From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
We arrive at the Rehearsal room at 8 in the morning as it is a long drive to Jena. Everyone is in good spirits. Tommy shows up and he is all dressed in black, hair and sideburns died black and he looks like Dracula! Kai and Jesper show up with the van from Malmö at 8:30 and we are ready to load it all up. We go by Kai's house and hit the road by 9. We start by listening to After the Reign by Blackfoot. It has a few good songs and Zakk Wylde on one number but overall it is not a very good CD. Now we hear the White Stripes, which have some cool tracks. Now we switch to a 50-60's blues compilation that John Page made me that has really great stuff with people like Jr. Wells, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy. We are now 30 km from Gedser and the Ferry to Germany.
We had a great lunch at the Steaks and Seafood restaurant. We bought one case of beer, a liter of Jack Daniels and some Gajol and liquorice. We have a discussion about the future of the band. After we drive off the Ferry, we stop at a liquor store and they buy two more cases of beer, 2 bottles of whiskey, 1 bottle of vodka and some Italian liquor. Wow… Now we have 5 hours to go and are relaxing and having some beers and a joint as we hear the 25th Anniversary Jethro Tull CD. This is great stuff. There is a lot of traffic around Berlin and we are about 2½ hrs away now and listening to AC/DC Ballbreaker. They used to play a few of these songs when they had the AC/DC cover band in the early 90's. I am not impressed with the CD at all. Thomas has taken the cheap polish vodka (35kr) and is now dissolving 3 boxes of these Gajol menthol candies in it. It is some sort of strange brown color. He and Tommy are trying it out. Thomas and Tommy have had 6 or so beers and some vodka and now sleep for a bit. We now hear the acoustic Mark Laneghan CD. Thomas is back now and we hear some Depeche Mode from 1999 (I have never heard them). It is strange dreamy pop stuff. The first song was very cool though. I don't care much for the singer. Please turn it off soon…. Tommy has Jesper put on Casa Bian.
We are like 30 km from Jena but stuck in horrible traffic. Stefan is asleep but Tommy and Thomas are back drinking beers. Jesper has been very quiet up in front with Kai (our Driver). Now we hear some Lenny Kravitz. A few of the tracks are cool and very Led Zeppelin inspired but the rest is too much pop for me. It is now 17:45 and we are 5 minutes away. Jena looks like a very nice town and the Rosenkeller club is right in the center of town next to an ancient tower.
Now we move all the gear down into this 17th century rock cavern. What a cool venue! I get all the merchandise set up and all the gear is up on the stage. We have some beers and sandwiches and talk. They all agree it is great to be back in Jena as it was a great concert here the lst time. Iguana, the opening band, who Gas Giant played with last year have arrived. They are really nice guys. Stefan is not satisfied with the soundcheck at all and is having some trouble with his sound. They play All Creatures, Be As One and a jam. It is going to be loud in this place. The band are in good spirits and we have finished one case of beer already and we wait for food. We go for a walk around town. It is a very nice place Jena. Henrik, our biggest German fan is here now and he brought some more Gas Giant pins. Great guy! He also brought 4 friends with him.
Iguana has a good sound at the soundcheck. I look forward to hearing them. Now, we get some food! Salad, pork cutlet and garlic bread and more beer! A lot of people are showing up and lots of young stoner rock girls. I have already sold like 50€ of merchandise. It is 10:30 now and Iguana hit the stage. They are much more spacey and groovy than I remember before. They have a really good solid sound and seem to be improving all the time. The crowd quite like them. Gerard has shown up but no Muhle.
Wow… what a set. The band went hard and heavy for like the first 55 minutes and then they came back out for a long version of Never Leave into a jam and into Holy Walker, a song they have not played live since 2000! This was totally amazing. Stefan and the whole band were hot this night! The new songs that they debut tonight sound pretty good but they messed up Guardian Of The Universe a bit. Reconnection, their real pop song is debuted as well. It still needs some work. Vølven's Spådom is a great song and goes over well. The crowd here were great. Why don't we have a crowd like this in Denmark? We party until late in the night with Iguana and Gerard. We don't get to the hotel until 3 in the morning and Thomas is totally drunk and Tommy nearly but the rest in control despite drinking many many beers… a great night.
Set List: All Creatures, Be as One, Vølven's Spådom, Dragons Cave, Alien Frequency, Guardian of the Universe*, Reconnection*, Mama Cool, Too Stoned, Firetripper, Never Leave this Way>Jam>Holy Walker
Shit… Kai is getting us up at 7 as we have a long drive to Basel. I am tired but feel ok. I have a shower and breakfast. Everyone is up and ready to hit the road by 8:30 after a small hassle over a lost key. We listen to Solid Ball of Rock by Saxon on the way out of Jena, Kai's choice. The others are not too happy about his mediocre CD. Thomas and Tommy are already sleeping again. I give them Solitude Aeternus's first CD, a classic in my mind and then we hear the Radio Child compilation CD by Widespread Panic and Kaya by Bob Marley and a Johnny Winter compilation CD. We only ever get to hear 3-4 songs from each CD before someone wants the music changed. Ha! We are now about 50km from Nürnberg and people are having some beers. We hear one song by Elliot Smith before we go to the live Gasolin CD, Live Sådan! Thomas is singing along to all the tracks. Capt Beefheart's Candy Corn is some very strange stuff but we enjoy it. That was Stefan's choice! Branca Menta, they have drank half the bottle and it is only 12 now! Now we switch to Gimme Back My bullets but it only lasts two tracks and we are off to a Black Sabbath Dio-Gillan era compilation and this is great stuff. Good choice of tracks, Stefan. Now we get my choice, the Jamnation CD that is coming out soon with Gas Giant, ILDHU, Eternal Elyseum, and others. Kai thinks the conga jam could be a cool intro for a concert. Maybe we will use it?
We are now 200km from Basel and are having a break for some Schnitzel and beer and potatoes. This was great. Half the others went to Burger King, yuk! We now hear the whole Elliot Smith CD and this has some good stuff. I actually fell asleep as did most of the others. It is hot down here as we approach Switzerland (only 80km to go). We are listening to the old Danish band the Beefeaters now and this is great blues rock stuff. It is stop and go traffic now with 45km to go. We will be about an hour late it looks like. Now we hear the Phased CD - Music for Gentlemen, which is really cool. Stefan said some of it reminded him of Hawkwind. It will be great to play and meet these guys. Chris, their singer, he has visited us here in Denmark as his girlfriend is Danish and her family lives in Copenhagen. Now we hear Mind Funk. We arrive a bit late after a strange encounter at the border/toll road. We missed the last exit before the toll road began. We tried to explain our way out of that we are only playing in Basel and will be on our way and we don't want to pay the 40CHF (Swiss francs) for the right to drive on the toll roads. Toll guy wanted proof that we were in a band (the whole van was full of gear!). He wanted a card or paper from the club confirming the gig. We gave him an autographed CD and he let us go!
We got to do a good soundcheck in this basement club even though we were late. The sound was very good. The guys are very tired and have gone upstairs and are all crashed out asleep. The room is supposed to be no smoking as it is an old wood house. The room has outrageous graffiti from all the bands that have stayed in this room. Jesper will add his touch later. It is quite a cool place with a restaurant and people sitting on tables out on the street. It is like 22C down here in Basel and very nice. There is a cool vinyl store right next door and the smell of weed coming out of the door!
I have a great fun dinner with the Phased guys (Gas Giant guys are still asleep). Marco, their Finnish drummer said I look like the guy in Supertramp and a guy at the bathroom said I was Jesus!
Phased hit the stage at 10:30 and the place was half full I would say. They start out with some dirty rock and roll stuff but play a wide variety of punky influenced stoner-psych.noise rock. The end of their set was great. I really liked the riff on the track Sausage Factory. They played about one hour. I recorded the set but unfortunately there was a problem with the mic connection so it did not come out at all. Damn…
Gas Giant were pretty fast to set up and were feeling fresh after sleeping for 2 hours and eating some food and some beers. They play the same basic set as last night but no Firetripper or Holy Walker. Jesper is a more focused singer tonight but is already having some vocal problems by the end of the show. Band was tight and very good. The new songs (Guardian and Reconnection) don't go over that well with this HEAVY crowd. They called it Stoner Pop. They play a short set only 68 minutes including the encore 18 minute Never Leave This Way>Jam, which was really great tonight. Stefan is playing the guitar with a lot of intensity and spirit. The jam was extremely great!
Set List: All Creatures, Be as One, Vølven's Spådom, Dragons Cave, Alien Frequency, Guardian of the Universe, Reconnection, Mama Cool, Too Stoned, Never Leave this Way>Jam
After the concert, the place turns into a crazy party with a great DJ playing all sorts of cool music from the Beach Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Talking Heads, Motorhead, etc.. We drink beers and smoke joints until 3 in the morning again, except Jesper, who called it a night early.
