Aaron picked up a packet of Biscoff and we made short work of that.

Brian throws the horns from the loft.

Saturday, June 22, 2019
Winterthur, CH

Fun conversation yesterday (or maybe the day before?) about survival and preppers. Hein told us about his Belgian grandparents during WWII. "Yeah, they were like really smart, you know." (You need to read Hein's voice in a Belgian accent - kinda French and kinda German. Not surfer dude.) "So, like before the war started, they were thinking, 'people are going to want coffee coming up', so they, like, filled up the WHOLE TOP part of their barn with unroasted coffee beans. And they were fucking right, you know? Everyone was coming to them the whole time. 'We need more coffee' and they had it, like, because they realized before. Those guys knew what they were doing."

Thad and Aaron eagerly jumped into the conversation. Turns out both of them have done a good bit of thinking about "How to Prepare Your Family for the Upcoming Days of Trouble". A good bit of info sharing: you can order buckets of rations from Costco if you go online, the value of stockpiling seeds. My favorite was this nifty fact - for those who want to go the Heins-grandparents-let-them-come-to-you route, start your hoarding now on any one or more of four items: coffee, cigarettes, alcohol (liquor, not beer or wine) or menstrual pads. When someone decides they need one of those things and ain't got it, you will likely be able to barter for food, antibiotics or labor to you heart's content. Remember that you saw it here, folks.

Final show yesterday with SUMAC and Daniel. The trip through the Swiss alps into France was quite beautiful in parts, and we were lucky to get a good look at so many parts of it because our average speed was about 6km/h for the whole ride. Oh, what's that? You didn't realize you signed up to read a tour journal about sitting in traffic? Eh, I wish someone had spared me the experience so I'll afford you that courtesy. - although I will just leave this here: we had to take a roadside bathroom break that I will not forget any time soon.

Winterthur, Switzerland is a bit outside of Zurich. If you are in a somewhat obscure noisy rock band who lucks into touring with a act with about ten times your draw (as I am), you will likely play at a place called GasWerk when you come into town. Once again, the Europeans impressed me with the repurposing of some no-longer-functional big structure into an arts complex. The cool thing was that we were in the small space - a 150-max capacity room with a small 1ft high stage and walls painted black. Good for us. On the other hand ... here's what Sven, the house sound guy said: "Switzerland has really strict sound limits. So we're going to keep it pretty quiet, you know, sorry."

Oh, Sven. What are we really going to do but shrug and roll with it.

I get to start off the set dragging the mic into the crowd while Thad plays along with the drum machine. My singing part goes from a little croon-y to pretty desperate in about two minutes. Because we were first, the crowd only began to come in the room while we were playing. And so those who made their way down the short stairway were pretty quickly in a smushed box of a room, mainly because 1/2 the available crowd space was well-occupied by the guy singing in the band who looked like he was having a nervous breakdown. (That was me.) I end the song by hopping back on stage and (mostly) staying there for the rest of the time, but everyone still gave the front part of the room a pretty wide berth until the 4th song or so. They weren't taking any chances. Maybe that dude will hop back down and he's not geting any less-sweaty.

After three nights of luck, one night of suck and one night of what the heck, I'd say last night was the first that felt like we were appropriately locked in. I hit a weird problem with the guitar during the last couple of songs but we were in full-enough swing that it didn't really matter. They got what we were doing and, for the most part, really enjoyed it. "Never heard you." "You guys are crazy, man. Great." And a few folks who'd seen us 11 years ago or who were already big fans. Super fun.

Thad and I needed to prepare to break off from the group the following morning and so got busy packing, dividing, cleaning and moving around as Daniel Menche and SUMAC went at it. The feeling in the venue evolved into a low-key party. About 20-30 people were hanging out in the band-kitchen area, including a woman who kinda drunkenly informed me "It's mid-summer night, we all have to go outside and burn something." I mean, I was down with that but we did have other obligations, so ... no celebratory arson for us.

We packed up and loaded out and waved good bye to the happy detrius of the show's crowd. Dropped Daniel off at a hotel where he would spend a few hours sleeping before departing to his own London adventure. And then we all hit the road for a 11 hour overnighter to Clisson, France where we will break off from SUMAC and crew.

No more well-appointed vans, tip-top rented gear, and professional tour managers for these last two shows, dear reader. Expect things to get wacky.

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