H A R K & KEN Mode Tour Diary: Part 2

By on 13 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, and they’re touching down in Brighton tonight to begin the UK leg of the tour (they’ll also be calling at London, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Glasgow and Swansea this week). If you’re wondering how the rest of Europe treated them, check out the second part of vocalist/guitarist Jimbob Isaac’s exclusive tour diary…

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Oct 3/4/5 – Barcelona/Madrid
TEQUERO! TEQUERO!

The night drive tore through our sleepy souls, like a sub-aqua slow dive into darkness. Resurfacing, unscathed and able at the Razzmatazz venue for day two of Ritual Cvlt festival, where sonic purgery and after show sanctuary was to be found. I exhibited some original ‘Crystalline’ artwork, and both H A R K and KEN Mode caught up with the Season Of Mist crew. Our only off-day of the tour ensued after welcome sleep at the hostel. Once laundry and slow progress with hostel staff was done with, team H A R K/Mode hit Gaudi’s epic Sagrada Familiar, sublime Güel park and the historic Barri Gothic. Everyone’s legs seem to be experiencing general fatigue, and the off day didn’t provide that much rest. When in…BCN though, right? Another reasonable sleep at the hostel (despite sharing with younger backpackers/amateur drinkers) and the beautiful Spanish country side accompanies us all the way to Madrid. The snug Barracudas bar welcomed us to the city. The show was kicking and the party-time crowd ensured that both H A R K and the ‘Mode witnessed crowd surfers during our sets. Scant sleep at a downtown hostel, and we hit the road at 8am for our 9hr trek to Toulouse. Passing by the Bay of Biscany is a wonder, and reminds me not to take advantage of the sights that touring affords us.

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Oct 6/7 – Toulouse & Montpellier
TO WIN TOULOUSE!

Surprisingly, the van radio is providing us with enough local stations to add welcome comedy value to our drives. Picking up some budget CD compilations has also proved itself as a shrewd move. Greatest hits by The Beatles, The Animals and James Brown, with their pixelated cover artwork and live bootleg qualities, have given us good-time soundtracks and several points for critiques and japes. The Beatles have ranked last, with The Animals and James Brown owning the top spot in the general van consensus. “Can you feeeeeeeel me?!” The Toulouse crowd was a mixed and attentive bunch, and the H A R K/Mode touring machine kicked it once again. Combining bills with the Yob/Pallbearer gig happening elsewhere in the city tonight, was apparently mooted and would have been a crusher to combine. Alas, the French rock bureaucracy deemed it a no-go scenario. Next time, Mike and co, next time. The Black Sheep in Montpellier, along with its beautiful evirons greeted us with uniqueness and good vibes. When you enter a club, you can often tell how good the show will be. I’m sure the walls soak up the residue of gigs past, and The Black Sheep oozes greatness. This place sells 250 beers, and we managed to sample some of their finest. Montpelier has a great scene and it was the best show of the tour for me, so far. A real punk vibe with a super interactive and appreciative crowd.

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Oct 8/9 – Milan and Innsbruck
ALPINE DIVINITY

After Montpelier’s awesome high point of a show, the reality of relentless scheduling hits us with an early start from our budget hotel. Up off the prison bunks and into the can (van). Another gruel-er to Milan, and we rock the industrially surrounded Lo Fi venue. Our sound man for the night Otto provided dwellings and charming company. Humbled, we flee Milan’s foggy climes to pass through the Alps for Innsbruck. Like a religious transcendence, elevating through the Alpine mountains was a sight for sore souls. One last flavour of Italy was the service station selling guns, sex toys and decorative skulls before sunny Innsbruck welcomed us with its crisp air, cool people and good coffee. Much like Montpelier, Innsbruck’s PMK venue has a great scene surrounding it, and great people making it. The show is kicking once again, we bid fair well to our gracious hosts, get good rest at the hotel and embark for Chemnitz.

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Oct 10/11 – Chemnitz & Leipzig
SQUAT OR ROT

Our German shows are a welcome change to more DIY environs. It’s always fun to mix things up and get intimate. We played a rehearsal room in Chemnitz to a sweaty throng of appreciative punks and metallers alike, with great hosting and food from our new friend Martin. Having played Zoro in Leipzig on an off-night during the Clutch tour in 2013, we knew what to expect. This long running punk house has amazing vegan food (we’re all meat eaters, but it still ruled), super cool promoters and a busy Saturday night party crowd. The H A R K/Mode touring machine smashed it once again, and apart from arguing with some PC punk police about being sexist for selling ‘girly’ t-shirts (really??!) Zoro notched itself as one of the best shows on tour so far.

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The full list of remaining tour dates is as follows:
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
18 Oct 14 Sheffield, South Sea
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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