05 July 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Tour report Euro tour with Boysetsfire June 2011

Below you can find the combined “From the back of the van” reports written and posted on this website during our tour with Boysetsfire and Letlive. Some parts are chronological, some parts per subject. Hopefully it gives a nice insight on how we tour and on how this tour was in particular. Some pictures can be found at the bottom. Enjoy!

From the back of the van, June 14, 2011

I’m typing this down on our way from Austria to Budapest. Yesterday we played Wiener Neustadt, the last show “on our own”, without Boysetsfire and Letlive. It was very nice to see a lot of familiar faces and longtime friends before we enter the realm of anonymous crowds, dealing with a tour manager and people only waiting to see BSF. On the other hand, we have been looking forward to this a long time, so we can’t wait to start this second chapter of the tour. We are very curious what to expect, whether the people will be interested in us or not and how touring in a “less-DIY-way” is. It might not be too different; yesterday we got a last minute email the Prague show has been canceled. Happens to the best apparently. And one advantage of our own “DIY community”: we managed to get a new show (on our own, not with BSF) on that same evening, at Cafe na P?l Cesty, in Prague. Below the statement from booker and venue:

We have bad news. Unfortunately we have to cancel BOYSETSFIRE´s Prague show that was supposed to happen on Thursday, June 16th, due to a massive strike happening there that day. Not only will there not be any public transport, but also blockades of the main roads, so it would be questionable if the bands would even get into the city or people to the show. According to a news report they´re expecting the city to be totally paralyzed. We´re really sorry about this.”

Torn between solidarity with the workers, ignorance on getting through Prague and the eager to play we decided to try to go to Prague and play. No Boysetsfire, but free entrance/donation instead. See for yourself.


From the back of the van, June 19, 2011

The second part of the tour has surely begun! The first show with Boysetsfire and Letlive was on a huge boat in the Donau in Budapest. Really cool show, playing after Deez Nuts who were last minute added to the lineup. At the second show in Poland there were two local bands playing so we were playing 3rd in front of quite some people again, nice! Good responses, but we had to get used to the different dimensions of the show and the sound in Poland didn’t work in our advantage.

budapest

Even though the show with BSF and Letlive in Prague was canceled we got an alternative show offered. We played one of the coolest venues, in one of the coolest locations ever: a café selling vegan burgers in the middle of Pankrac Park in Prague. Benches outside, a front porch at the entrance. The place was packed with 40 people. Different dimensions, great evening though! I hope the strike and blockades helped the workers to get what they deserve, it didn’t affect our movements at all. The next day was going to be hard. 2 shows on 1 day, no shower the next morning. Good times. The first show was a festival in a small town in the Czech Republic, which wasn’t too crowded, but nice. 12 year olds buying our shirts. The second show a completely packed show in Zwiesel, where we had been before and that showed. And again a lot of young kids, there is a future and it is bright!

Na Pul Cesty, Prague Czech Republic

Last night we played Leipzig, the biggest show in Germany and sold out, 1000+ people. And Conne Island, what a venue! Including a nice skatepark outside, food grills in front of the venue and a nice biergarten. It was already quite full when we started playing and the crowd apparently enjoyed us and vice versa. Today we have our first and last off day of tour and tomorrow the third part of tour starts: a non-stop run of shows with BSF and LL; no more off days or shows on our own. But first: BBQ at Hotel Kötti in Regensburg!

Some footage from the show in Gorizia (IT)

From the back of the van, 25 June , 2011

For a European band touring with a North American band is one of the best things that can happen to you. Or at least, that is what we heard from other bands. North American punk/hardcore bands draw a bigger audience than the average European punk/hardcore band. North American bands are more exotic to most people and come from the countries where most punk and hardcore bands and labels originated from. Whether the difference between the attention for North American and European bands is fair or not I would gladly discuss with you another time! But touring with Boysetsfire and Letlive indeed gives us the chance to play in front of more people than we do when we tour on our own. Some of the stages on this tour are bigger than the venues we usually play, go figure. Even though we are very happy to also see familiar faces from “our own shows”, it is a nice challenge to play in front of people who are into the same kind of music, but initially didn’t come to the show for us and generally don’t watch DIY shows or European bands.

