When I woke up yesterday afternoon I felt bloody terrible, weak, I had the shakes, felt unclean, knew that I had probably embarrassed myself and just generally looked worried. Steve was nowhere to be seen and I had promised him I would get up in time for lunch. He came back from the beach after a while and we walked back down there to the bar because we had heard there was a band on and Tom (The American/Norwegian guy in our house) told us that they were great and friends of his. They are called Crash Normal. There are three of them. The lead singer is also the lead guitarist. Then there is a woman who plays keyboards until she gets bored and a young guy who plays guitar for a bit then brings out a stand up drum kit and plays that and then swaps with the girl (When she is bored) and plays keyboard while she plays drums. Each song starts off a mess then becomes a song and is then a mess again. They were enthralling. I was standing by the sea, holding a beer, in love with my surroundings, glorying at the view and listening to a Parisian band screaming “Rape! Death! Prostitutes! Revolution! And smiling like little children. It was about 5pm. We hung about down there after they had finished and then we walked up to the pizzeria about half six but they said they weren’t open until half seven.
This was a problem.
The gig was going to be an hour’s drive away, the convoy was leaving at eight and we had been offered a lift in the unpronounceable Danish band’s van which was (We thought) too good an offer to turn down as neither of us wanted to drive ourselves, being typically English. Anyway hunger overcame convoy and we went for a pizza at half seven. Ten minutes later the unpronounceable Danish band came in. Then as we left the odd-looking Swiss people came in and sat down (By themselves, obviously), then on the way out we saw PMB, Sandra and the rest of our neighbours. All I could say to her was “ohhhh” a bit and frankly she looked really embarrassed. I suspected the worse – That I had been a real idiot the night before and now she just wanted me to go away.
We clearly weren’t going to be heading off any time soon and could have stayed for dessert. We wobbled down to the van, got in the van, made faces at a couple of girls from Porto Rico, got out of the van again, made friends with the girls from Porto Rico, walked back up to the apartment to get beer, came back and shared it the with Danes, the girls from Porto Rico, Franco and pretty much anyone who showed up for the next hour, until the rest of the convoy finished their leisurely repast and deigned to let us join them. We set off towards the front of the caravan, got petrol in Flumini where we were joined by Norwegians with odd dreadlocks and beautiful girlfriends, found ourselves at the back of the caravan and lost everyone within minutes because they were in sporty little cars and we were six people in a knackered van also weighed down by a drum kit. It was another mountain pass job and took over an hour and just when we all started saying It cannot be much further it wasn’t and we arrived in the back of end of nowhere at a bar with a big stage outside that was not going to be used, a small, (restricted-view) stage inside that was going to be used and a bewildering beverage ordering system that involved buying a ticket for the drink you wanted then handing the ticket to someone else who then gave you a different drink to the one you had paid for.
I had no idea what bands were playing and more importantly couldn’t find Sandra although PMB assured me she was there. The first band started about eleven, by which time the gig was absolutely mobbed by the young folk of the mountains who were all incredibly handsome/beautiful and stylish and just must have looked at the PPBowls crowd like we were aliens. I don’t know who the band were but they were very fast, very aggressive and the young’uns loved them. Booze was consumed in no particular order but was normally lager or red wine of some description. By the time The Rippers went on the place was a heaving mass of bodies and for some daft reason Steve and I went to the front and got caught up in a huge teenage moshpit that had mingled with the stage and at one point half the band appeared to be in the pogo as well. They were absolutely fantastic. Absolutely. One of these bands that holds an audience, draws them in to their world and keeps them there until the last note and then leaves them crying out for more. For evidence of how close to the front I was, here’s a photo of Paolo the lead singer:
I got another drink then came outside and sat down next to Sandra, who looked a little wary. I said to her “You know I fell in love with you last night” and she gave me a hug and said “I fell in love with you too!”. Now that I was not expecting. Anyway, love established, we went off and spent the rest of the night talking to other people, obviously, although I didn’t get to talk to the interestingly-attired Swiss guys who were definitely around but eluded me stealthily.
At some point I was introduced to a girl called Alexandra who was the drummer in a band called Hangee 5 who are from Sardinia. The lead singer of the band looked so much like Wau! From Wau! Y Los Arrrghs that I spoke to him about the wrong band for fifteen minutes as he looked at me utterly bemused. She was lovely and I agreed to interview her the next day. Then Wau Y Los Arrrghs (pictured below) started and everything went mental. Steve and I again stood at the front but this time weren’t interfered with by young people (which was nice). I didn’t know he was standing next to me and only saw him when they did their last song, “Demoler” which is a cover of the Peruvian garage band "Los Saicos" original from the mid 60s and is terrific. We shouted “Fafafafafafafafa Ja ja Ja JA!” a lot (it’s in the song) and went outside again. I was in dreamland – I had my mate with me, wine in hand, seen a couple of really great bands and obviously looked for Sandra. She was leaving and said to me that we could have a drink at her house when I got back.
I spent the next hour trying to get the Danes to leave but Gavin (The driver) had got pissed and we had to wait for him to sober up. He would also later inform me that one of the locals had wound him up a little resulting in a very near “Kettering moment”. Ha! Now that’s Burton for certain. We got back at 7am. Sandra was asleep (of course), Steve went to bed and I sat up and moaned to myself for a few minutes before hitting the sack myself.