After saying goodbye to the HT guys I shower and then struggle through breakfast. I manage a single slice of bread with peanut butter, my stomach not being able to handle the buffet of assorted pickled vegetables laid out on front of me. The coffee goes down a treat though. Andy and Johan are also looking pretty rough this morning. I was after all, the first to go to bed last night. Jon was up with the HT guys having breakfast though and is looking fresh as a fucking daisy. I don't get it.
We hang out around the breakfast table with Loffi and the guys from Black Fleck for a while, before packing the van and heading into town, via way of Cyness's rehearsal space, which is also where Loffi lives, to drop off the loaned backline we used last night. We drop the stuff off and then head upstairs to Loffi's flat for more coffee. I'm guessing the coffee machine he has is some kind of new toy since Loffi manically sets about making a chain of double espresso's. He just keeps lining them up on the table. I have two. It's great coffee but I know the second cup is going to come back to haunt me later on.
After we're done at Loffi's place, we head into town in search of a music store. We need some supplies today, namely some new leads for Jon amongst other things. Potsdam, or at least the area of town we're in this morning, is really quite a pretty place. The area we're in reminds me of the Södermalm area of Stockholm. After the music shop, the caffeine starts to wreak havoc on my stomach and I'm suddenly in dire need of food. I have a craving for an English style bag of chips, but knowing that's not happening, settle for a veggie hot dog. It doesn't sit well. It's some sort of weird yellow soya hot dog, and for some reason I choose the chilli cheese option. Loffi tells us this is the best hot dog kiosk in Potsdam, and I'm sure on better days I would have enjoyed it, but the pile of sloppy chilli and cheese sauce on the weird yellow hot dog stays with me, playing on my mind and on my frail stomach for the entire journey to Frankfurt. For some reason, the entire pack of Haribo Happy Cherry gums don't help much either...
It's late by the time we leave Potsdam, around two pm. Stachel, also hungover today, is in optimistic mood and seems to think the journey will only take four hours, getting us to the venue in plenty of time. But no, the journey takes the best part of six hours thanks to the perpetual Schtau!!! signs littering the autobahn. It's grey and raining and all in all a fucking miserable journey. Everyone is quiet, everyone, except Jon, feels shoddy. I try to get my head and sleep off the sickly feeling in my stomach. It doesn't work. I drop off at one point and when I wake I'm sure at first that I've been sleeping for a good couple of hours, but upon checking the time realise it was actually only twenty minutes. Six pm, a road sign reads Frankfurt a M, 289 km... We were supposed to be at the venue for seven pm. That's not happening.
With about an hour to go, we pull over into a roadside toilet and rest area. It's grey as fuck and cold. We all take the chance to get out and stretch our legs. Andy is by the side of the road, in the bushes, stuffing his fingers down his throat and subsequently throwing up. He puts it down to car sickness.. What a miserable journey this is turning into.
By the time the Frankfurt skyline appears on the horizon, around eight thirty, the sick feeling in my stomach is finally starting to subside. Nico is now sat in the back beside me, Andy having moved up front and Stachel at the wheel. I've only ever been to Frankfurt once before, with Speedhorn years ago, and the thing I remember about the place is that the downtown area is very un-European. It looks more like Manhattan. I know that Frankfurt is the finance centre of Germany, but Nico tells me it's also the crime capital. Funnily enough, Nico's home town, Hannover, is second on that particular list. What's funny about that is that the reason Hannover has the second highest crime rate in Germany is due to the fact that nobody pays for the tram when they ride it there, and if you are caught three times without a ticket on the tram then you get taken to court. And there is such an epidemic of train ticket dodgers in Hannover that it has pushed them statistically into second place in the crime city table. Best watch your back when you're in Hannover...
As we reach the city limits, news of an altogether more serious, sinister kind, starts to filter through to us via Johan's telephone. Apparently there has been a huge bomb explosion in Oslo, with at least two people dead. There is also something about a shooting on an island just outside of Oslo, and that maybe the incidents are linked. There is something about the possibility that kids have been shot but the news seems hazy right now. It sounds fucked up whatever it is that's happened.
We finally pull up outside the venue just before nine pm, after what seems like an incredibly long day. We load out our gear, which thankfully isn't all that much, just merch and guitars and amps. I remember as soon as we load out though that I have to string my guitar today. That's another kick in the balls right there! There is surely nothing worse on tour than re-stringing a guitar..
After I'm done with that, we go to the kitchen in the venue to sit down to an absolutely superb dinner. Veggies burritos and salad, with some nacho chips and a fantastic home made cilantro. It's a wonderful feeling to have some real food in my stomach and I feel so much better for it afterwards. A couple of girls who are friends of Stachel's are here and they sit down to dinner with us. One of the girls has previously lived in Sweden and can speak really good Swedish. We sit around after dinner, talking for a while. I'm feeling close to normal for the first time today.
The venue is yet another really cool squat venue. The room with the stage in is a good sized room, which can comfortably hold around one hundred and fifty. It reminds me a little of our very own Kafe 44. The stage is quite high and has plenty of room on it. Outside there is a really nice beer garden which is where the main bar is and where all the punks are hanging out. It's also where Nico is set up with the merch. We hang out there after dinner enjoying the cool night air and yes, a cold bottle of beer...
I'm taking it fucking easy tonight though. I have the one beer as I watch the support band, who are a band from Berlin called Nothing. There are quite a few people in when they play and I enjoy watching the most part of their set. They play a straight up, Poison Idea inspired hardcore. They're good at it too. At one point they even throw in a Poison Idea cover. The rest of the guys seem to think this is sacrilege though. I don't know, I've never been a massive Poison Idea fan, owning only a couple of their classic records.
The guys from Nothing are a really nice bunch of chaps though and they kindly lend us their guitars as back up. I'm hoping tonight we won't need them though. Fuck knows what we'll do tomorrow at Fluff Fest for back up guitars, or even strings in general, if we snap any tonight. Both me and Jon used up the last of our strings today. We should have bought some at the store in Potsdam but my hangover was at the forefront of my thoughts then...
The sound on stage tonight is really good, for me at least. Andy had been a bit concerned with the drum kit we were using tonight, since it's not set up as he normally plays. It must be hard playing on a kit that is set up differently to how you normally play. It would be like me turning up on tour and being given a seven string guitar, or a banjo. Andy seems to get through the gig without any problems though.
The room is full by the time we go on-stage. On any other night on tour, tonight's show would rate as a really good show, but after last night in Potsdam, it feels just ok. It's tight and the audience response is good, but I can feel that we're all hungover and the energy isn't quite there tonight. It's fine whilst we're actually blasting through the songs, but you can sense us all plodding around on stage between them, huffing and puffing. Apart from Johan losing his way in the first verse of Nowhere in Time and Jon going into the solo of Theft a verse early, cutting the length of the song in half, the show is a success. After playing Circles and Scars as extra songs, we applaud and thank the crowd and exit the stage.