I hadn’t been to a gig since The Story So Far played at Whammy bar back in February (so long ago!!). So I was super pumped to get my dance on to a fantastic line up of punkrock bands, barely 20mins drive from the monastery. Yup, Groezrock was finally here!!
But before it was time to descend on the festival, I discovered that Restorations and The Menzingers were playing a separate show the night before. I had to get there. But how? And that’s when I discovered the untapped potential of my traveller’s superpower: I’m from New Zealand. I jumped on the facebook page and left a note asking if anyone had room for a kiwi to tag along. Boom! A lift to and from the show? Perfect.
Now, I can be the most socially awkward person ever when the stars align. Not only do I hate small talk, I’m just completely useless at it. I know that a good way to break the ice is to complement the person you’re talking to, maybe they have a nice bag or a kickass pair of shoes? But it always sounds so fake when I try for that route, and you really don’t want to sound like a bitch when you first meet someone! So usually after the round of introductions I go rather quite, while internally a maelstrom rages repeating: Say something! What should I say? Say something! But what?? Cue superpower. As soon as someone finds out I’m from New Zealand I suddenly become the most interesting person on the planet and everything else takes care of itself. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, so the guy picks me up and we wait outside for the doors to open. Turns out he’s on the door list and can get me in for free. Score! His friends are also one of the acts for that night, a Belgian post-hardcore band called Campus, so it was cool to meet them and check out some local music.
And then it was time! Restorations were really great, the small venue gave their music an even more intimate vibe. Before playing Quit Jon Louden announced that it was about quitting your job and moving to Belgium. Ha!
But it wasn’t until The Menzingers started their set with I Don’t Want to be an Asshole Anymore that the whole room exploded into chaos. It was bloody fantastic! And unlike back home where I would usually hang back a bit for fear of my safety, I was totally fine jumping straight into the mosh. It seems people in Europe don’t dance to bands by indiscriminately punching and kicking anything in reach. Good job guys. In the middle of the turmoil I was even handed a beer, so that was even kinder! By the time they finished up with The Obituaries I was in a bad need of a shower. But with a grin and the feeling of being pulled through a hedge backwards, I stumbled out of the crush and found my new pal who was ready to take me home.
Giant circus tents loomed in the distance as my bus arrived in Meerhout the following morning. Clutching my time table I wasted no time power walking through the venue, orientating myself with the stage layouts. If I had to run between sets I was not going to get lost. Even though there were a lot of people, I constantly spotted people I recognised from the night before, which made me feel a little less isolated. Not that I minded being alone. I even ran into the guy who’d given me the beer in he mosh and we exchanged brief pleasantries every time we spotted each other.
Compared to similar festivals in Australia, the main differences were the lack of annoying scene kids and the fact that everyone was constantly smoking. Oh, and all the English lads… But all in all I had a blast and bought too much merch and ate a disgusting burger and all the things that you experience at festivals. Including a guy down trou-ing right beside me to show his mates his arse. Cool.
The Menzinges (again)
The Wonder Years
The Lawrence Arms
and La Dispute
In the words of a good friend of mine: It was “gangs as” haha!