It might be possible that not too many of you who read this zine heard about United And Strong before, so I would like to write few things about them first of all. They are a diy hardcore band based in Berlin, Germany. They doin it what they do since 2001, wich is a long time, most of the band members are same, but some of them already has kids, family, etc so they usually have other band members as well to go on tour, they do what they do because they love hardcore & touring in crazy places, bring the music to places where bands not really goin, brake down the walls between west & east, bring the message to places what hardcore is about (or as it used to be, stay out of business) spread the word to be racist is not cool in the 21st century, no matter where you live, it's never been a good thing. They played show in places like Brasil, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey, Kaliningrad and many other places in Russia like for example Murmansk as well up north above the arctic circle.

This time the next choice was Morocco and let's make it happen. And it is happened last month and they invited me to join to their trip, and couldn't say no, first of all because they are good friends of mine, I know them since years, helped them to book tour back in days, drove for them when the went to Murmansk and I missed to go with them to Brasil when they asked me, so I had to go with to see whats up in Morocco.

Chapter 1

I booked my holiday off from work and flu from Manchester to Berlin on the 13th of April morning time, we drove at night a good 7-8 hours to Dusseldorf Weeze where our flight was going to Fes, Morocco on the 14 april in the morning. Flight was packed, bit hectic but other then that everything was okay, we landed before noon. The airport was small, passport check was kinda easy with few regular questions, where we goin what we doin etc. One of the first thing we realized, the airport is super clean, but like really clean (same with most of the public places, like train stations,squares etc, you can eat from the floor if you like), no shops, no nothing really where you can spend your money, a coffee shop for the departure side, police men and more likely soldiers with machine guns hangin around at most of the public places.
Anyway, we get out of the terminal easily, the Moroccoean sun smashed our face right away under the palm trees while we were waiting for our hosts, to be honest we were hoping the best they will show up because the communications with the first two promoters was a bit poorish, hehe, but yes they did show up so everything was fine, they were 2 younger kids, maybe around 20, nothing to do with hardcore or metal at all, their english was not too good but we could communicate. They were helping out the promoter from Rabat, and making photo and video documentation from the band on the first 2 days. We took 2 taxis from the airport to the train station, no rip off, very friendly drivers, old big mercedes cars, the ride was smooth and fast. We got to the train station and grabbed some food & a helly strong coffee very quick before we catched the train to Meknes. The train station was beautiful and the soldiers were asking our hosts what they doin with their cameras in a public place? They had to show a proof, a document they are allowed to take photos (yes, it's like this over there, at public places not really a good thing to take photos, for tourist with a phone or whatever they not bother you, but sometimes it's better if you watch out, specially when womens are around, because they don’t like it too much, and they hide their face if it's not covered with a burka or hijab)
As it is a Muslim country, public places has feet wash facilities and pray rooms as well.

“maybe about 50-60 of them showed up, boys & girls, young ones and older ones, everyone who were into any heavier music, everyone was happy”

Chapter 2

We took the train from Fes to Meknes, wich was about an hour ride, train was nice & clean, while we were goin out of the city on the train, like at most of the cities in Morocco, you can see the pure reality from a third world country as well not just the beauty and cleanness, actually how people has to live and survive everyday. We get off from the train in Meknes, and meet up with our local promoters, all of them were proper trash metal guys, very friendly, nice people. The police asked us again what we doin, but not on a rude way at all. One car came to take our heavy luggeage and most of us walked to the venue through the town. The venue was a big ass cinema, the show was on early, but we were in time, so we had a chance to eat a local Moroccean veggie tajine at a small restaurant near by with the promoter.
(At the shows in Morocco no alcohol at all, same with pretty much all the bars, only at special stores and bars you can buy alcohol and comparing other things it's very expensive.) I set up the merch, thats was my job on this tour, takin care for the merch, show started, I can’t remember the first band, but the second band was actually really good, cool trash metal and the singer had a good voice I remember.
Then United And Strong went on and the people loved them, maybe about 50-60 of them showed up, boys & girls, young ones and older ones, everyone who were into any heavier music, everyone was happy, we sold some merch, and looots of photos and selfies were taken after the show. we had about 2 hours till our next train to Rabat, so we get offered to go to a restaurant bit outside of the city where they sell very good quality Moroccean wine, so why not we took the offer. And a guy picked us up with his car, wich was a regualar car like an Opel or something, and all 5 of us and him were inside with all our luggage, haha, hell yeah it was tiny, but we made it! On the way he told us, sometimes you can see 7 or 8 people in one car, and when it's 8 people in the car then the driver shares his seat as well! No joke, and we have seen cars with 6-7 people inside easily. The thing is, they do when there is no other choice and that's why only the big old mercedes taxis take only 4 passenger and the smaller taxis only 3 passenger with a lower tarif.
We get to the restaurant, orange trees up front, and upstairs at the seating were giant glass windows with a view of the Atlas mountains at the back, it was beautiful. We had some wine, and the ones with the X on their hands they had some soft drink. Then quickly we jumped back to "our" car to catch the last train to Rabat which is the capital of Morocco, the train ride was about 2 or 2 and half hour, very smooth ride, and we met with a kid who was asking who we are, and he was from Casablanca and his sister was excited for the show few days later. We got off from the train late night close to midnight I guess, we met with another guy who was the promoter for the show the next day in Rabat, he was working in a recording studio and he took us to the apartment where we stayed for three nights, it was about 30 min walk from the station. We were excited to go to bed after a crazy & long day, I think I was awake for about 45 hours, with short breaks, hehe.


