A good venue and breakfast solves all, but not before one o'clock apparently, so Dougal and I go for a walk towards Checkpoint Charlie (which we got to see last time we were here), but end up skulking around a park with a cool memorial to kill the forty minutes or so before we're finally admitted.
To the asylum.
This venue has caterers on hand all day, so there's little chance of starvation and the dressing rooms are modern and clean, with excellent hot showers.
My friend Thomas was supposed to be visiting today, I say supposed as he has apparently fallen foul of the flu, something I seem to recall him using as an excuse the last time we played here!
And last time we played here I seem to remember a rather inhibitive sound on stage, so that's the first thing I get Danny our noise monger to address once we soundcheck.
This inspires an amazing show to a packed-out hall later in the evening, but not before an afternoon is spent undertaking all the necessities that being on tour engenders, including some filmed TV interviews for me in full garb and Richard busking for loose change in the corridor.
As said, the show is frenetic and awesome, playing to a packed-out audience in a Sunday night in January. There's plenty of press here tonight and the camera pit is pretty full for at least four or five songs. Hence why the three guitarists are pulling shapes like Manowar posing for a workout calendar!
The show ends rip-roaringly and we return to the dressing rooms to idle and hang out with Moonspell and friends. Our manager Steve is here today and we're also kept up to speed on developments with the US tour and other Summer dates.
It's all very exciting. We have so much planned for the upcoming months it's a little bewildering at times, but it's onwards and upwards always.....
Until tomorrow again raises its flag of uncertainty and wonder.
29th January 2018e.h @. Grunspan, Hamburg, Germany
It always seems to be raining in Hamburg whenever we play and today is no different. The venue is pretty cool though, an old elongated theatre with plenty of dark corners and decent catering. We've played here before (so there's no need to hunt out the WiFi code), in fact the first time for me was with DEVILMENT, where I was a bit worse for wear after a heavy night out on the Reeperbahn, throwing up in Motionless In White's dressing room bin.
Our dressing room is the larger of the two on offer but it also means it's up another flight of stairs and bereft of a toilet. And far from the coffee machine. Still, the rain keeps us indoors for the majority of the day, save for a brief walk to the Reeperbahn to peruse some adult stores, obviously for the novelty factor.
Arch Enemy are playing a show literally fifty metres away at a different club, so Richard and Lindsay pop across to visit Alyssa, which is a brief visit as the poor girl is on vocal rest (due to an illness) and unable to talk. Still, nothing some sign language and hand-written notes can't fix. I drop her an email later to wish her well, as I know how horrible it is to be sick on tour and having it affect your voice. In fact, it's pretty soul-destroying, with the one thing you need to perform out of action.
Fans (and really, who can blame them?) expect to see you perform at 100% capacity at all times, however that's not always the case if you're on a lengthy tour, or you suddenly contract Ebola. And living such a nomadic existence can be detrimental to your health as well.
But I digress. Again.
The soundcheck sounds pretty good after some initial tweaking and it's a buy-out dinner, so straight after we've come off stage, it's a trip to catering to build some sandwiches to avoid a trip out in the rain, and laundry distribution.
Amid the chaos of getting ready for the show, our manager Steve arrives with an important guest to introduce, plus I get coerced into starting regular personal posts on Instagram, which I start with gay abandon.
The show is not sold due to the conflicting Arch Enemy show next door, but regardless the audience is around the 600 mark, so the balcony is closed, but the theatre floor is jam-packed.
It's another cracking gig for us, the audience are extremely noisy for a dreary Monday evening in Hamburg and we fire through the entire set with diligence and aplomb. In fact, the crowd are really loud and at times I find it hard even screaming over them.
Afterwards there's plenty of time before we have to depart the venue to shower and catch-up with business, drink a few shandies and shoot the shit, pick up our explosion of nearly-dry laundry and listen to Dougal's extensive music library. Then we stay up until around three chatting with Moonspell on the bus before crawling back to our coffins to await what the next day in Bremen will bring.
30th January 2018e.h @Schlachthof, Bremen, Germany
Some people are suffering from mild hangovers today. Thankfully it's not me but I'm tired as f**k mentally, so once the demands of nature are catered for and my travelling bomb site detonated, it's a walk in pursuit of a football to buy, so we can have some intercontinental football battles betwixt ourselves and Portugal.
The venue look even better from afar as a massive chimney towers over its already towery exterior. My guessing is that it was an old munitions factory or mill at one point and then it was converted as an venue/arts centre. I didn't bother to find out.
You can walk a few floors up the interior of the chimney stack at least. The main room is very strange, like playing in a school gymnasium, with lots of tiered levels looking down upon a thin and extremely wide stage. Lots of metal and concrete.
The day passes serenely; our bus driver Benny is out on his mountain bike outside the bus where there is a BMX/skate park and to be honest he is pretty f**king good. The rest of the guys are spread out in the shared dressing room, so I opt for the bus to work and relax and try to catch forty winks after soundcheck, which is worryingly shit sounding. My voice is tired, I couldn't even imagine singing today but if Alyssa can do it with a throat infection, I can do it on reserve tanks.
The dinner is roast beef, vegetables and potatoes and there is a vanilla and cherry panna cotta which is straight down the hatch, then I'm back through the gathering throng to the waiting Jawa Sandcrawler, to wake myself up, get ready and pull my tired larynx from early retirement.
Fuck me though! For all the worry, the gig is a stormer, much helped by the bodies lining the venue, and the sound is precise and malleable and, although it feels like playing a school prom, the audience is responsive and our performance topnotch.
We stay in the dressing room until one o'clock after the show, fart-arising about, listening to Thin Lizzy and Coroner and slowly getting drunk. Tomorrow is a day off here, with access to a hotel for showers, Wifi and CNN (the only channel in English).
The night finishes late back on the bustard, with an impromptu game of football outside around three in the morning, with a late discussion between Fernando and myself carrying on until around six. Tomorrow will be a vocal rest day, so it's destination 'Black Lightning' and 'The End Of The F**king World' on the Netflix.