We have to get out of here early today. The GPS says we have a five and a half hour drive but if we know Polish roads then that will be closer to eight hours. We head down to the floor below where the smell of breakfast is wafting out the door, the scent of warm food is heavenly. There are a couple of girls from the house fixing grub for everyone and the coffee is flowing. We sit around the dining table and tuck in, the English and German guys joining us a little while later, seems like they slept down here. Ronnie heads off to pick up the van and make our way down into the dark crypt to gather the gear.
We make our way through Vienna which provides the chance to do some sightseeing since we end up driving through the centre. I can’t help feeling that we should have hopped on the tram yesterday and went for a walk around this spectacular city centre, filled with spectacular architecture and parks, castles and opera houses. This isn’t the Vienna we were hanging out in yesterday that’s for sure. As we drive through the city I have my eyes fixed on the scenery that passes by and think that I should come back here with the girls on holiday sometime. I’ve been in this city maybe five or six times and this is the closest I’ve got to sightseeing, from the back of a van. The life that is touring…
The drive to Wroclaw isn’t as bad as expected. Ronnie takes the first three hours or so and I take the rest of the way. We have no problems at the Austro/Czech border, there was barely a border, but then we’ve taken a lot smaller road. We pass this mad little complex in the middle of the Czech countryside, which has a casino and loads of plastic sculptures of dinosaurs and the sort, totally in the middle of nowhere. We pass the odd truck stop where there are old, downtrodden prostitutes hanging out looking for work, truly fucking tragic. The road though is amazingly easy going. They’ve obviously built a new motorway in Poland which takes hours of time and kilos of anxiety off the journey. It’s private of course and you have to pay a toll but it’s cheap. The Polish drivers, as to be expected, are still fucking mental and even when you’re doing 130 they’re right up your arse, bullying you out of the way and gesticulating at you in their mirrors once they’ve smoked past you on the inside. Fucking crazy bastards. This is not the country for losing your rag though, you’re likely to get knifed.
We get to Wroclaw around five thirty and at first it seems like we’re going to be playing in a housing estate way outside the city. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if we were playing in a barn or something tonight. As it turns out we’ve had the wrong address in the GPS. We get in touch with the promoter, who goes by the name Dr. Doom, and he points us back in the right direction. I’m glad to hear it is indeed in the city centre.
Unfortunately we’re in a pretty rough part of town. And a pretty rough part of town in Poland is nowhere to be sightseeing. We catch glimpses of the city on the way in, although the Pyramido guys are too scared to look at any of it, they’re just sat there praying we don’t prang anyone. The city looks as you would expect a former communist country that was decimated by the Nazi’s before them, there is a lot of cool architecture in a run down, hard edged sort of way. We drive to where the GPS leads us but we can’t find the place and end up at the end of a narrow street wondering which way to turn. It looks pretty fucking rough around here. A car beeps from behind and Dan Arne cries out from the back, “For fuck sakes we don’t want Polacks beeping at us, drive!”
We call Dr. Doom again and he tells us we’ve driven past the place and missed it. We do a loop around the block and when we come back we see a friendly looking girl and a guy I guess is Doom, waving us in through a narrow tunnel in a house that leads into an enclosed grove of houses. Even the glorious sunshine can’t put too much of a shine on this place. The Culture Centre/house we’re playing is itself barricaded in with a gate. The guys putting the show in, Dr. Doom and his girlfriend Sandra seem really nice, very helpful and seem very concerned that we will have a nice time at their show. They help us load in through the gate and over the inner courtyard to the a building that has a gig room with a deep stage about three foot high at the end of a long narrow room painted half red/half white, reminds me of the hotel in The Shining for some reason. We drop the gear off and then they lead us up two flights of stairs to a cosy little band apartment at the top of the building with a kitchen/dining area and a bedroom with bunks at the back. Just like being on holiday.
Dinner is served about twenty minutes after we arrive which is sesame-coated lentil fillets with rice and onion sauce. Spot on. We’ve arranged with the guys to have a birthday cake for Lucas, and we bought a couple of two euro bottles of bubbly yesterday we thought we’d surprise Luc with later and celebrate his birthday. We head down to soundcheck and discuss the idea with the sound guy, this one armed bloke, about the possibility of putting the show on the floor, the idea of making what will most likely be a pretty sparse show a little more intimate. The sound guy isn’t so sure about the idea though and after a lot of umming and ahhing we decide to go with his suggestion of putting the drums and the amps at the front of the stage and have the rest of the band on the floor. They have a curtain to pull across the room to make it smaller too, which helps a lot. Last time Pyramido played in Wroclaw they had four paying or something..
Soundcheck takes a while, I can’t be bothered with it though so I head back upstairs to write for a while. I’d really been hoping there would be an internet connection here today, I’ve been missing my girls and it would have been nice to Skype home and see Polly’s face. I was a bit gutted when I asked Sandra if there was any internet and she just kind of laughed and said that no, she didn’t think so. This is the first time the guys have put a show on here though so they weren’t totally sure, but their instinct had been right. I sit up in the flat writing for a bit when this big friendly Golden Labrador comes in a snuggles up to my leg looking for a fuss. She cheers me up no end.
