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12 April 2017 ~ Comments Off

Latin American tour report – February 2017, with Satanic Surfers

At the airport in Brussels, before taking off to Porto Alegre, Brazil.

I’m starting this tour tour report as we’re flying from Brussels to Madrid. The first of many take-offs and landings. After Madrid we’re flying to Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre where the first show will be. Usually when we tour on other continents we’re done flying after arriving at the first show and we continue by van. Not this tour. This one seems to be completely different from any tour we have previously done. Once we finished our show in Porto Alegre we will fly to the show in Sao Paulo the next day. And to Buenos Aires the day after that. And so on, and so on.

Meeting our Brazilian tour manager Lucas on the very first show of tour in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Buenos Aires, Argentina

We’ve done many tours in the past, in a lot of thinkable ways. We did tours on our own, in our own van, relatively close to home. We also did support tours with bigger bands. We also toured in a nightliner. And on other continents than our own. But we never did a support tour in a different continent, where we flew to every single show. That is what makes this tour different from anything we ever did before. Hopefully better, probably crazier, definitely more exhausting. Our tour book, which is our bible for the next weeks, tells us what to expect, tells us there are days we get up at 3:45am after playing a show till probably late the night before. I wonder if we will ever notice a jetlag or never really get into any rhythm.

Lunch with Satanic Surfers in Guadalajara, Mexico

Toon diving and filming during Satanic Surfers

Last time we toured Brazil is like a haze to me. When you are not in charge of booking, driving or managing a tour, it’s harder to keep track of where you are and what’s going on. I’m sure this tour will be the same. What I do remember from our previous visit to Brazil is the warmth and friendliness of the people. They are so thankful that you come and tour their country. And when the show starts their enthusiasm translates into the most intense crowd response; from dancing to singing, screaming to running around.

Mayhem during Satanic Surfers’ show in Santiago, Chile

Guadalajara, Mexico

I’m collecting memories of the first 2 shows in Brazil, in Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo, as we’re having 2 days off in a beach house. It’s nice to see that people not only come out to see the headliner, Satanic Surfers, which is always the “risk” of being a support band. But people really seem to know us. From when we toured here in 2012, or from online activity and of course from the new album that got released a month before the tour by our Brazilian label, Fusa Records. The 2 Brazilian shows were amazing. Completely packed venues with sweaty, singing and dancing people. Old and new friends coming up to us and asking us when we will come back again first thing after the show. And never before did we appear in so many selfies and did our signature appear on so many merch items. (Check our instagram and facebook if you don’t believe us!)

Making friends at the merch table in San Jose, Costa Rica

Guadalajara, Mexico

It’s nice to have 2 days off in Itanhaém Beach, close to Sao Paulo. Not only because the early “lobby call” at 3:45am to get to Sao Paulo, but also because the next 6 shows will be without days off, but having equally early get-up times. From here on we won’t be guided by tour manager Lucas from Solid Music Entertainment. It’s us and the Surfers on our own.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

The biggest upside to this tour is the biggest downside at the same time: in 2 weeks we get to play Latin America from north to south, from west to east. We’re playing to skatepunk and melodic punkrock fans in all major capitals in Latin America, getting our music out to people that might not have heard our music yet, but are likely to appreciate it. A chance of a lifetime, we owe Satanic Surfers and Solid Music Entertainment eternal gratitude for having us on this tour. But on the other side, touring on a crazy schedule like this means that airports, hotels and venues are pretty much the only things we get to see. Most impressions we get from the cities are from traveling in between these anchor points. And even when there is a dead hour it might be wise to spend it asleep and invest in the show later that night.

Bogota, Colombia

Loud music is more common in Latin America than it is in the Netherlands in particular and Europe in general. In the beach house in Itanhaém Beach there is a radio with a national channel playing 24/7. Within one hour The Offspring, Ramones, Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine have played from the speakers. What Dutch or European national radio station (still) has such playlists?

A hotel room with a view in Buenos Aires, Argentina

It’s not the intention to make a political piece out of this, but hallelujah to the EU! (Disclaimer; not all aspects are OK, of course.) I think we pretty much toured Latin America the way bands used to tour Europe before the EU: border crossings and custom stops before and after every show and recalculating merch prices to the local currency for every show. For anyone who has ever traveled to the US or outside of Europe you will probably know how idiotically senseless the customs forms are that you NEED to fill in (“Please check the box if you were active as SS soldier in Nazi Germany”), and how purposeless the baggage checks are (“Merch? No problem if it’s for promotional use only!”) Endless formalities where you’re in big trouble if you check the wrong box. Can’t wait for the “Latin Union” when we get to go back.

