Saturday, January 23, 2010


Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

Somebody's wakes me at 9am. It literally feels like I've been hit by a bus. The other two bands have already left for Bologna. It's pretty much straight out of bed and over to the gig room to load out our gear. The rest of the guys look pretty fucked too. Johan looks particularly red in the eyes. Ronnie looks as fresh as a daisy though and I think to myself that I would do anything to be him right now.

Somehow I make it through load out without being sick and afterwards I force a coffee and a sandwich down my neck that we pick up from a small bakery beside the venue. We get in the van, I sit up front next to Ronnie and try not to think about the six hour drive ahead of us.

It's grey and foggy as we leave Munchen behind us. My eyes feel heavy and my head is banging like a drum as we head for the Austrian border.

A couple of hours later the sickness has passed although I still feel completely drained. With the Alps fast approachng ahead of us, the sun starts to break through the clouds and everything starts to feel a little better. The guys are sat behind us and are watching the second season of The Office. Me and Ronnie are listening to Neurosis' album Times of Grace, which is of course a masterpiece. The scenery is amazing and the sun is now shining proudly in a bright blue sky. Neurosis provide a fitting soundtrack to the journey. My hangover feels a lot more managable now.

Jon once again has decided to blow off the whole hangover thing with the help of his bottle of Fernet. He's behind me swigging from the bottle and laughing insanely at the genius of Ricky Gervais. Me and Ronnie are giggling to ourselves as Jon weeps with joy behind us.

At one point, somewhere near the top of the Alps, we pull over and grab some coffee. It's actually pretty warm now and we take in the sights and the much needed fresh air. Jon is with us, standing in his old man pose, still with that jacket on, with the hood up. He looks hillarious. ”And people say she's just a pair of tits!” he mumbles to himself before screaming with laughter, a line from The Office which he has quoted to me around fifteen times this last hour.

We stop again around two hours later to fill up on diesel. Jon gets out of the van and walks off without saying a word. I get out and go for a piss and when I come back I spot him stood shaikily on the other side of the courtyard, smoking a cig and staring at a tractor type machine. He just stands there looking overjoyed, like this yellow machine is the best thing that he has ever seen. I look at him and then look into the van and the half empty bottle of Fernet lying in his seat. We need to get him to sleep again. It doesn't take long. We're on the road and he's behind me with his ipod on, he mumbles something about the new Kent record being the best album in the world, ever, before drifting off.

We finally get to the venue in Bologna after what seems like the longest six hour van drive of my life. I'm still not right. The venue, as is normally the case in Italy, is way out of town. The place is literally a huge steel hut in the middle of some field. We walk in and notice immdeiately that it's fucking freezing inside! It's a big room and the stage is really high. We catch the end of Municipal soundchecking. They look just as hungover as us.

They're soon finished and as they leave the stage commotion seems to break out. There are loads of stage hands and one particulary stern looking woman in the centre of it all, who seems to be conducting the chaos on stage. Before we can explain to her that we're Victims and playing on the middle of the bill she barks at us to get up on stage to soundcheck. We're trying to explain that we normally don't need one, that Reproach get a full soundcheck and we can just line check later before we play, since we use the same drum kit. But no, ”Drummer! On stage, you play two songs!” I'm trying to work out if I like her or not. She certainly scares me a little bit, although she has a certain charm.

We get through soundcheck with her off to the side taking care of monitors. She barks the odd thing at us whilst we go through a couple of songs. Amidst all this she does manage to get a really good sound up on stage for us, so I guess there is a method to her madness. I thank her after soundcheck to which she simply replies ”Yes” and ushers me off the stage. I think I do like her.

We head over to another building to get dinner. This building is also extremely cold. We sit there waiting for some food whilst Jon is at the bar trying to communicate to some old guy that he wants some heat putting on. He comes back to the table and tells us for the hundredth time that he fucking hates Italy. He's actually starting to get his point across because I'm starting to agree with him.

The Reproach guys come in a while later and tell us the crazy monitor woman has just balled them out because she thought they were Victims, and we had just wasted her time. She's apparently pissed as hell. We all laugh about and sit down together to eat. Jon mumbles something about fucking Italians as we tuck in to some good food.

We decide to head back to our van as it's the only place we can possibly get warm. We get in and turn the key to the engine. Nothing. It seems the cold has even killed the van. The Reproach guys help us get it started with the help of their van and some jump leads, and finally we get some hot air blowing. As we're sitting there de-frosting, someone comes and knocks on the driver's window. Johan looks confused for a second before realising it's Putte, the drummer from Burst! His girlfriend is from Italy and he is here visiting so he'd decided to show up and surprise us. He's brought a couple of crates of Perroni beer with him too. I decide to take one as nothing else seems to be working today.

The show is another good one. It always feels weird playing a big stage but the crowd are good and after playing the first couple of blocks with my hooded top on, I finally start to feel warm for the first time today. One mean looking skinhead guy in the crowd is getting the crowd moving by simply picking other audience members up and throwing them at each other. Nobody seems to mind though and we play a good show. When we're done my head is banging, but luckily I find some headache tablets in my guitar case, so I bang them down and grab a beer. I start to feel human again.

The Municipal guys had promised us a few days ago that the Italy shows would be crazy. They were right. I stood by our merch table with a beer in hand and watched a truly insane show. The room was now packed and there wasn't five seconds that went by before someone from the crowd was up on stage. Some people have brought foam surf boards with them and they're getting passed around as people are literally ”crowd surfing”. Me and Ronnie have a really good time watching the show from our great view by the merch table. The Waste guys certainly know how to put on a fun show.

When they're done I head over to the side stage room where the beer and food is kept and we hang out with the guys for a while. Dave has been given a big bottle of fine wheat beer by someone and he shares it with us like the gentleman he is. He's a real easy going guy who is a bit of an ale conniseur and he seems to have friends in every town who bring a bottle of the finest local beer. He's very chilled out and likes to relax after each show with a bottle or two, and that's it. I think maybe he's got the right idea.

A short while later we're packing our stuff down and the monitor woman comes up a pats my arm and tells me she thought the show was great! I'm taken aback a little by this. I chat to her for a while and she's actually a nice lady. I thank her for her steller work behind the monitor desk before we head back to the hostel we're staying at, which is just down the road.

The hostel looks like a fucking concentration camp. In fact, the whole area looks depressed. Our room does indeed have the interior design of a prison cell but I'm too tired to care. I'm just glad to have a shower and a place to lay down and close my eyes. The journey tomorrow is a short one and I'm looking forward to not being hungover.

Lights out. Sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment