June 16, 2011

Hamburg

The last show of the tour at the Markthalle in Hamburg, this time with our friend Erik K. Skodvin aka Svarte Greiner & Nadja. Unfortunately, the big bulk of my pictures of this day is from this rest-stop. Here's Leah (of Nadja) being sad about her fictitious dead mama...


Mini-vibrators, travel pussy, etc. okay nothing special, except that it was in one of those men's room where you usually leave change for maintenance...


Corny big...


Gurken-snack! Get one pickle for the road...


I played in Hamburg two years ago, on my first Eurotour at the same venue, Markthalle and we stayed at the same Superbude hostel - so I don't really have anything new to add. The experience was pretty similar, and I had taken more pictures: here.

However, we requested to have monitors on stage this time, so I could hear myself way better and I felt that I played a much better set than last time... There was a pretty good turnout, and a pleasant atmosphere throughout the whole evening.

I also requested as a joke to eat a hamburger in Hamburg, just for kicks. I believe I ordered the Tom Jones special burger from the Hollywood Canteen, which had pineapple in it, with a side-order of potato wedges & cheese. Greasy!

I'd also like to give a nod up to Faridee, who flew all the way from Mexico City the same day, landed in Hamburg at 9pm and went straight to the venue to catch us play... !


To top it off, I also sold more merch in Hamburg than any other cities on the tour. That was a good feeling, especially considering that I had to pack everything up for my flight the next day, as I was booked for the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival and playing with Locrian, Mamiffer & House of Low Culture the day after. Could not miss that. It was a quick end to the tour...

June 14, 2011

Dresden

My power supply for my Digitech Space Station pedal (which is also the same one for my Digitech Jamman) blew up the day before, so I had to find a store to get a replacement... It's a peculiar 9VAC with a 5.5 mm female tip. Turns out it's not that common in Germany. Though, I found out that Just Music had them on their website, but I had my german-speaking friend Stefan call both Berlin store to make sure they had it in stock... Turns out, they didn't! So I walked over to Noisy Rooms, an rehearsal/store/rental place near Bis Auf Messer to see if they had anything... nothing but generic Boss power supplies. The last resort was to get some kind of universal power supply at Conrad, an electronic store. Again, it was a complete fail... so, we headed to Dresden, which is our second-to-last show of the tour... I'd figure something out.

Also travelling with us was Jérémie Mortier who was playing drums with Aidan Baker this time.


We arrived at AZ Conni late afternoon, a fully equipped alternative cultural center. We were welcomed by Ralph, who had snacks prepared in the backstage, and also a lovely meal brewing in the basement kitchen for us.

This bill was with Khuda, a heavy instrumental duo from Leeds, UK. It was good to meet and share the stage with them...



Some snacks & ping-pong exchanges later... Aidan & Jérémie soundchecked.


I was setting up behind them, because I had to figure out a way to play my set with one power supply for both the Jamman & the Space Station. It was kind of frustrating. On top of that, the show has to end at 11pm sharp, which meant starting at 8:30pm. So I had 5 minutes for my soundcheck, and I didn't bother setting up the projections for this show... Result: improvised set w/ alternate versions of some structured parts, which turned out alright in the end.


From the merch table;



During Khuda's set...


Found in their merch box:


Dresden was only 90 mins away, so we went straight back to Berlin to enjoy another day off there the next day.

June 13, 2011

Berlin

Back in Berlin for the week including two shows, one Teufelsberg expedition & one trip to Tempelhof airport. Okay let's try to make a condensed entry for all of that stuff, June 9-15 (Dresden 6/14 + Hamburg 6/16 separate entries).

Oberbaum bridge at sunset, where they found that WWII uxo a couple of weeks back:


The first show was June 11th, at Bei Roy in Neukölln, southeast of the city - between semi-industrial & suburbia, this area is the new haven for students and artists. In fact, Bei Roy is a 5th floor loft located above and overlooking automotive garages.



Surrounding the venue was a Turkish wedding in this sketchy place. Some dressed-up guests were wandering around, seemingly lost, as if they were going to this secret rave and had just been given directions at the map point.


