Saturday, June 24, 2006

This Summer We'll Mostly Be Selling Shit To The Kids

Festival season has officially begun. I am back on the bus.

All the glamour of a day in the sun, mostly spent waiting on some form of line in some form of filth.

Behind the scenes. What the backstage is really all about.


I've run into a bunch of old friends on this one. I've known our truck driver for years. The Sounds are first on our stage. They are always good fun, even at the crack of noon.

Everyone's favorite keyboard player

Everyone's favorite Strokes affiliate

I've known Adam Green since hed was about 16. He's got a Hasselhoff sort of thing going on in Germany, meaning he can talk to his car and people won't give him shit for it.

The crowd was great. I've never seen so many people in mutual appreciation of someone doing a bunny hop across a stage.

Wolfmother was pretty great.

The crowd in the little tent was pretty crazy. That's one of the better things about the festivals, it's not too hard to pull a really rowdy crowd in the middle of a blazing hot summer day.

Death Cab brought the pain. I did "lights" for a mostly daylight show. So it goes.

The Strokes were incredible. This was the first show that I'd seen since leaving them last December. Holy hell did they rip it up.

There were 40,000 people there last night. It was pretty mad.

I walked away from that show jetlagged but wide was one of the best shows that I'd seen them play. A fair majority of the bands playing these things are really awful. Fair enough, they appeal to a broader spectrum of European festival go-er, but there is some rank stuff out there. This is the medication. I don't recall ever hearing 'Ize of the World' before, but it was the winner last night.

At the moment the police have ordered a stoppage of bands for most of the afternoon. In the world cup madness Germany (who has been doing remarkably well) is playing Sweden. The game is being projected on the jumbo-tron things on each stage. We are in Northern Germany, and many of the bands playing the festival are Swedish (The Sounds, The Shout Out Louds, The Hives), so I'm banking on someone losing an eye before the day is out. This is the scene in the backstage area currently. The Germans are up 2-0.

Bavarian Dreams / Hitler's Blooper Real

Travel is dangerous.

It's amazing how many heads turn at an airport when you say 'it's going to bleed like a geyser' into your cell phone.

I've perfected the art of air travel as I know it. I can honestly make it from my apartment in greenpoint to my departure gate at JKF in one hour, traffic and natural disasters permitting. I take the side streets, stay off the highway, check myself in, get in the first class security line and shove anything remotely metal in my carry on bag. Breeze right through, past the shit food and glossy magazines, straight to my gate.

I had threatened, on this flight, to spend every last US dollar in my pocket on tapioca pudding that was for sale a little sandwich shop in the airport. I had this fantasy of busying four or five gallons of pudding and eating it loudly in the back of a cramped, ugly Lufthansa plane.

Traveled to Ulm to escape the world cup in Munich. The whole joint has gone a bit football mad, if you ask me.

Lufthansa airlines broke my suitcase on day one of my month-long trip. Just putting that out there.

Back on another bus. Another cramped, smelly european bus. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the Marines, or on some sort of exploration to the center of the earth. That's how trying my job gets sometimes. Occasionally I get to sit back and put my feet up for a while though.

The hotel here has bikes for rent at the concierge. I took one out and tore around downtown Ulm.

I must say, I'm getting pretty adept at photographing myself while on a bike. If only that were a reasonably marketable skill.

Blast. I found a nice church.

The German's love a good church like the English love a good castle or the French love a good fort.

And some kids swimming in what I think is the Danube.

It's not too shabby being back in Germany. Small town Germany, at least. It's warm in the south, and the people are generally pretty nice. I don't, however, feel quite comfortable with arming the Germans. No offense, but after taking a stab at conquering Europe the second time around, people start to wonder if violent megalomania is genetic. You should all be on probation. No guns. Plastic knives, even, like they give you on the airplane. It makes me want to watch Downfall.

I've already started missing familiar food. Last night I had a dream about Vesalka's potato pancakes. Vesalka is just down the street from Blue 9 Burger as well. Damn. Last night I ordered the spinach ravioli from room service. It was peppered (and by peppered I mean, well, smothered) in bacon. I'm a man who loves his bacon, but there is a time and a place for just about everything, and this was neither. So, things that I miss about NY...


Action involving someone dressed as an orange in the middle of Astor place at rush hour.


Off to the Southside festival. I checked out the site on Google Earth which, since I've got a new computer, works pretty well, and is my new favorite thing. The festival site, unfortunately, is quite literally in the middle of a large, grassy nowhere.

I don't mean to be spreading on the hate paste, but I can only assume that in a few days time I'll be covered in mud with no clean socks and a real bad attitude. I sincerely hope that things turn out differently.