Brutal Assault and roadtrip, August 7-14, fortress Josefov, Jaromer Czech Republic;
then Dresden, Berlin (beware, a three-note-10-page story )
After Bloodstock last year it was time for another ‘non-Dutch, non-Belgian, non-German’ metal trip with Tom. Having met quite a few MRU members over the years, I thought it would be cool to get to know Marsallah once. Over the exchange of a Sodom CD (Satan’s Conjuration) and a Neurotic Deathfest shirt we made a shortlist of festivals in the eastern part of Europe, so we’d drive about the same amount of kilometers. Summer Breeze was mentioned, Brutal Assault and Obscene Extreme were mentioned, but as the line ups grew, I finally made the decision to point out Brutal Assault. It would be a lot easier for me to convince not only Tom, but Mikert and Daniel (X5452) as well. Another car would be filled too, as Jossel and his friend Tjeerd would accompany us. But without other drivers licenses (Mike and Daniel still on course), it would mean Tom and me would be the only chauffeurs; Mike and Daniel might even want to go by train (cheaper?). Eva soon wanted to join, but she bought an Obscene Extreme festival ticket Jos couldn’t make it in the end and sold his e-ticket to Eva. I soon found out Axel (TenderMeatExel), Tijmen and Kees Bloemkool were interested too, Axel asked me to get him a ticket. Eva returned her OE ticket. No more signal from Mars…
It was Daniel that took the effort to check out the entire Brutal Assault website, he told us he wanted to camp ‘safer than ordinary East European standards’ so he reserved VIP Camping tickets. VIP Camping meant a guarded camping, extra sanitary material, more cleaned sanitary material and… something on the terrain. On the other hand, I thought it would be a bit short to just drive 1,100 km, see some bands and drive another 1,100 km and I had plenty of spare time to extinguish. This would mean a certain split in the group anyway, not only did Axel, Tijmen and Kees have no access to the VIP Camping, but also the trip beyond Brutal Assault would be just the four of us, but who? I knew Tom, Mike and Daniel all had work and other obligations from August 12 on, Eva doubted if she had enough time to do the entire Berlin trip with us. That’s of later concern, I thought.
Time taken off at work, stuff packed, last check of my car (I had had a problem with the spedometer) and Tuesday would be only half a day. I wanted to sleep beforehand, as we agreed to drive through the entire night, set up camp in Jaromer, doze off for a while, pre-party and more beer. The boys would group at my place, we’d pick up Eva from Amsterdam and Ramona from her parent’s house in Haaksbergen. What did you say? Nine persons in two cars? Oh, right, I didn’t know that, my car is full, oh right she can join Tom’s car. Driving through Germany in night hours is dull. But with great company, plenty of water and good music we make it until Chemnitz no problem. Here, just before dawn, we decide to eat. The food wasn’t that bad, but we’re ripped off every part of the meal. Coffee turns out more expensive when served black. Sauce? OK, pay afterwards. Toilet? No problem, € 1 each (€ 0,50 on the highway). Slight problem, the RonRon (my Alexalex has no Eastern European countries, so I borrowed his; he had mine for this week) says we still arrive before the camping is opened. There… sigh. The waiting begins. Not only is the VIP camping opened nearly an hour after scheduled on the site, the designated areas are already full, back in line to get another wrist bands, the e-tickets cannot be scanned properly and as there are some illegal tickets (how much? 15? On a crowd of what? 10,000? Wtf!), everything has to be done manually. There goes the use of internet ticketing, as most visitors have e-tickets, later on we found out there were 7 ways of acquiring tickets! Ramona had a ticket via metaltix.de, her line lasted about 3 minutes. But the rest of us had to wait over 6 hours, in blazing sun, no water, no beer… SIX HOURS!!! [As Eva has a hernia, I even tried to buy me and Eva extra tickets so our line is diminished, but the ‘friendly’ security makes me feel this could be fishy. He’s willing to “rob” his friend of a BA ticket for only 1400 CzK apiece. Originally I had early bird tickets for this amount, Eva had to buy hers for 1800 CzK] Tom gets us our first Czech beer, but the night drive has exhausted us and minutes within the tents are arisen the Westwouders pass out. A little tour of the village is done as sleeping is hard with over 40 degrees Celsius in the tent. With match sticks between my eyes I finally enter the city and all worry is gone… this is one awesome site to see. Jaroměř is a relatively small city over 1,000 years old, was built near a fortress and the rivers Elbe and Mettau cross the place. The surrounding area is filled with woods, some hills and agriculture. I love it. The festival is held inside the fortress Josefov and that has some magic to it. The pub was the ancient prison, the stages are fit exactly between two large multilayered defense brick walls. The VIP camping thingie of the terrain meant VIP visitors could get up on another fortress wall opposite to the stages. The metal market is located on the old innerwall markets, also surrounded by ancient, thick, high walls. Many people spent hours roaming the place, that I can tell.
