Wight Weekend Capital Tour
Okay. Since all the video footage from our recent excursion is in German without subtitles, I’ll do this one in English for our international visitors. We’re not only bad and nationwide, but bad ass and worldwide, you see.
On the sunny morning of Friday, September 16th, 2011, we left Darmstadt to embark on our longest band journey so far. All our stuff had been packed into the huge VW van we rented from LSD Trips in Hanau (great place for band buses, by the way,) the day before, so we were ready to go right away. We met at the station, with Henz driving us Wights and some people we had picked up via Mitfahrgelegenheit (you know, the German site where you can hitch a ride via the internet.) The trip turned out to be pretty entertaining because our guests, three girls and a guy, kindly played along with all the bullshit we threw at them.
Our first station on the long drive was Eisenach, where we stopped at the former Inner-German border station to get some coffee. Old East Germany still had a grip on the people at the truck stop, or so it seems – you weren’t allowed to even sip on your “coffee to go” while still inside the restaurant. It’s not called “to go” for nothing, after all.
A couple of kilometres past Leipzig, I decided to have a go at driving and relieve Henz for a while. Well, being used to my orange 50 hp underpowered-as-fuck van you might have seen at some Wight gigs this year, my driving style turned out to be totally unsuitable for the huge 3,5 ton van we had that day. Let’s just leave it at that, I suppose I annoyed the living hell out of some people on board and burned a bit more diesel than I should have.
Next station was Berlin. We wouldn’t be playing there until the next night, but we had to drop off the other people. Henz reclaimed the wheel there and drove us through miles and miles of dense pine forest to Luckenwalde in Brandenburg, where tonight’s gig would take place. We found the venue immediately, an old movie theatre. The sign above the entrance reminded me of “Puppet Show & Spinal Tap” quite a bit. Jäntschi, the promoter, showed up a couple of minutes later to let us in. You can have a look at the venue in all its glory in the first of the two videos Rene made. We actually set up our gear in the lobby of the old theatre. There was an old piano standing in a corner, which was totally out of tune and probably hadn’t been used for ages. Which didn’t keep Henz and me from doing a little piano-sax jam which you can also hear in the video. The food we got there was great, and although we had to wait for hours before we could start playing, we generally had a good time.
Now for the gig. Playing in the lobby of an old theatre could have created a unique atmosphere. And so it did, but not quite the way we wanted it to. There were 20 or 30 people in there, so the place wasn’t packed, but it could have felt like a gig. Only that nobody really gave a fuck about us performing on stage. Okay, a couple of people were sitting on the stairs right in front of us, listening and even clapping after the songs, but the majority just stood at the bar, talking and smoking cigars. Well, there are different kinds of gigs, and this one was more of the third kind.
After the show, we had a couple of beers and walked over to Jäntschi’s place, where we should stay for the night. Apparently, Rene got up quite early in the morning, and when he got bored after a while, he decided to wake us all up by jumping around the room and slamming on Jäntschi’s guitar. After having a shower (one at a time, of course) we were served a great breakfast. Ah, life! My résumé for Luckenwalde: The crowd was lame, but the location itself was great, and so was the hospitality.
Back to the venue, we quickly loaded our stuff into the van, and off we went to Berlin. Once again, we managed to find the venue, Festsaal Kreuzberg, quite quickly, and only had to perform a U-turn once. Which Henz of course mastered, only to go on to park the 7 meter long car backwards and in the dark later without any complaints. Chapeau!
Now, this one was what I call a venue. A large hall with two huge Pharaoh statues on stage and a balcony all around. Professional sound and lighting, nice people, everything was set up for a great experience. Since the sound check was still about an hour away, we decided to have a short walk around Berlin-Kreuzberg and look at some stores. Nothing special, but interesting none the less.
Sound check went great, except for the fact that my instrument cable turned out to be broken, as was my amp’s internal DI box. Not a big problem though, the DI was unnecessary anyway, and I could borrow a cable from White Rabbit Dynamite’s guitar player. After that, we went off into the night of Kreuzberg again, this time to find a pub and some food. Walking into the famous Trinkteufel rock pub a bit down the road, we found an old acquaintance working behind the counter there. I don’t really recall the guy’s name, but I remember him being the sound guy for some rather well known scene bands. I’m notoriously bad at remembering people I’ve only met once or twice though.
A couple of beers, a döner kebab, and back to the Festsaal. White Rabbit Dynamite opened the concert with some trippy, Jefferson Airplane-tinged female fronted psychedelic rock. Good band, but very few people in the hall at that point. Should this be another Luckenwalde? Well, as it turns out, definitely not. Apart from the fact that my bass strap broke during the first song and my tuner gave up during the third, totally muting my bass (Michi and Rene saved my ass by jamming while I was replugging everything to get my bass sound back,) it was an awesome gig. And by that, I do not mean that we played particularly well, but the atmosphere was just right, and the clouds of burning incense and a crowd of spliff and beer fuelled maniacs celebrating every note we played to the max made it an unforgettable experience.
Most of my memories from after the gig are a bit blurry, but I remember Henz and me doing a Robotic / Crab Walk fusion dance behind the merch counter, us meeting up with Kai from Bilocation Records again, Michael being celebrated by some friends from Berlin, Rene, as usual, trying to get to know as many cool people as possible, us loading the van in quite a drunken state and a techno party starting immediately after the last note of a great Hypnos 69 show. Not to mention the usual trash talk of bad puns and low brow jokes that went on continually through the entire weekend. At some point in time, we took a taxi to crash at Säsh’s place, the guy who organized the entire event. Rene and I went out once again to get some ridiculously spicy pizza before going to sleep in the early morning hours.
The next and last day saw another shower, a long tram ride back to the venue, a döner kebab and a rather uneventful ride back across Germany to Darmstadt. Of course, we had to pick up a few other people at the Berlin Messe again, a place where a toilet seemed incredibly hard to find. But all in all, the way back saw a lot more people sleeping than making stupid jokes, as the long and rather eventful weekend had taken its toll on each one of us.
So, this is the short version of our weekend capital trip. We would like to thank Jäntschi, Säsh and Äxl (why in the fuck does everybody involved have to have an umlaut in his name?!) for great food, hospitality and concert organisation, Henz (the Man of Iron) for driving and putting up with all our bullshit, all the awesome people in Berlin and last, but not least, our very own Rene for making this possible through hard work and dedication.
For me, it’s off to vacation in Denmark now, I guess the other guys will be working on some Wight stuff without me though. After that, it’s one rehearsal and off to Cologne to support White Hills.