Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Van Pelt + Fargo Reunion Tour

May 2012. It's a warm Sunday afternoon in Williamsburg, New York and I'm in a bar, drinking a beer - it's likely to be a San Miguel - and catching up with a friend I haven't seen for a very long time because of an ocean dividing us.

"Don't you think it's time for the Van Pelt to reunite? I know for a fact people in Europe would go crazy if you toured the Old Continent"
" Well yes, maybe at some point ...we have been kind of asked already... but I am not sure people even know who we are nowadays".
"You kidding??? Do it and you won't be disappointed" I replied, but we cut it short as I had the certainty he was just pandering me and there's nothing worse than bothering someone about their former disbanded band.

Unexpectedly, two years after that conversation, The Van Pelt released what would have been their third album back in the late 90's and announced a few summer shows in Europe: Italy, London and Spain.

The news itself was already enough to make my heart beat like a speeding train, but they all come at once, and I soon learned that Fargo, our local heros from Pordenone, would have reunited and played as well with The Van Pelt on their 2 Italian gigs.

The choice was hard to make but I've been waiting [for] you for hours and hours and hours, so despite being a dirty job I had to do it: pack my stuff and fly back to Italy was the only possible option to me.
Because We Are 98.

The Italian shows have just happened and, as if I were teenager again, I can now only feel the nostalgia for the days just gone.
Until the next one.

Below some videos I recorded in Conegliano and Marina di Ravenna.

The Van Pelt

Baggy Fargo
Skinny Fargo
[O tempora, O mores!]

Pastel Drawing
@ Apartamento Hoffman, Conegliano.

Me And My Half
@ Apartamento Hoffman, Conegliano.

I Won't Be Back
@ Hana-Bi, Marina di Ravenna

Yamato (Where People Really Die)
@ Apartamento Hoffman, Conegliano.

The Threat
@ Apartamento Hoffman, Conegliano.

The Betrayal
@ Apartamento Hoffman, Conegliano.

My Bouts With Pouncing
@ Hana-Bi, Marina di Ravenna

His Saxophone Is My Guitar
@ Hana-Bi, Marina di Ravenna

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stellina. Live in Pordenone, 1997.

Forgotten and obscure videotapes sometimes arise from dusty shelves like precious relics.

In the last paragraph of this old post I mentioned a secret-ish Stellina show (and a few other local bands) in their reharsal room, back in 1997.
During that cold night, what was somehow supposed to be an intimate private gig, turned into the Saturday night event for all the youngsters in town. Maybe that's why we all remember it so well.

Over a year ago, during one of my periodic homecoming, my friend Ivan informed me there was actually someone holding a videotape of that night.
The mission was going to be difficult, although not impossible: retrieve the VHS, borrow it from the owner, and digitize it.
When you have such idea in mind, and you actually live in two different countries and you also have to involve other people to do the dirty job, it could take years and years to reach your aim.
Sure enough, almost two years have gone and only part of the VHS has been correctly transformed in a digital format.

For the time being enjoy Stellina full set, more or less 15 mins of 90's emocore.

Many thanks go to Ivan and to Giorgio who kindly lent the VHS.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Pordenone series n° 2: TODIEFOR live

June 2001 @ Drugstore*
Lignano, Friuli, Italy.
Not one Word and To Die for played a killer show.

This is To Die For's full set.

This is just what used to happen at any TDF gig.

Thanks to Fabietto.

* Date and venue in the video are not correct. Lots of witnesses confirm.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pordenone series: Amon + Members Of Parliament

Put Pordenone on the map. This little piece of land: close to the mountains, close to the sea, close to Venice, any foreigner could think of it as an ideal place to live.
What an undeniable truth when you are in the age of retirement!
However, I am admittedly glad I grew up in that town rather than in any other city or village of the far north-eastern area of Italy: in fact, compared to the collective sadness that distinguishes the surroundings, Pordenone had several blooming seasons, especially in the decades 1980 and 1990.

