Sunday, 7 November 2010

European Tour Diary: Day 14 - Vienna, Austria

We turn up to the venue today and it’s more like a compound than a venue, same as most other venues in Europe it seems. I may have talked about this already but I will again now, just in case… Going to a show here is a different experience to the one we’re used to at home in England. In England, you watch the band, spend 5 or ten minutes looking at the merch then are kicked out by security and you make your way home. Here, you stay around, have some beers with your friends in the evening air by the outside bar, often lit by lights in the trees. It’s really nice. Anyway, as I said this place is more like a compound than a venue, it’s a big courtyard with the venue in the middle, and buildings all around, plus another bar to the side. Turns out it was abandoned, and in the 70’s was taken over by squatters who ended up living there for so long they were allowed to keep the place, so did it all up and turned it into a venue. It’s a great communal atmosphere, kind of like if Byker Grove put on gigs. We load all the gear in to the venue before sound check and cross the courtyard (decorated – of course – with graffiti everywhere) with our suitcases and wander into one of the other buildings where we’ll be staying for the night. Our room has a mini kitchen with a fridge full of beer and soft drinks, and food for us to eat, a small bathroom and one big bedroom with three triple bunk beds. The top bunk must be 12 feet up, fuck staying up there!

The whole room has been tagged by bands that have stayed here before us, like most of the backstage areas that you see on the road. The ceiling, the floor, the walls, the bed, the light fixture… It’s one of my favourite parts of touring and seeing different venues, seeing bands that you know personally that have been here before, or bands you are a fan of. It’s cool to think that these people are separately travelling all over the world and converging or crossing at different intersections all over the globe. I imagine a planet covered in wandering dotted lines that occasionally cross over. It feels like we’re part of something, a select group of people living a bizarre life and sharing the same experiences.

One of our favourite stories we remember every now and again is a story told to us by our friend and ex Young Guns member Tom. He and some other friends of ours used to be in a UKHC band called Awoken, and years ago when they were on tour in Europe they stayed in a room with huge triple bunk beds. They made one of our friends who was the other guitarist in Awoken stay on the top bunk. When he went to the toilet in the middle of the night they all leapt out of bed and removed all of the slats from both his top bunk and the middle bunk before gently placing the mattresses back, setting up the camera and getting back into bed. Dan comes back, makes his way up the ladder and hops enthusiastically back into bed before crashing down 10 feet, through two bunks and landing face first on the floor level bed. Brilliant. This is the place! I would never have guessed that when listening to this story years ago, full of envy that they were living this amazing existence, slogging it on the road travelling far and seeing new cities and landscapes with their friends etc, that I would one day be sitting on a bunk in that very same room. It is deeply satisfying and makes me smile.

We soundcheck, have the customary lovely dinner and play our first ever show in Vienna. It’s really great to see a few Young Guns shirts in the crowd, and we meet Lenka and Petra, who have both travelled far to be here, Petra has come 500km to see us play, and Lenka has come from the Czech Republic to be with us tonight. Wow. Thank you guys. I’ve said it before, but it is early days in Europe (and really, in general) for us, but it is so amazing to meet people that are dedicated enough to travel so far just for us. I’m humbled.

I’m still feeling a bit shit so we pack up and I head back for the night to turn in early while some of the other guys have some drinks in the bar nearby. Good night Vienna, see you again some time.


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