Sunday, August 2, 2009

Euro tour update #14, Romania part 1

I'm going to post a few short updates so I can get caught up. Mary told me my entries were too long anyway, so I've stripped the words and put in lots of purty pictures for those short on time and/or brains. (Hi Mary... get back in the van? Tell Josh his shelf is waiting?)

We spent an entire week in Romania. I have never so thoroughly disliked a place or so desperately wanted to leave. In general the country was unfriendly, the towns uninteresting, and the shows a combination of the two.

(Despite that though, we did meet a few really rad kids, and we did appreciate the shows people set up for us there, the homes that were opened to us, and the food that was given to us!)

Day 1 and 2- Timisoara- Independent Voices Fest.

We played day one of this two day fest. The roster of bands was diverse- from hardcore to crust to punk to grind, including but not limited to bands like Fist A Ferret from Austria, and Rise and Fall from Belgium. The crowd was mostly crust punk and almost entirely drunk. (Beer was free at the bar, but soda or water cost 1 Euro.) The promoter and a few of his friends seemed to be the only kids who knew who we were or had any interest in hardcore. Our set took place very late in the night so I was surprised by the amount of people who stayed for us. We realized later that our set just fell at a good time- right before the band that everyone had come to see, a political punk band called Aktivna Propaganda. (The next night there was maybe half the crowd as day 1 at the fest and by the time Shipwreck and Have Heart played at 2 and 3 am only about 30 people remained, about 2 or 3 that cared, the rest who would have been equally as happy jumping around to a British girl-pop group or an Indonesian Judas Priest cover band.)

After the show someone yelled "The Nazis are here!", and people quickly filtered outside and stood in a chatty crowd, no one exactly sure where the Nazis were or what was going on, and before anything got cleared up (as far as I knew) another person yelled, his fist in the air, "Come on! We're all or none!" With that, the crowd marched together down the dark street, ready to meet the Nazis face to face. I lingered by the venue, thinking.

See, something had dawned on me. In Finland when there had been "nazis" I had run outside ready to "escort" them away, and in Moscow when I was told there may be fights with Nazis at the show we had said they could count on us. But in Timisoara I realized that if cops came to the fight and arrested us, we could get deported. That would end tour. So I weighed what would do more to fight Nazis in the long run- my inexperienced fists or our (anti-fascist) message, 60 something nights in a row in however many countries. The choice was obvious to me. I am self aware enough to know that my talent lies more in my words than my bulging biceps, so I resigned myself to the van.

A few minutes later everyone came back. I'm not quite clear on what happened, I heard various stories about everyone making a retreat while a few young girls stayed to try to fight the nazis themselves (or maybe they didn't realize others had left?), and the Nazis threw glass bottles at their faces. 2 girls came back bloody and went into the venue to get the shards pulled from their heads.

The next day we went to a chinese restaurant and everyone working there was a white Romanian. This was very strange to us. Over the course of our week in Romania, we did not see a single Asian person and in no "ethnic" restaurant of any type was there anyone on staff but Romanians.


Day 3- Brasov

Brasov had flooded the day before we got there so our show was moved to a tiny, and mean T-I-N-Y, basement bar. This was probably my least favorite show of tour. It was cramped, smokey, people spilled beer on everything. I could barely make it through a song without a coughing fit, we couldn't move without slipping on the beer on the floor. After the show Dave and I met a guy who said he had come just to check us out. He explained the he liked Korn and all sorts of nu metal, but that he had seen Madball once and had his life altered, and now he loved hardcore, too.

Brasov's slogan is "Probably the best city in the world" (they sound confident huh?) and the city sports a Hollywood-esque sign that reads BRASOV. It was a really old and beautiful city. Oh! And the one chinese restaurant I went into was staffed, predictably, by white Romanians.

notice the satellite coming out of the windows? gotta get that HBO...


