the final tour report - returning to the states

so, once in heathrow airport, the bullshit started almost immediately. i'll say right now that it's currently 6am and we're all pretty exhausted from not really sleeping after the wolverhampton show. so, keep all of this in mind as you read on.

now, we knew that our bags were likely to be overweight...they were incredibly close to the maximum weight allowance when we were flying over to germany, and now we'd added a significant amount of extra weight due to all the merch that we returned with. of course, the allowance is higher for international travel (as it damn well should be).

so we get to the counter, and the dude weighs our bag. of course, the bag is 4 kilos over the limit. so we start trying to move things around, but it's pretty clear that it's not going to work. the dude suggests that we go buy another bag so that we can split up the weight. now, of course, if we're going to carry that weight anyway, WHY it has to be split up amongst two different bags makes no fucking sense to me (when you're already lugging a suitcase, a backpack, and a guitar, one extra bag goes...where exactly?). picture me getting homicidal at 6am. so, while we wait there at the desk, da5id goes off in search of a duffel bag or something that we can use to haul the merch home. finally, he returns with a duffel bag, we move things around, and are now magically under the weight limit. as we head over towards security, i say "so, how much did that bag set us back?" da5id: "oh...you don't want to know...85 pounds..". at the current exchange rate, that means that we spent 138 dollars on a small gym bag. can you taste the excitement?!

in any case, we made it to security. now, i have to say...security screening in non-u.s. airports is a dream compared to flying within the continental u.s., whenever i fly in the u.s. i have to get secondary screening due to the amount of metal i'm wearing. it's a pain in the ass, and they go through everything in my bags, etc etc. when we were flying through munich, hamburg, and heathrow airports, i didn't have any of these types of issues and we got through security in 1/10th of the time that it usually takes us. this was a good thing. of course, at this point we were starving and had to try to figure out where our gate was, but the gate wouldn't be posted for another hour or so (we got there pretty early).

grabbed breakfast at a rather decent restaurant (actual nutrients), and discussed the tour as a whole, things we did wrong, things we did right, things we would change the next time we go on the road. all in all, a great breakfast, even if it was crazily expensive (i think it was like 60 dollars, after the exchange rate).

we boarded with little difficulty and began the eight hour flight back to chicago. i won't bore you with the details, but it was endless and sleepless (for me) for the most part. next thing i knew, we were landing in chicago...where i walked off the plane and one of the very first things i saw was a bookstore wall covered in copies of glenn beck's new book. at that point, i more or less wanted to turn around and get back on the plane, and go right back...monkey island or not! no such luck, as it turns out.

when you make an international journey, you have to go through customs on the way back into the states. so, we had to declare all of the merch that we had with us (which was something like 80 t-shirts or so, plus some cd's). they had to calculate the value, etc etc, and apparently (as we learned) if the shirts were made of cotton, the percentage they charge you is 29.6%. if it's listed as "other", its 6.7% or so. so, the woman that ran us through customs cut us a break, listed it as "other", and we made it out of there with only a 50$ customs payment necessary to bring our merch into the country (hello switzerland, is it groundhogs day again?). the woman at customs was without question the nicest official that we dealt with throughout this ordeal.

another lovely hurdle that must be passed through is going through u.s. security screening...again! basically, even though you've been trapped on a plane for 8 hours, then dealt with passport control and customs, you are forced out of the security zone, and have to go through security all over again. this makes a ton of sense. so, out we go back in again. this is where i nearly lost my mind. picture me after being mostly awake for something like 30 hours, exhausted, and standing in a capacity security line.

now picture this mutated gate troll coming over and demanding that aaron and i get out of line because we have guitars as carry-on luggage. i suppose i should offer an aside here...on every flight, we always carried the guitars on, and stowed them in the plane coat closet. this was great because a) we did not have to check our guitars and leave them to the baggage apes to destroy, b) see reason a. so, as you can imagine, on the very last leg of the entire journey, to get pulled out of line when it was _never_ a problem before...i could happily have pulled this trolls head off. so we get out of the security line (da5id got to stay), and dragged over to talk to the people who deal with checked baggage. the troll demands that we check our bag. i am too irate to say anything (i know that anything i say is going to get me in trouble, or possibly arrested at this point). aaron tells the woman at the counter that we'll be putting these into the coat closet, and that it's not been a problem on any other flight. the woman at the counter agrees, and says go ahead and board. this seems like the thing to do, but the gate troll isn't having it. she drags us to another person, who says the same thing. not to be outdone, she continues to pull us to person after person until she finds someone that backs her up. we stay firm and just say "we'll take our chances at the gate, if we can't board with the guitars we'll just gate check them". this seems to work, and we bid the gate troll a not so fond adieu...

naturally, there is zero problem getting through security, though when we get on the plane, there is a bit of a problem. the coat closet is full of stewardesses bags. to which i say "no problem" and proceed to start taking out their bags so that i can fit the guitars in. the stewardesses start making a bunch of frantic noises "oh sir you can't do that", but by then it's too late, and the guitars are in place. i'm too pissed and tired to deal with any further shit, so i just ignore them and go sit down.

fast forward another 4.5 hours and we are landing in san francisco. still haven't slept at all, so i'm really pushing the envelope on this sleep deprivation thing. aaron goes off to pick up his car so that he can drive us home, and da5id and i head down to baggage claim. now, of course, aaron has left with his baggage claim numbers. and of course, the baggage was actually shipped on an earlier flight so it's being held by baggage control. aaaand of course, we can't actually get all of the bags without aarons bag claim number. you can taste the frustration, right? i had to call aaron, have him read off the bag claim number to the baggage troll, and then they would release his bag to us. of all the times for us to not have our bags on the right flight...unbelieveable.

after all of this, we finally made it home. i took my first shower in 48 hours, and passed out into a deep, deep sleep.

thus concludes the tour. back in the united states, for better or worse. over and out.


tour report - wolverhampton (uk) the final show!!

after the london disaster, we headed off to wolverhampton while most people on the bus slept off their alcohol induced comas. we arrived just a few hours later, and i thought i'd literally been transported to hobbit-shire or something. to use the word "quaint" wouldn't be too far off, for sure. i went inside to try and locate the backstage, and i'm pretty sure i ran into david bowie in the labyrinthine maze of corridors leading to the backstage...where of course, there was no catering.

so, after parking the suitcase in the backstage, aaron, lisa and i went off in search of some kind of food. we walked around the town for a while, and of course, since it's a sunday everything is shuttered. and of course, it's raining and cold...we probably walked around for at least 45min before lisa asked some guys if there was anything that was open where we could eat. the accent was quite strange, but they managed to direct us to a place that actually had veggie burgers and other edible products, so after walking about 30min further, we were able to get some actual food. it was sort of a series of variations on cardboard and paste, but it was food, so we ate it. nothing remarkable, but edible. "your sources are on the tabble"

then back to the club where we saw the other two opening acts (luckily at this show, no one in between our set time and mesh's set time) loading in. went back upstairs to shower and get ready in general for another early show. everyone agreed that it was sort of an anti-climax to end such a great tour in such an inauspicious setting (rich: "i mean, wolverhampton? on a sunday night? not even birmingham, but wolverhampton?"), but nothing we could do about it. another night with no internet access at the venue, and pretty bad dinner catering.

we missed the first two bands, who seemed aesthetically at odds with both us and mesh's sound, they were more of an 'industrial' type of feel, i suppose. this venue was definitely not used to accommodating bands with mesh's requirements, they didn't have enough cables or channels at the desk to run all the bands on their own channels, and they were pulling cables to share between the bands all night. i mean, hey these things happen, for sure, but this was definitely new to this tour...adding to the whole anti-climactic feel of the evening in general. there was a pretty palpable bummer feeling in the backstage, everyone trying to avoid the obvious reality that this was the end of the line, and we wouldn't be seeing each other every day after this.

finally we went on, and surprisingly, i think we actually sounded pretty good. though they were obviously overextended, i think the local soundcrew did a good job with our sound, and pete of course took over the lights since there was no actual lighting rig in the venue's setup. actually, they didn't even have a fogger or hazer machine! one had to be brought up from london, and arrived just in time for mesh's set. it was kind of weird playing without fog, not something i'm eager to repeat really soon. so, our set went reasonably well, even though i was pretty sad the entire time i was performing. it was hard to really give the show the energy they deserved because my heart just wasn't in it. but there were some people out there dancing, who seemed to be really into what we were doing, and i'm always grateful to see that. i missed the german super fans too, of course.

once we finished, we had to go back upstairs to try and settle up some bills, and repack our suitcases with our equipment and figure out what to do with all the unsold merchandise. ultimately, we packed everything into our suitcases again, raising the weight limit to something like 80lbs apiece, and went back downstairs to watch mesh play for the final time. it was beautiful as always, but much like us, i think they were sad too.

after the show, it was just a clusterfuck of figuring out who was going where and how people were going to get there. we loaded everything back out into the bus for the last time, and started saying our goodbyes. pete, the worlds best lighting designer, was taking all the light rigging with him back to his offices, so he was the first to go. jan, the best tour manager in europe, was heading to birmingham airport to fly back to kologne. once we dropped him off, we were on our way to bristol to drop off mark, rich, sean, wendy and colin. i tried to sleep for a bit and pretend like it wasn't really happening. when we got there, we helped them unload all the merch and gear and pack it into their cars, and saw them off in the freezing cold rain. then we were off to heathrow to catch our flights. i tried to sleep again, but it just wasn't happening. i really was trying not to think too much about returning to the states again, since i didn't really want to come back. geoff and his friend from mechanical cabaret (who looked just like vince noir from the mighty boosh) stayed on the bus, and i think the crew (alex, michael, and tueni) were all passed out when we got off, so we didn't get to say goodbye to any of them. we said our good byes to geoff and patrick, and headed into the bright lights of heathrow international's fluorescent tomorrow....

thanks again to everyone on the entire team: mark, rich, sean, geoff, janosch, wendy, sandra, jan, patrick, pete, alex, michael, tueni, keith, ned, andrew, rainbow, colin, other sandra, pinky, claus, chris, betty, iris, anja, everyone that we met, all the other bands we played with, all the local crew in all the venues (except london and berlin) and everyone that managed to make it out to see us perform!! we love you!!! (sorry if i forgot anyone)


tour report - london (uk)

from belgium, the first stop on the way to monkey island (england) was in calais (france). this is where we had to get off the bus to go through passport control, followed by the ferry ride across the channel. waking up at 5am, still somewhat drunk from the previous nights party...not something i really recommend to anyone, especially when dealing with passport control. but we had the proper paperwork and work visas, so getting through wasn't too difficult. that said, it was very typical bureaucratic nonsense...i cut through some of the extraneous queue lines, and they made me wait extra long before they'd process my paperwork...then it was back onto the bus, and the bus boards the ferry. keep in mind that it's pouring rain of course, freezing cold, and did i mention that it was 5am?

once the bus was parked on the ferry, we all had to get off the bus and proceed upstairs to the lounge area for the next ninety minutes while crossing the channel. i can imagine that during the day, this could be a conceivably pleasant activity, but when you're still half asleep, and half drunk, and the wind is moving at 100mph and the sea is rocking the boat back and forth...it was a bit torturous. we were all pretty unhappy to be there. geoff, sean, pete, da5id, and i all went outside to the top deck of the ferry, where we were nearly blown off by the wind. i think the stated goal was to try and catch the sunrise, but with the clouds and rain all we got was a dull glow off in the distance. with the wind and rain, it was scary, painful and exhilarating all at the same time. you couldn't really stay topside for very long before the elements sort of pushed you back downstairs. so after that, i tried to sleep on a bench in the lounge, but no dice. aaron managed to sleep a bit, and da5id was a bit seasick.

finally, we were allowed back onto the bus to continue the journey into london. i fell back asleep, more or less, for a few hours while on our way, but couldn't stay asleep once the bus had stopped moving. i thought for sure the crew must have loaded in all the light rigging, so i got up and started wandering around trying to find the backstage. however, i'd wandered into the stockroom of an hmv record store instead (oops!). the venue itself was attached to a shopping mall, and i couldn't find a way in, nor could i find anyone on the crew anywhere. i decided to give up and go back to sleep.

when i woke up again, alex told me there was someone waiting to see me outside! it was lisa, who'd come over to surprise us, and catch the last two shows of the tour. quite surprising indeed! she'd been staying with our friend colin for a few days and exploring london before we arrived. we went into the venue, to check out the backstage, and learned we'd be sharing the tiniest dressing room of the tour, with the other support act (kloq). after finding out that the showers were completely non-functional, we decided to just go out and grab some food and catch up a bit. lunch was delicious japanese soup (actual nutrients!), and a pleasant change from the usual coldcuts and cheese sandwiches. came to find out that there really was no catering to speak of at the venue anyway, so it seemed like the right decision.

after a somewhat stressful load-in, we had to soundcheck immediately, since we were to be the first band of the night. this put our soundcheck at approximately 5pm, with doors at 5:30, stage time of 6:30. soundcheck in this venue was a complete disaster. venue staff were quite unhelpful, and we had the worst soundman since berlin. he seemed quite nice to deal with, but as soon as we made a suggestion regarding the volume of the backing tracks ("would you mind cranking the backing tracks up a bit?"), he basically shut off completely. aaron has a good rant about dealing with soundguys, over on his blog. he rushed us through soundcheck, and then we went downstairs to order some dinner. once we'd ordered, we were told we had 15min to stage time, so no time to actually eat dinner. meanwhile, the other support act had moved into the closet size dressing room, and drank all the alcohol, so this was another sober show for me. i believe the brits refer to this as "bollocks".

the show was a complete nightmare from the very beginning. we were paged and told "you have to be onstage right now", so we go up and walk out, and the dj just continues playing some moaning gothic tracks while we stand there looking like idiots to the 40 or so people in the room. finally, i said, fuck it and walked offstage. turns out the soundguy is in the toilet, so we have to wait a few more minutes. finally we go back out there, and get started. it should also be said, between mesh's setup and the gear that kloq brought onto the stage, we had possibly less room onstage than we did when we were supporting combichrist in san francisco at the beginning of the tour. so, already it's all fucked. and as soon as we're into the first song, it's very obvious to us that the sound is completely mangled, whatever people were hearing was wrong, and not what they were supposed to be hearing. i looked across at the soundguy, and he is literally reading a book two feet from the desk!! it was suggested later that perhaps he was studying up on how to properly mix a band or something? in any case, it was quite clear he wasn't going to do anything to help us. it was really really difficult to not just walk offstage at this point, but there seemed to be a few people who were genuinely interested in what we were doing, so we had to power through the show. when aaron and i switched instruments, i asked into the mic that the bass guitar be turned down a bit. i watched, quite stunned, as the soundguy looked up at me, then immediately looked back at his book, without touching the desk!!

needless to say, we played a short set and walked offstage. for me, this was the absolute worst show of the tour, pretty inexcusable on the part of the venue staff, and i was in a rotten fucking mood following that show. finally our dinner was delivered, so we ate that instead of watching kloq's performance, which was unfortunate as i did want to catch their show. i liked what i'd heard from them, and liked the main dude's old band (empirion) quite a bit. but we didn't get to see any of that, nor much of anything else. i sent lisa back upstairs to watch mesh, and went out to the bus to drink vodka by myself for the next half hour. once i felt a bit more relaxed, i went back in to catch the remainder of mesh's set from the balcony upstairs. another interesting weird aspect to the venue was that there's a 'mezzanine' area above the stage level where you can get a great view of the stage, but only if you're right up against the rail, it's like being literally pressed against the ceiling. one thing that i thought was quite nice was seeing a bunch of mesh's family members (even mums and dads!) watching the show. they really delivered that night, so i'm sure the family was all quite impressed! typical of the evening, the whole thing had to be wrapped up by 11pm, so that they could kick everyone out of the venue and open up a pop nightclub that would run until around 4am. i saw the queue of people heading in, and i'm glad we left!

after the abortion of the show, the after party was moving over to the slimelight, which is a sort of legendary club (at least from the stateside perspective) catering to the more gothic and industrial persuasions. there was a great deal of confusion after the show, as to who was going, and when and it was all kind of annoying. as we were heading over to the slimelight, da5id noticed a vegan buffet restaurant, so we took a slight detour and ate some of the most amazing food of the tour. we were like gluttons, going back for round after round of vegan food, it almost (but not quite) made up for the shitty show we'd just done. then it was over to the club to party! some of the awesome german superfans who had flown in from germany that morning were already there, so we had a bunch of drinks with them, and just hung out. those folks are just so cool, and sweet, it's always fun to hang out with them! it was very sad that it would be our last night seeing them!

we explored the many levels of the club for a while, swinging between the ebm room, and the hard techno room, drinking all the while. we definitely had a killer time at the club, i wish we could have said the same about the show, but c'est la vie...

finally around 3am, get back on the bus to find that the crew had consumed nearly all the remaining alcohol on the bus instead of coming over to the club. it was kind of funny. we hung out with alex and tueni for a while, they played us a bunch of german rock music, it was pretty cool, and we stayed up til at least 4am just drinking and hanging out. then off to bed to rest up for the final show in wolverhampton...

thanks only to the catering girls at the venue, you were sweet. everyone else was bollocks!!


tour report - antwerp (be)

it was pouring rain in belgium, never a good sign. though i guess if i lived in belgium, it would just be another day like any other. i guess living in california has spoiled me with regards to the sun. the bus seemed to be parked on a freeway, which i thought was a bit strange, but c'est la vie. i was a bit surprised when i headed inside to the backstage...we were playing in this kind of weird mall structure, though it wasn't really a mall. it's difficult for me to describe the venue itself...i can't think of an american equivalent. the ceilings and stage were low, it was sort of a single story rectilinear room with a rented PA (at least, it looked that way). the backstage was clean enough, and the shower was totally decent. shared dressing room, which i kind of like cause it gives us more time to hang out with everyone.

mesh had a long soundcheck tonight, and when we did the changeover, mark was like "best of luck"...after a few minutes, i could see why! the room shape made the sound a little wonky, although we did ultimately get something reasonably decent happening. i felt pretty good about the show sounding good for a change. took a little longer than usual to get there, but i think it sounded alright. after the show, da5id, aaron and i went on a nice long walk through yet another turkish neighborhood. i was a bit confused by the signage, i forgot that they also have the flemish language in belgium. it was still raining pretty hard, so not the greatest walk for sightseeing, but we saw some beautiful churches and parks. much like copenhagen, belgium seems like a place i'd want to come back to explore more when i have more time.

tonight was janosch's last night on the tour, which was a real bummer. especially since he was still feeling kind of sick after cologne, and wasn't really in much of a mood to party with us. also, since we were heading to england via france after the show, we didn't really have a lot of time to hang out after the show. tonights call sheet was the first to mention "monkey island", which i'll touch on again in my next report. in any case, janosch sounded great as always, and even though there weren't a ton of people (belgium had one of the lowest turnouts on the tour, i think), he got them rocking.

