I decided to write our tour blog this time retrospectively after the actual tour. This was mainly because I had to do some work on tour. Also the access to the Internet is generally pretty random on the road so it is really hard to keep the blog up to date. Anyway, this tour was only ten shows long, so we figured you guys could probably wait for few more weeks. Big thanks to co-headliners Ghost Brigade, Nahemah and all the other supporting bands we shared the stages with. Enjoy the ride!
Hamburg (GER) 20.5.2010
This time we found ourselves in pretty awkward situation regarding the travelling to the first show. Only Niilo, our sound engineer (Urski) and merchandise guy (Jukka) were coming from Finland with the gear and the rest of us fly directly from UK and Belgium to the Hamburg because of the work. Despite the odds, everything went well and I found myself with our Drummer, Markus, at the Hamburg airport on the Thursday afternoon. We took a shuttle to the centrum and a taxi to our hotel and met the rest of the guys there. Quick greetings and welcomes and off we went to the venue, Markthalle. We played on the smaller side, which was very good except for the electricity (weird buzz) and some compressors in the front.
We loaded in our gear and went to see if our merchandise had already arrived. Luckily they had but unfortunately there was something like 13 boxes of them. The original plan was to order all the merchandise we would need during this summer at once but because of the tight schedules we were not able to get the merchandise delivered to Finland in time. As a result, we had what to sell for the eager fans but we did not have enough room in our van for this many boxes. Luckily, Ghost Brigade offered their help and we were able to stuff some of the boxes to their van. Great success!
The day was otherwise pretty normal: sound checks, food, beer, and cigarettes before it was time to start the evening performances. Ghost Brigade went on first and got really good response from the crowd. We played this night as a headliner band and soon realised that the crowd was really good for us too. For our surprise we even performed pretty decent considering that the last time we played together as a band was two months ago in Lulea, Sweden. After the show we went to see the crowd and signed few posters, cd’s and shirts. Folks were really cool and polite and we will definitely come to Hamburg again as soon as possible! We decided to call it a night pretty soon and went to get few hours of sleep as we had pretty long drive ahead of us next day. All in all, the first night set the pace for a tour that became a truly great and memorable one!
Leipzig (GER) 21.5.2010
We woke up quite early, went to have a motel breakfast and started our drive to Leipzig. We were a bit anxious because we really didn’t know what to expect from today’s show. We had been booked for Wave Gotik treffen which is at least in our minds more of an event where people wear leather or PVC and go to dance along with some weird goth industrial metal. To be honest, we were actually quite scared how we might fit in this picture. Luckily, the Ghost Brigade was in the same boat and we figured that it might not be that bad as these guys fit in the picture even less well ☺ The drive itself was quite easy at least for me, because I don’t do any driving on tours. The main reason for this is that I really can’t drive even though I managed to get my licence few years ago. Maybe I’m able to do it some beautiful day in the future but at the moment me driving on German motorway equals committing a mass suicide. So instead I concentrated to do some work as we made our way to Leipzig in no time.
For our surprise the venue was a big hall instead of shady club. Everything was also organised very well and friendly lady led us to our backstage and explained how everything worked. We were also able to drive our van inside, which made the load in very quick. They had also several drum raisers so that Markus was able to build his drum set early in advance. We spent the time before our slot by hanging out in backstage and catering areas drinking mainly coffee. The show itself was a really good one and I think the people enjoyed it too! Especially when considering that we played pretty early (around 4 pm). Also the merchandise sales were good which suggests that we probably made some new fans as well. Rest of the evening was pretty relaxed. We watched almost the whole GB set and people seemed to be really into their music too. However, the hit amusement prize of the night went to some weird Marilyn Manson look a like Goth-rockers. It was really fun to watch a two meters long skinny guy (who we christened as Skeletor) wearing a mini skirt trying to settle his cables before and after the show. I mean, it’s pretty hard to bend over in that kind of outfit without letting your balls hang out. I can assure you, miniskirt combined to nut sacks really wears off the coolness and mystique out of rock’n’roll…Otherwise we had pretty laid back evening. We stayed in a really good hotel and were able to access Internet and take proper showers. As we had an early and long drive ahead of us next morning we decided to hit the sack after few beer at the hotel bar. Convenience over hangover, we’re really getting old…
Stuttgart (GER) 22.5.2010
Another early wake up (7 am), quick shower and off we went. I think I worked again for the whole drive while the rest of the back seat concentrated on few relaxing games of Yatzy (Voi vittu saatana perkele, nyt niitä vitosia!). Some new Yatzy terms were also developed including such as “Iso Käyrä” and “Varpusparvialoitus” (hard to translate in English, really…) and after few intense games comfortable silence prevailed. If you ever seen us play Yatzy, you know what I mean. Anyway, I think we were again pretty early in Stuttgart and met the promoter and his team who were the same ones that organised our last show in Stuttgart in last December. Really nice people and everything worked again very well. We had quite many local support bands today so we did our sound check almost immediately and then moved to garden area of the backstage.
