From Aural Innovations #23 (April 2003)
Day One - Loppen, Christiania, Denmark 2/5/03
I arrived at Loppen at 17:30 and the band was setting up the equipment and we all greeted like good friends. I set up my microphones for recording the evening and we catch up with how the tour has been going and life in general and I put my stuff in the tour bus for the 3 days I will spend with the band on the road. I have a nice chat with Thomas as he cleans the microphones with a toothbrush and some cleaning fluid. The tour crew was Jeroen (Dutch Soundman), Stone (Roadie), Bjørn (roadie-merchman), Manfred (Driver), El Caco - Anders, Åse and Thomas, WE - Don, Goshie, Kris and Thomas. 11 people in total.
After a good soundcheck, we had a nice dinner of frikadele (Danish meat ball like specialty), red cabbage, potatoes with brown sauce and apple pie. Everyone gets stuffed. WE really like the venue and the food a lot. I sit in while the band decides on a set list and I give some input, of course! Everyone is in a good mood. Jesper and Thomas from Gas Giant show up, Ralph, Henrik and Magnus from Mantric muse. About 60 people in total, pretty poor turn out. A decent amount of people from Norway and Ralph said there was an article in the local free newspaper, Urban, on the show, which is nice. El Caco starts at about 10:20 and Opens with "High on a Low". They have a really powerful sound and groove. Very tight. They play about 45 minutes and include my favorite song by them, "Space Station". They get a good crowd response.
Setlist: High on a Low, Oh Yeah!, She-Man, Suffocate, Monster, Suffer, H.A.H., Get up, I’ll Play, Space Station, I Spill
Wow... WE really increase the volume when they hit the stage. It is damn loud but great sound. The open with "Carefree" and into "Red Morning". I had not really remembered since Oslo (May 2001) just how powerful and just how killer a guitar sound Don has. "Boom Boom Apes" is next and the band takes us out into heavy space rock territory! The band goes into an awesome 15 minute "Wooferwheels" into "From the Spaceways". Really blown away at the killer guitar and bass groove just the spacey sound they get. Now a couple of rock and roll songs with "Dinosauric Futurobic" and their single, "Jinxed", to which they have added an extended jam on the end that is great. Now the band takes us back out into space with the "Galactic Racetrack" and "Flying". This must have been 20 minutes. Don plays some pretty amazing slide on that acoustic guitar in "Flying". "1971" just shakes the floor with the heavy guitar and bass riffs. The set ends with "Livin’ the Lore" and some band introductions. Despite the small crowd the band comes back and blows us all away with the new song, "Freak Capital of the Universe". This was just incredible. Now the party begins. WE don’t smoke and drink very much at all before playing. They take their rock show very serious. Their ritual before playing involves Don playing guitar for 30-60 minutes before to warm up his fingers, Kris and Goshie juggle and Thomas drinks a lot of fluids and warms up his voice with some singing. The band is in a great mood and a few fans and Thomas and Jesper from Gas Giant join us backstage. They are totally wasted this night from too many beers and joints with Claus W. The soundboard recording, though incomplete sounded amazing and my recording was great as well. Talking to everyone, it was agreed, it was an amazing concert.
Setlist: Carefree, Red Morning, Boom Boom Apes, Wooferwheels, From the Spaceways, Dinosauric Futurobic, Jinxed, Galactic Racetrack, Flyin’, 1971 > Livin’ the Lore, Freak Capital of the Universe!
We head out to the bus at 2:30 and hang out in the back lounge and listen to Masters of Reality - Sufferbus CD, one the band truly love. It is for sure special mood music. I had not heard it in years, as my copy had been stolen and not replaced. I brought out the winner of the High Times Magazine Cannabis Cup and Thomas rolls a huge joint with all that is left. Everyone gets unbelievably high. Stone, the young Roadie is totally blown away, never been so stoned. We hear some of the new Gas Giant CD, Mana, and everyone is just sitting and really listening and really blown away at the powerful psychedelic sound of the record. After 30 minutes, it is actually too much for people and we have to change the music. The back lounge is a cool place with loads of DVDs (DUNE, Koyaanisquatsi for chilling out, Stanley Kubrik Box set, Blues Brothers, Ice Age, Almost Famous), playstation games and CDs (Deep Purple - Burn, Discharge - Anthology, Humble Pie - Anthology, Howling Wolf, Mowtown Chartbusters). It must have been around 5 when we crashed out. I can’t really sleep and I remember when we pull up into Århus. I think I slept maybe 4.5 hours and it is nearly 13:00 how.
