Proud of London today: Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, “black” people, “white” people, young people, old people – there were thousands of us there united in and by a common humanity and demanding the end to the slaughter of hundreds of innocent people and the destruction of thousands of their homes, an illegal occupation, siege and inhumane blockade, and demanding the UK government *immediately* change it’s shameful policy of supporting and justifying it, even as we went over the 1000 mark of people killed in this latest wave of aggression. We marched, we talked, we listened, we debated, we sang, we danced… and we demanded change. This was and is being replicated in cities across the globe. The campaign against Isreali-style Apartheid, and it’s accompanying racist, brutal militarism, is here to stay… and it’s only going to get louder.
ps if you’re wondering what you can do, or what difference you/we can make, recall the original anti-Apartheid movement which eventually helped to make what seemed like impossible changes in South Africa (shamefully, UK government was on the wrong side of history once more). This time round, one place you may start is by supporting the boycott and divestment campaigns: http://www.bdsmovement.net/
pps I was talking to a guy the other day who pointed out that my band may lose fans if I made some overt “political statements”. I realized that he had absolutely no understanding of why some of us make music. I don’t WANT or NEED any racist fans who think the obliteration of hundreds of children is acceptable, no matter what the (perceived) provocation. I’m simply not going to shut my mouth about some of the most important events in the world simply to safeguard the number of “LIKE”s on a web-page. So: don’t be afraid to be unpopular. Stand up for what you believe in. Shout it from the stage, from the rooftops, from the mountains. Even if you’re the only one.
Despite the infestation of tourists, Prague is still probably one of the most beautiful and captivating capitals we’ve visited on the continent. However, like every other capital, it is completely unlike the rest of the nation within which it lies, and all of our shows here are a million miles away from the throwaway chaos of elsewhere in the Republic. Nevertheless, it was great to be back for a night of Sunday night noise at Modra Vopice (“Blue Monkey”, I believe), hosted by our good friend “Charlie”, who was astonished and excited to find his name shouted out in one of our new songs (and only a little disappointed to find out it’s about the destruction the cocaine industry wreaks across the American continent, and not really a tribute to him – similar, but different). After the first couple of bands, the mood seemed a little too “static” for our liking – it’s a Sunday night, and it FEELS like a Sunday night. We’ve also noticed that when there’s not a massive turnout, people start to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable – as if they are somehow less able to enjoy the same experience because 100 more strangers didn’t join them to share it. This doesn’t bother us – we’ve played to 1 person and we’ve played to a 1000. I’m sure we will many more times. To be honest, it sounds and feels exactly the same to me in front of my 50W Orange amp. So anyway, we started from “maximum” and went up from there, and with Team Brilliant now firing on all cylinders it was a night in which went from (metaphorically) freezing cold to burning hot, one of those when you feel the resistance melt away and the people let you in, and you go through the catharsis together, and in the end arrive at some kind of euphoria. I love these gigs the most.
After the crazy driving of the previous weeks, the drive to Vienna from Prague is pleasantly swift and easy. Vienna is another amazing capital city, and we often just spend whole days walking around in awe soaking it in (and for some reason we’re usually really lucky, like on this day, and the weather is gorgeous). Or sometimes we spend the day in the huuuuge music store, either gaping at all those amazing instruments and pedals we’ll never own, or running down bank balances with essentials to repair/improve stuff that’s needed at this point during the tour. Everyone knows I’m not much of an impulsive spender, but I usually walk out with a significantly lighter wallet (but much improved – or at least ‘working again’ – set up). Arena Beisl is a magnificent place, and one of our favourite places to play. Their Monday night shows in the smallest bar are a mainstay and being free allow everyone to come and sample new bands at no risk. It’s fantastic. I also discover someone who I I think I can trust to be able to do my next long thought-about tattoo, so all-in-all a 100% successful trip.
Next stop is tiny Polna, a village in Czech Republic that even most Czechs have never heard of and which we only discovered quite by accident due to it being the family home of a very good friend of ours. Last time round we were just enjoying a couple of “writing days” (ie days off) in the small bar there, and we thought “hmmm be awesome to play in here” so we asked Ivo, the bar owner, if we could play the next day, and he said “yes, but no-one will be here probably”. The next day we set up and the whole village turned up and it was awesome. This time round, it was more-or-less Ivo’s leaving do, and it was an even more awesome repeat of the previous. It really was a special night. Flo, our dear and faitfhul roady, must have seen Djevara for about 50 times up to this point and still said this was “special”. But what got me was this: after the show, a gentlemen came up to me calmly and asked if he could have his picture taken with my bass guitar. I get weird requests all the time, so I said “sure” (after quickly looking him over to make sure he didn’t look like he’d do a Cobain on it). As he took it and moved into the light for the photo, I noticed Ivo and his girlfriend (and the guy’s daughter), Renata, staring wide-mouthed in disbelief. They later told me that he used to be quite a respected and well-known bass-player in the country, and something had happened (I couldn’t get it) and he had resolved never to touch bass again, and hadn’t done so for FIFTEEN YEARS. But something about this show tonight made him re-consider. He said the show was one the best things that had ever happened to him. I mean, WOW. How is one meant to respond to this? I honestly don’t know. The power of live music will never cease to surprise and sustain me. And thank goodness for that.
After a cancellation, I was left pondering what to do with our next day. Several times I had been attempting to see if there would be some opportunity to visit our friends in Koprivnice in the East, perhaps tied in with an acoustic show or some rehearsal time, and thought maybe today… but then Ivo and Renata had another idea, and before we knew it another “secret” gig was planned for us up at a house at the top of the hill. This is the other side of the “happy chaos” that makes Czech Republic such a wonder for us; almost everywhere else it would be inconceivable or at least a massive heave-ho, but here the move from idea to reality is one broad, swift stroke. And even when the police (inevitably) arrive, it’s actually only to say “hi” and they almost seem sorry to miss the concert. Totally different rules, and once more I find myself praying they never become like us. It’s very hard to describe what may be one of the most memorable (and certainly one of the most different) gigs we’ve played. The “house at the top of the hill”, belonging to the gentleman who had newly re-found his love of bass guitar, turned out to be over-seeing a lake, and we set up to play outside overlooking the sunset while the audience of guests rocked out on the grass. Absolutely amazing. Our host kisses every member of the band during the set, even as we watch the sun go down over the lake, set behind the silhouettes of the dancing throng. And then of course, when it’s all over, the (rest of) the band jumped into the pool. As I said, amazing. Sometimes, better not to question the script of life, but just accept and enjoy it’s madness (at least, when it’s not being an absolute ****).
Another short drive (ie same country), to Olomouc for a show at the fourth venue we’ve played in this town. It’s a student town, and most of our shows here have been totally crazy – I remember the one a year ago people literally climbing over chairs and tables and Geoff having to kick people off his pedals (not-too-hard hopefully, but he’s not known for his patience haha). This was probably the only slightly disappointing gig from my perspective – the venue was not really well suited, and then unfortunately we made the wrong choice of set-up. Sometimes we try to change things up a bit to suit the vibe, and Malc had suggested placing the drums up front (off-stage) and playing facing the band. It’s worked well before, many times, but on this occasion it was a terrible move – Geoff and I were totally separated from the audience, who instead of feeling invited in felt pushed even further back, and the drums just deafened everyone else. It was only perfect if you happened to be seated exactly in the drummer’s seat… and unfortunately there’s only room for one (maybe two if you’re cosy). The venue also didn’t have anything like the vibe of the other places. Of course, we played our hardest and gave it 100% as usual, and I don’t really believe in comparing shows – they’re all important and unique after all, but it was difficult not to notice this was a little less fantastic against what had become a flow of truly amazing experiences. Still love this town though (gorgeous and vibrant in many, many ways) so we’ll definitely be back.
The final gig in Czech Republic was way back in the West, to play a festival in Blatna. It was punk-oriented and the vibe was energetic and friendly from the get-go. The atmosphere when we got on stage was absolutely fantastic – it was like lighting a match. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed playing a festival show as much. It’s funny because “enjoy” is not usually a word I feel comfortable using when playing, as I’ve probably said before I don’t really play to “enjoy” it necessarily, but this really was so much fun. The new songs really must be quite catchy too since a crowd of people who could barely speak English were shouting the lyrics back at me within seconds. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Later on Flo teased me for being a “rock star” when I complained that, after attempting to do a mini tour of the festival grounds (after the show), I got repeatedly stopped and asked to pose for photos with people (at one point there was actually a queue! I didn’t realize other countries did those! Maybe just for photos). Now, it’s not that I don’t like photos or am not flattered that people want to have them with me, but it’s not my idea of a good time spending an hour doing this, and it’s definitely not why I make music. It must be a nightmare to be actually really famous. Anyway, so the love affair with Czech Republic – long may it continue. I was genuinely sad to leave…
But leave we had to, at the lovely hour of 4am. The Saturday was Flo’s birthday, and all tour the challenge had been where to host this birthday party/show in Cologne. The problem had been complacency; Cologne is practically our adopted home town in Germany, and usually we’ve played the Autonomes Zentrum (where Flo is the very aptly named “Party Minister” haha) or Sonic Ballroom. Unfortunately, this time neither option was possible, but knowing so many people there we figured it would be no problem to sort something out. And as each week on tour extinguished, our options came and went. By the end of this last week we’d practically run out of options, and had decided to go for a ‘plan B’ – an outside show under a bridge in the centre. Slightly risky, but also what could be more punk rock? There was just one place to try, Flo announced, but he didn’t hold much hope. It’s amazing how life works sometimes; the place did indeed come through, and in retrospect it really could not have been more perfect. Bauwagenplatz Schöner Wohnen is a punk encampment embedded off a main road in Cologne, camouflaged so well you almost wouldn’t notice it. Inside, it is it’s own anarchist republic. Run on generators, the venue is small, cosy and totally “vibey”. Some of the audience consisted of Flo’s friends from his party (the first part held on a beach), some our friends/fans, some of the people travelled many kilometres to come to this show. It really was an awesome birthday party and final show for Flo and us, and we honestly could not have engineered a better tour conclusion. It was fantastic and definitely one of the best shows we’ve ever played. It was actually also really challenging for me personally – the illness and cough I couldn’t rid myself of for the whole second half of the tour had taken hold again with a vengeance, and I really genuinely didn’t know if I’d be able to make it through the entire gig through what was yet another smoky venue. But I knew how important it was, and I just didn’t want to let ourselves or Flo down, and somehow made it through the over two-hours of Djevara noise. Unbelievably, this wasn’t enough, so despite my genuine dislike of encores (as a cliche, not as a real phenomenon if people genuinely want more and it’s not “planned”) and feeling like I may actually just collapse, we played another fifteen minutes. Adrenalin is a much more powerful drug than you think. Thus ended the tour – on a massive high in one of our favourite cities with so many of our favourite people. As I sat in recovery, huge bottle of water in one hand and clutching a wet t-shirt in the other, trying to catch my breath and taking in the aftermath, glimpses and memories of parts of the last four weeks flashed before me. Thousands of kilometres. Did we achieve anything? Was it worth it? One of the greatest ironies in my life, I think, is that because of my ostentatiously loud and exuberant behaviour, it’s natural for people to assume I’m supremely confident, even arrogant, when the truth is that like most (all?) men I’ve ever met, I’m actually just a small boy trapped in some man’s body and doing my best to deal with it. And so then I looked in front of me, and there was a guy, not saying anything but just smiling, holding his hand forward in some kind of gesture. Couldn’t make it out. Still. Coughing. Was he reaching or holding something? Cough. Or pointing? Wipe the sweat and tears, and focus. Focus. Ah. OK. I see. I drop the wet T-shirt, smile back and make the same simple, silent gesture in response. Thumbs up.
The third week, and the first with ‘Team Brilliant’ (Anté, Malc, Geoff, Flo), was to start with crazy jaunts that would be simply impractial for normal (ie sensible) people. Even with my reputation for insane drives, the itinerary meant driving over 2100km in 4 days, with space for decreasing amounts of sleep. Since my priority is always the safety of the team in my charge, this also meant time had to be managed to a micro-second and the precious short bursts of vital sleep spaced out cleverly. It was a challenge, and I admit that I was beginning to question whether I’d now gone beyond our limits; would the shows be worthwhile, would the drives be even do-able?
