Krakow, February 14, 2017



February Krakow. In the midst of winter I am trying to find a tiny bit of an invincible summer. Well, not much snow outside. Not very freezing. Lots of smog instead. Lots of real killing smog. Not killing frost. Smog is everywhere. Unfortunately, in your lungs, too. City babies attacked by smog. And everyone else. That's what I call HARDCORE. Forget septic death. SMOG!

So, even if you're on a Euro Frostbite Tour, you have to face smog first. And here comes a rescue crew. Five Nanooks from up North, currently hiding under the SNFU codename. But before they start smashing the Monster, they receive some help from the two supporting crews.

The first up is a local group called After Laughter. They are just having their second album out and this night is the release night. After Laughter play a very interesting blend of all the best aspects of old school hardcore. Their music is varied, lively and melodic. They try to keep that great tradition alive. They keep the fire burning. Not a bad thing in these cold, cold times. Suffice to say, After Laughter are one of my favourite Polish HC bands ever. Do not stop growing guys!!!

Castet, the second band, came from the Silesia region of Southern Poland. They represent what they call Silesia Attack, their own local variation of hardcore. The band members are all experienced players. I remember their singer Fakir being a bouncing scenester already in the late 80's. Castet are very dedicated guys and have lots of respect for the old school HC, which is cool as any February. They even recorded an EP of covers of 10 pioneering hardcore punk bands (mostly from the early Polish scene) active in the 80's. Their set was energetic and heavy, with songs full of humour, black and sarcastic, talking about the modern day issues.

After another short break here comes the brightest star of the night. A real super nova. Exploding and blasting right in your face. Hey, this super nova is super old as well, as SNFU are a true hardcore legend hailing from Canada, from the very early eighties. Since that time, the glory days, the salad days, the band has gone through changes. They broke up a couple of times but they always rise from the ashes. Again and again, never leaving you alone.

Their leader, singer and the main lyricist, Mr. Chi Pig has been the only permanent member through all these years. People come and go but he is always there. In spite of some health problems, he does not give up, but keeps biting and fighting for the good cause instead. And even though he may not be leaping over the drumkit anymore, his performance is full of passion, dedication and cosmic energy.

SNFU are an international project right now, with band members living in Canada, US and Spain. And the cool guys in the road crew are also scattered from Spain to Belgium to Berlin. The present line-up is Mr. Chi PIg on vocals and witty in between lines, Dirty Kurt Robertson and Randy Steffes on guitars, Dave Bacon on bass guitar and Batikão Est on drums.

The recent team consists of seasoned punk veterans. Dirty Kurt has been in this dirty business since the mid 80's. Some of you might remember him from The Real McKenzies. I also talked to him about our mutual friend from the old days - Ken Jensen, a great drummer with Red Tide and then D.O.A. He died tragically a heroic death while rescuing friends, including Kurt, from a late night house fire. Ken, we'll remeber you forever.

The other guitarist Randy used to be in Gorilla Gorilla with Bif Naked and in The Wongs, Chi's side project. He was also a sound engineer for many bands including Green Day, who BTW played in Krakow last month. Dave played in one of the early SNFU incarnations on If You Swear, You'll Catch No Fish and later contributed some stuff only to return to the band in 2014. In the meantime he worked as a chef for 20 years at the same time playing in the local bands whenever he could afford it. And Bati, the Spanish drummer has been with SNFU for a couple of years now, touring extensively and banging intensely.

Mr. Chi Pig is a singer, a poet and a visual artist. Chi's creative attitude can be noticed instantly. He himself and his eccentric, freaky outfit are pure works of art. Musicwise, apart from SNFU, he had some other projects like Live Sex Shows, The Wongs, Little Joe, Slaveco and his solo act as Mr. Chi Pig.

And although these days he may not be as robust as your electronic Tarzan from Space or a Teenage Ninja from Hell anymore, he still can handle a lengthy set all right. And the audience loves his performance and the kids are all right as well, and that's what it takes.

You can tell Ken has been through a lot of hardcore, I mean HARDCORE, but he has survived and right now is coming to all the good squats near you to spread the true sounds of punk poetry. Some of the pearls Mr. Pig cast before us swine were Drunk on a Bike, Voodoo Doll Collector, Better Than Eddie Vedder, The Ceiling, Questions, Questions, Questions? and many, many more.

The gig was organized by a longtime HC scene activist Pędzel with some help from Kali, another underground activist and a HC musician. Pędzel also runs a cool club called Baza in the city centre. As the club is way too small for any electric events, he decided to put on the show in Warsztat, a rough DIY club, recently the coolest place for independent sounds in Krakow.  



February 15, 2017  (+ updates)   








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