Wednesday, October 30, 2019


We met the Svalbard guys for breakfast, hard going on the vegans among us, but pretty good coffee, we were back on the road for the remainder of the journey to Budapest. It only took another few hours and was pretty nondescript for the most part. Sat with Zoli in the back listening to him reel off a list of assholes. I was taking the piss out of him and his pessimistic view on human beings in general and then we pulled up at a gas station to fill up the tank and are immediately accosted by some woman trying to flog us a mobile phone. “See? Assholes!” Zoli chortles, chuffed with himself.

I have a hard time compartmentalising shit. Jen is so much better than me, it’s one of the things I admire most about my wife. But when I get a call from the building blokes at home telling me there’s a problem with the bathroom renovation it puts a damper on the rest of my dad in principal. There is also some stress around our bachelor thesis that I need to sort out and all of a sudden the joy of touring is gone for a while. I know everything will work out in the end, but I’m not the best at dealing with setbacks in the immediacy. My first reaction is always emotional where as Jen is more logical and analytical, even if she is pissed off.

Anyway, we get into Budapest about an hour before load in and to add to my current mood it’s grey, cold and raining. We’ve been speaking since before the tour about going to an outdoor thermal bath here in Budapest but scheduling has gone against us somehow. I’m sure it would be fucking magical sitting in a hot bath right now, but I agree with Andy in that going after we’re done with soundcheck would just sink us completely and we’d be so relaxed that playing the show would be a real struggle. Then there are thoughts of maybe going in the morning with the Svalbard guys but we decide to try and make the most out of Vienna tomorrow, since it’s one of those beautiful cities that we’ve all been to numerous times and yet never seen anything of it. We load in and go for a quick walk around the park opposite the venue. We played here last summer and it was around thirty eight degrees, it’s quite the contrast today.

The venue is a massive complex, full of different rooms and bars, as well as three stages, of which thankfully we’re on the smallest. It’s like a huge military bunker inside, and the dressing room and catering is two long corridors away from where we’re playing. So everything kind of feels disconnected somehow. Svalbard in their room, Zoli is kind of off and about having to deal with work stuff. And then it’s his last day with us today since he has to stay home and sort work stuff out before he goes out with Tribulation and Ghost. Everything just kind of feels like a Sunday. When we’re done with soundcheck Andy and I head out for another walk around the block because the only other choice is sitting in the dressing room bored, sniffing the food cooking next door and getting hungrier and hungrier.

When we get back dinner is ready. The catering staff here are really cool people, really seem to love their job. They made a skull shaped cake for us with Victims and Svalbard written on it. Really sweet. Dinner is great too. A good meal certainly can lift the spirits. As well as game of Yahtzee with a couple of Svalbard friends, of course…

It’s a strange show tonight. There are plenty of people in for a Tuesday night show, must be eighty or ninety or so, and although far from being packed, the room is still filled out enough to create and atmosphere in. The sound is really big as well, it’s a proper professional set up. We have a bit of a meeting with Zoli about plans for next year but I catch the second half of Svalbard’s set. It sounds really huge and I really enjoy watching them from behind the merch table.

Since the bar is in another room at the end of the corridor from the main entrance, the room is as good as empty when we set up, and it takes a while for the crowd to filter back in as we get started. It doesn't start well. I fall off the stage first song and barely save myself from going arse over tit. Big fucking scrape down the calf as I miss my footing. Almost fall right into Alex is stood up front watching us. Feel like a right knob. Everyone is back by the time we’re into the second or third song. With the crowd filled back out, I start to get into the gig and feel pretty good on stage. It’s maybe the first time on this tour that it’s felt really easy playing. But then it kind of takes a dip again when a gang begins moshing and the rest of the crowd step back and to the sides, leaving that hole in the middle of the room I’ve seen so many times. On top of that there is some pony-tailed lad that seems to be having some sort of alcohol induced psychosis, over in front of Jon. He’s standing shouting at himself and anyone else around him. At first I think he’s really into the gig but I soon understand it’s something else. I say something across the stage during one break and he immediately jumps on it pretty aggressively “What did you say?!” “Love you,” I say in a slightly too sarcastic tone. I ignore him for the rest of the gig but see him being ushered out by a friend at the end of the set. The moshers all line up at the end for high fives and handshakes, and there is some cool old lady punk smiling widely, “I’m getting too old for this!” she jokes. “Me too!” I reply and give her a hug. Weird gig somehow, can’t really put my finger on it. I guess it was just a bit flat, but that could have been to do with the crowd’s caution around the moshers. “They had a good time at least,” jokes Johan.

