A Double Dose of Heatwave Madness: How I Survived Two Launches and Lived to Tell the Tale
First up launch number one in London on February 20:
My better half and I decided to stay in London for the weekend, as we both hadn’t visited in a million years. We were gonna fly out on Friday February 19 to meet with the bunch and go check out the Parkinsons at a Turbojugend gathering. I didn’t know that semi-tongue-in-(butt) cheek cult was still going on, but was looking forward to finally seeing those crazy ass Portuguese guys live. It wasn’t to be though, as our flight was delayed three fucking hours. So we just met with Joseber from Johnny Throttle, who was kind enough to let us crash at his place for the weekend.
The last time I was in London was more than 15 years ago, and I must say that the part of Hackney we were staying in hasn’t change much and is mostly un-gentrified. Huge council estate buildings, cheap fried chicken snack bars… the works. Some people might call it a shithole, but for me who grew up in New Belgrade, Serbia, well it’s a bit like going home.
Anyway, we hit the sack early our first night, so we could stroll around town for a bit. The day started off nice with a very agreeable temperature for late February, but then the inevitable rain showers followed, and we ran to the nearest pub. We were lucky though, as we ended up at the beautifully named Famous Cock Tavern next to Highbury & Islington Station. To make things even better, it was the fifth round of the FA Cup and local favourites, Arsenal, were playing.
Andrea and I have a soft spot for the Gooners and got good seats to enjoy the game. As it was an early kick off, we ordered full English and hit the pints at 11am. As we were gulping down our eggs, bangers, beans and what not they were playing Motown, ska and R&B with an occasional Clash and Dead Kennedys tune thrown in there. I was really digging the place. The game itself was a huge letdown, but we were getting properly oiled up for the evening ahead.
After a short pit stop in Hackney to doll up we were on our way to the Moth Club for the launch party extraordinaire! Man, what a cool place. Moth stands for Memorable Order of Tin Hats, originally a member’s club for military veterans. It now hosts an eclectic mix of entertainment including gigs, film screenings and karaoke nights. The backstage is the Churchill Room, the bar area has a huge painting of General Montgomery and the stage room has a badass wooden dance floor with a glittery ceiling.
On the bill were three cool bands from three different countries. First up Fuzzy Vox from France. This energetic trio blasted off with their mix of garage rock and early Danko Jonesian precision. They’re tight as a tit and their stage delivery is spot on, but at times it got just a bit too technical for my taste. The packed-to-the-rafters club was heating up as the Italians, Human Race, took to the stage. They’re a 77 punk rock band with agro singalongs that remind me of some of my favourite early 80s street punk. These guys delivered a sucker punch of a show. The band was super tight and led by the charismatic singer, Enrico, who fixated the crowd with his maniacal stare.
But just as the crowd was really getting into it and everybody was enjoying themselves, a couple of morons almost spoiled the fun. Me, Andrea and the guys from the Anomalys settled in a nice little lounge area just to the left of the stage when I spotted two guys that stood out of the crowd. Bull necks, nervous looks and just a bit too rowdy with the other punters. As people sort of started to clear from their proximity the two idiots proceeded to bond with me. Just my luck… I do sometimes attract the scumbag type, I must admit. They were downing beers at lightning speed and were checking their phones just a little too often. After about half an hour of bear hugging and semi-intelligent mumbling they were off, but wanted to know I was gonna be there after they returned so we could party some more. Yeah, sure… After the meatheads left I hightailed it to front of the club to hang out it with Heatwave head honchita, Neus. Not to my surprise, I heard later that the two morons were roughing up some guy about supposed debts and the club security politely asked them to take their business elsewhere.
Back to the show! Headlining were my homeboys from Amsterdam, the Anomalys. They are self-proclaimed negative tequila sex rock ‘n rollers. In other words two crazy skinny two meter tall dudes, whirling and humping their guitars, backed by a primitive, groovy beats courtesy of a French drum prodigy Serge (or is he called Remi?). They always deliver and the place went nuts.
As the DJ’s Paula and Jody played some of the coolest records ever made, it was a blast to hang out with so many familiar faces including Joseber, Lucy the Aussie connection, Ika the graphic genius, guys from the Scraps and Los Pepes, and more people doing their best to save rock ’n roll.
But it being London, the place was closing at 1am and we had to get out of there in the hurry. Off we were to an after party at a location that will remain secret, where many more beverages were consumed and many a war story shared.
Amsterdam March 26 Launch Party Number Two:
For a vehicle as ever expanding as Heatwave one launch party wasn’t enough, so a month after the London launch another extravaganza in Amsterdam followed. The setting this time, the premier rock ’n roll night club in town, Pacific Parc. The venue is situated within walking distance from the beautiful bohemian neighborhood of Jordaan and smack in the middle of the cultural area of Westerpark.
During the day and in the evening you can have a bite while listening to surf and exotica and at night it turns into a wild rock ’n roll dance party with the town’s best DJ’s, and underground acts from across the globe.
It heated up late, as they finished dinner and moved the tables out of the way after 10pm. On the bill this time were London cult punk rockers, Johnny Throttle, featuring among others Joseber on guitar and the infamous Afonso of the Parkinsons on vocals.
Afonso is simply the Portuguese premature reincarnation of Iggy Pop. Wiry, wild and covered in old school tats he prowls the stage and launches himself into the audience as the band blast out their 70s punk rock with a mean nihilistic edge. The standouts were the songs from their excellent self-titled 7-inch ‘Lost Sputnik’ and ‘Atomic Reaction’. They closed the set with the Kids’ classic amped up speed boogie ‘I Wanna Get a Job in the City’. Just as the crowd was joining in the singalong the guitar amp blew up. It was unfortunate, but fittingly punk rock.
Gilian from the Anomalys took over the DJ-ing duties as the mass of sweaty bodies filled the dancefloor. Old punk rockers mixed with new thrill seekers, horny twenty somethings and local freaks all danced and shot the shit till closing time at 4am. Johnny Throttle had to board their Lost Sputnik for an early morning flight, others had to get back to their families and the like, but yours truly, Neus and her love interest, Francisco, joined Bone of the Anomalys in an epic rain soaked bike ride to yet another secret location for an enlightening chat on all things Las Vegas and mountain bikes. Sounds strange and slightly psychedelic, maybe. Well, it was.
On to Heatwave number three, folks. I’ll be there to roll with the punches and tell you all about it.