July 23, Wednesday So, day one started ok: smooth departure from Rome, sleepless yet comfy flight to Newark, bump-free landing there, unbelievably not existing cue at US Immigration, hassle-free passage of customs an then... Newark closes on us just after boarding our LA bound plane cos some fucking storm is working its rainy way up toward the airport! damn! After the first hour waiting on the plan the crew starts offering us a "one off deal" to de-plane, meaning that we were all free to leave the plane if we didn't feel like waiting more, but we would not be allowed back.. how could you refuse an offer like that? by doing what we did: snoring louder! Then, after a FIVE hours wait (!!!) control tower deems us worthy of leaving New Jersey and our planeful of malcontents takes off heading west. Flight time (another 5 hrs) is spent zombified and still unable to sleep.. only brief lapses into unconsciousness that can't honestly be called sleep. Night flights are cool... you're surrounded by darkness and followed by two sets of constellations stars above and cities below... or maybe they're more akin to neural networks of lights... still, it's a fascinating show. It got even more scenographic in the middle of our flight when we flanked the thunderstorm which was slowly receding to our right as we kept moving westward.. imagine two layers of clouds: a lower one flat and regular and carpet-like topped by several bulging formations with massive lightning activity going on. Definitely a beautiful sight (when seen from afar and moving away form it..) Eventually we land in LAX and find Clint (Carney, System Syn singer and tour manager) waiting for us. We try to act like not as brain dead as we actually are and after some small talk we arrive to Clint's place to crash. That's it.. we're in the US and we're about to start touring!! Sleep now.
July 24, Thursday Eight o'clock and I'm fully awake... not quite the "good night sleep" I was hoping for, but hey I can't help it so I get up. Marco's awake too and we hit the 'net straight away, catching up with our people in Europe, friends, enemies, hung-ups and fuck ups. It's not long before Clint & Heidi get up too and we have breakfast, it's not even 10 am and life is already looking 10 times better than the day before! Jody (merchandiser, second driver and chaos maximo) shows up too so Clint and him can go pick up the rental we'll use for the tour. It downs to me that this day is all going to be about buffering, basically killing time before the first show... but there's plenty of miles to be driven and plenty of things to organize or finalize so it's not really killing time, but you know what I mean. Today we'll drive to Phoenix, AZ, as a stop over on our way to El Paso, and leaving LA Clint, Jody, Marco and I pick up the rest of our merry traveling freak show: Jaymie, Adam, and Jay. Traffic is evil. It hates us. And we hate it back, venomously. Still we arrive in Phoenix at Nick's place well after midnight and after a rather hurried meal cooked by our extremely kind host, we all do our best to sleep.. and some are sonorously more successful then others!
July 25, Friday Friday morning we're all a bit grumpy... well I am and so everyone else is too in MY HEAD. Moving a 7 people platoon isn't easy, so it take us a while to tidy up and go have breakfast, which is consumed in a farm themed restaurant that we walk to (!!!) in the already blistering Arizona morning heat. Leaving Nick's we pick up his Virus Kb that Syn are going to use on stage. It comes in a big fuck off flight case that i doubt will fit the already brimming van, but it does... we all love playing tetris don't we? The trip is smooth and largely uneventful, but still we arrive in El Paso one hour later than we programmed, so we skip hotel check-in in favor of sound check and head directly to the venue which is a sort of bikers bar. The venue is pretty big and the stage is too, and even with both bands gear set up it doesn't look cramped. So we eat, set up the merchandise stall, sound check (with as little co-op from the local engineer (and I use the word lightly) as possible and fuck off to the hotel, leaving Jody behind to man the stall (sorry mate..) There isn't much time to relax, but we do our best to then we dress up, put on some make up and head back to the venue. There we realize our estimates on turn out hadn't been too far from the truth (unfortunately) and to kill time as we wait for the last punters to arrive, we hit the bar for a few rounds of shots. Finally we're in party mode and going on stage becomes a fun prospect again. And fun it is indeed! As usual in these situations we don't get a great sound on stage, but we can work with that. It's my first gig in the US so I'm hyper even in these conditions. So hyper i manage to kick a drink somebody had left to the front stage, not my fault really, should have been expected, but i regret it as soon as I discover the drink was actually meant for us! BITCH!! Anyway, people cheer, clap and dance so apparently we're a good opening band. System Syn sound really cool, it's the first time I see them live and they come across as a real live band, i like it. And the public like it too. We pack as soon as Syn finish their last song and after the mandatory pics, signatures and drinks we call it a day and go to sleep. One gig into the tour and i know I'm definitely going to enjoy this...
