05 October 2023
Considering we’ve been a band for around 5 years, and we’re based between the Czech Republic’s second city of Brno and the Slovak capital of Bratislava, it’s somewhat surprising we haven’t played a show under the big lights of Prague. We had the chance earlier this year at Modrá Vopice – a gig we’d organised with our friends from Berlin, Top Down – but it was frustratingly cancelled at the last minute, and the opportunity was gone.
Tonight though we’re very lucky to be the support for Los Angeles rock ‘n’ rollers The Hangmen as they make a stop at Vagon Music Club in central Prague during their European tour. Bomber Booking have kindly allowed us onto the bill of a band I’ve liked for many years but have never had the chance to see live. So I’m doubly excited about tonight. I remember first encountering The Hangmen through a DVD I owned years ago called Badsville – a bizarre but brilliant collection of features and interviews from the LA underground rock scene, featuring bands such as Texas Terri, Throwrag, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Bubble and many more.
So tonight we will finally catch them live. Although, things rarely go smoothly in a rock band, and a day before the show we discover we’ve lost Tom. He’s not dead, but there’s a virus running riot in his house and therefore me and Veronika are back to the duo that started this whole rock ‘n’ roll circus in the first place. But can we still do it without the bass? We’ll have to, I guess.
I always love coming to Prague. The atmosphere, the darkened narrow streets stumbling over each other as they meander through the city, along the river Vltava that divides the imposing castle and its old town from the deep well of activity down here. It’s my first visit to the famous old basement of Vagon Club, and as we’re setting up our merch table, The Hangmen arrive after a 12-hour journey from Belgrade (whose idea was that?!). They’re understandably tired, but still great sports and it’s a relief to meet people you admire who turn out to be sound. The most exciting thing for me is meeting their driver (his name sadly escapes me now), and discovering his mom is also from Birmingham and his uncle produced UB40’s incredible debut album Signing Off.
We have 5 minutes to soundcheck and we manage it in about 4. The Hangmen are visibly happy that we’re a simple two piece with few complications. For a fairly big club there are relatively few people here tonight, which is a disappointment for us, sure, but mainly for The Hangmen, who have been playing to much bigger crowds all tour. Half the crowd had travelled down from Germany. Regardless, we rocked through a half hour set bassless but with few problems, before the Hangmen lit the place up. They were fantastic, full of a swagger and attitude. And despite apparent illness and a long drive they showed no signs of weariness. They were class. Me and Veronika bought up half their merch table and moved to another pub with our friend Boris from Slovak punk band Dafy and the Rafters, who had unexpectedly turned up for the show. A good night all in all. Thanks Prague, and see you again soon.
Author: Craggy Collyde