I've played København twice before this, and I have to say, it made me hate Denmark. Both times at club Lopen, on the edge of Christiana. Christiana, the hippy paradise outside the laws of the kingdom, where you can noodle dance all day, smoke hashish, and ignore the fact that it's actually run by motorcycle gangs dealing meth and heroin. Impaled had an epic fail at Lopen, totally hated by the crowd who couldn't understand our schtick. When I returned with Wolves, me and Aaron were totally sick, asked for peace in the band room, and instead woke up to the opening band and their little sluts and dick head friends sitting on top of us, smoking, and they drank all the beer.
I came into København with a sneer... and left with a smile. Third time's the charm.
We played a club called Stengade, with local hiking metal punks Solbrud, and friendly French froggy band Alcest. We felt bad, because Dornenreich were on tour with Alcest, but not invited to play this show. We didn't know that until 2 days before, and Aesop is friends with the band. It was awkward, all we could do is say sorry at that point to the somewhat miffed members.
The place filled up pretty quickly. Super organizer Martin paid us up in advance and provided a delicious meal. Turns out, this place was a culture house, fully subsidized by the kingdom. That meant tons of food, drink, good pay, accomodations, all paid for by the governmeny to bring the art and culture of heavy metal to the Danish masses. Yeah, fuck you America.
The bands all did well, and our set went fantastic, with a good amount of Danish and Swedish dredlocked masses sticking around for our headlining gig. The only bummer was that Aesop had to reset up his drums, because the opening band got the message from someone in the venue that it was okay to use our drum set, despite us not being asked. It seems fairly common that the headlining band is asked to share their rented gear with locals who must clearly have their own equipment near by, or they wouldn't be locals. I guess this is the other side of the socialist coin that we enjoy so much while touring in Europe. You get all that stuff and treated like a real artist, and then you are expected to give some back for the good of the show. Still, it's just so freaking annoying for drummers to have to reset their entire kit. God damn engineering feat. So, we didn't make a federal case out of it, because everything else was so rad and we were treated so well. A long night of drinking followed the set, hanging out with Martin and the lovely staff and some new friends from the show.
We went to the hotel, and boy oh boy what a neighborhood. Hookers everywhere. Driver Conny opted to stay in the van, and good thing as some hoodlums ended up trying the doors some time in the night. Something was rotten in the state of Denmark.
In the morn, walking around, I realized this really was the most Americanized European city I had seen yet. Every corner had a 7-11 (never forget) and Burger King, KFC, and McDonald's. Any Floridian death metal band would've been chuffed for a taste of such fine American cuisine they missed so much, but I was a tad disappointed. I got a waffle with Nutella. Yum.
Onto our second 2 day drive we went. We would've had a great show in Rendsburg tonight, but for the fascist and cowardly Interweb troll fucktards I've mentioned before. Sigh...
Instead, we drove into the Höbichengrund forest area to seek camping. This is a small part of the area made famous in Goethe's "Faust" as the gathering place of the witches, so witch statues abounded. Not creepy at all. It's almost Easter and all proper shops close on Good Friday. We were left with the pickings at a gas station, which in Germany, aren't so bad. They baked us some fresh bread, we bought wine, beer, and sandwich fixins, and we boosted some TP from the bathroom.
We got to a camping site, the kind where you pay to park next to a bunch of RVs, and opted instead to park for free directly across the road and set up. Christy is a master tent builder and did it in the dark. We drank and drank and looked at the awesome night sky.
I woke up early in the morning, as I'm want to do, and decided on a hike through these haunted forests supposedly full of witches. About an hour in, I felt nature calling. Like, REALLY calling. The TP felt about a million miles away. John had told me about similar situation he was in and cleaning himself in rocky mountain streams, but all I could find was puddles. I hiked off the path to find seclusion, and luckily, found some moss on a dry, old branch. It actually made good paper, soft yet scrubby. But watch your step if you walk these woods, because now it's haunted by much more than witches... look out for Moss Sewage.
