Monday, October 5, 2009

La Louvière

This was one of the weirdest shows we've ever played. La Louvière is a small Belgian village. Unemployment is over 25%. We got to the venue and nobody spoke English. Our rudimentary knowledge of French didn't seem to go very far either. There was a table of people sitting around playing cards, and they phoned a friend who spoke very crude English and basically told us to leave for a couple of hours and come back.....Somebody would eventually show up who would know what was going on. So we did...

There were lots of shops, cafes and restaurants around the venue. Bars too. Basically the shell of a once bustling downtown. Definitely a weird vibe going on in the town we couldn't quite put our finger on, but that 25% unemployment rate certainly played a part. Not necessarily sketchy, just... not quite right. There were people chanting things in unison on the streets....We got lots of stares. We got back to the venue and still nobody was there. They ordered some pizza for us and we drank some good Belgian beer. From there the story goes downhill....

This was really our first challenge of a show. I think most of it was a language barrier on our part, part of it was economic, and part was just circumstance. We could not load in until the first band played, minus the gear that they borrowed.

Once we got loaded in we realized that some of our gear (Mark's pedal) wouldn't work in the Belgian power outlets because of some strange grounding issue.

Then we play...

First song, Scott falls down a staircase on the side of the stage. He tries to come back up to the mic and he biffs his eye. Cut wide open....Big shiner.

This looks worse now

The last song, we play "We Make Poor Decisions". The bass sounds like the Seinfeld bass tone. This older woman at the end of the bar gets really excited because she thinks some Parliament/Funkadelic epic space jam is coming up....she is disappointed.

Despite all of this, the turnout is decent. People outside tell us they like it. However, we sell zero merchandise. Zip. Nada. That hasn't happened yet. We all were kind of frustrated.

On top of that the sound guy tells us he won't give us our full guarantee because we only played for "15 minutes". We explain that we played a full 30 minutes actually, 8 songs, longer than our album, and we didn't tune or talk.....We just played. Additionally, Scott cut his eye open and there was some uncertainty whether he needed to go to the hospital for stitches. He says he told us we needed to play 40 minutes to get paid in full. We ask who he told that to, he points in a random direction and says "a guy in your band".

Long story short, we got the cash out of him. On the way back to the hotel, we got pulled over by Belgian police. They checked our papers and let us go. We weren't doing anything wrong, I think it was just weird for them to see a van full of dudes in their town.

The guy who put on the show, Ben, was a great guy. The other band was also very nice. Just a rough night. We were due for one of those.

On the plus side, Corey found some charcuterie. Prosciutto di Parma=happiness

Then we went to bed back at a small Belgian hotel....


  1. Wow - what an experience - a bit different from Copenhagen? Interesting night for you guys. Hopefully the worst you will have. I hope Scott's eye gets better quickly!

  2. don't give up on that Seinfeld bass tone... it'll pay off next time.

  3. love the blog and photos.
    Good luck over there, cheers from Chicago.
    glad to hear corey is not throwing up anymore and hope Scotts eye is healing. Brad

  4. we played that spot this summer and it was definitely weird as shit. bummer you guys had so many difficulties. best of luck with the rest of the shows.

  5. Reading this shit is great! Have fun and watch yer fuckin' eyes!

  6. I live in La Louviere, I am English and I know the bar that you played in and the guy who owns it. The people are very friendly there, maybe that's what you found strange when you compare it to the stiff upper lipped English people...?
    Where did you get the 25% unemployment statistic? There is one of the biggest production company's in the world here - Dragone - google it. Also La Louviere is not a village, it's a Belgian town...
    If nobody bought any merch, maybe it's because they didn't like your band enough to buy anything, it happens. Loads of international bands have played at le Taverne du Theatre - Eighties Matchbox Disaster, Intimate Strange, Brutal Truth, The Bellrays, Bob Log 3...the list goes on - google them too. There is also a large music festival - Power Festival - which takes place here every year, this year The Damned are headlining - google them too while you are at it.

    I would like to point out that Belgian bands that go to England to play are, in general, shocked by the way they are treated (like shit) and the fact that they are, usually, not payed and don't even get a free drink, let alone a whole pizza!

    1. We're not from England.

      Someone in the town probably told us the 25% statistic. Either that or we... googled it.

      But I can't remember for sure, since this was all written in 2009.