once we hit the stage, i immediately broke part of my wireless unit, the clip that connects it to my guitar. definitely not ideal, but you just have to power through it. the wireless units that we bought turned out to be incredible as far as the sound and range go, but they're not the most durable pieces of plastic i've ever worked with. several shows ago, we lost the battery cover to aaron's unit, and now my guitar clip was gone too. well, i'll order a bunch of spares when i get back from the tour, i suppose, an idea that never occurred to me when we were in the rehearsal stages.

that minor mishap aside, it's worth mentioning that i think that the performance and sound were reasonably good tonight. at some point i jumped out into the audience to play bass during 'a matter of time', and that was pretty fun....flashbulbs were going off all around me while i was out there. luckily the stage was pretty low to the ground, so getting back up wasn't a challenge. aaron wore his 'deuce brucesteen' outfit, which really looked amazing. most importantly, at some point in the set, patrick was supposed to come out and take the wig off of aarons head and take it backstage. when i heard people in the crowd start screaming, i looked to my right, and there was patrick in a 'borat' style man-kini and a rainbow brite wig, he then exchanged the wigs and walked offstage, it was easily the most surreal thing that i've ever seen onstage!! i wish we could get away with doing shit like this every night! it really helped kick the energy of the show up several notches. maybe that's something to keep in mind for the next tour...

backstage we spent much of mesh's set hanging out with janosch, since we wouldn't be seeing him again for a while (hopefully not too long, my friend!). we drank a lot of vodka and tried our best to have a good party backstage! his strategy was to take a train home from antwerp to munich (apparently this only takes about 5 hours...amazing!), and have the postal service pick up his stage equipment and deliver it in a few days (also amazing). i can't think of any reasonably similar possibility in the united states, that's for sure. i took plenty of pictures, and after mesh was finished, we said goodbye and loaded out relatively easily.

fall into a dreamless sleep and be prepared to deal with passport control in france, at calais where we board the ferry to monkey island!!

thanks to pete mastboom and timo (house sound) as well as the local crew, and catering! everything was really great!!


new reviews!

so, one of our favorite webzines, chain d.l.k., has posted some great reviews of 'Arena' and the 'Come Together' single...check it out:

Arena Review

Title: Arena
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Rated: 4 of 5 stars

Only one month after their teaser ”Come Together”, INFORMATIK are starting a new autumn offensive by releasing this new studio album. In further news it needs to be said, that ”Arena” got licensed to the re-animated German label Dependent, so European-wide distribution should be saved. And to complete the good news, INFORMATIK are supporting the British Synthpop-institution MESH on their tour currently in Europe while I’m writing this. ”Arena” reminds a lot on INFORMATIK’s album ”Re:Vision”, released in 2004 – it follows a quite comparable concept. Both protagonists of this project, Da5id Din and Tyler Newman, are known for their skills, so they have decided to follow the example of ”Re:Vision” and have produced several new remixes of some of their classics.

Tracks like ”A Matter Of Time” or their known small club hit out of the EBM-days, ”Entropy”, got completely revamped. You’ll too get the two announced winner remix contributions of their Spring remix contest, PULSE STATE and their remix of ”My True Love”, as well as THE SYNTHETIC DREAM FOUNDATION and their interpretation of ”Temporary”. As for new tracks, ”Come Together” of course is included, but the new smasher ”Falling” really impresses me – that’s one of their best tunes ever composed. And check also out the fat layered last instrumental track ”The End”, which reminds a bit on their classic ”Retrogradation” if you check the rhythm performance of this slow tune. Although I still prefer ”Beyond” in its kind, ”Arena” is the ideal album to put a footstep into the doors of the European listeners.


Come Together Review

Title: Come Together
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Metropolis Records
Rated: 4 of 5 stars

With a 5-track Download-only release, the prominent US duo INFORMATIK adds another chapter to their ongoing successful story of the furious past year. All good things started with their last years’ album ”Beyond”. Never before Tyler Newman and Da5id Din could earn so much recognition for their new celebrated musically direction, to combine the always high-skilled synth-driven Electropop-sound of Da5id with the rather Rock-/ Alternative-oriented acoustic efforts of Tyler (BATTERY CAGE). A self-organized remix contest has received international attention, the two winning contributors will make it on their upcoming new album ”Arena”, while the further rest out of this contest can be still downloaded directly from the INFORMATIK-website. ”Come Together” is the appetizer for the new album, a rather straight and quite college radio-compatible track, which follows the newly discovered style of ”Beyond”.

Asides the ”Radio Mix”, this track is available in 2 further different remixed versions, the ”Clubmix T” (Tyler) and the ”Clubmix D” (Da5id) – both attractive enough produced to share some floor action. You should also lay your focus of interest on the both additional tracks, because you’ll get rewarded with an intense remix on the ballad ”Don’t Be Afraid”, one of the outstanding tracks of ”Beyond” – the rather Goth/Dark Electro-oriented audience will fall in love with this moody reinterpretation. But also ”Bottom Feeder” is much better than someone might expect from a b-side and impresses with ist cold synth pads, the attacking guitar-riffs and the deep blurring bass-lines. ”Come Together” is an attractive teaser release, which promises a lot for the new album.

tour report - cologne (show day)

i got woken up because the bus was rocking back and forth rather violently. good thing i'm on a bottom bunk! in yet another incredibly impressive feat of driving, patrick has somehow managed to squeeze the bus and trailer backwards into an alley that looked just big enough for a vw beetle to drive down. i assume that he has some kind of ability to warp the fabric of time and space, but who knows? the key element is that we were parked and we could start loading in.

the venue was sweet, nice big room with a big stage and good sound. no complaints there. showers nice and clean! essentially the same catering as dortmund, even the same dude how was doing it. da5id woke up, and cut my hair, and i grabbed a shower. the little things like this take on totally disproportional importance when you're not in your daily routine at home. so i was happy to be clean again after not showering the day before, feeling human again.

janosch hadn't been with us the day before, on our day off, because he had some friends in cologne that he wanted to spend time with. when he showed up again, he looked pretty unwell. apparently he'd eaten something that hadn't agreed with him, and he had been sick all night the previous night! i was surprised he even made it, he looked pretty rough, so you know he's a trooper. he slept most of the day in the backstage to conserve energy for the show. i might have thought about cancelling if it was me, so you can imagine how serious it was.

we had plenty of time before we went on, so da5id, aaron and i went out for a walk around, to try and see a bit more of the neighborhood. since we were just two blocks away from the "shoot your car in the head" lot, we went in some different directions, and found the main street with all the restaurants and stores. that was pretty cool, just walking around. we went back, and did a fairly unremarkable soundcheck that sounded pretty good. after the previous two shows, i wasn't all that hopeful about the night itself.

after soundcheck, we saw stefan herwig there again, he'd missed us in dortmund the previous night and came by to chat more about the show. so we hung out backstage for a while, talking about ways to improve the show, and some theoretical ideas for tours next year and some basic ideas about the next album. if there's one thing i can't stress enough, it's how many new ideas i have from doing this tour, just a ton of concepts about the shows we'll do, and the album we should make. so all this is good raw data to go into my brain, even if i don't always agree.

janosch managed to play his set, which was amazing. not his most high energy show, but i was just happy to see him up there doing it! at least we knew he would live, at that point. we went onstage, and pulled off a perfectly great set, in which i wasn't too worried about the sound mix in the audience. people seemed to react to what we were doing, and seemed to be enjoying themselves. so i was reasonably happy with the way the set turned out. and we talked to stefan a bit more after the show...he said it was "ok to average", well i'll take what i can get after the fucking disasters in berlin and dortmund, you know?

we went downstairs to watch mesh, who had brought julia back to guest on 'who says?' again. as always, they sounded and looked amazing. even after all the shows we've done with them, i'm still constantly impressed by their show. i had to go back upstairs to do some repacking, and when i came back downstairs, the venue security was forcing everyone out of the venue. this did not bode well for an afterparty, which we were hoping to do because it was the end of the line for claus and chris (part of the german super-fan contingent), and we wanted to have a special party to celebrate. but, no dice, and that sucked.

after loading out, the bus moved back over to the 'shoot your car in the head' parking lot, and there was a bit of a commotion because of the scheduling. i guess the proper bus call times hadn't been communicated, and people were a bit scattered with their after-parry plans. oops! well, i just stayed on the bus and passed out, since there didn't seem to be anything too amazing happening at this point. i was excited to go to belgium the following day and try to drink some decent belgian beer. one last thing about cologne is that i managed to polish off all the beers that damian brought us in dortmund, so belgium seemed promising...


tour report - cologne (day off)

the original plan was that we were going to go from dortmund to holland for a show. however, the promoter pulled the plug rather unexpectedly when we were in munich, causing a great deal of stress and headaches for jan, rich, and mark. apparently he got 'cold feet', which is rather weird considering how incredibly well attended all of the shows were. in any case, the cancellation left us with a day off, so we went ahead and drove to cologne the day before we were supposed to play, so we would have some time to check out the city.

when we woke up, we were parked in what da5id called "a place where you take cars and shoot them in the head". it was a mix between a scrapyard, parking lot, and construction site...all with a giant tour bus parked in the middle of it. after stumbling outside, i realized we were next to a venue...however, this was not the venue where we'd be performing tomorrow night. jan had somehow managed to get the venue to let us park there and use their power for our bus, which was awesome! that dude is smooth. however, there didn't seem to be anything other than dead cars anywhere in sight, and certainly there was no breakfast catering (a day without ham and cheese sandwiches? unthinkable!). most people on the bus went over to the burger king which was just a few meters down the street. we went in, but immediately left in search of better food. we walked a few blocks into what seemed to be a turkish neighborhood, and were able to get some delicious falafel very quickly, perfect!

back at the bus, the showering and toilet situation was basically part of the club where we were parked. i popped in for a quick inspection and it seemed too gross even for me. it was here we encountered the toilet "shit shelf", which i'll leave to your imagination. i'll just say that european plumbing designs continue to utterly baffle me ("the germans like to inspect things", was pete's quote, which summed it up hilariously). so after a quick sink wash, i was out of there.

the big plan for the day was to get everyone over to the giant cathedral in the center of the city, which involved getting 18 people onto the subway and moved several stops. luckily we were fully stocked up with native german speakers, so we managed just fine. it was raining, which was a big downer for me. the first stop was this massive outdoor shopping center, where we all split up to go walk around (jan: "everyone meet back here at the giant penis at fifteen past six."). we weren't really looking for anything in particular, and seemed to be basically in a big mall, so we went in search of gum, which we never did find. next time, i will bring a minimum of twice as much gum as i brought this time. once people know you're the guy with the gum, you run out really fast. da5id and aaron and i managed to get ourselves rather nicely lost, since the entire area seems to be built on some kind of system of interlocking rings, rather than a grid. as the rings expand outward, they don't always reconnect in the way you'd expect. eventually we managed to find our way back to the group, more or less on time.

next stop was a place literally called "music store", so that sean could buy a replacement part for one of his drums and we could get a new cable for aaron and some extra guitar picks for me. i'd been throwing them out into the audience during every show, so i was running out pretty quickly. the store was cool, though overpriced...and more importantly, had one of the worst interior traffic schemes i'd ever seen...if you wanted to go to the second floor, you had to walk outside, around the building and get into an elevator! want to look at a piano? outside and across the street. it was huge and insane and i paid 6 euros for a packet of guitar picks, which is pretty much full-on robbery, in my opinion. it reminded me of the overpriced 9volt batteries we tried to buy in leipzig.

so after all this, we finally ventured over to the cathedral. it's difficult to find the words to describe it, but i think aaron summed it up pretty nicely "it's funny to see how far people will go to instill fear in people". i shot some video to try and capture some of the scale of this place, i would guess that it's about 15 or 20 stories tall, and incredibly large in every dimension. we went inside, and it's pretty much still a fully functioning cathedral, even though it's a bit of a tourist spot. the stained glass and mosaic tiling on the floor were really quite amazing. it must have taken a hundred years to build this thing, seriously. it's hard to imagine how such a massive building survived the war, but there it was. from outside as the sun was going out of the sky, it looked really demonic, practically black but surrounded by this huge outdoor mall. definitely an "only in europe" type of thing, it was amazing.

after this, everyone was pretty hungry. for some totally inexplicable reason, jan booked a steakhouse for dinner...with 6 vegetarians in the touring party!? we tried to find something acceptable, but to me, salad isn't dinner...it's an appetizer, at best. so, we mutinied and geoff, patrick, da5id, aaron and i went off in search of some kind of asian cuisine, something a little more suited to our dietary needs. we found a perfectly cromulent chinese place, where i ate a decent ma-po tofu, and found out that geoff used to be in that synthpop band 'the nine'. who knew? dinner was hilarious, of course, and we reconnected with everyone else outside, and headed back over to the cathedral for some gluevein, which i found not to my liking. hot red wine is just not my thing, but i gave it a go at least. we saw some models at the louis vuitton store, and that was about as exciting as it got for that evening.

a bunch of us split off to go back to the bus, where we drank and watched some terrible movie i don't remember. it was nice to just chill with people and not have to bust our balls doing a show. eventually the rest of the team came back to the bus, and hilarity ensued, as always. finally passed out and got some sleep.


tour report - dortmund

"there is no sex in the sound here" - janosch moldau

after the relative disaster of berlin, we hoped that dortmund would make up for it in terms of show quality. i have to say that the venue (fzw) was really, really nice...i think it was brand new, only three months old or so. so the showers were really great, the main stage was huge, all the key components seemed to be in place for a great evening. after a really nice shower, i grabbed some breakfast, and caught up on email and internets.

mesh's soundcheck went a little longer than usual, because julia from teknoir (she's also in chandeen now) was going to perform "who says?" with them tonight. she did the guest vocal appearance on the album, so this was a nice bonus for their fans. it sounded pretty great when done live, not that geoff can't hold his own when singing the girl parts, haha! so, then it was time for us to soundcheck, and things started to get a bit weird. as i mentioned, the venue is pretty new, and the sound system that they have is totally state of the art. i can't remember who made it, but it was extremely high end. of course, this also means that the club is still working out little details, like having a secondary snake that can reach across the stage to our rack, or having spare 1/4" cables. aaron apparently lost his cable that connected the bass rig to the rack, so i had to run the guitar in mono tonight, no big deal really.

but back to the sound system. it sounded...extremely weird, compared to all the other venues on the tour so far. actually, it sounded pretty weird compared to any sound system i've ever heard in my life. it was extremely dry, with a lot of clarity in the upper frequencies, and a lot of pulsing sub-bass (usually a good thing), but literally nothing happening in the midrange spectrum. we had to keep jumping off the stage, and checking the mix, and making adjustments with the house sound guy (who was very nice, but i don't think he really got what we were saying about 60% of the time). finally, we got it to the point where it was "good enough", and had to let janosch do his soundcheck so that he could finish before doors opened.

while we were sitting backstage drinking, janosch uttered the magic line "there is no sex in the sound here....it's all dry, no wet", which really summed it all up perfectly. he also said one of the funniest things i'd heard in days; "every time i log into facebook, my heart dies just a little bit"...as a part of a conversation in which we discussed all of the many roles that musicians are expected to play in this day and age...

so, how was the show then? well, much as with the venue, it seemed like all the components were there. i think we put on a technically decent performance, and had great lights and were certainly loud, yet i didn't feel like we really connected to the audience somehow. though by the time we were done, we had done a decent job of getting some of the crowd moving, and the venue was filling rapidly during our set time, so i can't complain too much. but the entire way through the performance i had this unsettling feeling that somehow the sound mix was just way off in the crowd, so i never really felt comfortable or confident up there. truly a harbinger of things to come. when i say that 'berlin broke my heart', i'm not joking. it definitely spooked me and set the tone for the remainder of the tour, in a downhill direction.

now, the big upside to this night was that we had scheduled a radio interview with mr. damien bailey of ebm-radio.de, and since he'd read my earlier tour blogs about how terrible the beer was backstage, he told us that he was going to bring us a wide variety of german beers so that we wouldn't think becks and warsteiner were the best the country had to offer. and let me tell you, he was on the money! once we got him backstage, he pulled out SIXTEEN different beers for us to try out, i have to say it was one of the nicest things that anyone did for us the entire time we were on the road! we immediately set about sampling them, while giving the interview, which finally ended after about 8 or 9 beers were consumed over the course of about 2 hours.

i hope we didn't say too many embarrassing things, though i bet we did. aaron shot a ton of video from this night, so i'm really looking forward to getting all of that edited, and put online...some of the footage is absolutely priceless! at the very least, i think the interview was really unique, and probably the best and most candid interview we've ever done. da5id and i definitely prefer to do interviews where our voices are recorded, as opposed to the "questionaire" style interview we always get from the magazines. unfortunately, we missed seeing mesh this evening, but i think we did pretty well anyway! janosch said that it was the longest interview he'd ever seen or heard, haha!

big big thanks to damien bailey for the best interview we've ever done! also thanks to the sound crew at fzw for your help, i hope the kinks get worked out of the system!


tour report - berlin

i woke up in berlin to see other tour buses pulling up next to ours. so, the venue where we're playing (columbia halle) has two main halls. we're in the A hall, and apparently franz ferdinand is playing in B. we didn't actually see any of them, but we did enjoy tricking janosch and da5id into walking into the wrong hall, only to get turned out by the security over there. oh, the things you'll do for a laugh on tour...

the venue was pretty massive, but the sound in there was quite strange. mesh had to spend extra time trying to get things sounding right. aaron split off from us to go check out what's left of the berlin wall, taking a train to checkpoint charlie. i'd seen this the last time i was in berlin, so i wasn't really interested. in the meantime, da5id wanted to get a haircut, so we set off in search of a place to do that. luckily we were in a very cool neighborhood, and there was plenty of cool stuff to see, just wandering around. sandra was able to make a recommendation, but the place was closed. we just happened to find another place, and da5id was able to get his haarschnitt.

so, sandra was leaving the tour in berlin, we had to do something special to say good-bye. usually, when we're involved in something like this, it involves some horrible prank (like when we covered haujobb in fat ladies panties, or threw deli meats at velvet acid christ). however, at some point during the tour, sandra had said "i always wanted to be a keyboard dummy onstage", and we were like, "well, here's your big break". it was pretty cool, she pretty much became a different person altogether up there, lots of makeup and wigs and everything else. it looked great!

so, we soundchecked and immediately understood the problem with mesh's soundcheck...the room acoustics were kind of terrible from the stage perspective. add to this problem, the worlds worst soundguy...i mean, i don't want to complain too much, and almost every venue has had a very cool, very professional soundguy. not so in berlin, which just happened to be one of the most important shows for us. this guy was not interested in making us sound good, accused us of having bad equipment, etc etc. we were not happy with the soundcheck at all, but what could we really do? as the support act, you can't complain too much, and if you do, you're going to get even less. so, we just tried to stay professional and work with the guy to try and get a decent sound. finally, the guy just said "your soundcheck is finished" and walked away from the desk. wellll, ok then...

janosch came back from his soundcheck and said "this soundguy is not even a person, just a monster...he doesn't want to do his work", which pretty much summed it all up. meanwhile, stefan herwig was hanging out backstage, and we chatted him up a bit while getting ready for the show. he told us that the dudes from de/vision were in the audience for the show as well, and to do a good show.

we tried. i promise, we really did. in my mind, the berlin show is one of the best performances of the tour. i think we had good energy onstage, aaron and i hit all of our cues, da5id put on a good performance, and we had sandra playing keys, which makes it at least something different. the german superfans thought the show was great! unfortunately, as we expected, it apparently was one of the worst sounding shows for us on the entire tour. the audience was totally unmoved, but while i was onstage i sort of wrote it off as the same as any audience in a major american city (they don't give a shit in new york or los angeles, either, you know?). we couldn't really tell what was happening onstage, since the acoustics were so bad to begin with, but after the show stefan told us that the mix was almost entirely guitar and vocals, which is never a good sign...those are the two elements that should be pushed furthest back in the mix, in my opinion! apparently the backing tracks were barely a part of the sound mix, and of course, the backing tracks are doing the majority of the bass synths, and drums (the two most important parts of the show!)...

backstage after the show, stefan told us that the show was terrible, and the de/vision guys thought we were shit. awesome, just awesome. how could it get any worse? all that was left to do was to go drink, watch mesh, and try to put on a happy face for anyone that would actually buy anything from us. surprisingly, sales weren't utterly terrible, but they also weren't great. this was sandra's last night of the tour, so she said goodbye to everyone and headed home after load-out. i don't honestly remember anything after this point.

you broke my heart, berlin. the tour won't be the same after this show...maybe we can make up for it in the future...

we would like to thank sandra for all of her hard work and help on the tour, and special thanks for performing with us under less than ideal circumstances!!

and a big FUCK YOU to the soundguy at columbia halle-a for ruining what should have been the greatest show of the tour!!

review of the dortmund show

you can read a really excellent review of our show in dortmund, at reflections of darkness.

great pictures, and a great review of the show for all parties involved!


tour report - frankfurt

picture erfurt again, but dirtier. that's sort of the way frankfurt went down, except it was a bit better than erfurt. stage was approximately the same size, very tight up front, with the audience right at waist level. but it was cool, i got some good photos of the band and crew here, and we also met torbin schmidt (infacted records).

during the day, we got an absolutely excellent walk around the city, and saw a lot of awesome shit...a park, some cool restaurants, some incredibly beautiful urban scenery. lots of discussion about things that we've been doing wrong, thing we can do better, and things we've (amazingly) done right so far. also a lot of discussion about the album we'll be making after we get home from the tour.

i don't remember much about the gig itself, other than the fact that it went reasonably well. we did have a few technical glitches, for example...da5id did a big jump at the beginning of 'as we lay silent', which caused the compter to freeze up for a split second. well, all we could do is laugh and carry on. in any case, the audience seemed to go with us on this one, so it wasn't too bad. as aaron says, "we had an excellent show". sandra got some good footage of us from behind the stage area. also, janosch drank way too much that night.

the show was incredibly packed, and we did have excellent food, and the merch went reasonably well. mesh sounded really great as always. it was so great to not have to do a crazy stressful load-in and soundcheck like we'd been doing over the past few days and nights...

overall a good night. sorry, i can't remember more, i think this was kind of a drunk night for us all, so...

thanks to everyone that managed to make it out, thanks to torbin for putting the show together, and all the local sound and loading crew!!


tour report - erfurt

so before i can even begin to write about erfurt, i have to finish the story of the swiss border control...what goes in, must come out again, after all. after all the pain we went through coming into switzerland, we were hung up at the border again for an additional 6 hours while they went through merch counts and tax refunding, paperwork, and other general bullshit. now, as i mentioned before, the show in pratteln was by no means a big show...it was probably the lowest attendance of the tour so far. consequently, this means that we sold considerably less merchandise at that show simply due to the number of attendees.

in the end, after spending 11 or 12 hours hung up in border crossings, the swiss government collected a whopping 90chf (swiss francs) from the tour. as of today, the currency conversion to dollars is basically at parity, so they got NINETY DOLLARS from us!! there were some additional fees, i believe, that had to be paid to a third party expediter to help us get through the border with enough time to make it to the next gig. all for 90chf. way to go switzerland!!

needless to say, this put us quite a bit behind schedule again. so in a move of utter brilliance, patrick (our driver) called a fellow he knows in zurich that has a van, and so some of the lighting gear and flatscreens were loaded into a van, and sent ahead of the bus with pete (lighting director) and tueni (loading crew) so that they could get that stuff setup and ready for load-in when we finally arrived. like i said, it was a brilliant move that saved our asses, since it was a long drive, and we got there with just 90min or so before doors. the drive to erfurt from the border was about 6 hours through the countryside, cows and beautiful farm country.

it was another full team press load-in, and we got everything in and setup very quickly. the venue itself was pretty interesting, it was sort of like a generic conference hall that happened to have a stage in it. it seemed to be part of a condo complex, which i thought was particularly weird. but it was a nice space, and had decent sound. the stage was small, so we had to be pretty careful not to bump any mesh equipment. its tough, cause i have a tendency to get pretty physical up there.

drank a bunch of awesome dark german beer before hitting the stage, and i have to say, the place was packed and a lot of people seemed to know our music! i was really happy with the crowd, even though after we got offstage we had multiple people tell us we needed to go back to the sound of 'syntax'...which just isn't going to happen. but other people seemed to be a little more open to our new stuff, and we signed a lot of cd's and took a lot of pictures.

after mesh wrapped up, we headed over to the aftershow party which was held in the basement of a museum...i couldn't figure out what the museum was there for, since it was closed and i cant read german. from what i understand it was some kind of german heritage museum...it would have been cool to see during the day, but c'est la vie... in any case, we had a really awesome time at the aftershow party, drinking and dancing with the entire team, the mesh super-fans, and even some informatik super fans!! and of course, the minute depeche mode got played, the entire room hit the dancefloor. that shit still kills me. i mostly drank and danced on a table, trying to show them how we do it in america (even though i kind of never do this anywhere), but i was pretty trashed (i think we all were).

after that, get back on the bus, pass out. i love it here in europe, i really do!

we'd like to thank everyone that came to the show, and everyone that came to the aftershow party!! we had such a great time!!

some pictures from the show can be seen here at 'alive-erfurt'


tour report - pratteln (ch)

so we were up pretty late partying after munich, and headed out towards switzerland on an overnight drive. i fell asleep, and when i woke up the bus was stopped. we knew in advance that the border crossing out of the e.u. into switzerland was going to be difficult. but we didn't know exactly how difficult it would prove to be.

when i woke up, sandra and jan had both been inside dealing with the swiss border authorities for several hours (try doing that while still drunk/hungover!). the main concern was that they wanted total counts on all the merch onboard the bus, so that they could charge us the sales tax. this is something that happens pretty much anywhere (try taking a tour across the u.s./canadian border, for example). but because mesh has so much merch onboard, apparently this complicated the situation to the point where it took five hours or so to deal with the necessary paperwork, and get rolling again. of course, this meant that we were running seriously behind for our show in pratteln!

as we got closer to the venue, we decided that we were all going to need to pitch in and help unload the trailer, with all the flight cases as well as all the equipment and merch. so between the 15 of us and the local loading crew, we were able to get everything in and setup within just an hour or so (i think, it's a little blurry). we were able to get some laundry done as well, which was absolutely necessary at this point in the tour.

i should point out that the venue was easily the largest venue of the tour so far, and will probably be the biggest one we play the whole time. i think the capacity was something like 3000 people or so. just incredibly massive, i tried shooting a video, but it was pretty difficult to accurately capture the scale of the place.

since we had gotten in so late, the soundcheck times were greatly reduced, but it was ok because the local soundcrew was very on top of things. we got everything setup and checked in about 15min, not too bad. the backstage was pretty cool too, with a window overlooking the stage so we could watch janosch perform while getting ready for our set.

the downside to such a massive venue, of course, is that it must be full. and honestly, there was no band short of depeche mode capable of filling this place. so it seemed like a little bit empty while we were playing, but at least the audience seemed to enjoy what we were doing. the stage was so massive, i was wandering all over the place and not running into any of mesh's equipment (seriously, the stage was really really big). we powered our way through the set, and waited for mesh to play while watching from the main floor. if there is one way to describe their show tonight, i would say it was very much like living in the film 'close encounters of the third kind', the light show was godlike this evening!! not sure exactly what pete was doing out there, but it was like the hand of god crushing through the lighting system!! he filmed our set and their set, and i honestly can't wait to get my hands on the footage, from what i've seen it's absolutely ridiculous.

this was a mostly sober show for me, and a bit of a breaking point for me mentally. i had this semi-terrible realization that i'd been around the company of other people 24/7 for the past few weeks, and sort of needed some alone time...alone time that didn't really come. at home, i'm much more used to spending time by myself, so it was getting a little overwhelming. but i can't complain too much, i'm quite lucky to be in this position...in a reasonably well liked band, on tour with a really amazing team of people.

that said, it was kind of a miserable night for me, personally, and i think everyone was kind of overly stressed because of the border crossing and the rushed load-in, etc. i think we were all pretty happy when we were finally able to pack up and roll out at the end of the evening.

we would like to thank everyone that managed to make it out to the show, and the staff at Z7! and also extend a big fuck you to the swiss border control for the rather totally unnecessary delay in the morning, etc.


tour report - munich

i woke up in munich, and had already missed load-in. probably a good thing, since i'm still not sleeping too well. also, the load-in was kind of weird because the venue was sort of based around all these outdoor drinking areas, like gardens basically. so the path to the venue was fairly long from the bus. it was a pretty cool setup out there, actually.

after a quick meal and a shower (terrible plumbing in this venue, kind of nasty), we went walking around for a bit before soundcheck to get some sun (vitamin d is virtually non-existent when you're on tour...always asleep during the day!) and see if there was anything cool within walking distance. unfortunately, this was another venue that was kind of far from the main city center. aaron had a friend who lives in munich, so he got picked up and the two of them went out driving around. apparently it was a great time out there. but we just went back to the venue and waited for soundcheck.

soundcheck was decent, another concrete room with extreme high frequency attenuation. but it always evens out a bit when the room fills up. one thing that's great about this tour is that the shows are always totally packed with people, it's awesome (thanks mesh!). after soundcheck, we chilled out for a bit backstage, and had a fantastic dinner. apparently this venue is known for their outdoor bbq setup, and it didn't disappoint. they even had vegan schnitzel for us! i was still feeling a little ill, but managed to eat something. not sure what's happening with me, but it seems like every time i try to eat something, i feel a little ill for a while. probably exhaustion or something psychologically wrong with me, haha!

the show was great as always. munich is janosch's hometown, so he had the audience nicely riled up by the time we got out there. i don't remember all the details of the show, but i managed to make it through without injury. mesh of course tore it up out onstage. they just rock it everynight, it's insane.

after the show, we went to the club next door...so, the venue is actually comprised of multiple rooms (halle a, halle b, club a), all joined together. we went over to the little afterparty club...i have to say, i can't understand germany's obsession with depeche mode. everywhere we've been there's always a depeche mode party happening either right before or right after we play. so at the afterparty, it seemed like every other track that the dj was playing was a depeche mode song. well, it works for them, and it worked for me. it was a good time all around. go back to the bus, and keep drinking, then pass out.

we'd like to thank: dave the xray machine, andy our sound guy (there was another sound guy but we didn't get his name...nice job, mate!), achim the promoter (the food was great!), all the staff at backstage, julia, and everyone else. no thanks to the dirty nurse or the gothapotomus! as always, thanks to claus, chris and betty for always being there!


tour report - vienna

after leipzig we left immediately to start the long journey to vienna. i slept through most of the trip, so i missed seeing the black forest and the czech republic entirely. which is kind of a bummer, but i think it was mostly dark, so i'm not sure what there would have been to see anyway. when i did get up and go downstairs, we were stuck in traffic somewhere in the outskirts of vienna, and running late to the gig.

when we got into vienna itself, we were amazed at how classically beautiful the city itself was. it's sort of like the quintessential european city in an aesthetic sense. the architecture was just stunning, everywhere you looked. it was really amazing, and i was sad that we didn't have more time to get out of the bus and take pictures...seemed like everywhere i looked there was something snapshot worthy.

but, like i said, we were running late. so when we arrived at the venue, we had to get all hands on deck for the load-in. the informatik load-in is so easy...just a few small cases and our instruments. the mesh load-in, on the other hand, is a crazy amount of work. all the lighting rigs, and flat screens, and instruments are in huge professional flight cases. plus a bunch of massive lighting trusses, this is why they have 4 people who are dedicated to loading! it's a massive effort, and i can't stress enough how impressed i am by their team, everyone is just so awesome and professional.

we managed to get everything into the venue, built out, and setup for soundcheck with enough time so that we all got soundchecked, even janosch. it was pretty impressive, given everything that had to happen to make it possible. one thing that kind of sucked was that the merch had to be put into a separate room, outside of the performance space. that's bad for business, and it makes a boring night for sandra (our merchbot).

we did a little walking around since we ended up having a little extra time, and i thought i'd try to find a new flashlight to replace the one that i lost in leipzig. it's funny about the flashlight...it's possibly the one piece of gear that i have used more than any other thing on this tour. every night i keep it in my pocket so that it won't get lost. this has the unfortunate side effect of causing bruises all over my right leg, since my guitar is getting slammed into my body repeatedly during our set. rich from mesh made the suggestion that i take it out while onstage, which seemed like a pretty legitimate idea. and of course, it immediately grew legs and walked away, never to be seen again. in any case, i was unable to find a replacement, so...r.i.p. flashlight!

dinner tonight was a buyout so we found a restaurant downstairs from the venue where we could get some falafel, which was delicious. however, i have to say one negative thing about vienna: everyone smokes. and not just smokes, but chain smokes, and not just outside, but in every conceivable indoor space. when we walked into the restaurant, it was like walking into a fog machine made of cigarette smoke. kinda nasty when you're trying to eat. and of course, people in the venue were blowing smoke at us the whole time as well. i've been coughing for a few days now, and i though it was just because i was getting sick...then i realized, i'd inhaled enough secondhand smoke in vienna to last a lifetime.

the show itself went well, we had plenty of people upfront for our set, i have to say it was one of the more physically attractive audiences on the tour. i don't know what that's about, but we all agreed on that one. people were singing along, and that was great, it's always nice when we're not playing to a completely cold audience. as it turned out after the show, there were some people who had come to see us from as far away as finland and slovakia! so that was really pretty amazing! i am always impressed and greatful that people like our music enough to make those journeys!

mesh and janosch both had good shows tonight, and the whole thing turned out to be a really good time, even after the high stress load-in. not our biggest crowd, but definitely very awesome people, and we all had a really great time!

we'd like to thank: lalli (for coming from finland and teaching us about austrian red bull with cocablatt), the slovakian girls, our soundpeople and the local crew for helping out, and everyone else that we met that night! i am getting much worse with remember names, the longer this tour goes. sorry about that! vienna, you were wonderful, and i hope we can return in the future (with a little more time to explore).


tour report - leipzig

it was pouring rain in leipzig when we arrived, which was a bummer. the load-in was made somewhat problematic due to the length of the road we had to carry things through. cobblestones, while beautiful to look at, are not helpful for pushing wheeled flight cases that weigh 500 pounds. i will say that the venue (werk 2) was absolutely massive, essentially a giant hanger with a huge stage in the middle of it. once we loaded in, i hit the shower which was definitely the best shower of the tour so far. great catering today as well, all cooked in house with plenty of vegan options! always a big bonus when that happens!

we wanted to get out and see a bit of the city while mesh was soundchecking, so we had a runner drive us to this massive train station that also contains an entire mall within it (thanks ule!). one thing that we were not counting on was how crazily expensive batteries are in germany! due to the weight restrictions on our flights, we decided against bringing all the batteries with us, figuring that we could get them when we arrived here. not the best idea, as it turns out...a single 9 volt battery costs more than six euros!! out wireless equipment basically eats batteries for breakfast, so we're now rationing the remaining batteries as much as we can. in any case, our soundcheck time was coming up, so after aaron purchased a replacement pair of shoes, we headed back towards the venue. of course, it was rush hour in downtown leipzig, so we got stuck in traffic jams...it was a little nerveracking since we were running out of time to make it to our soundcheck. but luckily we managed to make it literally as mesh was leaving the stage, so it all worked out perfectly. soundcheck was a little crazy...all these huge concrete rooms we're playing have a tendency to amplify the high frequency sounds in our mix...

one awesome thing about our time in leipzig was that we got to hang out with daniel and dejan from haujobb again. we see daniel in the states pretty often, since he does so much touring, but we hadn't seen dejan since 2000 when we did the din_fiv tour with haujobb and velvet acid christ. it was really great to see them and have some time to hang out and catch up. needless to say, plenty of drinks were consumed. our show was good, from a performance perspective, but the crowd didn't seem too moved, unfortunately. kind of a bummer after the reaction in braunschweig, two shows with minimal audience response during the set. however, the good news was that people bought a ton of cd's, and all the people we spoke to after the show seemed to really like what we were doing. having pete, the tour lighting director, doing our lights certainly helped make us look as good as possible. i slammed myself around the stage as hard as i could, in any case.

mesh put on a pretty epic show, i have to say. watching them night after night has certainly made me a much bigger fan than i was prior to the tour. i'm constantly amazed by the quality of their work and their live show. we're definitely learning a lot of new tricks from them, no question about it.

thanks to everyone that made it out to the show in leipzig!!! we'll see you next time!!


tour report - braunschweig (and our day off)

after rostock, we had to make some detours...through hamburg, so that we could stop by jans office and pick up some more equipment (yes, to fit more things on the bus), and then to return to the markthalle (where we did the first show) to pick up the merch that we left there before (yes, to add even more things to the bus!). we did that load-in at 5:30a.m., you can imagine how exciting that was!

i woke up again, and we were parked in a hotel parking lot. since it was a day off, we had to get a hotel for showering purposes. we had some equipment that needed fixing, somehow the guitar pedal unit was acting strangely. so it was nice to have some time to actually spend time fixing some issues in a non-mobile environment.

unfortunately, the day was rainy, and the venue was kind of distant from anything worth walking to, so we had to basically sit around on the bus and in the hotel rooms. still, it was a good time hanging out with everyone, just chillaxin.

the promoter came and took us all to dinner via several cars, out to an italian restaurant. i managed to get a vegan pizza, quite delicious. the only problem was that aaron's dinner arrived well after everyone else had already finished! but the food was good enough that it didn't matter too much. after dinner, aaron, mesh and the crew went over to a 24 hour bowling alley...apparently aaron showed those guys some moves! da5id and i went back to the bus for further chillation, passing out early so we could try and get caught up on actual sleep.

the next morning, we turned out to be parked directly next to the venue, we only drove about 50 meters to the loading zone. load in was quite simple, no stairs this time! unfortunately, we had no internet backstage, so it made for quite a long day of waiting! i was able to do a little bit of catch up on emails and blogging, but couldn't actually post anything. soundcheck was quite simple, as always, and i thought it was going to sound pretty good.

janosch went on, and got a really great crowd response. we had high hopes, then we went on, and it wasn't quite what we expected. crowd response was essentially non-existent for the first half of the set, but they did warm up a bit by the time we got to the guitar switch-off section of the show. we doubled up our energy as much as we could, and powered through to the end. not in the best of moods after this show, but they can't all be the "best show ever", unfortunately.

mesh put on a great show as always, and the crowd was definitely much more receptive to their show. we had decent sales at the merch booth, and people seemed much more friendly on a person to person level. no time for an afterparty this evening,so we pretty much packed up and rolled out. see you next time braunschweig!!!


tour report - rostock

when we woke up in rostock the first thing we saw was a giant boat parked next to the bus! rostock is a port city, with water everywhere. the last time i was in rostock, my hotel was actually a boat. loaded into the venue, same routine as usual. i got some decent photos of the club and the surrounding area.

while we waited for mesh to finish soundchecking, we decided to take a walk around and see some of the city. it was kind of raining on and off, but we needed some fresh air and needed to stock up on some toiletries and whatnot. after patrick, our bus driver, pointed us in the right direction, we walked a few blocks and found the city center. it was super cool, kind of an outdoor mall that went on for blocks and blocks. we bought some stuff (turns out that paying six euros for six foam earplugs is quite common here!), and headed back just as the rain started again. crossing the train tracks, we almost got caught up in a political protest march, several thousand people being herded down the main road by several hundred polizei. we were pretty lucky that we made it across the road before they came along! we found out later that some kids from rostock were arrested in france while protesting the G20 summit, and have been denied visitation from lawyers, no phone calls, etc. well, hopefully they'll work all that out.

meanwhile back at the venue, all the beer was becks (terrible shite in a green bottle), so i went to plan B which we are now calling "stage juice". stage juice is a one liter water bottle filled with vodka and red bull, and it does seem to do the job, i have to say!

janosch went out and got a great response, so we felt pretty confident and we certainly got a great response as well!! i would say it was the best gig so far, up there with copenhagen for sure. i did manage to bash my knee pretty nicely, diving knee first into the floor monitors, blood everywhere (as usual, i seem to be maintaining a sufficient level of touring injuries) 'during saints and sinners'. other than that, i think the show went really well. there was a big barricade for security in front of us, which made connecting to the crowd a bit difficult, but they did seem to go pretty crazy for us, which was awesome. if only every show was that good!

after the show, we had a big party backstage for a few hours, which got pretty crazy. managed to get a bit of greenery from some random dude, just handed it to me and walked off. bit of good luck there, i'll admit! one of the backstage people setoff a chemical fire extinguisher, which cleared the room out for a little bit. eventually we managed to get back to the bus and roll out for braunschweig...

we'd like to thank all the fine folks that came out to the show, the green guy, the duct tape lady, maddin (the dj and big informatik fan), stefan, till, madeline, yvonne and her sister, and the staff at m.a.u. club!!! i never really connected with any of the staff at the venue, so i don't know any names...but you guys were all awesome!!!

tour report - copenhagen

i woke up when the bus stopped moving. it was still dark, but getting a little lighter. stumbled downstairs and we're stuck in some parking lot. turns out we're parked on a ferry going to copenhagen. well i went back upstairs and got back into the bunk, went back to sleep. i woke up again a few hours later, alone on the bus. we were parked outside the venue, and everyone was busy loading in. in retrospect, it was a good nights sleep all things considered. stumbled into the venue and scrounged about for some food. met brian the promoter at the door, he actually recognized me and knew who we were. turns out he's a big informatik fan, which was very cool! the uncool part was the fact that it was pouring rain and getting pretty dark.

one thing i like about venues in germany, they have good clean showers for the bands. so after loading in some of the gear, i grabbed a shower, checked mail and tried eating some more food. still pretty tired from the jet lag and everything, but at least we had time to wait while the stage got built out. hung out with martin, who was one of the other promoters for the show quite a bit. he was very cool, and a lot of fun. there was unfortunately no chance to get outside and see anything cool in the area around the venue. as it turned out, we were actually about 20min outside of copenhagen, in a place called albertslund. so we'll have to try and get to copenhagen proper the next time we tour here.

dinner was served while mesh was still soundchecking, so we went for it. another awesome thing about venues on this tour...they cook actual food with actual nutrients for the bands. so tonight there was a great spread of food, including a lot of vegan stuff, with hummus and an olive tapanade worth killing for. the venue staff went well above and beyond on the food, it was really awesome. as soon as we finished eating, it was time for soundcheck, so we loaded up the stage and went through the routine. things sounded really good, and the house engineer was very fast and efficient. so our soundcheck was very quick, about 20min total, not too bad.

i stayed busy getting familiar with some danish beer (tuborg) and watched the crowd start filling up the venue. i have to mention that the venue was really interesting, kind of a large concrete bunker, one of the walls actually doubled as a climbing gym. i avoided my usual impulses and managed to not drunkenly ascend the wall, which was probably the best thing. it's too early for any major injuries on this tour. there was a large platform above the main dancefloor which was reserved as a chillout space for the bands, which was great because the sightlines to the stage were perfect. i wish i'd been able to get more photos, but it was pretty dark, and my camera doesn't really do well in low light situations.

janosch went on and did a great job of warming up the crowd. as he puts it "the ladies like the slow ambient electro", and i think he was right! we did a fast changeover and hit the stage. i have to say, even though i was still pretty tired, the danish beers helped get me revved up with enough energy to almost be myself again. i think the show was considerably better than the hamburg show, and the crowd response was also much more enthusiastic! i even recognized sumez and uno, who i knew from the metropolis forums, out in the crowd and waved hello! by the time we got to 'a matter of time', the crowd was definitely moving a lot more, and we finished the set with no real technical issues. it felt like a very strong performance, and it seemed like the audience agreed. after we went off stage, someone approached me and said "wow, you had so much energy, it was like a ministry concert!", which was a great compliment!

after taking a minute to dry off, we headed over to the merch booth to meet people and try and sell some stuff. i've been pretty nervous about whether or not we'd be able to sell all of the merch that we brought on the tour. but we did pretty well, especially on cd's. it was awesome to meet people and hang out with sumez and uno during the mesh performance. everyone had a pretty great time, and after the mesh performance there was an afterparty with the usual industrial dj set type of thing. most people had left after mesh (really, no dj can follow their performance, it wasn't really fair to expect a dj to entertain at that level), but we stuck around drinking during the breakdown and loading out. finally, we made it back to the bus to try and leave and sleep. we were still pretty tired, so we went to bed pretty much immediately. however, da5id and i were woken up again by something that sounded like an einsturzende neubauten concert at a deafening level at some early hour. it turns out that we were once again on a ferry, but taking a slightly different route, so the ferry ride lasted about 4 hours or so. yep, all in a days work, i suppose.

we would like to thank: brian and martin for putting the show together, our excellent soundguy (i'm sorry i forgot your name, you did a great job), sumez and uno, the staff at forbraendingen for all the awesome food, jesper for the excellent live photos (these will be on our myspace soon!), everyone else that we met in copenhagen!!! if i forgot your name, blame it on the tuborg!! we'll be back to copenhagen for sure, thanks for showing us how you rock it!!!


tour report - hamburg (de)

after a very difficult wake-up shower, we loaded out all the gear to the taxi sent to pick us up, and mesh was already on board! so we did a quick meet and greet of rich, sean, and geoff, then headed over to the venue for breakfast and load-in. we got to the markthalle, and no lift...instead we were greeted by an endless series of stairs. oh joy! so, we carried all of our luggage and gear up all these stairs, into a really massive room, the main room of the markthalle.

but first breakfast, which was awesome, fruit, bread, tea, coffee, etc etc. very nicely put together. sandra our new merchbot arrived, as did mark (he missed the taxi). general sitting around, checking email, etc. luckily mesh had already setup, they'd been rehearsing in the space since the previous day. we waited a few hours while waiting to soundcheck, watched mesh rehearsal, and met janosch (he is the other support act on the tour, super nice guy!).

we got all of our stuff setup and proceeded through soundcheck with nom ajor issues. thankfully, the wireless equipment all worked with absolutely not issues at all! that was one of our biggest concerns before we left, so it was a huge relief that it all went well. axel, who is usually vnv nations soundguy, was the house engineer for the evening, so at least we were assured that we would sound great (and we did, i think!).

met up before the show with stefan herwig (head of dependent records, which is home to both mesh and informatik in europe), got our euro merch (the shirts are based on the girls shirt design for the states), and tried to shake off the jet lag, but it was tough. i was so tired that i didn't dare to drink any alcohol before we went on, i was afraid that i might pass out onstage! janosch completed his set, and pretty soon, we were on!

the set went as well as possible, considering all the hurdles: an audience that seemed really unfamiliar with us, incredible jet lag and sleep deprivation, sobriety, etc. but we managed to power through with almost no issues. unfortunately, i couldn't get as crazy as i would have liked...but we managed to survive and people did seem to enjoy the set for the most part. we played a shorter version of our u.s. headlining set, just eight songs...almost. just before we played 'come together', da5id stopped the concert playback, and started packing up. he accidentally misread a lighting cue from the house lighting guy, and had a momentary panic because he thought we'd gone over on our set times (we only get 40min per night). so, i apologize to the hamburg audience that you didn't get a full set from us. but you can blame it on our delirious mental state...it was a simple mistake, it could have been any of us who did that. not the end of the world in any case.

