Monday, April 23, 2012
It's been the theme of this tour it seems. Had the perfect chance to get a good night's sleep, blew it and ended up with less than five hours. Fuck it right? I'll be home in a couple of days time and then I'll be back in the world of normality.. Except, I feel like shite! I wonder if we were doing the whole tour, the whole five weeks, instead of just three, would I have looked after myself a little better? I remember talking to Barney a few weeks ago in Belgium, was it really three weeks ago? It feels a lot longer..we've travelled so many miles since then...Anyway, I remember Barney telling me that he really looks after himself on tour these days, that he has to, but then I guess Napalm still tour in a full-time capacity..Anyway, would I have looked after myself a little better if we'd been on the whole tour? Would I have paced myself a little more? The answer is probably not.
It's not like I've been partying hard the whole time, I've been drunk on maybe two or three occasions at most, but the lack of sleep has really fucked me up. I'm not one of those people who professes to be ancient at the age of thirty-four, far from it, I appreciate the fact that I'm still what many people would consider a young man, and I've got no issues with getting older either, but the simple fact is I can't handle the average of five hours sleep a night and the daily intake of beer and booze as well as I did when I started touring fifteen years ago.. We're getting to the end of this tour now, only two days left, and I feel absolutely exhausted, I'm more than ready to go home, although the thought of going back to work makes me feel sick, but another fact of this life we choose to lead is that in a month's time I'll be ready to do it all over again...
I pulled myself out of bed around nine, having once again denied the chance to relieve my bladder of the piss bursting it's seems for the hour previous. We have an early start today since we have the drive to Lund and it's an early show. On top of that the guys want to make the routine stop at the Booze Boat in Puttgården. We decided we'd grab a quick breakfast at the club at ten am and then we'd get going. At least we'd had insight to pack the gear down last night, which was quite surprising considering the shots were flowing.
We're on the road by ten-thirty. As soon as I take my place at the back of the van my eyelids start to fold over, weighted down by sleep. I feel absolutely exhausted.. It's hot in the back of the van and my throat hurts from the cold that has been threatening to take over my body for the last few days. It seems to be finally breaking through the barriers. Some of the guys are watching a film, I don't recall which particular one, I only catch glimpses of it between foggy bouts of sleep. One thing that is quite clear in my head though is the progress we're making, or the lack of it. The get in for the show at Lund is supposed to be three pm since doors are at six and the curfew is ten pm. The venue tonight is a youth club and the show is all-ages. At the rate we're going we're going to struggle to arrive before doors. It's one-thirty when we arrive at the Booze Boat...we still have the forty-five minute ferry to Denmark and then from there another two and half hours on the road. We'd better make the stop a quick one.
The Booze Boat: a four storey ferry, stacked floor to ceiling with bottles of booze and packs of cigarettes, all sold with an extremely friendly, tax free discount...
I curse myself for not taking advantage of the cheap prices on the boat at the start of the tour, when we were on the way down to Germany. I thought then that it would be a pain in the arse having a bottle of booze rolling around in the back of the van or weighing down my bag, but now today I'm so tired and have been drinking every day for the past three weeks, I can't even get my head around purchasing a bottle of whisky, no matter how cheap, and so after walking around the boat in a daze for the best part of thirty minutes, I shuffle back out to the van where most of the other guys are already waiting. I reason with myself that my single malt collection at home is still at a healthy fifteen bottles anyway.. We're still waiting on a couple of the Black Breath guys, who are presumably still walking around the boat in awe. Peter wants us to wait for him since he's never taken the ferry before. Fifteen minutes later and we're still waiting for Elijah. He eventually turns up, grin spread from one cheek to the other, carrying what appears to be a solitary bottle of beer...
Of course, we missed the two-thirty ferry to Rödby by minutes. Next one, forty-five minutes. We're going to be late...
We eventually arrive at the venue in Lund around five-thirty, so with doors in thirty minutes we'd better get on with getting on. Black Breath aren't even here yet though and they're carrying the bulk of the backline in the trailer. The youth club we're playing tonight is a very quaint little, wooden building that is painted white and looks like something you'd see in a souvenir calender of Sweden. It hardly looks like a place you'd associate with hardcore shows but looks are deceiving...they've been putting on shows at Hemgården for years. We load in and then help ourselves to coffee and cookies. It's that kind of place... The kids running the venue are all very friendly and are happy to help us get the stage set up in double quick time when the Black Breath van arrives. The room the stage is in is very small. It looks like a tiny little school assembly hall. The stage is minute and set up in a very weird way. The front of the stage, which stands about two feet high, where I presume those of us playing guitars will be standing, is very narrow. Once the amps are stacked up there will be no more than a foot or so left to stand in and play, meaning we'll be wearing the amps like fucking back-packs. The area where we'll have to place the drum kit is a small alcove, set behind the amps, which is going to make for interesting listening for Andy., and by interesting I mean he'll hear fuck all. I consider for a minute suggesting that we set up on the floor, but realise that we'd end up taking up half the room if we did so. And the rumours are the show tonight is sold out.
When we're done setting up we sit down to some dinner. Jon appears, having been missing for the last hour or so. Drette told me he found him sitting in the van reading his book. Apparently the place was giving him bad vibes...too Christian according to him. I can't say I've really picked up on that but then Jon is more sensitive to such things.
Even though we were late getting here we still managed to get everything set up and good to go by the time doors were supposed to open. There really wasn't much need for a soundcheck but Tormented gave the PA a quick run through anyway. Amazingly, with such a strict curfew in place at ten pm and three touring bands on the bill, the promoter, whoever that is, found it necessary to add a forth band to open the show, an all girl punk band from Malmö called Beyond Pink. Even more amazingly, the promoter has also told us that Beyond Pink will have to play later on the bill since they're not going to be able to make it here in time to play first...apparently one of the members has work. This seems completely fucked up to me. We tell the people at the venue that if they can't make it for the start of the show then they either have to play last or forget it all together. Nothing against the band, it's just a ridiculous situation. I mean, we travelled from fucking Hamburg to get here...
Beyond Pink turn up at the venue about ten minutes before Tormented are due to go on. Andy knows a couple of the girls in the band, of course, he knows people involved in punk rock in just about every town on the planet. They tell him that they'd rather go on first and that going on last doesn't really work for them. Well, Tormented are set up and there really isn't much to tell them, except that maybe one of them should have booked the afternoon off work. They don't look too happy with the situation and the air all of a sudden seems a little chilly. It's an unwritten rule of touring though, you don't break the package up. Again, I just don't fucking understand the logic of putting an extra band on a three band bill at a venue that has a strict ten pm curfew...
Tonight is Claes' last show on the tour. After tonight, we're travelling back to Finspång and Claes is going home to his family and our friend Rikard takes over for the rest of the tour, which for us is one more show but for Black Breath and Tormented it's almost another two weeks. Weird way of doing things really. But three weeks is a long time to be away from your children and I guess it must be hard for Andy too. This being Claes' last show, I'm really hoping that they have a great one to sign him off with but unfortunately it's not to be. They play well as they always do, but the sound is fucking terrible. It seems they've put everything through the PA, which in a room like this is completely unnecessary, a bass drum, snare and vocal mic combo would more than suffice. Instead the whole backline is miked up but rather than it amplifying the overall sound of the band it is hacking and glitching as if the microphones are faulty. Although there are plenty of people in the small room that seem to be enjoying their set, it looks like the boys themselves are having a hard time of it.
Things don't bode well for our set and it hardly gets off to a flying start. Pressed by the knowledge that we're on a tight schedule, we've already decided to cut Nowhere in Time from the set. Unfortunately things are stuttering from the very beginning. As soon as Tormented are done we're up on stage getting our gear in order. Johan has ran off for his usual nerve induced pre-show turd but the rest of us are on stage ready to line check. The problem is as soon as Jon turns on his amp and gives a blast of his guitar to make sure he's got sound, the in-house sound engineer cuts the record that's playing through the PA and the room immediately fills up with people who stand there in silence expecting us to start the show. Johan is nowhere in sight. “Er, hello” I awkwardly mumble. Johan turns up a couple of minutes later to find the three of us in the middle of a Grateful Dead type noise jam. He looks pissed off with us. I can only offer a shrug of the shoulders...
Johan soon gets his bass sound up but then when he goes to check his mic it gives him a sharp, electric nip. And then another one. He asks the engineer to replace the lead which takes another couple of minutes and does nothing to improve the situation. Then the mic is replaced but still the fucker is zapping him every time he puts his lips to it. We're getting way behind schedule by this point and in the end we just have to get on with it. Jon finally says into his mic, “We're a sweaty little band from Stockholm and we're gonna play you some songs..”
The gig sucks, quite frankly. At least for us on stage. It's hard to move anywhere for fear of falling off the front of the needlessly high stage. My ass is practically rubbing up against my amp and all I can hear is myself. If I move a step to the right towards the rest of the band then all I hear is Johan. Andy is making it quite clear he can't hear any of us and by the way he's playing I believe him. Johan is constantly getting shocks to his lips and is looking increasingly fucked off. Jon on the other hand, seems to be loving it.
The crowd seem to enjoy the show at least, but I can tell the out front sound is pretty cack. It's a real slog for the whole set and I'm more than happy when we get to the end. There are a couple of guys who have been in front of me throughout the whole show though who really loved it and they continuously thank me afterwards. I guess if they're happy then that's the main thing..
