Our adventure continued as we left Deutschland on a reverse-viking raid into Scandinavia. We we took to the sea like savage warriors of old, bringing death and destruction. Except, our death was only of rubber monsters and our boat was a big ass ferry that had an expensive breakfast menu.
Copenhagen awaited us with just the merest of shakedowns by German police preceding at the border. We lucked out that we only got a warning for two people being up in the loft, a 70€ fine each that they waived. And somebody ate something they forgot they had, and that’s all I’m saying about that.
Stengade in Copenhagen is cool club, sponsored in part by the government. Imagine that shit. It’s run by a helpful bevy of volunteers and they serve alcohol. It’s a dream of a punk club.
The people trickled in as the start of our two band bill was coming. With no opener and the small amount of people, we thought we were going to tank. Couldn’t have been wronger. It packed in quickly right before we played and the crowd was savage. Cannabis slayed it as well.
We were all pretty toasty as we entered the hostel. Scott went out and has to swing Queen songs to some people to get a cigarette because he only had Euros, not a god-damned Kroner. And in the morning at breakfast, I once again enjoyed the look of late teen European travelers aghast at the grizzled faces of elder metal men.
We took the ferry back, got rid of the Kroners then, and got on our way to AJz Bahndamm in Welmerskirchen. This is a great squat run by punks and metal heads. I’ve played here many times and knew we would have a blast, and that we did with a lot of people we had met before showing up to pack the place to the walls. There was some serious fandom going on here.
In the morning we mingled with some of the locals on the small village.
I always forget a strange custom before every tour in Europe regarding shows. It’s quite regular here that the opening bands and promoters expect the touring band to provide their back line for all the bands at a show. This is vexing to boot-strap-pulling Americans not unlike the idea of socialized medicine. In Europe, they just see it as a way to move the show along and save space. A fair point, until you consider a drummer having to put all his cymbals on and make adjustments during a short change-over. My best advice to any American band heading out on their own small tour is to know this ahead and either accept it, or make sure a tour booker puts the kabosh on it before you even get on a plane.
Munich was not so great for us. We played Feierwerk which is an enormous live music complex with a bunch of stages. We played a size-able room to a not so size-able audience. People enjoyed it enough to not walk out on us, but that was about it. Cannabis Corpse staged a Super Bowl party via Internet streaming, but most in our camp caught up on some sleep. We met Insanity Alert at this show, a great Austrian thrash band that would play three more shows with us.
The next morning we went on a few morning errands. While walking around, I found our tour poster made movie poster size taped onto a power box randomly in the city. Of course I nabbed the rain-soaked parchment, but I’m a more than a little annoyed the promoter in Munich didn’t think to save a few of these for the bands. We traveled through the Alps the next day headed to Innsbruck in Austria.
Insanity Alert had gotten this gig together in their hometown at a real nice little club called PMK. We had a good night with the locals and Insanity Alert had decided they needed to add a lil extra to their live show to join in our fun.
We played a nice club in Calanzano, Italy. The backline situation rose again here, but openers Hyena Rabid took it in stride and delivered a nice set on gear the club had. A well mannered young lass kept yelling “gangbang!” at our Sprinter as we drove away after the show. Don’t worry honey, we won’t need you for that. We were kicked out of our hotel room promptly the next day and arrived quite early in Milan.
And we waited. And waited. And waited in front of that bar for hours until a bar next door informed us we’d arrived six hours before the bar would open, despite what the sign on the door said. We didn’t see much in Milan other than Brent violently shaking the doors every five minutes for a number of hours. Finally the doors did open and we set up.
A local distro started setting up their wares and Cannabis Corpse put the kabosh on it. They were certain a distro the night before had hurt sales. I have mixed feelings on the subject. I understand that a show is probably the best place for a local entrepreneur to set up a little metal shop. It’s cool to make underground shit available at a show for your local scene. Unfortunately, that show might have a couple touring bands looking to sell their crap to break even and they don’t want attendees wallets emptied by competition. Do distros hurt sales? I don’t know, Paul Krugman has yet to give a shit. It’s totally possible. My hindsight advice is to make sure a tour is booked with a “no distro” clause if that’s an issue.
Anyway, the show at the Blue Rose in Milan was a blast. It totally packed out, people raged, and I got completely hammered with my old friends from Brainwash who I played with on my first ever Euro tour waaaay back in 1997.
Sometime between Milan and Vienna I sobered up. Oi vey, to think I used to do that every night on tour years ago. Who needs memories of where one slept? I certainly was not in the right state of mind to see this fine product at an Italian gas station.
An entire aisle of wine celebrating Hitler. I got yelled at for taking pictures. How offensive of me!
Escape Club in Vienna had a weird stage where all the cabs had to point sideways for us to fit. But the sound guy, I found out later, worked with the Vienna Philharmonic. So it sounded great. We had an awesome show and a good night with our old friend Tomas.
A little note to opening bands… do not decimate a deli tray with your girlfriends in tow before a touring act has even shown up. Yer at home, we’re not. We’re hungry from riding 10 hours in a van and desire a little comfort. Plz n thx!
We originally had a day off following Vienna, but Phil had wondered about picking up a show. I emailed a friend I made on a Wolves in the Throne Room tour. Within an hour, we had a show in Tilburg, the Netherlands, at the Little Devil. We tried to get an early start for the twelve hour drive, with just a slight scare as Dino never made it back to the hostel… he rolled up just as we were sending out a search party.
We got underway, groggy as hell, and made it halfway before we got pulled over by some Bavarian cops. They took us to a weigh station and told us we were 800 kilos overweight and had to get another car and pay 115€. Fuck! This happened before on tour with Wolves in the Throne Room. This time, though, we were five hours away from the venue. The cops were keeping an eye on us making sure we didn’t leave.
A plan was formed. Scott volunteered to stay with the gear while Fluffwheels sent out a van all the way from Prague to pick it up. 4-500€. I spoke with a gas station attendant and this angel said we could load the back line into one of their locked bathrooms. Just in time, too, as a wicked snowstorm blew in. Apparently this happens to a lot of travelers round these parts. Scott would not have to sit outdoors in the harsh elements, something I was voting against. The rest of the band members headed out to Tilburg to possibly play on a borrowed back line or play late when Scott and the other van show up.
Tomorrow we’ll re-overload our van because no one else in Europe cares or will fuck with us except asshole bored Bavarian pigs. We need our back line for the big show in London. As for tonight, we’re crossing our fingers and squeezing our thumbs.
Doktor Ross Sewage
filling in at the Creepsylvania Hospital’s traveling burn ward