Bogota, Colombia

Despite the little time off, some interesting things occurred to us, unfortunately a lot of which based on their colonial history. We saw a lot of European heritage while we expected to see more USA influence. For instance, everywhere the metric system is in use, in most countries there’s more European cars than American cars. Certain countries and cities seem more like poorer versions of European cities than anything else. Then again there are differences; Brazil, Colombia and Mexico “feel” more American than the other countries, especially the public space does.

After-show chilling after last show of tour in Guadalajara, Mexico

Touring Latin America is very rewarding, even when you are “only the support band” and most people might only know the headliner. First of all people are thankful that you take the opportunity to travel to their continent and play for them. Second of all, it occurred to us how many people appreciated the political aspect of our band. When Latin America crowds are usually known to love fast punk, the faster the better and take lyrical content for granted (a language issue I’m sure). But many people came up to us after the shows saying they liked both our music and the message we stand for. On the other hand, the punk scene is closely related to the hardcore and metal scene. A lot of the shows were announced as “Hardcore shows”. Partly a good thing, because it brings wide varieties of people to the shows. On the other hand, the mix of hardcore and even hip-hop results in a certain macho attitude at shows and VERY few females who are not girlfriends at shows. Not to speak about the fact that we played with a lot of bands, none of which had female members. Some steps are still to be taken …

Getting to do tourist stuff on the day before we fly out in Queretaro, Mexico

We were truly struck by how many people already knew us. And it is awesome to notice how small (or big, depends on how you look at it) the punk scene is. In Mexico we played with We Step Out, a band that covered a song by Smash the Statues, our friends from the Netherlands (that never toured or released in Latin America). After the last show with Satanic Surfers, our paths split and we arranged to drive home with the We Step Out guys. People we never met before, took us in their van to drive us from Guadalajara to Mexico City, took us in their homes for some sleep and showed us around the city when we have a day off before our last flight. Long live the DIY/punk scene!

More tourist stuff at the Teotihuacan Pyramids on the day we fly out of Mexico City.

Some numbers:
16 days
13 flights
8 shows
6 countries
5 languages (non-Latin American like Dutch and Swedish included)
1000s of people at the shows
100s of merch items sold
3 hearts filled with joy to return to Latin America as soon as we can! ;-)

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29 September 2013 ~ Comments Off

Video: tour with Propagandhi

In July we went on a tour with Propagandhi that took us through Norway, Sweden, Germany, France and Slovenia. Here’s a little impression of how we experienced that tour.

Edited by Tom Roelofs

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27 February 2013 ~ Comments Off

Italy 2012 tour video

In December 2012, we went on a short tour of Italy with our Roman friends Bedtime For Charlie. This video documents that trip between Bologna, Rome, L’Aquila and Bari. Join us as we put Glen to the ultimate test, grab a midnight snack, drop some names of crucial punk bands and test our knowledge of Italian geography. And some live footage from Stage Diving Fest in Bari. Enjoy!

Check out Bedtime For Charlie on Facebook!

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23 November 2012 ~ Comments Off

Tour of the Americas – Video 3

In this third and last part of our video reports: Brazil. The music in this video features an unreleased track called Welcome To Le Jungle and music by End Of Pipe

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16 November 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Tour Of The Americas – Part 4

By the time you’re reading this we are back home doing laundry and paying bills, but a tour isn’t over before it’s been documented, now is it? In this last tour report of our Tour Of The Americas, Glen and Riekus provide you with an update about tremendously long drives, short nights and warm days on Brazilian beaches. Enjoy!

The last week of this tour has been rather exhausting when it comes to sleep, drives and late shows. With a 15-hour drive and a stage time at 4:30 AM we’ve managed to establish a few new records in our existence as a band. All in all we are still feeling pretty fresh, but there’s no way we can hide the sunburn we’ve fallen victim to in sunny Brazil. On the rare occasion of a day or an afternoon off, we’ve managed to visit the beach no less than twice. Of course, the locals must have had fun watching a bunch of pale, sun-shy Dutchies dipping into the ocean. And with the sunburn comes the smell of aftersun: 3 guys sweating it out on stage, while smelling like baby-bums. Why does after sun have to smell like babies anyway?

