Day five: Halle. Walking into Objekt 5 is almost like walking into a dream. An old red velvet curtain hangs across the stage. Daylight filters down from the windows at the top of a high stone wall. The room immediately puts us at ease, and meeting the promoter Matthias confirms that this will be a good night. And so it goes, a really attentive audience see the best show of the tour so far. I hope we can return there some time.
We are hitting our stride now, just as we venture into eastern Germany, and some cities that we have never been to before. It almost feels like we are explorers, not only of this country, but of ourselves, searching for something that is elusive, the perfect moment, the purest expression. We catch sight of it occasionally, off in the mist. We are on its trail, determined to tame it, and make it ours.
Day six/seven: we set up base camp in Chemnitz after a steady but uneventful trek across the glacier from Jena, where we spent the night in a series of caves (the Rosenkeller) haunted by the ghosts of long dead metal warriors. In those ancient cellars, their strangled cries still reverberate around the walls. We are now a part of their demented eternal choir.
Earlier today Darren left camp heading straight into the blizzard, saying only that he may be some time. I fear we may not see him again. Balder’s behaviour continues to be erratic, and is an increasing source of concern. His grasp on reality, always slight, has deteriorated to the point that he seems to believe himself to be a sailor in some soviet-era navy. Sadly he has yet to display the navigational skills that this would suggest, but at least the sat-nav has not faltered. Given its US military origins, this must be a source of great ideological pain for Balders.
Day 8: to everyone’s relief and delight Darren returned, having survived 24 hours on a diet of nothing but chocolate, from which he seems to derive superhuman powers. Sadly his re-apperance was brief, staying long enough to fulfil his percussive obligations, as sensitively as ever, only to abscond once more at their conclusion. The wind is howling again, and the snowstorm still rages outside. But, for now, we are safe in the warm embrace of the Atomino club. Full of hope for our journey to Erlangen tomorrow, safe in the knowledge that nothing can possibly go wrong.
Day 9: Disaster! To tempt fate with such confidence has surely been the downfall of many throughout history. But it is a lesson we must learn, with grace and humility. Our vessel has run aground, a victim of circumstance and malicious mis-labeling at a waystation outside Chemnitz. We are without power, stranded besides the autobahn. We huddle in the biting winds garbed in gaudy safety vests. A sign to all who speed past us: Beware the trick of false hope, do not believe spring has come until the flowers are in bloom. Double -check what fuel you are putting in your tank. But from such trials comes true learning, and our faith in the human spirit is restored thanks to an amazing team of mechanics from Stollberg, and the kind folk at the nearby guesthouse who make us Russian soup and coffee to ease the frostbite. And so our automotion is restored, but we are late, and the good people of Erlangen are waiting. Onward! Through the night we speed, carrying the dreams of our future children with us. We take to the stage in a blur, no soundcheck, no pause for breath. And we triumph. A lesson learned, never stop trying. Relieved to have survived a gruelling day we make merry with the men from Kevin Devine and the Goddam Band, and Southerly. They are funny guys. As the snow falls on Erlangen, we put this day behind us, and look forward once again with smiles on our faces.
Day 10: Bamberg, Bavaria. A thick blanket of snow covers the town. We have arrived early after only a 40km drive. So we decide to sample the local smoked beer. Our low expectations were well and truly exceeded. Its good stuff, in moderation. Today we make the most of the Morph club’s hospitality and hang out in their artist apartment. Its nice to kick back and relax for a few hours. We are all very tired after the previous days stress, and a mystery virus is passing through our ranks. The promoters here are really wonderful people and the show is good. The crowd are quite vocal, with one audience member shouting „more speed!“ . I am not sure if this is directed at us or not. We decline to indulge in the minimal techno club night that immediately follows our set, and take to our beds.
Day 11: Dortmund , Pauluskirche Dortmund. Today we play in this beautiful church. At first i think its safe to say that we are slightly uncomfortable, not sure how to handle the feeling of respect that this building engenders. But it doesn’t stop us rocking out, in fact it encourages us to play our most inspired set yet, with the most quiet and delicate moments combined with a massive wall of sound that brings dust down from the rafters. Possibly one of the best shows we have ever done. Another great night.
Koln – in stark contrast to Dortmund, Koln is a dingy basement club. But it is charming in its own way. A tight squeeze on stage.
Folgende Stationen im nächsten Teil: Dresden, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Luxemburg, HOME
Der Tourabschluss in Deutschland erfolgt heute im Laboratorium in Stuttgart.