First stop was Die Kolka in Northern Germany, to which we’d been invited to play thanks to a tip-off from SUGO (excellent German band remniscent of Muse – check them out). Die Kolka was a small private festival, held on a family farm in a beautiful part of the country which we’d never been to before, with a lovely lake and scenery. There was a convivial atmosphere (aided by a lot of drinking, naturally), and since one of the bands with equipment failed to show up on time, we helped to set up the sound for the performance stage. Apart from the odd event of the singer from one of the previous bands being stung by a bee mid-set, then subsequently having a major allergic reaction and nearly dying, it all went fine and we played under the stars. We had to be up early for the ride down to Luxembourg, one of our favourite ports. We’ve now done plenty of shows with the Grape Sound Collective, a wonderful bunch of passionate live music promoters in Luxembourg, and some of the most organized and switched-on we’ve ever had the privilege of working with. For this Monday night (of course, to us every night is ‘Friday night’) we would be playing “Rocas” for the first time, a lovely alternative bar/club in the centre that I actually played a solo (Redux) acoustic set last year. It was fantastic- and also easily the hottest stage/show we’ve played in the last year. In many ways the Luxembourg shows are the polar opposites of the Czech shows – Luxembourgish audiences tend to be a little sauve and sophisticated (but not cynical like us Brits). Instead of hurling themselves around in an orgy of energy and emotion, so rather than rocking out they seem to be carefully considering and imbuing your music the whole time, as if in some kind of trance. To be honest, from the stage it is not obvious anybody is actually even enjoying it, such is the static nature of the response. It’s only the fact that the room fills up and they don’t leave (and, I guess, that we also always sell more stuff here than anywhere else too, though of course this is one of the we). This was the first in a week of almost consistently 2-hour sets where we played a large number of songs from the upcoming album as well as a selection of standard Djevara set songs. One reason we tour abroad so much is that our own British audiences (in general) simply don’t seem to have the patience for this kind of submersion anymore except if it’s some megastar band; mobile phones would be out after 10minutes in search of desperate texts, retweets or facebook likes. It occurred to us that we now have well over 3 hours of songs which are currently “live”, and since we haven’t written a setlist since about 2004 the scope for even more interesting journeys has opened up even more and it’s definitely more true than ever that no two Djevara shows are the same. I actually just can’t even imagine being in a band that played the same fixed set every day anymore – I understand why they do, of course, but it’s not what I’m interested in: to me it would be like playing with a strait-jacket on; I want to feel and tell the story that we’re feeling RIGHT NOW in response to the people and the place we’re in RIGHT NOW, using the songs just as a palette… not just be some kind of live jukebox. So: more Fugazi, less Rolling Stones.
Next up, the ridiculously long drive across France to Le Zad, a squat over a massive area on the West coast near Nantes. It’s quite surreal when one arrives there; it’s literally occupied land ‘liberated’ from the French authorities, over hectares of land and with road-blocks and barricades as you enter giving the impression of some kind of a cross between Mad Max and Apocalypse Now. This is the militant edge of the anti-globalisation movement and they definitely walk the walk. After absolutely delicious home-grown vegan dinner from our hosts, we’re led (at a very leisurely rate) to the building that will be hosting our noise tonight – and amazingly it’s already half full by the time we’re there to soundcheck. It’s an awesome night, apart from the crazy woman who tries throughout to desperately explain to me that it’s in fact Tuesday (since the lyric goes “It’s Friday night!”). In her mind I guess she was trying to help. I was this close to capitulating.
