Hey everyone! I got back Monday and needed some time to just lay around. My back got jacked the fucked up on the 8 hour flight back (which you’ll hear about at the end of this post) and I can barely walk around so I haven’t been doing much. But as promised, I’m giving you a week two recap of our Euro headliner with Venom Prison, Vulvodynia, and Justice for the Damned.
I last left off in Dortmund at a venue that looked like a post apocalyptic wasteland haha. The following day we we’re at a venue we’ve played multiple times. Its called Hafenklang located in Hamburg, Germany. The venue has two stages in it upstairs and downstairs. We’ve had good shows here before but tonight was exceptionally good. The stage was a little tight but we made it all work. The show went off with a hitch besides a minor mishap which was hilarious. We as a band don’t really get down with Strobes or Smoke on stage. A lot of our music takes concentration so it gets a little rough if there are distractions. Plus too much smoke completely kills Joe’s lungs. So we usually ask the lighting tech to stray away from those two. As if it were planned, the smoke machine started going off in the middle of a song full blast. While that was happening, the light guy ran up to fix it, but left the strobes on while he ran up. So while standing next to Blue on stage, I couldn’t see him and we had lights flashing in our eyes. I thought I was in a haunted house. After a few songs the smoke finally cleared and our show finished with a bang. A packed house yet again went home happy and thats what I love.
Hamburg was our last show in Germany so onward to Den Bosch, NL. We’ve played in the area, but never this exact city. The show schedule ran suuuuper early today. We hit the stage at 5pm. Which was hell on our daily body clock. I gotta say, Matinee shows are alive and well in The Netherlands. The show was packed from wall to wall and everyone was moving. After packing up and showering, catering started and we all sat down as a package for a nice dinner. The catering was on point and dinner was great despite one minor mishap that I wont go into, but those who know, know. After food we packed the trailer and headed into the center of the city with a couple friends including our buddy Koen who most of you know as Deformance. It was our first time in this city so I had to explore. We walked through a bunch of cool areas with outdoor bars and shops. We ended up at a bar just hanging out and relaxing outside. Before we knew it, it was time to head out to Belgium.
Antwerp started off with a little bit of a headache. Our fill in driver took us to the wrong venue so I had to help Mickey(our driver) get to to right one. Antwerp is filled with small side roads and one ways so it was a complete pain in the ass. We rolled up to the venue with a couple hours to spare so a bunch of us decided to walk around and get some cool pictures of this city. Antwerp is a gorgeous city and its starting to edge its way into my top 10 in Europe. After eating some food and seeing some cool stores, we headed back to the venue to find the bus gone. I had none of my stuff! The cops came and told mickey he had to go so Ben from VP and I decided to take bicycles all the way to the bus (Almost 4 miles each way). We had to pile on everyone else’s stuff, Including Steve’s laptop that had all of our show files on it, and get it back to the venue. It was hilarious to say the least. The show started without any major issues besides that it was a major scorcher inside. 0 ventilation and no air conditioning. It was rough. Our set was awesome and everyone was super into it. By the end of the set we were all dying of exhaustion. I finished a full 1.5 liter bottle of water over the course of the set and was still dehydrated. We start our last song and as if it were just to tease us, I feel a cool breeze on my back. I look back at Josean and he nods and smiles at me. I realized at that moment that the venue had turned on their A/C and it was immediately cool. They spent literally the whole day in the venue melting because of the heat, and the last song they say “I guess we’ll turn it on”. We had a good laugh and loaded up. On to the next!
With 6 shows left, headed into Paris. Blue had been here the week before with Dysentery and said the venue was cool so I was looking forward to it. Today was a drop and go which means the bus pulls up and we immediately load all of our stuff so the bus can leave for the day. This usually happens when there is minimal parking. Once we got our stuff loaded in we had about 3-4 hours to roll around and see everything. Pat and I had a nice sit down lunch outside at a small cafe. Once I got back, I hopped on a Lime scooter and was OUT! I rolled passed Notre Dame Cathedral and saw all of the damage that was done. Its being rebuilt so a lot of the area is closed off. After that I went to the Pantheon. The building itself was massive and It was super sick. I got a nice picture of the carvings above the entrance. If you ever go, its a must see. Next up I went to the Luxembourg Garden to hangout for a bit. I had to head back to the venue for sound check so I hopped on another scooter and zipped back. The venue had another decibel limit so it was kinda rough to get our levels right. Having your amp super low behind you can be distracting some times, but we got it. After the show we had to head straight to bed due to the fact that we had to wake up and cross into the UK at 5am.
After we got through the border, I passed out and ended up sleeping through the whole ferry ride. Our first show in the UK was Birmingham. We’ve played at Mama Roux before and Its pretty small. Pre-sale was very heavy so I knew the room would be super packed. After soundcheck, Josean and I decided to take a walk around the block to a restaurant called The Old Crown. Built in 1368, it was a traditional English pub with food that fit just right. I ordered a Steak and Ale pie which was super good. I recommend it if you can find one. They’re legit. After food, Ben from VP and I walked down the block to Mutt Motorcycles. Its a Clothing and Coffee shop as well as a company that builds motorcycles. If you’re in the area, or not, scope the shop out or hit up their Instagram. Today’s show was the first show back with my pedalboard. Tone was I felt back at home. Unfortunately I couldn’t see passed the first row of people because their was a light shining directly in my eyes. Of course during Black Mammoth (our last song of the night) it starts to move around. Just my luck. Onto Bristol!
