Saturday, 5 May 2012

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Leipzin, DE

Saturday 27th Nov – Leipzig, Germany

There's something very wrong with this mirror, but I can't work out what...

Last show of the tour! It was dark when we got to the venue, and covered in snow. It was a decent turnout, and we were given rubber style dumplings to eat that bounced and stuck to the wall if you threw them hard enough. Met quite an interesting dude in a Wolfbrigade shirt who was actually a linguistics professor or something, and a few other cool people too. There are usually shenanigans during the headliner's set on the final night of any tour, so someone from Arsis suggested we walk onstage like zombies then collapse during Grave’s set, as they were on last. The fact that this piss-poor suggestion was the only one given meant that that’s exactly what we did, and yes, it was shit! Must try harder next time. 

Anyway, after the gig, we said our goodbyes to the other bands and they left promptly to catch flights back to the US, Canada or Sweden. Due to us travelling separately and getting on with our own thing we were in our own bubble really, so we didn’t spend a lot of time hanging out with them, but they were a good bunch of fellas. Some tours have a stupid hierarchy thing going on where no one’s allowed to eat or shower until the headliners have, and no one else is allowed in the backstage room, or no one’s allowed to approach them or look them in the eyes without prior written consent, but there was none of that crap on this tour thankfully, it was pretty down to Earth. We were to stay with a friend of the promoter, and once again I flaked out and went to sleep as soon as we got in while the others sat up drinking with our hosts. The next day was spent driving to Calais where we were to catch the following morning’s early ferry back to Blighty. Totally exhausting, but in general a kick ass month. We had 2 weeks home, then our Israel tour was to start. I'll try and write something about that too, so check back soon.


Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Tilburg, NL

Friday 26th Nov – Tilburg, Netherlands

I’d been looking forward to this show for a while because our tour was teaming up with the Black Breath tour to do a 2 roomed min-fest. We were on the downstairs stage, they were in the bar upstairs. The venue also has a huge stage that bands the size of Queens Of The Stoneage play, so the whole place is really well run. We were given our own room backstage, and a big rider complete with Jack Daniels and good catering. Our old friend Mick was on his way over, as were Cherie and Russell from the beginning of the tour. The first show I ever did with Gorerotted in 1999 was in the Netherlands and we’ve come back pretty regularly, so even though we were on at 6:30 (again!!! I fucking hate that time of day now), we had a cool crowd and it was fun. After our set I saw some people we’ve known for years, the guys from Severe Torture, Rompeprop the promoter Ruud and various others, but by this point I was completely drained of all energy. At home I eat really well and regularly train at the gym, plus I sleep pretty well, but having fuck all rest and living on 1 or sometimes 2 meals a day of varying quality, I felt physically empty, weak and totally fucked. I went to watch Black Breath though and they were on fire! Fucking awesome gig and I picked up a white Razor To Oblivion shirt straight after their set. Tried to chat to a couple of them in their back stage room, but either they’ve done too much acid over the years or they were even more out of it than I was because they didn’t really have any idea what was going on. Either that or they just weren’t interested in talking, so I left them to it and hung out with friends for the rest of the evening. We stayed at Mick's afterwards and he gave Nate the world's narrowest blow up bed ever.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Gent, BE

Thursday 25th Nov – Gent, Belgium

10 years ago there was a really cool small venue in Gent called The Frontline. It was run by a lady called Christine (I think!) and it had a real good vibe to it. She'd provide plenty of Belgian beer, let bands stay at her place upstairs and there was always a loyal and dedicated crowd who seemed to come to every gig. We have some really good memories of playing there and of the people. It was at a time when Belgium’s music scene seemed to be mainly about Hardcore and the only Belgian bands I can think of that we ever played with were Aborted and Agathocles. A lot of Death Metal tours came through Gent though and the scene there was pretty healthy. Here's some rare footage of the blood-drenched Mutilated In Minutes era line up of Gorerotted from 2001, I think this was our first or second time at the place:

Anyway, I guess these people have lost interest or have families now because I didn’t see anyone I knew from the old days (with the exception of Alexi, a crazy Russian who lives in the area and always comes out.) This venue was similar to the stale Italian/German one I mentioned earlier, and it was more like playing a school gymnasium than a gig. Check out these toilets that make Trud look like a giant:

There was no way of getting your knob, bollocks and arse into the pan all at once, so what should have been a mundane and simple job turned into quite the challenge. And what a crowd! There were plenty of people there, but they looked bored shitless throughout all of the bands’ sets and I wondered if this was a Gent thing. I was told by someone that it is now, and that most bands get zero reaction from the crowd on week nights. Apparently people enjoyed us, and we sold a fair few EPs again. I don’t remember much about the rest of the evening, just that I had no desire to return to a town that had once been so vibrant. But finally, we were able to get some quality sleep in actual beds as we headed to yet another spunk-drenched Formula 1.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Plymouth, UK

Wednesday 24th Nov – Plymouth, UK

Most long tours have their low points, and this was mine. I’d fallen asleep in the van during the journey and had a really vivid and horrible dream about dead members of my immediate family. I woke up feeling shaken and really depressed by it. We were also driving through Somerset where I'd moved to about 3 years before, and I could see the same Quantocks hills that I can see from my house. So close to home and yet so far from being home. I don’t get homesick on tours, but right then I just wanted to head back to my everyday life. Anyway, we drove on to the White Rabbit venue and after unloading and setting up we had a walk around Plymouth, famous of course for it's really really useful shops: 

I enjoyed the show here, Plymouth’s Metalheads are really cool. They live in probably the most isolated city in England (the nearest one to them is Exeter which is a fair way off) and they’re always really up for it. The whole venue had been changed so everything was at opposite ends which threw me a bit but the gig was another good one, despite a few technical difficulties. Some mates of ours were out too, so we hung with them at the bar and did a bunch of shots. It was a cool end to what had started off as a really shit day, and we eventually left to do another night drive so we could catch a ferry from Dover back to Europe. Plotted the twat-nav for a Formula One hotel en route where we hoped for a few hours kip, but when we got there we found it hadn't been built yet, so decided to head straight to the coast and wait there instead.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Dublin, IE

Tuesday 23rd Nov – Dublin, Ireland

We got to the venue at a decent time and it was being promoted by our friend H from Dublin Metal events who's always good to touring bands in terms of rider and stuff like that. We had a walk around the city as always and let Louis Walsh off for the night so he could spend it in the hostel we'd been given with his girlfriend who he hadn't seen her in a couple of months. He later returned skipping, cartwheeling and high-fiving everyone.

I usually try to get to the Porterhouse in the Temple Bar area for a few pints of red porter and oyster stout when we're over, but we didn’t make it this trip. We found some really cool shops and markets though, check out this book stall:

So there you have it, proof that the Irish are only interested in crime and mountaineering

These days I eat any old shite, but I was still pesco vegetarian in 2010 and hugely into Vedic and Southern Indian food, so I went into this Krishna kitchen and had a really good dinner. Unfortunately it repeated on me during the gig, but I’m sure the people near the front were grateful for my daal scented burps. After us, as is often the case with American and Canadian bands playing in Ireland, both Arsis and The Last Felony did the whole "I'm of Irish descent" type spiel from the stage. I swear, you could actually hear the sticky sound of everyone in the audience's eyes rolling in their heads, it was quite disgusting. We had a good night in the end, met some cool people and there were a few more familiar faces in the crowd including Patrick from Buried zine, which is a hardcover book-bound fanzine, hand printed on handmade paper. It was hard to unwind though because I was by now totally knackered and knew we had a long, weakening trip to Plymouth straight after the gig. After load out and assisting with dealing with a couple of drunk morons trying to get onto the nightliner (who got a few whacks, and later arrested for their trouble. Ha!) we headed for the ferry. This time though I stayed in the van to try and sleep a bit.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: London, UK

