Flanders followed the tradition of organizing nationalist gigs and this year they surprised us with an interesting line-up. Among the faces, we already knew from the parties in Bulgaria during the previous years, this time the guests were able to see Kriegsberichter (GER) and Green Arrows (IT). But before we go on the details about the venue and the bands’ performance, let us take a moment to mention a few things about the organizers and the movement in Flanders.
The event was hosted by a couple of friends in a private venue in Bruges. According to what we know from different sources, this was the fiftieth gig they were organizing; without counting the acoustic ones and other small side events like the one for 11th of July, for example.
In contrary to how things are here in Bulgaria, the government and NGOs are giving their best to suppress the nationalist youth and ban all their activities. However, the guys took an enormous risk and threw an amazing party for everyone attending.
I think you will appreciate learning what one of the organizers had to share with us days before the gig takes place:
“So it all started on a regular Saturday between beers. We were talking about the past and trying to figure out when it was that Belgium had turned silent. From having the infamous skinhead bar “De Kastelein” to all different gigs from different organisations, it has been rather quiet the last years due to smaller and more intimate events, but still, people bring up that nothing ever happens. And this is how the seed was planted, and we said why couldn’t we do it?
We are all from different backgrounds, some have ties with Blood and Honour, others have their own bands or simply enjoy the music. That is why we decided to not make this gig under any banner but instead begin something new. The people here have the power, strength, willingness and motivation to create something more - something new. But for this to happen we need to gather, regroup and get into contact with each other.
The idea of this concert is to yet again try to unite the people under one banner. People are so caught up in their own battles that they are losing sight of what is important. Folk, Faith and Family. But the red thread through all of that is just Unity.
So the plan was there, the intention was there, but we also needed a name. Still Standing is taken from “I’m Still Standing” by Kill, Baby Kill. Not only is the band from Bruges, but this song represents us all. We are still standing, we are still here, they can try to beat us, ban us but we will strike back, and most of all, we will show that we are here to stay!
After a lot of discussion over the date, we decided to have the gig in January. The reason for this is that September, October and November were already packed concert wise, so we decided to do it in January.
And finally, here we are...a few days to go and then it’s D day! We have months of organising behind us, and probably a lot more grey hairs, but we are almost there. The goal is already achieved, knowing that all of you guys will show up and support us!
Let’s raise some hell in Belgium!”
So, the day has come and it was time for us to head to Bruges. We had a couple of drinks together in one of the pubs in the city, then went sightseeing and by the time we were ready, it was already time to go to the venue.
We drove to a private club. The place was spacious enough, with a bar, stage, and a green area outside for the smokers. People were coming in and by the time the first band was on the stage, the venue was full packed with people having fun and laughs. Guys from 28 Hexagone, 28 Vlaanderen, Bruges and the Netherlands were making sure to keep everyone safe and things under control. There were people from all different places; besides the locals, we saw people from France, Sweden, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and other countries.
The gig began around 7:30 PM. First on the stage were Snöfrid. They sang some of their own songs, as well as covers of Ultima Thule and other bands. Second were the Germans from Kriegsberichter. The guys played hate punk tunes and were super energetic and managed to translate some of that energy to the audience. A lot of people from the crowd seem to know the band pretty well and sang along their songs in both German and English.
Third on the stage were Green Arrows. The Italians, who are one of the most talked-about NS hardcore bands making music right now, performed amazingly, delivering one of the night’s heaviest sets. They were well prepared and made the crowd moving. According to what we saw, everyone was enjoying the opportunity to dive into their work.
Shortly after Green Arrows, on the stage, we saw Vit Legion. The guys were entertaining the crowd with their own songs as well as covers of famous English tunes. They had a couple of songs dedicated to the ladies too. Overall, great performance from the guys.
Last, but not least, we saw Whitelaw Unplugged. Benny opened up the show with a short speech noting that it was 21 years ago when the band first of many times they played in Bruges and that it was a pleasure for them to return back and play for us again. Benny, as usual, was creative and had an engaging game for the audience. He needed volunteers to use whistles and recreate the tune for the song he was singing. Many went on the stage and sang along with him. Even though the plan was to let Whitelaw play acoustic, two drummers within the audience took it upon themselves to spice up their performance.
It was quite the evening we spend in the venue in Bruges on Saturday night. The lineup was great and the organizers definitely delivered to our expectations. They provided a great night of fun, great people and friends, and limited-edition merch. We could not ask for more having in mind how hard the local authorities and the media tried to sabotage the whole thing. There were even articles and reports on the national news about us, days before and during the gig took place. However, we had a blast! Hands down for the great job! We look forward to seeing you again!
Report by J.