July 26, Saturday Alarm goes off at 6 am and we all curse. I come off sleep too abruptly and as usual in those cases it takes me ages to get anything done, but eventually we pack all our stuff and head for breakfast... "dad" (that's Clint for us and now you too) has been very clear, we gotta leave at 7 in order to get to San Antonio in time so we all rush stuffing our faces as quickly as possible, The trip to San Antonio is better than the one to El Paso... don't know if it's possible but we pass through a better looking type of desert. Yeah, life is all about details. In the van we doze, read, listen to iPods, chat or play "the game". It consists of picking up a subject and come up with words that begin with the first or last letter of the word said by the person before you (weapons, causes of death, etc). Sounds boring? because IT IS! But it helps, so... Anyway, the platoon has formed only 3 days ago and already the "what? PUPPAAA!" routine is established and going on strong with the americans. We arrive in San Antonio at about 5 pm and go straight to the hotel to check in. The venue tonight is Atomix which looks like a giant purple Lego brick from outside, but inside is really cool, as are John the promoter and the local audio guys. Load in, set up and sound check proceed smoothly and we're all pretty satisfied with the sound, we know we're going to kick ass tonight. Dinner is a nice and surprisingly italian tasting pizza, after which we head back to the hotel for general chilling out and getting ready, but truth is I really want to be at the Atomix this time because the party is promising, when we passed by the venue there were already a few people waiting to get in... At 10 pm we're there and there's people to meet and greet: there's Mark of Sigsaly rec, Dark Texas and wife from "the unnamable online forum", Alex of Ctrl, Lisa and several other smiley faces eager to say hi and make us feel welcome. Show time is pushed to 11 pm and comes the time Marco goes on stage and starts Download Me (p2p Version), I wait for the intro to finish by the stage psyching myself up because I learned how important those first 3 minutes of the gig are. My personal highlights of the set are The Art Of Revenge and Cuttin'N'Drinkin and the good monitoring allows me to be a bit more expressive this time. After Seed we're off stage and we hit the party hard. San Antonio liked us and people buy lots of merchandise, ask for signatures and offer us shots (mine's a Jaeger thanks) which vibes me up just nice, I dance some and cheer for SS on stage. In between tracks "dad" thanks XP8 and I feel obliged to bring him a beer on stage, but unfortunately he misunderstands my intention and just clicks his mic to the bottle as in a toast... oh well more booze for me then. Eventually the party ends and some of us retreat to our room for a sort of afterparty, but the bottle of vodka ends very quickly and since we didn't manage the delivery anything else we call it a day and go to sleep. Yeah we call it a day, a pretty good day.
July 27, Sunday Pretty boring drive day as we transfer from San Antonio to New Orleans, but puppa reigns, puppa rules. There are some random "Random" moments like when somebody (Jake I think) yells out a "Deh!" and the whole van starts singing that song by Harry Belafonte, very much in the Beetlejuice style. Surreal. We get to New Orleans at half past midnight and we're greeted by Alicia and Angel, who will host us for the night and that would have been promoters of our gig there if it didn't had to be moved to Baton Rouge. Sleeping space is little but will do for one night. That said some of us don't want to go to sleep straight away, so Alicia drives Angel, Jake, Marco and me (but not Jody who is a pussy) to the French Quarter to the Dungeon, a bar just off Bourbon Street. Drinks start flowing and we also hook up with Gemini who DJs and bar tends there. We're not allowed upstairs where the music is because it's already full and anyway Gemini has just finished her shift and wants to leave, so we pour our last drink in plastic cups (can't walk the streets with bottles in hands in the US) and proceed to another bar. We drink some more and then move to yet another bar for MORE DRINKS! This last bar is quite cool and we're joined by more "asylum types" (our types) for the drinkies. We're all quite flustered and Jake in particular looks like he's having a great time: knifes are big in New Orleans and while he gets to show his "piece" a couple of girls pull out their purses jack-knives, flick-knives, machetes and fucking daggers... or so it seems to me. Anyway when our driver decides she's had enough we leave. Oh sleep! Oh sweet coma!!
July 28, Monday Some time in the morning i wake up, no alarm involved. Today we have to transfer to Baton Rouge for the gig, but before leaving we want to see some more of the French Quarter by day, plus there's lots of business to be taken care of in the internet but the house has no network, so Daddy, Marco, Jaymie, Adam and me get in the van and go look for a internet cafè or similar. We find a coffee shop with free wireless and have breakfast/lunch/random meal. Daddy has a lot to do, so we leave him behind and proceed on foot toward the French Quarter. Or better in the other direction. By the time we turn on our heels and pass by the coffee shop again we've wasted 15 minutes, sweated 15 litres, and aged 15 years. Yeah it's hot in New Orleans at 1.30 pm in July. Hardly surprising. The French Quarter is nice, it manages to tourist friendly and tacky but in a slightly sinister way... I feel an all pervasive sense of humor and irony around which is great. Marco leads us to the Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo on Bourbon for some "alternative shopping" and after that to the Voodoo Museum. We don't have much time left so we go back to Alicia's and pick up the other guys and go to Baton Rouge. There's little traffic and we get there pretty quickly so we have time to check in at our Hotel, La Quinta this time. The Industry, today's venue is small yet perfectly formed, so to speak, even if it's dominated by a huge overpass looming on its back. The stage is tiny and cramped with both bands gear and the rented PA takes a while to be set up, but eventually we all sound check satisfactorily. Today is the first gig where we get also a local opening act, they're called Torrent Vaccine and they consist of Brad, a laptop and deep bass. I like it quite a lot, even if performance wise he should think of something more entertaining. Which leads me to our gig which is highly entertaining (I am entertained, hehehe). We shuffled the songs a little bit and it pays, the show flows a lot better now, I really get into the performance and when the stage is not enough i wander through the public. I really pity Marco who is trapped in a forest of keyboards and stands from his usual moves and jumps. My highlight today is Das Licht and again Cuttin'N'Drinkin. System Syn suffer a little bit more than us for the technical situation sound wise because they have a much more complicated set but manage to pull off another great show. Great stuff. We're all very tired and quite drunk but as some of us didn't catch any dinner we decide to stop for food at iHop, New in jokes roll in and old ones shoot out in weird tangents... in a demented sort of way it is nice.