Monday 22nd Nov – London, UK

Ah, The Underworld, and on a Monday night no less! Most shows I go to see are here, it’s the perfect size for underground bands and right opposite Camden station. We’ve played it a ton of times, usually as headliners or main support. But tonight, we were to go on first and at 6:30pm. This was our hometown show really, even though at the time none of us were living in London. It felt weird having to play before most our friends could get there, so we asked The Last Felony if they’d swap places on the bill, which they refused. It kind of bugged us, but we later found out the tour was actually costing them a fair bit of money to do, so I suppose in that situation I’d probably wanna stay higher up the bill as well. I didn’t know if there would even be anyone there for us, especially as we were doing a free gig up the road a couple of weeks later, but our friend Frank who works security told us there was a queue outside and people were asking what time we were on. So we played (early) and it was a cool show. A bunch of our mates turned up later, some we couldn't get in for free gave it a miss though. Had a good night none the less and got pretty hammered.

This was probably the time of the tour we got the least amount of rest. We’d left Paris really early in the morning, been pissed about at the ferry port and sent to the Euro Tunnel due to a strike, waited in a long queue, then got sent to another ferry company elsewhere because our van was too high for the Euro Tunnel, and we only just made it to London in time. That night we had to head straight to Hollyhead to catch the ferry to Dublin. I thought about sleeping in the van for the crossing, but I couldn't resist the call of the ferry bar which is something I always enjoy on tours, so I went there instead.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Paris, FR

Sunday 21st Nov – Paris, France

This was a pretty cool gig. It was at a newish venue for Metal shows that some people didn’t know too well and unfortunately there was a Metro strike which meant public transport was limited, but there was a good crowd and we got a good response. Afterwards, Nate and I spent about an hour trying to find the hotel that was supposed to be very close by but we just got lost. We met some Moroccan drug dealers though who were really friendly and tried to help direct us. I like Paris, I’ll have to come back at some point. Can’t say I was looking forward to the early morning rise to get back to London though....

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Nantes, FR

Saturday 20th Nov - Nantes, France

Saturday night in France, and what would turn out to be our favourite show of the tour! The in-house photographer was also the chef so he did us a very nice home cooked dinner, and come show time the room was totally packed. The moshing and stage diving was every bit as energetic for us as it was for the headliners. These were a good bunch of people and really responsive, all squeezed in together, the perfect audience. The venue was on the waterfront and after the gig we walked around the town and saw this massive Battleship. Didn't look like it had seen much action though, fuck knows why...

Then we met the most stereotypical French dude ever. He had bouffant hair, was smoking Gitane filterless, had a bum-fluff moustache, and was dressed in tight black denim with winklepicker shoes. He looked a bit like Patrice, the French exchange student in the Inbetweeners. The only way he could have been more French looking is if he’d been wearing a beret and had a load of onions hanging round his neck. He was trying to explain to us that French women were the best in the world and did lots of animated gestures with his hips and fists. But I think we were in the red light district, or just an area full of ropey old sorts because these were definitely not the best women in the world. 

Headed back to the venue. The bar area was for anyone to come into, not just the gig and it seems this row of bars and clubs attract a lot of bar-hoppers who would have a few drinks in each one then move on. Met some cool locals, and after altering a sign by the bar that was advertising punch, we tried to offer our ex-military, MMA enthusiast drummer out for fights at a very reasonable price. No one seemed interested though.

I also did this video interview with a very nice chap in the afternoon.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Bilbao, ES

Friday 18th Nov – Bilbao, Spain

I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to our final Spanish show, I assumed it would be pretty dead again, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. Things started by running late, and everything being a rush. As openers, we got to soundcheck on most of the shows just before the doors opened to make sure things were working, but due to some guys from the other bands pissing about jamming shit Metallica songs while we should have been setting up, we ended up sound checking late which meant the doors had to be opened late too. The promoter was a bit pissed off and came to ask why we were taking so long and I think by now the tiredness and shit gigs the last 2 nights had got to us because we shouted at him that we would have been done long ago if we didn’t have to wait for a bunch of weakeners to finish pissing about jamming shit Metallica songs!!! But then the doors opened and the room filled with an audience with big grins, so we had a really good show to a really good crowd and it totally made up for the other 2 nights in Spain. I’d happily come to this part again, but I'd probably miss out the rest of the country to be honest