I have already posted about Stellina, and I feel 2 other bands can be associated to them: Amon and the Members Of Parliament.Not only the same hometown is the reason for such linkage, but also the sharing of some members, and some sort of continuity between the three bands, as if each one were the natural prosecution of the previous one.The same short-existance and obscurity can be mentioned at last.

1997: While Stellina was about to disband, one of their members, Davide and 3 other friends, gave birth to Amon, a four-piece band influenced by Maximillian Colby, Sleepytime Trio, Four Hundred Years, Shotmaker, The Hal Al Shedad.Despite a couple of line-up changes along the years, they recorded a demo tape - never released and lost in someone's house - in summer 1998, and their self titled cd with Azzali (Burning Defeat's bass player) in 1999, released on Otto Records.

Amon, 2000

In the meantime new listenings were influencing their sound: Slint, Don Caballero, Hoover and Tortoise among many, and, according to this transformation, in 2000 they were ready to compose some new songs.Which would have sounded pretty much like this track.
Recordings though, were always deleterious for Amon and in 2001 their adventure together was over.

Band: Amon
Title: s/t
Label: Otto Rec.
Year: 1999
Genre: old school emo/ post rock
Location: Pordenone, Friuli
Related bands: Members Of Parliament, Stellina, Pain, Dejligt, Olek, Circlesouth

1. Nemesis
2. 10th September

3. While You Watch All The Keys Are Guaranteed

4. Different Frequences

5. ***

6. Sequencer


A new chapter for three of them, had already started in 1999/2000: signed up Baloo (already drummer in With Love and Stellina, and now Smart Cops' singer) on the mic, they bought a stock of black clothes and, riding the wave of the surf-ish punk hc along the lines of the GSL sound, became the (official) five Members Of Parliament.The album was recorded in 2002 and was meant to be released on Heroine Records as a split with To The Ansaphone.Due to unclear reasons, such as a significant line-up change and some label's issues, the album was never released.An appearance at the Dance Of Days Festival in 2002 gave them national notoriety, even though they soon disappeared at the same speed that brought them to be much talked about.

Band: Members Of Parliament
Title: n/a
Label: unreleased
Year: 2002
Genre: surf synth punk
Location: Pordenone, Friuli
Related bands: Stellina, Amon, Olek, With Love, Smart Cops, Man On Wire

Members Of Parliament.rar

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Not One Word, Daybreak 7"

When you grow up in a dead-end seaside town in the upper Adriatic Sea, which in summertime is completely invaded by low class turists (the definition of low class is as follows: young people of the nearby areas whose main activity is working 500 hours a week in order to spend 7 days a year in the mentioned village, doing pretty much nothing; families and aged tourists from Germanic countries) whilst in wintertime the population is wiped out and the few locals find themselves living in a deserted place, miles away from any hint of civilization, only two options occur to you, young man.

1. Spending your nights and days at the only open bar, drinking (good and cheap) red wine, while embracing a future of alcoholism.
2. Drinking flavoured orangeades in a rehearsal room and playing fast hardcore.

If a Straight Edge scene developed in Lignano, the said uncomfortable area, it's no surprise, or maybe this is just a romantic interpretation of some incidental occurrences.

'Each day we dare to express our potentiality by staying drug free, we take a stand against what has got the power to reduce this youth's will to slavery and so I'll show you that there is more than just an X on the back of my hand. '

Until 1998-1999 there was just a band in Lignano called Silen playing some sort of new school hardcore ala Unbroken and Chokehold, then the firestorm spread, originating two music waves within the same circle of friends: the hardcore metal mosh wing (From The Dying Sky, that later will become The Secret abandoning the xedgex in a forgotten drawer) and pursuing a more drastic vegansxe attitude, and the smoother but still politically committed old school hc wing (Best Of Times).

Not One Word was born in 2000 from the ashes of Best Of Times when Nicola from To Die For joined the band.
They had some line up changes and released a 7" in 2002 on Head X On Rec, worth to circumnavigate the whole peninsula from east to west and to reach the civilized hinterland, before calling it quits in 2003.

Fond of Magnum, P.I. (the last song on the B side, Aloha State, is a revisited cover of its theme song), their splitting up featured an anecdote worthy of their favourite detective tv show.