stefan met up with us backstage after the show and had a lot of good ideas of things we could do to improve the show, and it was actually really helpful. over the next few shows we've started putting some of those ideas to work, and things are definitely getting better...

mesh was up next, and i have to say the show is really incredible! and their fans are just crazy in love with them, it was mindblowing! i watched almost the entire show before i needed to go backstage and lay on the floor and try to sleep (impossible, btw). eventually i realized it wasn't going to happen, so i went out to the merch booth to try and sell some cd's and stuff.

i should mention how much merch mesh is carrying, it was without a doubt the largest collection of shirts, cd's, box sets, posters, hoodie's, watches (really!), backpacks, bottle openers and lanyards i've ever see amassed in one space. and it all has to go on the bus! so, we met a ton of cool german folks, even steve naghavi from and one showed up at our show! it was nice to see him again, though we didn't get too much time to talk. i wanted to ask him about the 'pants off men' video on youtube, but didn't get a chance.

after the crowd had cleared out, it was time to load out. our tour bus is a double decker whose last assignment was carrying some of madonna's touring party around on the 'sticky sweet' european tour. it's super nice, much better than the bus we had in the states when we toured with vac and haujobb. however, all the aforementioned merch and mesh's crazy huge staging all had to fit in somehow. we were up until 5am doing the load-out and cramming it all into the bus. in the end, we had to leave about 15 boxes of shirts and cd's at the markthalle! and btw, yeah i want to reiterate, i said FIVE a.m.!!! i lost track of the hours with the time change, but it was a long, long, long night...

finally hit the bunks, and passed out while the sun was coming up, and we headed for copenhagen...

we would like to thank: rene for picking us up at the airport (hope you're feeling better, man!), axel for making us sound totally pro, all the staff at markthalle, steve naghavi, general elektrik and everyone else we met that night at the merch! i apologize if i forgot any names, i was so delirious with jet lag it's hard to keep it all straight. thank you for making our very first european show such a huge event!!!


tour report - intermission

we spent the next two days off at ned's house, recovering from the previous week worth of shows. aaron finally recovered from his illness! and we were able to eat the worlds greatest sandwich (bbq seitan sandwich from handlebar in chicago!) again, which really turned my frown upside down.

unfortunately, keith (the worlds greatest tour manager) had to leave us at this point. he took the worlds greatest minivan back to DC on his own, which was a shitty way to end a tour, for sure. he is greatly missed on the european leg, i can assure you!

we had a late flight out of chicago, leaving around 9pm, which was a piece of cake. a nine hour flight to munich...unfortunately, i don't sleep well in moving vehicles, so i didn't sleep at all. we landed on time in munich at noon, and had a ninety minute layover before leaving on time for hamburg. leave it to the germans to run everything like clockwork, it was kind of amazing. converted some of our remaining cash to euro's (ouch!) and had little difficulty getting through passport control and airport security. interestingly, we had no problems with our baggage weight restrictions, which was a bit of a surprise.

though we were pretty exhausted by the time we landed, we managed to make it to our pickup, and were driven to the hamburg hotel by rene, the promoter. by this time, we were pretty much starving...so once we were checked into the hotel, we struck out on foot in search of food. we wandered around for about a half hour and only found closed restaurants. finally after we got turned around the right direction, we managed to find a chinese restaurant. da5id managed to use his limited german skills to order us something vegetarian, which turned out to be pretty decent. it was cold as hell, and we went back to the hotel as quickly as possible.

back at the hotel, we rewired the rack, and recalibrated our in-ear monitors since we'd had some issues with some of the mix balancing. at this point i think we'd all been awake for about 30 straight hours, and were heading for a total meltdown. it's safe to say that as soon as we closed the computer for the evening, we all passed out immediately.

ahh jet lag, you suck. we all woke up again at something like 5am, and did a bunch of tossing and turning until it was time to meet up with the mesh guys and get this tour on the road. the exhaustion continues....on and on....

more soon.

tour report - chicago

took a quick drive from cleveland to chicago, through some insane weather...it would be perfectly clear, then suddenly a massive hailstorm, then clear again! it was slow going through parts of ohio farm country, but we did manage to make it through unscathed.

arrived early at the venue, no one was there. so we had to wait around for a bit. mark, the promoter, showed up and we were able to get loaded in with a minimum of difficulty. however, the venue was not really ideal for live band concerts...small stage and kind of a wonky sound system. after some technical struggles, we made it through soundcheck, and went off to the hotel to check in and chill out.

it was a very decent turnout though, and it was nice to see a bunch of people that we knew at the venue (folks from stromkern, iris, and assemblage 23 were all in attendance). i drank polish beer for the first time, it was alright. the first band was biocarbon 13, which was more of a terror-ebm type of band. they were good at that, so if you're into that style of music, you should check them out.

i've mentioned our awesome 'super fans' before, and tonight was no different in that regard. drew and his crew of people from atlanta, who'd seen us in cleveland the previous night all showed up in chicago. there were people that had driven down from detroit, actually, there were a lot of people that we'd met in detroit on our last tour through the midwest. it was crazy awesome, and those people are fucking great!

when we went on, things went well, all our super fans were pushed up against the stage, and were all singing along with all the songs. unfortunately, since there was a gap between the PA and the front of the stage, as the fans got drunker, they also got louder, and were actually screaming along with the songs...which was throwing da5id off a bit. i guess in-ear monitors aren't a perfect solution for everything. but still, the enthusiasm and general insanity was much appreciated!! we had a great time! it was a really great show!

afterwards, aaron went back to the hotel (still recovering), and da5id, keith and i went off to neo (the defacto chicago industrial club) to keep partying, which we did until they closed. we met up with lisa q. merchbot, and hung out for a while, which was great.

in chicago, we'd like to thank the following crazy people: mark, the cafe lura staff, biocarbon 13, drew and the atlanta crew, danielle from detroit, racquel (kizzle), kevin from a23, ned and rainbow, andrew and laurie, lisa q. merchbot, and all the people who i got too drunk to remember the names of (my sincerest apologies, seriously).


tour interview

also, we did a really fun interview in richmond too, for rvafreaks.com. this interview was heavily edited down from about a thirty minute long conversation.

big thanks to scott for putting this all together!

tour report - cleveland

had a day off on the way to cleveland. it was cold as hell there, and we walked about a mile and a half to a really excellent cambodian restaurant. the extreme spice level really helped warm us up after the wind tore our heads off. it was freezing cold wind the entire time we were there...

aaron started getting pretty sick in cleveland. luckily we isolated it to just him, and da5id and i are still doing fine. we got to the venue pretty early, and loaded in. we've played the phantasy before, it's a legend, pirate ships and so much more. soundcheck went pretty smoothly, other than the random homeless dude that walked onstage...needless to say, we're all using a lot of hand sanitizer on this tour.

cable, the promoter, hooked us up with some homemade pasta which was greatly appreciated. his band, encoder, was one of the openers, and they were pretty awesome. the other band, filament 38, was also pretty great...excellent light show!

we got a tour of the rest of the phantasy, which as it turns out, has a 1500 seat theater underneath the main concert venue! so we managed to get some great band photos in that setting, which was creepy, weird and perfect. no afterparty, but we went back to the hotel and got some much needed sleep. the snoring symphony continued!

big thanks to everyone that came out in cleveland, including but not limited to: cable, michelle, rabbit and sara, encoder, filament 38, dale (sound), all the people at phantasy!


tour report - rochester

when we got to rochester, it was cold and dark. but though the drive was long, it was fairly uneventful. arrived at the venue for load-in, even though no one was there. it was a bit scary til the soundguy came, but he was great. soundcheck went well, very fast and no real problems. the opening band showed up (silent auction) and they were cool. we left for dinner, which was amazing...vegetarian chili and some sweet falafel. we did really well there, i was impressed. so far the food on this tour has been pretty top notch. i hope things in europe will be as smooth as this.

so we missed a bit of the set from silent auction, but what we heard was good. i think this venue had one of the tiniest dressing rooms...essentially a closet. it's always nice to share a dressing room with cleaning equipment. but we got dressed, had to go long sleeve for the cold weather, and hit the stage. everything went pretty well, but the venue had left these tables in front of the stage, so people were sort of sitting there watching us. so during 'nothing greater', aaron and i ran out and played from in the crowd. i did a dive roll over a table, trying to get people to stand up and move towards the front, which luckily they did.

the set went well, the only technical hurdle was when i collapsed on stage, and my wireless transmitter popped off the guitar. that was a pretty quick fix though. i think we played a bit tighter, and a little more aggressively than in richmond. everything went as well as could be expected, and i think we sounded pretty great. i'm definitely feeling confident about holding our own when we get to europe.

after the show we took a lot of pictures, signed a ton of autographs (met some awesome people who drove down from canada!!), then rounded up all the people left in the venue and headed over to a club called vertex for the afterparty. it wasn't packed, but given that it's a wednesday night, no one seemed too surprised. we drank our body weight in alcohol, and hung out with everyone, it was a blast. then we went two blocks to our hotel, which was totally sweet. unfortunately no internet there...couldn't get good enough signal strength. oh well. crashed pretty hard, as expected, but not too bad.

we want to thank all our new friends in rochester: nancy (promoter), josh (sound), mary, danny, dean, terri and silent auction, jessica and rabbit, cedric, all the folks at california brew haus, all the folks at vertex, and everyone else we may have met and whose names we may have forgotten (well, we did drink a lot). you guys rock!!