We moved on to the last show in Hot Karlsruhe. Dude-icra was playing Dude Fest, which kind of felt like a smaller, German version of Roadburn. Except the people were different. Promoter Chris and his staff were excellent and friendly, but the crowd just seemed... weird. Lots of myspace haircuts. Good thing our friend Dirk from Belgium came to his fourth Ludicra show and actually chatted with us. Whatta guy!
I usually am really nice to the sound person in any club. I wish I hadn't been in Karlsruhe. Right off the bat as we were loading in, this fat turd of a German tells us to move our asses, which is impossible as we were holding heavy gear and people were in our way. This was the sound guy, and it was already going bad. When it was our turn on stage, he was a prick, but again I was trying to be nice, because he was doing our sound. I guess it didn't help, by all accounts, but we still had a good show... right to the end. This Colonel Klink came on the monitors during the last twenty seconds of our song to tell us we had to stop. Aesop flipped him the bird. I checked my watch: we were a meager two minutes over our set time. When he came up after and said he tried to stop us four times (not true) Aesop flipped again, that is to say, out on him. It was kind of awesome, but I'm not so confrontational, I just got to the business of moving around him and getting our stuff the hell ou of there cause I was pissed. I apologized to the guys from Julie Christmas, and they didn't seem to think it was any kind of problem. Till THEY dealt with the sound guy. He also yelled at Master Musicians of Bukkake and turned off all their lights when they went precisely one minute over their set time. I guess this guy's raison d'être was just to piss off bands. It's a shame no one kicked his ass, but I suppose everyone just wants to do their best on stage for the tigers, then just be done with the stress. Fuck that guy.
Still, I'll always attempt to be nice to the sound person as much as possible. Always introducing myself, and trying to be personable. Even if I hate their guts, I'm relying on then a great deal, at least, until we make it to the big time and have our own sound guy. Keep dreaming, kiddo.
We got a pleasant surprise from the group we rented our heads from, Nomad of Prague. I keep giving them ups for their great service. They had an employee in attendance with another band there, and he took our heads when we were done and we got to save a few bucks because they only charged us for up to this fest. That, and we are no longer worrying about the gear in the van and we don't have to go to Prague to return anything. Of course, we are still going!! It's fucking Prague!!! Woo hoo!!!
I guess everyone had kind of a weird night with the folks attending the show, but it was a pretty friendly eve amongst the bands, maybe more so because of this strange vibe. We had a good time hanging with the folks of Sabbath Assembly, Liturgy, Master Musicians of Bukkake, Junius, Julie Christmas, and Corrosion of Confirmity, amongst the rest. Sometimes that's hard to make happen. Maybe it's the penchant the Dude-icrans have for making constant penis and fart jokes backstage. Hell, in front of the stage. In the van. At breakfast. I can imagine we are hard to take seriously.
One last thing about Dude Fest: I was finally getting to see Earth, having missed them at Roadburn. I was super in the moment, gently swaying, feeling the pain and beauty of their music. Then I heard in the middle of their set, of course in an American accent, "Freebird!" Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! How old are you? Pretty old, it turns out, to try and heckle with that old gem. Then, "Sweet Home Alabama!" I saw who it was, and was pretty bummed after we'd had some decent conversation earlier in the day. To Earth's credit, they busted few licks from the latter mentioned song and took it in stride. But I was removed from a special moment, on my last day of tour, at an already awkward event. I let it get to me too much, sure, but dammit, artists should be able to respect another player enough that if they aren't into it, leave the room. Or come up with something better than Freebird. Ultra lame, and that was the unfortunate feeling I left with.
We kicked it for awhile in the streets drinking, then at the hotel drinking. There's that kind of sad undercurrent that this Band of Brothers (and Sisters) is parting ways and the last tour for Ludicra for the forseeable future is dunzo. Laurie articulated this look well.
Bye bye to Laurie and John as we take them to the airport, and the curtain closes on Ludicra's Die Struwwelpetra Tour. Thanks for having us, Europe.
Doktor Ross Sewage
dispatched from Die Struwwelpetra Ludicra 2011 European Tour