Campeche Beach – Florianopolis

One of the coolest shows we play in Brazil is after those 15 hours. The ride takes us through an area that looks a lot like what we imagine a jungle to be like, and the venue on the campus of Sao Carlos’ University reminds us a lot of the AZ’s (Autonomous Centre) in Germany: loads of concrete and graffiti, and cheap drinks. There’s an extraordinarily good turnout for a Wednesday, and we get a great response from the crowd, which instantly makes us forget about the long trip: however long the ride, when there’s a good show and a good crowd that’s all you will remember.

Palquinho Da UFSCar – Sao Carlos

So the days have passed by quite fast, and we’ve had better responses than we could have wished for. It’s really heart-warming to see how people respond to our shows and thanks to Bandcamp, Youtube, Spotify and other tools of this age we’re amazed to see that people are already familiar with our songs without ever having seen us before. After the shows, a lot of people are asking us to sign autographs or take a picture with them. God knows where those pictures will show up online..

Last Sunday, we played the last show of our tour in Vila Velha (Espirito Santo), a show that we flew in to and out of from Sao Paulo. Somehow, the climate up there was even warmer and more humid than what we had become accustomed to here in Brazil. This resulted in us leaving the stage literally dripping with sweat and even a full night of leaving our clothes to dry on the balcony of our motel couldn’t prevent that we had to throw out a bunch of just-too-filthy tour clothes before going home. And then there was this one pair of sweaty shorts that Glen had to trade with a guy who insisted on having a souvenir of our show. I sure hope he put them in the washer the next day. Oh, Brazil..

Vitoria / Vila Velha – flying in for our last show

As I’m writing this we’re at Sao Paulo International Airport facing another 14 hours of flying home. After a month of touring (8 flights in total) we’re flying back to Amsterdam with a connecting flight in Rome. Meanwhile, we’ve just booked our next flight to Rome for another short tour: 4 shows in Italy at the end of November.

Last stop at Guarulhos International Airport (Sao Paulo) to drop off gear

I feel like we’ve experienced a lot of Brazilian culture over the last 2 weeks. Possibly the greatest advantage of touring like we do is that we are always guided by the locals, who manage to bring us to the coolest places, without us feeling like (or meeting) tourists at all. On the other hand we also need to pay attention while walking around here. We’re not always playing the most fancy neighborhoods and there’s always the risk of being mugged if you get away from the group, being a ‘rich European’ and all.

Another interesting thing is the parties that seem to take place at gas stations around here. Somehow, people just gather at gas stations to enjoy a drink or two before they go out to a bar or a show. This is kind of unheard of for us, as Dutch gas stations stopped selling beer at least 10 years ago. In Novo Hamburgo however, the gas station party is taken to another level: the locals there just bring out their plastic garden chairs and watch a football match on the concrete floor while enjoying a beer together. And why wouldn’t they? There’s beer, a floor, a TV and a bunch of friends. Oh, Brazil!

Abbey Road Bar – Novo Hamburgo

The only thing I regret not doing here is playing some football (or soccer, not hand egg, Americans!). I always enjoy playing a game of ball with friends, and I’ve never seen so many patches of grass and whatever kind of improvised football fields as I’ve seen here. This country has football (excuse me: futebol!) running through its veins, and I’m pretty sure the 2014 World Championship in Brazil will be a great success.

Slums (‘favela’) of Porto Alegre, close to the impressive new Football stadium

All in all we’ve had quite a culture clash here in the last 2 weeks: the pace of life is a lot more laid back than we are used to. People don’t tend to get upset easily and they are a lot more relaxed than anything we’re used too. So much so that our tour manager didn’t even bother bringing a working GPS. “We’ll get there eventually” seems to be the motto here. It took us some time to adjust, especially since we were rather independent on the USA part of this tour with our own car. On the last part of this tour we’ve had to rely on the help of our driver, tour manager and people here, and it’s been so much fun meeting so many new friends here above all!

So now it’s time to get back to ‘normal life’ in the rainy Netherlands. Speaking of a culture clash: by now we’ll probably need some time to adjust to normal life..

Pictures or it didn’t happen!

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