We slept in until 11 and had breakfast on the street in the sun out in front of the club. We have time to go around and see a bit of Basel as it is only a 2 hour drive to Uster and we don't have to be there until 18. It was a nice breakfast of bread, cheese, coffee (lots!) and juice. It is fantastic weather. We went to a local flea market. Tommy bought a new leather jacket and Stefan stopped in a music shop and got 3 new sets of strings as he has been breaking a string every night on his Les Paul. We leave about 16:15 for Uster, which is quite close to Zurich. We had a strange experience with this older couple in a classic Chevy Impala with an Opryland licence plate in the back window and a big western hat. They kept waving at us as we would pass them and they would pass us, etc… and then we finally figured out they were telling us that the back windshield wiper was on! Strange. Some are sleeping as we drank beers all afternoon in the sun and at the club. We hear ZZ TOP and Lynryd Skynryd all the way to Rock City in Uster. It is a very cool looking club. We sit outside and make coffee with our camping gear as we wait for the owner to show up. It is a very nice club in this strange club in an industrial park a few km from the main town. I am just hoping that people will show up.
The soundcheck goes fine. They practice Vølven's Spådom. Well, we wait and we drink. It is now 10 and there are only 3 people. Phased hit the stage and now there are 19 people total including both bands and all the people working at the club… shit…. Phased have a lot of technical problems. Tommy and Jesper jump up and join the band when Chris's guitar amp dies. It was the same set as the night before except for the encores, which they did not play. They were very unsatisfied with their set. Gas Giant started to drink more as the moral was quite low coming all the way to Switzerland to play for 7 people! At least we had a guaranteed fee this night but I felt bad for the club owner.
The Gas Giant set was strange. They opened with a loose jam on La Grange by ZZ TOP. Then they followed the normal set up to Alien Frequency which had an extended jam on it and into Mama Cool. They go for Storm Of My Enemies and a crazy jam, where Jesper plays drums and Tommy sings. Tommy says a lot of shit, not very good, very disrupting to any type of jam that the rest of the band was trying to form. Jesper said really funny crazy stuff in between the songs but he is having trouble with some of his singing. It was one of the strangest Gas Giant shows in a long time. We partied until 4 in the morning after a 20 minute drive from the club after the show to the owner's house in a small town called Willa. It was very beautiful up here in the hills and he had a very cool house.
Set List: La Grange Jam, All Creatures, Be as One, Vølven's Spådom, Dragons Cave, Alien Frequency, Guardian of the Universe, Mama Cool, Storm of my Enemies>Why the hell are we here Jam
When we get up at 9, we shot the shit. Jesper had slept on the living room floor as Thomas and Tommy were snoring so loud. Kai, Stefan and I were in another room. It is a short drive to Singen and an early gig starting at 18, so we will get to sleep early tonight, finally. At 11 we are on our way and we try to find a bakery to get some bread and cheese. It is very beautiful in this area of the world as we drive through all these little Swiss towns. We are listening to another Mark Laneghan CD. Some of it is very cool and some of it is quite boring. We stop in some farmer's field for breakfast. I take a small walk and sit in a little forest and write some stuff like now. Everyone is very happy but now need to not party so hard. Tommy and Thomas are the only ones still drinking. We drank the whole liter of Jack Daniels and loads of Smirnoff Ice and beers yesterday. We are listening to Pothead now. We just spent 1½ hours walking around in a cool border town between Germany and Switzerland with a huge lake. We have a couple of good Weiss beers in the sun as we watch all the tourists on this Sunday. Back into the van we hear Paranoid by Black Sabbath. What a totally amazing album. Now we are in Singen. It is quite a small room in the bar where the bands will play but it looks cool and the people are super nice. We arrived at 15 and Phased at 16:30. The soundcheck went fine and it sounds quite good in here. The band soundcheck an old Gasolin track called Joshua and Ming. That was cool! They serve us this amazing beer, one of the best I have ever had called Heffe Dunkel by Sanwald. Jesper, Chris, Marco and I are hanging out in a backstage (kitchen) and Jesper and Marco are telling some pretty amazing stories about being on mushrooms.
Phased hit the stage at 18:30 and a slightly older crowd have filled the bar up pretty well. I guess about 60 people are here. Phased sound really great and Chris is using Jesper's delay pedal on a few songs and it really adds a lot. They play super tonight and the people in the club really dig it. Phased are a very cool band and so different from Gas Giant, so it is a really good double bill. They only play about 45 minutes tonight but a great set and the people respond!