“but still about 30 people showed up, mostly skateboarder kids, all of them on hashish”


The show in Rabat wasn't that good as the first show in Meknes, but still about 30 people showed up, mostly skateboarder kids, all of them on hashish and they went crazy haha, the show was at a cinema again, this places belong the government, they use for many things and they have strict rules in there, for internet as well, many things blocked.
The day after in Rabat we had a whole day to explore the city, we went to the Medina wich means the old part of the cities with very narrow streets and markets, you can buy everything there, went down to the beach as well, wich in my opinion was very nice with a beautiful lighthouse. We had many many coffees & mint teas, because in Morocco people love coffee and mint tea, the sad thing is, most of the coffee shops are only for men, women are not allowed, if they are european women then it's possible but other wise not really, it's same with many bars too. We tried different foods and awesome smoothies which they make fresh at the juice bars and later on at night we went to a small local pub as well to have some local beers.

“the judge told him he is a satanist and he has to spend some time in prison”

Chapter 4

On our third day in Morocco wich was a sunday we were heading to Casablanca with a train again, this ride was longer then before and the train was extremely full, people were standing everywhere but other than that we had to stand for 3 hours it was okay and we were talking with others on our way. When we got off the train in Casa Voyageures train station the promoter, his name was Khalil, with his girlfriend from Spain (she studies there) were waiting for us. Their english was perfect, so on our tram ride to the venue we had a chance for a proper conversation wich I really enjoyed and realized many things in north Africa and eastern europe are in so many situation in life pretty much the same. The venue in Casablanca was outside the city. (Casablanca is the biggest city in Morocco and one of the most important city of north Africa with a population of about 4.5 million people). This venue called Boultek was a proper club like anywhere else, more like a youth center with rehearsal rooms, very cool atmosphare. The show was early again, but were early as well so could talk with people before the show, there were people from different countries like Holland, USA, France, Germany or Spain. Casablanca is a big student city, many people study here.
We heard stories about how the government, the king was dealing with alternative music few years before they decide they give a bit of freedom, if they don't decide then shows like this couldn't happen because the police shut it down right away as they did before, or lock up people in jail as they did before, one of the older metal head guy who was playing a metal band and the judge told him he is a satanist and he has to spend some time in prison, and he did. The reason was he used the pentagram (wich is the symbol of Morocco as well). We had discussions about women rights as well, how hard is it still to be a woman in Morocco, but looks like things are changeing slowly (there are protests weekly nowadays in Rabat - we have seen one as well while we were there).
On this show 2 other bands were playing, the first band was a melodic punkrock band called Tachamarod, and they very pretty good, the second band called Riot Stones, this was the band our promoter Kahlil was the singer, they played hardcore with mosh parts and Machine Head / Pantera influence, and they were pretty good too, people were goin crazy for them, stage dives, high fives, the crowd was about 50 people here again. Kahlil was speakikng between the songs as well, he told me at every show they play they always talk about the negativity of any kind of religion, Morocco is a muslim country, with strict rules wehere the leaders have power, and women are still fighting for their rights.
Pretty much everyone knew each other at this show, I felt like anywhere where a good hardcore, metal, whatever underground scene exists, people were super friendly, talkative, generally nice, I was doing merch, same as the other night and while I was at the merch table I had a chance to talk with people, and I really enjoyed, in Morocco two main languges exist, arabic & french, but many people speak english or even german. I forgot to mention earlier, but because I was traveling with germans, and I’m a hungarian, most of the people we were talking to, they knew where we were from, and in my cause it wasn’t always positive (as we know how our government deals with refugees - thanx for that for our prime minnister and their followers).
Anyway, this was the last show for United And Strong in Morocco, and defenitly the best, awesome crowd, mosh, sing along, stage dives, whatever you like, an awesome event and unforgatable memory. Thanx again to Kahlil, Emma, Sofia, Ahmed, Caitlin and the rest of the people in Casablanca who made our night amazing.

“this trip was one of the best touring trips ever”

Chapter 5

The day after at our last day in Morocco, we had pretty much the whole day in Casablanca to explore city, we went down to the coast, to the medina where we had proper Moroccean vegan street foods with our friends, wich was very bad ass I can say! This is a big differnce touring and being a tourist anywhere in the World, thats what I always loved to go on tour, even if I was fed up sometimes, but when you tour you have a chance to meet with actual people and see places where they go, where they live and how they live.
Later that day we took our long train ride back to Fes where we were flying out the the next day. The train ride was about 6 hours, we had a short sleep at a hotel and headed to the airport early morning, we flu into Dusseldorf Weeze again, borders were easy but slow, especially to get out from Morocco, and of course the german custom checked us out as most of the time. Had another long ass train ride back to Berlin and the day after I flu back to Manchester.
After all, this trip was one of the best touring trips ever, and if you are a band, I can only recommend to you to go and play shows in Morocco, and bring your message and music to these kids, they need you! (if you decide to go, please be realistic as well!)

United And Strong & Jaki loves Morocco!

“Morocco Tour Movie & Live in Casablanca.”


Music: "away from home but never alone" (remix) performed by Johnny Beat
Edit: Johnny Beat

Live in Casablanca.