Thursday, July 1, 2010

there's the blockade!

it's been a while. i'd like to start this blog by saying thanks to martin from belgium. or bavaria. uh oh. i've fogotten where he's from. but anyway he told me in paris that he reads my blog. so thankyou. nice to know i'm not typing into the abyss.

sooooo germany. it was legit. i visited the augustiner brewery and brew house, hofbrauhaus and walked around a bunch. one night i worked out with joe and jord to meet them at 10:10am at rosenheim station the next day so we could go check out the eagles nest in berchtesgaden. google it. this required me to be awake at about 9 to catch a 9:30 train from just up the road. well since i have no phone and the watch i have has no alarm (but i worked out later my ipod does, fml) i rely on going to bed at the right time in order to wake up at the right time. this failed me, i woke up at 10:55. great. i sat around in bed for a while dwelling on the epicness of my fail at not making it to basically why i came to munich for (eagles nest) before dressing myself and trudging downstairs with little hope. after a quick google i decide to jump in a taxi and bolt it to the station.

turns out the taxi driver took me on the most random-ass route possible so instead of going straight down the road to the station he did like a massive loop so my route compared to the ideal one forms a massive grinning mouth. sigh. i get inside and run to the ticket booth and wait around for a bit before the guy is like "choo canten maken ze 11:50 tvain becoose ze platvorm iz to var avay, lol" so i bought a ticket to the next one then bolted and caught the early one. take that dracula. yeah i know dracula wasn't german, hush. so i get to rosenheim with no hope of the guys being there. i was stressed on the train ride but animal collective calmed me down. superb calm down and make happy music. yeah so i got off the train and wandered for a while around the station before going to info where the only guy who spoke english was occupied by some woman buying what must have been a house or something equally as significant because the transaction lasted for like 2 hours. okay maybe 25 minutes but it was long.

he told me how to get to berchtesgaden and i went to the right platform. a couple of minutes pass then i spot jord and joe coming up the stairs with bikes. the most amazing coincidence known to man. we laughed for ages at the pure chance of it. turns out they'd tried to email me a few times and just decided to cycle around for a while and wait to see if i'd show up. so we got on the train and headed to berchtesgaden, finally. we met a guy from brisbane who is studying bass trombone in germany somewhere and buddied up. we got to da berch ( btw) but found out we couldn't get to the eagles nest because the last bus was about to leave so we wouldn't be able to get back. sigh. we decided to go to konigssee instead, this epic glacial lake about 5km away. we had two bikes so jord ended up riding on the back while i rode cause i'm heavier. we got there and it was amazing. seriously so good.

suss this photo - - see the little island out on the water? it has a statue of a king on it with some ruins and such. it's awesome. we stripped (stripped makes it sound drawn out) and swam from that left edge of the shore just beyond those boat houses (in the forest) out to the island. the water was FREEZING. i'd be wagering it was close to zero. joe's toes went white and he couldn't feel them for a few hours. we hiked back to the village and tried to hitchhike but ended up doing the dink thing and riding back to berchtesgaden. tried to find a tavern for a drink, no luck. ended up getting beer from the train station which came in insanely solid bottles and tasted incredible. the beer in
caught the train back to central in munich and went back to the hostel after a train station dinner with the gents.

eventually we flew to london. we got to the airport not 100% knowing how we'd get picked up but eventually mark and jack appeared seemingly out of nowhere. cause the 10kg GPS i'd been lugging around with me didn't seem to work we ended up without one so we drove around london for a few hours trying to work out what to do. we found a nandos across the street from our hotel and ate. the hotel was interesting. no air con. like the van we hired. oh yeah, that's right. no air conditioning in the van and the only windows that open are the front two and a skylight. pretty amazing. this is now sweat tour '10 aka. disgusting thin layer of oily gloss that forms on your face when you're in a vehicle for too long with no fresh air or air conditioning...tour '10. later that night i went to my sister's to hang out for a bit. we hadn't seen each other for like 6 months so it was pretty legit. went home and "slept". next day we picked up ro and bree and headed to manchester for our first UK show. it went alright. the venue was nice. don (one of our managers)'s daughter and her boyfriend were there which was nice. some food after then off to the hotel to sleep. the next day we caught a ferry to ireland which was pleasant.

ireland was just pleasant overall. the people ruled, the venue was nice, we got fruit, show went good, people bought us guinness (guinness in ireland tastes about 50 times better than anywhere else in the world). quality time. shame we couldn't find our hotel later that night and after 3 hours of searching we just slept at a petrol station near the ferry docks. caught the ferry at a time that was too early, arrived in england again and drove to glastonbury. nice drive. due to some misorganisation on my part i'd written off any chance of my sister finding us at glasto but somehow she turned up just as we did exactly where we did. for anyone who knows anything about glasto's grounds, this is a bona fide miracle. the weather was perfect. we ran into polly and some of the mumford lads which was great. they were in mourning over the soccer. we walked across the fest to our stage (it took about a half hour...glasto is big) and got some food. eventually we wound up talking to some of the other dudes backstage who turned out to be chief, the band playing with us at bush hall in london in about two weeks. really legit guys. we ended up doing some acrobatics and inventing games with little tables and chairs around the place. everyone nearly got seriously injured a few times but all in the name of fun. jack and i met a fellow named avi buffalo who was after us on the stage who was super nice. he asked to listen to my ipod cause i was warming up to pig destroyer. he said they shredded. he is not wrong.

chief played and killed it. really solid live band, pretty chill. drummer michael reminded me of doug clifford from creedence. solid and entertaining to watch. sweet d00dz. we hung with them for a bit, played our set (it was alright) then walked around a while. my sister was hanging with us too which was most excellent. we found our way back to the van eventually with the chief dudes (to give them a lift back to their hotel) but when we got there we had to wait in line with the van for what must have been about 2 hours. it was insane. the line to get out was just. not. moving. joe got in the boot with mike (chief) and my sister and had a bit of a banjo hodown. nice work guys. eventually we got out and headed to ben mumford's place for some sleep. we woke up nice and late, ate some great breakfast then headed to brighton for the show that night. it went pretty good. first of a few shows with pearly gate music who are sweet people. after the show we drove a while to get to a hotel in dover near the ferry for the next day only to find out that they had no record of our booking. sweet. we drove and found another hotel and slept for about half an hour before heading to the ferry to head to calais to drive to paris. we got there and drove. it was a pleasant drive toward the end. paris is legit.

we loaded in and sat around for a while before soundcheck. joe and i washed our clothes then trekked around for a while trying to find a laundromat to dry our clothes in to not much avail. but that's cool. we eventually found one. it dried our clothes real good. sam octigan showed up at the show which was rad, sweet pal from back home. good to see another familiar face. emma, a friend of my pal nikoli was there too which was rad. show went pretty good. nice crowd. strangely large venue. we left our gear there afterward and headed back to the hotel where some of us stayed and slept and some of us went out. i slept. woke up to the hotel phone ringing and the hotel brought us up some bread, croissants and coffee. thanks guys. checked out and headed to the eiffel tower. it was big and not bad. octigan met us there, we walked around for a bit, got ice cream, took some photos with the tower then got some lunch back near the van. i had a weird frenchy hotdog. said our goodbyes to octigan (see you in three weeks!) then started the drive to cologne where i am now.

i watched a film called werckmeister harmonies by bela tarr. it's a hungarian flick about a guy in a small town that's having kind of an existential crisis when a big whale is brought to town as a freak show type exhibit. it's made up of only a few really long intricately planned takes. all shot in black and white. sparse music. very, very beautiful film. haunting is the right word. i recommend it highly. a few bits of forced emotion but the rest is great. you need to be patient with it.

we got in, ate, slept and i am now awake and it's like 1:15pm. we're playing in koln tonight. notbadnotbad. i'm hungry.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

dead kings.

bonnaroo was intense. kinda like how i imagine woodstock would be if they tried to run it today. about a tenth of the people and widespread commercialization. they had a helicopter too. jay-z gave me a rap hat, thanks mate. well, not him personally but his clothing brand. i don't really wear it but it's a good'un. we played on a little stage in front of where weezer was playing which was interesting. never played on a stage in front of another stage before. i ended the set with a white towel wrapped around my head held on with a garnier fructus elastic headband. may have inadvertently bolstered the rep of just being a band called the middle east and seeming like we're from the middle east. after the set we all caught some dinner together (tme and mumford & crew) which was excellent. the food and the company were unbeatable. we said some goodbyes and i ran off to get a rap hat while everyone else went to stevie wonder. i went to stevie after but couldn't find anyone so i just caught a tiny bit then bailed back to the van. we went back to mike & ash's, split up the gear, did some general cleaning and sorting of the van then mark and i set off to get to jackson, TN. we arrived and slept.