Next to all that, there was a huge hotel complex called Estrel. According to their site, it's Europe's largest convention, entertainment and hotel complex with 1125 rooms & suites, 5 restaurants, 2 bars, a concert hall, and a beer garden in front of the hotel by the canal. In this beer garden, there's this neon sculpture of a swan raping a woman:



Illuminated, at night (stolen from the web) - bright red womb:


A wiki-search later, and this sculpture is also known as Leda and the Swan. So yeah, this is what Neukolln is about... There's so much culture-clash, Berlin is awesome!

Back to the gig. Bei Roy is also known for its all-night parties it seems, it's the new hipster hotspot. Apparently gigs don't usually start before 11pm and best of all, there is no volume restrictions! The PA consisted of two chain-hung vintage speaker cabinets, fueled by a vintage mixer. Needless to say, that made my set sounded really loud and dirty!! The room quickly filled up during the course of my set, but people were pretty attentive the whole thing and their reactions at the end of my set was pretty furious! Berlin wins in the best crowd of the tour category. Here are some witness accounts found online shortly after the gig:

"saw thisquietarmy and Nadja tonight... no volume restrictions so they ripped the venue apart!" / "Heavy and loud as promised. Great performance!" / "Earth shaking Drone madness." / "Saw him in Berlin tonight. Absolutely huge performance." / "thisquietarmy walked between drony soundscapes & punishing industrial beats, a really talented artist that deserves way more attention!" / "sounded like a shoegazing army not like a one-man-show"

Here's a proper review in German: http://kotzboy.com/?p=7357





The monday evening in-store gig at Bis Auf's Messer - best record store located in Friedrichshain was somewhat very different. The PA was pretty shitty and it kept distorting, even for the improvised ambient set that I was doing and I wasn't feeling it at all... Aidan joined me about half an hour into my set, and it was a tiny bit better... However in the middle of it, I got really distracted by one of my pedal's power supply crapping out, out of the blue. It was really strange. It just... died, while I was playing.

(Photo by Meryem Yildiz)

I was also pretty exhausted from climbling Teufelsberg (literally the Devil's Mountain) right before performing the gig. On the top of the mountain lies an abandoned US spy station, a relic from the Cold War, which was built over a Nazi college. To my surprise, the site was pretty easy to access, so it made for a pretty nice expedition.





Inside the top sphere, the natural acoustics and reverberation were phenomenal... there were people singing and playing guitar, or clapping.


Great 360 degrees city view throughout the whole site...





Band looking for credibility, shooting a video...


Expedition crew...







You can read more about it on this spy station here: http://www.abandonedberlin.com/2010/06/teufelsberg-abandoned-spy-station.html

On one of my other day off, I borrowed Leah's bike to check out the defunct Tempelhof airport, an iconic airport during WWII. It is now opened as a city park, with various events happening throughout the year. This space is huge! And biking on a runway is awesome.







June 8, 2011

Bratislava

We drove through Austria, into Slovakia.



Entering Bratislava...


This is the Danube river...


This is the venue, Obluda...


We were greeted by our young promoter and his gf (18 years old, maybe? cute!). They took us for a drink, then they pulled out some snacks and sandwiches from lunchboxes, which were made by the promoter's mom (double-cute!).

The show was well-attended enough; though there was this guy doing interpretative dance for both Aidan's & my set...


We slept at the promoter's band's practice space, which they vacuumed and cleaned up all afternoon for us. The bed consisted of a comforter on the floor, with two sleeping bags, two tiny pillows and a nightstand with more sandwiches, instant coffee, tea, bananas, cookies & incense! That didn't look so comfortable, so we pulled out extra sleeping bags and covers from the car, and padded up individual beds for the night... wasn't that bad.


I'm hoping this says that this building passed the inspection for rats and rodents...


The storm caught up with us in the morning, so we fled the scene as we had a long drive back to Berlin, through Czech Republic... our Budapest show being canceled before the tour.