July 29, Tuesday Travel day, this time we have to go from Baton Rouge to West Palm Beach and it's a long long way, something like 12 hours. Plus on our way out we get a bloody road block and we waste something like two hours trying to find the place to get on the freeway again. Today we're all pretty grumpy and despondent, we cannot relax much in the van and each one of us blames it on his special someone. Personally, I finally hook up the laptop power pack to the van cigarette lighter adapter the guys bought to play Resident Evil and that keeps me busy and relaxed, though not very social. Eventually we settle to stop a few miles before West Palm Beach because we're all too burnt out. Bad day.
July 30, Wednesday Today we play West Palm Beach and we all sort of look up to it to readdress the tour feel, we need some optimism back in the van. When we stopped the day before I thought we were a lot closer to West Palm but we're still a good couple hours away. The hotel the promotes hooked us at is quite nice and we decide to spread a bit room wise for extra comfort... Today we finally manage to do some laundry and life is indeed looking better in Florida. Another thing that is looking better in FL are clubs... I really really like Respectable Avenue. High ceiling and high stage, lots of space to move and arrange keyboards, moving lights and smoke machine, good PA and lovely decor (big spooky yet not stupidly goth wall paintings and HUGE sofas). All in all we're all pretty stonked. Sound check is a little less smooth than usual though, I get the feel that there's a bunch of new gear in the club that the sound guy still has to familiarize with. So there's a whole lot of feedback going on at times or tits up monitoring or weird effects howlrounds, but eventually we reach a point when we can say we're satisfied and go back to our rooms to get ready for the night. West Palm Beach at night is quite striking... for the untrained european eye it really is charming as it's not as bubblegum pastel pop deco as Miami. Anyway, let's not wander off too much, this is a log, not a memoirs thingy. Marco and I get ready and Dad drives us and Adam back to the venue first (the rest of the Synners need more time and we're supposed to be on stage shortly. At the venue we find we've finally been delivered the tee shirts we were supposed to get in San Antonio and at brief inspection we find them gorgeous, much better print and colours than the Italian prints we had. Can't wait to see people going around in them. Which they do eventually. We get on stage at 10:15 pm and it's a proper blast! I don't hear myself perfectly, but the music pumps just right and I get into it. A lot. I think i strut a little too much today, but I feel the rock'n'roll vibe and I go with it. Today Cracked and Seed are massive. On the breaks of both the songs we managed a really cool build-up and people fire us up back... cool shit. System Syn are on next and as usual they rock. When the concert finish there really isn't much of a club going on, it's Wednesday for fuck sake and people leave quite early. But we're professionals and we think ahead, that's why we have 1 bottle of vodka, 1 bottle of Jack and some beer and sodas in our room fridge. Someone (me) has the great idea of sticking our video cam in a corner and tape as much as possible of the afterparty. Just thinking that I'll have to go through all of it sickens me now, but hey there might be some good blackmail material in there! Thank you West Palm Beach for pulling us up again.
