Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where's Your Spark Now?

Oh, culinary delights of continental europe. All of this stale breading and cheesing is starting to be pretty detrimental to my mojo. I would kill for chicken and waffles, maim for an in and out burger and commit genocide for a decent cup of coffee.

The land of creative crisp flavoring will rise yet again. Just when I had discovered my affections for both prawn cocktail and cheese and onion flavor (flavour?), they go and throw this at me.

Honestly no good can come from doing a show in a venue that looks like a giant clown hat. As was the case in Antwerp.

The place was in the middle of a park that had some of the strangest birds that I'd ever seen, as well as about a dozen large, stagnant bodies of water behind the stage to breed duck-sized mosquitos. No kidding.

The grounds were amazing, and also strangely vacant.

A few of us wandered around for what seemed like miles after the show. We found a whole lot of nothing, but it was still nicer than being indoors all day.

I got to see some of the Frenchies in Paris. They are good sports, and always come out to see me when I'm in town. Emilie works for Carla Bruni's record label. I didn't know that Carla Bruni was a folk singer, but then again you could fill a boxcar with things that I don't know about Carla Bruni. Since she is effectively France's first lady, my friend Emilie deals a quite a bit with the French secret service.  She is convinced that someone reads her email, and was particularly concerned by one that she had sent me the week before that detailed the new promo poster that quite vividly depicted the first lady with a good bit of unkempt body hair. That's one way to win over a French audience I suppose. Still, pretty hip for the president's wife. That, and I hear that she slept with Mick Jagger.

The Paris show was a shitstorm of malfunction on a rather grand scale. I was just easing into the world of European touring without taking into account that these would be really small club shows where generally anything can happen. I had missed the days when the house lighting guy turned up 3 hours late because he had a rough night of boozing behind him (in fact I haven't had to even deal with a house lighting guy, that lowliest of characters, in quite some time). In Paris the place was brand spanking new. They had just touched up a bit of the spackle work the night before and I think that we did the second official show there. The lighting guy had no idea what so ever what was going on, and the lighting desk just looked like a big calculator to me, though it did have an oops button, which I pushed maybe 75 times that day. Not once did it return me to my living room in San Francisco and give me back the prior 2 weeks of my life.

Queens of The Stone Age Febreze. It smells like outpatient rehab, snickers bars and metal. It's better than the Death Cab variety which smells mostly like old band aids.

Only lonely around other people.

My friends Chad and Erin (Cherin, if you're into the whole brevity thing) are over in Amsterdam (I missed them by a few days) on vacation. They seemed so excited to come over and explore the city, maybe find a little trouble. I always wish, especially in cities like Amsterdam that I didn't have such an overdeveloped sense of pessimism about Europe most of the time. I guess mostly I think about the toil and hardship about working over here and not about how fundamentally different it is from my own home, and how exciting that feeling can be. I guess what I'm saying is I'd give anything to be blissfully unaware, wandering around Amsterdam on mushrooms trying not to get hit by bikes or fall into a canal.

Things that I wish I had bought while in Amsterdam.

Things that I did buy while I was in Amsterdam and have absolutely no regrets about.

I had a really nice night there for a change.

Most of the shows have been a lot like this. I've forgotten how spoiled I get by doing shows in nice old theaters. This is a far cry from a warm, velvety room filled with ornate greek carvings and delicious catering. More often than not it's a drunk German poking me in the ribs to ask me to turn up the accordion.

Speaking of drunken Germans, our Berlin show was pretty well stocked with them. The bus was parked behind the club in a little courtyard area that housed a few other bars and clubs. Since the bus was parked against a wall it became an instant bathroom for drunks and a haven for vagrants. Not long into the evening a brawl broke out seemingly between one unfortunate guy and about seventeen security guards. The underdog managed to outrun (although beaten and bloody) the horde of pursuers only to return five minutes later to the scene of the crime and attempt to hide behind our bus. Needless to say he was again beaten to a bloody pulp. We did our best to break up the massacre, but again, couldn't quite understand why anyone would want to come back for another round.

Light show.

Yes, yes. Fuck Star Wars.

Superb name for a restaurant.

I'm back on the old submarine of death again. It's getting a little tight and punchy with 13 people on the bus. That and you can't stand upright (by you I mean me, and I'm a little guy) when you are upstairs. Everyone is all hunched and grumbly after a few weeks. We very closely resemble cavemen.

At least the fridge is bursting with strange Belgian goods like blackcurrnat soda and bernaise sauce.

I found this is a German playground. It was posted on a 35 foot-high platform that dropped straight off on one end. It was right next to a swing set. Poor planning.

It's true, you do love John Mayer. A little anecdote: In Birmingham today I am again sitting around and waiting for a house lighting guy to turn up. Apparently at the last show the crew wandered off with the power connectors for the entire lighting system. Dude is out looking for another set downtown. I asked who the band was and, with a sigh and grumble, the local crew said 'John Mayer.'