30 nights of bushweek - metz

Posted in by CIVIL CIVIC | Edit
A modern artists depiction of the "Graoully", saying "RRRR".
Sometime in the first century A.D a young, scrappy christian called Clement arrived in heathen Gaul, on orders from Saint Peter to knock some Christ into the locals. Upon his travels he found a Roman struggle-town on the banks of the Mosselle that was being terrorised by a monstrous winged reptile that lived in the local amphitheatre from which it would occasionally stir to eat babies and fill the air with poisonous fumes.

Clement faces off against the Graoully, while the locals totally freak out.
"For fucks sake, dont piss that thing off!" Screams the woman at foreground left.
Well, Clement beat the mortal puss out of that dragon and banished it into the void beyond the world. The townsfolk declared themselves "stoked!", swiftly converting to Christianity and making Clement their first Bishop.

But today the town of Metz in northern France faces different problems, like being slandered on the internet by a self-important bass player from Collingwood. Where's your fancy Bishop now, losers?

Centre Pompidou Metz. Not your average sticky-carpet joint.
Anyway, we had been booked by the Musiques Volantes festival to open a three band bill at the futuristic Pompidou Centre, in return for a tidy purse, meals and accommodation.
We parked at a loading dock around the back of the building and were met with snacks and good manners by the wonderfully freindly production staff just as the headline act, "Plectrum"*, was starting their soundcheck.

Having been told all about their fine pedigree and famous singer/guitarist P**** K**** I was eager to watch them and form my own opinions about their sound.

File photo of the unhappy Mr K**** , desperately trying to tweak some life into it.
When I wandered into the hall K**** was in the middle of some sort of rigidly controlled hissy fit, pleading ominously for "More loops in my monitor....Alot more. ....Alot....Alot! More! No, more...alot more!"
He was rubbing his temples and screwing up his face, like a man trying to conduct a symphony played by 8 year-olds. He would bark little demands into the microphone and then run around the stage like a six-foot chicken in a whirlwind of hilarious micro-managing.
He would bound over to the other guitarists amp, move it an inch to the left, feverishly tweak the knobs for a few seconds, then leap over to the bass amp to move it an inch backwards and fuss over its' settings, then back to his microphone to whine and cajole the house engineer some more. The guitarist and bass-player just watched him in dolefull silence as he moved their shit around and changed their settings. I was stunned.

When they actually started playing a song he would stop the band after every few bars and lecture the guitarist on the correct hand posture for an F chord, or how to hold his pick, or how to suck eggs ect.
Again, I was stunned.

It´s available in pedal form? Man, I can´t wait to let him know!
This circus of obsessive-compulsive behavior went on for what seemed like years. By the end of it I thought Mr K**** was going to cry, right there on stage. The sweet, sweet icing on the cake came after they had finished, when he paced up and down one side of the stage for two whole minutes, leaning his guitar against the railing, then picking it back up and moving it a few feet, then picking it back up and pacing some more.

I was completely enthralled. What the fuck was he doing? What was this strange pantomime, and where would it end?
It ended when he gingerly leaned his guitar against the railing, as if it was made of spring ice, waited a few tense seconds with his hand hovering in space, and then turned to the other guitarist who was loitering a few paces behind him. "Put your guitar here" he ordered  "The temperature's good".

Well, I have to say I was completely awed by this display of obsessive/compulsive, micro-managed lunacy.
I mean, I probably wouldn´t laugh at Django Reinhardt if he pulled that stunt with his 15,000 euro, 85 year-old classical...but...
Hats off.

Bitter old creep wanders around on stage, waiting for some guy he calls "The Baaron" to finish his bucket-bong and get checking.
Anyway, we finally got on stage and checked our shit. The house engineer got us the best stage-sound of the entire tour, in about 12 minutes, and then we headed upstairs to the caffeteria to stuff our faces and mix with the Pompidou staff.

The gig itself was okay. We played well and the mix was splendid, but the crowd had obviously come for the Plectrum sound and did not seem overtly inspired by our tunes. That´s fine.
Well, they got Plectrum alright. A full hour of crawling, overblown slop that made me feel like I had smoked bannana skins all day on an empty stomach. Fantastic stuff.

Plectrum lay their turgid "jams" on the rapt audience. I'll be down the back gobbling fistfulls of Iboprufen and moaning along with the chord changes.

Not much more to say about this one. Got drunk, failed to score any drugs or pussy (I mean, this is the Pompidou after-all), went to our neat, attractive little hotel where I picked a fight with the hair-dryer and then fell unconscious on the bathroom floor in a thin puddle of drool and flat Carlsberg.
Pretty much the usual.

Thankyou indeed to the festival folk and the Pompidou production staff who were about as proffessional and hospitable as could be....and to the cook. She knocked up some killer vittles, fo sho.

Next post we will cross over the border into Switzerland, in search of Nazi gold and fine chocolate. In the meantime, take it easy on NYE, right? Right.

* Names changed to protect the innocent.


  1. RamyArida says:

    "failed to score any drugs or pussy"

    That was by far the most cliche rock and roll thing you've written thus far. That's definitely not a bad thing. I'm fully supportive of such endeavours. However, I'm not sure if drugs and pussy are family friendly topics, Ben. Keep that in mind next time you think of berating me for talking about wanking to Less Unless.

    anyway, have a happy new year. Thanks, guys, for being one of very few positive elements of 2010. Music generally sucks now. Civil Civic keeps my optimism alive.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:23 PM

  2. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Cliche or not, it´s the unvarnished truth. If it wasn´t for a disasterous drug-binge in Kholn and a kiss on the cheek in Strasbourg the whole tour would have been a wash-out for me.

    Good to see you laying down the law again, Ramstein. Hope your 2011 goes "off tap".

    December 31, 2010 at 11:32 AM

  3. Matthew (WITH TWO FUCKING T'S, DOG.)

    Nathan is the one who's been eating all the fucking twisties, the one who's been throwing his feet up on your couch like he runs tings.

    I'm happy to say I got my noise plates in the mail yesterday. Was super stoked up until I read the post card and noticed you spelled my name with one 't' like I'm some red-assed, feces throwing, baboon.

    Needless to say I went ballistic. Parts are a blur but I efficiently trashed my room in a fit of rage and as I grabbed the Lights vinyl and held it up to the sky posed to snap it in two while cursing your names something caught my eye and low and behold I noticed Ben Sux. Suddenly, the rage was gone, my eyes teared up and all that was left was the quite buzzing coming from my now ruined speakers.

    Thanks guys. You had better believe I will be sending it back for correction once we have our own product to ship over to you.

    Have a stupid new year. I hope the morning after leaves you contemplating suicide. (in the best way possible)


    December 31, 2010 at 5:30 PM

  4. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Yo 2T´s.
    Epic comment, dude. I salute you.
    Sorry about the "one T" scandal. We have fired the intern responsible.
    Sorry aswell for the slow getback, but I´ve fractured ma dang wrist.
    Keep up the good work.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:29 PM

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