Nurse the Hate: The Freedom of Belgium
I am in a bunk bed under a heavy blanket and comforter. It’s cold, but then again everywhere on the continent is cold. While Europe is old and charming, it is also cold and drafty. I don’t understand why everyone I meet does not have a runny nose. Despite being very physically tired, I can’t sleep very well. I am motionless in my warm cocoon and afraid to move even the slightest bit due to the fear of warmth leaking out. I wait until 8:30 to get into the shower and freeze my ass off the entire time.
The B&B is a farmhouse built in 1675. That is slightly older than my house. A house built in 1675 is hard for me to wrap my head around. That we are sleeping in a place that was built when the Pilgrims were killing off Indians with small pox blankets is pretty crazy. A hippie family operates a loose B&B out of their home here. We had met the daughter Ginger earlier last night when we picked up the keys. She is a 23 year old snarky redhead with birthing hips that could drop a child at 10am and play some squash at 2. Her mother Letta makes us the ubiquitous Euro breakfast of cold cuts, rolls, cheese, and eggs. She is a genuinely nice soul, and we have some interesting conversation about all kinds of topics. She really has carved out a nice life for herself here. The house is all impossible staircases and angles, and the family has lovingly restored the entire thing. In what was the barn they have created a stage and live performance space where their band, which translates to something like “Shades of Gray” practices. I want to stress that she has an absolute heart of gold and I really like her, but I am positive that the band is a horrifying mix of bongos, noodling guitar solos, pointless bas solos, and esoteric lyrics concerned with soulmates, sea birds, and spirit guides. Once again, she is really really nice…
We make the drive to Lembeke Belgium to a show our old friend Bux has set up. Bux is the man. He has set up a number of shows over the years, and they are always in different weird venues and combine all the positive attributes of chaos, madness, and good crowds. Today the show is at Denele Muzik Café. It’s a real scene over there. The place is old and cozy with lots of weathered wood and old brick. Ben, the owner, loves gypsy music and seems like one of those guys that has some personal philosophy created by an odd collision of Eastern Mysticism, peyote trips, sweat lodge visions, be-bop jazz, and used car lots. He is enthusiastic and very welcoming. As we load in he points out the Mongolian yurt he has set up in his back garden with stray chickens running around it. When he gives me a tour he tells me that they like to have a storyteller come by on full moons and sit in a tribal circle. Like I said, it’s a real scene…
The club fills in which is great since it is 2:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday. Lots of people with dogs, interesting facial hair, and even babies seem to drink powerful trappist ales and cut loose. Sugar is all in and grabs a monster 11.5% alcohol ale and exclaims, “After this I don’t need a coat anymore!” With that alcohol content she might be right.
The set is weird. We are asked by Ben to play 2 sets, which is not our usual flow. We break after 30 minutes. My mic isn’t working for some reason, so I have to use the house PA. Everything sounds kinda fucked up, but some people are focused in. We take a break, and drink a gnome beer. The next set is better, and we get Ben to sit in and play sax on Greasy Box. Great success. It’s really a good time here, and I regret having to leave. People are really cool and nice.
Our second show of the day is at the Ace Café in Rumst. We have played here a number of times over the years and it’s a great club. Chris, the owner, is an excellent guy and big supporter of the Daredevils. Allegedly he plays us on the PA every day. The small club has all kinds of Americana decorations and looks like a Hard Rock Café really should look. This is a well run place that is a must stop for us.
We set up and I can instantly tell we are too loud. I feel really bad about the poor people at the bar directly in front of us as their heads are about to melt off. It is like sticking your head into a 747 engine while covered in flames. I throw a little fit and the stage volume comes down a little bit. Thanks to the comparison from earlier, we really seem like we are somewhat acceptable. The last half of the show is OK. I wish we could have been better for Chris.
We head over to the Minimum security prison youth hostel in Mechelen where Chris has some kind of deal worked out. While on the way, Christoph gets pulled over for a U-turn and one of the most attractive police officers on the planet steps out and gives us the Evil Eye. She is petite, natural blonde, with absolutely perfect curves. How in the hell did she end up a cop? Without question, she would immediately become the most attractive woman in Ohio if she hopped on a plane. She would have to deal with her obvious anger issues based on the amount of evil coming our way from her.
We buy some shitty snacks and beers to wrap up the night. While most of you are swinging by a 7-11 to get a Mickey’s Big Mouth, we walked in and scored rare trappist ales. Gary silently disappears to his room while Sugar/Leo hang out in Christoph and my room. It’s really late and we have been knocking back Belgian Ale all day. We have to be up at 10:00…