Friday, 20 January 2012

December 2011 - UK Tour dates

I always forget to write blogs on time!

Tour dates for December 2011

08/12/11 Nuneaton: Queens Hall
09/12/11 London: Camden Underworld
10/12/11 Birmingham: Route 44
11/12/11 Edinburgh: Bannermans
12/12/11 Glasgow: Ivory Blacks
14/12/11 Stamford: Voodoo Lounge
15/12/11 Bristol: The Tunnels
16/12/11 Swansea: Sin City
18/12/11 Antwerp, Belgium: Trix (with Sabaton)

Main support on most shows is Disarm Goliath.
Support for shows in Scotland is Dirty Rose & Deezil

Promise & Terror Part 2: Europe 2011 Part 3

I don't know how he did it, but Franky did an eighteen hour drive from Switzerland to Krakow, Poland - in just one day.
The only stops we took were to grab something to eat, and do the other stuff that one may need to do on a long journey!
We drove through a whole lot of beautiful Polish countryside, which was good to see - and not at all like I expected.

When we finally reached Krakow, we couldn't find the hotel.
Cut to a rather interesting telephone conversation between Franky and the elderly owner of the hotel we were staying at.
Evidently, the fellow on the other end of the phone didn't speak a word of English (understandably) and Franky didn't speak a word of Polish (also understandably) - so we were lost (basically).

Somehow, after driving around the city centre, somebody figured out that the hotel was actually on a boat - and we were right by a dock, - so . . . 
There it was - moored at the dock.
Our floating accommodation for the evening, - which was actually an extremely beautiful barge - with only one problem - for Steve anyway . . 
Steve isn't so fond of spiders, and the barge was absolutely filled with eight-legged creatures of all shapes and sizes.
Hundreds of them - from really BIG heavy lumbering beasties, to tiny small speedy-gonzales things.
Steve chose to sleep in the car for the night.
The rest of us bit the bullet and opted to sleep on the barge with the spiders.

At one point in the dark, I heard a clicking sound in my room - right next to my head, so I picked up my cell phone and shone it onto the wall.
There was a spider so big, it was actually making a scraping sound as it walked around on the wall.
I knocked it onto the floor, and went back to sleep, but after a while it came back.
Holy shit!

Even as a passenger - travel by conventional car in Poland was an interesting experience.
There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason or rules at all - and it all looks really fast.
I remember a guy fixing his (broken-down) car at a set of traffic lights in the middle of a three-lane highway, while cars and trucks just buzzed right around him.

Poland: Graffiti Club - Lublin.
After an interesting night's sleep, I expected an equally eclectic following day.
Franky once again put the pedal to the metal, and steered the beast in the general direction of Lublin, which was another 300km and four hours away.

Our hotel was extremely cool today. Comfortable rooms and a nice big shower. Awesome.

We had no idea what the venue would be like after our rather pleasant sojourn to the docks of Krakow, but it was beautiful. The place was pretty full-up, and it was banging from beginning to end. 
Everything was taken care of by the one and only Marek. An extremely good dude who knows exactly what's what.
The stage and sound was killer tonight. These dudes knew exactly what they were doing.

Messenger's line-up had changed a little bit after their return to Germany.
Benny the bass player was now playing guitar (extremely proficiently, I might add) and the posse had been joined by one Gerard Sormani on bass.
Confusing, but what the hell. Gerard is a worthy addition to this tour.
A good man and a top class bass-player! Very cool taste in music too :)
All sets tonight were wickedly good, and the audience was on fire.
We hung out afterwards to catch up and chat with some friendly faces from the show, which was a good end to a good night.
Best wishes to Marek, and cheers to Tomasz. You're the man.

Poland: Madness Club, Wroclaw.
I think strangeness had finally caught up with us. The coffee was definitely strange anyway.
The venue was quite strange too, but not necessarily in a bad way.
The food was strange, but not necessarily bad,
Really friendly people though, and rock and roll through and through.
No arguments there.
I remember somebody had crashed out one of the Messenger bus lights in a road 'incident'
We came. We played. We left & had the first proper sleep in a few days.