Hirsch, Nuernberg Germany - the crowd

So far we are doing well I think. For this tour we play mostly as the 1st out of 3 bands. To make sure people catch our name when they enter the venue during our set we even made a backdrop. At some shows there are more bands playing before us, and the last part of tour will be only BSF and us. We get to play 30 minutes, which results in a 9-song-nur-hits-setlist and enough time left for futile revolutionary talk in between songs. Even though the crowd isn’t complete yet when we play, we get great responses after our songs and show and we do well on merch. The reactions on our site and facebook are proof! What struck me was that at first we were the only band selling actual albums. Letlive later received CD’s (no vinyl) but neither BSF nor LL sell LP’s. How old-fashioned of us to sell our complete catalog on both CD and LP.

So far our “on/front-stage” experiences of this tour, next chapter: off/back-stage!

From the back of the van, July 1, 2011

When you take into consideration that our tour through Russia is the last tour we did before embarking on this tour, there couldn’t be more differences. Of course, as previously described the audiences are bigger. But besides playing in front of bigger crowds there are a lot more differences between this tour and our usual touring. Preparing the tour was not business as usual for us. All shows with Boysetsfire have been booked by Destiny Bookings so we didn’t have to do anything to get the shows. So that’s easy. But since BSF is touring and sleeping in a nightliner we still have to arrange our own sleeping places. No problem, because we appear to have plenty of friends all over Europe! Something else: at the first show in Budapest we are being introduced to some people from the national TV. Apparently they want to do an interview with Boysetsfire and the support bands. It is a nice little interview, with some big lights and more and less obvious questions. I’m very curious if we will ever see the final result of it.

Another “win-win situation” of this tour is to be found in the backstage. Since we share most backstages with BSF and Letlive we get the same luxury treatment as them. From sandwiches at our arrivals to our own exclusive backstage bar in Budapest. Snacks and drinks until you drop. Whatever is left at the end of the night (food and drinks) we put in our bags and take to our van, they make nice snacks and drinks on the road the next day. Cheaper than the average gas station.

You know those plastic backstage passes some bands make for themselves proving they never tour, whilst trying to prove they are on the road all the time? They appeared necessary on this tour, I learned the hard way. On our show in Frankfurt I really couldn’t get past security without showing my pass or paying entrance. So I started wearing the damn thing.

Batschkapp Frankfurt - day 2

Another security measure I started to understand when it got explained to me are the barriers in front of the stage. At some shows there are barriers “protecting” the band, or the audience, I don’t know what their official function is. And it always feels weird when a band decides to play behind barriers. Why so distant? But in some clubs a band will be held responsible for any accident happening without barriers being put up. But if the barriers are there, the club will take full responsibility. For a band, and an American band in particular, insurance issues always are difficult (health insurance anyone?), so I understand why bands choose “the easy way” and decide to put up barriers. On top of that all German shows on this tour are sold out and having around 1000 people in a packed club is something else than the 100 people maximum we usually play in front of …

At most shows we can use BSF’s backline. Guitar and bass cabs that is. They remove their drum kit from the drum risers so we can put up ours, which is a little nicer than putting our own drum kit in front of the main band’s kit. The same goes for the backdrop, we can hang it in front of theirs. At some of the shows the support bands weren’t announced at all so it was nice to inform people who we were.

Melkweg Amsterdam - by Melissa Duijn

Towards the end of the tour we get to know BSF and their crew a little better. Even though they travel in their nightliner, spend a lot of time in their dressing rooms and might be “a little older than we are”, we also have some time together. Especially the after-show-BBQs in Gorizia (ITA) and Antwerp (BEL) are awesome. Both the band and the crew are extremely nice and easy going. The tour was a great experience for the band, but the people involved made it a nice personal experience as well.

Photo’s or it didn’t happen!

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