On 13 September 2003 The Boys played in Dusseldorf, Germany headlining the "Soundtrack Of Our Lives" Festival.
Matt Dangerfield gives his account of the weekend with photos from
The Boys in Dusseldorf
I was woken somewhere close to midday on Friday
morning by Honest John telling me we had to leave soonish. John, Duncan
and myself had arrived on the same plane from Stansted the night before.
Vom and Cas (who came on an earlier flight) had picked us up and after
the one hour drive into Dusseldorf we’d been in the Drummin’ Monkey,
Vom’s basement bar till the small hours.
Steve and his mate, Ian arrived and soon after we all
piled into the van Vom had borrowed and went to rehearse. It was the
Hosen’s permanent rehearsal place situated below where Campi lives in
an industrial area of Dusseldorf and it’s the best I’ve ever used.
I’m not overly fond of rehearsing at the best of times but the
Hosen’s set up makes life a lot easier. Everything – amps, drums,
mics, PA – is already set up so all you have to do is plug in and go
and unlike most rehearsal situations you can actually hear the vocals.
Having decided we sounded suitably unrehearsed for a band that only gets together once or twice a year we then set off to do an interview Vom had arranged for Triggerfish, an internet music site. Their offices were a former butcher’s shop and the interview took place in a tiled side room where I think they used to hack up the dead animals. The interview wasn’t to be a carve-up however, it was conducted by a tall affable guy who’d interviewed us in the past for a radio station. The room was so small the cameraman had to sit halfway in a serving hatch and we could only be filmed two or three at a time.
Cas, Matt & Duncan
After the usual chaos, jokes, beer and wildly
differing points of view that constitutes a Boys interview these days we
decided we needed to eat and decamped to a nearby sushi restaurant the
internet guys directed us to.
I think sushi was a first for Steve “I prefer my
fish cooked,” but he gamely if rather unenthusiastically gave it a
bash. For Ian however, I think even chopsticks were a first. Rather than
subject him to the raw fish experience, Vom had ordered him a chicken
and salad dish which he was trying to eat with upside down chopsticks,
one in either hand. A little chopstick coaching was given with no
success and in the end he reverted back to his own style, which at least
occasionally got some food from the plate to his mouth. I think I can
safely bet he will not set foot in a sushi place again.
Sushi aversion therapy for northerners done with we
headed back to do one last run through the set we were going to play on
Saturday. This time Campi popped in to say hello and sit through the
set, which was nice of him – I wouldn’t sit through anyone’s
Honest John Plain
We then headed back to the Drummin’ Monkey with
Campi, who despite being in the middle of a fast (he’d had nothing but
water for four days), said he could manage a couple of beers. Once there
he announced he had a little present for all of us. It turned out he’d
gone into the studio and mastered a CD containing all the tracks that
didn’t make it on to the “Odds And Sods” CD. It was a really nice
surprise and Steve was also chuffed to get a copy. Then Breiti and Andi
from the Hosen joined us and another convivial night in the DM was had
No rest for the wicked. For some reason our
soundcheck on the Saturday was at 12.30 but first we had to pick up
amps, drums, keyboard and guitars etc from the rehearsal place. We were
met there by Kathlene, the Hosen’s excellent guitar roadie, who had
kindly offered to help us out. We eventually managed to squeeze all the
bits and bobs in to the two vehicles.
The venue where we were playing had never hosted a
rock concert before and we had been told the previous night that it was
a sort of tent. Situated in an indescribably ugly industrial area, it
was actually more of a big cowshed with fixed roof and temporary walls.
Inside however, it looked the business with a smallish stage and bars
and food outlets being set up.
We eventually did the soundcheck, which didn’t
sound too brilliant but then they rarely do. That done, we were not due
on stage till 12.30 so everybody headed back to Vom's place except Cas,
John and myself who were dropped off at the Altstadt to find a bar
showing live premiership football. Easier said than done, two or three
bars and an Honest John leather trouser-buying side trip later we
eventually found a bar showing Arsenal v Portsmouth with Dutch
commentary (final score 1-1).
Once back at Vom’s we all headed down to the gig
around eightish. I was soon wishing we had left it a bit later. There
were eight bands on the bill and four hours of waiting to go on stage
was a bit too much for me especially when there was no electricity to
the outdoor portocabins backstage so it was soon pitch black. None of
the bands I saw were particularly memorable except 999 and the Meteors
– 999 because they were excellent (with Arthur from the Lurkers on
bass) and the Meteors because they were absolutely dire. It was stupid
having them second to top on the bill because half the audience had
disappeared to the outside bar by the time they’d finished their set.
Matt, Duncan Cas & John
Anyway, it was nice when they stopped and we were
soon on stage to a fantastic welcome from the Dusseldorf audience and a
largish contingent of Backstage Passers complete with the “I’m only
here for the Boys” banner from Morecambe.
I’ll leave it to
those out front to give a verdict on the gig but the consensus amongst
the band was that it was probably the best gig we’d played since the
old days. Cas was in particularly fine form on the harmonies and organ,
which might explain why he celebrated so enthusiastically afterwards.
Ten minutes (and a bottle of vodka) later he was four sheets to the wind
rolling drunk – Norman Wisdom meets Eric the Viking by way of Pepe le
Phew might give you the picture.
As arranged we met up with the Backstage Passers at
the nearby Tuk Tuk bar, a Thai karaoke place that was completely mad. I
remember Arthur Lurker trying (and almost succeeding) to get a Johnny
Cash tribute going. I remember meeting a few BSPers (thanks for the
drink Paul) and Brieti and Andi from the Hosen but eventually most of us
ended up the more sedate proper drinkers kneipe next door.
It was great to see all the BSPers having a great
time and I’d like to thank them all for coming. I would have liked to
have stayed a bit longer but getting Cas safely back to Vom’s suddenly
became a priority. Special
thanks too go to Vom and Mary for looking after us so well.
All in all it was a great weekend and I look forward to the next time.
Members of "Backstage Pass" pre-gig
Stefan & the "Backstage Pass" banner