What I Did On My Summer Vacation
Suaka would like to congratulate Indonesian grindcore pioneers and our good friends NOXA on a successful Czech Republic tour.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to make their first show in Budovice, but we met up with them the next evening at Rock Club Kain in Prague’s Zone 3. Six grind bands were playing that night – The Arson Project, Krush, Xarox, NOXA, Hovadah, and Whoresnation – and the place was packed! We followed the sweet smell of kretek (yes, you can still smoke in bars in Prague) and found NOXA at the merch table in the back. They were accompanied by road manager and photographer Ari; Finnish filmmaker Takuya Suzuki, who is working on a documentary about the band to be released sometime next year; and Taku’s wife Intan. I’ve gotta say that the Czech Republic is not the friendliest country I’ve ever been to, but Czech extreme music fans are awesome. The pit was insane for all of the bands – so different than so many of the club shows in NYC – and plenty of people came by after NOXA’s set to buy t-shirts and meet the band. Just to show you what a small world it is, one of the guys from California band Cattle Decapitation, who had rather impressed us opening for Prong and Soulfly last year, came to ask NOXA for advice about touring in Southeast Asia. We stumbled back to our hotel rooms sometime well after midnight, thoroughly exhausted but still ready for more.
We all woke up early the next morning and took a train three hours through the Bohemian countryside to a small town called Trutnov close to the Polish border, home of the annual Obscene Extreme Festival. The festival itself is a three-day affair that takes place in outdoor venue a short walk from the center of town called Na Bojištì, which means Battlefield in Czech. It’s surrounded by trees and features a big stage with a jumbotron monitor off to one side so you can catch all the action, a large pit area, amphitheatre-style seating for anyone who has rocked too hard and needs a breather, and a camping area for the really hardcore grinders. This year’s theme was SILENCE SUCKS, which was quite appropriate.
You get a sampler CD with tracks from many of the performers with your ticket, and we opened it we found that the festival had dedicated it to Robin Hutagaol, NOXA’s founding drummer who died in a tragic accident last year.
When we made it to the Battlefield proper Czech band Eardelete was on stage, and then it was time for NOXA. Once again, they got a great response from the crowd. The pit was crazy and lots of people were crowd surfing and stage diving. Robin’s picture was shown on the jumbotron throughout the set, and at the end they dedicated it to him and raised the Indonesian flag. The whole experience was very emotional, and it was an honor just to be a part of it.
If you’ve never seen NOXA live, by the way, I highly recommend you do so as soon as you get a chance. You can check out video and more pictures on facebook.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the festival grounds talking to people and checking out the various food (we avoided the fried cheese, but tempeh with mustard is unexpectedly delicious) and merch for sale and of course the bands. Sixty-six bands were scheduled to play, like D.R.I., Misery Index, and Doom as well as tons of European bands, and I’m guessing at least a couple of thousand people were there from all over Europe, including many of the people we had seen at the club the night before! We met people from Spain, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, and of course Czech. Everyone was there to have a good time, and while we saw quite a few people passed out from too much drinking, there were no fights and none of the attitude you often get at big shows in the States. Rully was wearing a NOXA shirt, and everywhere we went people cheered when they saw it.
What a great trip. cheers to Micha the merch girl and everyone else we met, and props to NOXA for their second time in Europe. Hope to see you again in Trutnov next year, or sometime soon in New York!