As we did not have Internet connection at the venue, we were obliged to trust on each others company and actually engage to some kind of social activity. For Finnish this means drinking beer and smoking (lots of!!!) cigarettes while someone tells a bad joke every half an hour and all the others nod in approval. The organizers prepared a really nice barbeque dinner in the meanwhile and after 6 hours of waiting GB hit the stage first and we follow pretty soon after. The temperature at the stage was probably somewhere between 30-40 °C and the humidity was overwhelming. The show itself was really good and we were very surprised that the crowd still had energy to head bang and roar. I think we were struggling more to keep up our own energy levels because of the heat and the humidity. It was again very late when we got everything packed and arrived to the hotel. We had few drinks with GB boys and couple of rounds of “ilmanussintaa” before we were done. ZZZZZzzzzz…..
München (GER) 23.5.2010
Another early wake up, shower and breakfast. The today’s drive itself was not that long but we wanted to be early in München so that we could meet Marco Walzel (from Avocado Booking) who books European shows for the both bands. We met Marco down at Avocados office and went to have a very nice Bayerian meal. While most of the people went for the Wiener schnitzel, I decided to try out something bit more extravagant and ordered traditional Pork knuckles. I think it was one of the best meal dishes I have had in my life, highly recommended for everyone visiting that area! After couple of beers we had a small walk down the river (hiljaa virtaa döner”) and it felt really good to do some sightseeing for a change. It was also really nice to see Marco again and discuss about the future plans. We grabbed few tour posters for sale from the Avocado office and headed to the Venue, Feierwerk. We played here only 6 months ago with Swallow the Sun and it was nice to return a familiar where everything works! We also stayed at the Venue for the night as they have very good premises for accommodation.
Today it was our turn to play first, while a very good Spanish band called Nahemah (http://nahemahband.com) opened the night. They played with us also at the Wave Gotik and Stuttgart but I think this was the first night that I was able to go and check them out. Our show went down well again and Marco seemed pleased as well (or at least pretended very well ☺). After the show we went to do some signing and met the fans outside. Again very nice people, München, we’ll be back. Ghost Brigade was good as always even though some potential set backs loomed in the air in terms of broken guitar strings. However, GB guitarists handled the situation with professionalism and no one in the crowd probably noticed anything. Again, we tried to have some drinks and get the party going on. Good try but no chance. We’re pathetic. After gambling few games of Yatzy it was best to hit the sack and let all the other people have their beauty sleep as well (because of yelling). Urski dancing on the top of a small IKEA table with five-euro bill in his ass crack was truly a Kodak moment to remember!
Salzburg (AU) 24.5.2010
This morning we woke voluntarily quite early in order to do some sightseeing before going to Austria. Today’s plan was to go and see the Eagle’s nest, the Adolf Hitler’s retreat near Berchtesgaden. GB’s sound engineer, Teijo, joined us and off we went. I can tell you that the scenery’s were just awesome already during the drive and we were really awestruck by the beauty of the vast landscapes when we hit the top of the mountain. The place reminded more of an ordinary tourist attraction and the original history of the place was pretty much wiped out. Just to make one simple thing clear: we’re not racist or Nazis and we do not admire Nazi ideology. However, what happened during the WW2 is part of our history and I feel it’s better to face it instead of hiding it away and pretending that nothing really happened. But enough of politics and crap. The sceneries were really awesome and we felt really relaxed at bathing in the sun and just chilling out. Before we want back down we had few beers and took a lot of photos. A great experience and really unique place. It must have been hell to drag all the building materials on the top of that heap!
Playing a tourist made us hungry and we went back to the village to have some refreshing döners before driving to the venue. The venue itself was not that big and we quickly learned that we had again 3 opening bands. Because of the tight schedules we loaded in and headed to the bunks to have some rest after day’s adventures. No point of doing sound check really, we’re professionals and know our shit (NOT!). All the people were so tired that no one really fancied to go and see the beautiful city of Salzburg. Again no Internet connection and so the fierce games of Yatzy began. Playing Yatzy for money is actually very fun. Losing and winning becomes even serious thing and the bitterness and hate becomes almost tangible ☺ We also soon realised that all of us had burnt because of the intense sun light. Teijo and Markus had especially turned into proper rednecks! After few beers and recreational activities it was time to hit the stage. The crowd was again very good and we really had good time even though it was pretty hot again. I guess we are getting used to it by now. Again the same evening roulette: few beers, signings and general chatting with people. Thank you nice folks of Austria, we’ll be definitely back someday! Tonight we decided to have a proper party with the one and only, Mr Sandman. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite…
Aarau (CH) 25.5.2010
We again decided to continue our journey early, as we had to cross the Swiss border. This could potentially be a problem with all the merchandise and taxation. Normally bands are seldom stopped at the border while in the worst-case scenario they might force us to count all the shirts and ask to pay taxes for all the sold items when leaving the Switzerland. As we still had loads of merchandise left we decided to have a stop somewhere in the Austria, get some black plastic bags and cover the back windows of our van. We found this really nice village with harbour and decided to have coffees and beers there before completing the operation camouflage.
We had decided with GB to leave at different times to avoid ending up the border at the same time. For some odd coincidence we still ended up crossing the border at the same time. GB van was just right in front of us and we were sure that they would pull the latter van aside and search the vehicle. For some odd reason they did not do that but stopped the car just behind us. Great success!!! We reached Aarau pretty soon and found out that the venue was really good and the staff was very polite and welcoming. After quick load in everyone dived into the magical world of Internet. I managed to submit one manuscript I had been working on road and decided to celebrate the occasion with nice pint of beer. It was GB’s turn to go on first and we followed them soon. Man it was again hot! The gig was still just awesome, but afterwards I felt like I had been sitting in the sauna for an hour. I can take minus 25 °C at anytime but the heat is something I really can’t handle. Well, some cold drinks and soon everything was all good again. We slept at the Venue premises, which were just excellent. Some evening Internet action and off we went to bed. Not together though.
Dordrecht (NL) 26.5.2010
The alarm clock woke us at 7 am sharp and I dragged myself first to shower. We had a 750 km drive ahead of us today, as we had been booked to play in Netherlands in the evening. We felt pretty exhausted and Jukka heroically took the first drive shift. The weather turned real crappy pretty soon and it rained almost for the whole day. We had a short pit stop somewhere in the Germany and had few bratwursts. That’s something German are just excellent at I can tell you! Otherwise, we amused ourselves with few intense games of Yatzy. Nothing much to tell really, pretty dull day in general. We had also another quick stop just after crossing the border and I think it was something like 5-6 pm when we arrived to beautiful city of Dordrecht. We played in Bibelot, which was familiar place from the Amorphis tour back in 2007. Quick load in and the normal stuff you already are aware of. We had a nice short walk before the show in the city. Unfortunately most of the shops were closed because it was already so late. Luckily we found also some open ones. The gigs were again very good and we did some signing for some younger fans that bought basically one of every item we had still left to sell. Thanks for the support, highly appreciated! This was also the last show when we shared the stage with Nahemah and it was time to say goodbyes in the end of evening. Good band, great people and we really hope to see you again in the future!
