Camping in a parking lot

I’ve already written this entry once, and the blog application I’m using lost it. Shit… I got a tad discouraged, so this promises to be a long one to catch up to Ludicra’s exploits, adventures, journeys, and hijinx. Note to self… Save often.

It was a fun night at Il Hammero du Lucifero playing with Acid King and Carlton Melton. The Bay Area meeting in Mezzago was a hit with the two Lauries playing dueling divas of doom. A fun night was had by all, except maybe the local drunk mustachioed wonder of blubber who didn’t get to rape me. Oh, I’m sure he meant well. Meant to rape me well. Porco Dio!

We got to borrow Acid King’s gear and finally get some full stack action. It’s not about more dBs, it’s about fullness of tone. Those stacked speaker move a lot of air and the sound gets around. Oh, the blessed Ampeg 8×10… No one can touch your 1969 design. I get sad seeing you go, and back to some 4×10 stacked on a 15. It’s just not the same. Hell, I also borrowed a Peavey 8×10 later in Antwerp, and this couldn’t compare. This is not an endorsement, so much as a command. Anything less than an 8×10 style fridge box from Ampeg is a waste of space on this Earth.

We stayed at a great B&B; in Mezzago. Poor Acid King and Carlton Melton had to leave 2 hours after we arrived in the night. They missed the petting of horses, the soccer, the leisurely sun bathing… All too nice of course, compared to the parking lot campsite. Juxtapose us at the beautiful villa:

That’s us in the median of a parking lot somewhere in France. What a difference a day of driving makes to turn one into a feral wreck of a person. The thing is this… France. I don’t want to say the French aren’t industrious, but you never likely to buy a “Les Girard” brand television. We took side roads to avoid the outrageous French highway tolls, and the gas stations on the way are manned approximately 2 hours a day for cash customers, hence we had to park until they opened. If they worked any harder, I suppose those baguettes would just over run the country, uneaten in leisure.

We made the show in Soudan France after 2 days drive. We dubbed it “Les Caliope” after the farm of our friends in Wolves in the Throne Room. A similar good time was had as we always have in Olympia, mainly drunken crusties dancing wildly. That’s our jam.

This night, Aesop broke a spring on his drum pedal. This was beginning to be a curse, as Christy broke a string the night before in Italy. Could we not get through a night without breaking something in the middle of our set? I was sure I was next.

We managed to fix the thing mid set by stripping the other drummers pedal that was sitting there. I breathed a sigh of relief when said drumme walked up and saw what I was doing without asking. NEVER do that. Lucky, he was a nice Belgian man. They don’t have a rep as a very fiesty people. Good for skinny ol’ me.

My gauge for when a night should be over is when people start throwing chairs. It’s a crusty punk gauge that says to me, “you’re probably not far behind… Time for bed”

The next day, Aesop was worried about the freak accident of his pedal and getting to a music store. Needless to say, there wasn’t one on the farm and Paris was far away. I called the promoter, a lovely lady named Emy, and asked if she could acquire what we needed and she totally came through. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to have a promoter get some gear in emergency, and I bless the tour book I printed out with all contact info before leaving home.

We played La Miroiterie in Paris, the last squat in the city of lights. Driver Conny made a ballsy move and decided to just leave th hazards on and park, really, in the street, as opposed to driving and looking for parking for 3 hours. The gamble worked, with police ticketing properly parked cars with expired time and leaving us alone.

This night, I was sure I was going to break something. It was my turn. Instead, we just blew the power out. Oi vey. We are running a combined 570 watts for our backline, which is ridiculous amount of power for some of these tiny venues, but Ludicra are tube junkies. Maybe we could take tubes out and run at halfpower, a tricky thing to set up, but not possible with rented gear. Ill go over that some other time. We still finished our gig fine, only having to swith the fuse box to “on” one other time.

I think sight seeing is important on tour, but some prefer to sleep. There was a lot we couldve gone to see, but as I’ve gotten a good run around Paris before, I let my wee Ludicrans opt for sleep without protest.

We next headed to Antwerp. Belgium… the real home of the french fry.

Our show at Trix was joined by Cough, Liturgy, and White Hills. Obviously, we were nearing Roadburn country. We decided early on to combine gear with Cough for some nice full stack action. Everytime we do this, there is massive confusion about Ohms and what we are plugging into. Christy’s amp is a Mesa Triple Rectifier, with about fifty different ways to plug out of it. John’s is standard speaker outs on the 6550, but still confusion occurs. Ohms are not actually that hard to understand. You don’t even need to understand them to plug in correctly. Let me see if I can make mnemonic for all to remember and never have to ask about speaker Ohm outs to me again… If you have two on the road, use half the load. That is, a full stack, with two cabs at 16 Ohms, will halve the parallel signal when both are plugged in to the amp, so it’s set at 8 Ohms for a match. The math just continues in that direction and… I’m. Bored. Just remember the mnemonic and don’t ask questions. Electricity is weird.

The whole night was great. While we played, I noticed a group of folks headbanging like mad and thought, “Oh, maybe the Belgians aren’t as reserved as I remember.” Turned out these folks were from Madrid on the way to Roadburn. Spaniards… it figures they were the ones partying hardest. I decided to compliment their endeavors by plying myself with wine to a dance frenzy. Aesop joined in. I don’t think Hunter was too stoked, though, for he refused my requests that he should dance. C’mon, dance is transcendental as shit.

I just may have been still drunk when I woke up in the van and kept dancing in the street while jamming some Karp in the iPod. I’m pretty sure I got some hard Belgian looks from the passing traffic. The rest of Ludicra stayed in the hotel, but local parking wasn’t too be had. So, beer was drunk underneath some train overpass until passing out amongst my own stench. This is the life.

Roadburn is happening now, and I should get back to it. Full entry to follow in the whole grand event.

Meanwhile, here’s the faces people make when drinking the worst beer in The Netherlands:

Mr. Davey D’Andrea, official poster artist of Roadburn…

Doktor Ross Sewage
dispatched from Die Struwwelpetra Ludicra 2011 European Tour

4 thoughts on “Camping in a parking lot

  1. I was at the Antwerp show and I, as a Belgian, was also headbanging furiously, mind you.

    Really nice blog, Ross.

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