No time to waste; the show ended much later than originally envisioned and after about 2 hours of desperately snatched sleep we had to hit the road again to drive over 1300km to reach the Klosterfest festival in Bernburg. This was always “stupid”, but due to an amazing number of unfortunate occurrences on the way, as we got within the last 500km it became obvious we were unlikely to make it- first, in time for our set-up, then, in time for our set. In the end, the ‘headline’ band thankfully agreed to swap with us, and so we were able to play, but we missed our perfect slot. Klosterfest Bernburg is held in some awesome monastery ruins and the stage is stunning. It was great to see so many old friends and fans coming out – it’d been a while but we used to regularly play some awesome shows around here, and Klosterfest 2011 was one of our favourite ever shows. The only shame was that due to the re-scheduling we had a much shorter set than our original allocated one and it felt a little anti-climactic when we had to finish. No time to dwell though, as next stop was Cheb back in Czech Republic, where we’d be joined for the first of two shows with our good friends from Berlin, the eclectic Laika Lost In Space.
Cheb is always a little chaotic, even by Czech standards, so actually it was a bit of a surprise that everything seemed in order and revamped and to be running smoothly… until a misunderstanding about dinner led to the sets being ridiculously late, and by the time we started (well after 1am) we were all exhausted. Playing a Djevara set on reserve battery power is a real challenge, especially because I don’t have a real way of ‘moderating’ myself. I’m actually a little surprised I didn’t collapse afterwards. Thankfully the next show was just ‘up the road’ in Chemnitz (East Germany), a new stop for us at the invite of a wonderful guy called Chris who (along with others) puts on shows at a place called Odradek. We loved it straight away – though reminiscent of the Autonomes Zentrums we have visited in the past in Cologne and Freiburg, it had a character of its own as well (beautifully indicated by the awesome ceiling of book covers). Laika played a super set of their mongrel/hybrid pop/electro/hardcore to an enthusiastic crowd, . At this point in the tour I was really suffering; we’d bee playing smoky venue after smoky venue and I was having a real hard time – this night was the worst and I almost literally felt like I was going to cough my lungs out outside. It always amuses me how concerned people (genuinely) seem, this guy basically dying outside supposedly before a raucous set of screaming his lungs out anyway, only to then afterwards light right up again inside. Maybe it’s a metaphor for all of humankind and our behaviour; I genuinely believe we (almost!) all love and care for others… just not anywhere near as much as we do for ourselves. And this is why we’ll fail. Anyway, in the end thankfully they agreed to clear the air and request that people refrain from smoking indoors during the set. But this turned out not to be the biggest problem of the night… we’d probably been spinning out our rock n roll for about 30 minutes when we got the call to stop. Outside, about five huge police wagons and a line of cops. Someone wanted to stop the party. Chris went out to negotiate/talk/argue or whatever it is you do with these people, but I remember feeling relatively relaxed – it was nice to have a break, quite frankly. Intermission, Offspring-style. Contintental police always make me laugh, especially the ‘harder’ they try to look, like in East Germany. At least our British police look so ridiculous that they can’t possibly take themselves too seriously (though it’s serious enough when they’re kettling you or beating you to death, obviously; as a ‘black male’ I still have EIGHT times more chance of being killed by a police offer than in a terrorist attack. Nice to know). But these guys actually believe they are über-cops, standing there with the sternest faces they can muster and their military style uniforms. I really wish I knew some German jokes – I would LOVE to make them crack up involuntarily. I had to settle for going round asking them if I could get a photo with them. They all declined. Eventually they went off again (to huge cheering) and we launched straight back in with new song “A Revolution Per Minute”, which could not have been more apt. Then, another 40 minutes or so later, just as we’re getting to the end of “Most Of The People, Most Of The Time”, they arrive again – this time with re-inforcements. You just never know how dangerous a group of young people attending a punk rock show in the middle of nowhere on a Friday night may get. Or, my theory: it was a slow night. Not enough burglaries or real crime of any description happening. This second time round it was noticeably more tense, and in fact something of a stand-off. We ended up barricading ourselves in and I played an acoustic number to close things off. Sadly they (apparently) started actually arresting people outside (I’ve no idea what the charge was, though rumour has it that the new offence of ‘having a mohawk with intent to pogo’ may have been one of the more serious). In the end, despite the abrupt end, it felt like a victory and the police must have felt sheepish and utterly pointless, standing around with their seven wagons and looking tough, while actually accomplishing nothing but an increase in their infamy for being absolute dicks.
