25/04/13 - 16/04/13 - BIRMINGHAM [UK] to BERLIN [GER]
Jake, Mez, Liv and I started the tour sat at Jakes with a glass of wine watching the snooker (one of these I was very happy about!). Hardly Motley Crue but then they didn't have to wait for their bassist and guitarist to pick up the van, which may I add was well worth the wait. Once we'd loaded up in sunny Birmingham, and pissed off a few of Jakes neighbours, we set off to our hotel in Ashford - the rest was a haze of cider, beer, ale, strange locals, fast food and even faster women (one of those was a lie).
After last night the 5:30am wake up call was a killer but a McDonalds breakfast and Anal C*nt on the stereo soon sorted us out for the Euro Tunnel crossing. Once in France, the first port of call was the Carrefore supermarket for liquor and beers. We all played it safe with whiskey and vodka, Dave took a chance with (Derek – gold star for getting the joke) Duvall some brandy coloured liquid which we've just found out is either aniseed or amaretto... gross! We've all been taking it in turns driving and I've just driven through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany - some beautiful scenery but the weather is shite! Got a sweet sound system, DVD player and a couple of flat screens so had some awesome tunes on and the Crowbar DVD, well and truly in the mood for playing now! Germany has some ace road signs and place names, the best so far being Ausfahrt (which I thought was a really popular town but actually means "exit") and Turnhout... cue some very childish and very English poo jokes! Got to Berlin no problem, drove around for an hour in the rain trying to find hotel... not cool! By the time we found it we were knackered, time to hit the sack ready for DesertFest tomorrow.
27.04.13. BERLIN [GER]
DesertFest Berlin @ Astra Kulterhaus w/ Troubled Horse, Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man, My Sleeping Karma, Kadaver, Orchid, Gentleman's Pistols & 1000 Mods
Woke up to the news that the Hard Rock Hell Festival promoters have announced our appearance at this year's festival, which puts us in even better spirits! We've also realised this morning that one hair dryer amongst 5 long haired people is simply not enough! Now, onwards to DesertFest. Really looking forward to this fest, not only is it a chance to meet our booking agents, and festival organisers, Sound of Liberation, as well as the many people we chat to over the internet and who buy our merch, but we played the DesertScene promoted London festival last year and it's just a great event to be a part of. We turned up at the Astra Kulterhaus really early and immediately bumped into the guys from Orchid who were really cool, we stayed around for a while chatting to them before loading. The venue is a big old building surrounded by some of the best graffiti I've ever seen, and has a really cool vibe about it. Everyone made us feel really welcome, they showed us to the backstage area which had an awesome buffet continually topped up all day, and plenty of beers. We were due on stage at 4pm so we knew it was going to get messy! Because of the early time slot we were worried that the hall would be really empty, so it was cool to see it starting to fill up and before long it was packed out! We had a great gig, Mez sorted us an amazing sound - on stage and off, the crowd were really up for it and it was nice to hear the words being sung back. After us our mates in Gentleman's Pistols played and they blew the roof off, Liv and I had a good old boogie to them. My Sleeping Karma were awesome too, they feature Matte who is our booking agent so was really cool to see them. What happened next was a bit hazy but we eat some incredible Moroccon Tagine with Rob from Satellite Beaver, had a look around the hippy market and spent some drunken time with Gentleman's Pistols, Orchid, Blues Pills, Seb from Napalm Records, Matte and Beth from Sound of Liberation, Rob from Satellite Beaver, Agata from Ceremony Booking, and Ron Holzner (and his wife) from Trouble / Victor Griffin's In-graved. We also met so many other cool and friendly people including a nice couple who brought their toddler grandson with them, the little lad went away with some Alunah badges for his uber cool Orchid patch denim jacket. After that it got really really messy - Dave passed out backstage (with a pint of beer on his head) and disgraced himself in front of Ron Holzner (who was shocked that he was the guitarist and not the drummer haha!!), and we had a drunken encounter with Elin from Blues Pills and Agata on one of Berlin’s bridges… we eventually got back to the hotel and finally hit the sack at 4am.
