Gas Giant, Common Sense Collective, Silent Hill, Freakore - MS Stubnitz, Rostock, Germany 6/6/03

From Aural Innovations #24 (July 2003)

Well, here we go again on another tour. The day starts off a mess. Tommy and I take the train to Malmö to pick up the rental car at Hertz and it is too small. Ulf, at Hertz is very cool and calls around to several other rental places and we find a larger Toyota van, which will be fine and only 100 Swedish kroner a day more than we had planned. Now it is quite late though and we were to pick up the driver (John) at 11:30 and now it is nearly 13:00. We wanted to get the Rostock Ferry at 15:00 but we are going to have to drive like hell to make it. The van is still not big enough and we have to leave our conga drum and Thomas’s bass cabinet. We need a larger van next time. We get on the road and drive like hell but a few delays here and there and we can see the ferry pulling away. Shit... next ferry is two hours and now we will not be in Rostock until 20:00 and we were suppose to soundcheck at 18:30. We hang out and have some beers and food in the little border town and finally get on the ferry at 17:00. We arrive at the Stubnitz at 20:30. Dirk, the promoter is waiting for us.

MS Stubnitz is actually a ship docked in the harbor in Rostock but it travels around and docks in Holland, Germany and Poland and has this cool club inside. There is a staff of 10 that live on the boat all the time. The club is very cool but hard to describe. I wonder what the hell it will sound like in this metal ship? The bass woofers are massive! The other bands were all setting up and more or less waiting. The soundguy has now arrived. It takes a few hours to get going and Common Sense Collective from Berlin don’t start until 11! I get my synth all set up and the sound is fine for me on the stage and out front. We get a small soundcheck and all seems ok. I set up the merchandise table and sit with John. This room is totally cool. A bar on one side, a DJ stand at one end and these TV’s, which they show images of the stage below but they add all these psychedelic effects and colors. It looks really cool. We have a nice vegetarian pasta dish and some falafel like fritter things that were quite good and lots of beers! Everyone is in a great mood.

Common Sense Collective played mostly instrumental stuff but could build up to quite a cool groove. Young people. Maybe a more experimental Smashing Pumpkins? The images on the TV were really cool and I was just tripping out, even though I could not see the band as I was upstairs at the merchandise table I could hear it perfectly. Mona, a girl I had been talking with a lot, she came up and sang two songs with the band. You could hardly hear her though. Now the Asian guitar player did a solo vocal track with a sampler while the band just sat on the stage. This was some strange 80’s synth pop like song. He started the next song by singing and playing guitar before the rest of the band kicked in. It is damn hot in this place. I would say 50% of the people are sitting up on the deck drinking beer and listening and talking. Half the band is passed out in the van. I am also tired but hang out at the merchandise table. Someone has to do it!

Silent Hill is next and they play a melodic heavy groove rock, but only riffing and no guitar solos. The people seem to like them. Their last song had a really cool blues riff. All very young bands. Freakore are next and play an aggressive metal-hip hop fusion style and they sing in German! Some pretty cool riffs and the people are in the boat now and clearly this is the band that most have come to see. I hope they will stay to see up as it is getting late now. The headcount is 180 people tonight, not a bad crowd.

We set up and get started playing around 2:15. Damn, it is late and people are getting drunk. I start with some space noises and the delays sound cool in the ship. Stefan and Jesper enter and we blast into "There’s One". Sounds really great to me up here on the stage. Suddenly, when Thomas kicks in, he is so loud and I can’t hear anything and need the signal in the monitor to be louder. I don’t want to just turn up my gain as this will make me too loud in the front. We get the sound man to fix it by the fourth song. "Moonshake" is next and this is a great song with the heavy riff and powerful vocals. I experiment with some sounds at the beginning. "All Creatures" had a totally awesome groove and I did not play at all. I went out front to see what it sounded like and check the recording. Stefan is starting to fly!!!!!!!! Great rock guitar soloing. "Dragons Cave" is great and the first time that Jesper plays the Conga drum tonight. We really fly on "Ride The Red Horse". It is not a jam song anymore and in fact we play it a few minutes shorter than on the LP now but really tight and awesome! "Back On The Headless Track" is excellent and we have a cool little jam at the end and Stefan wails! We skip "Phantom Tanker" and go for "Firetripper" and this is great. Jespers plays the congas at the end but Stefan stops it and we don’t jam the ending out like we had a couple of times in rehearsal. Now it is time for "Too Stoned" and the people know this one and Jesper changes the chorus a little bit and sings the "we’re stoned, your stoned, everyone is stoned" part in the first chorus and he usually waits until the last. Crowd of about 60 at 3am are into it and want more. We don’t leave the stage but go into "Storm Of My Enemies" and a very cool rock jam at the end and this song goes nearly 16 minutes. The crowd wants more but we are just too tired and really smoked tonight, playing a great set.

Set List: Space Intro, There’s One, Moonshake, All Creatures, Dragons Cave, Ride the Red Horse, Back on the Headless Track>Jam, Firetipper, Too Stoned, Storm of My Enemies>Jam

By the time we pack up all the gear and say buy and get to Dirk’s house where we will crash it is already getting light again (4:15). I am very tired but the rest are still on a high from the show and stay up until about 6-7 drinking outside and listening to music (Pothead). I sleep or at least try. I am the first one up at around 9. I can never sleep when we are on tour, no matter how tired I am. We have a great outdoors breakfast in their garden and everyone is up by 11:30 and in good spirits. No hangovers. Dirk is a great host and gets a t-shirt and CD. People are fresh again and smoke a joint before we hit the road to Lübbenau.

Tommy is driving for the first hour or so and we listen to a cool compilation CD that Stefan has made with Spirit Caravan, Energy (Tommy Bolin), Fun Manchu, Thin Lizzy and others. A lot of traffic in the Berlin area. We get lost and waste an hour going in circles around an area outside of Berlin (Spandau). Now people drink a few beers and smoke another joint and are feeling fine when we finally get into Lübbenau. We hear all of Live And Dangerous by Thin Lizzy and arrive about 18:00. Took about 5 hours for what should have been no more than 3½. Stefan and I talked a lot about his young days and how he used to go to the blues Club Mojo a lot and he used to play there and also get invited up to play with people and some shows were great and some awful if people were drinking too much.

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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