Gas Giant was ready to rip by 19:30. There was a lot of talk backstage of changing the set and playing a more laid back set (with Green Valley, Mana) in this bar where they were not suppose to play so loud but in the end they go for the same set. The band open with a rocking version of All Creatures and Stefan is flying although he is not loud enough and Tommy's hard hitting on the drums is very loud in this bar. The people and the band are really into it. Jesper's voice is really hurting now. He will really need the day off tomorrow. They play a full on heavy set with the only change a cool version of Back On The Headless Track with a drum jam at the end, as requested by one of the fans (thanks Keith!). The band is done after 60 minutes even though the crowd really wants more. I think they were all too tired from 3 nights of late night heavy duty partying. We have a few more of these amazing heffe dunkel beers before a nice dinner at a Thai restaurant close by. People are feeling really good and having a good laugh at us Danes as they are singing Danish kids songs in this restaurant. Another great and special night on tour.
Set List: All Creatures, Be as One, Vølven's Spådom, Dragons Cave, Alien Frequency, Guardian of the Universe, Back on the Headless Track>Jam, Mama Cool, Too Stoned, Firetripper
After a day off in Basel and great time with the Phased guys, we are on our own as we head to this sleepy town of Zwiefalten in the German Black Forest region. We pick up some food at a store as we head off to the forest. We stop up on the top of some mountains in a place called Feldberg (makes me think of Thomas, the singer in WE, who has this as a last name). There are some ski areas up here and people are skiing. It is very nice out and not cold at all. We are about 1/3 of the way to Zwiefalten and listening to Jethro Tull again and now Led Zeppelin II and then Mafia by Black Label Society (I bought it in Basel). We arrive in Zwiefalten at about 13:30, quite early. It is a beautiful small town with a cool big old church. It takes a bit but we find the hotel, where we will play in the bar! This is a really cool place. We are two to a room (Jesper and I) and there is a sauna downstairs and a cool bar. Jesper and I have a great room with 3 big windows looking out to a small river and a mountain. Cool. The playing room is cool with an original wall from the mill that was here with a plaque from 1589! Yeah… 1589! I take a shower as we are waiting for the PA and sitting in the bar drinking all their beers! They talk about doing a lot of jamming tonight as it is the last night of the tour and we are the only band. We will see.
A guy who works at the hotel came up to us and said he found this little package on the floor in the bathroom. We open it and it is coke! It is not ours we tell him. Strange in this little town. We are sitting in the bar drinking beers and still waiting for the PA and now listening to the Berlinger Ring compilation CD. The guy with the PA is like 2½ hours late now. We all go and take a sauna and a shower afterwards. Doors open at 21 and we will eat between 19 and 20. We are sitting at the bar hearing the Portals of Nothingness CD now. It has been a while since the band had heard this and they are now realizing how excellent a lot of these songs are. Sabine from the Open Mindrunners, who set up the gig has arrived. She just got back from England last night with Ole Lukkøye. The bass player in Ole Lukkøye is at the gig and he and Tommy hanging out and drink a lot on this night. One of the members of Zone Six has come for the gig as well and he will also record the show.
We just had a really nice meal and everyone is very happy and drinking tons of beers today. I have decided that Heffe Dunkel, this is the beer for me. This is great stuff.
41 paid people on this night but they loved it and the band played their asses off despite the PA problems (no vocal monitor for Jesper as one cord was missing). The band stayed with the same basic set until Guardian Of The Universe, which was really coming together as a great new track. They played a cool jam, but short at the end of Back On The Headless Track. A fast and heavy version of Mama Cool and then the band went into Never Leave This Way with a great jam with killer drumming and Stefan doing some totally spaced out looping guitar. The band was having a lot of fun freaking out! After Too Stoned the band did a really long jam on Storm Of My Enemies. Stefan had this killer guitar sound and was very creative. Jesper was totally freaking out. The band took a break and promised to play more. We went outside on the deck and had a beer and smoked a joint and they came back in and played Ride The Red Horse (only time on this tour) and Firetripper with a jam at the end. It was a great 106 minute show and the band had a great time as did the people. After the show, Tommy who was drinking shots of vodka with the Russian bass player from Ole Lukkøye, convinced him to come up and jam. So they started this drum and bass jam and Thomas joined in with some spaced out vocals. Jesper joined in on the djembe and Stefan, he did not feel like playing anymore guitar so he just made some strange noises with Jesper's delay unit. It was a very strange jam for like 30 minutes. We stayed in the bar drinking beers until late and got pretty drunk… the evil Easter tour was over.....
Set List: All Creatures, Be as One, Vølven's Spådom, Dragons Cave, Alien Frequency, Guardian of the Universe, Back on the Headless Track>Jam, Mama Cool, Never Leave this Way>Jam, Too Stoned, Storm of my Enemies>Jam, Ride the Red Horse, Firetripper
If you want to hear any of these shows, just under the gig gallery at the Gas Giant web site and you will go straight to the live music archive and you can download the shows.