28/04/13 - BERLIN [GER] to SZCZECIN [PL]
Venue: Morion w/ Dopelord & Stoneache
We were up bright and early today and had a walk through Berlin, where we spotted some familiar posters (and got excited to see Alunah's name on them!). We found a cafe and had falafel and schnitzel for breakfast which was ace! Travelling to Poland was a first for all of us and it certainly didn't disappoint. We had a slight nightmare when we realised that Poland didn't use Euros, luckily we found somewhere on a Sunday where we could get some Zeloti. We then found a nice café where we had a chill in the sun... and converted our merch prices! Once we found the venue we met up with the Dopelord guys who were really cool. We were unsure as to how full the place would be considering it was a Sunday and we'd never played there before, but it had a nice amount of people and a great atmosphere. Both Stoneache and Dopelord were awesome, and everyone went nuts for them. We had another great gig, the atmosphere was electric, the room nice and smoky bathed in green light, great sound and again,everyone went nuts. During White Hoarhound I couldn’t hear my vocals due to everyone singing it back to me, it was truly amazing and quite emotional. We hung around in the club for a couple of hours after the gig and got obliterated on Zywiec beer and black vodka.
29/04/13 - SZCZECIN [PL] to BREMEN [GER]
Venue: Romer w/ Belzebong
After a routine (and unbelievably cheap) petrol, beer, crisps and cake stop, we made our way back to Germany to play Bremen with Belzebong. We'd been over the Poland / Germany border for 5 minutes when we got pulled by the Police. They pulled us off the motorway onto a car park where a Police van was waiting for us. Luckily they just wanted to see passports, and were pretty cool guys who spent time asking about the band and the tour, and whether we wanted any drugs!! After driving around Bremen for what seemed like forever we finally found the venue. Manoeuvring the van around the small cobbled streets wasn't much fun but we got there in the end. Romer is a cool venue and Eddie the manager one of the nicest guys we've met so far. Belzebong were running late due to a long drive from their previous gig in England, so we set up ready for soundcheck. Like Poland, the gig wasn't full but a great turn out for a Monday night with two out of town (well, out of country) bands. It was cool to finally meet Belzebong, all of our next shows are with them and they're all top guys, I've chatted to Kamil a few times online and he's a really cool bloke! Was also cool to meet their driver Szymon who is also in Satellite Beaver. After we played our set we spent the rest of the night being fed hazelnut liquor and beers by Eddie. The rest of the band eventually prised me away from the bar and we went in search of food. We found THE best kebab and falafel place, and settled down to an awesome meal and beer (where Gaz introduced me to the wonderful world of strawpedos). Our hostel was also very cool, we had a split level room and in my drunken state getting up the ladder to bed was proper daredevil stuff.
30/04/13 - BREMEN [GER] to DRESDEN [GER]
Venue: Sektor Evolution w/ Ufomammut & Belzebong
Breakfast in the hostel was ace and much needed for the 5 hour journey to Dresden. We were all really looking forward to Dresden, especially Gaz as it's twinned with Coventry. Plus, playing with Ufomammut is an awesome thing. Despite it absolutely pissing it down, the venue Sektor Evolution, looks ace - massive, imposing and very industrial. I think it used to belong to some electrical company, and it's kind of like the Custard Factory building that Birmingham's Supersonic is held in. Again, we're finding this a lot in Germany, everyone is so cool and friendly. Ufomammut and their crew were top people, and of course Belzebong are ace guys. We were due to go on at 9 but it wasn't very full so they held us back until it was packed, which was very cool, there was no curfew either so a chilled out relaxed night. We seemed to go down really well, and consequently sold out of our hoodies and one of our t-shirt designs. For me, sharing a merch stand with the Malleus Rock Art Lab was humbling, I've been a huge Malleus fan for years and have some of their limited prints, it was great to chill out and look through all of their artwork. Belzebong were great, as they were the previous night, Ufomammut blew my mind. I've never had the chance to see them before and they were just incredible, fascinating and mind bending. We hung out with a couple of them afterwards, and they were super cool and down to earth. I seemed to have broken my throat and voice, but nothing that some whiskey, tablets and Vocalzone pastels won't solve! We eventually got to our hostel at about 3am, such a cool little bohemian place with handmade furniture, chilled out music, friendly staff, a kitchen with free food, a library... and a poster for the film Hostel (but I tried to forget about that). They also put a great breakfast on the next day, great place!