Antwerpen (BEL) 27.5.2010
Today’s drive was a really short one and Markus decided to take scenery route through the coast. We stopped in some small village to have a lunch before heading to the Belgium. We arrived soon to the venue, did the load in and so on. We were actually supporting the Wolves in the Throne Room today and both bands played shorter sets because of that. It was pretty laid back day. We were pretty tired so everyone pretty much kept it to himself and dived into the magical world of Internet. Where would we be without the Internet these days? I really can’t tell anymore. We’re addicted. We’re doomed. So what, I really like the Facebook. Enough of this crap. The show was pretty ok tonight. The crowd was maybe a bit quiet, but it has been pretty much like this in Belgium with every previous gigs. This doesn’t mean that the people don’t like you, they’re just bit more into listening the music I guess. We still sold decent amount of merch and all the people we met were really nice. Thanks Belgium!
During the evening we noticed again that the black metal bands do tend to have the biggest crybabies. The crowd was not really into the main act’s performance either and I think it was easy to put the blame on bad stage sound. However, it’s another thing to argue that it was support acts’ sound engineers’ fault who did not touch the main act’s channels or monitoring in any way. What a bunch of dicks. We had few beers at the hotel and did not let this incident bother us that much. After few rounds of “ilmanussintaa” it was time to continue the party with the old faithful Mr Sandman.
Eindhoven (NL) 28.5.2010
After quick showers we headed to the Dortmund airport to pick up our manager Mr Jukka Varmo. As we are currently in the middle of record deal negotiations, we used the opportunity of being in Europe to actually meet some people directly and see where we stand. The afternoon was pretty successful and we left the office in very good mood. Time will tell what happens next. It was not long drive to Eindhoven Dynamo and we arrived there somewhere in the afternoon. It was pretty much ordinary day, a quick sound check and some wonderful Internet activity. After few beers it was our time to go on first. The stage was quite small, but the gig itself was again really good and we really enjoyed it. I think we actually managed to get bit drunk after the show and after checking in the hotel me, Niilo, Teijo and Varmo headed to the local rock bar right next door. It was really nice to sit outside in the garden and zip some cold beer. There was also pretty good Iron Maiden cover band playing that night. I think we called it night somewhere around 4 am and headed finally to the hotel to get some sleep.
Bochum (GER) 29.5.2010
Ugh…Micro-hangover. Me and Urski decided to heal it by heading to the town already 10 am and try to find some gifts to bring back home. We found big electronics warehouse and quite decent record shop. The architecture was also really cool and it was nice to just enjoy the sunshine. We ended back to the hotel around 11:30 am and woke the rest of the bunch. After pretty easy drive we arrived to Matrix, which was really cool venue. We even had some eager fans waiting at the parking lot when we tried to load in our gear. Really weird. The backstage was very nice and we ended up just chilling out there most of the day. I guess we were pretty tired and people started to realize that this was the last day on tour. After the show we would start the long haul back home and soon everyone would be back to work and regular, secured lives. It was actually first time when it felt that the tour was ending too soon. I guess it has something to do with the fact that you are not having constant hangover all the time. Maybe that’s why people were in good mood on this tour in general. Who knows but it just felt that it was ending too soon. The GB went on first and we hit the stage afterwards. It was really good show and we left it all on the stage. At least for now on. We’ll be back for sure. We also met Marco from our booking agency and made again some plans for the future. I’m pretty sure that more good things will keep on following. We also met some people from record companies and it was nice to have again a chat in person.
Soon it was time to say goodbyes to the awesome guys in Ghost Brigade and start the long drive back home. A really fantastic band, check them out now! I think this tour was very successful in many ways. For example, it was nice to see that two fairly unknown Finnish bands can co-headline and pull in 200 people on Tuesday evening. I really hope that this is only a start of a new chapter. Big thanks to all the promoters, venues, supporting acts, our merchandiser Jukka, GB sound engineer Teijo, light technician Matti and all the guys in the GB. It was blast. However, the biggest thanks goes to or devoted fans that came to see and support us! See you in the fall on Dark Tranquillity tour, cheers!