Thursday, 24 June 2010

Evile Infecting Nations 2010 tour.Lisbon.

I hate waking up feeling sweaty and clammy and filthy. On this occasion though I feel a sense of hope. Can it be? Are we somewhere warm? I can’t believe that this could be true, so get changed and sort myself out quick smart and fly out of that bus in to…..The glaring sun! Yes Lisbon! Ben has already got his clothes hanging out on some building site tape tied to the lampposts on the pavement right out side to where the bus is parked up. On the other side of the pavement to us is a massive, dirt football pitch. And the glorious sun is shining down on all of it. On Ben, febreezing his stage clothes, on Arie and Joel and me wearing our sun glasses, heads tilted up towards the blue sky while we chuff on our tabs. I take a photo of some genuine Portuguese dog shit and of the sun.

The bus doors are wide open, airing it through, and I go up the front to see Chop and Lyall. Ben is there too, and they are all laughing at Chop’s laptop. As soon as he pulls it round for me to see, I understand why all the laughter. I cannot share with you what I saw but it was a tattoo that I for one have seen in Tattoo mags' before. I in turn, show my pics' of Kevill from the night before and they in turn laugh their arses off. I ring my mum and have a quick catch up with her, and then go and see if I can rally the troops for a jog round the football pitch. 5 laps later, Matt and me are feeling a little healthier and happy with ourselves. This is a good thing because, as expected, half way through the tour, everyone is coming down with cold.

The venue is a walk up some rickety, metal stairs, down some uneven concrete stairs, past a barking dog, past a huge, lush green football pitch and down the side of a row of little houses with lemon trees in their back yards. A lovely 5-minute walk.

I immediately move all the merch boxes over to where some guys are setting up a row of white plastic garden tables for me. As I’m sorting through, one of guys comes up to me and says he knows me. Small world moment. This dude, Rick is the stage manager of the venue we are in tonight. We met through Arch Enemy’s old tour manager who was also managing Rick’s band at the time. He brought them all down my pub last year some time. Love small world moments. They are another of the fantastic sides of touring.

Ilia and Nic are playing football outside on the green pitch with a couple of local kids, the doors at the side of the venue are wide open bringing in the fresh sunny afternoon breeze and I can hear the guys on the pitch. It’s all very tranquil and peaceful. Laux is practicing his guitar skills out on one of the football benches. I set up the merch stand in record time. It’s a massive blank wall with a washing line. No need to play Tetris with boxes today.

I shower in the football changing rooms and enjoy the sunbeams coming through instead of shivering. When I get back, the guys are playing football indoors while Warbringer practice a song.

The girl in charge of catering, Valu, and Bruno, the promoter for tonight, takes us all to dinner. It’s a cool little walk up the hill at dusk and the restaurant is empty except for us. We get a long table and fed gorgeous soup, Steak with rice and chips, chocolate mouse washed down by red wine and beer. We talk about the Over kill tour. Chop our driver tells us funny arse stories of other people he has driven, all the stories based around the no poo on the bus rule. I ask him is I am snoring when he walks past me in the lounge in the morning and he says that they are lady snores and not to worry. Bless. Good man right there. have to rush it all unfortunately so that I can be back in time for doors, which I am and it’s gig time.

Valu bless her comes by and leaves her perfume on the stand for me. I had said to her earlier in the day how lovely she smelt. Having been solely surrounded by men for the past three weeks, so she bought the perfume over for me to put on. After doing so, I try to hand it back to her, but god bless her, she tells me to keep it and wear it for the rest of the tour. And that whenever I wear it, I’ll think of her! Awww. Unlike the guys, I did not take this as some lesbian thing but rather a kind act of generosity within the international sisterhood. Thanks to her, I can smell girlie everyday.

There are worryingly few people coming in when the doors open. Fair play, the venue is a massive hall but still, aghh. I’m looking forward to seeing all the bands play the huge stage though. It’s the biggest yet, has different levels and massive speakers at the front that the band members can get up on to and be right up there.

It was so good to have a sit down, proper meal too. Bruno the promoter knows how bands roll. Never eat properly, spend your entire buy out money on booze. Rick, the stage manager comes and gives me a C.D from his band, we are the damned. We laugh about stories from the road, specifically concerning band members getting arrested and crossing borders. We laughed are arses of about people we know and the funny scrapes they get themselves in to.