"The day we decided to split up, Fede, Nasty and I [Pier] met up to talk about the actual state of the band. It was a dark and foggy evening and we were hanging around along the docks in Lignano. All of a sudden we heard a thud, something fell down the water, and straight after a woman screamed: a man slipped in the sea while trying to take his previously-fallen-into-the-sea dog back. We run there and saved the guy by grabbing him with a makeshift rope, whilst the dog managed to get out the water by itself. The woman never stopped screaming, it was a pleasant background noise during our heroic act."

Band: Not One Word
Title: Daybreak 7"
Label: Head X On Rec.
Year: 2002
Genre: Hardcore Old School
Location: Lignano (Udine), Friuli

1. Face The Music
2. Never Been So Clear
3. Your Ruin - There's No Discovery
4. Shall We Point The Way
5. Against The Sun
6. Aloha State
7. Outrun [demo track]

Friday, 23 December 2011

Roccu and The Pop Anarchist

I am at my parents' these days, the Christmas routine is getting underway: old records are waiting to be played again and compulsory yearly steps can't be skipped!

A white cd-rom wrapped up in a red home printed cover is found hidden on a shelf: Roccu and the Pop Anarchist, and it's a flashback of about 10 years.

I suddenly find myself in a little village called Moglia in Emilia Romagna at the second (or third?) edition of the DanceOfDays festival organized by one of the most emo kids of all times: Simone from Modena, also known as Scrimo.

As the story goes once Scrimo had listened over the telephone a song played by A Couple, a side (electronic) project formed by Rocco Rampino and Luca Fontaneto, and got so excited that he decided to make them play the upcoming festival.

Their main official and/or former bands were La Quiete and The Death Of Anna Karina (Rocco) and One Fine Day (Luca) but their friendship and artistic esteem were so big that they shared several other short-lived projects together, such as The Diamond Sea (an all star band with members of La Quiete, By All Means, The Death Of Anna Karina and other unforgettable personalities - Hey Arash! Hey Boris!- of those times), the above mentioned A Couple, and last but not least the side-side electronic project called Roccu and The Pop Anarchist which came to life and died with that very super diy record.

So A Couple performed at DanceOfDays Fest that day and for the occasion 50 copies of this cd were recorded and printed to be given to friends for free.

'That music never went out of our bedrooms, we never performed live' explains Luca.

'I totally forgot I made that record. Well now I do remember, but it's something which slipped my mind' says Rocco "If I am not wrong my track was recorded at my parents' in Lecce (Puglia, South of Italy) during Christmas holidays, then masterized at Luca's. In the early Noughties I moved up north (Forlì/Bologna) to go to uni, so I was obliged to record my stuff all in once, anytime I had the chance to go back to my hometown: at that time I did not even own a personal computer!
I downloaded a software which I still use nowadays to make music, Reaktor, and I recorded anything that came out at my first attempt. I don't remember much more about that record, I think Luca convinced me to release it on the occasion of the DanceOfDays festival and give it away for free...(At that time) We used to play together in The Diamond Sea, and this was meant to be a side project but then anything seemed like a side project in my eyes and just the fact that Luca was involved into it meant huge excitement and a short life ---> Roccu and the Pop Anarchist= 1 record. A couple= 1 show. The Diamond Sea= 1 track recorded and 5 shows.'

'Hey side projects are short-lived by definition!' replies Luca.

Okay Luca, do not take it personally, that way you passed into legend!

Band: Roccu + The Pop Anarchist
Title: s/t
Label: self released
Year: 2002
Genre: electronic / Warp
Location: Forlì (Emilia Romagna) + Novara (Piemonte)
Related Bands: La Quiete, One Fine Day, The Death Of Anna Karina, The Diamond Sea, A Couple, Le Ceneri, Hot Gossip, A Fog In The Shell, Mouth, Congorock

1. Why Do Children Die? (Roccu)
2.Cheetah Chrome Mutherfuckers (TPA)
3.Heading Down South (TPA)
4.Will You Ever Date Me? (TPA)