Tag Archives: tour

Tour Video: 7th and Final Installment

21 Aug

Donji Miholjac, Croatia; Belgrade, Serbia; Novi Sad, Serbia; Paris (travel day).

Tour Video Part 6

15 Aug

Prague, Czech Republic; Leipzig, Germany; Zagreb, Croatia (day off); Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tour Video Part 5

6 Aug

Neu Tramm, Berlin, and Ansbach.

Tour Video Part 4

18 Jul

Tour photos

16 Jul

All the gory details of the European Tour documented photographically,  Flickr style.

Tour Video Part 3

16 Jul

Euro Tour: Travel Day, Paris

4 Jul

Dropping off Sasha and Damir was emotional though Damir tried to power through it by giving us a South Park quote: “screw you guys, I’m going  home.” We showered and napped at Josip’s house before going to the airport for our flight to Paris. We hit a cash machine so that we could pay for our share of the tour losses, gave a hug to Josip who was stifling tears, and boarded our Air France flight.

We shelled out the exorbitant 60€ to store our guitars and merch over night at the airport. After an hour on the packed train into Paris we were glad we did. We found our hostel after a bit of confusion. We immediately headed out to be tourists and walked past the Bastille, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and eventually the Eiffel Tower. On the way we stopped to buy souvenirs for our families and then ate “typical French cuisine” in a heavily touristed area. We stopped at a little cafe on the way back to our hostel and, immersed as we had been during three weeks in the van, kept hearing Croatian words at the tables next to us. We were shocked when we got back to the hostel and looked at the time: it was 2:30am and we had to be up in four hours to catch our flight home.

Although our estimation of Paris had gone up since our last visit, our impressions of the airport veered into increasingly negative territories. As Bill put it after walking half a mile to find a luggage cart that we immediately had to abandon in order to get down a broken escalator to our terminal, “it is NOT a user-friendly airport.” Despite the fact that we had 6-8 hours of sleep in the previous 48 hours, we slept only fitfully on the flight to Chicago. Tour done. You’re welcome.

Euro Tour: Day 19, Novi Sad

3 Jul

The dance party we went to bed next to at 4am was still going on when we woke up at 11am. We loaded up the van and left the shit hole of Belgrade behind us. (I mean no disrespect, but the place is a decaying garbage dump…) We arrived at Route 66 in Novi Sad and were excited about the prospect of playing a proper club with great gear and clean everything. Sasha, Jason, and I took a walk down to the Danube and stuck our feet in the water. It was quite a relaxing couple of hours and by the time we walked back to the club we felt rested and refreshed. As the afternoon turned to evening, it became apparent that the club had done no promotion for the show and really didn’t give a shit about whether anyone showed up. A grand total of four people actually did show up. They came specifically to see our bands and asked questions that indicated that they were already familiar with our music. While we put on our best show for them, it was heart-breaking to play the final show of the tour to an empty room. We packed up the van as soon as we were done and drove straight through to Zagreb.

Euro Tour: Day 18, Belgrade

2 Jul

Shima, the promoter, and his wife Miki invited us over to their small apartment for lunch. Delicious sausages, fried cheese, and soup followed by coffee prepared us for the four-hour trip to Belgrade. As we entered Belgrade, we got stuck in the most horrendous traffic jam any of us had ever seen. Eventually we made it to Bigz, a huge crazy industrial building that used to be a publishing/printing company in the former Yugoslavia. Now it is a huge eight-story complex of rehearsal rooms, artist studios, dance clubs, venues, and speak-easies. We loaded into a tiny, almost-swank lounge with an adjoining bar and then took a walk along the river Sava to eat some pretty awesome pizza on a floating restaurant.

By the time we got back, the venue and hallway outside were packed. The opening band, The Schtrebers, were very cool. They were all-instrumental with some interesting post-punk/art/shoegaze material that I really dug. Joe 4 blew the preamp section on the bass amp four or five songs in and threw in the towel. A kid named Alexander talked to us before the show. Apparently, he had drive 500k just to see us. Given the fact that he sang along to every single song, I’d say that he wasn’t pulling our leg. Jason felt that it was his worst performance of the tour and while that may be true, it was still a pretty great show. We hung out and talked to a lot of people afterward, including Stefan from the Natures With No Plagues blog. We slept in a rehearsal room on the seventh floor right next door to an all-night dance party. It was going strong when we went to bed at 4am and was still going when we woke up at 11am. Apparently the spirit of the building got into Jason, Bill and Sasha because they were up until 7am at an impromptu jam session consisting of Beatles, Nirvana, and Pixies covers.

Euro Tour: Day 17, Donji Miholjac

1 Jul

Breakfast at Banana City was a bit lacking especially given that there was no coffee at all. But we met Mirza and Eldon and they took us to the old part of town for lunch. Most got some sort of sausage and clotted cream sandwich that was eaten with great gusto and much appreciative head shaking. Sasha and I had more potato burke which was every bit as good as the night before. Then we strolled over to an outdoor cafe to have the Bosnian version of Turkish coffee. The tiny little cups of oily, syrupy coffee are traditionally served with sugar cubes intended for  dipping and nibbling. A hunk of Turkish delight is served as a little dessert.

Most of us dozed in the van for the trip to the tiny village of Donji Miholjac, Croatia. For the first time at a border crossing, a customs agent demanded to see our gear. His inspection was extremely cursory though: he opened the back door of the van and then, confronted with a wall of guitar cases, shut it again.

We unloaded into Katakomba, dumped our bags in the band flat half a block away and settled down for a drink at a sidewalk cafe. After some pizza at the venue and a bit of a hang out back stage, the first band started. They were called Why? and were local kids doing the sort of pop-punk played the world-over by eager beginners. Joe 4 were brilliant as usual. The dazed state I had been in all day prevented me from my usual enthusiastic response, but it didn’t mean they didn’t deserve it. Bill and I did jump on stage for a few sing-alongs though. We played well enough, though like Joe 4 our bassist was pretty tipsy. Damir pointed out correctly that it made them more of showmen and cranked up the spectacle aspect of both performances up a notch. There were kids packed up front head banging ferociously and we were again called back for another song. I think I sweat more this show than any other show thus far. We hung out in the bar for a long time afterward talking to the kids swarming around. Apparently, we were the first American band ever to play to this town, so we were a bit exotic, I suppose.