So I estimate we have about 50 people in this 800 capacity venue. Still, there is a definite vibe going on. All the guys in here are excited, there’s that buzz you want. That contagious buzz. I spot Nic from Warbringer at the side of the stage, practicing while The Fading are on. After watching him for a while I realise that he’s actually drumming like for like exactly what Shaked is drumming up there on the stage! How fucking cool. I smile to myself and have a little moment.

So like I say, it’s pretty fucking darn empty up in here. But the people who are here? They fucking love it! They love The Fading, who go on to have their best merch night so far. Of course they should love it, The Fading fuckin’ rule! Arie pulls out an amazing guitar solo that the crowd go nuts over. Ilia stands back like a proud dad and obviously is still really in to watching his band mates play night after night. A true metal head right there.

Some stupid drunk fuck tries to steal Joel’s bass strings from off my stand. Na a ahh…no you didn’t! Pulled him right up by the forearm and reigned down my hateful angry eyes in to his soul and he mewed like a fuckin' kitten and put it back.

Warbringer have them a crowd surfer in to the second song ‘Whirlwind’. I would! Actually I wouldn’t ‘cause I’m a pussy. Still never have surfed. In my dreams of course, when I’m the front woman of the best punk thrash band in the world that does TLC covers, I’m always crowd surfing. Because I’m gnarly. That is all.

Bruno drops by from time to time, asking if I need anything, which I don’t but it’s still nice to be asked. I am thoroughly enjoying Portugal. I don’t know if I’ve been her before, I think my parents bought me her at some point during my upbringing? I love it though for sure.

As predicted, all the bands are making the most of the massive stage and all the levels that they have at their disposal. Andy, the bassist of Warbringer really comes in to his own for me tonight. Like, he’s so quiet and keeps himself to himself. But tonight on stage he is owning it, up at the front on the speakers rocking out, shaking his mane of hair about as he head bangs through the set. Totally in his element. Him and Adam are all over the right hand side of the stage, completely owning it. Laux is owning the left hand side.

Time for another top merch tip. The true worth of any good merch girl, is to be able to watch both the stock and the gig, from start to end. Multi task the fuck out of the both and you’re in for a good night.

By the time Evile come on, I feel a definite stage invasion coming on. Between the acts, Gama Bomb’s new album is blaring through the speakers. God their new album fucking rocks. Leaps and bounds man, leaps and bounds. So we got approximately 200 people in now! Phew. I pop backstage to use the facilities, and come across a very ill John Laux. The first of the bus to come crashing down with the cold that is beckoning to all of us, teasing us with runny noses and chesty coughs sporadically throughout the days and nights for the last couple of dates. He is knocking back the green tea and has hit the smoking on the head for the time being, in a bid to win the war against the plague. A true touring pro right there.

Evile experience crowd surfing and stage diving from the get go, they are clearly loving the massive stage space, prancing about like ponies on a summer afternoon in a dandelion field. Ol even jumps over a photographer mid song.

Anyway, back to me. I get asked for photos with me and when Matt attempts to embarrass me with his “tall blonde merch girl” shit, I get fucking wolf whistles dude! Wolf whistles! For me! Sick. Ol is flying about the stage all over the shop and everyone is chanting Evile between songs. I feel like at some point during the Madrid show, Evile got over a hump. A massive hump of burning pain. I feel like I literally watched them over the last two dates, become the new Evile. Don’t get me wrong. We talk about Mike all the time, we wish he was here to see the bad and the good. ‘Cause we know he would find the funny side of both. I won’t fill in the place names on my sales sheets until the day, not wanting to jinx the tour. God I wish Mike was here. Ol still dreams about him nearly every night like he is on the tour. Wakes up and realises he isn’t.

Everyone is chanting Evile though. The show must go on. Ol plays along with the chants, to which of course he gets a great response. They play Metallica’s ‘For who the bell tolls’ and fuck around the whole time. Throwing two fingers up at each other, laughing at each other. It’s so good to see. They deserve it, they really fucking do. It’s been a shitty past 6 months. The shittest. Up there, on that big stage tonight, they look like fucking rock stars. Proper legit.

The drive out of Lisbon takes us over a massive bridge that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I’m sitting up the front typing out my notes and listening to Crack the sky, dreaming of my bedroom and the radiator in it. At some stage I give up writing, listen to some more music and then make my way down to the back lounge to see if anyone is up. Ol and Adam are sitting together, thick as thieves, drunk out of their trees, calling themselves the ‘Strong Bro’s’ I sit back and enjoy the drunkard entertainment of them until my responsible side takes over and I send Ol to bed.

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