The guys come up a while later, not totally convinced with soundcheck. Fuck it, we’ll see how it goes. It’s time to surprise Luc with his cake anyway. Sandra has been off to fetch it. Really nice of them to help us out. Luc is really chuffed, not sure he’d seen it coming. The cake is ace too, a chocolate cake with a marzipan pentagram as topping. Luc cracks open the bottle of rose bubbly from Lidl, Kev warning him to keep the noise down since anything resembling a gunshot around here could have us in trouble. Luc pops the cork and gets a shock when the wine fountains all over him, soaking his jeans. Happy birthday buddy. We pass the bottle round and tuck in to the cake. Wendel is chuffed, tucks right in. Sticky tells us about the time he had his graduation party and Wendel turned up, ate loads of cake, puked up and went home. Not a drop of alcohol involved.
We head downstairs to grab a beer from the bar on the other side of the courtyard before the first band start. We have a couple of beer tickets but they only cost about a quid anyway so it’s no big deal. I’m not in the mood for much beer anyway. Dr. Doom asks us if we wanted to take a trip into the city earlier, explaining that around here wasn’t the best area but the city centre was really beautiful. “Around here it isn’t the best place to hang out, or to live, or to be…” I quite like the thought of checking out the finer parts of the city in the company of our friend here but I don’t like the idea of heading back here on our own afterwards and not being able to get back into the barracks for some reason.
We grab a quick beer from the cool little bar they have, this place reminds me a lot of Lecky’s place in Leeds, and then Dr. Doom pops his head in and says the first band are starting. We head over and check them out. There are around thirty people in attendance, a few of which seem to be girlfriends and friends of the local band. They’re okay though, a lot better than what we deal with last night. Kind of driving alternative noise rock with a big guy on vocals who doesn’t add much to the whole picture. It’s a good sound though in the room anyway, really solid.
I have no idea how our show is going to be tonight. I really do feel pretty knackered, Kev is feeling the same he says. Tired, slight headache, just generally feeling a bit run down. And then it feels like we might be playing in front of thirty people who don’t really give a piss about us. Although I’ve spotted a couple of punks in the room so who knows? Turns out, as usual thankfully, that the gig is a lot of fun. It sounds ace, and somehow the energy comes to us. Stix doesn’t look too daft being sat up on the stage either. We blast through the set, it’s really sounding tight now, seems a shame that there won’t be that many more gigs to use of it. I’m really going for it though, it’s almost like the best way to fight off the tiredness is just to go for it even more. At one point I go running into the wall and end up playing with my face up to it, kinda took a wrong turn. Sticky finds this great he tells me afterwards. When we finish the last song I immediately open my guitar case and go to pack away my guitar when one of those punks comes up to me, looks chuffed and a bit boats, and says “No no no!” whilst trying to close my case again. His lady friend joins him, both laughing and saying “No no no”. Old Doomey seemed to really like it too, buying a seven inch and asking us not to tell Sandra since they’re short on money.
Pyramido get going not long after we’re done, and as usual they’re great. Great seeing them play with such a great sound. I can tell I’m getting a little homesick though, every time I watch them I find myself rocking back and forth almost hypnotized and then thoughts of Polly come into my head, back to when I used to rock her to sleep to the Saga album. The guys dedicate their second song to Lucas, the birthday boy, the song he’s been singing the riff to for the last week. Ronnie, despite having a sore throat and sounding pretty husky during the daytime still manages to reach those tortured screams to stunning effect. Fuck knows how he does it. Once again, it’s an absolute pleasure watching them perform.
After the show we sell a couple of bits of merch but nothing too much, a seven and a shirt to one guy, another seven to another. Sandra is buying a shirt from Pyramido and Kev is saying to us to give her a DB pin but she heads off, satisfied with her purchase for the night. Kev looks down all sad and says, “She doesn’t like us”. Me and Stix piss ourselves laughing at that. Doom asks if we had wanted to go into the city, they’re really great hosts I have to say, but I tell him we’ll just stick around here. We have a little bar, we have a cosy flat upstairs and we have cake and another bottle of bubbly. Doom tells me it’s probably a good choice to stick around in the house since it is easy to lose your teeth in the estate. Fuck that.
We get a couple of beers in from the bar and hang out for a bit. I end up stood out in the courtyard with Sticky, again it’s warmer out here than it is inside, and we get into a nice conversation about life, playing, records and family and stuff. Really enjoy chatting. They close the bar pretty early though and we head upstairs to the flat, thanking Dr. Doom and Sandra for their great work and efforts and once again for the cake as we turn in for the night. We chill out around the table, share another bottle of cheap bubbly, a bit more cake, a few stories, Stix telling us about the time he and Modde were jailed in the States when on tour with Nitad, and then we call it a night. Another easy one. My eye is fucking stinging though, must have some shite in it I’ve picked up from one of the sleeping places on tour. Fuck knows. Hope it’s better in the morning. I hope I don’t wake up needing a piss in the night, it’s back down in the venue, two floors down. Can not be arsed with that.