Woolen Men: Reports from the road pt. 3

Here's the final installment from Woolen Men's adventure abroad.

May 14: Toulouse

On the drive to Toulouse Jorge promises me that our hosts there will be, “really great.” He’s not kidding. They turn out to be Marc: aged but beautiful lifelong rocker and owner of completely insane Toulouse recording studio subsonic/massive vintage gear nerd and Sylvie: his charming companion/ subsonic bassist. In other words, the Fred and Toody of France basically. Even better Marc takes one look at my inept handling of our massive tour van, peremptorily gestures for the keys, and then drives the whole time we are there, neatly parking it in postage stamp sized spaces in true lifelong tour dog style. The show that night at saint de seins is in the tiniest venue so far, a converted wine cellar that is probably older than the state of Oregon. After the show a quartet of mop headed modders enthuse to us about the flamin’ groovies. France is cool.   

May 15: Barcelona / May 16: Madrid

Barcelona/Madrid gets pretty intense. The traffic here is bikers vs cars all the way and the pedestrians seems to have little qualm with hurtling their strollers/bodies in front of me as I drive by, obstacle course style. In one particularly narrow alley I scrape the shit out of the van on some small metal poles seemingly put there for that purpose alone. Bummer. The Barcelona show at lupita de reval is technically a “big deal” because in a way it is our trial run/audition for the primavera sound festival next year which Spanish music people seem to have a real love/hate thing going on with. That’s me eating a green tea cupcake after the show courtesy one of our hosts.

If possible Madrid is even worse than Barcelona for city craziness. Hard to forget the look of naked and withering contempt the Madrid police gave me after one desperate u turn to many downtown, only to let me go when I pull the idiot tourist act to perfection on them. The show at Wurlitzer ballroom that night features scantily clad Madrid babes shilling jaegermeister, the promoter doing coke in the band room with his girlfriend and awkward vibes between the other American touring band we are playing with. Those Los vigilantes are some nice dudes though.   

May 17: San Sebastian

A real break after the craziness of the last couple days, san Sebastian is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.  Everyone just chills topless on the Beach and eats pinchos (special tapas style). Man it is great. The promoters are skate boarding older dudes who talk mostly about ogling breasts and feed us excellent sandwiches, the show is a fun breeze, and after its over we dance till 4 am at dabadabas, where one particular local is so in awe of my dance moves that I get to have some special times.  

May 18: Vitoria

As if to remind us of cruel reality Vitoria is brutal. Everyone here owns a dog and seems totally bored by their lives but a lot of people show up. Then at a bad moment Al does his disappearing act and I fear the worst (AGAIN) only for him to emerge minutes before we go on stage super pissed off at having been swindled by the locals. We treat our audience to the worst show of tour, a poorly played piss take of WM songs with bad equipment and zero effort. Tour diary, why do people love to be abused? I am shocked to discover through my haze of self pity that the audience loves our jaded rocker pose, so much so that they buy the most merch of tour so far. How Fucked up is that?

May 20: Paris

Whiplash style, Paris pulls me in the opposite directions. The rude French… the beauty of the city… good friends Tony and Stef deliver some body blows to my future life/conception of self with an authentic provenance Jodorowsky Marseille tarot card reading. Even as I write this the eyes of the magician still haunt me… how can I become him? Temperance out of reach, the hermit between us… Le monde at the end of the line like a promise of redemption… and hanging over everything, the inevitable appearance of the Wheel...

May 21: Charleroi

SHOW CANCELLED DUE TO ROCK STAR reads the sign as we pull up. Even the best efforts of the heroic DIY’ers at the pits can’t beat beurocratic indifference and our lack of pull in rock music land. Kid Congo powers, he of gun club and cramps fame, is playing on our night, and all in town will be there. Attempts to open for him unavail and my heckling is barely acknowledged at the show itself. To be fair I’m sure the man wasn’t even informed of our attempt to open for him by whoever his douche manager is, and he does have a certain muppet like charm to him… Still sucks.         

May 22: Kortrijk

After a quick stop at the tintin museum (love that guy) we reach Chucklestown, “the Detroit of Belgium.” Car dealerships stretch as far as the eye can see in this one horse town, but the beer is FUCKING AMAZING even in the shittiest dive bar. In true Belgian/Detroit fashion the show is in an insane converted factory warehouse crammed with art bric a brac and weirdo giant robot statues, and an actual working waterfall. But despite the big audience and promise of the space the show is just terrible. People show up from all over but nobody gives a shit about the band, they just want to get laid. Real frustration from our end ensues as we give everything we have to them only to be rebuffed by their total indifference to our songs. Even the young dancey babe shaking her thing in the front can’t get anyone to move… “Forget about it jack, its chucklestown.”

May 23: Brussels

AAARG another bummer. End of tour is turning into a real grind. This time we are creamed on a Saturday night by a massive free jazz festival down the block. Madame mustache is empty except for the rude waitress and two couples, so we play some songs in out of order fashion. Whatever… at least the promoter bought a record…

May 24: Koln

Thank god the last show of our tour is totally decent.  Cologne is super cool also and kinda reminds me of a bigger Portland a little. Nice promoter dudes and some enthusiastic locals “from the country” buy up some of the last of our merch, Jorge solemnly informs us that we kicked mucho ass finance wise (suck it other Portland bands!) we make ready to return to Amsterdam for a final trip to the “coffee shops” there and a return home. Fear not Europe, you have fucked with my life forever. I can’t forget you now, even If I wanted too… I have to return, the shows will be even better next time, Jorge says we can come back… godamit my life is changed, everything seems different…

Woolen Men: Reports from the road pt. 2

We'll be sharing stories of Woolen Men's European tour on our blog over the next month. Check back here for more photos and stories of their trip! And for European fans, find a full listing of show dates in the blog below.

