Tour Blog #4: Why We Love Gas Stations and Not Freezing to Death

We didn’t get into our hotel until 5am, so we slept in quite a bit. It was only an hour drive to our next venue, so we said we needed to be out the door by 5pm. I woke up around 2 and took advantage of being in a hotel, meaning I took an ungodly long shower—Meghan even took a bath. We packed up our things and went downstairs to wait for everyone else, but it was at this point we realized that Sydney and Alex had slept until 5. Nevertheless, we grabbed a gas station dinner and made it to the show with time to spare.

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I keep mentioning that we’re getting food from gas stations, but it’s because gas station food here is excellent. It’s fresh, fast, and cheap—everything touring bands are looking for. I got a tomato mozzarella panini for roughly the equivalent of $3. Even though you have to pay for the bathrooms, they’re a hundred times cleaner than American restrooms, so gas stations have become a kind of haven for us, as strange as that sounds.

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Subway to Peter, the venue for the night, was one of the weirdest places I’ve ever shot. The room we played was underground, and the stone walls and huge tables reminded me of a castle. 

The venue fed us a wonderful meal of vegan goulash on pasta, and the girls took the stage, which was just the floor. The crowd was made up of some serious punk rockers, and even though they weren’t moshing or going crazy during the set, they had nothing but nice things to say after. We also did pretty well in merch sales!

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Before every set, I always look at the venue and lights and think, “man, this is going to be the show that I end up with no photos to give the girls.” They’d never be mad at me—some places and situations are just extremely difficult or impossible to get good photos of and they have plenty of photos from other nights to post—but it’s the notion of not being able to do it that bothers me. Every time I think this, though, the photos turn out really well. I’m worried I’ll jinx myself by even saying that, but even though I have the support of so many people, there’s always that little bit of doubt that creeps into my head. 

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After I finished editing and uploading the photos from the night, I joined Alex, Nicole, and Sydney, who were drinking with two of the girls from the show. As soon as I walked up, the girls started raving about a shot called a Mexicana. It was essentially tomato juice, Tobasco, and some kind of clear alcohol, and when I ordered one, I realized just how dangerous they were in that they didn’t taste like alcohol at all. I made the joke that they were basically health food.

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Apparently, our obsession with these shots made that bartender feel compelled to give us a whole tray of them, which I was pretty excited to hop on. While we were talking to the two German girls, one of them casually asked if we wanted chocolate cake, then literally pulled a piece of it out of her purse. If you thought that was shocking reading it in your home, imagine how incredulous drunk me was.

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We’ve heard a little bit of concern over how much we’ve been drinking, but we assure all of you that it’s in a very safe and professional manner. The girls will have a drink (if that) before the show, then they’ll play and pack up, and THEN they’ll have more drinks or harder alcohol. We then load up and go back to whatever apartment we’re staying at, giggle in our bunk beds for awhile, then pass out.  There are a minimum of two of us sober, and our driver never drinks, even at the beginning of the night. There has been no vomiting, no falling, and no blacking out, and we’re also pretty good at policing each other to make sure we stay safe. I also never drink before my photos are imported, edited, and in the google drive that the girls have access to. We work before we play!

It's also fucking hilarious to watch four drunk girls load hardware cases and kick drums up stairs while drunk, which is what we did after we were told the bar was closing soon.

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Our accommodations for the night were specifically made for bands, and it was essentially a wall of bunk beds and bathroom with no shower. We quickly got ready for bed, and set our alarms for 10am.

We had a 5 hour drive to Hamburg, and when I woke up feeling not-hungover-but-not-so-great, I decided that the night was going to be relatively sober for me. We stopped at McDonalds at the insistence of our social circles, mostly just to see how it was different. We all agree it was better, and there are a lot of healthier options that we don’t have in the states. The ordering process was off of touch screens, which actually proved to be much easier, as we speak no German. I got an earl grey tea, a donut, and an egg and cheese McMuffin, and we agreed it was a unique and pleasant experience that we would not be doing again. It’s still McDonalds, after all.

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The weather has taken a turn for the very much better, as it’s been hovering around the 40-50 degree range. If we were in Arizona, we’d be complaining about the bitter cold, but coming from 20 degrees, we are happily taking it and shedding off layers. We believe we’ve left the worst of the weather behind (knock on wood).

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We all napped on the way to Hamburg, and loaded in at a tiny, tiny venue called Astra Stube. Alex described our dinner buffet for the night best, saying it looked like “a spread you would make at a preschool.” There were some great sandwich ingredients like cheese, veggies, and dressings, but we cracked up when we saw the end of the line, which consisted of bowls of candy, gummy bears, and animal crackers. Anyone who knows me knows I have quite a sweet tooth, so I was pretty into it.

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The cymbals and guitar the airline lost were found at a different airport, and they were supposed  to be shipped to Astra Stube. The girls got emails that the company tried to deliver them to the venue, but no one was there to accept them. With the help of venue staff and very patient DHL workers, we arranged to pick them up at the DHL facility the next morning. We’ve been reunited with our gear!

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The show didn’t attract many people—maybe 10 at the most—but it was really cool for the girls to see a lot of the audience singing along with them. One of the girls there had studied abroad in Arizona, and wore her U of A shirt to the show. Another guy saw the girls in Florida a few months ago when they played shows on the way home from Shiprocked festival. Nearly everyone there bought merch, including one of my prints (which I used the money from to buy breakfast the next day).

 

We illegally parked on the sidewalk to load in, then grabbed pizza before heading to our flat. This place was a bit nicer, but essentially another wall of bunk beds. At least we had a shower!

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We’re all really liking Germany, and we’re mastering simple words and phrases much better than in Czech. The architecture is astounding, both modern and ancient. Though these German shows are much smaller, everyone here has been so kind to us, and there’s zero coke in the green rooms (mostly because we haven’t had green rooms).

I mentioned in my last blog that the days are going by slowly, and they still are. I definitely prefer it to feeling like time is slipping away, but it feels as though we’ve been in Europe for much longer than 5 days. I love the fact that there’s almost two weeks of this adventure left for me!

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If you missed my announcement, I am, indeed, going on Warped Tour with the Doll Skin girls! They wanted me to go with them from the get go, but unfortunately, there wasn’t room for me in the RV. With some bartering with a band from California, Tables Turned, I was able to secure a spot on the RV. Show them some love—I’ll be traveling with them all summer!

Allow me to get sappy here for a moment. As a teenager, I wasn’t allowed to go to Warped tour because I’ll be the first to admit, it isn’t the safest place for tiny young women. I always envied those who got to go, so shooting my first Warped in 2016 was hugely nostalgic, like I was doing it in honor of sad little 13 year old me. I knew I wanted to eventually be part of Warped as soon as I started working in the industry, but I kept it in the back of my mind as a very long-term and distant goal. Then, when I heard 2018 is the last year for Warped, I kind of gave up on the idea. I figured there was no way I’d make it on, and while I was disappointed, I didn’t dwell on it.

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So the fact that it’s really, truly happening? It’s insane to me. I’m overjoyed, and so grateful to the girls and everyone else who supports me. As soon as the girls saw my photos from the first night, Nicole assured me, “we’re going to find a way to get you on Warped,” which meant the world to me. It’s one thing to support an artist who is supporting you, but over the last few days, I feel like we’ve all bonded to become friends. I never thought I’d be able to say it, but I’m going on Warped Tour at 20 years old with an all-female crew, and I’m getting college credit for it.

 

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Hell yeah.

As always, I’m sure I’ll have more antics, sappy reflections, and bad jokes to come as we traverse our way across the continent! Stay tuned!