Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 2, Madrid, Spain

October 23rd.

-  There are 2 doorways in our bedroom, one that opens into the main hallway and another doorway that connects to the neighboring bedroom.  This 2nd doorway is blocked off by John's bed, so essentially you're not supposed to go through it.  I wake up to turn off my alarm.  Groggy, I  look up and see a guy in his underwear standing in the doorway that connects to other bedroom.  It's the bass player from the other band the other night, The Branded.  He steps over the bed that John was sleeping in and exits the doorway to the hallway. I guess John woke up at precisely that moment to see the guys' underwear clad testicles pass over his face as he climbed over the bed.   John yells out "What the FUCK is going on?!"  and snaps up out of bed.
- John gets up to use the bathroom and finds the guy passed out, naked, while taking a crap on the can.  We all guess that he was so wasted that he couldn't figure out which door leads out of his bedroom and ended up in our room, then, instead of turning around, he just kept going.
- After the rude awakening, we all eventually get up and go down to the bar for our free breakfast.  The spread for breakfast was incredible.  It was incomparable to the cheap, instant breakfasts given in hotels in Canada: a platter of different fruits; a large dish of bocconcini and tomoatoes; an array of german cold cuts;  a basket of buns and croissants; a selection of juices and mineral water; yogurt ; scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon; hot coffee.  All laid out on the bar like a buffet.  We stuffed our selves as much as we could. 
-  Imad was kind enough to drive us to the airport.  He was waiting for us to get our shit together to leave.  Again, he teased us with his german sensibility:  "I told you guys zat vee had to leave in 2 minutes and zat vas five minutes ago.  Do you know vhat zee numbers 2 and 5 are?" 
- I noticed that he drove 180 km/h on the autobahn.  We also knew that he hadn't slept yet from last night's event.  Clearly, he was a seasoned party guy.  He showed no signs of fatigue.
- Imad saw us off to the check-in and we were off.  We landed on the island of Mallorca to connect to Madrid, Spain.  We waited out in the airport for 45 minutes, underslept.  The airline was called EasyJet and it was the economy bargain el-cheapo airline of Europe.  We had to take a bus across the landing tarmac to the plane, and as there were no seating assignments for the passengers, as as soon as the bus stopped and opened its doors there was a made rush to get up the stairs and into the plane to find a good seat.  They also ran out of food after 20 or so people.  I didn't eat anything.  It looked raunchy.
- We met up with our contact, Diego, at the Madrid airport.  We set off in two cabs to our hotel.  Once there, we unloaded our luggage and immediately went off to the venue for soundcheck. 
- There was certainly more of an urban feeling to where we were compared to Leipzig and the temperaure warmer too.  The area we were in seemed a little like being in NDG in Montreal, definitely middle to low class demographic.  As expected, the traffic was confusing with turn-abouts and multi-street intersections.  Fortunately the venue wasn't too far from our hotel and after going there and back, we were able to gain a bearing.
- The venue, Gruta77, was a smallish, dark, dingy feeling rock bar.  Walls plastered with stickers.  The stage was about 5 feet higher than the floor, PA speakers towered over the dance floor.  The "backstage" room was essentially a corridor that connected the hallway from the bathrooms and to the stage.  Sealed in by doorways , there a was length of a bench and shower stall which no one used.  It was tiny.  The stage itself was like a box about 10ft square.  Cram in amps, mic stands, drum kit, keyboard and you get virtually no space to move around.  You had to straddle over amplifiers to get to the other side of the stage.  To top it off, the lack of space meant that we would be blasting ourselves with the sound that was coming from our amps and drums while not hearing the other instruments properly.  Well, what can you do?  We understood the limits of what was there and hoped things would be ok for the show.  John was fluent in spanish so he felt right at home.  He had no problems negotiating what the band needed for the show.