July 31, Thursday When we leave West Palm for Orlando I marvel at how well I feel considering the night before binge... I must be growing accustomed to rhythm of touring. That, or I'm getting a habit. We stop for breakfast in a really nice and healthy style restaurant and as I'm a bit concerned about my parched throat I get a corn soup as a side. Marvelous choice. (I'm so rock'n'roll I know) Anyway, the trip to Orlando is shortish and after a nerve battle with G.P.Gess (our very inconsistent and slightly spaced out satellite navigation system) we "reach destination on right". DJ Matt and Jon greet us and make us all comfy at their apartments. At 7:00 pm we leave for AKA Lounge, tonight's venue. Being downtown finding a parking space is a little problematic, so Dad parks in the bus lane, just in time for the passage of the bloody bus! Oh well, just go round the block once and come back. Load in isn't really easy cos we're second floor and there's no lift but we're pretty efficient with our gear by now. I like the club. It's got a nice brick walls traditional bar atmosphere and a really nice sounding PA and decent sized stage with good monitoring. Cool. After soundchecks Dad, Jaymie, Marco and I go check a tattoo shop for piercing, Dad is looking for new plugs but doesn't find what he's looking for, while Marco and I both buy new lip-rings. Show are postponed to allow more people in, but the final turnout won't be too good anyway... shame. Also today we get an opening band, even if again it's not a band, but another solo project: I KILL PXLS who plays a really cool style of electro with songs about video games (what they call it "bleep" round here). The act is cool, but definitely needs to work on the stage presence a bit... unless he intends to play in more disco oriented clubs in between DJ sets. But really the songs are both fun AND cool. We're on next and we get the little crowd to dance some even if they look a bit "detached", but hey, maybe it's Orlando style. Highlight today is not a song in particular but a moment in a song: I'm on stage strutting my stuff with my shirt off and along comes a girl and sticks a dollar bill down my waistline! Fucking hilarious!! I ask Marco to end on Waiting, something you should never ever do kids; rule #23 of the gigging musician in fact says that you always end your set with one of the more up-beat and energetic songs, but today I feel we've got nothing to prove to anyone and besides System Syn will have the crowd next thoroughly entertained shortly so we're not letting anyone down. With System Syn on stage I proceed to arrange the "entertainment" for the night which will turn into a very long one. Marco in fact hooks up with his friend Kassandra and her mates: Spider, Crystal and Virus and at the end of the club night, at around 2 am XP8 and Synner Jake get a lift to the guys place for some mindless self indulgence...
August 1, 2, 3, 4, Monday Four days in a single post? Are you lazy or something??? No, it's just that I'm all wired up right now and I can't sleep so I thought I might as well do this, and the three days before today were kind of boring so I don't think they deserve a post of their own. Basically what's gone on before today is that we've travelled from Florida to New York and that's it. Well we've exploited John's (DJ23) hospitality for two days... sort of recharging our batteries in Delaware and just sleep, but that's about it, So to get to the interesting bits, today we leave Delaware at a reasonable time and in three hours we reach our hotel in New Jersey. Here we have the luxury of almost three hours before leaving for the venue which is pretty fucking unusual, we were so used to rush from one one place to the next, always trying to keep up with a tight schedule that now I almost fear we'll slack! Honest. We all spend time on the internet, I get to chat a bit with Francesca and all, we watch Stephen King's "Carrie" on a laptop cos TV sucks big time, and then we're ready and we hit the road for the big apple. But G.P.Gess doesn't really want's us there. Or at least so it seams to me. She keeps giving Dad wrong turning points, recalculating her shit, losing satellite connection and to cut a long short we go through the Holland tunnel twice! Damn it!! Eventually we reach the bloody venue and we're greeted by Rob who turns out to be the coolest promoter this far. We don't get the coolest club owner but hey, you can't have everything, can you. We thought we'd be late, but everyone in NY is late, so there's no problem whatsoever. The light and sound guys are all pretty cool and cooperative and we all get the feel this is going to be a really great show, because guys let's admit it: PA and light is two third of an electronic music show! Anyway, back stage area gets more populated by the minute, new acquaintances, net friends and old friends turned enemies turned fairies. And we begin wiring the wires. XP8 gig starts at 11.15 pm and we go on stage and we fucking own it! Seriously tonight I really get such a great reaction from New York it's insane. Highlights of the evening for me are Muv Your Dolly (strangely enough) and Lies... yeah, we played it! It has been a while since we last did and it was nice seeing that it still works. The end of the set is where it belongs, but hell it's tough to be energetic round then. But you do it. You give your last bits and THEN you can drop. Bomb like. System Syn rock just as much as we did and checking out the lights they're getting I'm pretty confident we just had and awesome show. Right during the Syn show things start to get very very blurry, but there's nothing that important to be remembered anyway.
August 5, 6 Wednesday I wake up kind of sore and wrecked after the New York gig and as we check out of our New Jersey hotel to move westward to Pittsburgh, I sort of make a point to behave more responsibly from now on... well at least for the day. We reach Pittsburgh by dinner time (which doesn't mean much as we have meals at whatever time we find time to) and settle for a pizza place which is surprisingly good. Seriously, this is the best pizza I've had in the US so far! Anyway, we hit a hotel just outside downtown and that's pretty much all for us today.
On wednesday we check out at the usual time ready to have breakfast and check in in the hotel booked for us by the local promoter... shame we couldn't be in the same one for these two days, but hey rock'n'roll right? We don't want to get too spoiled, do we? So we settle down in this new hotel, chill for a while and then go to the Altar Bar, our venue for tonight. The venue is cool: it's a church, as in a proper church (allegedly still used for service on sundays) but it's got a really big stage and a very nice sounding and bloody powerful PA. The backstage area is also huge, it's actually a whole separate bar downstairs, but we soon realize why we have so much space: we'll be sharing stage and show time with Rein[Forced] (a extra support band we were not aware about, but really pleased to have on board) and Elysium Playground, a group of fetish performers. Watching a whipping cross being set up in a church is quite funny, yet appropriate if you think about it... So, sometimes in the evening Rein[Forced] get on stage and they're OK, actually they're better than OK, but have a really poor response from the public which is a shame, because they really pound it, but you know, if you get Hentai Anime going on while a band plays people get distracted! I know because I did. After they leave the stage is time for the fetish performance which is all about the seven capital sins and the plot kinda works, but maybe not all the performers, but who cares, it's entertaining. And then it's our time and I have a blast! Highlights? I can't bloody remember now, but there must have been some. Like all the bloody songs. And I don't want to be rude to System Syn, because I actually danced to them (especially I Am Here), but after the show I get totally side-tracked and careless and I don't think there's anything worth mentioning here. Excuse me guys, but that's how it is...
