|Driving in Arizona|
So far on this tour, we have been in this godforsaken van for roughly 150 hours. That’s about 5 days in a row innit? Damn, that’s a lot of time to reflect on how awful I am, while simultaneously smelling other peoples flatulents.
One of the hardest drives was to Phoenix, Arizona. It is the kind of heat that just makes you want to weep openly in front of all of strangers. The kind of humid thick heat that makes you sluggish, shiny and uncomfortable. We still managed to maintain some optimism because we were headed for the Inner City Youth Centre to play with one of our favorite bands on the planet: Vektor. For those who don’t know, Vektor is a fantastic 4 piece metal band that plays a very unusual and progressive style of thrash metal. Nothing better then playing a set and then sitting back with a few Millers and watching one of the best bands on the continent. The Vektor boys were also nice enough to let us stay at their house, which was a treat. The bass player Frank entertained the shit out of us by blowing up beer cans in the backyard with his assortment of weapons.
|Skippy trying to beat the heat in Arizona.. (chin)|
Our next gig would prove to be the most unique show of our tour without a single doubt. We had a gig at the Amped Performance Centre in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Apparently last minute the Venue cancelled for any number of reasons so we were without a goddamn venue. The guitar player Amanda from the Albuquerque’s all girl 3 piece Suspended decided to have the show in her living room instead. So we headed through this Mexican neighborhood that looked like the set from Steven King's “The Stand”. We finally made it to the house and were met by a bunch of really cool Mexican metal fans. Everyone was extremely warm and inviting. We all shot the shit, ate good BBQ and drank cold beers. Shortly after Suspended set up in the living room and turned the hell up. I was impressed to say the least. The band is made up of 3 cute Mexican chicks but they had enough crushing heaviness and groove to power a Mexican prison. I was so much happier at this house party than I ever would have been at any venue. When you are playing a concert theatre it is always so formal. It was a nice change of pace to play for everyone in a relaxed social setting.
|Playing at Amanda's house in Albuquerque|
This last leg of the tour was unreal. The next day we got to play with thrash metal superstars: Havok in their hometown of Denver, Colorado. Most of the fellas live in a townhouse with the singer Dave Sanchez’s mom Sara. What a great place. We got there to meet the band and get a little comfortable. Sara had some amazing green chili and homemade salsa waiting for us. I scarfed down a few bowls of the stuff like the remorseful fatgirl that I am. It was such a treat to have a metal mom to take care of us. The things you miss on the road, man. A good home cooked meal ranks in the top 5 for sure. Especially after eating nothing but road food with the nutritional value of socks all month. My skin is starting to get that yellowish hue to it, you know? I look more and more like Nelson from the Simpsons every single day. Ha Ha!
The show was at this cool spot called Moe's Original BBQ. It was a fair sized room with a full bar and the best BBQ I have ever had. The other side of the club was a bowling alley. They should have skipped out on the bowling and put in a roman vomitorium so I could manage to fill my fat head with more slow cooked meat.
|Nice sombrero Suarez! You really fit the stereotype well..|
We couldn’t have asked for better openers. The first band was called The Sex and the band was comprised of Dave Sanchez’s brother Steve, Reece from Havok and a dynamite Bass player. They played some blues and heavy funk that really set a relaxed tone for the rest of the night. After them was a band Extreme Turbo Smash. They are a metal act that dress up in giant mascot costumes and rock way too fuckin' hard. Within the first song the singer who was dressed up as a panda had already jumped off the stage and was flailing around on the floor in front of everyone. At one point a giant man shaped puppy got a bit too much backward momentum and went right through a guitar cabinet and went flying into the drum set. Pandemonium.
|Apollo.. The coolest dog on the planet (Chicago)|
By the time we hit the stage the crowd was nice and hot. We went out and played our hearts out. I think the set went fabulously.
After us was Havok. Man, these guys are pros. They could open for any major label metal band and still contend. There was a kind of pure power and energy that they exert that made me want to take months worth of music lessons then jump in front of a bus.
Then it was off to our last show of the entire tour: Chicago. The show was looking real promising. We were to play another DIY punk venue for a fair sized crowd. When we got to the venue at 6 we were told that the venue had cancelled because one of the tenants “didn’t want a show to happen tonight.” Thanks for the heads up bub. But if you didn’t want concerts happening at your place on a weekend, maybe you shouldn’t live in a fucking venue, comprendez-vous? The show was moved last second to a room on the other side of the stupid city in a delapitated brick structure in the back of a Mexican restaurant. I'm not even joking. What a nightmare. And at this point it was getting real late. Also, the co-headliners Mortifier who we played with on our last east coast show noticed that their van had no brakes as they were on the highway to the gig, so they didn’t make it, and barely made it out with their lives. Also, one of the band member’s girlfriends got injured and had to go to the hospital. So far this gig had the appeal and general comfort of prison rape. Chicago crowds are amazing though, I must say. We still had a room of rabid kids going nuts throughout the entire set. There was crowd surfing on boogie boards and beer bongs galore. The show went really well considering how bleak it was looking before hand. At one point I remember looking into the crowd and seeing a Russian man completely butt naked with his cock hanging out for all to see moshing, crowd surfing, and just having a great time in general. His name was Alex and we decided to stay at his place where the nudity continued.
|Eytan with his dumb nerf guns at Alex's house|
When we got to naked boy Alex’s house his roommates were having an ecstasy party. I’ve never seen anything like it outside of the movies. There were people dancing everywhere with dilated eyes. I went into the basement where there was a rave going on with a live DJ and crazy lights. A skinny fella with no shirt on approached me and asked, “Would you mind if I touched your hair.” I replied with “Absolutely.” And headed upstairs. I found a nice comfortable seat, drank a few American beers and watched the show. I had a great time. It all seemed surreal at certain points in the night. Alex and his roommates were so wonderful to us and even let us stay an extra day.
|Oh how many bugs we've killed...|
Tour is such a strange thing. As any touring band will tell you, tour is like hitting the fast forward button on your life. Every night there is a new city, a new crowd, a new couch, a new beer, a new friend and a new story. I have crammed a years worth of experiences into a month of insanity. Right now we are driving down the highway to our home in Toronto. Back to regular life. Back to the grind. Back to bills, rent, work and public transportation. I will admit to be happy to be heading home somewhat. Familiar territory. Reality.
As sick as it is, I am usually much happier in chaos. I also really like the idea of partying for a living. And I do have a sense of accomplishment that we have conquered most of the continent this year and it makes me exited to head for bigger and better things. I can’t wait to get back on tour to meet with all of the friends we have met along the way.
Peace, Sisters and Brothers
|Somewhere in New Mexico|
|The city of Phoenix, AZ|
|Inner City Youth Centre DIY venue in Pheonix|
|Cacti of the Arizona desert|
|Some amazing views this tour|
|Halfway between both oceans|
|Rocking out at Amanda's in Albuquerque|
|More Albuquerque... (chin)|
|Post beer bong|
|Denver, Colorado in the distance|
|The sexiest driver a band could ask for|
|Trigger happy Eytan|
|Adam and Eytan's friend Tawny (sorry for wrong spelling bud)|
|Not enough Nerf in the world could satisfy Eytan|
|The BEAN in Chicago's Millennium park|
|Awesome amphitheater in Millennium park, Chicago|
|View of downtown Chicago from the John Handcock tower|