30 nights of bushweek - colmar

Posted in by CIVIL CIVIC | Edit
Yesterday I received an irate email from my good freind Baaron Von Cuddles III, acusing me of a wide variety of transgressions, ranging from character assassination and poor spelling to securities fraud and supplying alcohol to a minor.
Von Cuddles busted me selling these things to primary schoolers a few months back and has not forgiven me.
 His main beef, as regards this blog, was that my representation of him as a two dimensional  sociopath is not only highly selective and lacking in context, but also getting pretty boring. Personally I find his poor grasp of social norms and vile temper hilarious, so I've never really felt the need to present his lighter, more humane side to my massive global readership.

But he does have a point.

The Baaron is nothing if not a complex man-of-the-arts, and his sporadic outbursts of weird violence, paranoia and glee-full poor taste are certainly the exceptions rather than the norm of his behavior. Most of the time he is just an articulate, well-mannered young axe-slinger who is very serious about his work and eager to make the Civil Civic experience an uplifting one for all comers. No shit, mate.

Anyhoo, with this in mind I'm going to keep this post (relating the general events surrounding our gig in Colmar) fairly brief and to the point.
The day begins in our battery-hen style suicide-hotel on the outskirts of Lyon. After four hours of troubled sleep I rose, sobbed uncontrollably in the shower for 20 minutes, took a couple of whacks of gin to get the blood moving and hurled myself like a bag of filthy laundry into our Ford Galaxy, which Von Cuddles had already packed and primed for the days journey.

I was feeling a little tense, and on the way out of town I tried to crawl out of the passenger window of the moving vehicle and the Baaron was forced to drag me back inside by the hair while keeping the Galaxy running in a straight line at 140kph.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He demanded. "Did you see something shiny on the side of the road again?"
"Just a panic attack." I assured him. "You threw my pills out of the starboard porthole last night, remember?"
"Right." He said, nodding and smiling. "Don't worry, we'll get you better pills. Ones that will make you strong!"
That sounded fine, but in the end all I needed was another snort of gin, after which I slept like a baby all the way to Colmar.

I have learned recently that the centre of Colmar is actually as pretty as a little brass button. It just goes to show the sorts of things that pass you by when you´re on a shoestring tour.

We arrived at dusk and the GPS deposited us in a huge open-air car-park on the outskirts of town, with a shopping centre on one side and what appeared to be some sort of steak-house/discotheque on the other. You guessed it, the steak-house was The Venue.
It was a big place, with highly specced sound and lights and a high, broad stage. None of that impressed me as much as the snack buffet lined up on the bar...

..or the picture of the late Ronnie James Dio above the lighting desk. The Van Halen logo was an added plus and made me feel very comfortable, like the whole venue had been torn from the back of my 6th grade maths book.

The night was part of a regional music festival, and the promoter was a sly character called Pierre, who  for some reason had taken a liking to our racket via the interweb and booked a couple of shows for us. We got aquainted with Pierre and his cohorts over the course of soundcheck and dinner and discovered he was a senior member of a small terrorist network dedicated to independance for Brittany and was wanted by both the French Federal Police and Interpol. Who woulda thunk it?

If you see this man, do not approach or attempt to aprehend him. He´s okay really, and his girlfreind makes a killer quiche!
After din-dins we took advantage of the large, comfortable back-stage area for a little CC nap-time. It's important to be well rested before a show. No-one likes a grumpy, tired band now, do they? No.

Little Baarony Waarony has his nappy naps.

Fortunately we were playing first-up on a large bill, so our duties were over early in the night. A smattering of French bumpkins from Colmar and surrounding villages dribbled steadily into the venue and were completely unmoved by our noise. From the posters on the wall outside and the graffiti in the toilets I got the impression that this town was ruled by fanatic psychobillies, and that isn't really our bag. But there were, inevitably, a couple of young kooks who dug it, so we sold them some vinyl and the Baaron smuggled them some beers out from back-stage to offset their costs. Now THAT is customer service.

Obligatory sound-check shot. We played to more people than this, but not that many.
For me the hi-light of the evening came from the second act. I once toured Australia as guitar-tech/driver/support-act to the great Bob Log III, so the rash of copycat trash-blues one-man-bands that have plagued the earth in recent times do not impress me, at-all.
But I was enthralled by the flat-out awesomeness of Urban Junior. He's an amiable Swiss-French nut who does a clever, beefy variation of the BL3 schtick with massive energy, skill and ugliness. He tore shit right up, and I instantly decided that if I ever get married I will spare no expense to fly that fucker out so he can headline at the reception. Well played, sir, well played.

Urban Junior gives the kids what-for!

 Anyway, by the time he'd finished up I was slobberingly drunk and whining at the Baaron about getting the fuck out of there. I wanted my bed-time, and fortunately so did Von Cuddles, so we unobtrusively man-handled our crap out of a side-door and loaded up the Galaxy.

All in all, not a night of triumph for the CCs', but as I've said before, the road is long and winding, and we were just keeping our powder dry, innit.

Shout-outs to Pierre and Hiero Promotions and to Urban Steve. Keep up the good work.


  1. Anonymous



    December 22, 2010 at 3:31 PM

  2. Matthew

    This post is missing your example of Nathan's all around lack of civil behaviour.

    Ben, I'm sorry to ear about the smoke-free bill passed in your current home land. The squares here in Toronto passed the same bill a few years back, hasn't been the same since. We're forced to dwell in the darkest/dankest shit holes known to man just to comfortably sit and bask in our own stank.

    December 25, 2010 at 3:07 AM

  3. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Hey Matthew Two Tees,
    I'm pretty dense, so maybe I'm missing something, but who is Nathan?
    ...and the ins and outs of Australian society ceased to trouble me many years ago, when that countrys' politics started to slide into corner-shop fascism and British tabloid style idiocy.
    Thanks for chiming in though. My two staff comment posters (Rebecca and Ramy) are not earning their bread and water these days.

    December 27, 2010 at 7:53 PM

  4. Bec says:

    Sorry for letting the side down Ben, it's just that I can never remember my password and don't want to stay logged in because I'm scared of Google's haruspicy. Resistance is probably futile...

    But would you shut up about the politics, I'm trying to ignore all that stuff at least until we can afford to leave this redneck paradise.

    December 28, 2010 at 1:20 AM

  5. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Sorry about that, RBCA. I wanted to zap you out of retirement with a soft dig, but I wasn't out to, y'know, depress anybody.
    Anyway, I only rag on the homeland to convince myself that I'm happier being a Eurozoner.
    If all goes well we'll be paying a visit in Rocktober, to carry out some nightclub bombings on the Gold Coast and assassinate Eddie McGuier.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:04 AM

  6. Bec says:

    Is Tracy Grimshaw too well guarded? Pity.
    Thanks for the warning, I shall hold my breath in anticipation.

    And no harm done, didn't mean to sound so droopy there, and I don't have the concentration to get depressed anyway. "Coles just bankrupted another farm in Tas- ooh look a shiny thing." You know how it goes. But at least you know I'm still reading right; Ramy on the other hand deserves a swift kick up the bum.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:13 AM

  7. Anonymous



    January 3, 2011 at 2:33 PM

  8. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    All in good time,UJ.
    You'll be hearing from me about that wedding gig.

    January 4, 2011 at 7:26 PM

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