Claes tells me afterwards that the sound was abysmal. No surprises there. He also tells me that the Beyond Pink singer has been complaining to the venue staff about how far behind schedule everything is...It's gone nine when Black Breath finally take the stage and I wonder if they've even remembered there is another band playing after them. They normally play for fifty minutes so I can't really see how they're going to fit another band into the night, but to their credit they fly through their set, the crowd loving it, and cut a couple of songs in order to make time for Beyond Pink. As soon as they're done we all help get their stuff cleared, leaving our backline on stage for Beyond Pink to use. It's nine-forty five by the time they're ready to go and they're sarcastically making jokes about the time, checking their watches, making sure the crowd, what's left of it, takes note.
I can't honestly tell if I like them or not since the sound coming from the PA is so shite. It sounds like the drum mic's are literally resting on the kit. Turns out to be the case too. The bass player tells the crowd that the mic's keep falling down and are just bouncing around on the actual drum skins. I'm sure I hear the singer make a complaint about other bands on the bill running over time but I can't be sure, by this time I'm in the other room checking out a record distro.
They play for about twenty minutes before calling it a night. We all load out as quick as we can and as far as I know we don't even get a thanks for lending out backline. Weird gig. Shit last gig for Claes. We don't really care, we're driving five hours back to Finspång and we just want to get going. Eric tells us that oddly enough the promoter was just short of break even so there is no percentage break for the bands and we're given just the minimum guarantee. How can that possibly work? Again, we don't care, we just want to get on the road.
I sit up front with Johan at first, and then Robban takes over the driver's wheel around one am. The guys are in the back sleeping even though the film they had put on is still blaring out of the speakers. For some reason I'm fully awake and Robban and I chat the whole way back to Finspång. I almost don't want the journey to end such am I enjoying the conversation, talking to Robban about all the death metal bands he's been playing in since 1989.. It reminds me of when I was a kid and now and then, when it wasn't a school night, I'd travel with my dad in his Royal Mail lorry on his late night drives down to Luton Airport... If you're awake, there is something very cosy about driving through the late hours of night engaged in conversation.
We drop Jocke and Drette off before heading back to Robban's to sleep. Claes has travelled in Black Breath's van who are staying at his place tonight. We're going round in the morning for a farewell breakfast.. We get to Robban's around four am and although I'm still stinking of the sweat that pissed out of me on stage, I decide I'll shower in the morning. Or, in a few hours time at least...
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I stir sometime around seven am. There is a presence in the room. I turn over to find Jon stood by the door, rubbing his hands together, stirring into space. I ask him what he's doing but he says nothing in return, he just stares in my direction with that stupid drunken smile on his face. I turn back over and drift off back to sleep.
I wake again about an hour later, this time in need of a piss. I climb up out of bed and head to the toilet. Jamie is crashed out on a sofa in the hallway. When I come out of the toilet once again I'm faced with Jon. The fucker is still walking around in a haze. I again ask him what he's up to. Again, all I get is an empty gaze. I can't be arsed with him and head back to bed.
Not surprisingly Jon is nowhere to be seen at breakfast at eleven, the time we'd decided with the guys from the venue last night. The swine is nowhere to be seen at load out either. Elijah tells me he'd tried to wake him, even pulling the “Come on Jon, we're going bowling!” but even that hadn't stirred him from his drunken abyss. He finally arrives by the time we've loaded the van and have been waiting on him for a half hour. He sheepishly sits up front next to Stachel, who is driving the van for the trip to Hamburg. Robban is sat in the back, seemingly still drunk and nursing a bad knee.
We've been on the road for about an hour when Ronny calls. It seems their cymbal case is missing. Fuck. We've obviously loaded them into the trailer that the Black Breath van is pulling. Andy says he's pretty sure they had an identical case to the one Jamie has. After some three way communication between the two vans and Ronny who is back at the venue, we arrange for the Black Breath guys to meet them somewhere on the road to Pyramido's final show in Hannover. Sorry about that Ronny boy.
We arrive at the Hafenklang, one of our favourite venues in Europe, a couple of hours early. With Black Breath delayed, we call Daniel, our good friend who runs the venue, and tell him we're going for a walk for while. It's a sunny day and I'm only too happy for the fresh harbour air. We take a walk up past the Reeperbahn into the back streets of St. Pauli in search of somewhere to eat. It's always hard when you're walking around in a large group looking for somewhere to eat. We end up splitting up in to two groups, with Drette, Robban and Andy splitting for a Chinese restaurant. The rest of us end up in what can only be described as a fucking dreadful Italian pizzeria/restaurant. The owner, who seems charming at first with his loud booming voice singing along the loud Italian music, soon gets on my tits. The food is shite and all. I order a pasta with Gorgonzola cheese sauce that is watery and tastes of absolute fuck all. Still, as Swedes do, we all thank the fucker for the food when he clears the table. There is some weird, old Swedish guy hanging about who seems to want to befriend us too. He asks us what we're doing here and when I tell him we're in a band he asks what kind of music we play, then looks at Jon and hazards a guess, “Jazz band?” He's either taking the piss or completely out of his box. I don't know what it is with this guy, but he's giving off a very slimy aura. Jocke and I decide he's here cruising the Reeperbahn, the thought of that turning my stomach more than the food I've just eaten. Before we leave, the owner forces us to drink a shot of booze, on the house. I really don't want to but at his insistence take the sickly liquid in. It's not that bad to be fair. We thank him and then leave, happy to get the fuck out of there.
We meet the others outside the Chinese restaurant up the road, hoping that they've had it just as bad. Robban looks chuffed though whilst he raves about the food. Bastards.
We see something very disturbing, outside a bar just a couple of doors down the street. There are some flowers and a candle burning, with messages of grief for a girl named Anna. The glass in the door is cracked and there is dried blood on the pavement. Fucking horrible.
As the rest of the guys take a walk down the main road, Johan, Jon and I head down to the harbour to get some fresh air. The venue is just along the road and it's a much nicer walk this way than along the Reeperbahn. As we're heading to the club we spot a submarine in the harbour that has been transformed into a museum. Jon and I can't resist, but Johan abstains and heads back to the venue. I didn't know it before, but Johan has claustrophobia issues. I guess that goes hand in hand with his need for control of everything.
The submarine is awesome, although it's fucking tight. Crazy to think people could work on these things, under the water for months on end. I don't think Johan would have enjoyed this, but Jon and I have a great time.
We get back to the venue just in time for Black Breath's arrival and we load in to the venue. We're playing the larger room on the lower level tonight which makes for a far kinder load in, something my aching back appreciates. After load, we just sit around upstairs, flaking out on the sofas. I'm so fucking tired. We all are. We only have three shows left. The thought of playing Stockholm on Tuesday and then leaving again and travelling all the way back down to Italy now sends shudders through me. I almost feel sorry for the Tormented guys who are doing just that, but they seem in good spirits. I guess it's just the closer you get to the end, the more tired you allow yourself to feel. Those guys still have a couple of weeks left so there's no point in them even thinking about home yet..For me though, as soon as I find myself with nothing to do, home comes to the forefront of my thoughts.
The food at the Hafenklang is wonderful, as always. The three bands sit down together and enjoy it in the upstairs room where the second stage is. I'm knackered by the time I've eaten dinner, bloated and ready for bed. I assure myself that I'll get an early night tonight. The band flat is in the next house and I tell myself as soon as the stage is packed down tonight I'll be heading straight there.
We sit about in the small dressing room beside the stage waiting for Tormented to start. There are quite a lot of people in the venue so it should be a good night. I just need to find the energy for it from somewhere. We get into a conversation with Mark about the ages of everyone. The Black Breath guys turn out to be a lot older than I thought they were. I thought they were mid twenties but most have them have turned thirty. Mark then tells us something quite amazing about Elijah. Apparently he'd forgotten how old he was. When they'd been at the airport on the way over, Jamie had a hold of everyone's passport as they were checking in. He looks at Elijah's passport and says, “Yo Wizard, I thought you said you were twenty nine!” Elijah looks at him in total bewilderment and says, “Yeah, I am dude.” Jamie then informs him that according to his passport he's thirty one. “Whaaaaat?” a totally scoobied Elijah replies. Classic Wizard.
For a Sunday night, there are a lot of people in the building tonight. I stand near the front and watch the Tormented set hoping that I'll find some energy through them to take into our set. But as I stand there nodding my head in appreciation of the music they're playing, my head feels like it's going to roll off my shoulders, such is the ache in my neck. I'm fucking aching everywhere right now so it seems.
In all honesty I find our set a struggle tonight. There is plenty of noise coming from the crowd, if only a little movement, but it is Sunday night so you can't really expect too much. It's not like I ever fucking mosh when I go to gigs, I'm too old, so I can't really complain anyway. Saying that, I actually got in the mosh pit when Fucked Up played in Stockholm a few months ago, when they finished the set with Police, but that was plain embarrassing. Anyway, the biggest problem with the gig for me tonight is that the stage floor is as slippery as an ice rink. It's hard to get into the gig and just let go when you spend the entire set concentrating on not falling on your arse. Claes was down the front with a beer in hand for the entire show and he seemed to enjoy it at least. Jon said he had a good time too, it seems like the last few shows have been really good for him. If the slippery stage did it's best to ruin my night, at least the sound on stage made up for it. It makes a hell of a difference when you can hear everything else that's going on around you.
I miss most of the Black Breath set since we're sat in the dressing room discussing end of tour stuff. It's Claes' last show tomorrow in Lund and it's ours in Stockholm, so there's stuff we need to take care of. Feels kind of weird hopping off a tour before the end and I guess it's going to be really strange after the Debaser show in Stockholm, to just say goodbye to everyone and then just go home..and that's that.