August 7, Thursday I wake up in a lousy mood, I guess it had to happen sooner or later... I'm well pissed off alright. Thankfully by the time we check out and get in the van it gets sort of better and I'm not a miserable git to the rest of the company. Today the van will take us to Chicago Illinois where System Syn drop off Marco and me at Matt (DJ Pathogen)'s place as they proceed to Kenosha, WI to stay at some friends' place on their way to Milwakee. Our plan instead is to hit a club night Matt is running and meet up with Eric, who's flying in from San Francisco to join XP8 on stage for a couple of dates. Sweet. We arrive at Matt's almost at the same time as Ann (DJ Cytokine) and her convertible Volkswagen Golf and we drive to the airport with the top off. Sweeter sweet. At the airport we spot Eric's haircut right away and spot also a little problem: three XP8er in the golf back seat? with a bass flightcase on their lap? definitely NOT pleasant! Oh well, at least it's a short drive. So strange, this is the first time Eric and I meet in person but the old stereotype of "feels like we've always known each other" really does apply here. Although we're indeed kinda forced into intimacy in that damn back seat! Anyway, back at Matt's we freshen up a bit and get sort of ready for the night out, which starts with a pretty decent Thai dinner in a really "hip" part of Chicago. Did I already say "sweet"? After dinner we go to the club and outside we meet Sean from Cyanotic, awesome guy and great sport. The club evening isn't really happening, not enough people maybe, or maybe everybody is more interested in hanging out outside the club chatting and cracking jokes than dancing. We have a great time nevertheless and I even get to taste the DEATHKEY shot. Among several other drinks... well you know, we're all in a celebratory mood of a sort. At some time in the night Matt and Ann call it off and we all move to Club Neo which is playing 80's tonight, which would suck, but at least it's a "happening" party and we're all still buzzing and don't want to go to bed just yet. At the club I actually manage to dance a couple of numbers and consume more alcohol and nicotine than reasonable, considering that tomorrow is gig day, but hell we're partying. Somehow I manage to lose some important "event" and I'm told we have to leave as Matt has work the day after but we're leaving by cab because Ann already left (??), but that's hardly a problem as fares are reasonable in Chicago. We say bye to Sean and manage to convince him to call in sick tomorrow at work and travel with us to Milwakee for the gig. Well let's say that he's pretty easy to convince.
Sleep at Matt's is quick and dreamless.
August 8, Friday Marco's alarm wakes all us up, with the possible exception of Mr. Gottesmann, who looks terribly comfy all bunched up on the sofa ;-) . We leave Matt's place quite early as he has to go to work and head toward Union Station where we'll catch our bus to Milwakee. We have time to waste and we do so in a cafè where we have light breakfast and heavy wireless, yes! Marco is very happy!! When time comes we go to the bus stop and cool Sean has make it in time to join us, just barely. This is funny, you can't actually purchase Megabus tickets onboard, but you can only buy them on-line or via call centre, Sean use the second method and get the confirmation code exactly as the staff asks for it. Cool, Thunderbirds are go! On the bus we're teased by the screening of "Collateral" which looks like a really well made crime film, but a) the volume is just about enough to get you intrigued and pissed off at losing important bits of dialogue and b) the dvd restarts about 4 times, so in the two and half hours we spend on the road we only get to see the first 45min or so. On the bus we're also teased into believing we can actually sleep. FAIL!
