Today we've got the third new tour blog from Boston's own Have Nots. The band is on their first UK and European tour and will also be supporting The Street Dogs' upcoming holiday shows. The band is continuing to support their debut Serf City USA.
So we arrive in Holland, well rested all save for me, who had visions of the titanic every time I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. Off the boat, through customs, no prob, off to the gig. The show itself wasn't all that spectacular, not a ton of people, but we didn't care, seeing that it was our first in mainland Europe, and rocked the fuck out accordingly. Had the first awesome club-sponsored meal of the tour (sorry England), met some really cool people (what up Sunnpimp!) and after the show went downstairs to the bar and everyone else got summarily wasted while I went back to the club owner's place and crashed out. (but don't worry, we got all the after hours hilarity on video, most notably Steve tying to convince drunken Matt to let the barmaid burn him with a cigarette…stay tuned.) Neils, our host, woke us up with breakfast (jam and cheese on toast, fucking delicious, who knew?) and sent us on our way…
To germany! First stop, Aachen, to play the world famous Musikbunker, an old nazi stronghold, complete with craters and bulletholes riddling the sides of the building. Fucking creepy. The highlight of the night was playing with Burning Streets, another Boston band. If you haven't heard of them you should be ashamed of yourself, cos they rule. Open up a new tab and check those motherfuckers out. Now. See, i told you. Anyway, the club was creepy as fuck, the food was good, the company was better, and the crowd was somewhere else, whatever, we're in Europe, with Burning Streets. Thought we were gonna have to crash at the bunker, but the Streets took one for the team and took the bunker, and we drove to a hostel that the club owner had arranged for us. We were stoked, cos there was some manic free for all disco at the bunker that apparently went on til 6am, and lord knows we need our beauty sleep. Night at the hostel was pretty uneventful; the owner met us and showed us in, then said he'd be back at ten the next morning and took off. There was some whiskey drunk, shit talked, passing out done. Ed woke us up at 8, and we headed downstairs, bags in tow, to find that we'd been locked in. Super. Where's the key? No idea. Call the emergency number on the bulletin board. Rings in the locked office next door. Call the promoter. No answer. Any other band would have collapsed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs and held each other and cried until someone opened the door, but we're not any other band. Jams found a ladder upstairs, we unfolded it (with minimal damage to the room) and dropped it out the second story window, where we made our escape. Much to the skepticism of the neighbors ("it's ok, we have a receipt!"). Don't worry, we got that on video too. Ed flagged down a cop as we drove off and told him the deal, and he wished us the best and sent us on our merry way. So, Have Nots - 1, hostel - 0.
Next show was in Grune Haidt, in Hof, a tiny picturesque village in Bavaria. Woke up the van, thought we were lost or something. Rolling fields, quaint little German houses, people on horseback in the distance. This is it? Great. Shows you what first impressions will do, though. The club was awesome (great stage, great food, and they had a big old firepit out back with a huge pot of chili cooking over it), the bands all kicked ass (sorry I can't remember all the names), and the crowd went mental. We headlined a six band bill and ended up playing three encores. Fucking rad. This band Speichel Broiss (I'm sure I spelled that wrong, but it translates to "spit brew") fucking killed it; check them out if you can get the spelling right. Stayed in an apartment upstairs, pretty chill save for when ed went to brush his teeth and walked in on some dude pounding some chick on the washing machine in the bathroom. Turns out her boyfriend wasn't too stoked on that one, whoops. Bottles were broken, punches were thrown, beer was spilled. They got booted, the owner cleaned up the glass, and we all crashed out for the night. Ed's girlfriend Nadja drove 600km to see him; he's on tour pretty much nonstop so it was nice that they got a chance to spend some time together, and nice to meet the woman who Ed puts on his sweet voice on the phone for ten times a day. (ha). Met some really cool people too. We are definitely going back to Hof.
