This was our third time playing Rote Flora. As we loaded in (meaning: everyone but me loaded in) I stood outside taking photos and thinking back to shows gone by. Feb '09 with Bishop. June '08 with Anchor. Reminiscing has a tendency to make one feel old and as I reviewed a little video I took of the streets of Hamburg for a friend and noticed the fine lines forming around my eyes, I really felt it. Walking back over to the entrance to provide moral support for those loading (meaning: take more pictures), I ran into my Hamburgian friend Lexi.
"Yo Lexi, how long have we known each other? I know we met on the Anchor tour but when did we start talking?"
"It was before myspace- I think maybe on friendster. It was.... '03?..."
2003. 9 years ago. God Damn. My shock was obvious. Lexi smiled. "...we're getting old!"
From a rocking chair suspended in some endless nirvanic moment, Father Time tipped his hat to me.
Lexi brought me my very favorite German condiment- an oily fried onion and apple spread that tastes like heart failure. I carefully tucked it away in my purse with the intention of taking it back to the States with me (...but actually devoured it a few days later in the van while driving in Poland.) Inside the big, freezing cold kitchen of Rote Flora we were each given a burrito, then because we are insatiable pigs we immediately went and got Thai food after.
Hamburg is a cool city. It's kind of the quintessential oh-my-god-punks-run-Europe city. At eye level there's political graffiti and gigantic wheatpastings on everything, black-clad kids walk the streets and if you peek into any of the independently run little shops lining the streets you'll see them working and shopping too, flyers for bands you know and like lie pasted every few feet leaving you with the impression that while tonight you may be playing a show, yesterday you missed a sweet one, and tomorrow there will one even better. Looking down and looking up you'll find the old-time grandeur and quirky earthiness that Europe is known for- cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, eco-conscious miniature cars, and folks from every walk of life cruising around on their bicycles (even in the cold.)
Back inside it was apparent that there would be no heat. It was so cold that it was fucking crazy. Like the wild west of indoor weather- no rules, no bullshit, straight shootin' ice. Gloves on, jackets on, hoods up, and breath visible we set up merch and eventually set up to play, and eventually, started playing. The show started late, and like at least half of the shows on this tour the only bands playing were us and Wrong Answer. They played in jackets, we did the same, and at the end of the night we had barely broken a sweat because the cold was that intense. The crowd in Hamburg was fun as always. We video taped the set and I was so excited to show you all... but it got deleted by accident. :(
After the show we stayed with the promoter who lived above a falafel joint, a falafel joint that upon running out of falafel gave us fried broccoli sandwiches instead. They were absolutely delectable. I don't know if I'll ever eat falafel again.
The apartment itself was an efficiency. Now, while we're not the tallest band on earth, Wrong Answer is comprised of freak giants so the floor was a mess of limbs and heads against walls and arms crammed under furniture. Justin had to share the promoter's bed with him because he literally couldn't fit anywhere else. I had to stay in the fetal position all night in order to not be on top of someone else.
Let's talk Euro showers. There are a lot of different varieties, all of which are exotic and weird to Americans. Tonight's shower was an ankle-deep tub with a wrap around curtain. Listen- I don't really know what happened while I was in there but when I got out the floor had at least 2 inches of water on it. Like, 5 or 6 goldfish could have lived there no problem. In a panic I leaped out and frantically mopped with the bathroom mat, and in my haste knocked everything, like seriously everything in the bathroom onto the floor. My clothes. The toilet paper. My toothbrush. I was as graceful as Allosaurus in a ballet. Because the apartment was very cold the bathroom stayed wet all night and dude after dude came out of the bathroom with wet feet, grumbling to me about the ruined toilet paper. Let it be known: I am a moron who doesn't understand how shower curtains work. I don't know what happened that day in the shower in Hamburg, I may never know. All I know is how I woke up the next morning: to the soothing sounds of the Kingdom/Wrong Answer "Symphony Of Asses."