At 1:30 pm we arrive in Milwakee and walk to the venue Club Anything. Walk? in the US?? yeah well sometimes it does happen. And it wasn't even a short trek, especially for Sean who's carrying Eric's bass. By sheer coincidence (as if we believed in them... we don't) we arrive exactly at the same time as System Syn... they all look like they've had a good time in Kenosha and a good night sleep, I don't want to know what we look like to them. After somewhat formal introductions we get into the venue as the owner is already there. We'll later find out he actually lives just upstairs. Gary, the promoter is nowhere in sight, there's a worrying lack of communication going on with the guy and duly we worry. We'll later discover that Gary used to work in tandem with a girl who disappeared without warning leaving him on his jack at the very last moment, meaning that he had to do a bunch of things all by himself and with very little time. Anyway, Dad and Jaymie go looking for some vegan approved food and after some loitering the rest of us decide to hit the closest of the many Mexican restaurant of the area. There we're hit by some reasonable, yet slowish, food and by a guy offering to roadie for us in exchange of a free entry; now: 1) please man, don't do these things with a band you'll never see ever again, it's a strategy you can use with a local band and possibly build a career from it, 2) don't print "XP8 crew" tees before you get the 100% confirmation it's going to happen... I mean, why wasting your money in such a way? Anyway, we load in and fuck off to the hotel we've been confirmed at, leaving Eric and Sean behind for space restrictions though. But we don't get to chill much, we just get to shower and change for the evening and we're back to the venue for sound check. Which goes surprisingly well! I'm still a little worried about introducing Eric's bass in the mix but I think it will work out especially for the visual impact. Oh, and I really have to stop judging PAs in the US by the size of the venue... After our sound check Christine Death 1337 asks for an interview for Chain DLK and we're glad to accept even if it's a bit awkward for several Bobby Mesh reasons ;-) And then the waiting game starts, oh how we love the waiting game. XP8 goes on stage at 11 pm and we rock it. We get a pretty decent crowd and they all seem well into it. Today's best are the last two numbers: Das Licht and Seed with a cheering crowd to die for. After the show we get the usual rounds of drinks, chats, autographs and a little dancing, with a good dose of System Syn who all look really in good shape for this show. Another cool date under the belt, Denver here we come!
August 9, 10 Sunday At 11 am our grumpy yet strangely merry crew re-assembles outside the Hotel and head for "Branded Steers" which is not a gay s/m joint, but a rather nice restaurant which shares the parking lot with our hotel so makes perfect sense for a breakfast stop before hitting the road again... well for some of us makes sense. The trip for Denver is very very long and we end up stopping somewhere in Nebraska to sleep. We arrive in Denver in the early afternoon and after a very few minutes spent freshening up a bit at our hotel, we have to leave for sound check after a brief stop for guitar strings for Jake and bass picks for Eric. Although it wasn't brief at all, thanks to Eric... ;-P Tonight we play at The Falcon which is basically a bowling alley with a club attached, but you still have to walk through the alley to get to the toilets, which is plain weird, but I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's rewind to load in. We wander through a couple of parking lots before finding the backstage entrance, but that's normal G.P.Jess fuck ups we're all used to. The stage isn't too large, but it would still reasonably sized if we didn't have to share it with a third band. I mean it's normal to move a few things around between sets, but still... Jake get the worst of it with most of his shit disconnected and moved sideways a bit carelessly. At the venue we hook up with Dave from Vendetta Records who's the local promoter and seems like a nice guy and with our friend Fetish Dolly who'll DJ tonight in between gigs. While the Synners sound check Marco, Eric and I go out for a rather good burger just across the street and I think they do the same when we check. Sound seems OK, even if I already know I'll have problem with monitoring my voice here... I kind of torn at the idea of having to use in-ear-monitors, because I know they are the way to go to have reliable vocal monitoring every night, but for one we don't have our own engineer and second I feel I'd loose the feel of the crowd. Dunno, we'll see. Anyway, after checks we head back to the hotel to get ready for the night properly and, as tonight we won't actually sleep at the hotel as we'll leave for Salt Lake City at 4:00 am, so we use our rooms to relax as much as possible now. When we get to The Falcon again there's already a nice crowd there and we spend the time before our show chatting, watching the support band and networking (which means drinking in XP8speak). At 10 we go on stage and hell it's good. Tonight I can hear Eric better and every now and then I sneak a look round to the left to check what he's doing and yeah, having a bass player rocking on stage is cool. But we'd need more space to do this properly. On stage is bloody hot and when I take off my shirt backstage is totally drenched in sweat, and I mean dripping... gross! So for the rest of the evening I'll be wearing only my G-Starr jacket. After the show we keep networking (shots now) and watch the Syn show: "who am I to say I'm sorry, who am I to sell you dope, I'm jerking off to midget porn, while sucking off the pope" That's what Dad sings! Honest!! Sometime before midnight the evening at The Falcon ends and after loading the van and a couple of rounds of autographs, XP8 plus two Synners and a few selected cohorts go to Church for mass. Seriously, the club is called Church and is in fact in a church basement with a goth/alternative/whatever floor and an industrial floor. Good time ensue. Much networking. One day we'll post some pics. Sometime in the evening Eric leaves us, he'll be staying at a mate's house for the night and will fly back to San Francisco in the morning. I don't get to say goodbye because I don't see him go, which bugs me, but hey I'll catch up with him again in a few days when we play his hometown so. Anyway, as you all should know by now, it doesn't matter how trashed we get, we're professional trashers, and we show up at the hotel just in time to get ready and leave. Sleep in a van is hard to achieve. Coma isn't.