A quick bite gave another clue of this festival: the choice in food is A.B.U.N.D.A.N.T. Most of it is meat + spicy, but plenty and from all over the world. Off to the first band though, we thought. The preparty was on one of the two stages but because of the waiting we missed at least four bands. With such thick walls you don’t hear the festival roaring… Checking the leaflet told us we missed Avenger (CZ, death), Ingrowing (CZ, grindcore), Forgotten Silence (CZ, progressive metal) and Engel (Sweden, melodic thrash) and Anaal Nathrakh. Oh yeah, AN we did see, but we were walking to the bar during their last song. Does that count as ‘seen’? The first band I did see more than one song off, was Czech dark metal band Root. What? Have we missed Alcest too? No. All Root did was confuse us with the strange music they played and Alcest was the perfect ending for this day: gloomy, eerie, depressive; but with EXCELLENT sound/volume/atmosphere/performance the shivers got all over me and Daniel. The Bovenkarspel boys and Tom were long gone, but they would not have liked this much, I think. Mike wasn’t overly impressed, but Daniel and me freak out. SUBLIME!! Daniel made me write this down: ‘so different, so unique’ and all I can do is agree. Whole heartedly. The other Westfriesians meet up in the village and because of the strange day behind us, I think every single person passed out, totally drunk with the 7 brands of beer we found so far. In the village there’s plenty of food and drinks to be sold as well, but in so many brands and settings it’s hard to describe.
Day one of the festival starts soaking wet. Both Tom and me drift out of our tents sweaty, smelly and sour-mouthed. Time for coffee provided by Eva [THANKSSS!!] and some on the festival site, Noostrak from Czech Republic is already on stage. The deathcore is tight, has a small hint of latter Pestilence in it, but the vocals annoy me to the metal market. Axel saw me making notes and wanted me to write down he’s a great bloke, so I wrote ‘Axel = LUL’ and give him a beer, I get a Municipal Waste patch in return. Thank you very much! Mike had done some digging on the bands and he recommended we experience Brutally Deceased (also CZ). The band is welcomed to stage, starts nice and blunt, but within four songs the grumpy death metal is getting boring. We end up in one of the Biergartens (not much grass there , but it’s comfy and beer is not far away) In the meantime we missed Polish metalcore band Totem, but seeing the pictures made me think I hadn’t missed much. One band/performer I am definetly NOT going to miss is up next: Toxic Holocaust. Joel Grind exactly hits the jackpot with his War is Hell song and an enormous pit occurs, most of the Westfriesians already bashing each other at 1 PM…
- War is Hell
- In the Name of Science
- I Am Disease
- Endless Armageddon
- Wild Dogs
- To Make the Cause (sp? Can’t find it the discography)
- Lord of the Wastelands
This was a great show! The band (that made the Conjure and Command CD) is in top shape, the rough thrash/punk/metal is played sharp, sound is great and the reactions are violent: great pit to enter. But here’s another (little) piece of comment on the organization: why put Arkona straight after Toxic Holocaust? OK, they don’t share a stage, but from fierce thrash to flowerfilled pagan metal? Most of us are entirely NOT in the mood for folky Arkona, even though the band gets enough attention and cheers, a lot more people are quite happy Swedish goregrind quintet General Surgery is up next on the other stage! The men, all in bloody medical overalls, bloody faces, sure know how to grind the audience. Hustler would be proud of the tightness. The 35 minutes of the show are too short. We gather in the pub in the former prison, the reception isn’t very helpful to be honest. Beer seems to be more expensive here, stronger too, never seen it’s different but it also seems nobody ever has been trained properly to pour out beer. The pressure in Dutch pubs is 2 to 2.5 bar (don’t know the calculation to Psi), up here it seems to be 0.5… Whenever a non-Czech makes a comment on this, the pub manager tries to wash away the comment… is this a Kindergarten pub or something? Not all criticism is bad criticism, you know! Ughh. A former bartender can annoy himself to death this way, so I decide to check out Crowbar on my own. Back in my Secondary Agricultural school days this band already existed, but I never heard much music from these enormous men. But they’re so enormous it clearly affects the stage presentation, as the sludge metal is turned to sloth metal… Damned. This sucks.
