Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Or perhaps we are moving sideways.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Read: Lolita, Nabokov; The Plague, Camus; Transition, Banks; To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee; and A Confederacy of Dunces, Toole.
Watched: Season 1 of The Wire, Season 1 of Eastbound and Down
Listened: Tons of 3D Thunderstorm environments to get through the snoring, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Van Halen, a little King Crimson, a little Floyd and Keelhaul.
Read: Children of Dune, Frank Herbert; Elric of Melniboné, Michael Moorcock; and Watchmen, Alan Moore/ Dave Gibbons.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Prague - One of our favorite shows of the tour. It was about time that we played a show that we all felt good about. It was promoted as HC /NOISE, so people knew exactly what they were getting into.
We showed up at the club and it just felt different. First off, the guy running the parking lot was pretty sure that we all spoke Czech even though we were only talking to him in English. Ralph tried German too I think. Didn't matter....He was giving very lengthy descriptions in Czech. We were pretty lost.
The club is in the basement of a college dorm. It was cheap, and the sound was good. Goulash was provided for food and it ruled.
The first band that played was Transwaggon. It was the promoter, Kejmy's band. They were great and ended their set with a Husker Du cover dedicated to us. After Vicenza, it was nice to play with a band that fit with us.
Remember those roses stolen from Italy? We put them up on the stage and told people to take them during the set as a gift from us. They were gone before we were done. Gotta remember that trick.
Our set was probably one of our better ones. People were way into it. Double encore too!
After the show we went to the merch table and sold thousands of Czech crowns worth of merch. This was exciting! Then we realized what the exchange rate of Czech crowns to Euro was....Not as exciting (still pretty good though).
The next day we woke up and got to do some cool sightseeing in Prague. Some of the only sightseeing of the trip....We picked a pretty good place to do it.
Then it was on to Dresden to play Az Conni, a collective of which Ralph was part of. This would be our last show of the tour.
Vicenza - Seems like anything would have been a let down after waking up in one of the most beautiful places we've ever been. The drive here was pretty cool though cause we found a gas station that doubled as a full on meat pantry! Unfortunately some of the goods acquired out of haste and excitement didn't make it through US customs. D'oh!
The venue in Vicenza was very fancy and there was a band flat directly above the venue which was great. There were some issues with the toilet....Namely that it wouldn't flush. At first we blamed our dumb American-ness, but it turned out to be a legitimate issue. The promoter, Erico, helped us figure out the trouble after initially offering Mark a box to remove his leavings.
After that it was downstairs for soundcheck and free pizza! The pizza was insane and we each got a whole one to ourselves which came in handy later in the night. They also had Lagavulin behind the bar. It didn't last the night.
The show was well attended, but we're pretty sure nobody was there to see us. In fact, many people were probably a little bit shocked by what was happening. We may have stood a better chance with a spoken word set taking turns reading Steven Hawking's "A Brief History Of Time" to the crowd. So it goes. We were probably a little loud for the venue too. The other band, Cruel Boxes sounded like a cross between Thrice and Alexisonfire. Yes, we know what those bands sound like. Not sure they were a good fit for us, but a little variety never hurts. At least the bartenders and Erico seemed to like us!
After Cruel Boxes had ended their set, they had their beautiful Italian girlfriends occupy the merchandise table. This is always a great idea except these ladies took no shame in boxing us out of the area so we had no chance of selling anything! Sometime during the night, 4 roses were bought and given to these women. Now we aren't exactly sure how it happened or who was involved, but those roses left with us the next day on our 10 hour drive to Prague.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Mike Persil was the man who was behind booking this tour for us and it was a pleasure to meet him and he welcomed us with 1 lb of prosciutto and two bottles of excellent Chianti. What a generous host!
The show was at a upscale bar/restaurant and we can only describe our set as tiny daggers into the hearts of the Italian people which made them slowly run for cover.
Later that night we stayed at the promoters house, out in the Tuscan countryside. One of the cool things on tour is arriving to where you're sleeping at 1 AM and not really knowing where you're at, then waking up and discovering you're either in a shithole or paradise, or somewhere in between. Now we appreciate everyone who has given us a place to stay through the years as we have been on tour, but waking up in this countryside was quite memorable beyond everything.
Us with Mike Persil
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Awesome sound system at this show and possibly the best food spread so far. Tasty ass olives, meats, salad... good stuff. Really took care of us here.
After the show we stayed at a complex called BACKSTAGE which had multiple venues and had hosted both an ARCHIVE and PETER MURPHY show that night. Both groups got wind we were staying there and left town before we even got there, leaving us with a sleeping place all to ourselves.
The next morning we woke up and were made breakfast as a fantasy metal tour package loaded in. Awesome.
Leipzig - I think we all agree the venue in Leipzig, Zoro, was one of the coolest of the trip so far. Another squat, converted from an old school, with a couple spaces for shows and a nice kitchen and accommodations for the many bands that come through here. We played with Teenage Cool Kids and Algernon Cadwallader, also American bands. It was good to shoot the shit and discuss our mutual experiences touring Europe. When we drove up the venue they were walking down the street menacingly eating ice cream cones...
A couple people cooked us some really, really good vegan food - and this is Corey writing this, so you know it kinda hurts him to say that. Gonna steal that potato dumpling recipe,,,
Played a fun show in the downstairs show area, which had a cool, rusty, steampunk in Freddy Krueger's basement vibe going on. Good turnout and the other bands killed shit as well.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Everything is ready to go within minutes, they give us a dressing room (not kidding) with a TV and soundboard mix coming through the speakers so that we can keep an eye on how the shows going without going out there.
