Friday, July 3, 2009

Euro tour update #3 Gothenburg/Uppsala, Sweden

Tour update #3. Gothenburg/Uppsala, Sweden.

We had a day off in Gothenburg, where Dead Vows live. We spent a day putzing around doing touristy shit, eating a dish called "Tzay" from a vegan fast food hut called Jonsborg, then, while everyone was out playing a strange version of soft ball, Dave and I made a video tour update.

The next day we played a venue in Uppsala called The Grand. The venue, from the outside, looked like it sounds. It called to mind a movie I recently saw about the life of French singer Edith Piaf. It seemed like a place where someone like her, someone with a beautiful voice and fine gown, would croon out songs of heartbreak to an upscale audience in 1937. Inside, it was a bit less dramatic. We played an upstairs space, which looked more like a room I'd attend a free lesson of ballroom dancing in than play a show. 2 large and 2 small crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, an old jukebox sat in the shadows, vintage records were pinned to the wall. By the merch table hung a few black and white photos of The Grand. My guess outside had been right. The oldest photo looked to be from the early 40's, and showed a fancy, fur-clad crowd gathered around the entrance. The next photo showed a group of dudes in the 80's hanging outside in varsity jackets and acid wash jeans. I looked around the room. Before me stood 50 kids in fresh sneaks and flat or flipped brim hats, and, for whatever it's worth, this moment could easily serve as our snapshot in time on The Grand's wall.

There was a large low-lit bar near the merch tables that had a spread of food already awaiting us when we arrived. Again, it was pasta salad. This surprised both Dave and I. It seemed a bit strange to get twice in 3 days, since I've never been served it in my life. The Swedes asked why I found it odd, "isn't this common summer food?" I explained that in America, it's usually a side dish. But regardless of pasta salad's unexpected entree status in Sweden, we were grateful for the food, and all but me and Ryan (the pickiest eater ever) ate it. This left me feeling terribly guilty, but I assure you that my decision not to eat pasta salad was not based on snobbery or lack of appreciation for the kids who booked us. See, I don't eat salads of any type. They repulse me. Furthermore, my own personal hell could easily be constructed with the slicing of a single cucumber in a place where I could smell it- so this dish, filled with the hellish veggie and bearing the name "salad", was not even in the realm of possibility for me to eat. Bread and margarine held me over, and delicious coconut chocolate cookies. There was also iced tea, a variety of hot teas, and coffee.

I did not see this myself, but I heard that the guard at the door was giving sobriety tests. Downstairs an extremely tall dude set up a table with Swedish literature on animal rights. In the bathroom I saw graffiti that said, "Fuck wannabe Axl Rose", and spent the rest of the night looking for this person, hoping he or she was a regular at The Grand.

"Hey Dave... how long would this venue last in America?" I asked as I nodded at the chandeliers.

He evaluated. "One show. And it wouldn't even make it to the last band."

The first band was a metalcore band a la 2003, the singer was about 6'6" and in very tight pants and a tight purple tank top. He was so... vertical, and reminded me of a human stick bug. He lamented to me after the show that the mosh had not been sick enough during their set so video taping it was a total bust. But, in one bout of moshing, someone had knocked one of the chandeliers crooked. After the set was over someone rushed to fix it, and people were mindful the rest of the evening.

I, I think from only eating bread, felt faint our whole set and my voice was weak, I'd say ranking in the top 3 worst shows I've ever played. Someone near the left side of the stage kept farting and the smell was fucking unnatural. Every time I found myself over there I went quickly bounding back to the right side, and even there the scent lingered. The room was incredibly hot and humid, like what I imagine the jungles of Indonesia to feel like. My hair was plastered to my head, my face a cherry tomato, and my shoes filled with pools of foot sweat. I kicked them off mid-song, and OH LORD what an odor. After the song I apologized to the giggling crowd, who were all suffering my stench (not to mention the anonymous ass ripper), and after our set I asked Dave if he had smelled my feet, and before I could even get the question out he said, "Yep. Mhmm, absolutely." That's my lot in life. To be in an elegant setting, participating in an activity that leaves me soaked in sweat and smelling like old corn chips.

After the show a kid explained to me that the reason the Swedes don't destroy their venues (as I had explained during our set American kids frequently do), is because then they would get shut down and they couldn't have shows anymore. I laughed at this, because he sincerely thought that I, and American hardcore kids at large, had not considered this little cycle of action/reaction. We have, we're just idiots. So we ruin our venues, and our scenes, then complain about it. This is so stupid that it doesn't translate.

After the show we stayed at a youth space that had a stage, a cafe, 10 couches for us to sleep on, and a huge kitchen (where I eagerly made myself a stir fry). The bathroom was a room on the 3rd floor that was literally a room with a shower head it in. The sun never went down completely and I saw lily pads for the first time.

Now we're on a 10 hour drive to the top of Sweden, and I'm very tired. Goodnight.

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