We've decided on an easy night tonight, with an early rise tomorrow and the drive to Lund for what is an early show. So it's to my surprise when I go out to catch the end of the BB set and Johan is at the merch table drunk, looking chuffed. It seems he's been on the shots. As soon as I start laughing at him, Daniel is over to us offering another round, this time myself included. What can I say? Daniel is such a nice guy, it would just be rude to say no to him. A few shots later, washed down with a couple of beers and all of a sudden my easy night of blissful sleep is in danger of going down the drain. We watch the end of the BB set, there are a lot of people watching them and the buzz is in the air. It's always a fun time at the Hafenklang, the staff are a great bunch of people and it always ends up with an after party. Andy does well though, he heads off to bed around one am. The rest of stay up, drink another couple of beers although they're starting to feel heavy again and are no longer slipping down the throat with the same ease, and play some fussball again. It's been the in thing on this tour...
I get into a conversation with a nice guy called Will, who is from the States but lives in Hamburg now. I ask Johan later which band he was in, Johan thinks he was in Hellshock but he's not sure.. The staff start to close up the bar and the Black Breath guys are talking of going out in town. More often than not I would tag along, and then immediately regret it. Claes is really up for it, but I'm tired and rely on past experience for once and decline the offer. There is a bit of baiting for a while but I hold out. If we had a short drive tomorrow then maybe my answer would have been different..
The guys head off into the night in search of an open bar. We head back to the band apartment with the intention of going to bed, but it doesn't quite work out that way. Johan, Stachel, Jocke and I hang out in the stairwell and over a couple of bottles of beer fall into deep conversation. The time just disappears and before I know it, it's almost four am. and the guys have arrived back from their night on the town, completely bummed out because they ended up walking around for ages and not finding anywhere to get a drink. Oh how many times I've done just that.
Johan and I finally call it a night and head to the dormitory. I'm sober, Johan is pretty drunk. We end up chatting some more by the bunks, quite loudly and totally inconsiderate of our boys who are trying to sleep. Andy's irritated voice snaps out in the dark after a couple of minutes, “Seriously, shut up!”. That's the end of that conversation. The other guys are still making a racket out in the hallway though. I guess that's one of the downsides of sharing a dormitory...
I soon fall asleep though, a little disheartened at yet again missing out on valuable sleep but at the same time, glad for the hang out we had with Stachel in the stairwell, it was a nice end to a long day. They're all long days I guess...
We made a good choice in coming to Stachel's place last night. Even if we'd only slept for six hours, it was a sound sleep. After catching up on things over breakfast in the kitchen with Stachel and Mika, we took a walk around Bremen for an hour or so. Apparently it's snowing back home but here the sun is shining. We only have a few days left of this tour, I hope the snow has left by the time we get back. I'm ready for spring now.
The drive to Bielefeld was a short one and we arrived at the venue around five pm. The venue tonight is one of the classic punk venues in Germany, the AJZ. Tonight this institution is celebrating it's thirty ninth birthday, so it's going to be a big night.
When we pulled up the Black Breath boys were already here. They all looked pretty fucking tired, Jamie and Ace in particular. Apparently they'd been up until seven this morning, riding bikes around piss drunk. Ace is sporting a cut on his hand from where he took a face dive. We load in the gear, taking things nice and slow.
As with most punk venues in Germany, this place has a band dormitory which means there is a good chance we'll be partying tonight. As well as Stachel coming along with us in the van, a really close friend of ours, Ronny, is playing here tonight with his doom band, Pyramido. Ronny has driven Victims on tour in the past, and if he wasn't out touring with Pyramido now then it would have been great to have him with us this time. It's a real bonus that they're playing with us tonight.
Jon and a few others went off in search of a bowling alley as usual whilst the rest of hung out in the dressing room, drinking a couple of beers and noshing on the grub the venue had provided. I'm so fucking tired right now that it's hard not to think about going home. It's always like this for me when the end of the tour is in sight. At the start of the tour, with so many shows ahead and so many miles to travel, you can't even process home. Now, with just a few days left it's starting to feel too easy to allow myself to feel tired. The tiredness has been here since the first morning, but now it's hooks are really starting to sink in. I'm glad I've booked a day off at home when we get back...
The Pyramido guys show up and we hang out for a while. It's great to see Ronny and his friendly face. They've been out for just over a week, their tenth and final show is tomorrow in Hannover. Ronny said it's been a bit up and down, some good shows mixed with some shit. He said the biggest problem, apart from the fact they're going to lose money on the tour, is that it's been fucking cold everywhere. Stachel had seen their first show in Bremen a week ago which had been really good, and Ronny tells me that the Switzerland show was great. But then they had a show in Metz where they played on a freezing cold boat to a handful of people, where they were given a baguette for dinner! And then they slept on the boat and almost froze to death during the night. Another night in Karlsruhe, they played a show at a practice space to four paying people and got paid thirty Euros for their trouble. They had it good though, the band playing with them that night had travelled from Greece and got paid fuck all. They were this rock n' roll band, all dressed up in matching suits and shit, totally weird gig.. The pleasures of DIY touring...
Their show tonight was great though. They're always brilliant live, but the place was pretty packed when they were on. Apart from Ronny's mic cutting out during one song, the set was spot on. They played a couple of new songs that sounded really great too. Ronny got into the crowd for the last song and trudged around screaming in people's faces. Robban joined me in front of the stage towards the end of their set and seemed really taken aback by them. “They've got such a great drive for being such a slow band!” He says this a few times making me suspect that he's been on the pop...
Patsy O'Hara, a pretty cool screamo/d-beat band from near by were on second. They played with us last summer and I had a good time watching them, but tonight I could barely get into the gig room to see them, such was the amount of people inside. What struck me was that there was still a shit load of people hanging out in the courtyard area of the venue, as well as there being people in the bar area. One of the guys from the club tells me a while later that it's sold out tonight...
Patsy play for what seems like quite a while and by the time Tormented get to play their set it's getting late. For the first time this tour, I miss most of the set since I'm watching the merch in the bar room. I pop my head in and see that there are a shit load of people watching them and it seems like everyone is having a good time. The sound coming off stage is booming anyway..
We do our best to make a quick changeover after the Tormented set. The boys are dripping with sweat as they pack down their gear. Fuck, I'm sweating like a priest in a brothel before we even start! One of the club people asks me if we can encourage the crowd to look after each other during our set since the moshing has been getting out of hand at times already tonight. I relay the message on to Johan. I look down at the monitor in front of me and there are huge shards of glass from a broken beer bottle right beside it, with apparently nobody interested in cleaning it up. It's just waiting there to slash someone's arm open. I do my best to remove most of it. I get the feeling this is going to be an insane gig.
I'm pretty far removed from Andy on stage and for the first three or four songs I literally can't hear anything coming from the drum kit. I can see him hitting them but it's not orally translating to me ears. It fucks me off for a while since I can see the crowd are going nuts, and the other guys in the band seem to be loving it, but I'm struggling. I decide to turn my amp way down in the hope that the sound guy out front will catch it and compensate for it in the PA. At least now I can hear the drums. From Lifetaker onwards the gig becomes as much fun for me as it seems to be for everyone else. There is a big pillar in the middle of the floor in front of the stage and people are circle pitting around it for most of the gig. As we finish with Scars I notice Ronny stood in front of me, screaming along. I grab him during the chorus and we scream it together. The show comes to an end and we're all fucked, but satisfied. It's been one of those great shows.
There is no room to go anywhere, we need to pack our gear down so Black Breath can get on stage since it's already late, so leaving the room through the packed crowd just to come back would be a huge waste of time. Andy, Jon and Johan walk behind my amp and hide there waiting for the sound guy to put some record on, but with no space left for me I just sit on the stage in front of my amp, gasping for air. The crowd is chanting for one more song and I'm willing the fucking sound guy to just put the fucking music on. There are some punks stood in front of the stage that are starting to get pissed off with us, one of them shouting “One more song! One more song!” and then “Fuck you and your band! You suck!” I walk over to him and tell him I love him. He's still angry. “Why don't you play any more fucking songs you asshole?” I'm on the verge of getting pissed off with him but back down and decide to explain to him that there is still another band to play and it's not cool of us to take up any more time since it's already late. I tell him again that I love him and a smile finally cracks across his face. He grabs my hand and kisses it and tells me that he loves me too. As I'm walking away a young kid jumps up on stage and tells me we're his favourite band ever and they're coming to the Hamburg show tomorrow. He seems like a really sweet kid.
Once packed down we take refuge in the dressing room. We celebrate a good gig with a shot of the rather disgusting bottle of whisky that is hanging around like a bad smell. Robban enters the room looking a bit sauced. He says he's drank a few cocktails and is in the mood for a party.. I consider grabbing a shower but decide to leave it. There will be time in the morning..
We hang out at the merch for a while with the Tormented and Pyramido guys. I've had a couple of beers but it feels like one of those nights where it's not going to happen. The beer is going down heavy. Viktor, the Pyramido drummer is passing round a bottle of filthy looking booze. It finds it's way into my hands. I regret it as soon as it hits my throat. Fucking disgusting piss. I grab Jon's beer in a panic and try to wash away the sick appley moonshine from my tongue. Jon seems to be into the shite though, but then again, that fucker will drink anything.
I go to check out the second half of the Black Breath set. Johan, Jocke and Robban are there already, side stage, looking a bit boozed up. The sound from the stage sounds great and like they've been all night, the crowd are going mad. It's then that Robban decides he's going to do a stage dive. He runs across the stage, arms aloft and then before he even takes off, fucks his knee up and the big bastard just kind of flops into the crowd. He's gone for the rest of the set and just when we're wondering what happened to him we hear his voice from somewhere in the crush of the crowd, “Play some more!” This tour has officially become the Play Some More Tour 2012...