we woke up and drove. and drove. and drove. and drove. and for a change then we thought it might be a cool idea if maybe we considered possibly just driving a little bit more. eventually we got to dallas and i got on my flight. after some drama with my credit card eventually they gave me inflight wireless internet for free. this therefore made it the best flight ever. inflight internet is amazing. anyone who saw all of my facebook updates understands how much i loved it. anyway. landed at LGA in NYC and caught a taxi to rich's where i slept. the next day i woke up and pretty much just started to plan my next few days. after working out a rough plan rich and i met up with sasha and we went and saw sally seltmann play at a sweet dark little bar. she ruled. then sasha and i headed off to the empire state to try and catch the sunset but we missed it by like a half hour. that's alright, we enjoyed it anyway. after that we went to planet hollywood in times square. what a weird place. the most unusual memorabilia hanging around the place. some rad stuff from se7en that i really wanted. some stuff from beetlejuice (yep). some stuff from fifth element and die hard 3. a bunch of stallone stuff. you could tell who owned the place. the food wasn't too bad. a couple basically broke up next to us which was kind of distressing but we tried to block it out. after that we bid our farewells (see you in australia!) and went to our respective places of rest.

the next day (the 15th) i went on a bit of a mission. i dropped some rolls of film (14) off at a sweet photo lab, walked up to the NYC public library and took a look, then went to the chrysler building and took a big long look at that (favourite building in NYC next to the empire, definitely), then checked out grand central (mark told me i'd love it and i did), then dropped some stuff off at our business manager's office, then went to NBC for a fallon taping. it was pretty rad. such a tiny studio, really surprised me. the guy who was warming up the crowd singled me out as the orrstrayylyann so we had a bit of a back and forth which was entertaining. the roots came out and played thought @ work to get the crowd ready (awesome) to which i reacted like a school girl to the beatles in the 60's. the roots are still the best. see them live and try denying it. cedric the entertainer was on and he was funnier than i remember. he made some crack about there being an ipad app for where to buy weed in the hood and ?uestlove made a "he just say that on fallon?" face. it was a pretty awkward comment. fred willard was on too and wasn't as funny as i'd hoped. still cool to see him in person though. broken social scene played a song too. killed it.

afterwards this feller named paul took me down and showed me the set which was pretty cool to see. i got to see ?uest's kit up close too which was pretty surreal. learned a few little things i might try and work into my setup. after that i walked down 7th and found a cinema and watched get him to the greek which was alright. might have to see it again. i dig jonah hill so i was always destined to see it. walked back to rich's and slept. i don't remember what i did the next day. i think i went and saw splice which was pretty surprisingly rad and legitimately disturbing. and really well made. after that i bailed back to rich's then went out again and saw best worst movie which is a doco about troll 2 and the recent cult status it's achieved. really good, really funny, really entertaining doco. kinda heartbreaking in parts too. definitely recommend it. after that, sleep. next day i got up and saw breathless (godard) at the film forum which was a pretty killer experience. brand new print, lovingly restored. looks good as new. still as fresh of a film as ever too. after that i headed back to rich's and we picked up greg and went to brooklyn bowl to see the roots/john legend play.

pretty surreal little show. not a big venue which was odd given who was playing. i watched ?uest and john the whole time, and james poyser. i didn't even realise poyser was playing with the roots now. he's amazing. pure fire on a piano. did a ridiculous solo in one of the songs that had everyone else in the band cracking up laughing from the sheer sickness of it. after that we bowled awhile while ?uesto dj'd the night away. i did good on my first game but sucked royally after that. what's a boy to do. the lakers/celtics game was playing all around the venue at the same time and when the lakers won, ?uest was spinning that kelis "i hate you so much right now" song and he dropped it back to probably half the speed or more for a couple of minutes to really emphasize exactly how he was feeling about the lakers at the time. we eventually headed home and i slept.

