All photos by Alex Zhang Hungtai and Jesse Locke.
Week three of any tour is make-or-break time, and thankfully ours fell into the former category. Set up in style with the entire floor of an apartment in Kortrijk, Belgium, we maxed and relaxed while gorging on kebabs. The restaurant rule of no waffles served until 2 p.m. was a bit of a head-scratcher, but we were more than satisfied by the venue’s hearty dinner of hutspot, a sausage stew and beloved local delicacy. You know it’s good when you head back for thirds.
Dreading the worst from a half-empty Thursday night at the legendary Vera in Groningen, we knocked back a few more slugs than usual from the obligatory backstage bottle of Jameson and made our way onstage. Surprise, surprise! The room was now packed to the gills with shirtless rockabilly types, rowdy fans and dreadlocked Euro punks straight out of Run Lola Run. After a killer set and a night stumbling through town to find a vending machine serving French Fries, we had a new motto: NO EXPECTATIONS!
Riding this wave of triumph into Germany, we arrived in Cologne to our gracious hosts from Slow Boy Records, who were set to release our second tour 7”. Sadly, a mess-up with the post office halted that from arriving on time, but it didn’t stop us from another banger on the floor of the King Georg discotheque. Our gracious hosts also gave the three of us a chance to sloppily mix some songs on the venue’s turntables, proving once and for all why we’re not DJs.
Hung-over but happy, the next night in Berlin sent things into overdrive. Following a hearty dinner of pho soup, we set up to play at the Moulin Rouge-inspired circus rave known as Kater Hotzig and were shocked to see another sold-out crowd. Fueled by dangerously tasty Club-Mate and late-night sauerkraut dogs, the night stretched far past sun-up. Big thanks to Marco for the brunch of home-cooked pasta, even if I was too exhausted to eat it.
Hamburg offered a cool opportunity to play the Indra club where The Beatles first cut their chops, as well as chow down on the glorious bounty of Egypt Kebab. Look for the sphinx and arrive in flavour country. Copenhagen was our home for the next 48 hours, with a hotel conveniently located next-door to a tattoo parlour. Alex and Frank got badass skulls, and yours truly is now inked with the Autobahn logo for “No Speed Limit.” Meanwhile, the venue filled our bellies with hummus and linked us up with Marching Church one of many Iceage side-projects from our new BFF Elias. The new brigade is taking over.
Not so surprising revelation: Swedish meatballs are delicious. The Debaser club in Malmo treated us right with a snack platter of freshly baked bread, followed by a gut-busting dinner of spuds, salads, cranberry sauce and the national specialty. Just looking back at the photos of this meal makes me drool. The night spun to a close thanks to three-shot cocktails with all-too accurate names like “Five Day Weekend” and “Hole In The Head.” Time to call it quits when you’re slow dancing to Sade in the hotel parking lot.
After a missed flight to Bergen, Norway on the previous Euro tour, the city’s curse continued with SAS airlines misplacing a crucial piece of luggage containing the majority of our gear. Yet rather than cancel a second consecutive show, we opted to improvise with the available instruments, giving all we had to an awesomely open-minded crowd. Thanks once again to wunder-promoters Line and Edda for the food, drinks and encouragement, and to Michael the sound engineer for recording this Nor-Wave rager.
Onwards to Oslo. The city’s stylish mix of modern architecture and old world charm was only half appreciated through tired eyes, but we definitely dug into a pre-show meal of beer-soaked fish ‘n’ chips. After the show, we hightailed it back to Copenhagen for one more night with the Iceage crew, resulting in bro tats for Alex, Frank, Elias and Jakob. Put their wrists together and you’ve got a K-I-N-G. After stuffing our faces with greasy gourmet duck pizza, we drifted off to sleep satisfied.
Stockholm was the second last stop of our journey, and the source of another amazing meal. Cheese smothered cauliflower with spinach-stuffed meatballs almost sent us into a food coma, but hey, the show must go on. From here we floated on to Rotterdam and decided we hadn’t gotten our fill of kebabs just yet. Little did we know that Cocosnoot wasn’t just a funny name for a restaurant, but that the owner would proudly pull out a comically large coconut seed from under the counter and pose for a photo. At that precise moment, we knew it was time to go home.