white circle crime club tour report may 2003.

may 3rd-5th 2003:
the first two shows of this tour de france (la rochelle and beauvais) are blonde bombshells right from the start. we’ve never been treated so nicely friendly concerning food and drinks, ever before. them frenchies know everything about that, sure, but still. french kisses from the wccc for that. a pity they do not always know what good music is about, taking a look at the bands we shared stages with. luckily the white circle soundsystem kept people and places going, during afterparties in front of cultural centra. we played everything from andrew wk to aphex twin, destroyed tapis-pleins, skydived from refurnished belgacom vans, hunted drummers who didn’t want to pay for their destruction of our drumkit, listened to psychokillers for 2 hours hoping they would buy 2 cd’s, took the piss out of and at our back tire and overall had an excellent time. the whole breakfast at the hotel was ours, the ride back home was nothing less than necessary. guitars needed to be fixed urgently, our van needed a new radiator to get ready for some 11000 kilometres more.

may 6th-7th 2003:
on our way to strasbourg, a fanatic custom-patrol/police prick thought it would be a good idea to make us stop, unload our very everything in his search for drugs, dope and stupifying else. his colleagues turned red watching their compatriot acting sillily strict. the only thingy this rockband had with them were some dirty underpants and still: we were only 2 days on the road, so things would definitely get worse. but c’était bien, we could go. la laiterie, the place were we would play that evening, appeared to be a professional establishment. we would play as a support for dutch punk-legends, wire-coverstars and sonic youth improvisation-collaborators the ex.think: lots of people. nice food, lots of drinks, our refrigerator stuck with leftovers, bread and coke. we also witnessed worn out relationships, which is always nice when being on the road. our walk through strasbourg city lasted 15 minutes, because it was boring, tourist-laden and because it reminded us of bokrijk, for those who don’t know: goats meet the smell of cheese meet thatched roofs (=straw). thank you but no thank you.

may 8th-11th 2003:
in switserland we played in ego city in zürich, a squat in the middle of the prostitute-, latino- and marginal neighbourhood of this beautiful town. we met some antwerp girl working for walter van beirendonck or some other fashist, who didn’t come to our show in the end, visited record stores, didn’t buy that beck 12” which i should have, drank mecca cola for the first time (squat correctness) and waited. during our show, someone came to tim, told him he wanted to buy our cd because he thought he’d definitely love it, but saying also that he wanted to go listen to it in his livingroom, because we were playing way too loud. you can imagine: we had a blast.
a nightdrive, partly through a 17 km long tunnel (pretty absurd when you’re tired and listening to plaid), brought us in milan, where we slept at the side of the road, some in the van, some in the green green grass of our new temporary italian truckstop home. we had to play in recanati the next evening, shithole town, but equipped with one of the fattest clubs we played in. heavily sponsored by a dutch beer-giant, the club was a host for a local rock-concours where local bands could win a contract with some label and time in a studio. two awful bands played before us, the first one being italy’s last hippies playing muzak for grandmothers everywhere, the second one being eros ramazotti’s less-talented half-brother in leather jacket singing, john lennon on synths, eyes closed when singing, ac milan b-team captain sports jock on bass. in short: megamix. we finished the night and people were dancing, journalists impressed and cd’s sold. a very nice show, in a club hosted by mother’s finest euh finest mother. the breakfast in the youth hostel was cold coffee and biscuits, but we couldn’t care less. we shaked the hand that shaked joe strummer and the ramones. ha.
in rome we played for 10 people and a horsehead. in the beginning of our show, that was. 5 of them left, 3 of them didn’t dare (we watched their band play as well), the two other were a drunk couple who were dancing like freaks. when the drumkit got thrashed, we dove head first into our amps, eyes closed. and that was the best thing we could have done. pol and tim, with us for photographic and friendly or brotherly reasons, were laughing all the way. the drunk couple wanted autographs, bought a cd and told us they really really liked it. but the real conquest of this capital will be for some other time. we spent the night at supermodel house, very nice and with an excellent record collection. very not bad.
day off the day after, so a visit to rome city seemed logic. when we parked our van near the colosseum (in the shadow, 50°C), we heard the soundcheck of a beatles-coverband. when taking a closer look, sir paul mccartney himself was standing on stage, apparently he would give a free show that night, right in front of the colosseum. we visited the forum romanum, played the cards, ate pizza and then went to an ex-beatle concert, just around the corner. together with 500 000 other people (but, really). amazing.

may 12th-14th 2003:
for the first time outside of the european union, on our way to ljubljana in slovenia. the borderpatrol didn’t think so and kept us four (4) hours with them, because we had cd’s with us blabla. we then returned to italy, to try and cross the border some 20 kilometres further, after having hidden all the merch in the back of the van. we got in within two minutes, no problem. still, a pity that we didn’t make it to a radioshow we would have been interviewed at. the place where we played appeared to be a beautiful old theatre, with small lights around the stage. two old hippies came by to say we reminded them of jimi hendrix, offering the obligatorily typical blunt. in the hotel the flies weren’t dead, but we didn’t mind. great breakfast too.
because we already knew we just had to act stupid and ignorant and socially handicapped and uni-languaged (the only thing we say at borders these days is “only personal stuff, personal, personal”), we get into bosnia-herzegovina quite easily. because we didn’t want to miss another radioshow, we were driving 70 where you could go 40. told the police officer who had speed-gunned us. fuckt. luckily tim, who was driving, had grown a big-ass moustache, that made hime look like a third-rate eastern-european porn actor on holiday. apparently the officer could relate to that, because he let us go, just before we (as a last try to convince) offered him a bottle of champagne. when we showed him our cd, he started laughing and stopped threathening us with courts and paying lots of money. in our drive through the mountains that followed we saw rusty bullet-holed cars at the side of the road, bombed and desolated houses, graveyards, bombarded bridges (over which they simply built a new one) and lots of silence. war became very concrete here, which was rather confronting. tv travnik, the local station, interviewed us, people were very friendly. a nightly naked jam-session awoke the iggy pop in ourselves, i wanne be your dog in the swing your dicks crime club remix. time for bed.
at the border with croatia , where we played in zagreb, again the “personal stuff” trick, which worked. the organiser of the show took us to a local theatrical performance, about we don’t know what, but we had a good laugh. we didn’t understand a balkan of it (english with hair up). at night we played in a tough punk-club, where everyone had the money to buy beer, but our cd was too expensive. another date with the night afterwards, in our van.

