Friday, February 10, 2012

Västerås, Sweden- Euro tour '12, day 4

I stood in the middle of the venue, my guaranteed-to-stay-warm-to-negative-forty-degree boots on my feet, thinsulate jacket zipped and buckled, hood up over my thick knit hat, gloved hands in my pockets, and absolutely freezing. It was the kind of cold that shuts your body down bit by bit. First with glacier face, snowman hands, freezer feet, and ending with what feels like amateur icicle acupuncture (the sensation of being pricked at a rapid speed with surgically-sharp shards of ice, generally starting in one's thighs moving upwards slowly causing what is it known as "the weather venom effect", which for ease of explanation I'll just say is similar to being bit by a cobra.)

A few feet away the dudes went in and out the open loading door with equipment, Scandinavian wind whipping in and sweeping away any remaining body heat left from the show. I hopped from foot to foot. I was equipped for nights like these. I made sure to pick up all the necessary winter wear, but man, no amount of impermeable superfabric could protect me from this. I looked over at Robin, the promoter, who wore wet canvas sneakers and a thin jacket. He was standing there next to me, talking about the show, acting like we were two people just hanging out- oblivious to the reality that we were two people slipping into everlasting unconsciousness, that if we didn't get out soon we were sealing our fates as future encino men, that scientists in Antarctica would pity us for the the temperatures we were being subjected to. It was lunacy. I grew up in MAINE and this was way past my threshold for cold, what kind of mutant was this Robin guy?! I needed answers. I asked him how he was surviving wearing canvas shoes in the sub-arctic freeze.

He grinned. "I'm Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedish!"

When we arrived at the venue food was ready and waiting (couscous, mock chicken strips, vegetables, coffee, juice) and everyone laid into plates and cups and found a place to chill. I sat in the kitchen on my computer. There were big happenings in WTFville at that moment and I was trying to fix things. Kuba, our driver, had asked me a few minutes before what we wanted to do about our show in Truro. I had no idea what he was talking about, so going on that my answer was I wanted to do with that show what we do with all our other shows- play it. He went on to explain that it was a last minute show on the west end of the UK and the next day we had to be in Germany which was an 18 hour drive away. It was his opinion that we could not physically do it. France was on the way, he said, we should have gotten a show there. After a quick meeting of the minds (Dave, me, Justin) we decided that rather than play a show we can't actually play we would cancel Truro and try to get something in Paris instead. I wrote to our booking agent to tell him to cancel the show and starting hitting up Frenchies.

I had maybe an hour before our set and I had to find a show. No clue when I'd have internet again, I frantically messaged and chatted. A lead here, a lead there, a maybe, a  no. Stress. Robin and other people from the show came in and out of the kitchen to hang out and chat, but I was engrossed in what I was doing and irritated that I had to do it (it's not easy to book shows on a continent you're not from) that I wasn't really talking and probably seemed rude. The trouble ended abruptly though when our booking agent sent me an email saying that the drive wasn't 18 hours, it was 15. 15 is totally doable, though I didn't expect Kuba to be excited about it. Nonetheless, Truro was back on.

Anger's Curse played a fucking awesome set before Wrong Answer, Wrong Answer set it off as usual, and then we played.

After our set I signed the first autograph of tour, which Justin has made fun of me for since. Here's my stance on autographs in hardcore (which I've written about here before)- they're silly. In America they're a no-go 100% of the time. But over here things are a bit different and I think that rather than explain, as Justin told me he would if presented the opportunity, that I'm no better than anyone else and we're all just hardcore kids not fans/rock stars, I'd like to be accessible and say, "Sure! I'll sign whatever!" While I agree it's a lesson that should be passed on, with language barriers and just, differences here, I think that it would be more rockstar to refuse to sign an autograph than to sign one. So I signed our 7", and yep it was weird in that things-in-Europe-are-kinda-weird way, but I appreciate that anyone likes us or respects us enough to ask (or buy the record, or talk to any of us- I almost never talk to bands I like unless we play with them because I get too shy.)

After we finished loading out we headed to our sleeping place for the night- a sprawling multi-floored community center. We had to leave at 2 am to start our drive to the ferry to Denmark so we all stayed up drinking coffee and hangin'. Robin and I talked vegan baked goods and I worked out in the hallway, Justin chilled on his phone, Dave and Kuba napped, and the rest of the dudes insulted a crazy racist old man from Indiana on chat roulette for at least an hour. The man, while yelling things like, "Your Dad is a faggot and your Mother is a slut!" showed them his SS ring and bragged on his nazi import/export business (to which they showed him their asses), pulled out his antique gun collection and threatened to shoot them, ("Shoot your computer you old racist piece of shit!"), and after Kevin showed him his dick he yelled "I'll circumcise you!" and came back with a samurai sword. He ranted about hating blacks and Jews, and then when the dudes pointed out that Ivan is Mexican and asked if he hated Ivan, he said, "No, I like Mexicans! I lived in south Texas for awhile." REAL LIFE.

At 2, we went back out into the cold, said our thank yous and goodbyes to the very nice Robin, and bid Sweden a good night.

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