Dude, where’s my vowels?
As soon as we crossed the Polish border prostitutes sprang out along the roadside like some wild vegetation indigenous only to Polish (and not German) soil. Also common to Poland (but not Germany) were the rough, uneven 2-lane highways where the line down the center of the road was not a left-side or right-side divider but rather a 3rd and socially acceptable ‘passing’ lane. It was quite enervating to be in our big-ass van trying to pass somebody and having cars on either side of you also trying to pass somebody, and all the while bicyclists and pedestrians are on the side of the road. Devon seemed to handle it all pretty well. He took the craziness lying down. Sleeping.

Old police cars are sawed in half and placed on the side of the road so drivers slow down thinking they are approaching a real cop car. But half the time the faux-cars are accompanied by an 8-foot tall plywood police officer waving his Mickey Mouse-sized hands. I think most people can detect a fraud cop from half a mile away.

Warsaw is not the gray, drab eastern block-representin’ city I have imagined it would be. It did have a lot of white-power and anti-Semitic graffiti but it also had an entire leftist punk community rallying against it. Our venue was an exact replica of The Stone, mirrors and all, and a kick-ass vegetarian restaurant catered the show. Even the plates were vegetarian and edible. It was awesome and so was the show. Great bands and a fantastic audience. Devon slashed his head open pretty badly again, but even he didn’t seem to mind too much because the show was going to well.

Warsaw pics by Spoc:

It's good that people of all ages can enjoy our show.

No, Devon, it's not naptime yet! Wake up!

I see London, I see France...

Two months ago ARTMUS PYLE played ‘a fucking great show’ in the same city we’re playing tonight. He said it was great because lots of people showed up and stuck around and had a good time. But he also said the promoter was so impressed by all the people that he decided to make it a benefit, which is fine if you let the bands know before you give all the money away. What’s worse was the guy the money was going towards was in jail for beating up a 13-year old kid and stealing his wallet.

The scene in this city is having a hard time keeping venues because the crowds are known for their ‘hard dancing’ which often left people and venues broken. The promoters were able to find a bar to do the show for free assuming people bought beer all night. The bar was up two flights of stairs so it was nice to get a parking space right out front. But just as we’re about to load in we were told to park down the block and load in later. Loading in later meant having to maneuver all our stuff between people once the club was packed. Plus, all our merch was in the far back of the van so we had to unload everything anyway just to get it all out. Then we had to reload everything once the merch was out. Then it started raining. Then we’re told the food is at a promoters house ‘just a short bus ride away.’ Like either us or him has the time to leave the show to get it… And the promoter knew we had to leave right after the show so eating later was out. As we were in the van lamenting all this a bunch of skinheads showed up and start fighting outside our van.

Inside, the hard dancing makes it’s first appearance during the second band. Guys would barge through the crowd, stop on the perimeter of da pit cracking their knuckles, then tear through it again. Things got worse when the third band’s bass player soundchecked with his thumb. And the fourth band were like Bush, only softer. I honestly didn’t mind the break since I’ve seen almost 100 ‘hard’ bands in a row over the course of the last 3 weeks, but in our camp my opinion stood alone. Max didn’t say anything yet our host looked at him when they started and said, "Geez Max, so intolerant!" It was a pretty astute assessment for only having known Max for 24 hours. But when the singer decided to do a solo encore, and when Max groaned so loud Robert and Devon who were literally in the van downstairs heard it, I had to agree – it was too much to bear. And we were getting really hungry and crotchety.

It was getting dark and there were only 3 60 watt light bulbs in the place. From where the merch was (about 20 feet from the stage) I could only hardly make out the drummer’s shadow. The fifth band were from Germany and the female singer was not afraid to call the assholes in the audience out of their macho bullshit. That lifted spirits. Well, ours anyway, I’m sure the macho bullshitters weren’t down with a lady with a microphone telling them what not to do. We sure were though.

I had literally only strummed my guitar twice when a hand on my shoulder said "All finished." It was the owner and he informed me the cops were here. I looked back at the rest of the band and there was a small sense of relief their faces. Some might even call them smiles. But the unruly disposition of the crowd seemed to encourage the owner to let us play, lest his bar become a riot zone. It was so dark Robert said he became what he hates worst – a shoegazer. I didn’t even bother trying to see what I was playing. I was more focused on not falling through the gaps in the stage. We were put on four platforms that were in no way fastened together and each time I jumped I created a chasm between myself and the other guys. A guy with a camera kept getting in our way and I finally told him that if he was gonna be onstage I could not guarantee his or his camera’s safety. Two songs later he disappeared and I can only hope he fell through the valley in the stage. Devon, well-rested and trying hard not to re-open the gash in his head, finally lost it when some guy in the front row - who was assaulting every guy in the audience and making out with them - grabbed Devon by the nards and threw him, injured head-first, into the audience and down to the floor. I have never seen Devon lose it during a show before but once he got back onstage he shot off a rapid-fire list of demands of the audience – most notably "don’t grab my nuts."

15 minutes and our set was over. We were conquered and ready to skip town but not before risking being late to our next show 15 hours away so we could at least enjoy the dinner we paid for. It was actually quite delicious and hanging out with the other touring bands for a short while was calming. Devon tried to take a shower and wash off the foul attitude he acquired but the water fluctuated between scalding hot and freezing cold, much like Devon’s state of mind today. While he was in the bathroom a flirty woman from the show arrived and tried unsuccessfully to hook up with every member of every touring band because ‘[her] husband is gone.’ He was ‘gone’ to the liquor store and was coming to get her shortly. Wacko.

Previous - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - Next