Tour Guides from Hell

Tour Guides From Hell: Rosetta’s Mike Armine’s Favorite Tour Destinations in the World

Background artwork by Thibault Fischer
Background artwork by Thibault Fischer

Philadelphia progressive-space-post-sludge-whatever-mongers Rosetta — perennial MetalSucks favorites — will release their Flies to Flame EP on October 14th via Translation Loss (order here). Check out a brand new track from the EP below called “Soot,” (via Noisey) then read what vocalist Mike Armine has to say about his favorite places to visit in this big old wide world of ours, from Philadelphia to China to everywhere in between. 

1. The First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia, PA)

The Church provided the roof under which Philadelphia punk rock could be built.  By far my favorite place to play in the entire world, and I used to daydream about playing there before Rosetta was a band.  This room really shaped who I turned out to be as a person and helped introduce me to most (if not all) of my favorite bands.

2. Portland, ME

My love affair with Portland, Maine began in 2005. I met a girl at a show and from there we began to remake various parts of John Cusack films. She introduced me to Flatbread Pizza, Maine root beer, Cosco Bay, and Beckie’s Dinner.  Maine is an odd spot: not too many bands decide to tour past Boston. So when bands make it up the Maine turnpike, kids come out in droves.  Portland has a really fantastic music scene that is as locally integrated as it is nationally isolated from the rest of the Northeast.  You might play a barn at the edge of the city, or an art space in the city center.  Either way, the locals will come, take you out for burritos and build you a fire to sit around.

3. Long In The Tooth record store (Philadelphia, PA)

If you want it, Nick has it. From books to records to DVDs, it’s all here.  Even if you just want a spot to kill a few hours, Nick will honor your time with good conversation and lots of browse over. He’s a super good guy who runs a great shop.

4. Strange Matter (Richmond, VA)

Beside being a great place to play and see a show,  Mark is a great guy to work with for show booking and the menu is killer. Breakfast is served all day and most of it can be made vegan.  From Falafels to French Toast to Buffalo Burgers, you won’t leave disappointed.

5. Arcadia, CA

Arcadia is certainly the spot to pull over on any tour and stretch your legs.  Rosetta was on tour with City of Ships in 2009 and we drove through the Red Wood forest in northern California.  Never in my life have I seen trees so tall, broad, and old. We spent a few hours exploring the forests, sitting on trees and realizing how small we actually were in the grand scheme of things. If Kashyyyk were a real place, this was it.   We played a house later that evening surrounded by grow ops. The locals shared fat sacks of skunky weed liberally. However the best part of my experience there was the air. In all my travels I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was fresh and cold in a way that hurts your lungs at first. After a killer show, and awesome hangouts, I decided to sleep on the porch sofa. It was seriously the best sleep I’ve ever had.

6. The Triple Rock Social Club (Minneapolis, MN)

Owned by two members of Dillinger Four, The Triple Rock Social Club is possibly the best legitimate venue in the nation. First, the load-in is as convenient as a load could possibly be. The load in door is situated only 50ft from the side of the stage, there are no stairs to carry gear up, and there’s plenty of room for storage.  The stage sound is delicately balanced so that you can hear exactly what you need to.  So from a performance standpoint it’s easy to navigate.  With no barriers, cages, or other obstacles you can get right to your audience.  Water and wifi are provided as are meals.  Most meals can be made vegan and are not easily finished as the portions are outrageously large.  So if you’re on tour you can eat there and take leftovers for the following day.  This is one of the most well planned out venues I’ve been to and one can easily tell it was designed by people who have had plenty of experiences playing dives and shitty clubs.  The owners of this place have really gone out of their way to make things as easy and as comfortable for a touring band as possible.

7. Budapest, Hungary

Both shows Rosetta played here were fantastic.  But shows can be fantastic anywhere.  Budapest is a really old city with some pretty busy architecture.  It’s worth it to book a day off just to visit the castles and cathedrals.  If you can, stop at the bath houses.   For all that’s going on in Budapest, it’s surprisingly one of the most relaxed places I’ve been.

8. Xia Men, China

You will never have fish as fresh as you will in Xia Men.  This is Matt’s (our guitarist) wife’s hometown. Xia Men is one of the smaller cities in China, and yet it’s still overwhelming to a guy who considers himself to come from a big city.  Great for late night eats, pop up markets, and getting lost.

9. Black Foot Falls, Idaho

If you’re going to get a kidney infection while on tour, please do not do it anywhere near Black Foot Falls Idaho. The hospital staff are efficient and nice once they realize you’re not on heroin.

10. Australia

Australia is cool for shows, but it’s better for sightseeing.  If you like daydreaming out windows, hiking, whale watching from a beach, and dodging man eating spiders, go here.  The downside is that everything is expensive if you’re an American band on tour. Rosetta ate peanut butter and crumpets for a week straight.  But we did get to look out over the Indian Ocean.

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