There is a full catering spread which they have people serving to us while we just sit there. Wine and beer is plentiful.
We play and although Corey is weak from malnourishment, the show goes well, we might be a little lower energy than usual, but it’s tough when one person hasn’t eaten a meal in 48 hours. People are dancing and kind of going crazy while we play. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see. There is good banter with the crowd, and we get asked to do an encore….For some reason the French seem to get our music. It’s cool that someone does! The people there seem very appreciative, and we feel the same way.
Then comes the best part…..The people who put on the show got us three hotel rooms to stay at, which are about a five minute drive from the venue. Insane!
The next day, Scott and Mark woke up and went to a nearby Farmers Market, which was scrumtrulescent. Anything you can think of was there. Fresh seafood, the best cuts of meat, thousands of kinds of crazy cheeses you’d never see elsewhere, tons of different breads and rolls and croissants. Scott got some rotisserie cooked rabbit, a sausage, and a baguette. Mark got a rotisserie tenderloin kabob, a sausage and an apple raisin baguette. Awesome….
Utrecht itself is sort of like a twin city with Amsterdam. They’re about 20 minutes apart, and connected by train lines. The same stuff that you love about Amsterdam is here.
We play much better at the show tonight, which is a relief. It’s a pretty Corey light set because he is still a wreck. He’s unable to eat pretty much anything. His enjoyment of Utrecht is seriously inhibited, but he gives it his best effort.
The bands we play with, This Routine Is Hell and Vogue are exeptionally good.
This Routine is Hell
After the show we go back to the squat where we’re staying at which is a pretty amazing place, and Mark leans on the police alarm which wakes up the entire complex. Everyone runs down in various stages of undress and Mark is standing there on the phone telling them what a dumb American he is. They all look a little angry, but turn to smiles after a couple minutes with humor at our expense.
The video below is a pretty normal crossing of the street in Utrecht
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This is also notable as the town where Corey would get sick….Again. This time we’re guessing from, in a total Homer Simpson moment, eating a stray piece of ham that was in a tabouleh salad that he bought at a gas station.
The show itself was at a huge building that was built by Napoleon and is now a complex that does all sorts of community functions. It is part youth facility, part performance space, part music venue….It also houses the bands that play there. It’s the sort of thing that would never fly in the United States.
The first band, City Light Thief plays and is good.
Then comes the second band crabfest…..A band who’s name we won’t mention, goes on and does the full techno, autotune, DJ, “crouching emo/hidden metal” thing that crabcore is all about. Plus, the dudes are in their 30s! At one point the bass player was pretty close to doing the splits. Corey stands there for a full 15 minutes in complete horror. Mark doesn’t make it more than a minute. However, people seemed very into them. They take about 30 minutes to get their gear off stage (which the storage area is about 5 paces from where they played), and then they immediately leave. Thanks dudes!
We play and it’s not so good. I think our minds were just melted from the crabulous rockin’ that preceded us. Whatever, we had a bad show. It happens.
The first band helps us load out without us even having to ask which totally rules. That’s rare over in Europe, even when the other band uses your gear.
Corey wakes up the next morning completely unable to keep food down. Damn. You know, he thought if he got food illness in Europe it would be from some mystery meat sandwich in Italy or horse brains or something. Haggis? Fine. Oysters? A-Ok. Random sausage stand on the street? Perfect! But tabouleh? Really? Lessons learned: Stay away from airplane and gas station food, period.
Monday, October 19, 2009
We loaded in and did sound check, and we noticed a somewhat funky odor but didn’t think much of it. Eventually they showed us the band room, which was underneath the show room and we discovered where the funky smell was coming from. It was incredibly strong, and it smelled like someone forgot to change 100 cat litter boxes for about a year, and then tried to finally clean it by scrubbing it with ammonia, nail polish remover, and a sponge consisting of burnt hair. Yeah, try screaming and breathing all that in for half an hour... ewwww.
Despite all this, the show went well. Good crowd. Even some old friends from Michigan were there! There was a decibel meter in the corner that showed what level all the bands were hitting. We have no idea what level would trigger it, or what it would do, but we tried to max it out. Who knows if we did.
After the show, we ate some pasta and then the promoter, Stan took us back to this chateau in the French countryside where we stayed for the night. Couldn't see much of the outside at night when we got there, but goddamn the next morning we saw we were surrounded by almost stereotypical picturesque French scenery.
Mark stepped in some really fresh dog poop the next morning before getting into the van.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
They do something similar to Freshers here too so the streets were packed with people. What they make the kids do here is basically sell useless stuff. For example, a couple came up to us and tried to sell us an apple for one euro. Another girl came up and tried to sell us a flyer for a euro. If they don’t sell the item, they have to do some sort of dare. The dare usually involves some sort of drinking challenge. And if they lose the drinking challenge? SOUPY GARLICY SHIT IN THE HAIR.
We played the show with the band Last Minute to Jaffna. They are from Italy. Their sound guy Rocco could open beer bottle with his teeth. Our host, Aimee took all of us out on the town. A 10 person group. We walked the streets, saw the city at night, and found some cool places to duck into.
Then back at Aimee’s the Italian guys decide to cook everyone spaghetti. They have a travelling kitchen that they bring with them on the road so that they can cook all the time. Stoves, pasta makers, homemade sauce, ingredients, utensils….The whole thing. 5AM pasta dinner in Gent? Corey and Scott on their iPhones?
The next day we woke up and went to the Castle. We toured the city, where there are actually a lot of cool old buildings. Beautiful freakin' place.