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ELUVIETIE TOUR BLOG, WEEK 3: OF ELUVEITIES, AMERICANS AND ZOMBIES

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[To chronicle their current tour — the U.S. portion of which features 3 Inches of Blood, Holy Grail and System Divide in support — Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie will be writing an exclusive tour blog for MetalSucks. Read about the Brazilian tour in the Week 1 Tour Blog, and arriving in America and Canada in Week 2. Week 3 follows, in which Eluveitie learn to enjoy the old American West and encounter zombies in Vancouver. -Ed.]

Chicago. We had more than enough rest and we can’t wait to actually DO something again. Offdays are useless crap. After the traditional morning excursion to Starbucks we can face the day!

Nice location, good sound, great restaurant and a reasonable amount of fans making it to the show, so nothing to complain about at all. Jenna is the lucky contest winner (over a couple of weeks fans could record videos of them covering “Thousandfold” and we chose the winners), so she will be on stage with us tonight to play her “Flying V” violin (with fuckin frets, how weird is that?!).

And FINALLY we get our after-show party!

After a pretty cool show we go hang out at the bar. Before we can have our long-awaited shot & drinks round we sign shitloads of stuff and take some pictures which isn’t a drag at all because the people are all really cool and down to earth. So we hang out with fans and have tequila shots to start off with. Anna and Merlin are already pretty merry after two drinks and hang out with Eileen (no idea if the name is spelled right, sorry…) who drove fuckin’ 4 hours to see us and ended up only seeing two songs because of traffic jams!! According to her it was still 100% worth it and she’s really happy to get to hang out with us after the show! Well damnit, WE are happy that people drive so far to see us. Thanks Eileen!!

Merlin gets hit on by a girl (who kind of hits on Anna too?! confusing shit), doesn’t know how to deal with the situation and magically disappears. Fucking wizard shit. All in all a fantastic evening with fantastic people! A real pity Maurizio (frontman of Kataklysm and Ex Deo) couldn’t make it… Sime really wanted to discuss the Roman Empire with him.

***

St. Paul! That place is just kult somehow and we love being there. The shows always end up being great and the crew there is really chill and funny. First of all coffee… some of us just can’t drink alcohol anymore and feel slightly hungover. We end up in some weird hippie-alternative café with some dude playing an old piano (all artsy-style). Not exactly what we want to hear first thing in the morning, but whatever… the coffee is good and there’s soy milk for Anna.

Apart from a set-up that takes waaay too long and the piercing cold annoying the hell out of us nothing happens. System Divide, Holy Grail and 3 Inches of Blood all play really good shows and do more than just warm up the crowd for us! Our show goes well too, but unfortunately we have to leave straight after, so no hanging out once again…

***

Lawrence, Kansas. We were never here before, but we are just dazzled by the charm of this town! (that sounds terrible, but it’s seriously how we feel, ha) Bagel place, little Cafés and shops, lots of churches… like the shit we see on TV and think “THAT’s what America looks like”. We get a shower room in a bed and breakfast place (Merlin and Anna plan on buying that house when they somehow get rich someday), and soundcheck is not even that long this time. This time a young vocalist will join us on stage to play “Thousandfold.” We meet him, explain where his mic will be and leave him to it. Somehow by the expression on his face we get the feeling that he’s so nervous he’ll just hang out by the stage the next few hours and tremble. But maybe we just misinterpret that, because he really rocks it on stage later on!

Some of us eat dinner at a restaurant called “Ingredient” where you can order custom salads and pizzas and where they have gluten-free menus and all sorts of awesome stuff. Well fuck me blue, I don’t want to hear anyone in Europe making assumptions that all Americans do is eat fast-food crap ever again (says Anna).

Tonight we definitely have the smallest crowd so far, but that doesn’t influence our show one bit… we have lots of fun. Kudos to the lady who did a sexy (or something similar?) dance in the first row for Anna and attempted to tear open her blouse. That was pretty interesting.

***

Denver, SOLD OUT! Yeah!

No idea what neighborhood we ended up in, but during load-out quite a lot of hobos talk to us, but strangely enough it sounds like what they’re saying actually makes sense. Intellectual and homeless, I guess? Unfortunately we don’t really understand the accents and just nod whilst handing out cigarettes.