August 11, Monday Eternal gratitude to Dad and Jody for driving us safely all the way from Denver Colorado, to Salt Lake City Utah when they had all the right to be as wasted as us. We arrive in Mormon country capital at around noon and reach Rob's place quite easily. Our local promoters are pretty decent blokes with plenty of space and we all crash in very comfy beds or couches immediately. I think I manage to sleep a couple of hours but I'm not sure. Tonight's venue is called Club Vegas, yet another unassuming rectangular brick in the middle of a city packed with a hell of a sound system. The stage is huge, and it's a joy to fill it with electronic instruments instead of drums and amps! You know, I love showing metal type people how much electronic music live can rock. The back stage is quite large too and very comfy, if maybe a little cold... they really blasting the A/C back here. We meet Jason and Batosphere Riot (local support band) and enjoy their gig and the DJ selection but we start to realize that attendance is going to be a little disappointing. Salt Lake City doesn't seem to respond too much to our tour coming to town, but maybe it's because it's monday... dunno. When we get on stage though I concentrate on the back of the venue and just rip it. You know, my take on this is: whoever shows up for the show deserves the show and we give it to them! And so sadly the evening is pretty uneventful also for the Syn, who also rip it on stage. So possibly is for the turn out, or for the stress build up, or whatever is in the air in Salt Lake City (bad vibes apparently) but we get a big showdown in the parking lot right before leaving the venue... parental advisory: strong language and adult content! Thankfully once we're back at Rob's place and drinks get around our little dysfunctional family goes back to normal behavior and we can go back to party mode. Well, the others can, because I make the mistake of sitting down on a terrific rocking/swivel plush chair which eats me and I fall asleep with a glass of mixed vodka in my hand. But I don't spill a single bloody drop! I wake up like when everybody else is in the hot tub and I'm like alone in the living room, so what do I do? I drink what's left in my glass, brush my teeth and GO TO SLEEP FOR FUCK SAKE!!!
August 12, 13, Wednesday I don't remember Dad giving us a wake up time, but somehow we're all ready at about the same time and Edgard takes us to a restaurant near the freeway ramp we'll eventually have to take and we have a truly great breakfast. I get a french toast combo AND a cheese cake! Nice. Today we cover a lot of miles, I'll have to look it up because I'm curious, but anyway we get from Colorado, through Idaho to Oregon. Anything interesting happened during the ride? well Marco and Adam both buy cool Smith & Wesson's pocket knifes at a native american themed gas station, there was plenty of sex talk, drugs talk and shit talk.. you know five bored guys in the back of a van talk. Oh and Robitussin of course. At half past midnight we get at Adam's place which is very cool. Four cats and a dog are part of the welcoming party and they're all overly kyooot. We get some beers, get some snacks, smoke some fags in the porch and then we all ease into oblivion watching female beach volley on the tv.
In the morning I'm the first to wake up, so I head straight for the shower and take all the time i need for the three "S". We're all pretty slow and chilled this morning, I guess that it is exactly what we're supposed to be today: finally relaxed. By 4 pm everybody's had his bathroom turn and we leave the house heading downtown. We stop at the record store run by Derek, our local promoter, and hook up with Erica (Unter Null) who's travelled all the way from Washington State to see the show. It's been two years since I last saw her and I'm glad to see she's in good shape, obviously touring with C/A/T and Bobby Mesh gave her a much needed boost. We strike a deal with Derek in which we pay for as many CDs as we want to purchase in his shop with copies of The Art Of Revenge, which apparently he's had problems sourcing (damn!), cool! After the shop we briefly hit a nearby Starfucks for various guises of caffeine and then we go to The Fez Ballroom for soundcheck. The venue is really nice, with cool decor, a large stage and most importantly a really powerful PA. There's a long wait between load in and the actual sound checks, and we spend the time being sociable and networking (yeah, in XP8speak). After the local FOH engineer is ok with the sound of both bands we all leave for Aura a really nice fusion restaurant just round the corner from the venue. My food is good but service is quite slow: 3 forks. (Oh by the way, as we eat on the big screen to our left they project the olympics and guess what? yes, female beach volley is on...) By 9.30 we're back at the venue and there's a local support act, a guy I didn't catch the name of, playing some cool dark electro and a couple of dark ambient pieces. People keep flowing in and by 10.15 when we go on stage there's a nice crowd on the floor. Apparently they don't move much in Portland, but all seem to appreciate the music between tracks and so we kick it. My highlights for the night are Our Time, because it had been a while since we last played it, and Seed. System Syn are on stage shortly after our last song and they play an awesome set tonight. I tape three of their tracks (starting from I Am Here which I love... did I already said so?) and proceed to enjoy the rest of the evening. After the last of the public leaves we load all our gear in the van and go back to Adam's. We won't sleep much...