Crowbar is easily forgotten as Tom and me round up the Westfriesians for The Black Dahlia Murder. From song one (didn’t write anything down, only made pictures and bashed in) to the shortened encore the sound is superb, the band is on full throttle, the pit is amazing. Bloody noses and (tomorrow) black eyes are a common result of this show. Only to be slowed down… by Corrosion of Conformity. I don’t know much of the discography of this band, but I do know it’s been different every single album they released. Eye For An Eye was nearly hardcore punk, Blind was heavy metal-like to lately co-headlining a tour with Clutch.. What they play this day sounds like weird stoner to me, but happily Vote With a Bullet is played early in the set. OK, it’s tight, but not really for the mood I’m in after TBDM. Back to the tent for an English shower [old shirt off, deodorant, clean shirt, teeth brushed] as the weather is adding flavor to the festival. The smell of burnt meat from the barbeque settings, combined with the view on the reddening skins of Axel, Kees, me… Oh yeah there was a band playing… Lock Up. Nobody’s in the mood for grind at this moment [Lindstrand or Embury or not], so it’s a walk among the various food stands and back for Heaven Shall Burn. This is my third live encounter with the band and it’s great! The audience goes absolutely to the bottom in the enormous circlepit. Don’t ask me any song titles, I didn’t even recognize the songs I do know from this band. Awesome! Checking my leaflet I don’t care I didn’t see doom band Swallow the Sun, even though I never saw them before. Grindcore – doom – metalcore – death metal is a strange line up anyway, as Krisiun is up next. The band had to face a lot of technical difficulties, but the rest of the set is great (even though I didn’t see the entire show my smile was quite obvious).
Time for beer again. Roaming the festival site nearly meant avoiding Ministry. I have no sympathy left for this band as a. it used to be very special
b. I saw the 2006 goodbye tour
c. they reunited in 2008, fucked up Graspop for Alex that way
d. announcing the wouldn’t record nor play anymore
e. the trick is wearing old
f. this show was absolutely and totally uninspired. If you have the 45 RPM single of New World Order, slow it down to less than 33 RPM and then some, this sort of explains how Jourgensen and Co. acted. Back to the pub, that is. Only to return, peek onto the stage for Dimmu Borgir (I thought) but staying behind to watch. Dimmu Borgir nowadays mixes old and new material a lot more satisfactory than the last three, four DB shows I witnessed. First their self titled ‘anthem’, then Spellbound, In Death’s Embrace, Gateways, this was actually pretty good until I got harassed by a real-action-role-player ‘performing’ as Death, scythe and all, trying to kill me. One gesture like ‘fist-point-three-two-one-fist’ gladly was enough to scare him away, he was totally piss drunk. At that time I didn’t know I’d end up piss drunk as well, as Sick of it All got to stage. We were already heading for the village, I had seen a sign ‘Brutal Bar’ and wanted to get in. This was a laugh. It turned out to be a local moonshine kit, only lighted by TL, no music and occupied only by locals. Kees, Tijmen and me got some Absynthe, a beer, some local vodka brewing and some other weird high octane fuel and called it quits. I tried to remember to get myself a bucket for this morning, but in the end I remembered I shared the tent with Tom :/ [missing Samael, Nile and Arcturus; I would have liked to see Arcturus, but couldn’t wait anymore, they played at 01.00…]
I didn’t need the bucket after all. Mike, Daniel and me get into town for tobacco, an airbed, some sightsee postcards, Budvar writing paper [thanks Mike!], water and the likes. We even found some Javaanse Jongens ¾!! and bought it for Tom Coming back to the festival area Bleed From Within started doing their thing. Err, doing their thing is a bit of thin description. OK, they were announced as metalcore band, but the songs are pretty musical and they know to move some part of the audience. Everybody on MRU knows I can’t stand Meshuggah and most of their siblings. Most people on MRU also know Daniel does, so I 'volunteered' for a Vildhjarta show (spelled right?) to ‘have seen something I have never seen before’. Now I add: ‘and never to be seen again’. Clearly very musically skilled, but totally not my cup of tea. Daniel bangs his head like a propeller, I get very anxious within three songs. Best part of the Vildhjarta show: the walk to the other stage for WARBRINGER!! See setlist and know where I am:
- Living Weapon (pictures will end up on photobucket as I’ve found out how recently)
- Severed Reality
- Wake Up… Destroy
- Shoot to Kill
- Shattered like Glass (standing still is no option)
- Total War (voice starts to hurt)
- Living in a Whirlwind (fat, greasy circlepit)
- Combat Shock (only mimicking the lyrics, I am dehydrated but also soaking wet)
FRIGGIN’AWESOME!!! The smile on John’s face (both Kevill and Laux ) is priceless. The band is shouted to do an encore, but the organization is not willing to delay anything. This band could have played for 5 hours and still the pit would be great. But.. I will never blame the band for this, but my freshly-bought camera gives no more sjoege. The screen is broken, I have no idea if latter pictures will look like anything I saw, trying to put on camera Bummer, especially after this great show.
