“Heart of A Lion” – Travelling with When Walls Collapse: Part 1

You might have heard of When Walls Collapse, as they’ve graced the pages of Cassette Culture a few times before and were the subject of the very first official Cassette Culture Presents video. What follows is the chronicling of events as they unfolded during their summer tour from the perspective of an outsider who came along for the ride to document the entire thing on video: me.

The tour itself was not off to a really good start, as a week before we got word that one of the bookers messed up, booking us to a closed venue. Mind you, this was a venue in Italy on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, so good times guaranteed. The bands interim vocalist and I went into overdrive trying to find venues that would take us on last-minute and contacting tons of bands on tour throughout Europe to see whether we could play a show with them, but more on that later, as there were a few Dutch shows to get through first.

Heat of the Mosh in the Rain
As I missed the first show of the tour in Mukkes, Leeuwarden due to still being abroad, the first day I tagged along with When Walls Collapse was at the Heat of the Mosh event in Musicon, The Hague. Even though in the week going up to Heat of the Mosh, there was some true sun, the day of the event was plagued by constant rain. When Walls Collapse was a last-minute addition to the line-up and they were given the only spot still open, that of opener. That meant a crowd of almost zero, not counting the few bands that were already there. As this was my first, proper show of the tour which I was filming, there was some chaos. Problems with lighting, audio, camera placement, the usual, but it all worked out in the end. It has to be a bummer when you are in a band and you play to an almost empty venue, but the boys made the best out of it and even got some people to sing along during their cover of Comeback Kid’sWake The Dead.

The rest of the day was filled with some big names. The Dutch hardcore scene is definitely growing, and events such as this, with 21 Gun Salute, Meet The Storm and This Ends Tonight as part of their line-up, stimulate this growth. As we had to drive back to Leeuwarden that same night, we missed the biggest band of the night, South-African based Truth and It’s Burden, but we made up for that later during the tour.

German hardcore, freshmen and moonshine
With little sleep and ears still ringing from the day before, it was time to take on the Pulse in Groningen. The thing about this venue is that it is actually a techno-house club and on a Sunday, there is always the risk that nobody comes out to a show. The band themselves were late due to a lot of construction works in and around Leeuwarden. Things like that happen. It’s a good thing they brought some friends, else the venue would have been really deserted.

Before actually playing the show, the band and I were offered a unique look into the world that is freshman introduction at a local fraternity in Groningen. Basically, all the freshmen were wearing some raunchy white shirt that they had to wear to every single fraternity event for three weeks, without being allowed to wash it. They were all sat on the ground, singing the same songs over and over. Fraternity and province anthems were switched with some really bad Dutch music and in a moment of me feeling like a paparazzo, one of the head honcho’s decided to come over and tell us that we’re not allowed to be looking in, much less filming the fraternaties events, because all they were doing is “singing songs and having a good time.” Well, not everyone was having a good time judging from the looks on some of the freshman’s faces.

The show itself went well, same problems with video again. Is it me or do some of these places really need to look at their lighting rigs again? Or maybe it was the doorman’s moonshine that was messing with everyone’s head. Only post-production will tell.

Fish, Ska and Old Guys
Visserijdagen in Harlingen is an annual multi-day ‘festival’ in the coastal city. The thing about Harlingen is that it has a crazy hardcore scene, with their very own Harlingen Hardcore Crew and some of Holland’s finest bands; Manu Armata, Mundane and Sparky’s Revenge.

Harlingen’s very own Hardcore Crew, with members of Mundane, Sparky’s Revenge, When Walls Collapse and Manu Armata.

Even though Harlingen cannot really be considered a home-town for When Walls Collapse, it is close enough to being one, and the crowd that showed up definitely reinforced that statement. I had been told stories of gigs at local rock-venue Lichtboei going crazy during Visserijdagen, but there is only so much one can imagine. First band of the night was 13 Steps, a hardcore band from the city of Leeuwarden. Things already got crazy at that show, but the best (as was proven later) was yet to come.

This show was a godsend (even though I am not a religious man). The lighting was excellent, the audio-mixing was close to perfection and the band really gave it all. “The Visserijdagen have always been something special for all of us, so we always go all out at these shows,” said vocalist Julien Jensen. How all out they went is something that cannot be explained in words, and you will have to wait for Heart of a Lion, the upcoming tour documentary, for that. Suffice it to say that there was not a single person in the venue that stood still.

I know, I know, this part was not really juicy, sexy, or anything else that you expect of a tour blog, and there is a simple explanation for that. Even though these shows were part of the tour, everyone still got to go to their own home at the end of the night. In Part 2, things will be different.

In the mean-time, you can watch the trailer for Heart of a Lion here.

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