woke up, hectic times. picked up some photos from the shop, packed my bags, booked hostels...a few other things before i left. bid my farewell to rich (who's a legend for putting me up for the last couple of days/nights), jumped in a cab, raced to jfk as fast as i could (it took around an hour and forty five...nasty) only to find the computers were down so they just manually checked us in. which was interesting. the flight was alright, i watched star wars episode III: revenge of the sith. if you take out all the clowning droid voices and basically every scene (except the choking one) with padme then you have a really solid film. easily the best of the prequels. very badarse. the opening is the best of the prequels too, straight into it.


i also read child of god by cormac mccarthy. pretty intense book, not for the weak of stomach or those who don't like weird stories. definitely his shortest book too. after i got off the flight they put us with a different carrier to get to munich (the flight went into dusseldorf) who charged me excess baggage which is a whole other kettle of fish but i eventually got on the flight and listened to animal collective the whole way. real short flight, might have actually been less than an hour flight time. once i got there it was a juggling act with all of my gear. when it came to stairs, cause i had my rolling luggage, snare and cymbals (and backpack but that doesn't count), sometimes i had to take two items up some steps, come down, grab the lone item, grab one of the two items i already brought up on the way past, go up further, go down and grab the straggler and so on. painful. but i finally got to the hostel where i am now at. sigh.

the title has no relevance to the contents of this post, i just think they're a badass band.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

in nashville.

phoenix was pretty good. we ended up hanging out exchanging party tricks by the end of the night over a few beers. then we (mumford + crew & tme) attempted a human pyramid. we did not succeed. this would not be the last attempt, however.

after that we high-tailed it to austin. the venue was basically a big shed but sounded surprisingly badass. i only played ONE tables tennis game against rohin and NO POOL AT ALL besides both being free for all for the whole night. this bums me out a lot. all the denton crew came down for the show which was amazing, so good to see them all again. i ended up going to a bar named mohawk and hanging with two new friends, liz and bob. liz is a singer-songwriter and bob is a comedian. they were real interesting folk and nicely bought me a drink or two. we headed back to chance (heck)'s house which is HUGE and hung for a bit. bree, carly sue, lesley, courtnie and myself then went to kerby lane for some late night (4:30am) eats. i had some enchiladas. they were good. lesley chose a chicken sannich so she could sit back in the corner of the booth and chill. that was the actual reason she told us she chose it. good reason. went back to chances, slept for a few hours.

woke up, head to dallas. i watched some more penn & teller and listened to the new deftones. penn & teller ruled, not so sure about new deftones yet. think it'll be a grower. it's a little too overtly melodic in some parts...what i mean by that is it always felt the melody in deftones was understated. part of the song as a whole that seemed to write itself in there because it fit perfectly. some of the stuff on the new album feels melodic for melodic's sake. this sounds weird, i know. i need to listen to it more. as pretentious and weird as it may sound, i kind of see deftones as the radiohead of metal. they do whatever the hell they want and always pull it off...well, i need to listen to the new album to make sure they pulled it off. so to speak. anyway.

we got to the house of blues in dallas. it's a killer venue, one of the newest HOB's in the country. actually i think it is THE newest one. the downstairs room is excellent and big and the room we played in, the cambridge room upstairs, was also sweet. dealey plaza was a 5 minute walk away (where kennedy was assassinated) but i didn't end up going there which i now consider a mistake. we got some free chow (i got the elwood: sourdough bun, tomato, lettuce, chili mayo, cayan chicken & chips...amazing) and somehow got the sweetest dressing room in the whole building. it overlooked the main downstairs room where wonder girl were playing with 2PM. 2PM killed it, wonder girl not so much. the sound of girl's screams was DEAFENING. insane. we played okay. before the last song we started thanking people which went on for about 3 minutes or so. we even thanked cheverolet for making the van we toured in. mumford ruled too. pretty sad being our last show together though. bonnaroo doesn't count.

after the show i ran into mel who is a pal of my friend andy. she stayed at a house i lived in forever ago (2007 i think) so that was a weird chance encounter. later we tried to do the mumford/tme pyramid again after taking an end of tour crew photo but we failed aaahhhgain. i blame the top two rows for being too scared to scale our mighty 'mid. after that we headed back to denton to hang with everyone which was sweet, then went to bed. goodnight.