Day Two - Voxhall, Århus, Denmark 2/6/03
I am awake in Århus now but everyone except Manfred is asleep. It is snowing a little bit and I drink some apple juice and eat some snacks and write this journal. Most everyone is up now about 14:00. I take a shower and talk with Kris and Don and we go out for a walk in Århus and go to the music stores and come back. Thomas and I do a bit of the interview and talk mostly about the old days of WE. The gear is now being loaded in and we are all starving. Soundcheck goes well. The Voxhall is a great place for a show. It must hold 5-600 people and has a huge stage and lighting rig. Magnified Eye show up and we all greet. Great to see them all again and in their hometown. I meet Matt from Planet Fuzz (www.planetfuzz.com) in Australia. He has been spending some months in Sweden and came down to hang out with Magnified Eye and see a few shows as well. He is also a big Gas Giant fan. We chat a lot and hang out this night. Great guy. Now we all get 100kr and go out to eat at the Indian Curry House across the street. Quite ok food and we are satisfied. I am really tired but not sure what to do. The band and I discuss the set list. Some want to play "Freak Capital" again and others don’t. They put it on the end and maybe they will play it.
The doors open at 8 and not a whole lot of people by 9. Magnified Eye start at 9:15 and about 60 people are here now. They play the best I have ever heard them on this night. I really miss that their harmonica player, Magnus, was not here again. I wish Torben could learn to play it! About 100 people but the end of the set and my good friend Jeanet arrives. WE get a good response and rock the house with a 50 minute set.
Setlist: Intro>Fuel to the Fire, Left Alone?, No Big Deal, Transition, The Last Sun, Soulflame, ?, Diesel Breath, Mountain, On the Edge of a Stone
El Caco come out and is much louder than Magnified Eye. The band play a few different songs from the Loppen set and mix it up totally. Åse decided the set today. The crowd really digs the band a lot. I think they are really a good band but I miss that they don’t have any lead guitar really, it is all just solid heavy driving groove with good riffs. Excellent drumming. I talk with the band and they are not very satisfied with the set list and the monitor sound on the stage was super loud but no clear definition. It fucked everything up for them and they did not like the set at all despite the crowd being into it.
Setlist: Monster, Oh Yeah!, Shine, Blind no More, She-Man, Suffer, A Nice day, High on a low, I’ll Play, I Spill
WE hit the stage within 20 minutes and open with a powerful Red Morning. The band has their silk button up shirts, black eyeliner and dark shades when they hit the stage and are ready for the rock and roll show! I am really amazed that Thomas can really still belt out these powerful songs and lyrics and sound so good after all these shows. It really shows that he has taken care of his voice with wrapping his throat with the scarf all the time, except when they are playing and only smoking after the shows and not at all during the day before and drinking a lot of fluids. "Carefree" smokes and the band go straight into the fast rocker, "Tooth gotta go" (A true story!). Kris says this is a hard one to play and Don thinks it is a really fun one! Now the band take the journey into space with "Boom Boom Apes">"Wooferwheels">"Flying". "Flying" was really great this night. The band was not as spaced out as in Loppen on this sequence of songs. "I&I" is next. The band have not played this one much on the tour and it is one of my favorite songs in the set this night. "Jinxed" is next and good but the jam was better at the end at Loppen. Some asshole up in the front is hassling Thomas, the singer and making Kris the drummer very angry. The guy offered Thomas his beer and it is 90% gone and he does not want to drink this strangers spit. Thomas offers him his water and the guy is a jerk and acts like he is going to pour it on Thomas' rack gear. He throws some water at Kris and splits. The whole vibe of the show has now changed and combined with the same bad monitor clarity, Kris is angry. "1971" up into "Livin’ the Lore" is next. Great tight set. The band come out for an encore. I am hoping for "Organic Room" or "Dominance and Submission" and we get "Cherry Red" by the Groundhogs. The band play a great version and the show ends. I hang out with all the people I know (Magnified Eye, Jeanet, Matt) for a while before joining the band.
Setlist: Red Morning, Carefree, Tooth gotta go, Boom Boom Apes, Wooferwheels, Flyin’, I & I, Jinxed, 1971>Livin the Lore, Cherry Red
The party starts. I am really tired this night and crash out a little early while the others sit in the lounge and chill out to Koyaanisquatsi.