May 4: Berlin

Tour is tricky. you only see a tiny a slice of the city: the club, a few blocks. in this case it was "trickster" a rock n roll dive in berlin. we heard they are throwing more rock shows now which is nice. when raf was here 8 years ago it was strictly techno only. the man throwing the show was an israeli ducking his mandatory military service to date german girls. he made us nice mediterannean food.

May 5: Warsaw

How could we ever forget you poland? post soviet chic and an amazing tape wall at the club (felt like home). three kinds of soup and pierogies at old school style soviet eatery "milk bar" (dirt cheap too) generally enthusiastic poles everywhere. our host lukasz met us decked out in his finest pendleton gear AND amazing wipers/warsaw tattoo (pic definitely related). then monday night party in karols apartment complete with resident polish alchoholic wierdo muttering about how much he hates poland/polish people and admonishing me not to throw cigarettes out the window  

May 7: Vienna 

Totally miserable drive into austria + discovered that alex forgot his drivers license, making me defacto perma tour driver and putting me in defacto perma bad mood. show was a literal wash, we played for the other band. then it turned out they were cool as fuck austrian babes who knew grass window and it got more fun. while they made fun of the american eagle emblazoned on my passport alex disappeared and when he came back he had a little surprise for us on his arm. dont tell mom

May 8: Innsbruck PMK club

Austro college town innsbruck was another potential bummer show saved by euro wackjobs. the other band vlasta popic had a sick drummer and cool croatian style, they urged us to come to croatia which i def want to do now, bought records and were  way psyched on wm, brightly informing me that our music sounds "really drunk" . we played underneath the train and the feedback from the electricity made als bass cab sound like it had crickets in it which was cool. after some emergency guitar surgery we watched a drunk guy do interpretive dance on the floor and retired to the cushest hostel room i have ever seen in my life

May 9: Zurich

The swiss are some rich ass folks. zurich was like one giant luxury design store: guccipradaburberrytiffanyhermesh&mclusterfuckdowntown. the club elmodelmos was amazing though a huge artist loft building filled with elegantly dressed swiss artists designers and web folks. went out to zurich nightclub after and got some red carpet treatment and avoided paying 18+ dollars for a single tequila shot. dinner was "kentucky" style fried chicken and the most potentially expensive thing of the entire tour probably. the club guys paid for it but i did the math and my crappy fried chicken and fries cost almost 30 dollars us. holy shit..

May 10/11: Italy

We are really in the south now. it got hot fast and there are half naked euro bros everywhere. i am in love with italy. our hotel was an incredible art deco place and maybe the coolest club of tour so far too: named Hanabi (after the great beat takeshi movie) it was literally on the beach. they served us haute cousine: swordfish primi (!)  and black ravioli secondi (!!!) mucho red wine AND a dessert course then solemnly informed us that most bands are "very relaxed" when they play here. we played a nice long set, i think people liked it just fine too, sold some records. the next day the show was moved suddenly which meant that it was kinda a dud. thats cool though. the place was insane. it was called brain and was located in the italian countryside smelled like cowshit and played host to all sorts of childrens birthday parties and office events. ridiculous decor everywhere including toilets on the dance floor too. happy mothers day mom.

Woolen Men: Reports from the road

We'll be sharing stories of Woolen Men's European tour on our blog over the next month. Check back here for more photos and stories of their trip! And for European fans, find a full listing of show dates in the blog below.

Wed april 30:

Amsterdam turned out be full of wonderful visual cartoons everywhere and i was luck enough to run into a truly great comics shop AND remember that beloved cartoonists joost swarte is dutch. i have no idea what the words are about here with this tripping man but i think we can all understand the general meaning of such a picture. With Alex arriving later and a day off we spent a while searching for the florescent museum, recommended by new york pal carrie vanderyacht (http://carivanderyacht.tumblr.com/). The florescent museum turned out to be amazing; staffed by a motormouthed new york expat obsessed with florescence he took us on a 60's style psychedelic journey into the stuff complete with hendrix/beatles background music, florescent tattoos, shells and stones and "rare" posters, glow in the dark rabbits, and a weird cave which made our faces look orange. Thats jorge on the left there.

Thur may 1:

Following our first show (dbs club in Utrecht) where older men enthused about our set and quizzed our NW cred with wipers/dead moon questions we repaired to our bed and breakfast, a 16th century farmhouse complete with "jam space" and hundreds of portraits of baby boomer heroes. raf is at the table drinking some crappy euro coffee.

Fri may 2:

Incredible show in Arhus at trojborg beboerhus. the whole bit: moshing, crowd surfing, people in the crowd pouring beer into al's mouth. one of the other bands knew all the words to mayonnaise and sang along which really blew my mind. This is al sitting on top of 1000 beers which were purchased for the event. even by 2.00am "beer mountain" was still going strong.

New Distro Items

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We've got a couple new distro items, Haunted Hearts "Something That Feels Bad" 7" and Satan Wriders "Black Eyed Kids" LP. Take a listen to them on our distro page. We'll also post some news about our new releases soon.

Woolen men tour recap

Photographic evidence of Woolen Men's Quick Trips west coast tour