Interviews are scheduled for the evening, one of which is done half-sober (Anna sober, Chrigel not really) and thus results in answers like “Lady Gaga and Eminem influence us when we write music.” And then we get cheese and apple cake for the whole bus! Thank you, Birgit Haugen, a very friendly German lady who lives in Colorado and can bake and cook like a goddess.

The show is fucking hot and we hardly fit on stage, but apart from that the crowd rules and the atmosphere is great!

***

Salt Lake City. Unfortunately Holy Grail don’t make it because of van problems. Apart from that it’s an interesting day. Chrigel and Merlin print out tattoo-templates, our backstage looks like a strip club and a 5-minute walk takes us to a shopping-paradise (somewhat like a mall, but it’s outside so it looks more like a village or something). After we find out that nothing really works during soundcheck we have a meet ‘n’ greet. Chris (a huge security-dude with tons of muscles) takes care of us and apparently in his terms that means just telling all the people to fuck off again after 10 minutes. Kind of harsh, but funny; the dude is like a movie character.

After that Päde, Anna, Ivo and Sime go out for some dinner. That’s probably the weirdest combination since the idea of putting peanut butter and jelly on bread (what the fuck is up with that?). Vegetarians vs. Allergic-Vegan-Organic-Whateverperson vs. Militant Animal Destroyer.

Back at the venue we find our backstage has been transformed into a raging rave party. Alright!

At 7:00 Chrigel and Merlin go to get their spontaneous tattoos done. Chrigel gets a Gaulish text on his hand (“I’m a free man, in a free country” quote of a Helvetic chieftain or something) and Merlin gets Lynyrd Skynyrd lyrics on his wrists (“Be a simple kind of man”). Well, have fun hitting those drums in 20 minutes! Merlin’s tattoo is done like 2 minutes before our changeover and he runs to the bus to get changed. Finally, some crazy rock’n’roll shit going on! Or at least kind of. The concert is great even though it’s kind of un-epic when we have to stand right next to the stage during line-check and our intro, while everybody can see our stupid faces.

After the gig Ivo decides to go for a shower in the disco that used to be our backstage (he said it was a very interesting and spiritual experience) and a few of our guys get ready to enjoy another drinking night once again. Chrigel, Melanie (our friend and merch girl) and Päde decide to check out the rave party. Fuckin’ weird those parties… a moment later Sime arrives with our backliner Roger. Of course Sime first of all starts a tirade about how disgusting this stupid circus is and how he can’t understand why anyone would have fun here. What we really don’t get though is why our shows sometimes have a strict time limit (have to finish before midnight) so that minors can get in too, but on the other hand there’s tons of half-naked teenies at this rave party dancing around. “It seems like metal is still extremely dangerous for today’s youth” are Päde’s thoughts on the current situation. Oh well, at least we’re in luck and the club owner recognizes us. Free drinks! Päde finally has a hardcore long island ice tea once again. Chrigel has one too, but apparently against his will (haha) — he usually likes his alcohol pure and honest without any sweet crappy juice stuff in it. A few drinks later Chrigel decides to experiment with “Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce” which of course ends up not being a good idea at all. Good thing tomorrow is a day-off….

***

Day Off. Usually this would end up being a really boring day, but a few lucky coincidences and this isn’t the case at all! It’s early morning and the bus is standing still somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Oregon. We have to fix something at a truck repair. One glance out of the window and we get off the bus and run into the sun to take in the incredible view. Really nice hills, a huge river. We’re right at the border of Idaho.

After we decide not to stop permanently by a casino (which really pisses off Sime… “If you guys would really be the huge America fans you claim to be, you’d wanna stay here with the fucking Indians!”), we drive into a small town called Pendleton. We get a few hotel rooms and a few of us decide to go for a walk to see what it’s like here. The streets are empty, a peaceful Sunday in a cute little town. One store is actually open and apparently it’s the oldest western store in all of America! Holy shit! Merlin and Kay completely lose it and want to buy saddles (“Okay, in order to have saddles we’ll need horses though..”), ropes, weapons, hats and boots. Anna wouldn’t mind some real cowgirl boots either, but once she sees the price tag she can only dream.