August 14, Thursday The travel from Portland to San Francisco is brutal. Totally and utterly brutal. We BLING "arrive at destination, on right" at about 5 om and the guys at DNA lounge tell us we can't load in until 7 so we have two hours to waste. We decide to go eat somewhere and end up in an Indian restaurant in a hip yet low key part of town. I love the food, but come out of it stuffed to the gills... proof that you can have too much of a good thing. Oh and by now I'm desperate for painkillers. Not because I'm a fucking junkie, but because the lack sleep in Portland meant approximation of sleep in the van with a blasting A/C. Man, my lower back hurts so much it cuts my breath whenever I make the wrong movement. Which is about any movement. Which is NOT something you'd want the day of a show. Shit. Anyway, at 7 we're back at DNA Lounge and we load in. I like this place immediately. For one thing we've got HUGE backstage area, then there's the free wi-fi and the place has a major PA! Good. Eric joins us straight from work and while System Syn sound checks we indulge in a silly interview for Noisecape TV with Peter taking care of the camera.
Tyler of Battery Cage/Informatik shows up right during the interview and, after our sound check, he drags the unwilling, kicking and screaming XP8 (yeah, right) to what I would call to pub crawling. After a visiting a couple of bars on Folsom, we realize it's almost show time and head back to the venue hooking up with the other Battery Cage along the way. The first local band is on when we get in. The play terrorbanana so I'm not that impressed, but I still discern songs underneath the monotone wash of vocal distortion, so who knows... maybe they're good. Back stage is pretty lively before our show and I like that, we all switch into party mode and hit the stage. Fantastic. Physically I'm ok, psyched and pumped. Vocally not as much as I'd like to be, but hey, it's not like my vocal parts are that difficult to sing anyway, so I'm safe ;-) Obvious highlights for me tonight are the two songs we never played before, but manage to pull off egregiously nevertheless: What Time Is Love (with Tyler and Eric rapping with Marco the KLF classic) and Deathkey, which worked surprisingly well and made me think we should do it more often. After the shows we all get boozed up and in a party mood, so that when the club closes we all want to keep it rolling and head straight for Tyler's for a Vodka, Jaeger and Die Wundershozen fueled after-party.
August 15, Friday What the fuck? I'm on a couch in a living room with a TV on and two other guys in other two couches... ah yeah, I'm at Eric's, right. Man, my head... Marco's awake and checking the internet (I think), then he goes in another room (Eric's I guess) and comes back with a wonderful piece of information: "he's driving us to Jody" You see, we've been out and about yesterday night, but we have to show up at Jody's place to join the happy white van for the LA trip. Ok, time to get going. The groggy electro power trio gets in the car and Eric drives us pretty quickly to the Okland address Dad gave us and we see the van straight away, parked in the sun and ready to get "on the road again". Scenery wise the trip is rather nice, sure the Pacific Coast Highway would have been even better, but time is money right? We arrive in LA quite in time in fact and separate in two groups to get ready at Jaymie's and at Dad's on the way to Das Bunker. When we actually get to Das Bunker it kind of takes a while (and an Adam-FAIL) to understand we can in fact get inside the venue and don't have to wait for load in. So we load in. Franck (local promoter and Das Bunker mastermind extraordinaire) is in shortly after and gets the stage ready as most of us have dinner with take-out from the vegan restaurant downstairs (boy, isn't Jaymie happy now) and then Synners set up on stage and we set up our merchandise. As they begin sound check Francesca texts me and I meet her downstairs and... man it's been just three weeks, but it feels like a much longer time... Anyway, as Syn sound-check I take Francesca out to get something to eat, which on a deserted, past 9 pm West Pico Boulevard means take out chips and salsa in a dingy San Salvador place. We make it back just in time for our sound-check and as per usual we're through with is pretty soon. So it's again that time of the day: the time when everybody plays the "waiting game". People start to flow in and I can tell this is going to be the best attendance so far, obviously because it's regular club night, but still I can tell a lot of people are here for the shows. Everyone is pretty buzzed by the evening vibe. Eventually the waiting ends and we're allowed to go on stage. People are pretty cool and I see much response going on left, right and centre with people dancing and cheering for the whole set... there's even one guy with an Italian flag, and lots of people in the first rows follow us singing the songs during the whole gig. Our set is a few songs shorter than usual due to time restrictions, but still we squeeze in a song we haven't played for a while: Still Lives, just for the sake of having a different show for LA, and a new song from the next EP that goes down very well with the Bunker crowd. At the end we dedicate the whole US tour experience to Paul and that's how it should be, period. After the show there's an autograph avalanche waiting for us and much hands to be shaken, pic to be taken and drinks to be drunk. I remain at the club for as long as it takes to finish business, but what I really want now is acknowledge that the tour is over and go back to my hotel room. And so we do. I hug everyone at least twice and hit the street, get a taxi number by someone at the door, call the number, get into de taxi, ride to Beverly Boulevard, get everything in our hotel room.
This project was the culmination of a night of mad partying during my visit to Eric in San Francisco in February. Then Marko got to it. Then Everything Goes Cold started playing it live (and we are planning it as well), and all hell broke loose.
This is a free download, however if you like it, please click one of the donate links, depending on your preferred mix. Whichever band's version makes more money in the next two weeks wins, and gets to gloat about it and lord it over the other for all time. And I wouldn't rule out more stuff like this in the future, if it goes well!