Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lucca

Lucca - Leaving Schauffhausen around noon we continued on through the Alps into Italy. We were aiming for a 5pm rendezvous at Mike Persil's house just outside of Pisa. With Ralph at the wheel driving with determination, this only left time for fuel, bathroom, and smoke breaks.

Swiss Smoke Break.

The scenery was amazing overall, except a 17km tunnel through the mountain which tested everyone's underlying claustrophobia.

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.


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Zipping Through Tuscany in a Van at 1AM

At 5 AM we were awoken by roosters, grabbed a few more hours asleep then discovered we were in the middle of some incredible scenic Tuscan hills. Pomegranate and olive trees and grapes growing on vines just beats the allure of dirty toilets and bathtubs with broken drains.





Us with Mike Persil

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Schauffhausen

Schauffhausen - We drove through the Swiss Alps on this drive. It was just the start of it, and we'd get to see a whole lot more of them as the trip went on.


We got to the venue and it was another really professional place. It was probably a 300 capacity room which was one of the bigger places we've played on the tour. Good sound, decent crowd for a school night in a pretty small town (30,000?). We played pretty well.

After the show we walked the streets trying to find somewhere to eat. There was nothing. Massive bummer. We wound up splitting 2 snack packs of chips between 4 people. That didn't go so well.

Later in the night, Mark took his socks off for the first time in 4 days. It cleared the room out. Pat wound up sleeping somewhere else in the house just to get away from the smell. Foot powder and open windows wound up saving the day eventually.

The next day it was off to Italy, specifically Tuscany, to meet Mike Persil.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Munich


Munich -

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



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...



Before Dinner with Teenage Cool Kids and Algernon Cadwallader

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.

Cologne (Day Off)


Cologne (Day Off) – Not too much to say about this. We ate some tasty Lebanese food and walked down the Rhine River by the Cathedral. We got some rest. Corey was feeling much better. We watched some Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nice relaxing day off.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A pound of prosciutto, washed down with chianti and microbrew in Lucca, Italy has restored Corey to full health! Popeye has his spinach, Corey has cured meats.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paris

Paris – The most well put together, professional show we’ve ever been a part of. Easily. We pull up in the van and standing there on the sidewalk is the promoter, a technical director, and about 20 stagehands waiting to unload all of our gear. We are in the right place right???


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.



After sound check we walk around a bit and Mark buys some street sausage that winds up being the finest sausage he’s ever eaten. Corey, although he still can’t keep any food down, tries a bite and agrees, it’s the best.

Back at the show, we get our backstage passes and watch the other bands. Alpinist plays and completely kills it. Nice guys too. Probably one of our favorite bands that we've seen for the whole tour so far. They sound a lot like His Hero is Gone. Corey likes this.

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….


We drove by the Eiffel Tower.


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Walking the Farmers Market

Utrecht



Utrecht – The Netherlands rule. The people are the best, the venue we played at was great, the food they made us was top notch prepared by professional chefs. Everything about it felt like it was done the right way.

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 already put pictures of puppies on the blog....Here's a rainbow now too.

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 Squat




The video below is a pretty normal crossing of the street in Utrecht


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trier


Trier – This will come to be known as the show where we get our first eyewitness encounter with the phenomenon known as crabcore. We will never be the same….

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!
I think there needs to be a word for something that's so simultaneously awful and awesome at the same time, like a brutal car wreck... or that band.

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.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Lille

Lille – This show was interesting for a few reasons. First off, we walked in, looked at the walls, and realized that the band Anvil had played here during their tour of Europe that was documented in the movie, Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Right then we got freaked out….We hoped our show would work out a little better. (oh snap! a little googling found this)

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.
Corey in Middle Earth

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

Gent



Gent – We thought Gent was going to be a small little show in a small little town where we’d finally get some much needed rest. We were way off!

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 at The Frontline, which is sort of an unmarked club in the middle of town. Pretty fun show, we sold a good amount of merch again. Then it gets nuts….

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.

Corey and the drummer from Last Minute to Jaffna had a 45 minute conversation about food.

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.