And on to the Czech Republic! Home of strange money and disgusting sandwiches. I had three different currencies on me, but none of them were Czech Crowns, so tough shit, buddy. Had to use my ATM card, which, thanks to the crack team at Citizens Bank, got shut off the next day. I TOLD you motherfuckers i was going to Europe, WTF? Anyway, stopped at the first service area to get food and cheap cigarettes. Sandwich might have been tuna salad, or egg salad, or chicken salad…or something else. Apparently the Czech aren't world renowned for their cuisine. But whatever, now you know. After a hilarious (for us) and infuriating (for Ed) drive, during which we were stuck behind a couple of slow-moving coal trucks for an hour or so (Ed's van is right hand drive, but in the CZ they drive on the right, so he couldn't see to pass, which resulted in a couple of close calls, and a lot of adorable English cursing, sorry Ed), we arrived in Prague, which is indeed, as our friend Alex in Hof put it, "the jewel in the golden crown of Europe". Fucking beautiful. Apparently it's one of the few major European cities to remain largely untouched by WW2, so there's some amazing old as fuck architecture there. Might just be because we're from someplace that has relatively zero history, but seeing that place kinda took my breath away. So we get to the venue, Cross Club, which people have been telling us about since we got to Europe. Awesome. Crazy huge ever evolving mechanical sculpture. Wires, pipes, diodes, tubing, lights, sounds, enough rooms to get lost in all night. Imagine if HR Giger had designed the set from Bladerunner, or of Blue Man Group was staged on the Borg mothership from Star Trek, starring Bill Burroughs (yah, i'm a dork, whatever.) Fuck it, whatever I say won't do this place justice, go towww.crossclub.cz to check it out for yourselves. Despite the amazing venue, and the fact that we were playing with Burning Streets again, I didn't have the highest hopes for this show, seeing as it was a couple of relatively unknown american bands playing on a Sunday night. Again, shows what the fuck I know. Packed house, all completely wasted, killed it. Burning Streets were excellent as usual, and we met what we thought was the oldest punk in the world (turns out he was 45, oops). Matt almost killed him with a mic stand, kind of hilarious. Saw my friend Nina who moved to Prague a few years ago, which was awesome. After the show I wandered around the club for a while, found the upsidedown foosball room again, and a bar where a circle of shirtless Rastas were drumming to a techno DJ. Bizarre and amazing. Go to Prague. Go to the Cross Club. You know you want to. Oh yeah, and their coffee kicked some serious ass as well. Matt and Steve stayed behind to hit on the beautiful Czech women, and the rest of us walked around the corner to the hostel; very post soviet meets kindergarten. Smoke and a piss and PTFO.
Up and at 'em, heading back to Germany. 10, 000 Czech Crowns in hand (worth about 5USD). Detoured through Dresden, checked out the German countryside. Stopped at yet another service station for refueling etc. Holy shit! I can't believe that I've failed to mention this yet! ROBOT TOILETS! Right, so check this out: at the rest stops in Germany, you have to pay 70 eurocents to use the bathroom (but the turnstile machine thing gives you a 50 cent voucher for the shop so it's cool). So, you go in, do your business, and wave your hand in front of the flush thingy. AND A ROBOT ARM COMES OUT OF THE BACK OF THE TOILET WITH A LITTLE SCRUB BRUSH, AND THE SEAT SPINS AROUND! PRESTO BLAMMO, SPARKLING FUCKING CLEAN! AMAZING! Sorry, I don't get out much. But Obama, if you're reading this, you should think about sinking some of that stimulus money into robot toilets, cos they FUCKING RULE! Ok, ok, sorry. I'm over it. Next stop Berlin.
Berlin was cool. Like, coool. Didn't see an unhip person the whole time we were there. Played at this cool punk/rockabilly bar called Wild at Heart. Show was a bit of a disaster, first I blew a fuse in my amp, and then once we got that sorted, Jams broke a bass string. Matt and I traded solo songs until Jams worked it out; oddly enough, the crowd seemed to be into it. Played, did an encore, slung some swag, hung out with the locals for a while, met some kids from Norway (or Finland, sorry) who came out to see us. and headed back to the hostel. Did a 2am run for donor kebabs; ate in a shop on the street that used to be the Berlin Wall, pretty cool. Had a kickass breakfast at the RocknRoll Hostel down the street, and headed to Koln.
Last show in Europe before we head back to the UK. Turnout was meh, but considering that Gaslight Anthem and Chuck Ragan were playing that night, I'll take our crowd of 12 as a victory. The crew at Limes hooked us up though, chili for dinner and a big breakfast the next day. Took our time, went to a music shop, where they brought us espresso (!?!) while we looked at guitars we couldn't afford, pretty rad. Hit the discount grocery store then headed for the night boat back to the UK.