Saturday took us back in to Czech Republic, to one of our favourite clubs – GOGO in Znojmo. I love it when you can almost smell that the owners and management of a place love live music, and here it is evident the moment you approach. The clientele is remarkably young (compared to most places we play), and their energy and enthusiasm just make this one of the best places for Djevara to play ever. It’s one thing giving 100% and having an audience respectfully listen and appreciate it, quite another to have them throw themselves into the spirit of it as well- dance, shout and sing along the whole way. Anyone in a band will tell you that there is no bigger high. So, combined with support from cool local youngsters The Joy Of Sect (“British-style punk rock” heh) and then an awesomely eclectic and fun DJ set by their frontman, this was almost without a doubt the best show of the tour so far in terms of sheer band/audience connection and energy. Thus, a fantastic end to a rollercoaster third week, even if by the end of the night bandmembers were practically being peeled off walls…
When Steph at The Wild Rover pointed out that we’d only met last year, and in that time Djevara had already hit Wild Rover/Aachen five times (in both Redux and ‘loud’ set-ups), I couldn’t believe it. Rory and Steph’s wonderful little Irish pub in this West German city already has a special place in our hearts, and it was great to return there and see so many of our very newly acquired fans turn up for what was – for some – the sixth time! Local young lads “Dead Stones Ain’t Rolling” were a nice support band and the night was fantastic and a great start to the second week. Well, I get ahead of myself a bit here : the week actually started with another secret gig in Schonebeck again organized by Andre (Kautz Records) on the Monday, along with a Jam session, and this was actually much better than the first – really intimate and atmospheric.
Next up was a jaunt south to KTS Freiburg to take part in their festival, which was a week-long action consisting of various workshops, shows, presentations and demonstrations. It was great to return here; the people are so wonderful and the space has an energy of its own, while the house ‘engineer’ is better, faster and more efficient than almost any I’ve seen in more ‘professional’ contexts. If only it was always like this. Next stop: Berlin. What’s that you say? Who did the tour-booking, and they should be fired? Heh. Well… the thing I feel like I have to explain again and again (and again) to people is that Djevara priorities are different to some (most?) other artists. We recognize our place as a relatively unknown alt/punk band from a strange and saturated island off the west coast of Europe. We make strange, uncompromising music. Thus, the most important thing to us is to play to people who we think will appreciate what we do, in environments that are comfortable for us both and in situations which will be the best to present and share our ‘art’ (and yes, we do think of it as that, whether or not it’s any good or not is another matter of course!). Anyway, the point is that we can’t always simply dictate the circumstances and timetables that will line up with these priorities, which sometimes leads to what on paper look like (and probably ARE) crazy schedules, but in practice almost always lead to the best possible results. So, thus we found ourselves back at wonderful Dunckerclub on the Thursday (which is always awesome and one of our favourite spots), then on to Czech Republic. And after the relative sanity and almost clinical clockwork of events in Germany, we felt prepared for what is always an increase in the ‘chaos’ factor on entering the Czech Republic.