Afterwards I join Mark and Serena in their dressing room for a chilled out drink, discussing the gig and agreeing that it was a little strange. We’re going to pack then van tonight and leave it here, since the venue is in a securely gated compound and the hostel we have is in the middle of town. Zoli and his girlfriend wants us to join them for a shot of some Hungarian plum moonshine. We meet by the bar and Zoli proudly lines them up. I get the feeling he’s a bit sad about leaving us. I really can’t do shots but on giving it a sniff it doesn’t seem to bad. It tastes wretched, of course. Zoli is chuffed though.

We load out the vans and try to work out the crack with the hostel. It’s called the Hive Party Hostel. Liam then shares with us the weirdest fucking “Sleeping Story” I’ve ever heard. All bands have “Sleeping Stories”, and I’ve some belters myself, but this was something else. Apparently they played Amsterdam and the promoter put them up with some guy she knew. But from the get go it felt off. He was making grunting sounds at Serena before they even left, which they had to tell him off for, and then when they got to his place he went into full psychotic mode, off his tits on coke, carrying an axe around. He was demanding the guys all took a sniff with him, and their polite attempt at a refusal just seemed to push him further into the rage. The mad bastard sat around sniffing coke off the fucking axe and shouting insanities, making a bee-line for Serena and obviously making her very nervous. They decide to just get down for some sleep and get the fuck out first thing in the morning. A couple of hours later they’re awoken by the terror of the bloke kicking the door open, axe in one hand, torch shining a light in their eyes with the other hand, and shouts something about the toilet being broken and not flushing it if they need to use it. To top things off they found him in the morning sat watching porn at full volume on his laptop. What a fucking scene!

The joint tonight isn’t anywhere near that level, but it’s not great. Can’t claim false advertising though, there certainly is a party going on. The rooms encircle a courtyard with a disco below and the shit music is blasting. As we make our way into the rooms Johan and I wonder if they are soundproofed.


Apparently the disco is on until two, another hour away. Alex mentions some rock bar nearby that we could go to for a beer. Sounds better than lying here listening to this piss. Serena and Liam come along whilst Jon and Mark hang out for a smoke and a meditation session. We can’t find the rock bar and just as it’s starting to feel useless since it’s already one-thirty I’m suddenly being frisked by a big bouncer bloke. I’m not even sure if we’re supposed to be going in to the place he’s bouncing, but apparently we are. It’s actually a cool place, though, like some indoor market full of different bars. We get a round of draught beers in and find an alcove like room and sit down for a chat. One beer turns into two and three am. It was nice sitting with the guys though, and worth the sacrifice of sleep. Maybe. Liam tells me that he thought it was funny that I described Mark as a really mild mannered guy, telling me there’s a darker, road-ragey side to him. Hard to imagine. We’ve all got our dark sides, though. Liam asks us who has the temperaments in Victims. After some consideration I say that Jon and I are certainly the emotional ones. Johan offers that he and Andy are the grumpy ones. I guess that’s true, but thankfully those sides of us show themselves rarely.

By the time I get into bed it’s three-fifteen and we’re supposed to meeting Zoli for breakfast at nine. I text him telling him to make it ten instead. Hopefully we’ll still make it in good time to Vienna tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment