Friday, 13 August 2010: Snake’s theory was that the date had something to do with Blacky’s bass breaking down during ‘Experiment,’ quickly followed by Dan’s guitar malfunctioning during the same song. Band and crowd took the temporary breakdown in stride. It didn’t matter and besides, it was nothing compared to the various setbacks this band has seen over the years.
At times the set missed a certain flow: sandwiching the airy, groovy elegance of ‘The Unknown Knows’ and ‘The Prow’ between the mud-splattered opening assault of Voivod and subsequent Ripping Headaches made for some whiplash-inducing leaps backward & forward through space and time. After surviving ‘Nuclear War,’ however, ‘Astronomy Domine’ was quite soothing.
Ruyter Suys from touring mates Nashville P had been on and off the stage throughout the set indulging her inner thrash freak and she led the crowd in a fired-up chant for an encore. The band obliged and returned with a rough and tumble version of ‘Nothingface.’
This was my second time seeing them in an intimate club setting in the 21st century and having room to see (and breathe) is still very much a novel experience. When I close my eyes I’m sandwiched somewhere in the first five rows of a non-stop headbanging mass while the rest of the entire floor is a giant seething pit with bodies launching from the stage. But when I open them the only thing I see in the air are camera phones, not combat boots. Another whiplash-inducing leap through space and time.
And so much for my theory about living in Holland means no more Voivod live logistic problems.
First, I have to rush out right as the final note of the unplanned encore (‘Nothingface’) fades in order to catch the last intercity train. Oh well, at least I managed to see the entire set and not get stuck in Noord Brabant.
Insert favorite pun here: stranded in Helmond, ring Satan’s bell; I have been to Helmond and back; I don’t want to be born, I don’t need it, leave me in Helmond; see you in Helmond my friend…
Okay, that’s enough.
Second, aside from a fantastic rendition of ‘Tribal Convictions,’ the ‘best’ part of the night is acting like a blithering idiot in front of Away. I don’t care about autographs or signed posters or tickets or records, but his book is so beautiful I thought it would be nice to have him sign my copy. I was looking forward to the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed reading all the stories that go along with the many eras of the band and discovering interesting details about the creative process and the various covers and booklet art.
I was aware that the band often hangs out at the merch table after the show, but knowing that getting the last train would be a close call I was hoping to get my copy of “Worlds Away” signed before the show. I go inside but all I see is a handful of thrashers in the bar sporting various faded holey Voivod shirts from past tours patiently waiting out the thunderous Nashville P set. I go back outside. I’m on the phone with the man, hanging back from the entrance, when all of a sudden I see Away walking towards the club.
I shyly approach him, fumbling with my bag trying to remove the book, and murmur something unintelligible. He’s totally nice, soft spoken, friendly, super flattered that I bought his book. “Would you like me to sign eet?” he asks in that wonderful Quebec accent.
All I can manage to blurt out is: “Remember back in the early days, King from Deceased would call you guys up when he was at a party at someone’s house when their parents were out of town? I was at one of those parties…”
After listening to Voivod for 25 years and never having had an opportunity to talk to Away, a musical and artistic hero, this is what I come up with?
He laughs and nods and says, “Yes, yes! Great! Ah, Keeng…we saw heem in New York earlier theez year, he came to see us when we played with Kreator!”
I mumble something about not having seen anyone from the old days in over
15 years because I moved & eventually settled here, bla bla bla — oh help me Rhonda, where is the trapdoor button, I’d like to fall into the center of the earth now.
Instead, I babble something about Roadburn & say that I had been hoping that Voivod would play this year’s festival but it didn’t happen but I still hope they will be able to play next year.
He nods, “Aaah…yes, Roadburn! When eez that?”
“Here,” I say. “I mean, the Netherlands, not here-here, but in Tilburg.”
(ummmm, I believe the correct answer should have been “April 2011”)
Oh my god, what is wrong with me?
He’s holding the book, pen poised, and I try to explain how to spell my name: “It’s eye eee, not eee why…”
(why not just write, “To the silly rambling fool”?)
Away, writing in earnest concentration: “Ahhh…Lessss…leee. Ell, eee, ess, ell…eye, eee?”
Now they *definitely* need to play Roadburn so I can meet him again and engage in sophisticated intellectual discourse all about art, world politics and technology.
Or just have another laugh about those rowdy phone calls during suburban keg parties way back when…
This entry was posted on Monday, August 16th, 2010 at 9:35 pm and is filed under 2010, Interviews, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.