Of course, we under-estimated it. Now, I should say that Czech Republic is without a shadow of a doubt Djevara’s favourite place to play in all of Europe. The people we’ve met are among the friendliest and most open I/we’ve ever met anywhere (outside of Canada, and admittedly mainly after the intake of alcohol – but that goes for all of Europe pretty much), and we have found that they – at least the one’s we’ve had the pleasure of playing to – let themselves go and respond to music, art and life in a way most people in Western Europe have long become too self-conscious and cynical to do. It’s genuinely refreshing to be among a people who are just so naturally relaxed (by comparison), and also seem to just *understand* our band. In fact, the only reason it’s not my actual favourite country is because the entire nation is solidly hooked on a nicotine habit of quite frankly terrifying proportions (see previous blog post) and in fact I find it really hard to play and enjoy events here as everywhere is just so physically saturated with tobacco smoke*. Anyway, what sets Czech apart is that on paper it makes no ‘sense’- it’s a country with a tiny population on the far edge of central Europe, we get paid peanuts (if at all) and almost nobody buys our merchandise (though they like to ply us with drinks etc). We make a huge loss playing the Czech Republic. But they are without a doubt the best shows- so in fact, it’s worth touring the rest of Europe just to be *able* to play in Czech Republic! In this case our first show was a birthday party for our (now) dear friend Petr, in his basement in a tiny village in the middle of the country. It’s surreal – and turned out to easily be the best show of the tour thus far. Such a wonderful place and such wonderfully receptive and responsive audience, you can’t help but fall in love with Czechs. I can’t describe the atmosphere in words, so I won’t even try except to say it was emotional, beautiful and really powerful experience for all of us. Then the Czech chaos factor: an email from the management at JAM – the next date and supposedly the highlight of our tour – to say “Sorry” but they had forgotten to do any promotion, and so the gig was cancelled. Now, to say this was shocking and unsatisfactory would be an understatement. But also, we have a good number of friends and fans in this strange little East Czech city, so we were not prepared to lose this show (plus we had a surprise lined up – Geoff was being flown in for a special one-off ’4-piece’ presentation of the new album for these special people!). After much cafuffle and fluttering of feathers, phonecalls and various fan manouevres we managed to rescue the show. And although of course most of Opava was oblivious, it was still wonderful and special for all our special fans, friends and – to us – family. And the moral of the story is… Beastie Boys were right. Sometimes you have to fight for your right… to party. And thus ended Team Ace’s run (‘Djevara Team Ace’ is Anté, Malc, Tose & Flo) – reaching a halfway point once more with some fantastic memories of nights and days spent with wonderful people in amazing places.
Next stop: a festival in Northern Germany, 880km away.
And so it goes…
*There is no end in very sad irony in the fact that so many of such a genuinely free-thinking and wonderful people thoughtlessly and voluntarily smoke themselves into early graves
As Mighty Djevara enjoy a day off in sunny Eastern Germany, I’m reflecting on the amazing first week of the tour. We’ve been quite overwhelmed and heart-warmed by everyone who has supported us at the shows – by being there and sharing in the experience of expressing our music and art, and of course from supporting the band materially by buying CDs, T-shirts, etc.
We kicked off in Paris (France), a city we haven’t been to for years. This set the bar for the tour: put on by a collective driven with passion and conviction for new, alternative underground music, the night was eclectic and thoroughly engaging. In addition to the hilarious (yet very good) 80′s pastiche ‘metal’ of Double Dragon and the (seemingly very popular) addictive angular pop rock of Decibelles, a (sadly) rare very feminine flavour to these nights, we played a set consisting of a significant portion of new tunes from the soon-to-be-released album (setting our pattern for the tour). However, for me, it was all about Ben Nasr Al Ghandour, my favourite French band : a two-piece who play what “music types” would probably call “instrumental math-rock post-hardcore” but I would simply call “ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT”. And so it started…