Germany: Londoner - Gotha.

Another 500km and about 6 hours drive during the day, and we arrived at Gotha in Germany.
The venue was beautiful, but it was pretty quiet when we arrived.
It was Thursday night, and there weren't too many people about at all.
The whole place seemed very quiet.
Still - the people who DID make it were clearly very rock and roll indeed.
There was a bar / restaurant downstairs, and the very accommodating chef served up a good spaghetti for dinner!
Guinness too! What more could a person need?

I was cursed with technical problems tonight. Things just kept breaking down.
As soon as one thing was fixed, the next thing screwed up. Gremlins!

We rounded off a long day with an all-night drive to Belgium.

Belgium: De Rots - Antwerp.
550km and 6 or 7 hours later, we arrived in Antwerp at about 8 O' clock in the morning, and the caretaker let us in, and showed us to our rooms where we caught up on some sleep for a few hours until Messenger arrived that afternoon.
Shortly after, the camera crew arrived, and the day was underway.
Tonight's show was being filmed for a DVD recording, intended for release in 2012.
Everything went pretty fast after that. The day got crazy busy, and didn't really stop until it was all over.
Our friends Bruce & Nine surprised us, and made the journey from Germany, so it was super-cool to see their faces during the show, and catch up properly afterwards. Awesome people.
Dance 'til dawn, and even better - Silke and Selina were back to join the party.
Everybody was in high spirits tonight.

Belgium: Rockfort - Hoboken
The following day, we chilled with Messenger outside De Rots with a few beers.
Sigi gave me some very cool German language lessons, and I learned some important new stuff.
It should definitely come in very handy one of these days.

The last show of the tour was in Hoboken, which was just 20 minutes away, so we had the chance to really relax for a few hours during the day.

As soon as we got to the festival, some crazy folks in a people-carrier almost drove their vehicle off the edge of a 2 meter wall, so we helped them back onto the road again, and headed inside the venue.
My friends Nadja & Arnold had made the journey from Holland, and it was fantastic to see them after about 5 or 6 years! Unreal!
Bruce and Nine also showed up again after getting lost somewhere along the way, but they caught the end of the show, and we had the chance for some cheery drinks afterwards.
Apart from some spotlights exploding over my head during 10 Seconds - the show went pretty smoothly.
Everything was packed down in record time, and unfortunately - it was time to say goodbye to this tour, and farewell to Messenger and all of our friends for the time being.

It was truly great to get to hang out with good people every single night, and thanks a million to everybody we met along the way.
Looking forward to seeing you again somewhere soon in 2012!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Promise & Terror Part 2: Europe 2011 Part 2

It was all a dream!

Almost all tour vehicles are (of course) referred to as 'The Beast' 
Our particular beast was Franky's four-wheeled monster - which was to become our war machine for the next ten days.

Introducing the rest of our rock and roll tour posse - the mighty MESSENGER - from Germany, who were already at the venue when we arrived.
We played Saarbangers Metal Festival in Saarbrücken with Messenger a few months back, and it was great to see them again, with the evil DJ, with Silke, with Selina and with a bus full of drums and amplifiers. 

Thursday - 15th September 2011
De Verlichte Geest: Roeselare - Belgium.

I really must start to write this stuff down as it happens, because inevitably - there is so much I can't remember after a few months.
A quick rehearsal before the first show, and then the madness was underway! 
It wasn't full by any stretch, but at De Verlichte Geest, it was great to see some familiar and friendly faces.
A solid venue, with awesome staff & solid people who make a big noise. We salute you!

Blue Devils Bar: Arras - France.
The next day was just a short 100 k skip to France, where The Blue Devils Bar was waiting! 
A super cool watering hole, in the beautiful  town of Arras, where the beer was frighteningly strong and the music was frighteningly loud!
We were joined on this bill by some continental compadres, the mighty 'Women in Iron Form'
Four metal maidens from Le France, playing Maiden! Everything from Children Of The Damned to The Clairvoyant to Be Quick Or Be Dead! Loud and heavy! A tough act to follow, but next up were Messenger to make their point!

