Friday, February 3, 2012

TOUR REPORT by Ronan from HUATA, including their 1st ritual in Holland ...

About one month ago, I asked my friend Ronan if he would be interested to take some notes and write a report about the recent  dates of HUATA to promote the release of their excellent debut album"Atavist of Mann", here's what he nicely wrote and shared for T.O.P. : 

"We wanted to do a real tour for a while, so, even if rather short (4 dates), the invitation to the festival's Mudfest was a real godsend for us. Previously, we already tried to play in Spain, but the change of guitarist at the last moment created too many problems, so that we had sadly to cancel. The route was programmed as follows: starting from our hometown Rennes to  Nancy, Tournai (Belgium), Lille, and Roermond (Hol).

Well, first, in order to follow more easily the adventure, let me present you the members of HUATA : Alex -tall, blond and drummer; Chris on guitar who was originally our sound-engineer - Benn on bass - Ronan , myself on vocals and organ - and finally Maryline helped us out preciously, being driver for the 2nd car, taking care of the merchandising, helping for the backline too, etc... This very nice girl is involved in Bloodrites Association  and took an active part in the coming of bands like Ramesses, Acid King, Yob or soon  The Wounded Kings in Rennes  and/or Paris.;she also appears on the cover of our album .

About the album, precisely, we just got in time our copies of the vynil version, finally after a long await for us and people who pre-ordered it for a while, they arrived the morning before  our departure and in good conditions... And that was a chance, because otherwise our mechandising stand would have been rather empty and it could have been an obstacle to some meetings...

After a long road, here we are in the center of Nancy, at the entrance of Kaffe 915. I'm a bit scared by the place: can we really play as LOUD as  requested ? A communication error will give us the flat. Indeed, there is a limiter, and from our first rounds of fuzz, the organization gets excited: "You are 120 dB,you got to play lower" instead of their maximum limit of 105 dB. I take the opportunity to insist on this  simple message: we play LOUD, I mean very LOUD . See for yourself  but we can exceed 120 dB. So, it is impossible for us to play in "limited" conditions, it's better not to invite us to play if this problem may happen, it will avoid a lot of trouble for the neighborhood of the place and that  will prevent us also to experience the obligation to play lower, and to put some "guffer" on the drums (because yes, it's not just the amps that make noise). This is extremely painful for us.
That was the only problem concerning this gig, indeed we have been very nicely hosted, the place and conditions were great. After a cool moment eating in a  cuban restaurant, we started to play in front of an attentive audience, which was a bit of change compared to our homeland... "Nobody is prophet in his country" like  we say, so it's better to see what's happening elsewhere ! But I think that the guys of WHEELFALL did a great promotion locally for us. The gig did 170 and we got a bit more money than expected by Music Challenge, the organizers.
After a few alcoholized deliberations, except myself as I was going to drive, we then went to the Wheelfall's home to deliberate a bit more, once will not hurt as you'll see all along this report. The guys of WHEELFALL are all very cool and friendly and we're really looking forward to play soon with them again in Paris at the Glad Sstone Fest.

After an evening that the WHEELFALLs would have certainly enjoyed longer, we left on the road towards Tournai in Belgium; there we should meet Max from HUMAN JAIL... I had met this guy at Roadburn and a few days later in Belgium at a gig of Mon Onc' Serge and the Anonymous. This is Max who is organizing both dates in Tournai and Lille, and he is hosting us at home in Roubaix. The only problem is that he hadn't a driving license but we hadn't enough place in our cars to take him in Roubaix and then go with him at the gig, so he arrived late, after DOOMFORGE ,the first band, played. We had time to enjoy the place called "the Cornwall", a rock'n'roll bar like no longer made... We were even enough lucky to have an open-bar time, in a belgian bar, no less ! The place was small, all-wooded, decorated with bladed weapons (axes, halberds, spears, double scourge tipped ...). We could not hold all together on the "scene", so I dropped my keyboard below. We took the decision that night  to open the gig by a benediction with  Chouchen. The few spectators who enjoyed this  Breton  drink were delighted, and myself too I realized how this drink was delicious, especially in concert, honey helping to warm my voice.
Some more cool  discussions after the gig... I'll never forget those rare moments with people who really wanted to know more about our lyrics; the "cornwall" bar is really a place that I recommend to anyone going in Tournai, you'll find happiness there.

The next day, we've got only 20 kms to drive from Tournai to Lille, the gig is in a new bar that opened recently, the "Art gressif". Still fearing to run out of voice, Max gave me methods of trainning that I listen on mp3, a friend of him had recovered this when being in Sweden to record with his band. It is during these warming exercises that I met the lead singer of local band, Letters Written on dead leaves. By the time we were about  to play, even before the amps begin to drool, the barman comes and tells us that a neighbor has called and he'll have to limit the volume ... We are still struggling with this problem ... Too bad, but we still play as loud and heavy as possible; we do not wear our bures, in case we are asked to stop playing in the moment. A  confusing gig to me , who am used to put on the ceremonial stage to disinhibition. The bar was full and people were receptive to our music, it seems clear that  you really have to get out of your usual borders to be taken seriously, and I speak for all small bands trying to make themselves better known.
After some new alcholized deliberations, we come back to Max home and discuss again and again... Max is really friendly and has welcomed us like a true cht'i.

We take back the road again on Saturday morning, towards Roermond in Holland.This time we went really far out of our borders, and are impatient to confront HUATA to the country where Stoner and Doom  live the best : the Netherlands. After all these deliberations, I had to warm up my voice seriously if I did not want to  finish in the sauce at this Mudfest.

We were welcomed by a horde of Batavian giants, who were in fact the members of BITCHO.  Indeed, Bitcho is the group that organized the festival, and they were opening for this second day. The organization was extremely rigorous and professionnal. I do not know if it's because we were abroad or because they simply had better conditions to organize, but the fact is there, everything was squared, and we were finally able to fully enjoy our time playing. The only problem that arose concerned the guitar sound, which had turned oddly to something more draft, was apparently due to the amp. This is typically the kind of thing that can spoil your set and  prevent you from being "100% into it" ,but it seems that the audience did not notice that, so...

Once the concert ended, I felt the cold that I had been brewing for a few days took over, the pressure fall out  with the last gig certainly helping too. We found there Shiran from MONARCH!, he's playing this time with YEAR OF NO LIGHT, and it's always a pleasure to talk to this character. After a few hours of comatose, I went down, and saw Walter, the organizer of Roadburn, who had just bought our LP. Caught by surprise, I thanked him as I could. He asked me why he had not heard of us before, as a collector and connoisseur of all that is done in Doom all over Europe. I took the opportunity  to speak to him about the french scene and some of our colleagues. And you know what ? this is while writing those lines that I learned that we will play this year at Roadburn! Without anything calculated, everything came out very well :  our LPs received the day before departure, a few dates to warm up, then the Mudfest, and Walter who was there ... I could not have expected more.

There was not much audience at the festival, about 90 people, yet the organization has returned to its cost, because the Dutch doomheads drink a lot, and ultimately it is the love of the drink that has largely caught up the loss with just the entrances.
We slept at Wim's house, the bassist of BITCHO... Oh yes, I didn't speak to you about BITCHO : a drummer, a singer, a korgist and three bassists ! Their sound is something between Suma and Ocean Chief, their style is fully fueled in bass, very massive. These guys would like to play in France and we are now trying to help them out  in this adventure.

This is the end of that first tour. I can not even imagine how is it with a tour of about 12 or 15 dates , the content in emotions, good moments shared, all the people you meet, etc...
There's just one thing that lacks to me  actually, recovering from my flu for some more !"
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