I’m glad I took the chance of a shower last night, and I’m glad that we packed the van too. There’s no time to shower now and an eight hour drive back to Sweden feeling grubby would have been cack. We head upstairs to the kitchen to find Loffi has put a spread on for breakfast. It looks great, although unfortunately I’m not all that hungry. Still, free food and all, force a little down. Loffi hasn’t been to sleep yet. He tells me the party went on until around six, he was playing Eighties cheese and dancing around all night, and then when the last dregs left he went straight to the store and bought food for breakfast. He still looks fighting fit though I guess the not drinking thing helps with that. Loffi has been doing this shit for years on end and like Kev, his love for it hasn’t diminished an iota. So much respect for these guys. Ten days into a tour, and about ten years younger and I feel done.
We sit around and chat for a while over breakfast and coffee, Loffi tells me about his new espresso machine he’s got at home, the guy loves coffee, some hi tech thing he has that he’s very enthused over. The ball of fire in the sky is already warming the day and the back garden looks very inviting. More inviting than the van I have to say. We take some group pics of the bands together outside the house, it’s time to do that since we’re parting ways after tonight, and then we say bye to Loffi and jump in the van. The streets of Potsdam are calm and we have a quiet little browse at the sights as we meander through the small city. I’m still a bit tired and get a bit of a shock when I hear this bang at the back of the van. I look in the wing mirror and see this angry looking old guy on a bike, serious as fuck in all the clothes and those ridiculous shorts, I’ve stopped at the lights and I’m halfway into the bike lane. A few minutes later we see him racing along ahead shouting at some mum and her kid who is dordling along on his bike, blocking his way. Seems like Shorts is having a bad morning. What a fucking knob.
I drive for around three and half hours, the GPS leading us through some back roads out in the countryside which makes it slow going for a while, however picturesque it may be I’m longing for the autobahn, just put it in sixth gear and cruise. I drive until we change to the road that leads us to Puttgarden. The drive had been a little challenging since people drive like fucking maniacs on the speed limitless road. Sticky and Stix, the two drummers are sat up front with me, Sticky nervously keeping his eye on the road, Stix fast asleep, mouth gaping open, head wobbling about all over the place.
Luc takes over after we fill up the tank and drives us the rest of the way. As we drive into the coast, the estuary on either side of the road, Stix calls out for one last time, “Sprit, sprit, sprit!” Everyone joins in and suddenly the van has come to life. The bar in the van door is almost depleted now though. And poor Crappy is sat behind me looking white as a ghost, he’s pretty sick. All I can hear is the sound of his chest wrenching up phlegm accompanied by stifled giggling from the rest and the sound of ring pulls opening cans of beer. Luc shouts back from the driver’s seat, “Sightseeing guys, take photographs!”
“We’re drinking,” replies Dan Arne.
I’m going to miss these guys. I haven’t experienced this feeling for a while now, the end of tour mixed emotions of missing your family, amplified nowadays by a longing to see my daughter, and being bummed about having to say adieu to your new friends whom you’ve just spent an intense ten days with.
We get to the ferry port where we meet a miserable looking old cunt sat in his cabin who charges us twice the amount we paid coming the other way. He grumbles something about the length of the van and waves us forward. There are long queues and we spend a little over an hour waiting to get on the boat. I mention to Ronnie that I’ve never had to wait this long for a boat here and he reasons that it’s probably because we’ve never been through here on a Saturday afternoon, that one is normally taking a boat here in the middle of the night or early in the morning in the middle of some tour or other. I look around and observe the various cars and vans stuffed full with crates of cheap beer from the Border Shop. These sad wankers drive all the way down here and stock up on crap beer just to save a few kronors. I guess it’s quite a few kronors but still, the frenzy it causes between these idiots makes me laugh. They’re all Swedish of course.
The Pyramido guys buy a couple of crates on the boat’s duty free shop since the show tonight in Malmö is a bring your own booze affair. We decide we’ll all pitch in and drink it and whatever is left will go to Pyramido’s rehearsal space. We’ve been looking at the tour costs and it seems like we’re on target to break even, which I have to say is a huge relief. I can’t really justify fucking off during the entire Easter break from school, leaving Jen with Polly and the dog all week, and then come back with a few hundred quid to cover. Not when I’m studying and Jen works full time and supports me with this stuff. The words break-even have been ringing in my mind this last week or so. It actually turns out though that it’s been cheaper than being at home for a week since we’ve had food every day and all in all I’ve spent about thirty quid in personal money. Pretty cheap week.
We get to the venue in Malmö around seven. Kalle Hårda Tider is putting the show on and he’s there to meet us with his usual broad smile. We’re a little late but that was to be expected, and Kalle isn’t stressed. The Malmö Hardcore Crew is here, they run this place together, and there is plenty of help on hand to load in the gear. The venue is some office building or something with a largish room a couple of floors up where they have a stage built into the back wall. They normally have wresting here, totally underground of course. They started putting shows on here a month or so ago and it’s been going well. Kev is chuffed to be here, playing Malmö is a big deal for him he says. Malmö Hardcore is the biggest scene in Sweden, there are a lot of bands from here, and it’s nice to be here and play. You kind of feel like an outsider though when you arrive in a city that has a thriving insular scene, you can feel like you’re intruding a little maybe, but the guys here are all super friendly so there’s none of that. Whether many of them will get our chaotic take on hardcore is another matter though.