It's late by the time Black Breath are finished. Elijah tells me afterwards that some punk guy puked on the stage, right in front of where he was stood. The guy just wiped his mouth, gave him the metal horns and carried on banging his head.. Jesus Christ..
We hang out in the merch room for the next couple of hours. Even though I look at the clock around two am and think to myself that I'll go to bed soon, tired as I am, it's still four by the time I eventually make it up to bed. In that time, Jon has become totally wankered, stumbling about like Ozzy again. At one point he grabs a hold of Mark, looks him in the eye and tells him, “I am the tenth planet.” He then proceeds to bear hug Mark, squeezing the air out of him. Mark jokes, “Fuck man, you're killing me!” Jon, eyes closed, replies, “Squeeze it out bitch.” Fucking mad man.
Unbelievable enough, Jon is NOT the most drunk person in the building. The Pyramido bass player seems to have drunk himself blind! It's been a long time since I've seen someone so fucked. He's just kind of bouncing about the room, eyes rolled upwards into his brow, barely able to emit and audible word from his mouth. Ronny is just shaking his head, smiling. He must have seen it all before.
When I eventually check out and head upstairs, sober and very tired, most of the other guys are still going strong. Johan and Eric playing fussball, Jon hugging Mark, Elijah talking to some punk guy at the bar. The dance floor is still going strong and the punk classics are still hammering out of the speakers.
It's nice and warm in my sleeping bag. I can't help wishing I'd gone to bed when I'd first considered it a couple of hours ago. It would have been nice with a full eight hours sleep...
Saturday, April 14, 2012
It's like Jocke says...you almost feel worse when you're not hungover in the morning. At least when you're hungover you have something to blame. Pure, raw sleep deprivation is a fucker.
We were on the road around eleven this morning. Loading out in the morning was heavy again. The drive from Stuttgart to Groningen seemed to take forever. I thought we were done with the long drives but today took almost eight hours. I spent most of the time drifting between bouts of sleep, sweating in the back of the van. Every time we stopped we'd get out and gorge on more junk food, not even hungry .
It was after seven pm when we pulled up to the venue. We've parted company with Black Breath for the day, they're playing the Roadburn festival in Tilburg. We're playing a punk squat fest in Groningen.
The squat is quite new on the scene so I'm lead to believe. It seems to be an old office building, somewhere in an industrial estate on the outskirts of the city. We're greeted by a young, friendly looking crust punk girl called Eva, who is booking the show tonight. Literally the first thing she says is, “Nice van...”
We're tired and groggy when we climb out of the splitter and for a few minutes I have a hard time registering what anyone is saying. Eva then tells me that “our booker doesn't seem to trust her.” I tell her that the guy booking the tour we're on is not “our booker”, he belongs to Black Breath. She then asks me where we played last night and what kind of club it was. I'm a little confused by where the conversation is going, it seems to me our DIY credentials are being examined.
Looking back on tonight I guess we might have come across as a bunch of rock star cunts. It went like this:
We arrive in the big Mercedes van. We're then asked if we want to use the fest's backline. We go in and check out the band soundchecking, look at their equipment, turn around and bring in our own gear. I guess that's not too cool.. We're told that people have organised some sleeping places for us and we tell them we're driving to Bremen after the show to stay with another friend, I guess that's not cool either. The first thing I see when we load our gear in is a computer and a router, so I ask Eva the password for the wi-fi whilst waving my Iphone about. I guess that's not too cool either.. We then load in boxes of t-shirts and lp's, set them up and then sit down, pull out our Iphones and start checking the internet. And of course, we look like a bunch of emo kids...well, apart from Ozzy Lindqvist that is..
I hadn't even thought about any of this since shows like these are really quite common for Victims when we tour on our own.. It only struck me how un-P.C. we were being when three young, crust punk girls verbally assaulted us at the merch table, who jokingly started hopping up and down, hollering like school children, telling us we should stop being so boring, stop playing with the internet and have some fun with the rest of the people at the place. I guess maybe it did look a bit rude but we'd literally just arrived and nothing was even happening by this point. And in all honesty, the whole crust P.C. thing is so riddled in hypocrisy that I can't help getting pissed off with it. I got up and walked around to the front of the merch table and joined in with the jumping and hollering, only for one of the girls to approach me with her old Nokia phone and go in to some rant about how a phone like hers is the only phone you need. She asked me why I like the internet. I told her it's a free world and I can like what I want. She then tells me it's a stupid world and storms off.
Another guy has a go at us about selling lp's, wondering how we had so much money as to be able to afford such a luxury. I'm stumped by that one. Jon tells the guy that we work hard. The guy seems to know Jon from earlier, most probably through Nasum or something and apologetically explains that he's only joking...
Now...for a fucking start, this crust punk festival has a Facebook page to promote it. They're selling Coca Cola behind the bar, there are dogs running about the venue whilst bands are playing loud music and there are crust punks backstage fucking snorting cocaine. I don't have an opinion on this, I just think the hypocrisy of it all is hilarious. How the fuck can snorting cocaine be politically correct? And why are you a prick if you are on Facebook yet animal cruelty is ok? The whole thing is a bit fucked up if you ask me.
Anyway, after an admittedly chilly start, the evening warms up once the first band gets started. We get a game of fussball going which seems to break the ice. After a while, friends of ours like Esther from Fleas and Lice and Finnish Jenny, who is a stout Liverpool fan and a great girl, show up and we hang out and catch up on things.
The first band are fronted by two female vocalists and are a kind of crust/screamo crossover, not unlike Lich and other stuff coming out of London at the minute. They're pretty sloppy in their style but admittedly they have a certain charm and I enjoy watching them. The second band is a lot more old school punk and they have this young kid singing who is really entertaining, he looks like a mini Johnny Rotten. The squat is quite large but by the time the second band are done there are quite a few people in the place. The atmosphere is starting to improve and all of a sudden I'm looking forward to playing. I just love floor shows.
The Tormented show tonight is probably my favourite set of the tour so far, by any of the bands. It's a simple floor show, running pretty much straight out of the amps and it sounds great. They belt through four Tormented songs, which to my surprise, a lot of the crust kids are really seeming to get in to. And then Claes takes the mic, “Ok, this band is called Tortyr and we're going to sing in Swedish now.” It's so much fun watching Claes sing whilst the same four guys play their punk alter-ego band, just as a special for this very punk gig. The crowd look totally scoobied for the first song but when they break in to Ingen Kommer Undan it all starts making sense and the crowd goes fucking crazy. I'm down the front screaming along with the great hook line that both Claes and Robban chant “Fy fan! Fy fan!” It's an absolutely wonderful experience. I'm compulsed to give the guys individual hugs after the show. I'm now dying to get up and play.
We're good to go after about ten minutes and the crowd is slowly starting to gather in a semi-circle around us. There is just something playing on the floor. We raise the volume of the amps and kick in to the first song. It sounds a bit chaotic but it's a lot of fun. There are by now, a lot of pissed up, drugged up punks in the crowd. About two or three songs in some of them start spilling into the area we're stood playing, the stage if you like, except there isn't a stage. One old skinhead in particular seems to really want to hang out. He stands behind Johan, in front of the drum kit and just stays there, staring. I can't work out if he's taking this piss, or if he's just pissed. He's soon joined Pelle from Fleas and Lice and some other guy and so now there are three of them, just stood there. Someone comes along and moves them out of the way but shortly after Grandpa Skinhead is back, now crouched down behind Johan doing his boot-laces up. He remains crouched for the entire song, presumably hoping Johan will step backwards and fall over him..or am I just being paranoid? The song ends with it's usual abrupt stop and I walk over to him and take a hold of his head and rub it into my crotch. It only occurs to me then, whilst I'm rubbing his old wrinkly shaved head in to my balls that this could possibly be trouble..but nothing happens. He just gets up and stumbles back into the crowd.
The rest of the show is an absolute blast. Esther gets up and sings This is the End with us, by which time she's pretty steamboats. Sounds good though, her and Johan singing together, the crowd going wild for it. We're shouted back for a couple of extra songs, to which we oblige with Circles and Scars. It's a manic end to a manic show. For all the weird feeling in the beginning it ends up being one of the best shows on the tour. This is what Victims shows are all about.
Of course, not everyone is pleased. Pelle grabs me afterwards, pretty wasted, and says, “You know what? I'm actually pissed off. No really. Why didn't you play any extra songs?” I tell him that we did play two extra songs, to which he shrugs, “You know what I mean.” No Pelle, I don't really.
We pack up the gear and once we've stopped sweating, we start the load out. Eva thanks us for a great show, to which I return the thanks for the hospitality. Jon is at the merch stall and is actually selling gear. When we'd arrived I was convinced we'd sell fuck all. There is some girl though who does her best to piss Jon off. She turns her back on him and sits her arse on the vinyl’s and then commences to wriggle it about. Jon tells her that's not ok, to which she just arrogantly smirks, “Oh, am I destroying your records? Well, maybe just a little bit but you know, you shouldn't be so serious, you should try to enjoy life a little bit.” I have no fucking idea what she means with that.
Jon tells us in the van afterwards that some other guy had come up to him and asked him why he wasn't crazy any more. Ha, I have to laugh at that one. They should have seen the fucker last night! The drive to Bremen takes a couple of hours and we arrive at our great friend Stachel's place around four am. He's made up mattresses for everyone to sleep on. It's late, but I'm glad we're here. There was a French ska band playing after us tonight and I'm sure if we'd stayed at the gig, we'd still be there now watching them..waiting for someone to take us away to a place to sleep.