next day we got up, hung for a bit and said our goodbyes. next stop, nashville. the drive was pretty good. i bought at the mountains of madness which is shaping up to rule pretty hard. did some more listening and watched some more penn & teller with joe. got to nashville to mike & ash's (they rule super hard) and hung for a bit before sleep. just woke up before to some amazing breakfast from m&a and now we're about to head to bonnaroo, our last show in the USA for a long while. this is epic. after the show we're splitting up our gear for our respective flights to different places. pretty crazy.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

good grief.

i am BEYOND behind. ugh. it's like forgetting to do homework and running off and doing cool stuff like playing under the broken fire hydrant in the street while tribe called quest blasts from some boombox nearby being held by a dude with a flat top and you're wearing bright coloured parachute clothes probably adidas and everyone's dancing and having a good time and some old man is yelling at us to stop dancing and making such a racket and so on but then when you get home and relax into the couch for your favourite session of cat dog or rocco's modern life or even beavis and butthead you find a crumpled piece of paper wedged in the gap between the sofa cushion and the sofa back and it turns out it's actually your maths homework but you're not good at maths and it's due tomorrow but there's no way you can do it so you just don't and then forget to do it and then the teacher calls you up the front in class and you act all cool like forgetting to do your homework is sick but then the teacher makes an example of you and you get all up in her grill and start fumin' all over the place and she just sends you to the principal's office and you get expelled.

that's what it's like right now.

alright so we did a bunch of stuff. ummm...redwoods of northern california. amazing. super tall trees. very tall, verrryyy dangerous. we ran into jack johnson there. i think he was just hanging with his fam. we had a debate amongst ourselves as to if it was really him. we have decided it was probably him after some research. everyone saw a brown bear run across the road but me. i shot two rolls of film but one broke inside the camera so it was ruined and the other didn't even go through the camera so i felt pretty dumb about that. we went to san francisco and played there and there was this chef named jose who was amazing. he also had this kitchenhand who's name i forget. apparently, according to jose, "children of bodom, they come here and they play, they ask for jose". he also said silverchair ask for jose. jose was a pretty amazing cook, i'll be honest. i went back for seconds, possibly thirds. sasha (hough, pal from melbourne) came out to the show. cool seeing a melbourne pal in another country. she had a girl she was travelling with too named tania. i said "had a girl" just then like tania is a bag or something. which she is not. anyway.

after that i don't even remember. i ended up in LA, walked around a while, caught one of those touristy tours that's like AND THERE IS THE HOUSE JENNIFER ANISTON LIVED IN WHEN SHE WAS ON FRand stuff like that. pretty lame but 25 bucks to sit down for 2 hours and see most of beverly hills and hollywood was a pretty sweet deal. plus i got to see zanuck, goldwyn, newman...all these awesome estates from the golden age. and aaron spelling's house which is incredibly big. the LA shows went pretty sweet, a bit of fun. met some crazy people. i went to amoeba which was overwhelming and i ended up walking out with nothing. actually wait, that was the second day. first day i walked out with new dillinger, cult of luna - eternal kingdom w/dvd and chasing amy (criterion...4 bucks!). tried to go to the cinerama dome but i missed all the decent sessions. fail.

we did a show in costa mesa too which was nice. that was on our lonesome, not with mumford. i was on fire when it came to pool that night. i seriously couldn't miss a shot. i was surprising even myself, i hadn't played since brooklyn like 3 weeks back. i hope this pool mojo continues until i get home and then i can smash andrew, aaron and vallejos in one swoop. look out boys.

then we played a show in solana beach with mumford. that was...weird. turned into a bit of a slap-dash set but i guess that's okay. we hung out with christina (VH, friend from aus and traveller/wanderlust extraordinaire) and she gave us a place to stay and shared breakfast with us this morning. that was excellent. i had eggs, toast and strawberries. it worked. then we drove across the bloody desert and now we're in phoenix. we just played before, mumford are playing now and killing it. everyone is singing every single word. i swear if marcus coughed the crowd would cough at the same time. brilliant.


p.s. won't be so long next time. promise.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

wow, delay.

why have i NOT posted an entry for like 10 days? ridiculous.