- After sound checking, we went to a nearby restaurant/bar for supper.  By then it was around 8:30pm.  The bar had a few people in it already, having drinks and chatting.  We sat down and asked the waiter to give us a sample of everything.   A mixture of fried calamari and potato tots to heavy tomato sauce over potatoes and a dish was just melted cheeses.  Delightful.  But kinda heavy.  By 9pm, the bar was boisterous and happening with locals dropping to have a bite to eat or have a drink.  I guess 9pm is when people have supper in Spain.  Back to the hotel, we crashed out until showtime.
- We woke up around 12am.  There were several other bands for the festival night called Surf-O-Rama, and we were headlining as the last act.  They told us to be there for around 1am.  We got ready and headed down in taxis.  The venue was packed.  Completely.  You had to squeeze between people to move around.  It was deadly hot.  People were wasted and partying hard.  The vibe was amazing.  Yelling.  Dancing,  The crowd pulsed and throbbed. 
- The surf-rockband before us was still playing, so there was time for us to grab a drink and get settled in.  John, Averil and I grabbed vodka redbulls to wake up. 
- We waited a while for the band to finish.  We were all crammed in the tiny backstage room, which, with all the guitar cases and bags and stuff from 4 other bands, space was at a minimum.  You couldn't really sit down.   We had to set up amps and keyboards and stuff, so by the time we actually started it was 2:30am.  But the crowd didn't let up a single bit.   The vibe was incredibly high energy and responsive.  They ate it up and kept screaming for more as Bobby did his Fuaz shtick and John cracked jokes between songs.  They joined in on the choruses for the songs they knew the words to and had their hands in the air.  The band played hard and sweated profusely.  It was extremely hot and there was no movement of air.  All you cold do was wipe the sweat off your face and drink more water. 
- At one point, a dude from the previous band came running on to the stage with a bucket on his head (like a fez) and danced around while we played.  It seemed appropriately for a drunk to be madly dancing on stage with the band, but, for the band it was more like, "who the fuck is this douchebag?  Get him out of here."  Eventually the guy got off stage. 
- When we finished, we were on a high from the performance but completely spent.  I was completely drenched in sweat.  Not only were my pants soaked in sweat, but I would feel squelching sounds in my shoes as my socks were wet too.  The felt fezzes and cardigans that we wore as stage costumes were damp and stuck to our skin.
-  John and Bobby went out in the crowd to hawk Cd's/Vinyl and to chat with the crowd.  The promoters wanted us each to sign their vinyl copies.  Chris, Averil and I stayed backstage, as we were too wiped out to deal with a swamping crowd.  John came back though, cursing the previous surf-rockband: "Those french fuckers took over all the merch space and wouldn't let me put our CD's on the merch table!"
- As we couldn't sell our Cd's at the table, John and I decided to stand on stage and try to sell our shit there.  We went out and I grabbed the LP and twisting to the 60's surf-rock that the DJ was spinning and tried to get people's attention.  We were able to hawk a few cd's and vinyl.
- Bobby recounted a story when he was out meeting the crowd: " Yeah, I was chatting with these Spanish chicks and didn't understanding a single thing they were saying.  So they tried to teach me some Spanish and I was repeating back the words that they were saying to me.  After I finish repeating the sentence, I asked them what the hell I was saying and the chics all pointed at their vaginas and started cracking up..."
- After a while Chris, Averil and I packed up and were ready leave.  The bar owner was kind enough to hail a cab for us and set us up to get back to the hotel.  Once back, I peeled off my wet clothing and hung up all the dank Fezzes and cardigans.  I hoped they would dry a little before we packed them up the next day.  My pants dripped in the closet.  A took a shower and flopped into bed.  John and Bobby stayed behind a bit longer to hang out. They were staying in the other room, so we didn't have to wait up for them.
- The three of us were in bed, and we just turned off the light when we heard a knock on door.  Chris cried out, "you gotta be fuckin' kidding me!" and got up.  It was Bobby.  He was in his underwear and wanted to make sure the cardigans were hung up.  Re-assured, he left.  We all passed out immediately.  We knew that our plane left later in the afternoon so we had a chance to sleep in and be able to see the city the next day.
The Easyjet experience

Sometimes you find words of wisdom at the airport.

Bobby, hanging out at Mallorca airport

No comments:

Post a Comment