I shot up in bed like a fucking vampire when stabbed through the heart with a stake. I look over at Johan, his eyes are wide open, confused. What the fuck is that fucking noise? It sounds like somebody is chainsawing wood right here in the apartment. I look at the clock. Eight-ten am. The din goes on for the next twenty minutes without showing any signs of abating
Eventually I get up to find out exactly what the fuck is going on. I need a piss anyway so I make my way to the bathroom. I find some young, curly haired geek going at the front door of the apartment with an band-saw. He just kind of smiles at me, not in any sort of apologetic way mind...there is maybe a slight hint of embarrassment at best. It appears he's moving the door of the apartment forwards a couple of feet. Why the fuck he has the need to do this at this hour I don't know. I go back to bed. The din continues for at least another thirty minutes. If I didn't have a hangover from hell I'd probably chase the bastard, instead I just lie there suffering through the insanity of it all.
It's ten thirty when I wake again. I crawl into the shower and try to wash away last night's poison..
We meet up with the rest of the guys back at the apartment. We sit down to the breakfast that Mike has bought in for us and try to gather ourselves. Jocke seems to be doing better than when I last saw him. Jon, Drette and Elijah all still look pretty hammered. We still have to go back to the club and pack the van. In fact, we still have to pack all the gear down. If I remember right then we left it all up on stage as it was.
The load-out is heavy going. I really wish we would have sorted it last night when we were pissed up, would have been a lot easier. To add insult to injury, when we're trekking back and forth from the van we spot a bunch of pretty, young office girls who are looking at us from the building next to the venue. They're all laughing, openly mocking us and giving the peace sign. I guess they're aiming this more at the likes of Elijah and Eric but seriously, what the fuck is that all about?
The one consolation to today's hangover is that the journey to Stuttgart is only an hour and a half. We decide to take the opportunity to do some sightseeing since we have time on our hands, so before leaving Schaffhausen for good we drive off to check out the Rheinfall falls that are situated in the middle of the town.
The sound of water, especially when it's rushing in full flow, has always had a kind of hypnotic effect on me. I love being around water, it's one of the reasons I fell in love with Stockholm. These falls, although not that tall, are wide and powerful, the white water creating a cacophony of noise. I stand and take it in for a good twenty minutes. Jon and Drette are stood supping from another bottle of rum that Elijah had taken with him from the club this morning. Jon looks pretty drunk. Elijah has spotted a large, plastic jester mask that some fucker has thrown into one of the still pools at the bottom of the falls and has decided to climb in and fish it out, as much to do his bit for the environment as to get his picture taken with the mask.
I sit up front for the journey to Stuttgart. Schaffhausen is right on the border to Germany Black Breath's van, which is directly in front of us, gets pulled in by the border cops. A rather hard looking bastard then approaches our van, not a hint of humanity in his eyes, and puts his head in through the driver's window where Johan is sat at the wheel. “Are you guys travelling with them?” he grunts, pointing at Black Breath's van.
“No, different band.”
This seems to confuse him. He takes another look around the van, at the hungover faces starting back at him and then nods and tells us to carry on. We pull away hoping our American brothers are going to be ok. Sometimes the Swiss border can fuck you over when you're carrying merch with you. When we get to the venue, somehow Peter is already parked up in the car park. Johan jokes with him, asking how the fuck he managed to get here before us. “Because you're a musician, I'm a driver.” he smirks in his usual, friendly Hungarian tone.
Neil tells me later that that the cops hadn't kept them at the border all that long, and their line of questioning was pretty fucked up. They'd asked them if they had any drugs with them, you know, since they're a band and all and bands are prone to carrying drugs across borders. They obviously answer with a unified no. The cop then asks again, saying if they have cannabis, cocaine or heroin then they will not be allowed into Germany and will be forced to turn back in to Switzerland. I don't know if that is a trap tactic or indeed an absurd truth...
Stuttgart is a beautiful city, buried in the belly of a valley. The drive into the city is always worth being awake for. Unfortunately this youth centre we're playing to today, the same place we played a couple of years ago with Municipal Waste, is in a rather drab area of the city. The venue itself is pretty cool, but there isn't much to look at in the surrounding areas.
Since we're here with plenty of time to spare today, I decide to take a walk on my own, in the hope of finding a park or some other hidden gem. Really, I just need to get away on my own for a while. I love walking. An aimless walk with no deadline to be anywhere, or any destination to be reached, is like therapy for me. I love all the guys in the van, they're a great bunch, but sometimes you just need to be on your own for a while. It's nice just not to talk for a while. When you're on tour you are in constant company. The forty minute walk takes me nowhere and there is nothing of interest to see, but I feel a lot better for it when I get back to the club.
Jon is looking pretty fucking boats when I get back. I'd heard it from the front of the van on the way in, the way he was talking, arguing with anyone who'd listen that Ozzy is shit and Dio is King. He'd reasoned that you had to choose and he'd made his choice. There was a funny moment when Robban said from the seat behind him, “You're weird...” and everyone went quiet. The funny thing is he's now stoating around the venue talking and walking like Ozzy himself. Thankfully, he doesn't need to be told, he decided himself that he needs to rest and fucks off to a bed in the band dormitory.
There is another band opening tonight, Mankind Vs. Humanity. They play a kind of sludgy metalcore mixed with some nineties style hardcore. They're pretty good at what they do, the guitar sound is booming but there aren't many people in the venue to witness their performance. In fact, when they'd started up I'd gone in to check them out and there were about four people in the room, all stood way back against the far wall opposite the stage, that for some weird reason has a mirror spanning the width of it. The room looks like it should be hosting aerobics class rather than a gig. Anyway, by the time they're done a few more people have filtered in, but there is probably something like twenty people, mostly metallers in bad leather jackets, stood around smoking cigs.
I thought the German shows on the tour would be a sure thing since when we play here with Victims it's always a good turn out, but then I guess that is a different scene with different ticket prices.. Not that surprising that there aren't that many punks attending these shows. Black Breath definitely pull a more metal and hardcore crowd in Europe. Jamie told me that back home it's far more mixed with a far bigger support from the crust crowd than they receive here. Funny how that works really..
Tormented play to a quite a few more people than the opening band, the greater contingent of the smokers having made their way inside by now. The sound is really good in here and they play a solid show as usual. Most of the crowd seem to be digging them, Elijah in the middle punching his fist in the air, Mark in his usual spot at the front banging his head. Most of the rest of the crowd though, although donning looks of approval, refuse to be drawn into making any kind of physical movement.
I'd guess that by the time we start the set there are around fifty to sixty people in the room. It looks ok. When we played with Municipal there was more like two hundred, but even then I remember that gig was pretty stiff. Well, fuck it, when the crowd is stiff that usually just spurns me on more, it induces me to get their face all the more. Ozzy Lindqvist is now back with us, looking more with it than he did a few hours ago but far from sober. He has quite the look tonight. Hot Snakes t-shirt, bandanna wrapped around his pony tailed hair and gaffa-taped glasses.
We kick into Theft and I'm straight off the stage on to the floor. Come on you bastards! I enjoy a pretty good stage sound for most of the show, again opting for ear plugs, I might be able to get used to them. The show, although the crowd remains stiff for the majority, is good fun. I enjoy myself anyway. Jon certainly seems to be enjoying himself too, he's totally off on one tonight, pulling out some seriously debatable moves. Such classics like the black metal arms, licking his fingers and rubbing his nipples, giving Johan the rock God bow as he plays his bass. Fuck knows what we must look like with me on one side of the stage throwing my guitar about like it's on fire and Jon on the other side feeling himself up. No wonder the crowd looks confused. I do love the boob though.
I love the support the bands on tour give each other. We watch each other's sets each night. It's so nice to be on a tour where that's not a chore since you genuinely like the bands you're playing with. That didn't happen so much back in the Speedhorn days. Elijah had told me he'd been talking to some metal guy after our set who thought that having bands like ours, playing all this d-beat and shit, was ruining the show. Elijah felt the need to put him in his place, personally insulted by the guy. Sweet of him, but it's not any of us give a fuck about that kind of thing..
As usual, we watch the Black Breath set with a beer in hand. I'd only managed the one before the show, and that was only because Elijah had offered me on of the two he was carrying whilst we were watching Tormented and I had a hard time refusing his smiling face. In truth, the beer we'd received on the rider tonight was pretty pants, seemingly denying the laws of physics and refusing to drop from it's luke warm temperature to something more drinkable, no matter how long you left it in the fridge, or maybe that's just how my hungover taste buds experienced it. It wasn't any good though and I struggled through a second beer before giving up. The BB boys were great as ever though and it was fun watching them. Jon was down front giving it the black metal hands in front of Mark. Then he was over in front of Eric, getting involved in some beat down when the guys went in to one of their stomp sections. Then he was on the mic again, screaming along to their song Virus. The BB boys seem to lap him up though and dedicate a song to him.
After the show, we pack down and split the gear up, since Black Breath are playing the Roadburn festival tomorrow and we're playing some punk fest in Groningen. I'm actually looking forward to it since Tormented are going to do a special and play half the set as their crust alter-ego band Tortyr. Should be a shit load of fun! Will be cool to see Claes singing. The Black Breath guys are pretty bummed that they're going to miss it. When the vans are packed, we sit about casually chatting away. Most people are abstaining from any sort of booze although Jon is fucked again. I spot him, walking around confused at a seemingly impossible forward leaning forty five degree angle. Drette has fixed another crate of beer and a bottle of rum, but most of us stay clear. Funnily enough, Johan seems to be getting into it a bit..
We end the night back in the dormitory, watching Youtube clips of all our old bands. Robban is this guy with an insane death metal voice and sings in some pretty big bands. He was in Edge of Sanity with Drette, who were a classic death metal band in the nineties Robban now sings in a successful death metal band called Scar Symmetry, who play big assed shows. We check out some vids along with some of his other old death metal bands. Elijah and Mark can't believe what they're witnessing! It's pretty funny.