  1. Hey, it's always nice reading your Blog. You're drawing a good picture of what it's like to be on the road for those who have never had the opportunity to go on tour. Visiting so much different countries... meeting all kind of people....

    go on & all the best


  2. Hey, I have just two or three comments to throw around. Firstly, your assumption that beer was free is false: beer was only free for band members, the people in the audience had to pay for it. We're not that over the place yet to start giving free beer to whoever comes to a show. Secondly, there were more than 2-3 people caring for Have Heart. Believe me, I count really good. Last but not least, don't you think you are contradicting yourself a bit? "the towns uninteresting" vs. "it was a really old and beautiful city". I have to admit Communism destroyed pretty much everything that had to do with organised urbanism and transformed some cities into industrial slums but I don't think such harsh words are necessary, as some old fortress-cities are still very interesting to visit. I know this ain't America, but really...

  3. Ah I didn't realize that about the beer. My apologies. It was assumed amoungst those in bands that the free beer that had been offered to us was being offered to everyone (since no other drink was free to us and almost everyone seemed to have a beer in hand), thus explaining the mass intoxication.

    And a town can be beautiful and boring at the same time. I grew up in one of America's most prized breath-takingly beautiful states (Maine), and while it was lovely to look at, it was boring as all hell to be in. I didn't mean to offend you on a personal level. These are just my opinions.

  4. - some of the pictures from romania.

  5. Your entries should be way longer!!
    It's a great pleasure to read them! The longer - the better! ))

  6. maybe you should spend more energy on the positive (yeah!) things around the concerts in your tour... if you underline in brasov was so full of smoke, maybe would have been ok to underline also that in timisoara the concert room was smoke-free... ye?

    also about brasov, maybe you should have talked to the people organising this concert, to find out the shit they had to go through in order to make this concert because they like your band... they basically went and ask all possible places in the city to make it, put money from their pockets dealt with that shitty owner... and what people know now about their town is: that people that listen to korn, make shittiest concerts in romania in a small pub full of smoke and beer... nice one dudes (and dudette)!

    ...and about timisoara... if you stayed in the car, affraid of deportation (lol) why would you say that this or that happened...

    it would be like me sayin that in bistrita "wuz playn some shit american sex band... my friend (the dude with spikes that wanna f*ck all people) told me that"...

    think about it and
    ...stay positive!

    ps: i can't wait the post about bucharest!

    pps: wanted to underline the suggestion:
    ...try spending more time talking to with the kids that are organising the shows for you and find out about the stuff going around their towns from them... guess what? most of them like your band more than the drunk spiky hater crusty who wants to f*ck everyone in the room!

  7. Well, wellcome to Romania and good bye. What have you been expecting from a country that is at the border of the Balkan peninsula? By not understanding the people, the way they are thinking here in this little alcohol-addicted country, find out that, what was in America, in your hardcore scene, now, let's say, 10 years ago (it's just an example as we will never have that opportunity...), we are trying to do it now. We are back in time. We are some sheep lost in the hills.
    Wellcome to Romania where they say "are you sXe? How uncool! Drink boy, drink! or I'll beat up your ass". How many lolz I've heard from drunk-punx, saying things and things about those sXe people (that I can count on my thingers and toes). That's why we need you. Bands like you. Little by little people start gettin' the real point of it. :) As I did, just not long ago. We need the "boost" not the "booze" :P
    People rise and fall, we have many ideas but can not put them into practice, as some get scared when they see the police lights, or others are to incompetent to think. 90% of the punk are street-smart people but have no education (many of them say "i have learnt much many things in the streets that from the books [and somehow happy], in all my life I read about 5 books").
    Romania is how we make it to look. :P Hope one day you'll come back and stay more time, to find out things, as we have a lot of things to say :) Good or bad, interesting or stupid, about the future or about the past, we are we, we have our own problems and education :)

  8. (Beer was free at the bar, but soda or water cost 1 Euro.)

    Yeah, but you were drinking Coca-Cola anyway! soo....
    I guess it made you remember about home.