01/05/13 - DRESDEN [GER] to COTTBUS [GER]
Venue: La Casa w/ Belzebong & Nu-nation
Because Cottbus is only an hour away from Dresden, it was the shortest journey we had so we dicked about in Dresden for a while... mainly in front of a huge wall mural, which was intentionally half finished. We took a few pictures of us looking awesome in front of it, as did a few bemused passing locals. Liv and I are coming down with the dreaded sickness, mine started last night but today it's horrendous and now Liv has it, and I think Jake so I'm taking it easy on the booze. Today is May Day and is a public holiday in Germany, so it's very quiet on the streets apart from a few rowdy hungover English ;) Cottbus is a nice place, we found the venue straight away and parked up, next mission was coffee and we found a nice café with very well to do people there who looked alarmed to see us lot in there. A few cakes, beers and coffees later and we walked to the park near the gorgeous Staatstheater (which had some awesome looking trees surrounding it) where everyone was hanging out. Dave and I fell asleep on a bench and someone tried to buy drugs off us, other than that it was pretty non eventful. Because of the holiday we're not really expecting many people but we're just happy to be playing, it looked unlikely because of the holiday but the awesome Rockzilla Booking stepped in and put on a show. We met David from Rockzilla when he was doing our stage at DesertFest, he's a top bloke who makes a mean veggie pizza! We waited a while to be let into the venue, I was dying in the van but Belzebong treated the guys to a gas mask jam session. Due to the stage layout of La Casa, Dave and I played on the floor, and Gaz and Jake on the stage - pretty cool doing the gig as both a punter and band member! Our apartment was pretty cool, I've decided now that I've seen too many men in boxers, heard too much snoring and smelt too many fart concoctions... I just want to put my head under the pillow and sleep!! Where our apartment was there was a big church in the middle, and we got a nice loud wake up call when the bells went off at 8am!
02/05/13- COTTBUS [GER] TO COPENHAGEN [DK]
Today we make the 9+ hour drive from Cottbus to Copenhagen. We've seen hundreds of wind turbines everywhere we have travelled so far, and at the services we're all excited (yeah, sad ain't we?) to see some propellers parked up on the back of trucks. Even more exciting though, is Dave winning a cuddly squirrel on the grabber machine, and the sight of a "Travel Pussy" in the toilets... I'm guessing for the road weary trucker?!?! We stopped at a petrol station just inside the border to refuel, and much to our delight found a currency exchange in there (again, we presumed Denmark was in the Euro). Then until we got to the Storebaelt link, it was a pretty uneventful journey. The Storebaelt link is a huge 18km toll bridge that replaced the ferry, it crosses the Great Belt and runs between the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen. I was lucky enough to be driving at the time of crossing and in the sunset it was spectacular! Once over we swapped drivers and made our way to Ungdomshuset which is where HDDT was being held, and also our beds for the next 2 nights. Since being booked for this festival, I've been reading up on the history of Ungdomshuset, and have been really interested by it. I'm not going to go into a history lesson here, but it has a colourful and fascinating past and I'm privileged to be playing here. Plus, it's a vegan festival with a set of strict rules (anti homophobia, racism, sexism etc) which everyone is encouraged to live by which pleases me very much! I just love everything it stands for. Before we get to Ungdomshuset, a light comes on the dashboard of the van... This is the light that the hire company said to call them about if it makes an appearance, so at 10:30pm we call the hire company in England. Basically it's not good, so we arrange for a breakdown company to come in the morning, there's a slight panic as if we miss our ferry home on Saturday, there isn't another one for 3 days! We meet up with Daniel one of the organisers, who checks us in and shows us to our room. The building is a huge house made up of two parts connected by a bridge, our room was on the top floor and slightly set apart from where the other bands were staying. With our ongoing illnesses and after our epic drive (which in the end turned out to be a 12hour journey), we were glad of the privacy.
