Wednesday, 17 November 2010
European Tour Diary: Day 35 & 36 - Amsterdam, Holland.
Day 35 – Day off – Travel to Amsterdam.
Today is the last of the long journeys thankfully (except for the mammoth drive home) so we get into the van and yet again slowly make our way to The Netherlands and into Amsterdam through horrendous amounts of traffic. The heavens open once again and this time chuck some thunder and lightning in for food measure. At one point lightning must have struck really close to the van because the whole van is lit up as if a bomb went off nearby, so bright that it wakes the people that are asleep. Scary.
Weariness is definitely beginning to set in, and we literally inch our way into Amsterdam’s city limits. We arrive at 9pm and check into a hotel called The Backstage right next to tomorrow’s venue, the awesome Melkweg. The hotel is designed around the idea of live music and touring bands and is one of our favourite places to stay when/if we can afford it. There is a communal area with a bar and instruments on the walls, and an old piano covered in the signatures of bands that have stayed here before. All the rooms have furniture made out of flight cases; all the light fixtures are saxophones, snare drums and stuff like that. It’s really neat. Our friend Steve who sang for the band Outcry Collective until they split recently has flown out to join us in Amsterdam, so we head out to meet him then go for some dinner and drinks.
Amsterdam, let’s do this!
Day 36 - Amsterdam
Love this hotel! It’s so cool. We check out and go for breakfast/lunch before making our way to the venue. This is one of the few places we’ve played in Europe before. The Melkweg (‘The Milky Way’) is an awesome modern venue right in the centre of Amsterdam and we’ve played the smaller room here twice before, first with The Blackout and then with Madina Lake. This time we’re playing the big room and it’s nice to know your way around a venue. We are good friends with someone who works here so she takes care of us for the day while we hang in the dressing room. I do 3 or 4 interviews and then we pre-record 10 or so video messages for TV stations in Japan. I cannot fucking believe we are doing this! This is all amazing for obvious reasons, but mainly because when I was a kid, first exposed to rock music properly through my brother, I used to watch a VHS he had of Nirvana religiously. It was called ‘Live! Tonight! Sold Out!’ and I must have watched that thing a thousand times. To my 10/11-year-old eyes being in a band was the most incredible thing.... Obviously I didn’t quite grasp the enormity and musical/cultural importance of that band in particular but still, I just connected with what I was seeing. I will never forget a clip on the video where they do a bunch of ‘idents’, little short clips for music TV, and one of them is for Space Shower TV which Kurt calls ‘Golden Shower TV’. For some reason I never forgot this, something about it just stuck with me. Now it’s 2010 and not 1994 and I’m sitting in a backstage dressing room in Amsterdam filming a video clip for Space Shower TV. Clearly our situation is vastly different to Nirvana’s but regardless of that the enormity of what I’m doing is not lost on me, and although it’s not in itself a huge thing (I’m just sitting in front of our shitty little camera filming a 10 second clip) to me it’s huge and the more I think about it the more it affects me. I tell the guys, and none of them really seem to grasp it as much as I do, I guess it’s a personal experience and without the emotional attachment it might seem stupid, but to me, it’s not. I will now listen to nothing but Nirvana for a few days, in homage.
Tonight’s show isn’t one of our better ones, it must be said. I have a few problems with my voice and the guys have technical problems. Coming off stage and being disappointed at yourself is a really shitty way to be, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it – it’s just so annoying. I walk around under a black cloud for a while but remember earlier and tell myself not to be a prick and snap out of it. Let’s be clear here, I’m not diva stropping around the place, but truthfully I can (to a degree) understand why people can become precious and hard to work with when it comes to playing music live. Maybe I’m opening myself up to a lot of piss-taking (probably) but the thing is, when you care about something so much and want to be good at something so bad, when it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, it’s crushing. To me, in this frame of mind, a bad show isn’t just a “bad show”, it’s not ‘just one of those things” it is a revelation, the curtain finally lifted on our true shitness that I suddenly think I always suspected, all my hopes are pointless because we suck and are going to get nowhere, and I’m a fraud. Really it’s ridiculous, it simply is a bad show and I’ll be fine in about half an hour, but I would hazard a guess that most people in bands feel this way, if perhaps not quite so extremely. It’s just a byproduct of wanting something so bad, being so emotionally involved in something. Either that or I actually am one of those Divas you always hear about. Shit!
Anyway I have some drinks and chill for a while and all is well. We hit Amsterdam again for another messy night.