halos… what a great band. Dark and gloomy rock’ n’ roll, with an outstanding vocalist named Billy Hopeless, who puts on an insane show. That night, the Monofaktur (unfortunately) wasn’t as packed as we had expected, but it was a perfect show nevertheless. After the show, I had the opportunity to talk to Adam and Rob. You can read the interview here. Here’s a little note from Adam on the interview:
“Hello Doll, Adam here. pleasure meeting you unfortunately you ran off into the night and left us to our own devices…….laundry actually…..in the nude…….at the hostel ! thank you for spreading the love and the interview! the entire tour finished up brilliantly ……….we were told 45 shows in 49 days across Europe could not be done but the Halos rocked em til the very last note. please do stay in touch anytime and stay beautiful
P.S. Dear……I was misquoted
Adam: No, heres the story: Charly dont surf, Adam dont skate and skulls cant swim.
should be “Skeletons Cant Swim……”
As seen in “Jason and the Argonauts” -Jason eludes the skeleton army by jumping the cliff into the sea where the skeletons follow and drown.
RENT IT! MUCH LUV ADAM“
So just keep this in mind when you read the interview, it’s skeletons not skulls. Anyway, the German translation of it is totally different but nevermind.
Coolgrrrls Connection w/ Kitty Kowalski, Stockholm (SWE)
What is the best thing about being a Cool Grrrl? Being part of a large family of punk rock-loving, crazy grrrls from all over the world, whom all share the same passion for art and music as you. Somehow I had not yet met my favourite CG in person, (and I started writing for this site in ’99). Kitty Kowalski is one true rocker, who is usually located in NYC. She recently moved to Stockholm, Sweden, and now it was time for me to meet her in person. I was really excited about it, but it was even BETTER than I had expected. She is really the coolest of all cool grrrls, and I am so glad that I had the chance to hang out with her. Thanks for your hospitality and everything, Kitten, you’re the best!
Enough with that, let’s move on with my Sweden report!
Nashville Pussy, Kegelbanan, Stockholm (SWE)
My friend Hoa and I arrived on a Thursday afternoon in beautiful Stockholm, where the incredible Dave took good care of us until Miss Kitty got home. We had nachos and a couple of beers before we were ready for our first night out in the capital of Scandinavian rock’ n’ roll. That night, Nashville Pussy played at Kegelbanan, which is a decent venue on Södermalm. As usual, Ryder and Blaine rocked out hard, and so did the new girl on bass, Karen. She actually played in a band called Hemicuda before that, which I had seen in Cologne a couple of years ago. To say it in Swedish: Världen är liten! The show was pretty wild, but although the crowd was screaming and having fun, it was just so different from a show in Germany. For example, after the show, the crowd simply applauded and left. No screams for an encore or anything. Weird. After that, we had a nice little party with the band because it was Jeremy’s birthday, who plays drums in NP. We went to a bar called Kelly’s, which was kind of a weird place. If you think that Swedes are simply mellow and shy, man, just add some alcohol, and they turn nuts. It’s like being at the Octoberfestival.
Gearclub, Debaser, Stockholm (SWE)
The next day, we did a little shopping. There are some really cool stores in that city. By night, we went to what is probably best-known rock n roll club in all of Sweden, called the Debaser. It’s just like in LA. Although there was a Link Wray tribute night that featured a few bands (like Pipelines, The Nomads, Bottle Ups, etc.); members of even more well-known bands were in the crowd to join the party. It was kinda cool to run into people like Pelle of the Hives, Maria of the Sahara Hotnights, and of course, the “Demons” showed up too. It was a perfect night out in Stockholm, with lots of good music and nice people. And let me tell you, that Kitty is a dance machine! Yay!
The rest of my stay did not include any more shows, but, of course, more sightseeing, more shopping, and more partying. My gang and I will hopefully make it out to Stockholm a second time, cause it’s really worth the trip. Just meet us there at Debaser or at Garlic and Shots. Ha!