Day Three - Kashmir, Borås, Sweden 2/7/03
I am up early around 12. I did not sleep that well again but better. I sit in the front of the bus with Manfred and his is listening to Pink Floyd as we drive through the Swedish countryside to Borås and it is snowing out. Just perfect music. We hear a little of the Loppen concert as well. It is around 12 and no one is awake yet. We get to Borås (home to 60,000 people) and it takes a few minutes to find the place and Anders, a friend of mine, it is his club that has arranged the gig. It is actually like a pub meeting hall type place and he only arranges gigs here every two weeks or so. I will crash at his place tonight and take the train home tomorrow. I am starving and need some food so I go out to this cheap all you can eat Thai Buffet as everyone is still sleeping. I come back and they have some sandwiches and most everyone is up now and WE and I head out to a used record store. All the guys in the band are big music collectors. I take a picture of them in the store. The band walks out with a little less money but some classics by Sabbath, the Stones, Thin Lizzy, Miles Davis and Grand Funk. The band go into all the used music and instrument stores when they come to a new town. We get back to the bus and watch some of Ice Age and do more interview with Thomas.
Kashmir is a small but cool place. It is cold and snowy today and we all hope some people will come. Thomas and I talk about a set list and it looks to be a more hard rockin show tonight and again some songs they have not played in the past days. I am having a great time talking with Thomas. He is a huge Hawkwind fan and even went to the Hawkfan Gathering in Devon last summer. Anders, my friend who set up the gig is busy but he introduces me to Leif Edling, the leader of Candlemass. He will be the DJ tonight. What a trip! I have always been a big fan of Candlemass and even did a mail interview with him when I had the fanzine Metal Madness back in the 80s! After the band really struggles through the soundcheck I head out to Anders place to put my stuff up. When we come back and eat some dinner there are about 40 people and El Caco is having a hard time getting up for the gig today for some reason. Once they hit the stage though things go well and the energy flows. Åse has some trouble with some feedback or something and is quite annoyed. The band decide to go back to a more normal set for them tonight but still play some new songs. A solid set tonight and the crowd dig them. They sell nearly as much merchandise as WE do on the tour, so this is a sign they are doing very well on the tour. I don’t get one of the set list sheets so my set list is incomplete tonight. I find it funny to hear these guys just speak Norwegian to the Danes and the Swedes and they all sound so different to me and I can’t really understand the Norwegian or Swedish but they all communicate more or less without a problem. Leif is playing really great obscure 70’s rock stuff between the sets. So cool.
Setlist: Monster, Oh Yeah!, ?, Suffocate, High on a Low, Suffer. H.A.H, Get Up, ?, I’ll Play I Spill
Ok, now the total is 78 paid people on this cold snowy night in Sweden and WE are really to rock the house. The Evil Twin intro carries the band into "Carefree">"Red Morning". The band is the tightest of the 3 gigs tonight and very powerful. "Boom Boom" is not that spacey and Thomas hardly uses his effects this night whereas at Loppen he was spacing us out big time! It was great to hear the "Peddler" and "I&I" in a row. I had not heard "Kickin Teeth" since the demo CD the band sent me back in December 2000. It is a real AC/DC-Status Quo inspired track. They have only played it a few times on the tour. It could easily be their next radio hit when it comes out. They follow this with more boogie and "Dinosauric Futurobic". Today, instead of "1971" into "Livin the Lore" the band try out taking the spaced out ending of "1971" into "Wooferwheels" and this was very cool and tagging Livin on the end Of Woofer. Works well. The band come back out and play an extended "Flying" and a great version of "Dominance and Submission" by Blue Oyster Cult. Don has a rough start of the song but then gets it right on and they jam. A killer version. Great 85 minute show, both tight and heavy and not very spaced out.
Setlist: Carefree, Red Morning, Boom Boom Apes, Peddler, I&I, Kickin’ Teeth, Dinosauric Futurobic, Jinxed, 1971, Wooferwheels>Livin the Lore, Flyin’, Dominance and Submission
The band, especially Thomas are very happy with the gig tonight. He is a great rock and roll performer. After the gig we chill out downstairs in the cold basement of this place and chat with a guy from the cool Swedish band, Silverbullet. At the end of the night, around 3, it was a sad day, as I had to depart from the band. We were having such a great time together and they were treating me like I was a member of the band and they really wanted me to join them over to Göteborg for the Fuzzfest on Saturday (Grand Magus, Generous Mari, Dozer and 3 other bands) but I had already booked a train ticket home. All good things come to an end and we have some hugs and wish each other well. They are a great band and a hard working and hungry one too. It is tough to make it in this rock and roll world and the music industry is a vicious place. I know one day they will live off rock and roll.