alright so the philadelphia show wasn't at the filmore. it was at another venue which i forget the name of. oh well. it was fun. i got some photos developed, my first lot with the yashica and they turned out okay. shame about the developing, didn't work so good. we drove back to our hotel in jersey and hit bed hard. the next day we drove into brooklyn and had breakfast/walked around. somehow we ran into the mumford guys. you'd think we were on the same tour or something. they showed us a few things then mark and i went for a long walk to try and find a music shop. we probably spent about an hour walking around to no avail. eventually we loaded into the venue (the music hall of williamsburg) and went off to find the real music store that actually existed which we did find because it actually did exist. amazing. back to the venue, soundcheck, eat some food. we played alright. mumford did too. we did our first "whole band does a song with them" and it worked pretty well besides a lot of bung hits from me. after the show we went bowling at some bowling alley which was a ball. no pun intended. back to rich's, sleep time.

we woke up super late and rich took us to eat some burgers at some burger joint which was sick. it was also raining a lot. i went and tried to get my film developed but to no avail. we headed to the venue (webster hall). i could spend so long in that venue just looking around. it's beautiful. i took a lot of photos which will eventually be developed properly. we did another shared song which went better and it was an enjoyable show all around. for me at least. after the show we retired like babies and just went to sleep. the next day was our own show in NYC at the mercury lounge. earlier in the day we went and had lunch with rich and jordan (TAO) at soho house. very snooty. food wasn't bad though. after that we went to the venue and loaded in to get set up. it was an early show, we played at 8:30. it went pretty good. crowd was quiet which is always nice. the venue runs two shows a night so we had to load out straight after we played. we hung around for a while, went to a bar or two then mark and i headed into the city to go to the empire state building.

this was the fulfilling of a long-term dream of mine. i've always kind of romanticized about the empire's always been a bit mythic to me. king kong hung out there for crying out loud. i knew it was an art deco masterpiece too which got me even more excited. it was about as exciting as i expected which ruled. i took a lot of photos. it was 20 bucks to go to the 84th floor and another 15 to go up to the 104th. we just went to the 84th. i might do the 104th when i come back. for sake of completion of the dream. i was too scared to get too close to the edge too. you get serious vertigo that high up. you could see everything, even the statue of liberty despite it being tiny. after that we went back to rich's and slept. time to leave NYC.

we headed to washington d.c. next, the 9:30 club. before we got there we drove around for a little while. to be honest i didn't really dig the place. i understand how important it is and it's really clean and nice and such but it's just...kinda dull. sorry d.c. the venue was real nice, i like the 9:30 club a lot. nice vibe, nice sound, nice layout...real chill. and they give you these amazing muffins! chocolate filled with cream and 2 (TWO) layers of icing with 9:30 written on top in some other kind of beautifully delicious amazingness. so good. i think i ate like 3. bad me. we guested with mumford again but did it in our underwear this time. they were surprised to say the least. after that we went to the hotel and slept.

the next day we headed to cleveland. we played in a ballroom. the beachland ballroom. kind of a ballroom in the 70's sense. just a big room with curtains and a few other things. i went to get some photos developed but they turned out garbage so i demanded a refund. it's crazy how varying the quality can be sometimes. definitely not keen on walgreens or CVS developing anymore. going to wait for pro-shops. shame cause of some the photos i could tell were going to rule really hard going by the (bad) prints and the negatives (which the dude dropped on the floor while i was getting my refund...thanks). the show went nicely. all the mumford guys joined us for better times which was kinda fun. oh wait, ben wasn't there. he was off buying food. might do it again tonight but with all of them. mumford played solid and we did our usual whole band guest appearance with them too. everyone gathered around winstson and thrusted while playing their instruments. solid. after the show we messed around for a while and went to a bar from some pool and hangs. morgan came out for the show which was nice, real sweet to see her. we went to her grandma's house in canton, ohio to sleep. it was a really legit old house.

we woke up real late (like 12:30) and went for a drive through amish county. buggies, bonnets, long shapeless dresses, chin straps, the works. i really liked it there. we stopped at a place where they made cheese (a LOT of cheese) and sampled some along with some fudge. then we went and got some chow at a big amish market. pretty sweet. morgan's dad bought it for us which we were pretty stoked on. thanks morgan's dad! i forget his name which is really bad considering he bought us chow. sorry morgan's dad! we high-tailed it to columbus where we are now cause we were running late. quick sound check and a bit of a recline before the show. looking forward to it.