Last time we played Britsol, I beefed it by being late to stage for our set time. Hoping to redeem myself today. The venue was located behind a small coffee shop which was pretty cool. A couple of the VP boys, Chad from JFTD, and I walked to Wagamama to get some grub and scope some sneaker spots. The UK has an iconic chain when it comes to Nike exclusives called JD Sports. They always have a sick Air Max collection but dropping the cash while in the UK is a tough move for me so I passed. We walked back for sound check and I realized that the head I was using was left back in the trailer which was almost a mile away. Ash and I headed down their but stopped before we got there at an old vintage music store called Electric Ladyland. This place was packed floor to ceiling with super old gear. The basement was even more mind blowing. Walls of Marshall amps and cabs. It was nuts. The kinda place that you have to spend hours in to see 20% of it haha. Once we got back, we sound checked and just hangout until it was time to play. The venue was another extremely small room but we somehow packed a sold out show in it. I believe there was about 220 squeezed into a room that would normally fit around 100. Yet another insanely sweaty show but there was a massive fan on my side of the stage blowing in cool air from outside so I was definitely more comfortable than everyone else on the floor. Sorry! hahaha. Hanging out with a couple friends from the area was definitely a plus to an overall good day and show.
London…. What the fuck can I say? This was probably top 3 shows Ive ever played. PERIOD. We found out the show was sold out at 500 kids and thats beyond a great feeling. Especially for our first proper headlining tour. It started out pretty early by taking a 2.5 mile walk to Abbey Rd. with Josean and Blue. We all took our pictures and grabbed some cool stuff from the gift shop. The studios history is mind blowing and I love the fact that I can visit it often. Next stop was a burger joint I’ve been following for almost a year called Nanny Bills. We got their and had to wait for them to unlock the door but it was well worth the wait. I had a classic double cheeseburger with fries. They also had Croquettes filled with pulled pork and Mac and Cheese. Fucking mind blowing. Big ups to them for taking care of us. We headed back for load in and sound check which was quick. The Nuclear Blast UK team stopped by to film a little bit of fun video content and we had many many laughs. Its always good when you can be yourself around the important people, ya know? After we were all set and the show was about to start, the boys and I took a walk through Camden and checked out some shops. I found a small vintage store that sold suuuuper cool old bootlegs. Unfortunately they didn’t have anything in my size. The XL’s over in Europe are a tad bit small. I headed back to the venue and got ready for the gig. I walked in during JFTD’s set and it was already a sauna. Packed wall to wall and people were going off. I knew it was going to be a good one. When we hit, the entire crowd lit up. Ive played shows with almost 20x the amount of people here, but the sheer energy was unmatched. Playing a sold out show is sick, but playing a sold out show when you’re headlining is a whole different level. It was hot, sticky, and loud. Song after song everyone gave us the same energy we gave them. If you were there, thank you. The show might not have been the biggest, but it was a show of hard work. And thats what made it great.
After playing the London show, I felt a little sick so Leeds for me was kind of a blur. I kinda napped a lot and just tried to get some rest. The show was probably the smallest of the tour but everyone that rolled out was super excited for our set. Other than being super cramped on stage, the show went off without any major issues. There was a Taco Bell across the street that some of us went to. The menu was super limited compared to what we have in the states. They didn’t even have Chalupas. I was disappointed, but the Crunchwrap was on point hah.
Manchester was our last day and it was bittersweet. When I woke up the venue was closed so we ventured to Starbucks for a small snack. Almost everyone on the package was there hanging out at one point. It was a pretty funny sight. Get in rolled around and it was time to load in. The stage was way bigger than the day before so we were a little more comfortable. By the time we finished sound check it was almost time for dinner. Manchester has always been one of my favorite cities so I wanted to walk around. I walked about 2 miles down towards a mall area but since it was Sunday, they were closed. I stumbled across an awesome little pub similar to the spot in Birmingham. Again, I had to get the Steak and Ale Pie. As if it wasn’t already a pretty cool day for me, in walks a shaggy pupper while I'm eating and they sit next to me. Best part was while I was chowing down, this dog sat right between my legs and just stared at me. Of course I gave it all the pats. I finished the meal off with an Apple and Rhubarb crumble that was just nuts. Off I was to walk back to the venue and get ready to jam. Venom prison was about to start so I had to watch one last set. They’re great and put on an amazing show. Check them out if you haven’t already. Our set was a load of fun. Another packed room to send us off back to the states was awesome. During our encore, I convinced the package to start taking Josean’s drum kit apart while we were playing the last bit of The Jackal. Leaving nothing but a kick, snare, and hi-hat stand. Everyone piled on stage and we all gave each other big hugs.
With that, tour was over. This tour was one of the most successful tours we’ve done as a band and it really showed. Im super proud of everyone that made it possible especially everyone on the FFAA Team. We’re home for a bit getting ready for a crazy ride. New music, new tours, new everything. I cant wait to share what we’ve been working on with everyone. Until next tour! Deuces!