Aaand, after another sleepless night for yours truly, back to merry olde England. Cheap smokes on the boat though. And gambling. Turns out in "Natural 21", dealer wins on a push, bye bye 10 pounds. Off the boat, through customs again, headed back to London. Jameson headed off to meet his lady, Matt went off to find an internet cafe to do all the work he'd been slacking off on, Steve went to see the sights, and Ed and I tooled around Camden Town for a bit. I ended up in All Ages Records, this sorta famous and totally awesome record store, where the owner (Nick? Mick? Sorry, I suck.) played any and all UK punk and ska that he thought I should hear. Fucking awesome. God bless the few remaining independent record stores. Had a moment of panic when I thought I'd lost Ed and thought i'd have to navigate the London tube system to get to the show, but he showed up at the 11th hour and saved me. Show was good; we played with our new friends Random Hand and JB Conspiracy again, and despite the fact that the lady running the show insisted on shoving four bands' worth of equipment into the "dressing room" with all the bands, and Ed had to pay 8 pounds (like 15USD!) to park for 2 hours on the street, everything went off without a hitch. Good sweaty show, full house, and Steve's folks, who were in London on business, came out and rocked out with us. Crashed at Ollie's house again (under the desk), then headed south to Bournemouth the next morning.
Bournemouth was cool, we played with some cool bands, including The Push, who were awesome. Young band, only been together for six months, but they killed it and show a lot of promise. Their dad/manager (what's up Gordon!) was super cool as well, and extended the invite for me to bring my lady and holiday with them on the beautiful "English Riviera", which I'm for sure gonna take him up on one of these days. Another show where the quality of the crowd more than makes up for the quantity. Stayed in the quasi-creepy, Shining-esque hotel attached to the club, and headed out to Kettering the next morning to play a Halloween show with Random Hand and JBC. The show in Kettering was carnival themed, and the club pulled out all the stops; lining the walls with tarpaulin painted in red and white stripes and covering the floor with hay. We pulled off some half-assed clown make up, but Ed stepped it up with a women's plaid skirt/vest (waistcoat) combo that he found in a thrift shop that day. He got pretty drunk and danced around like a maniac during our set, lifting his skirt and flashing us the whole time. Fucking hilarious. After the show, Jams, Blair, Ed and I crashed out in the van while Steve and Matt drank the night away and passed out in the hay. Woke up, went to the cafe next door with the other bands for the full english, played some footy in the parking lot, and rolled out to Birmingham for the final show of the tour.
We had high hopes for this show; one of the other bands had posted on their FB that "tickets were selling like hotcakes". Apparently hotcakes aren't the hottest commodity in Birmingham, seeing as there were less than ten people at the show. Halfway through, the promoters tried to tell us that they wouldn't be able to pay us the guarantee, so we woke up sleepy Ed and he tore them a new one. I was standing there trying to look pissed and menacing, but it was hard to keep a straight face while Ed went to town. "The tour manager from Napalm Death threw a promoter in the Ukraine in the river when he tried to pull some shit like this." Ed sorted it (our hero!) and despite the money bullshit, we played a great set and had a really good time.
So that's pretty much it. Jams headed back to LDN to spend another couple days with Blair, and Ed dropped Matt, Steve and I off at Heathrow and hosed our stink out of the van so he could start the We Are The Union tour (what a trooper!). Amazing time, but the best part of tour was coming home to my girl (awwww).
So, in summation: Tesco English Mustard is better than Coleman's, don't fuck with Glasgow ghetto girls, scotch eggs rule, the Dixon family is the shit, old punks still exist, don't eat sandwiches in the Czech Republic, Orajel might be addictive, if you go home with a German milf after the show make sure you know where the club is so you can get back there the next morning, be careful gambling on the ferry, robot toilets are amazing, and Ed the Duck is the best damn driver/TM in the business. We'll be back tour updating in December, when we're going out for a 2 week run from Texas to Boston with Street Dogs and Flatfoot 56. See ya then, stay safe.
xoxo, Jon/Have Nots