And Amadeus....Where they compose a mean set of ribs we hear....
(Here I just picture the scene in Amadeus where he's reading off his top secret bbq sauce recipe on his death bed to Salieri)


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Le Havre



Le Havre - We made it back to the mainland, and drove across France for a little while, excited for the amazing sandwiches that you can get at gas stations here. Honestly, they are better than any sub shop in America. Now I know what you're saying, "Can it really be better than the handiwork of the fine sandwich artists at Subway?" Yes folks, it is. Jared has been lying to you for all these years. Don't trust him.

Also, fancy cheeses at the rest areas...

After load in we walked over to a brasserie next to the town hall and had escargot, foie gras, and mussels. It was great.

They had this cooler in the restaurant.


The show went way better than expected. There was no guarantee, and it was a Monday so we didn't know if there would be 3 people there or 300 people. Turnout was decent for a Monday and we sold some stuff, actually quite a bit of stuff.

Our host, Roulio then took us back to his apartment and we were introduced to Picon which made the night more enjoyable. Some of the other guys from the show were also staying at the apartment.

The next morning we woke up and went to a market to pick up supplies for the road. Supplies in this case = baby wipes, dryer sheets to make dirty clothes smell better, canned foie gras, water and kid sized apple juice boxes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The U.K. Part III


Taller Than Einstein, the Same Height as Cindy Crawford


Leeds


After not wanting to leave Edinburgh….Ever...we hit the road for our big show in Leeds. The Who album thing that I’m sure every band mentions when they play Leeds was on our minds too…We’re not very original.

We got into Leeds late so we had no time to see the town at all really.


This show had all sorts of wackiness. The first part of October in England have this thing called freshers….It’s where all the 18 year olds go out and get wasted and write with sharpies on each other, and generally act like jackasses. Well, our show in Leeds was right in the middle of freshers week, so we go into the band room before we play, and some kid is peeing all over the place. Mostly on the floor, but some of it on our gear as well. The bar throws him out of the room, then makes him clean it up. The bar arranges for Mark to go talk to the kid, who is very apologetic, but also very drunk and he says he mistook the room for a toilet. He then tries to shake Mark’s hand….Mark has some unkind words to say to the kid, and does not shake his pee soaked hand. We are later told that people from the bar walked him to a cash machine and made him take out 50 pounds. And he cried. He'll never pee again.


We play…..It’s ok, but nowhere near The Who's recorded performance. Manatees played too and killed it. We had to follow them. That was tough.


After the show, we come to find out that it’s been raining all night and we have to load our equipment down 2 flights of slippery outdoor metal stairs! Leeds!


Doner pizza after the show…Not our greatest idea. English breakfast complete with black pudding the next morning, much better idea.


London

This show was a birthday show for the promoter, who’s name was Lloyd. Awesome guy. Maybe kind of had a slightly older, British John Benetti thing going on? The best part of this show, was that they had a Rottweiler living on the roof, and a backyard full of Rottweiler puppies.



This show was jam packed….7 bands. Oh, and the music had to end at 11PM. We were playing with Attack! Vipers! again, which was a good thing. Those dudes rule. It was actually tough to keep track of who was playing and when. Also, there were two backlines for the show, one for the first half and one for the second half. Ours was for the second half.


Friends came out….That was nice.


After the show we went back to Ryan and Jess’ place. Ryan runs the EYESOFSOUND label and has put out some killer music. Their apartment is insanely awesome. I think we all wanted to live on their back deck. And they were food nerds, always a plus. Mmmm... cave matured fancy cheese.


This was also notable as the show where Scott discovered the Daft Punk app on his iPhone.


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Brighton -
Throughout the UK leg of our tour everyone was hyping up this town, the "San Francisco of the UK", and it totally lived up to the hype. Cool vibe, interesting people, lots of cool graffiti...

Scott and Ralph took a bro-mantic walk on the pier before the show and talked about getting old by the sea...

Played at a venue called the Prince Albert, once again with the always awesome Attack! Vipers!, who helped Scott looked more glamorous on stage than usual by pointing a fan towards his silky Fabio hair... but seemed to take offense to Mark's bass in the process, "accidentally" unplugging his gear. I guess that's what you get from a guy who exclusively wears shirts of Louisville bands ...jk.



After the show and a couple more pints we retired for the evening, bidding farewell to the UK early the next morning as we headed back to the mainland... first stop, La Havre, France. More on that later, but let's just saying getting out of the UK was a helluva lot easier than getting in.

But one last awesome picture of some Brighton graffiti... click for a larger image.