Tour Blog # 6: I Promise I'm Not Dead

So sorry this blog was so late! I've had zero wifi and four crazy days-- I promise I tried to get this up sooner!

After six straight days of touring, we needed a day off! When we pulled into Veronique’s at 3am, there was a giant spider (about the size of my palm) on the wall—normally I wouldn’t mention it but I’m proud of myself for bringing my suitcase up the stairs while it was about two feet from my head. She was later knocked off the wall (almost onto Meghan) and escorted outside.

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We slept hard, with most of the girls sleeping in until 2pm. But alas, there was laundry to be done and town to explore. Like most places in Europe, Veronique’s house had no dryer, so we had to hang our clothes on lines, which was kind of charming. Dora went on a walk earlier in the morning, and Sydney, Meghan, and I went to the top of a tower on a mountain with Veronique. The view was also breathtaking, and I also had an asthma attack on the way up.

Finally, we treated ourselves to dinner at a small pizza restaurant that Veronique’s parents used to own. We had a cheese pizza with onions, cheese pizza with onions and mushrooms, and a meat pizza, all with a wonderful cream sauce. When I eat in the U.S., it’s my first instinct to pick and choose what goes in my food, meaning I’ll tell staff to leave things off that I don’t like. It’s been a process, but I’m starting to just trust the establishment’s recipe and take what’s coming my way. I just make sure it doesn’t have meat, and order it as is!

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After bringing our laundry in, we stuck around talking in the kitchen for a bit. Alex still wasn’t feeling well, so she tried to drug herself to get some sleep, but we all went to bed early!

With a long drive ahead of us, we embarked off to Switzerland at 11, after saying goodbye to Veronique and her parents. We were originally told to start loading in at 4, but because the show didn’t start until 11, we asked if we could push it back.

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We’ve learned that shows in Switzerland and Italy just start later—our promotions guy told us people really don’t head until the bars until 11pm at the earliest, and the bars don’t close until 5am. For some reason, however, load in times are still weirdly early. This doesn’t work out so well for people who are sick and need sleep like Alex, and now Meghan isn’t feeling good.

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The venue provided us with a delicious homemade-looking cabbage and carrot soup for dinner, and the girls killed some time by getting business done on a conference call. This show was actually the public debut for the opening band—their very first show ever. They had some critiques for themselves, but we thought the performance went smoothly.

 

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Doll Skin’s set. During the first song, Alex’s pedal board blew a fuse—because the outlets are different in Switzerland, we had to plug like four adapters into three extensions cords, and it just wasn’t happening. The girls fixed it quickly and with level heads, swapping the fuse with extras they’d brought. Watching them made me question why anyone could possibly say women aren’t cut out for the music industry. A lot of guys I know are fairly useless in crisis situations.  Girls are superheroes, and they’re prepared to do an entire makeup look AND supply their best friends with tampons while they’re operating out of backpacks—you really think they don’t have extra fuses?

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The rest of the set went on without incident, and because I talked to the lighting tech ahead of time, I’m pretty happy with the photos. The crowd wasn’t huge, but they were really into the music, which is what the girls prefer. They’d rather have 10 people who sing with them and pay attention than 200 who talk and drink through the set.

Sleepy and hungry, we loaded in quickly and headed to McDonalds. We were surprised to see they offered veggie burgers (5/7 of our merry crew eat meatless), but they still hit the stomach like anything else on the McDonalds menu. Finally, we headed to bed.

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The next morning, we arose to the promise of free breakfast. Everything in Switzerland is super expensive, so any meal we could get for free is a huge help. Equipped with croissants, orange juice, and coffee, we went back to bed until it was time to check out. We hit the road, anticipating another five hour drive to Parma, Italy for the day.

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We stopped to grab lunch at a gas station, and after battling toilets from the future (Europe is a strange place), finally made it to the hotel. Hotel Campus is a very cute little place, with wonderful showers and a lobby that made me want to stay there forever. The girls had to sound check, but with five hours between load in and doors, Dora and I stayed at the hotel. I’d love to say I worked on homework or caught up on my tour blogs, but I watched Netflix for most of the few hours I had to myself, in addition to a spiritually transformative shower. Sometimes you just need a break.

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Sound check took a lot longer that we’d anticipated, so the girls were worried we weren’t going to be able to eat a full dinner. Rather than the venue providing us directly with dinner, they worked out a deal with a local restaurant, so we just had to show up, and they had plates ready for us. We started out with a strange flan-like puree of peas, which was unexpectedly delicious, and we all tapped out after eating a spinach crepe. Given that the restaurant was accessed through a back alley, we really felt like we had an Italian experience.

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The show that night was billed as a “pop punk mosh party,” and we quickly realized it was similar to the American Emo Nite. At both events, venues bring in a few punk/pup punk/emo/hardcore bands, then end the night with a deejay set focused on old emo anthems. This was by far our best attended headlining show—I’d estimate there were about 200 people. Unfortunately, there was no barricade, so a lot of my shooting was done on the stage. I don’t mind shooting from the stage, and it’s often way less stressful, but it can be hard to get photos of the girls’ actual faces.

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Because the girls didn’t go on until after midnight, it was technically my birthday! They pulled me up on stage and had the crowd say happy birthday, which was so sweet. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love with such an amazing group of people, but I’ll get really sappy on the next blog.

The show ran super late, and eventually, we decided to try to load out. Unfortunately, this meant pushing and carrying all our gear through the crowd. People were not all that happy with us, but they were so drunk that they kept their concerns to themselves.

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At around 3:30, we made it back to our hotel, and I think it took me about 30 seconds to fall asleep.

As of this blog, I only have a week left with the girls! It sounds like a long time, but the days are really starting to go quickly now. This has been such an insane adventure, and I wish it never had to end (although that probably wouldn’t be great for my academic situation. I can’t wait to tell you wonderful readers all about my birthday, so stay tuned!

 

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