The Great German SEBADOH Tour: Part 2 – Hamburg

….GO HERE FOR PART 1 and all the relevant lead up to why the hell I’m in Germany with Sebadoh.

August 9: AND NOW….Hamburg!

Just for fun (I’m lying), I decided to get the train to Hamburg and see das German countryside. Which means I have to get a taxi to Hauptbahnhof/Central Station in Berlin at arse o’clock, because it’s a bit of a fiddle from where me and the band are staying in East Berlin. My taxi driver looks like he wants to kill me and attempts to do so in traffic. But I make it to Hamburg  and try to find my way to the modular, weird hotel that the band has booked. It is a hotel that looks like it has been dropped there by aliens – yesterday – and is all neon colours with thin walls. They have also lost my reservation. It gets sorted after I insist that a touring group of 5 men and one girl cannot possibly share two single rooms. OR CAN WE? Heh.

Whilst navigating my way there, I spot this  sign and it makes me enormously happy. “Why, are Kraftwerk from Hamburg?” Lou asks me the next day. “I dunno, but it was cool!” “It was probably an actual, you know, KRAFTWERK, shop” he said. “Yeah, duh,” I said. Wouldn’t it have been cool if I had stumbled across an German electro pioneer robot workshop?

Kraftwerk sign, pic by Mikala Taylor/

This will be the extent of my sightseeing in Hamburg… as it begins to chuck with rain. I get to Knust, a cool club that resides in a sort of retooled warehouse openspace with shops, a cool resto (where the band, me and their German promoter Renata, go for dinner) and offices. I remind myself not to misspell the name of the place.

Knust, Hamburg, pic by Mikala Taylor/

I hang around for soundcheck and am treated to a few seconds of a sort of terrifying jazz lite version of “Two Years, Two Days.” The fact the band are checking with a song that Bob D’Amico played live for the first time the night before is cool because it’s an ace song and one of Bubble & Scrape‘s genius bits of songery. I’m happy to see it make the cardboard setlist. Here’s my phone-cam vid of ‘check.

Here’s the backstage at Kunst Knust. The comforting glow is Mattias’s computer, trying to field about 8,000 requests.

Backstage at Knust, pic by Mikala Taylor/

And this is the lovely Mattias, the band’s European tour manager. Lou’s got nothing but nice to heap on the Swede, who just came off touring with Kyuss, and whom Lou’s worked with for years. The night before, Mattias was on stage to take one of the guitars. “This is the probably the first time I’ve ever been able to hand my guitar off to someone…and probably the last,” Jason jokes on stage. Mattias – and his mate, photog-extraordinaire-by-day-along-for-the-ride-as-merch-guy-by-night, Jens – are cool additions to the Sebastable.

Mattias Johansson, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Here’s Lou and Mattias trying to figure out which kit they’re going to exchange or ditch in Dortmund the next day, at GatetoHell, a backline company from where they’ve rented their gear. They’ve been having problems with the Fender Twin Reverb. I have no idea what that means. But I pretend to.

Lou, Mattias, Jason, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

But first! And before dinner, there’s more insane partying backstage. Jason’s really good at this…

Jason Loewenstein, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

….though Bob’s arms are more interesting to look at. I <3 drummers.

Bob D'Amico, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

While some sleep, others email…here’s Lou sitting next to the stage door, nodding intently to the lovely loops and cello of his old friend Sophie Williams, aka Mrs. Pilgrimm, who is opening for the band through Holland and tonight in Hamburg.

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Meanwhile, the BackstageRider sticker tour continues. Now live in the on backstage doors across Yurp, the BSR! “Where should I put this one?” I ask no-one in particular. “Uh, in the middle of course”, Lou says. And so it goes right next to my new favourite other sticker: that of the Itchy PoopKid.

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Ever wonder what’s on a band’s backstage rider? HUMMUS FROM A CAN. I offer to carve a face in it BECAUSE IT CAN BE SLICED. The German promoter takes a picture of it and we ponder a new Tumblr idea: Horrible Food on White Paper Plates.

Hummus from a can, pic by Mikala Taylor/

…also on the rider: bottles of water. I’m telling you, SEBADOH IS SOME KINDA KERRRRRRAZY!

Bob D'Amico, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

But they’re saving their crazy awesome stuff for the stage…as it bloody well should be. Tonight, the crowd is polite but into it. Jason’s “Careful”, “Got It” and “Shit Soup” are all genius tonight. “Two Years, Two Days” sounded a bit more meaty this time, after concerns the night before’s first attempt sounded “heroin-y” (INTERESTING FACT REVEALED ON THIS TOUR: Did you know that “Skull” is about the time Lou smoked heroin with Evan Dando from the Lemonheads. TRUTH.)

Jason Loewenstein, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Not Awesome/Awesome of the Gig: the string on Bob’s snare snaps and Jason makes a joke about how it’d be great if someone had a spare. Unbeknownst to the rest of us until after, a guy named Marten – a friend of Sophie Williams’ husband, Paul – bounds out of the club to get a spare that he has and brings it back before the end of the next song. Lou and Jason play “Not Too Amused” (if I remember correctly) as a duo, while Bob fixes the drum. Way to go Marten!

Bob D'Amico, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Best of Lou? “This one’s sloooooooow. Not sloooow like Low. Not slooooow like Codeine…but slow” before “Brand New Love”. And it is slow, but lovely so. After the show, we there’s a bit more of a hang backstage. Funny smoke wafts, beers are drunk and friends of friends totter back. One guy  – who’d been at the OFF! show across town – comes back and tells us how good the punks were. Everyone’s a little bummed we weren’t actually there. But we better rest up. Tomorrow there’s an early, early start and a stop in Dortmund! I say my goodnights and retreat into weird neon bedlam, I mean, bedland. \m/




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