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!!


tour report - richmond

so we made it through our flight to the east coast with no real problems. had a little bit of a snag with the luggage weight, but managed to make it through that without getting overcharged. made it to dulles, where keith (worlds best tour manager) picked us up in the greatest minivan of all time. after a few minor detours, we made it over to dinner, and then headed out to richmond. i have to say, virginia has more cops than any other place i've ever been. made it to the hotel with no issues, and crashed out.

the richmond gig was really amazing, we had such a great time. if you're ever in richmond, i definitely recommend you check 'fallout' (the venue), it was awesome. a really great club, and we met a ton of great people. did a really good interview backstage, i think we got some good questions, and i think we gave some really good answers.

we had a few minor technical hurdles, mostly with the bass guitar strap falling apart during the set. but we powered through it, and even did a special thing during "don't be afraid" that we'd never done before, kind of an 'mtv unplugged' type of presentation.

after the show we went to a little afterparty scene, where i got a little too drunk, and left my coat. oops! well, it'll get sent to ned's place in chicago so i'll have it for europe.

this morning, got up, had a great lunch, and hit the road for delaware. staying with da5ids parents, who fed us a crazy awesome dinner and now it's time to crash out. i am going on 36 hours with no sleep, can't think anymore and keith is busting my balls about my slippers.

we'd like to thank all the awesome people in richmond that we met: jackie, megan, willian, shawn, scott from rvafreaks.com, tucker, project wiretrapper, myotis, jessica, sarah, and everyone else we may have forgotten.

here is an awesome picture of all of our new richmond friends!! we'll see you next time!