Then some old Speedhorn live clips come on, stuff from Ozzfest and the likes. “Whoah dudes, I can't fucking believe this!” Elijah raves, supping from the rum, “I'm in a room with metal legends, I had no fucking idea!” He goes on like this for the next hour or so, genuinely shocked by the company he's in, which is hilarious to us chumps. We force Mark into showing us some old stuff by his band Go It Alone and another band he has now called Devotion. He sings in both bands, he has a really good voice, although he seems very bashful about it.
The best clip of the night though, something of a classic in our circles, is the Skitsystem Goes to Poland video. It was one of their last shows, and an absolute disaster where they re-start songs, re-start the entire set at one point, all of them fucked out of their minds playing different songs from each other, alarmingly out of tune. In the end, Alex runs at Wallenberg and kicks him before leaving the stage. It's painfully funny. The show ends with a steaming Kalle getting of his drum kit and taking the mic, “No speed, no punk. What can I say?”, before leaving the stage shrugging his shoulders. The clip ends with an excited Polish fan grabbing the mic and screaming, “Play some more!!” Mark can't believe what he's seeing and being a big fan of the band and an extremely professional, sober musician himself, seems really hurt by the whole thing. We all piss ourselves laughing. Great clip.
I eventually go bed around two-thirty, wishing then that I'd done so a lot earlier. I'm stone cold sober when I tuck into my sleeping bag, and that being the case, it takes me a long time to nod off. I lie there in the dark, listening to the sounds from the other room. “I can't fucking believe you guys, awesome!” I hear Elijah drooling into Robban's ear, and the howling laugh of Drette and Jamie as they share the bottle of rum..
Thursday, April 12, 2012
There is little under a week left of this tour, at least for Victims. Tormented and Black Breath still have a couple of weeks left, but we're hopping off in Stockholm next week. Kinda made sense that way. If I'm honest then I would have liked to have done the whole tour, then...before we left. But now, with a week to go, I feel differently. Three weeks of touring this way, no sleep, booze every day, a constant intake of junk food, is about as much as I can handle these days. I'm fucking knackered when I wake this morning and I'm starting to look forward to going home.
We're on the road again by ten am, and the journey takes the best part of eight hours. I sleep for a while but it's hard going when your legs are stiff as boards and your knees ache from being cramped up in the van. The journey is a long one. We pass a bit of time watching the film Super Bad, but apart from that it's just hours of staring at the road.
A while past the Swiss border we see a pretty horrific car wreck on the other side of the motorway. There are a bunch of cars involved and one small car is completely fucked, it's missing it's entire back half. It's simply not there any more. I can't imagine how anyone sitting in the back seats would have survived such a smash. It doesn't bare thinking about...
We eventually arrive in Schaffhausen around seven pm, only a couple of hours late. It's a very picturesque little town built around an ancient castle that sits on a hill keeping guard. I imagine it would have been a nice place to have spent some time in. When we pull up to the venue ad load in, the Black Breath guys are already there. They got here at one am since Peter drove the entire night. The guy's a fucking machine! Although I guess unlike us, he didn't play a show last night.. I hear Eric telling one of our guys as we're loading in that they've had a really nice day in the town, sightseeing and the likes. I jokingly say “Fuck you!”to him, but he doesn't seem to get my British wit. It doesn't always translate so well I guess..
The venue itself is a strange little club. Very professional people, very friendly. The stage and the PA is all very high tech, but the room is weird. It's on two levels, the bar being on the second level and the stage in a sort of pit on the first level. My main concern in a town like this is, “where the fuck is the crowd going to come from?” Is it so hard to sort a show out for Zurich, or Geneve, Basel? I mean, I'm not a concert booker but it just seems a little strange.
The people at the club are super friendly. The promoter is a young, innocent looking guy called Mike. He asks Johan and I to follow him into the cellar and choose what bottles of booze we want for the night. They have shelves of expensive spirits, including single malt whisky and Barbados rum. Mike tells us he has no idea about what booze is what and that we can take what we want, and if we need more later then we just need to come and tell him. We're staying at an apartment around the corner from the venue tonight. This is going to be a wet one..
Switzerland is a funny little country. It just kind of exists on it's own. It seems everyone here has money and the towns all look like the model villages I used to love when I was a kid. The venue opens at eight and a few people come in. Straight away a couple of punks come up the merch table and one of them buys every record we have, a t-shirt and a hoodie. Another guy wants to buy an lp. We're only in Switzerland for the one day and we don't have any Swiss money the merch float. The lp costs fifteen Swiss francs, the guy hands me a one hundred note...
Johan and I hang out at the bar and get talking to the manager who is a really nice guy. We get fully engaged with him in a conversation on two of our favourite subjects. Local beer and football. He insists we try the local cloister beer from the brewery here in Schaffhausen. It's really good. We sit there for about a half hour talking away him about FC Schaffhausen, Hammarby and Liverpool and how we all suffer following such clubs..
We watch Tormented play their set. The sound from the stage is fucking awesome. There are about forty people in the place. Somehow I don't think there are many more on their way. Mike seems happy enough though. I wonder if this is another venue that is state funded or something...or if Mike is just a rich kid who books bands that he likes. He really can't do enough for us and I almost feel bad for him. This is easily the lowest attended show on the tour so far. It's not like it's a disaster or anything, far from it, it's just with the amount of money they must be spending on the venue and the hospitality they must be taking a huge financial hit on the show.. Still, it sounds great and those people that are here seem to be loving the show. These forty odd people probably are the Schaffhausen scene..
By the time we play the crowd hasn't increased any and I'm feeling like it's going to be tough. Not because of the crowd, simply because I'm exhausted.
We play through the set and although I can feel that we're playing tight, I'm having a hard time with the sound again. For the first time in years I have to put ear plugs in whilst on stage. Stupid really that I never use them. It helps a lot once they're in although it's a completely different feeling on stage when you take away all that top end distortion. It is indeed a hard slog on stage tonight. The crowd are receptive enough but I'm feeling weak. All in all, it's still a fun enough show though. Weirdly, for the first time probably ever, Johan breaks a bass string during the set. I thought Jon had dropped out of Circles at first because a huge part of the stage sound disappeared but then I spotted Johan's guitar. Shit. When the show is over I pack up my gear immediately and then head to the back stage room. I need a beer.
Jon goes to the bar and fixes some glasses with ice and lime and I make a round of rum and cokes for everyone. It hits the spot perfectly. Johan admits that he was a little drunk on stage, that the two or three beers he'd drank before the show had gone straight to his head. Not surprising considering the long day but it's not very often you'll see Johan tipsy on stage. I hadn't noticed to be honest..
Jon is chuffed today since he got to go bowling. He and Elijah had gone off together earlier on the back of directions they'd been given by somebody at the club. They had arrived at the supposed bowling alley only to find a bar and a confused bartender. When they explained they wanted to go bowling, the bartender directs them down a couple of floors to a closed bowling hall. They have to turn on the lights themselves and then they get the entire alley to themselves. If heaven exists then heaven is a bowling alley according to Jonny boy.
I'm a little tipsy myself by the time Black Breath take the stage. The crowd is still no larger and most of the Victims and Tormented guys are stood at front to the right of the stage, drinking beer and singing along. We have a really good time and again, the PA sounds amazing. Those few people who are here are certainly treated to a great sounding show.
Mike asks us if we want to go to a bar and hang out after the show but we tell him we'd rather stay at the club if it's possible. It's not like we want to go out on the pull, most of us are respectable guys that are happily settled with wives and girlfriend's, some of us have kids. All we want to do is stay at the club and get pissed together.
We spend the night around the fussball table, me and Erik taking on Johan and Peter. Peter turns out to be some sort of fucking hustler and goes the night unbeaten. We've empties two bottles of rum by this point and I go to fetch another from the cellar but think better of it. It's two am and I'm already pretty pissed. I go back up to the bar and find four of the boys around the table with their tops off, hammering the shit out the fussball table. I guess they're playing strip fussball. My guess is confirmed a few minutes later when Jon starts taking his jeans off after conceding a soft goal..
We're all in a pretty advanced stage of inebriation but Jocke is in a particularly bad way. He was only telling yesterday that he hadn't really been drunk on this tour yet but he's more than making up for that tonight. I find him in the bogs, white as a fucking ghost, on his knees with his head down the shitter, puking like there's no tomorrow! Robban walks in as I'm stood pointing and laughing at him and asks what's going on. He then spots Jocke and goes to his aid, “Aw Jocke, how's it going buddy?” with mock concern in his tone as he pulls out his phone and starts taking photos..
Jocke finally pulls himself up and goes outside to take some air. He's sat on a step in the car park looking sad as we get back to the fussball. There is a pile of sick on the floor over by the doorway. Poor Jocke..
About thirty minutes later, we're still playing fussball when Jocke comes running back in to the club. “Eeeeh Jocke's back!” I cheer, full of genuine jubilation. Jocke storms past, heading straight for the toilet, “I'm not back” he quivers..
The night finally comes to an end around four am. We trek through the cobblestone streets of Schaffhausen, my bag's heavy wheels practically waking the whole town as we go. Most of the guys check into the flat that is owned by the club. Elijah is hanging out of a window upstairs shouting down to us when some guy in the house opposite angrily demands we shut our yaps. “Ah sorry brother!” Elijah beams in his usual Boomhauer tone.
Johan, Mark, Peter and I opt for the hostel the club has booked for us. We lie in bed watching CNN for a while but I can hardly concentrate on anything being said. My eyes give in sometime around four-thirty. I'm glad it's only a short drive tomorrow..
I'd set the alarm for nine am, determined to make up for last night's failure. I'd happily sacrifice a couple of hours sleep for some free time in Barcelona. Besides, I had some record shopping to do and Tallers, a great little street that is peppered with record stores, was just around the corner from the hostel.
After a quick shower, Johan, Claes, Drette and I headed to La Rambla in search of some breakfast. Andy, Jocke and Robban weren't far behind. It's almost a sin to waste a breakfast at a tourist trap on La Rambla when there are so many other places to go in this city but time was against us and the need for record shops was greater than that for coffee. Any café would do.
Having a couple of hours to walk around the city was truly soul soothing after last night's disappointment although it did serve to reaffirm the need to come back here on a real holiday soon. I guess we are playing Hellfest in France later this year and then Jenny and I plan to spend a few days in Paris after that...So many places to be, so little time..
The record shopping wasn't a roaring success, I only found a re-print of the first Necros record, but the walk more than made up for that. We met with everyone back at the hostel at twelve thirty and ordered some taxis to take us to the park where our vans had spent the night... We ended up in a cab with a sweet little old guy who was quite a character. He was pissed off with the cops since they'd spotted him blocking the small street the hostel was situated on when we were packing our bags into the boot. Apparently this was an illegal move and the cops had given him a ticket that would set him back one hundred and fifty Euros. Seemed a bit excessive to me. He spent the entire ten minute trip complaining about the cops. When we drove past another cop sat on a motorbike he started shouting something along the lines of “Policia! Stupido!” and proceeded to slap his face in frustration. I sat in the back cracking up. When he dropped us off at the park where the rest of the guys were waiting for us, he helped us out with our bags and walked around everyone shaking hands, “Beunas dias amigo!”. Nice old boy..
From the top of the park you could see just about the entire city so we took advantage of the chance to get some tourist style photos. I could have stayed there for hours taking in the views but unfortunately time was getting away from us and we had another show to play tonight. Time to get back on with things..
The drive to Toulouse was a relatively short affair, especially when contrasted with the drive we faced to the show tomorrow in Switzerland. We'd be leaving straight after the gig tonight.. The scenery on the road back over the mountains to France was once again quite stunning but strangely enough as soon we passed the French border the sky turned black and it started pissing down. Felt too bad to leave Sunny Spain behind us. I've been told that Toulouse is itself a fine looking city but I doubt very much we'll get a chance to see anything of it. I've also been told there is an active skinhead scene in Toulouse, and not the friendly, ska loving kind either... now that's something I truly hope we don't get the chance to see tonight.
Jocke had taken over the wheel for the last couple of hours of the journey but he's adamant he doesn't want to drive the van into the city, proclaiming we'll all die if he does. We're looking for a place to pull over so someone else can take over, not me, at six months I'm still too green to be trusted with a band van, rightly so and all say I, but somehow an opportunity never arises and as we land in the thick of Toulouse down town traffic Jocke is still stuck at the wheel, shitting himself. I think he's doing an ok job but when he makes a wrong turn the rest of the guys can't help themselves but take the piss. He ends up finding a spot to pull over on a back street somewhere and Claes takes over, a relieved Jocke jumping in the back next to me. At least we got to see a bit Toulouse mate..
The scheduled get in time for today was five pm but it's almost six thirty when we arrive at the club. And Black Breath are nowhere in sight yet...The club is on a very narrow street that as is usual in this country, packed with parked cars. The guys from the club have thankfully taken the liberty of cordoning off a space for the van although even that is tight. It takes Claes a while to squeeze the van into place, the whole while a young couple are making out in the middle of the road in front of us, like a scene from a cheesy movie. I think it's sweet but most of the bitter old men I'm sharing a van with seem quite irritated by it. When Claes finally does kill the engine we're in so tight we can't even open the back doors to get the gear out. Robban comes to the rescue though and shoves the little French car parked behind us backwards a couple of feet...and then we're in.
The people from the club are extremely friendly and everyone helps us load in. The club itself is a really cool little place, perfect for our needs. The stage size is just right, not too big, the floor space in front of it would look nicely filled out with about sixty people and there is an upper level with a balcony to look down upon the stage from. I guess this area will be closed off tonight though, unless for some weird reason we have as many people in attendance tonight as we had in Barcelona yesterday..I doubt it though since the French hardcore scene is quite minimal..
The balcony area is indeed closed off and they're using the space up on the second floor for an area for the band and club personnel to hang out. When our gear is fully loaded in Black Breath are still nowhere to be seen so we sit down to the dinner the people at the club have made for us. I tuck into a delicious pasta salad with feta cheese and mouth watering tomatoes, capers, basil and a zesty vinaigrette. Wonderful stuff! I wash this down with a sharp glass of French rosé wine, all very civilised.
I'm starting to feel pretty fucking ropey by now though..I think it's simply a lack of sleep mixed with a continuous intake of alcohol. It's not that I've been drunk every night, in fact, I've only been pissed a couple of times, but it's just that it's every day and I'm not twenty years old any more.. After dinner I really start to feel quite shaky for a while and have to sit down for a while and concentrate on getting my head in gear. I think I'll stay off the booze for the rest of the night..not like there's going to be a party afterwards.
Black Breath turn up not long after dinner and we help them load in and set up on stage, ready for Tormented to sound check the gear and then we make plans for tonight's journey. We decide on trying to make it Nimes and a Formule 1 hotel, about three hours away, which will hopefully allow us at least six hours sleep before driving a further eight hours tomorrow.
There are about fifty to sixty people in the club by the time Tormented play. Not bad for a wet Tuesday night in Toulouse. It's far from packed but it still looks pretty good down on the floor. Most of the crowd seem to be very metal though, so again, we'll see how that bears for us. As I watch from up on the balcony I see two middle aged metalheads playing air guitar and giving each other the big thumb as Tormented blast away. They looked totally chuffed. There is another long haired metal guy in denim jacket covered in patches, screaming in his best black metal voice “Tormented!!!!” Andy is throwing pieces of cake at Jocke. Jocke is confused...
Johan has got his computer set up in the dressing room, streaming the Liverpool-Blackburn game. I'm not sure I even want to watch it so depressing has watching Liverpool been this year, but when Maxi Rodriguez puts us in to an early two goal lead we're cheering along with the rest of the crowd, “One more song! One more song!” as Tormented bring their set to a close. Just before we head down to the stage to set up, our fucking keeper gets sent off, giving a penalty away in the process. How the fuck are we supposed to concentrate on playing a show when this is going on? I do my best to put the game out of mind and set up my gear.
It's yet another good show. The stage is extremely bright though and I have one huge light in particular that is on me for the entire show, fucking cooking me like a Christmas turkey. Fuck knows how much fluid I lose during the show! Apart from that though it's a lot of fun. The small crowd are responsive and the stage sound, at least on my side, is really solid. We blast through the half hour set and then head upstairs in search of the Liverpool result. We won! I celebrate with a cold can of beer and a shower.
I watch the second half of the Black Breath set from the merch table. It seems like a slow night for business. Some big, leather vested biker guy comes up to me at one point and says “Bon soir” and then a lot of other French that I can't make out. I tell him I can't talk French and apologise to which he replies, “Well you have no choice.” I don't really know what to say to that so opt to say nothing. I notice the club patch on his vest reads “Hard Rock Crew” and figure maybe he's not so dangerous after all. He actually turns out to be a friendly bloke and has no problem talking English with me. He's doing his best to explain to me that the metal scene in France is rubbish. I spend most of the time just nodding my head in non-committed agreement.
A while later another guy approaches me, a younger kid who looks more like the typical hardcore fan, and proudly shows off a couple of Swedish phrases he knows. He's a really nice guy who's name is Sebastian. He buys the Neverendinglasting lp, telling me it's the only Victims record he doesn't own. I tell him he'll be happy with his purchase since it's a great record. It's nice to be able to say that without being a big headed cunt since I wasn't in the band when they did that album and like most of the Victims albums, is a record I like as a fan rather than a band member.
Sebastian then asks me if I've played in another band before, saying he recognises me. Oh no, if this is a Speedhorn thing then there's a good chance this isn't good, I think to myself.. It turns out that he was a big Speedhorn fan though and he's really chuffed to meet me. He tells me that he used to live on an island in the South Pacific, on the Polynesia islands somewhere, and he bought our first album from a record store there. That blows me away. I had no idea we sold records so far away from the shores of the UK..
I head back upstairs before BB are done with their set. I notice the guy with the black metal voice is now in front of the stage on his knees, screaming in ecstasy at the feet of Mark as he riffs away. Brilliant.
As soon as Black Breath finish we start packing down the gear. By the time Eric comes back to sort out his gear the stage is near empty. We want to get going as soon as possible. Night drives are never fun. We're loading out the van and the black metal guy is doing his best to help us. He's absolutely steamboats though and can barely see straight. After much insistence, he finally gets the message and leaves us to pack the van. He's friendly enough and doesn't mean any harm, but we don't need any delays tonight.
When the van is packed, I go back inside to do an idiot check and find Jon and Robban at the bar tucking into a glass of Pernod. When we're set to leave, Black Metal Guy finally gets to help us by guiding us out of the tight space we're parked in. At least we let him think as much since it seems to make him so happy. We pull away from the club with him stood beside the van giving us a very satisfied thumbs up.
We hit the motorway, Johan and Robban up front, the rest of us in the back watching Talladega Nights. By the time the film comes to an end everyone in the back bar me is fast asleep. My eyes are fucking heavy though. When we reach the hotel the car park is absolutely rammed and we have to park it on the lawn, hoping we won't receive a parking ticket that we won't pay anyway.. The bigger concern is that the hotel is full. That would be a right kick in the balls. Andy goes to check it out and the rest of us wait around, hoping for good news.