may 15th-16th 2003:
in vienna we would be meeting our friend toon, who was studying there and teaching dutch at the university. he showed us the museum of modern art and the best spots in this perfectly clean city. lots of people at our show and funny support bands (guy on slippers thinking he’s david bowie, rather ugly wannabe diva singing on a bar stool). at night we flambéd the pancakes off the wall, to great dissactisfaction of the cooker hood. in the morning, omelette of our lives and shower (long time no see). clean and satisfied we continued our way to linz, where we would play in the kapu club. very cool people, lots of musicians (some of them also released stuff on conspiracy, so there was a family link and stories were shared). very good reactions, although the show was definitely not our best. the local tradition seemed to be vodka mixed with groseille mixed with tabasco. jan played some records (sonic youth, velvet underground, clash, michael jackson..), the place went nuts (well, jelle did, together with two girls). we tried to be quiet on our way up the stairs to the beds, but we weren’t.

may 17th-20th 2003:
when we arrived in strakonice (tsjech republic), the opening of the skate park (the reason we were playing there) was in full effect. the sound system announced to the crowd they should pozni prubram gninalja grupp belgije white circle crime club definitely for sure (we thought, because we stood there and watched each other, laughing). some hundreds of people did so, making this our most crowded show. everything went well and the afterparty was legendary. really: legendary. the dj played ska (ska sucks), but we learned the skaters, bmx-dudes and wannabe supermodels present what polonaises, playbacking and dancing is about. “are you a supermodel?” “ich weiss.” the barman ripped us off by charging us double of what we actually drank, which was still one third of what we would pay here. great evening.
the second show in tsjech republic (in teplice), was for fewer people (to say the least), but was musically among the best we ever did. free and hard, everything made sense. the organiser tried to send us home with an amount of money at the value of a russian pack of cigarettes. we tried to not mind and camped in a german wood. when the rain won the game (with our campfire), we went to “bed”.
the last show of our first part of this tour took place in dresden, germany. the club (scheune) was very big, the catering perfect, the bands that played after us (favez and chewy) horribly fake. we wanted to rock, or some of us definitely did. candid camera fest, images we’ll probably never see. we had our own rooms with beds and showers in the club itself, just like a hotel. the local falafal was fantastic, for those who still know we ate falafel. for the sake of not wanting to return home, we walked around berlin the day after, but we knew we would have to return home for a small week, because some promotors in germany and scandinavia had fucked things up.

may 27th-28th 2003:
the early boat to the uk, first on a tourist daytrip to swinging london. the saatchi museum (damien hirst expo) was great, the rest we knew already, but still. we slept in front of a truckers hotel, near the highway. the first of our four uk shows was in middlesborough, north of madchester. the acklam, the pub where we played, was already filled with schoolkids and drunk jobless people, when we arrived there in the afternoon. the biggest competition for our show was a wrestling game that took place in the discoteque besides the pub. lots of tough-looking people, although they thought we were wearing “some mean t-shirts”. quotes: “lou reed’s not a punk, i’m a punk, i like punk music” and “you look like a fooking pop singer”. we ate 3 pizzas with 6 fully grown hungry young men, luckily supermarkets are opened twenty twenty twenty four hours a day in england (one two three four).

may 29th-30th 2003:
in bournemouth we had to take of our hats to be allowed into the pub, ha, or we wouldn’t get any drinks. the show was good, people went nuts. somebody told us we would definitely get the last ferry to the isle of wight at night, but that was not the case. we slept near the sea, after searching for a good place for over an hour, then took the boat the morning after. hidden 2 people in the back of the van, to make it cheaper, which was no problem, except for them two sweaty choking victims. but they also made it alive. we would meet the guitarist of day of the fight, a band we had played with before and would also share the stage with later that evening. he lived some 10 metres from the beach, in a villa, with a recording studio. euh, heaven, someone? took a swim, relaxed a bit. later that night it seemed that his dad had once booked the who for the legendary isle of wight festival. madness. our show was short, because everything had to be over at 11pm and we also had to get our ferry back, where we slept on the beach once again.

may 31st-june 1st:
the biggest bands also played in the london underworld, but the reception was rather unpersonal and unfriendly. that’s the way it probably goes in this kind of venues. the stagemanager was cranky, the soundguy thought our sound was good after 30 seconds of soundcheck and we didn’t get any food. we played a short set (but a chaotically good one), because we were the support band for american psychedelic rock heroes and liars-collaborators oneida, who proved to be a great band, musically and personally as well. at 11 pm, all of the bands stood in some london sideroad at the back of the club on the sideway, sweaty and still not quite sure what england was exactly all about. pretty bizar. nightdrive to dover and the next day we were back in a belgian pub, 18 shows and 11 000 kilometres later. when do we leave again?