Incantation is up next. At least to me, I have no good feeling about the Norther show on the other stage. I don’t miss Norther, as I have made a new friend: Nathan, the Deventer psychobilly freak! A great conversation follows, mainly about drinking beer during festivals and motorcycles/cars/music/pit/whatever. Nathan is a psychobilly, yeah [I like Al and the Black Cats, does that count?], but he told me his musical career as a fan started with death metal and grindcore, so Incantation is a good reason to head back to the stage, beer in hand, e-mail address shared. Incantation does the trick again. The blunt, super heavy death metal is like an angel belching in your ears. Checking the leaflet after another great talk at the pub, I found out I missed Insomnium (where’s Jossel when you need him ), Kampfar (Nathan did check it out) and Darkest Hour before Vallenfyre is ready to slaughter Brutal(ly). The band is top notch, not much more to say really as I still don’t have the album (that’ll change). During the entire festival I spotted only one Boltfest shirt During the Morgoth show I line up for the ATM, but the line is way too long and the machine isn’t eager to give me much. But missing Morgoth was worth the wait, as Suicidal Angels is playing after Morgoth. This band has written ‘effective’ all over the guitars and drums. I am not too happy with the vocals, but the band gets what they deserve: pits, shouts, circlepits and even a wall of death. The entire Westfriesian mosh crew is present too!
I must admit I wasn’t in the mood for Hatebreed at all, but Tom certainly was. I must also admit I was saving energy for Municipal Waste; with a similar setlist as in Stonehenge band and crowd parties hard. Tony spotted Tijmen again, Ryan found me after the show Crowdsurfing isn’t illegal here, I went several times. I have no idea how the pictures are, haven’t had time to check it. Must look fun, trying to make a picture lying on the hands of 8 metalheads!!! I. LOVE. THE. WASTE!!!!!! Napalm Death is not impressed by all the tired and sweaty Waste-fans and roll over the festival like never before. But Napalm Death doesn’t get the reaction Amon Amarth gets. As it was getting dark, a light show is at hand and the band uses the dusk to fire every light the stage has to offer: here are the Vikings of Asgaard!! Beware! I end up with Kees, shouting ourselves hoarse:
- Runes to My Memory
- Destroyer of the Universe
- Death in Fire
- Cry of the Black Birds
- Fate of Norns
- Pursuit of Vikings
- Victorious March
- Twilight of the Thunder God
- Guardians of Asgaard
I always associate this band with drinking beer, so Kees and me drink ourselves senseless afterwards. We walk by as Machine Head is sound checking, but this is already annoying. At 10 PM my lights are out. Never mind Converge, Paradise Lost, Gorguts and Pig Destroyer, even though I said to want to see some of those before. Humbug. Later on I heard Nathan about Pig Destroyer, he said it was worth the wait. Axel tries again to put ‘I like Axel’ in my review but all I write down is ‘Axel = LUL’. Axel, I do like you a lot, but don’t push me do something I’d not do unvoluntarily
This night I made one mistake: think the weather would stay the same. It didn’t. During the night I heard Tom stumble to take a leak, moaning about the rain, nearly breaking his neck over my boots and put them in the tent. The morning meant wet shoes and a wet denim, so I took it to the car so it wouldn’t mould with some used shirts. Only consequence: I had to regroup my pockets to put everything in… camera, ear plugs, glasses container, paper, pen, phone, car key (I always bring at least two sets of car keys, keep the original house keys in the car), poncho, sun tan lotion and so on. I return with extra water.
Saturday was a long day, never mind the normal 24 hours a day usually counts. We would get two ‘to be announced’ bands, Skarhead, Be’lakor, Aborted, some djent stuff, Textures, some hardcore, Sólstafir, some sludge stuff, Sodom, Finntroll, Immolation, Six Feet Under, Agnostic Front, At the Gates, Immortal, Moonspell, Godflesh and Virus. First band to rise at 11 AM, last band starting at 1.40 PM, that’s nearly 15 hours of music, no, more than 15 hours. If everything would have worked out. No it didn’t. Skarhead was/had cancelled, Sodom couldn’t make it at 6PM, one TBA band didn’t show up, so instead of shifting between bands, there would be some unannounced band or some time to spare. What was first? Ahumado Granujo, goregrind from Czech Republic, but already later than the 11 AM time scheduled. The belching, pigsquealing, ultradeep grunting was some fun to hear, but why the hell that hardcore gabber/terrorcore in the beginning of each song? The surprise wore off after three songs. But having no idea when another band would begin (an which one) meant we’d better stay around in case Be’lakor would start early! Be’lakor wasn’t the band that followed Ahum…nevermind, it was a waste of energy called Gods Tower. Pagan metal the leaflet said, boring metal we called it. Totally misplaced, if you ask me. Three digits: K.U.T.
Another K.U.T. thing: Sodom was placed after all known and latter bands… 2 AM!! Not K.U.T.: INGROWING!! My goodness, have I had fun during this band. Everything announced in Czech, but I recognized the logo/name: they also had played MDF 2010, the two Maryland Deathfest shirts on stage only confirmed that!
Ingrowing - Exposed To The Light - YouTube Google
This was greasy, greasy grindcore right through the severed flesh. Tom and me enjoyed it so much (and the Budvar-like shirt they sold) I bought a shirt for me and for Tom. Tom also bought the CD. Still joking about Budvar we met Polish patched dude Voitek (sp? He has my mail address) and Nathan again for some more beer. Next band would be a surprise to me, as I think I never checked out anything said on MRU about Be’lakor. I somehow thought it would mean hard hitting death metal but my reference now is old Paradise Lost or recent November’s Doom. I liked it a lot, as the genre change wasn’t so abrupt, as the spot Skarhead left wasn’t filled.
Be'lakor | Melodic Death Metal | Australia
Back to hard hitting death metal/grindcore again, as Aborted gave an all-chisel-available-salute to their biggest influences: old Carcass, Righteous Pigs, Napalm Death; of course combined with their own particular sound. That sound was absolutely amazing, every detail in the chaotic music was recognizable. I even recognized some tunes, but as I was fiddling with my beer and my camera I didn’t write any titles. Aborted was fierce, mix was great, and clearly Sven and Co. were ready for the kill.
Brutal Assault 2012 - Aborted - The Origin of Disease [live] - YouTube
I wasn’t so ready anymore. One night driving, beer, day metal, beer, day metal, beer and more metal were taking it’s toll. Looking at the leaflet gave a weak smile to my face: I wouldn’t be missed during Textures, Norma Jean and Sólstafir. I did spot The Safety Fire walking to my tent, but this isn’t actually worth mentioning. If I could have slept half an hour longer I would have missed Kylesa too, not really what I awoke for… not my favorite band, I guess. Made pictures, but wasn’t impressed. Finntroll was the first one that got some attention after the rather nice, refreshing nap. The band did OK, but I was desperately in for some coffee so I only saw two, maybe three songs. I was building up energy (eating, coffee) for Immolation and Six Feet Under and that was a wise decision. Immolation ROCKED!!! Six Feet Under SLEW!!! I didn’t enter the SFU420 pit as I did the Immolation one, but the sight was sweet. And the setlist explains the rest:
- Stripped, Raped and Strangled (Tom and Axel already gone )
- No Warning Shot
- Feeding the Dead (those 5 feet of dreads flying dangerously now )
- one I missed headbanging
- Revenge of the Zombie (I just wrote Die Muthaf*cka Die )
- Human Target
- The Day The Dead Walked
- Six Feet Under
Strange: Barnes was in top form, but after another intro he yelled ‘I am stopping this show’ as if something really bad happened in the crowd. People look at each other, asking wtf? But what happens: the band plays HAMMER SMASHED FACE and up to the coffee stands, EVERYBODY freaks out. This was the coolest show on Brutal Assault, I assure you. But the audience doesn’t get rest at this stage of the festival anymore. Agnostic Front, though I thought it would be filler between SFU, At the Gates, Immortal and Sodom, totally winds the audience around the tattooed fingers. Again, some-mistaka-da-maka, herrieman! I never really gave much for their music, but their appearance, their fire, their jumps, their skills, Vinnie showing his named guitar, Miret pushing the rest of the band over the limit, I must say I have gotten great respect for this band. They don’t even need their own hits to continue the kill in front of stage.
As I missed At The Gates at so many festivals already I try to get on the VIP part of the terrain. Bad hope for a drunk metalhead looking for metal celebs I get to see the entire show. But when At The Gates is doing their third song [Slaughter of the Soul, Cold, Terminal Spirit Disease], Immortal does an overkill-light-try-out from the other stage, as if they’re saying: look who’s boss. Death metal vs. black metal. Sweden vs. Norway. Bit childish if you ask me, but At The Gates never did an eye-candy show, if I remember correctly. The band ends the show with The Red in the Sky is Ours/The Season to Come, Blinded by Fear and Kingdome Gone. Solid show. Suddenly, after two Immortal songs, I have had enough. I love Immortal, but it’s the same story again. I get to hear Withstand the Fall of Time, Sons of Northern Darkness and Damned in Black; one last visit to the pub with Nathan and I’m off. I love the Brutal Assault festival, but it seems I’m not used to actual normal beer on a festival. Ahh, Dutch and German metal festivals, now I know the trick. Lower percentage alcohol!! It wasn’t so much I was tired, I was piss drunk. The nightly drive was a neckbreaker, but not for three days! With the words ‘In Blackk!’ hammered into my soaking brain I get to the tent, brush teeth with the last remaining water and I pass out for the fourth time in three (maybe four) days. Tijmen and Kees told me it was absolutely worth the wait for Sodom, see Sodom Concert Setlist at Brutal Assault XVII on August 11, 2012 | setlist.fm for details.
We agreed that the first one awake, would awaken the rest. All drivers (Tom, Eva, Axel, Ramona and me) knew, the less they would have to drive in blazing heat (another great day was announced by an already pricking early morning sun), the less it would be grueling to the drivers [not the other attendants ]. Still it took an hour and a half to round everybody up, to cram all tents in the too little bags, divide the socks and CDs and get to the cars. Tom’s car held the workers, mine held the roadtrippers The goodbye was a warm one, we even met Nathan and his buddy Bastiaan on the way to the gate. Driving through Czech Republic is like angel mead to the eyes, especially with such great weather. One strange thing occurred near the Czech border: a man, big car, shiny shirt, gold all along tried to make us stop on the highway. He was blabbing about € 100 he needed for gas, throwing his thick gold ring and wristband (including diamonds) into the car. I misunderstood, said I couldn’t possibly tow him to the gas station as I had heard my rear wheels scrape the metal several times. ‘No’, he said, ‘here’s my card, I don’t need a tow, I need money. Euros.’ I said I didn’t have any Euros nor Czech Krones anymore; Eva gave him € 10 but he still wasn’t satisfied. I called it quits and hit the clutch. This could easily have ended with a big gun pointing at an ATM… But Czech Republic is too beautiful to keep hammering on crime, corruption, lameness and communism. I even renewed my promise to Eva near a sunflower pasture… A man’s eyes can do funny things to his own brain and genitals. Once more.
We managed to get to Dresden but it wasn’t that early anymore. Driving up to Berlin could have meant Eva would have missed the last train home, let alone if any train would get to Holland from Berlin… With a very strange feeling I left Eva on the train station and drove into the city to find a Bed&Breakfast or hotel for the three of us (Tijmen, Kees and me). If you never been to such a city, at least keep looking where you drive, I ended up on the tram rails, people pointed at me I shouted ‘No worries, we’re tourists!’. The boys howled with laughter; I think within this little band of travelers I’m know as tramtourist or even tramterrorist now HA HA HA. Dresden is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! Being totally bombed to the ground it had to be rebuilt entirely. But the communists thought of Dresden as a culturally rich city, so unlike so many German cities it was rebuilt with all egards the city had before. Every three steps you see another, beautifully restored building, mostly with all old natural stones they could find after the bombings. Near the river Elbe there was some kind of gig or festival going to happen, there were known buildings like a stage and a backstage area and the fencing. We decided to duck into a Biergarten and sit in the shade watching the nervous sellers and relaxed ticket-owners pass by. Turned out Die Ärtze would perform, no idea what they played. Later on we heard some poppy, maybe little rocky band play some very well known songs. We ate in the centre of the city and roamed the place for a nice Irish pub, rock café but we didn’t expect to end up in the coolest metal bar I went to over the years: Heavy Duty! The bar has an extensive collection of (Dresden or Chemnitz) poster announcements of the coolest bands around: AC/DC (Highway to Hell tour, 1979!), Judas Priest (1984 Defenders tour), Metallica (with Cliff and Anthrax on it), Slayer (Reign in Blood tour), Motörhead, Death, Macabre, Sinister, too many to mention. Beer = Beck’s from tap, over 25 brands on bottle (including Nathan’s favorite Newcastle Brown Ale ). I wished I had a teleporter machine… Book the same hotel, don’t have to use a pick to clean the shower afterwards
But Dresden, though absolutely amazing, wasn’t our final goal. No. That would be the Ramones museum in Berlin or the Brandenburger Tor. We took showers and a breakfast and drove off to Berlin. I thought it would be a trip around 3, maybe 3,5 hours, but that was until we reached the city itself. From ring to ring this city is bigger than the entire province Utrecht in Holland!3 million inhabitants, stretching 38 km by 28 km… In afternoon jam… got to a hotel and parked the car. Checked in, off. We claimed ourselves tourist again, wandered around, took the tourist bus (not the tram lane ) making pictures we could never be sure they worked out at all. Brandenburger Tor was worth it, also the Reichstag, the Jew Monument, the Victorian statue [including cannons that were captured and bathed in gold after a battle] Couple of beers on the square next to the 37 store hotel (we were on 35th floor) Tijmen got bad news by SMS: we instantly decided to drain our beers and take our position at the window of the 35th floor room, looking over the city. We plundered the room fridge and fell asleep. Taking pictures of the city before breakfast we were going to walk to the Ramones museum, but it was CLOSED!! Unlike their website announced, the museum/bar opened at noon instead of 10 AM. I knew it would be a 800 km drive Berlin-Westwoud, so I decided we wouldn’t wait for the museum to open. I picked up the car but I had to do my old hobby again: take the wrong turn, we nearly ended up at the Polish border [we also could have gone to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Berlin on, but that turned out to be an extra 550 km drive and back. I decided not to]. Tom already warned us the situation on the road near Hannover would be terrible, but after one detour (Polish border being announced instead of Hamburg/Hannover) I had no choice to await the traffic jam. It took nearly two and a half hours to get passed Hannover but from then on it was pedal to the metal. We were around the clock in the car. Handing the boys over to their moms was great, but I didn’t linger. I wanted to sort out my laundry (I think I completely wetted four shirts with sweat, losing more than a gallon of water) before bedtime. Shower later. Laundry later. Couple of beers out of the freezer, MRU update and off to bed.
Brutal Assault 2012 and roadtrip are over. Will I return to Brutal Assault? Yeah, I think so. The location was ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, the sound was superb, the lineup great, even though I/we missed so many bands. Not too expensive (early bird) tickets, VIP camping for € 15 wasn’t that necessary afterwards, but the thought of a cleaner toilet than on the festival site is hard to put to cash. Beer for € 1,20 for 0,4 liter of Budvar. Several brands of beer and food in the city. Why different Budvars on the site? New friends. Where’s Mars? Big plus: the festival isn’t that big. 10,000 visitors or something. Big minus: e-tickets bash. All and all: great!! Thanks to Tom for wanting to go, thanks to Eva for driving and being Eva. Thanks to Mike, Daniel, Ramona, Axel, Tijmen and Kees for sharing this unique event with me. Thanks to Nathan for friendship and beers. We’ll meet again!
Voda! Pivo! Metal! Tak!