H A R K & KEN Mode Tour Diary: Part 1

By on 3 October 2014

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Welsh progressive sludge rockers H A R K are currently tearing it up across Europe alongside Canadian noise rock heroes KEN Mode. They’ll be hitting the UK in just over a week, but until then, you can catch a glimpse into life on the road as vocalist/guitarist Jimbob Isaac checks in with an exclusive tour diary…

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Sept 24/25th – Amsterdam, NL
*AMSTERDAMAGE!*

With our tour comedian Garret Jameson already in tow, H A R K blitzed the M4 corridor, traversed the channel and steam-rolled to Amsterdam, Schipol airport to collect the KEN Mode gents. Their eyes a-gawk at the somewhat compact Sprinter van we have, compared to the seemingly vast boats-on-wheels they use at home. “Welcome to hell,” I said. “Now quit your whining!” The Amsterdam-ians were generous in their good vibes and we gave it back to them with high energy sets. Garrett wrapped the show with his stand up set, anchoring the ‘FUN’ motif of this tour. Start as you mean to go on. Taking in the tourist night-sights after the show was enlightening (eye-popping), with street pizza and waffles to finish. A real happy ending.

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Sept 26/27 – Oss, NL & Copenhagen, DK
*OSSUM!*

The Canadian/Welsh Union is proving strong already, despite starting out on a minus-sleep schedule. A quick skip to Oss and the über welcoming Groene Engel, and show no.2 sweats, spits and purges over all in attendance. A scant sleep at the The Den Handwijzer, affectionately re-dubbed ‘The Hand Shandy’ or if you’re from Swansea, ‘Hand Shandeez’, and we take on the 9hr drive to Copenhagen. Van discussion has ranged from critiques on Werner Herzog and progressive black metal, to ‘The Poop Game – The Movie Edition’. Winning entries have included ‘Operation Dumbo Drop’, ‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Tremors’, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘The Nutty Professor’. Copenhagen delivered with an amazing crowd, and our local partners in chaos Förtress, helped out as openers. With the rotating headliner deal, H A R K topped the night to mosh pit and windmill head banging in full effect. Garrett also slayed with his mid-bill stand-up routine, making this he best night so far. Tak CPH!

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Sept. 28/29 – Flensburg DE & Aarhus, DK
*CARROTMARES!*
Volksbad (Folks Bath) venue, an awesome club run by great people. Formerly baths for the people of Flensburg until 1973. The matinee show delivered and we were pre-rewarded with an early and lengthy sleep in the apartment upstairs. Pre-rewarded that is, for the 10hr night drive after tonight’s show in Aarhus, DK to Brussels. Perks of the job? Trial by fire, dues getting paid…and they never stop. Evidence of suspiciously placed carrots in the bedrooms, suggested potential night time relief, but it could just be lessons in Candian/Welsh sexual education. Or the residual nightmares of 7 sexually frustrated males in a van.

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Sept. 29/30 – Aarhus, DK & Brussels, BE
*THE JACKON SEVEN*

After another slamming show at Backstage in Aarhus, we bid fair well to the Förtress animals, and set off for our 12 hour night drive to Brussels. Tour comedian Garrett took the helm, and we staged our own inter-van rave/flash mob, to local radio euro pop. Jimbob slept up front, catching flies and impressing himself with his own level of slumber. While everyone took multiple rest stops and one driver swap. It was a slog, but we were greeted at our final bathroom stop by the holy vision of a 50ft Michael Jackson statue, with surrounding shrine. It’s at the only ‘Rock n’ roll McDonalds’ in the Netherlands, and it was an assuringly bizarre sight to behold. An oasis of pop-cultural oddity, after a night of lucid dreams and healthy road-pounding. Showtime. We helped the Magasin 4 venue in Brussels, celebrate their 20th anniversary and we treated to a solid crowd and ample hospitality.

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Oct 1/2nd – Orleans & Nantes, FR

The Astrolab in Orleans greeted us with another high standard set up, and the kind of catering that made us feel apologetic for being such bums. Helmet had also just passed through, and given the same compliments to the chef. “Best food on tour!”. The show was kicking and the people of Orleans gave as good as they got.
Just arrived at Le Ferraileur in Nantes, and the riverside venue is giving us some much needed sea air, in preparation for tonight’s 11hr night drive to Barcelona. Not much rest for the wretched. It was a sweaty drive today, and we expect the grease to flow free as we head south.

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The full list of remaining tour dates is as follows:

03 Oct 14 Barcelona (ES) Razzmatazz
06 Oct 14 Toulouse (FR) Saint des Seins
07 Oct 14 Montpellier (FR) Black Sheep
08 Oct 14 Milano (IT) LoFi
09 Oct 14 Innsbruck (AT) PMK
10 Oct 14 Chemnitz (DE) AC17
12 Oct 14 Liège (BE) La Zona
13 Oct 14 Brighton (UK) Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
14 Oct 14 London (UK) The Black Heart
15 Oct 14 Bournemouth (UK) Anvil
16 Oct 14 Nottingham (UK) The Chameleon
17 Oct 14 Glasgow (UK) Audio
19 Oct 14 Swansea (UK) Garage

You can find H A R K and KEN Mode on Facebook.

About Kez Whelan

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