Fascist, sieg heiling toilet signs in Spain

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Madrid, ES

Thursday 17th Nov – Madrid, Spain

We’d played this venue a couple of times in the past and like before, the gig was being run by a member of the band Avulsed who are top lads and who we’ve played with a few times. Madrid’s a great city, but I don’t have many memories of this one either really, just that it was quiet to start with, then filled out a bit when people had finished work, then after the gig there was an aftershow with some striptease act booked.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Barcelon, ES

Wednesday 16th Nov - Barcelona, Spain

Spain. Another country I love visiting as a tourist, but not as a musician. This was the first of another 2 nights when we ended up going onstage really early while people were finishing up at work, so this was a pretty unremarkable gig for us. After we played, I went for a walk around the city on my own. I’d been here before and had spent a lot of time drinking in a square full of tourists, jugglers and Crusty Punks with dogs on bits of string. I didn’t find it, but I did meet a couple of random Crusties on my walk who obviously weren't gonna be paying the kind of ticket prices this tour had, what with 2 headliners, a tour agency, promoters, crew and a massive nightliner needing paying from the entrance fee. I think if we do Italy and Spain again, we’ll play squats and all-nighters. Eventually, I returned to the venue and have little recollection of the rest of the evening, except that the promoter gave us pizza. I lost 2 stone or something stupid doing this tour, so it was a welcomed site.


Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Luynes, FR

Tuesday 15th Nov – Luynes, France

We got to the venue at a decent time. The drives we were doing these last few days were through the Alps

So the views had been incredible, all rocks, caves and waterfalls. It also meant lots of braking coming down the mountains, so it was time to fit new brake pads and blocks to the van which I left to the rest of the lads. Ever since I was young and heard about my nan's uncle losing a finger when the jack broke and the whole weight of the car came crashing down on it via the wheel rim, I've had as little to do with jacked up motors as possible and to this day I hate changing tyres. Went for a walk into the town with Louis Walsh instead. It’s no secret that historically there’s a bit of tension between the English and the French, but all that bullshit aside, like everywhere else you go the people are actually pretty decent. If you at least make a little bit of effort to speak their language so they can realise you’re not some pissed-up football hooligan on a booze cruise, they’re usually pretty friendly. Tonight’s show was cool apart from a few technical difficulties forcing us to cut our set short. There was a decent amount of people there and they responded well though.

We’ve never played France that much, it’s an odd country for Metal. I’m told it has a really good scene but that with the exception of Gojira, not many bands are known outside France. I wouldn't mind going back there more often.

Misery Index/Grave tour 2010: Almost Switzerland...

Monday 15th Nov – Another show we couldn’t make

Due to REALLY shitty traffic leaving Rome, we got to a certain point where we realised there was no way we’d get to the venue in time for our slot. Even if things started moving suddenly and we were able to go flat out, Switzerland are ridiculous when it comes to bands trying to get over the border. They’re not part of the Euro and they always search the van thoroughly to make sure you’re not trying to sell anything there, or if there’s a cut for them which takes a few hours. We maybe would have got there as Grave or Misery Index were going on if we were lucky, but more likely we'd miss the whole thing so we reluctantly let Jay the Tour Manager know we weren’t gonna make it and headed to the next show instead so we could at least be early for that. It’s not always possible for tours to follow a sensible routing where the consecutive shows are in cities that are only a couple of hundred miles apart, but this one was pretty crazy for all the distances between gigs, so much so that the Nightliner legally had to have 2 drivers for some of the journeys so that one could rest in a bunk while the other drove. We didn't have that option, so there was never much chance of us making this one. We spent the day driving, watching movies, listening to Nate's HP Lovecraft audio book and eating cheese and bread from the previous gig's rider. At least we got to see this outside someone's house though: