Comrade (Bel) live (Antwerp, Bel, 88-07-03)


“This is dedicated to all anti-nazi skinheads everywhere!”


(soundcheck) / City Troops / (Why Do They Always Get) The Blame / Work Together (cover of ‘The Oppressed’) / Typical Skin / Skins’n’Punks / Come On Palestinians / Skating / How Many Children Must There Be / Coward / You’re All Gonna Die / Shoot Right

These recordings were made July 3rd 1988 at the 1000 Appeltjes in Antwerp (nót July 2nd 1988 where the band played at Cruysduyne (a parish-hall) in the Belgian coastal town Bredene with other Belgian bands ‘Chronic Disease’, ‘Dirty Scums’ and probably ‘C.P.D.’; plus the French ‘Scraps’ and the Scottish ‘Oi Polloi’). In Antwerp ‘Comrade’ and other ‘local’ bands ‘Vais’ & ‘Belgian Associlaty’ supported ‘Oi Polloi’. The tracks ended up on a split-tape with ‘Oi Polloi’, released by Stephen Parsons (R.I.P.) on his B.B.P. Records And Cassettes. Thanks to Koen ‘Siesiele’ Lammens for providing (most of) them!

‘Comrade’ was an (anti-fascist/ani-racist) oi!/ redskin/ ska-core band from Antwerp, with (at the time) Joost Vantomme (guitar), Joris (drums), ‘Bib’ (bass) & Klaas Vantomme (vocals). They were around from the late 80s to half-way the 90s and did a demo (1990) & a 7″ What About the Children (on Mad Butcher recs, 1995). They were influenced by ‘The Oppressed’, early ‘Oi Polloi’ and ‘The Blaggers’.


The band originated in 1986 during a ‘Conflict’ concert in Antwerp. We could do better than what we saw on stage, we thought 😉 . We were skins who wanted to play oi!. That gave a bad after-taste in the Antwerp punk-scene. We were going to show that those kind of prejudices were bullshit. The politically correct thinking was damping freedom, also back then. People wanted to put us in a corner; for the Antwerp punk-scene skinheads were nazis and racists. ‘Comrade’ wanted to show that skinheads had nothing to do with fascism. We were never a political band but only because of our militant anti-racism (words & action), we were easily labeled as leftist. Our name did(n’t) help to that matter, for sure, haha. We played until 1992 all over Europe. Because of our self-willed choices we didn’t really fit in a certain current, group or movement. We’ve always chosen our own path. We never forgot our roots: skinhead & oi!. Nostalgia isn’t our thing but we will show the newer generation what us oldies still have to say and do what they think. In 2021 we’ll be on stage a couple of times, playing festivals in Germany. Our first mini-LP will also be released (Mad Butcher recs), together with a compilation of demos and live recordings.

Klaas Vantomme

pics (@ Bredene, 88-07-02) by Serge Harvent


3 responses »

  1. It has taken a long time for me to hear this back: 32 years. The recordings were done through the P.A. desk and Stephen Parsons took them with him immediately after the concert. He was there together with ‘Oi Polloi’ for their 2 gigs in Belgium. We never got a copy. (He did want to send them if we paid for it, we had a good laugh…) But the digital world enables things to travel around the world easily now.
    It was (indeed) the 2 first concerts of ‘Oi Polloi’ outside the UK. ‘Comrade’ brought their heroes (who turned out to be punx and not skins) to their hometown and the seaside.
    Thanks, Brob, to remind us of our youth.


  2. I discovered the band purely by accident sometime ago. Real pioneers of Anti-fascist Oi! in Europe at a time when, by all accounts, that wasn’t happening much. Great sound and attitude.


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