People Like You Festival Tour w/ The Bones, Demented Are Go, Roger Miret and the Disasters, Heartbreak Engines + special guest: Ski King, all over the place (GER)
What would one of my typical updates be without at least one word about the Bones? Well, my favourite Swedes are up to no good as usual, rocking out hard, and partying even harder, at the annual People Like You festival tour. We met them at 3 different tour stops, and we always had a blast hanging out with them. They have got a new mini-album out on PLY records, called “Partners in Crime Vol. I,” which features a lot of well known musicians who joined the Bones for songs, like Lou Koller of SOIA, and Nicke of the Backyard Babies. The track list is a mix of cover songs, like Social Distortion’s “King of Fools” (with Nicke on the mic, who sounds more like Mike Ness, than Mike Ness ever did himself); and new arranged songs like “Home Sweet Hell,” that is now “Home Swing Hell” (which is a really funny but good swing version of that song). This mini-album comes with a nice Bones patch, and it’s definitely worth it’s money. It’s a party record, so it’s a lot of fun to listen to (like “Psycho Dad” is just hilarious).
The other bands on tour were the Heartbreak Engines from Germany, The Disasters from NYC, and the infamous Demented Are Go from the UK. In between the bands, a really cool Elvis/ Johnny Cash impersonator called Ski King took the stage, who sometimes got the crowd going crazier than some of the bands did.
The Heartbreak Engines is fronted by Lou, who was the original lead vocalist in the Spook. His new band has no resemblance to the Spook; as it’s more raw, more rawk, and more Lou. Just check it out for yourselves.
Roger Miret and the Disasters is a crowd magnet. Especially when they play The Agnostic Front anthem in the middle of the set; the crowd just goes nutty. I almost got killed in Schweinfurt, as I was in the first row, but it was so much fun. They are really rough and edgy; and you know what? I like that!
Demented are Go are Demented are Go. I am not sure if I am able to add anything to that. That bunch of British maniacs, led by one of the craziest guys on the planet by the name of Sparky, are one of the best, and best known Psychobilly bands ever. They’ve got it all: the slap bass, the make up, the fake blood; it’s so pure. It’s so demented.
No Use For A Name + The Lawrence Arms, Backstage, Munich (GER)
This was actually one of the biggest surprises musically in 2006 so far. The Lawrence Arms have got a new record out on Fat Wreck, called “Oh Calcutta!” It is probably one of the best records I have ever listened to. Their last record was more chilly and melancholy, and the record before it was just nasty and punky. This one is the perfect fusion of the two. It’s got all the nice melodies going on that make you smile, but it’s still raw enough to definitely declare it a punk album. They experimented wildly with different styles, like country and even some rockabilly, which makes this record one awesome piece of art. And don’t forget about the lyrics. Even if you don’t like their music, you just have to like their lyrics. They’re intelligent, smart, and witty with a great sense of humor, which is what makes the Lawrence Arms one of my all time favourite bands. Good job, guys!
To mention the show: The Arms rocked out hard as usual, and these guys always have a blast on stage, so the crowd just had to like them.
After that, No Use For A Name was up. Like, oh my God, I haven’t listened to their music for about 10 years, so it was great fun to hear songs like “Justified Black Eye,” although these are the moments when I start to feel old. Singing along to 10 year old punk songs, with a bunch of kids around me who apparently only know the last two records, who stare at me like, ‘wow, she must be really old if she knows that song.’ Duh!
Anti-Flag, The Unseen, Wilhelm Scream + Red Lights Flash, Elserhalle, Munich (GER)
It’s been quite a while since I had been to an Anti-Flag show for some reason, but the guys have lost none of their energy and talent; so I have to admit that it was a great show. They continue their partieske punkrock, with supreme melodies, and blend it with some of the best political lyrics ever. That is exactly the mix to turn a crowd into a wild army of followers, who enthusiastically applaud and sing a long. It still gives me goose skin (American’s call it “goose bumps”), when I hear Justin making his political statements, and hearing hundreds or more kids just screaming to it. It’s insane. It really makes you feel like you’re part of something.
That was it, my dear readers, for my latest update. Make sure to check back soon for my new write up on the upcoming Backyard Babies show, the Shake Your Ass festival, and more ‘girls gone wild’ party stories.