Monday, January 30, 2012

European Tour Journal - Day 1 & Day 2 - Airports & Amsterdam

We just got back from our first 3 week tour of Europe, playing shows in Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Czech Republic, but mostly Germany.

Day 1 (December 26th): Airplanes
The scariest thing about touring another continent isn't the language barrier, or the fear of shitty turnout, or losing piles of money. The scariest thing is making sure you can leave the country. After a chain of passport fuck-ups and ticket bookings, show shuffling and gear wrangling, we got all our paperwork together and orchestrated lies to get us through any possible border-guard scenario.

We slumber partied on Christmas night, getting all of our gear and bags in one place so we could start our 9 AM chain of flights from STL -> NYC -> Amsterdam -> Hamburg. The day was the usual hurry and wait of airports, but those new fucking baggage fees killed us: we brought our guitars, bass, and drum snare/cymbals for tour, and all of it had to be stowed under the plane. $300 later we were in our seats bound for Germany.

Day 2 (December 27th): Amsterdam/Hamburg
After all the anxiety, getting out of America and into Amsterdam through customs was insanely easy.
Customs: Whats your final destination? Me: Germany.
Customs: How long will you be staying? Me: 3 weeks.
Customs: Reason for your visit? Me: To meet friends, fun, drive around, we'll see your sights.
Customs: Enjoy your stay.
No strip down, no bag tossing, no grilling about the instruments and duffle of merch.

Our friend Will Kinser picked us up at the Hamburg Airport. Will is a good friend, he runs New Dark Age records, who released our recent 7". We would be playing our first and last three shows with his band No More Art. Will did the meat of the booking of this tour, pulling the strings to set up shows, find us a van, secure gear. A fucking amazing guy, right?

Will helps us lug bags and instruments to the train, and we hop to St. Pauli, to Will's flat, and catch a much deserved nap. The rented van is delivered to the doorstep, a goddamn enormous diesel Mercedes Sprinter. The thing is a beast of a tour wagon with lofted bed, seperate gear storage, rear load-out spotlight, mp3 jack. Perfect.

After warming up we run the streets of Hamburg with our new friend Nagi, Will's lady, but our future wife. She wakes us with a giant delicious dinner. We walk the docks and old city center of St. Pauli, and head to the famous Cobra Bar for unmitigated drinking, dancing, and friending up to the other members of No More Art. Play it safe, next day is the first show of tour, and No More Art's first show ever.

TOMORROW: Hafermarkt in Flensburg, Germany.

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