The next days have been a blur – not so much in that they went too fast, but that so much happened and the effects of those ‘happenings’ so multitudinous and fantastic that to draw the lines seems to go beyond the bounds of polite pedantry. So, we had Rock Classic in Brussels (BE) which is always a good night and where we had a great time with our friends from Bang Bang Booking, then Le 108 in Orleans with Mora Mora (again, fantastic, and this time with the mind-blowing awesomeness of Pryapisme, another superb French band who I can describe perhaps as the kind of band Mike Patton would be in if he was 20 years younger), then another awesomely rocking night in the Netherlands for the first time in nearly two years (great to be back- absolutely fantastic time at Den Engel!), then on to Germany for an re-union with our friends in the super Turbina Spurlina at KuZe in Potsdam which was also fantastic. Even though I don’t think any of us will ever have to hear the lines “What’s going on?” ever again… hmm, that’s something which perhaps only someone who was at the after-party will understand! The next two shows in Halle (Saale) and Schonebeck were more muted audience-wise, but still great fun nevertheless, the former at Hoenermanhattan (“Chicken-Manhattan”? What’s that about??), which definitely had the best sound I think of any Djevara gig *ever* off the stage – simply HUGE – and then the more intimate ‘secret’ gig in a converted rehearsal room in tiny Schonebeck (Elbe), which reminded us a little of a cross between the old Orange & Blue Studio (the original one in Kent) and an Essex biker club. It was cool, and on both nights we had the pleasure of experiencing the stunning music of Berlin band Goshawk. And so now we’re here… one quarter of the way through. It’s been great to get the opportunity to play so many of the new tunes live for the first time on the continent, and the response has been really positive so we’re even more excited about the new album. And so it rolls on…
The next dates are:
03/06 – The Wild Rover – AACHEN, GERMANY
04/06 – KTS-Freiburg – FREIBURG, GERMANY
05/06 – Dunckerclub – BERLIN, GERMANY
06/06 – Petr’s Basement – KRESETICE, CZECH REPUBLIC
07/06 – Music Bar Jam – OPAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC
For more tourdates check out our website:
See you at the front,
Anté & The Boys Djev’
ps on a personal note (which represents only my own views), there is one major downer in touring the continent: I realize more and more how many people here (especially those I care about) have a nicotine addiction, how it seems to be getting worse here (rather than better) and how ambivalent most people who otherwise consider themselves ‘alternative’ or ‘progressive’ are. I make no secret that I have strong views about smoking and nicotine addiction, and not just because of my own physical sensitivity: my father died of cancer, and I find it astonishing that otherwise (seemingly) intelligent people would voluntarily shovel this poison into their lungs and bloodstreams at horrific levels, several times a day, all to the benefit of profiteering corporations unburdened by any kind of morality. I’m one of the most liberal people I know about drugs when it comes to people’s choice to use them; I believe nature has given us many beautiful plants and herbs which we can benefit from and enjoy such as cannabis, but nicotine and tar-infested tobacco as it it’s used on this scale to poison human beings really disgusts me to a level I find it hard to express. To some-one who has lost someone close due to a disease which is often the end result, I find it offensive and hurtful at a deeply personal level as well. I do not enjoy watching other human beings, especially people I care about, wantonly destroy themselves. I can see, smell and even taste the results; I once kissed a lovely girl in East Germany and she tasted like an ashtray. I wanted to throw up, and that was the end of it. I hate having to breathe it in myself, I hate having to smell it ALL THE TIME, I hate having to see a million reminders of it carelessly disgarded over all of our streets and parks and gates, I hate seeing lovely young children as young as 13 begin on a path of self-loathing and desecration that will last for decades if not for life, I hate having to feel embarrassed when people ask me half-heartedly “Do you mind if I smoke?” while we’re sitting at a meal trying to INGEST FOOD FFS!!! And I hate having to pretend it’s completely normal and fine. People are always asking me what I’m singing about and I try to point them towards the lyrics. But maybe, if I was forced to say it explicitly, the central message would be something like: “You’re/we’re beautiful, people. You/we get one body and mind – they are your/our most precious possessions. Water them, nurture them, enjoy them. Don’t destroy them. We’re in this together.” Or, as an icon of mine said, “Love all the people, all the time”.
Peace. And love. In whatever order you want it.
To celebrate the imminent recording of our next album, we’re having a one-off 24-hour MAY sale!* Just choose your selection of SALE stuff from the following:
- any CD for £5 (UK)/6€ (EU) each [available: “Third World War”, “Corsa Al Ribasso” and “Hear No Evil”
- vinyl copy of “Hear No Evil” for £10/12€ each
- T-shirts (red “Part Of The Problem”) for £7/8€ each
- Hoodies (black, “Part Of The Problem”) for £20/25€ each
UK – FREE
EU – please add (at least) 2€
world – please add (at least) 5€
So, just choose what you want, add up the price, and then plug in your order. Don’t forget to also include details in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we know which CDs, what size T-shirt, etc, etc.
And boom – wait by the postbox for your shiny new goodies!
Here’s the link:
You can also pre-order the new album here:
Don’t forget you can pre-order the new album here:
THANKS AS EVER FOR SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT MUSIC, you wonderful, wonderful people. We love ya lots!
*ok, yuh… heh… and to help pay for it!