We have dinner at Hamley’s, the most awesome steakhouse we have ever been to. The building seems to be an old bank, Merlin gets all excited about a painting with Jesse James on it (assuming it’s him) and we can check out an old wine cellar. After eating tons of bloody meat (our poor veggie dudes…) we move to the bar. The gentlemen have whiskey, the ladies go for fresh berry martinis. That with the Californian wine from before pretty much does the job, but aren’t days off there for the sake of treating yourself well?

Hamley’s closes and we go to a bar across the street where we meet Kelly, the coolest barkeeper in the world. Meri and Anna get special custom drinks and most important of all, free shots! We start talking to some dudes and find out that a friend of theirs is driving all the way from Pendleton to Seattle and Portland to see us and is like our biggest fan. The world is a small fucking place… Anna gets some weed slipped into her hand, she doesn’t really know what to do with it. The last time she smoked lots of proper weed she puked on her mom and since then she sticks to drinking. So that is how Eluveitie experiences the wild nightlife of small peaceful Pendleton!

***

Seattle. Holy Grail still don’t make it, we really hope they make it to Vancouver tomorrow. So with some slight hangovers we go search for the next Starbucks and are wide awake once the rain pours down on us.

Soundcheck takes ages once again and nothing worth mentioning happens except dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant (we felt terrible after that…).

The gig is awesome, Preston and Corey (two of our biggest fans who have been to about 6 shows in the US already) are rocking out like crazy, Preston screaming all the lyrics louder than Chrigel himself. We dedicate a song to him. Great to see you, man!

***

Zombieland (Vancouver). One of the most beautiful cities in the world? My ass! Hehe, no, we do believe that this is the case, but we just happen to play in the worst neighborhood ever. We already know the club from the Amon Amarth tour and nothing has changed; they haven’t really gotten around to cleaning up the area I guess. During load-in some guy is doing heroin in front of the club, we’re asked by a young lady if we need blow-jobs or massages and she just wont leave us alone… charming! We spend the day in the bus or at the venue and don’t want to go anywhere else. Holy Grail made it, happy days! After soundcheck we lock ourselves in the bus and every time someone knocks we ask ourselves what could be lurking outside the door. Luckily most of us know how to deal with zombies, otherwise we would face a serious problem. And most important of all we have Sime to protect us, so no worries!

Our vegetarians Päde and Ivo feel especially courageous today and decide to go out and search for a Thai restaurant. A 600 meter walk and they end up in a beautiful, nice part of the city. The world is a weird place.

We hear that System Divide and Holy Grail almost have no crowd because they’re really slow in letting people in at the entrance. That really sucks, because about 600 people show up in the end. 3 Inches of Blood enjoy a really great show which is cool since they’re from Vancouver, and our show goes well too until some douchebag throws a full beer can at Anna during “Slania’s Song” just missing her head by a bit. She’s really close to asking who the fuck that was and if he or she wants to take care of a problem they can do it together after the show, but she just continues as if nothing happened. But one thing is clear, paranoid as she is, she needs some sort of Kevin Costner bodyguard-style dude now. Obviously someone wants to kill her! No way could that have been an accident. Fuckin pigs!

Hey-ho lets fuckin goooo! Away from Zombieland and on to the most awesome city ever…

***

Portland! Some of us actually set their alarms to wake up early and go shopping. Across the street from the Hawthorne Theater (where we’ll be playing tonight) is FRED MEYER. The most awesome mall in the whole world. FRED MEYER has everything. Anna actually goes there 4 times during the day to shop for food; it’s an allergy paradise! Apart from all the fresh food that looks like there’s nothing better anywhere else, there’s thousands of gluten and lactose-free products one could only dream of in Europe. FRED MEYER, we love you. That has to be said.

Today is a good day, apart from half the band being sick. Steve and Rumble (36 Crazyfists) visit us. We became really good friends with them during the last UK tour and it’s so good to see them.

Preston and Corey travel to our show again to rock out in the first row and after the concert they have a lot of whiskey waiting for us. Anna and Preston find out how small the world really is. That steakhouse Hamley’s in Pendleton where we had dinner on our day off is two blocks away from where Preston lives with his wife and two children. And the guys we met in the bar are his co-workers! Weird shit!

It sucks that we have to leave so early tonight in order to get to San Francisco on time… why, Portland? Whyyy? Pity…

Oh yeah, Kay got a gift AGAIN. A bottle of whiskey. What the hell is up with the christmas bullshit?

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