Leather, spikes, swords  and so much shredding in such a small room had me worried!
There was only one way out, and these men play so fast it could cause a fire!
Outrageous levels of skill and musical perfection, and to top it all off - frontman Sigi was armed to the teeth with a sword and a mean look in his eye!
Be warned - stay well away from Sigi if you're a DJ!

Messenger went down a storm with the Blue Devil's Bar clientele, and they made us work hard to follow their set!
But 15 minutes later, we were saddled in and ready to roll.
A mega hot room with a mega-mad audience of righteously loud lunatics. We had to keep turning up the amps just to hear ourselves over the noise.
It was HOT in the Blue Devils Bar. I think we all lost some weight during the show, but it was worth it. Super cool people!
After the show, we had some beers with Women In Iron Form, and generally chilled out.
Best wishes to Hélène, Sibylle, Lynda and Hélène!
New friends and a good show!

Chez Paulette: Nancy - France.
The next morning, Franky bravely harnessed the beast, and drove across 400 km of hardpan desert terrain to the incredible Chez Paulette, à Pagney derrière Barine!
This place was unbelievable.
The people who lived there were amazing, and treated us like family.
These people were so cool that they even took care of our washing. Yuk.
Such an amazing, kind gesture like that helps to save your sanity when you're traveling all day, and sweating up clothes every night.
The show was of course flawlessly arranged by Laurence and Sébastien, who took care of every detail. Beautiful people, and it was a pleasure to see them again after a couple of years.
There were four bands on the bill: Blaze, Messenger, AVery Bad Story and We Take No Prisoners.
A total mixture of different styles - from groove to speed, so hopefully something for everyone.

Yukon Bar: Collombey - Switzerland.
450 km later!
Flanked by massive cornfields at the foot of the Swiss alps - in the idyllic environs of Collombey Switzerland,
The Yukon Bar is like a fantasy. An impossibly beautiful location for a rock bar.
Introducing Pascal, Tatjana and Marina! Three of the most amazing people in Switzerland.
Three of the coolest people in the world. Scientifically proven!

After the last few days of shows, both band's live sets were rocking and rolling - and tonight was no exception.
As usual - Messenger kicked much ass.
It was a pleasure to watch them deliver the goods every single night.
During each show we watched them turn people's heads and get them onside.
A rare skill.
By the end of Messenger's set - everybody knew what was what.
Setting up - I remember some technical problems with power! Switzerland power points are seemingly different from everywhere else on the continent, but the multi-skilled Pascal dealt with the situation by hooking up some interesting wiring :)
After everything had wrapped - we had the chance to enjoy some late drinks & good music.

Tomorrow was a travel day and we knew that we were sleeping at the venue tonight.
There was no show scheduled for the next evening - so we packed down quickly after the show, and chilled out in the bar for a few hours with Swiss royalty, Pascal, Tatjana and Marina.
It was the first time I'd met these folks, but right away it was just like hanging out with old friends. 
Good conversation, good wine, midnight food at the bar & awesome company.
Thank you so much for taking care of us!
One of my favorite nights of the whole tour.

Tonight we also say au-revoir to the Messenger Clan for the next few days, because they are returning to Germany, - destined to meet us again in Poland two days later.
Oh yes - they kidnapped Claudio too - and took him with them! If only they knew what they were letting themselves in for.
At this point, we also say goodbye to Messenger guitar man, Frank - because he wasn't coming back for the remainder of the tour. See you again, Frank. Cheers to you!

AND - we also had to say our goodbyes to the real Messenger boss ladies, Silke and Selina.
These amazing people kept everything running like a machine, and made sure nobody got into trouble! Tschuss, Silke & Selina. At least for now.

The next day was a VERY early start. On the road at 7 am, and a 1500 km drive lay ahead.
God damn.