Sunday, January 24, 2010


Wake up this morning feeling human again.
We eat breakfast with the Reproach guys at the hostel. We sit around chatting about whatever over sweet bread and coffee. It has to be said that I haven't found a decent cup of coffee since we crossed the Italian border. I thought this was supposed to be the land that took such pride in the quality of its coffee? All I've been able to find thus far is this horrible, sweet crap that comes out of a vending machine. I doubt whatever it is I'm drinking at breakfast this morning has ever seen a fucking coffee bean.

We have to check out of the hostel by 10am and the drive we have ahead of us today is only a couple of hours. My boss at work told me before I left that, he'd actually been to the venue in Treviso and that it's in an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere. Surprise surprise... So we figure there's no point hanging out there all afternon. We think about going to Venice for a couple of hours but eventually decide on checking out Treviso.

Once again our van is refusing to start. It's becoming obvious that we have a problem. With the help of the Reproach guys again, we get the van going and head to Treviso.

It's a pretty silent drive. Everyone is showered and clean and had a good night's sleep. Even Jon, who seems to have been on one for a few days solid, is quietly sitting behind me, reading a book.

I have to explain something about the history between Victims and Italy. It isn't a happy one.

Before I joined the band, they'd had some pretty rough times on the road in old Italia. The most damaging experience of all, and one they all still hold a grudge over, happened in the autumn 2007 when they were on tour with Another Breath. They were near the end of what had been a very fun and succesful tour. That all changed when their van was robbed whilst parked up in Genoa. It was the middle of the day and they'd gone to get pizza. When they came back they found some cunt had smashed one of the windows and took most of their personal belongings. Their bags were gone, their laptops, ipod's, everything. Worst of all though, pretty much all of the money they had made on tour had vanished. Maybe it was a little dumb to leave the money in the van but that's easy to say in hindsight. One would think the van would be safe parked in a busy city during the middle of the day.

Myself and Ronnie have thankfully both had happier times on our travels through Italy, so as much as we empathise with the rest of the guys, we don't have the same bitter taste in our mouths when we say the word Italy, or Shitaly as the guys call it.

Anyway, we find our way into the small city centre of Treviso and look for somewhere to park, which ends up taking quite a while. It's a pictoresque little place though and we get to check out most of it whilst searching for somewhere to stop. It's only noon so we have a while to relax here. I have two missions. Pizza. Strong, black, sugarless coffee.

Once parked up in a busy car park in the middle of town, we all hop out of the van. The sun is shining, the air is brisk and things feel good. Then Ronnie thinks to give the engine a quick try just to make sure that the battery is charged from the journey we just made. Not a sound. Nothing. It was at least spluttering and making an effort this morning. It's now completely dead and we have a problem. I'm sure I hear Jon grumbling something about Italy...

Johan tries calling the guy we hired the van from back home, but it's Saturday and he's not answering his phone. We leave a message and decide there's nothing else to do than go and get some food. Jon decides he doesn't trust anybody in this country and says he'll stay behind and guard the van. I tell him I'll pick him up some pizza.

We manage to find some extremely good pizza and even better, some coffee worth drinking. We discuss our options over an espresso. We finally get in touch with the van hire guy and sort some things with him. It's the weekend so there really isn't much more we can do than try and find some sympathising Italians to help us jump the battery every time we stop the van, until Monday at least, when we can buy a new battery from somewhere.

We put that plan into action and head to the venue. We get there early. It is indeed in the middle of fucking nowhere, but it's much warmer than the place we played yesterday. The atmosphere is also a lot friendlier. We head inside and just chill out for a while. It's a big place again, though more like a standard club as opposed to the warehouse that was yesterday's venue. The first thing I notice when I get into the dressing room is that the people from the club have already set up a real pot of coffee. Things are looking better already.

This place really takes care of us. We get great food, set out on a big long table for all the bands. We all sit down to eat together. Johan even manages to fix a bottle of red wine for us to accompany dinner. We sit and talk with Scotty, the Municipal merch guy, who tells us about his youth growing up in and around Detroit. It seems like a pretty fucked up place. It's interesting dinner conversation though.

My friend Lorenzo comes to the show tonight. I first met him when he put on a show for Speedhorn when we had a day off on tour. It turned out to be one the best shows I ever played and we've stayed in contact ever since. He's really funny and just hearing him laugh, which he does constantly, cracks me up. We catch up as much as we can in the short time we have. We have to leave as soon as the show is done tonight. We have a monster drive to Geissen tomorrow which requires us to get up at 6.30am and be on the road for 7 at the latest.

The show tonight is probably my favourite so far. My stamina for the shows has generally been improving over the last few days and tonight my strength lasts through to the end of the set. We all have plenty of energy this evening and it's refelcted in the crowd. The venue is again full and the place is buzzing. I notice Dave and some of the Reproach guys watching from side stage, all of them with big smiles on their faces and nodding along. The support of our fellow tour mates always gives me an extra buzz and I routinely spazz out on stage. God knows how my guitar is still holding up. After years of abuse, it is mostly held together by glue and steel rods nowadays. A couple of times during the set I feel the waft of a fixed object somewhere in my immediate vacinity as I flail my guitar about like an idiot. One of these days that guitar will eventually bite the dust and I'll be gutted I'm sure. I know it sounds like bullshit but I just seem to stop thinking whilst we're on stage playing.

After the show we chill out whilst Municpal play. From what I can hear they seem to be having another great show. I spend a bit more time chatting with Lorenzo before the time comes to pack up and get out. We load the gear off stage and when I go to get my bags from the dressing room, Lewis, Municipal's always friendly tour manager, gives me a couple of pizzas to take with us. What a great guy.

We have our stuff packed down on to the dancefloor and we're waiting to exit the building. Johan has gone off to find the Reproach guys to help us with the van. It seems like he's gone for ages. It's probably no more than ten minutes but the fact that the DJ at the club is playing horrible, horrible music by the likes of Pantera and System of a Down makes it seem like hours. I'm tired and probably getting a little bit bitchy, but the sight of a gang of Italian metalheads playing air guitar and screaming at each other makes me want find the nearest flame thrower and set fire to the dance floor and everyone on it. I put it down to tiredness and one too many bad memories of idiots at Speedhorn shows. I'm generally a very easy going guy.

We eventually get out of the building and load the van. Before we hop in the van, Lorenzo brings me the bottle of red wine he had previously promised me. The bottle is freezing cold and half of the cork has snapped off and is now floating inside. I give him a hug for his kind gesture and assure him I'll enjoy it once I've managed to defrost it.

We get to the hotel around 1am. Of course tonight we get a four star hotel! Fucking ironic. Andy, Jon and myself are sharing a room. We share a pizza and then take turns in the shower. Jon has found some really nice looking, black and white, Japanese samurai film on the tv, that I wish we had the time to enjoy, but unfortunately it's now 1.45am and the alarm is set for 6.20.

The lights go out and I lie in bed for what seems like an age, waiting for sleep to take me into its arms.

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