Good news it is. There are three rooms available. Thank fuck for that!
I crawl into bed at three-forty five, setting my alarm for nine-thirty. Lights go out. It takes me a while to fall asleep...
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
What a difference a night in a hotel bed makes. For the first time in a few days I felt like I'd had a real sleep.
The journey to Barcelona would take around five hours. The scenery on route was like something from a Spaghetti Western movie. I sat up front with Johan for the trip, listening to Tom Petty and the new Lee Ranaldo record whilst looking out for huge birds of prey in the sky. There seemed to be a lot of buzzards gliding around.
The tolls in Spain are less frequent and nowhere near as expensive as those in France. Funny thing is though, whenever you do stumble across one, the other drivers on the road seem to get really wound up. As we're stood still, waiting in line for our turn to pay the man in the booth there is a fucking orchestra of car horns tooting at seemingly nothing at all. Fuck knows what they think honking the horn is going to achieve? It's as if they want the person in front of them to ram through the barrier or something.. Crazy bastards.
We pull into the outskirts of Barcelona. There is a huge cemetery literally built into the side of a mountain, cross after cross scattered about it like confetti, other graves simply marked by plaques that are buried into the wall of the mountainside. It's quite a sight. There are quite a few sights to behold in this city and as we're driving around it's streets looking for the venue, the presence of La Familia Sagrada looming down from the top of one the avenues we pass, I can't helping wishing I was here on holiday instead.
The venue is a big place, although unlike last night, there are a few different rooms of varying sizes. Thankfully we're playing in the smallest of them. I have a really good feeling about tonight. Even if only the seventy five people who have bought tickets show up, the show will look good. Plus, my friends Karl and Camissa are coming down and I'm looking forward to seeing them. Karl used to play bass with Regimes and toured with us when they did a Scandinavian tour with Victims. Karl, originally from Boston, Lincolnshire, has been living here since he moved back from Canada a while ago. He moved to Canada when he was denied access back into England after being on a short holiday in France with his then five month pregnant Canadian girlfriend, who herself had been living in London for years. The port authorities literally turned them around at the border with nowhere to go because his girlfriend had apparently been back and forth from the UK a little too regularly for their liking. It was a very fucked up situation at the time. Karl seems to be loving Barcelona now though and has no intention of moving back to his homeland.
The venue is situated right in the middle of the city and is pretty flash, certainly for the likes of us anyway. We each have our own dressing room, which seems a little ridiculous. I'm glad that the three bands on tour are such good friends and we share and share alike. There's no bullshit like, “This is our fridge with our beer in it..” I've been on plenty of tours like that and it's horrible...
Whereas yesterday's show in Madrid could just as well have been in Birmingham, there was no mistaking today that we were in Barcelona. Unfortunately it was Easter Monday today, meaning that pretty much everything was closed. We asked the promoter whether he thought that the record shops over on Tallers would be closed to which he unequivocally answered with a yes. Fucking bummer! I had really been hoping to find some time to walk around Barca and do some fun stuff, like go record shopping...
To my delight the promoter then hit us with some great news. We were again supposed to be staying at a hotel way out of the city, just like last night, but that had now been changed to a hostel close by, right next to La Rambla. With Toulouse only being a four hour drive tomorrow this meant that we'd have plenty of time in the morning to do Barca stuff, and with the venue being close to the hotel we might even be able to hit a bar after tonight's show, if there was anything open on this holiest of holidays...I was now in a great mood.
The venue opened at eight and Tormented were supposed to be playing at eight fifteen with a strict curfew set in place for eleven pm. Even so, it still felt ridiculously early for Tormented to go on stage. We managed to get it pushed back until eight thirty, since as usual Victims were given a hugely overestimated set time of forty minutes. We play at the very most thirty minutes, allowing for gaps between song blocks...
It was still pretty empty by the time Tormented were about to go on although there did seem to be a load of punks and metallers at the bar across the street. I had a bad feeling for a second... But then just as they took to the stage people starting trickling in. And by the time their first song was done the trickle had become a pour and the place was pretty much full by the time they hit their second song. There must have easily been two hundred people in here. Tormented had, for me at least, easily their best show of the tour so far. You would have been forgiven for thinking it was their own headlining gig. The crowd down front were going crazy, there were people chanting the lyrics to Rotting Death when Drette abstained from the mic. It was a hugely fun show. I admit that I did start to think this might be a difficult gig for Victims with such a metal contingent in the crowd, but even if that was to be the case I was still chuffed for our friends Tormented. They ended their set tonight with Motorhead's Iron Fist which was awesome and kind of set our set up just nicely. I realised then that if the crowd were down with Motorhead then surely Victims wouldn't offend them.
Just as they were giving Motorhead the Tormented treatment that the crowd were lapping up, Karl and Camissa walked in. It was great to see them. We hung out for a short while before it was time to get on stage. The crowd was packed in, Karl and Camissa were right at the front looking ready to kick off and I was buzzing.
This had to be without doubt the best show of the tour so far. For once it seemed everyone had a good sound on stage and we were blasting through the songs, tight as fuck, all of us going hell-bent at them, even Jon who by had by now contracted the tour cold that I was just about shifting. It felt good to have the old energy back on stage. Even when my pedal died on me before we went into Death Do Us Part, it didn't ruin the mood. Claes came to my rescue with an emergency battery and after a little bit of fucking around we were up and running again, as if it hadn't even happened. The set then flew by and seeing Karl down front screaming along to This Is The End really gave me an extra buzz. I even ran at him in the chant-along chorus and grabbed him, the pair of us screaming at each other. It's amazing what this music can do to you when it hits the mark.
I had that wonderful buzz after the show, when you're chuffed with a great gig and you're hanging out with people you either know or are just getting to know and you're in the mood for a drink. Besides, we have a monster drive after the show tomorrow in Toulouse. One thousand fucking kilometres, right up on the Swiss/German border which will require us to drive some hours at night as soon as we're packed down. So with that in mind, coupled with the fact we're in Barcelona, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, tonight we're getting drunk.
I hang out with Karl and Camissa with the rest of the Victims and Tormented guys over at the merch table, and chat away whilst keeping an eye on the Black Breath set. It seems they're having a great night too. And any previous conceptions about the crowd tonight being too metal orientated for our band have been completely dispelled. We're selling a shit load of merch! At one point, two guys had come to the stall together and each bought every vinyl we had, every record. I love Barcelona!
We were given drink tickets by the promoter earlier that we were told were good for booze only. I fetch a rum and coke to myself and Johan. It always amazes me just how much booze they pour into drinks in the south. The rum and cokes are literally about two thirds rum to one third coke...and they fucking hit the spot.
Black Breath finish their set around eleven and as somewhat of a buzz-kill we're told we have to start packing down and loading out within the next thirty minutes. The venue empties very quickly, Karl and Camissa forced to leave along with everyone else. Karl has work in the morning anyway and besides, he has a baby at home now so he has to get going anyway, but it still sucks balls that the night is brought to such an abrupt end. We load out the gear and grab our bags from the dressing room area. By the time we're done it's around midnight, so there should still be plenty of time to get over to the hostel, check in and hit a bar somewhere.
We're given an address for a safe place to park the vans since leaving them around the La Rambla area is neither logistically sound or safe. We're told the parking place is only five minutes from the hostel. Unfortunately those five minutes turn out to be five Spanish minutes...
We leave the vans where instructed, high up in one of Barcelona's many old parks, this particular one overlooking the harbour, and walk back down the hill pulling our bags, following Peter who is walking along with the GPS in his hand. We walk for what must be thirty minutes and long before we reach our final destination we're all rightly fucked off. We eventually find the hostel, somehow losing Jamie on the way, leaving Neil and Elijah to look for him, and dump our bags in the dormitory we've had booked for us. We ask the guy in the reception about the chances of finding an open bar at this late hour. He shakes his head somewhat disparagingly. On any other weekend this would not be a problem but this is Easter, even the bars on the tourist hell that is La Rambla are most likely closed according to the reception man. Undeterred, we set of in search anyway.
We walk around the narrow streets, veering clear of La Rambla for as long as we can, but find nothing. Even when we eventually give in and head back to the strip we find fuck all open. There are plenty of people about but it's becoming quite clear that they've all recently spilled out of whatever establishment they've been getting pissed up in. We finally find a place. There is some young guy stood in a doorway telling us that his bar is open, free entry and la de da... We start to head for the entrance when he makes the mistake of adding to his pitch, “Beautiful ladies, boobs...”. We turn away, bitterly disappointed. The guy looks shocked, like he can't believe we're not interested. Prick.
As we're heading back in the direction of the hostel, head's beginning to bow under the disappointment of what has been a huge anti-climax to a great night, we notice an open off-license. Andy and Claes say they're up for buying some beer and sitting on a bench somewhere down by the water and making our own party. For a split second it seems like a viable idea but nobody else is up for it and I have to admit that it feels a little like clutching at straws.
We end up in fucking McDonalds of all places, pigging out on french fries, before finally admitting defeat and heading back to the hostel. It's close to three am and I sobered up a long time ago. Johan and I conclude that you should never makes grand plans for a party whilst on tour because it always goes to shit. It's always the spontaneous nights that are the best ones. Maybe that's life in general though? One thing is for fucking sure, you're a fool to let yourself believe the you can make a holiday of being tour, not when you tour like we do at least, playing every night. Any extra time you get along the way, any chance of sightseeing or hanging out with friends must be seen as a bonus. It certainly isn't something you should pin your hopes on. Holidays are what you do with your loved ones, touring with your band is a whole other ball game...
We'll have to make the best of Barcelona in the morning...