I’m glad anyway that Pyramido are playing last. Sticky was saying he didn’t want to play last in their home town, that it felt daft, but Dempe says it’s probably best that they do so that people will stick around. I’m relieved to hear it, feels stupid going up and jumping around like a tit for fifteen minutes after Pyramido have just crushed the place into oblivion for thirty five. The guys soundcheck quick and then we tuck into some dinner and a beer. There is this young sound guy who seems to be buzzing about his job, wants to know if we’re going to soundcheck. I don’t really understand the need though, there’s only a bass drum mic and vocals up there. Have to admire his enthusiasm though. He keeps calling us Diagnostic Bastard too, which is funny. I don’t have the heart to correct him and leave it be. Alex from Kids Love Ink and his mate are here, they’ve made the trip over with their skateboards and have been hanging out in Copenhagen for a few days, hitting all the hot spots over there. It’s good to see them here. Seem like they’re enjoying themselves. Jona Infernöh is here too, always good to see him. Stix and Kev are going to stay at his place tonight. Åke from Desperat/Mob 47 has also turned up. It’s great to see him, happy as always. He tells me Mob are doing a South East Asia and Australia tour at the end of April. Sounds fucking amazing! Chuffed.
Kalle says there are a lot of people coming tonight and that he’s going to have to warn people to turn up early. He’s not wrong. By the time the first band go on, Bastard Graves, a death metal band from Helsingborg, the place is pretty packed. Kalle says to us, ten more people, and he’s calling it. Bastard Graves have a girl on bass that Kev tells me he’s in love with. He’s been in love about five times this tour though, he mentions that he’d fuck most of the guys in this room too. Bastard Graves are pretty good anyway, although they play a little long. The crowd seem well into them though. I like the fact they have a bit of a punk edge to the classic Scandi death metal sound.
We go on just after ten, it feels like the crowd has thinned out a little. I guess a lot of people were here to see Bastard Graves. It’s still a good amount of people in though. Sounds decent enough on stage so we just get on with it. Unbelievably I break a string right at the start, in the middle of the first riff in Hypnotic Eye. Have only broken one string all tour, which is amazing for me and my ridiculous guitar playing non-technique. Of course it had to happen. It gets to the break where it comes to my solo riff, which actually requires two strings, one of which I’m missing, and I just stand there twanging on the bottom E like Dick Dale. Stix looks at me confused and then sees the hanging thread. Don’t know if anyone else notices. We cover it anyway. It’s a bummer though because I now have to take it easy for the rest of the set with my extra guitar. And I notice a couple of songs in with the spare guitar that it’s way weaker in volume. Luc tells me to crank it before we go into Am I Stupid? Or Idiot! And from there it feels like the gig gets going. The rest of the set goes well although I feel it’s a little constrained and there’s little space up on the high stage, I give Kev a few bangs in the back as we play. I don’t see anything from the crowd but Luc seems chuffed with it afterwards, says people were moving about. There was this young punk couple down the front at the end calling for more, “The whole set, one more time, the whole set, one more time!” First time I’ve heard that.
I get talking to one of the guys from the collective in the kitchen after we’ve played, he tells me he’s been reading my blog for a few years. Says he really enjoys reading it with his coffee in the morning, that’s it’s perfect when a new post turns up once a month since the texts are pretty long. He says he hasn’t had the chance to read anything from the tour yet. I guess he’s got something to read over his coffee for a little while. Really nice guy anyway, always fun to meet people through that connection. The other guys from the collective seem to have enjoyed the gig too, Kalle grabs me and says, “Well there was no messing there!” It wasn’t the ultimate show, not by a long way, we’ve played far better to far less people at times on this tour, but I’m happy enough with it. Hopefully we can come back some time in the future.
It’s time to see Pyramido do their thing for one last time on this tour. Again the crowd is considerable thinner than it was for Bastard Graves but that doesn’t stop them playing a great show. I’m amazed by Crappy’s performance considering how low he was looking during soundcheck. The poor fucker hasn’t complained once. I have to laugh at the end when they ring out the last riff and Crappy hold his Flying V aloft and then turns it upside down and turns his pedal off with his pointed headstock, killing the sound. Good end mate, good end.
The place empties pretty quickly when they’re done, and the lights come on, the yellow tiled walls creating a strange light in here. Seems like we’ve sold a few bits of merch too. We bought another box of the first seven inch from Stachel a week ago and they’ve all but gone. That first seven inch is almost gone now, feels nice to get rid of it. We’re thinking about putting an LP out of the first releases and it’s nice to not have the first seven inch hanging around if we’re going to release the songs on a compilation record. The tape sold out on this tour and the second seven inch is sold out/destroyed in Jocke’s flood.
We pack up the van and head back to Pyramido’s practice space. It feels weird to be back here already, feels like only yesterday we were picking the guys up. Time goes fast and slow simultaneously on tour. Once off loaded Jona turns up to pick up Stix and Kev, we’ll see them in the morning. Kev is flying back from Copenhagen and Stix is coming back with us. We drive around town dropping the guys off at their homes, a series of hugs and goodbyes. Luc is a bit drunk and is in the back shouting a lot as we drive about Malmö in the middle of the night. By the time we’re dropped everyone bar Dan Arne off we’re starving so stop off for some famous Malmö falafel. The queue is coming out of the door at Jalla Jalla though, so we head next door. It’s a little cold by the time we get back to Ronnie’s place but it does the job. It’s around two thirty by the time we me and Luc bed down on the sofa bed. My aim is to get going for nine, I want to be home to see Polly before she goes to bed and it’s a long old drive.
Now the tour is over, I just want to get home. It’s been a good time, and financially it’s gone better than I could have hoped for, we might even have enough money to pay for flights to Finland for some shows we have in October. We’ll see. That’s the future. Now it’s sleep and then home.