03/05/13 - COPENHAGEN [DK]
Heavy Days in Doom Town II @ Ungdomshuset
w/ Toner Low, Belzebong, Sienna Root, Samothrace, Bell Witch, Conan
7:15am and the breakdown company call me to say they're outside! Jake and Dave go down and go with them to the VW garage, turns out that a new part is needed but it's okay to drive the 3 hours to the ferry tomorrow so all good! The sun's shining, it's red hot outside and we can now enjoy the fest with no worries. We did our sound check, and had a few problems (including me getting electric shocks) but Mez sorted them out so we had a couple of hours to chill before we played. It was cool to meet up with friends and people we had spoken to over the internet, namely a guy called Mikael who did us a video for "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn", Desiree from Roadburn / Burning World Records, Daniel from Napalm Records, and our fellow Brits Conan and Pagan Altar. It was also cool to meet some of the guys from Saturnalia Temple and Huata (the latter who we're playing with soon). The merch area was like an outside market, and they mixed the bands up with folk selling fanzines, jewellery and artwork. I quite enjoyed sitting with Liv, chatting away to random people who were increasingly getting drunker and drunker. Especially liked chatting to the (semi) English dude from festivalhat.com who got us to pose with his rather fetching brown felt fedora! The room was nice and packed for our set, which considering how sunny and hot it was outside was awesome, we had a great time playing and was a fitting end to an amazing run of gigs. After we just focused on getting absolutely hammered and trying to get into the venues to watch the other bands, we had to watch Conan from the balcony due to a lack of space. Everything after is slightly hazy but I know we lost Gaz for a few hours, he was in bed in the morning though so god knows where he went.
04/05/13 - 05/05/13 - COPENHAGEN [DK] to ESBJERG [DK] to HARWICH [UK]
We woke up very hungover and eager to get onto the 18 hour ferry to chill in the sun. After saying our goodbyes to Daniel and some people sleeping in vans and on the pavement, we started off to Esbjerg which took us back over the epic bridge. Because we were early we decided to find a beach, we found one called Hjerting Beach which was beautiful and much needed. After messing about in the sand we went to catch our ferry, once checked in we dumped our stuff in the 6 berth sardine tin and went in search of beer, cocktails and food. I spent more money on that ferry than I did all week but we had a laugh, the next day we arrived in Harwich at noon. Once through border control (which had a few hairy moments), we found a pub in Colchester and ate... lots! We finally arrived back to Birmingham late afternoon, slightly stinky, very tired, sick of booze but with some awesome memories and new friends! Got to say a HUGE thanks to Liv who sold all our merch for us and kept us in check, Mez for doing our sound each night and fixing our stuff, Sound of Liberation, Napalm Records, all the individual promoters and all the cool crowds who stuck around and watched us!
Miles travelled: 2,960
Countries driven through: 7
People in the van: 6
Bottles of spirits drank (including Malibu!): 7
Bottles of beer drank: Too many
Bottles of cactus cider drank: 1/4 (urrgh)
Times stopped by police: 1
Number of bands watched: 17
Episodes of "Only Fools of Horses" watched: Numerous
Amount of people Soph hugged and kissed: Lots
Amount of times Soph got Mez in trouble with his single Polish phrase: Lots (ask him, it's ace!)
Amount of penis pictures Mez drew in the sand: 1