Paris - Hamburg / by Zack Smith

PARIS

It hasn’t stopped raining since Toulouse. We arrive in Paris at 8pm, greeted by a slow, cold, miserable drizzle.

And the show is cancelled. The squat Sans Plomb called all the bands (except) Trachiotomy, and called off the show, needless to say Poggi is pissed. But even though they said they called, some bands showed up anyway. We ended up staying there in the cavernous squat, listening to the old MC Trachiotomy record, Rowdy Life, over and over again. It was great to get a sense of where Trach was so many years ago. The album was produced by Trach, with 9th Ward electronic stalwart and friend, Mr. Quintron. The album shows hints of what we have here on tour, but the raw punk grooves found as our European foundation, are replaces with haunting soprano wails, weird keyboard swashes and plenty of vocal manipulation.



There’s an 8 hr drive to Hamburg still left ahead of us, and it’s either drive tonight (for a total of 18 hr in the van) or tomorrow morning and hit the town tonight. Im not sure if we can watch anymore Kung Fu movies.

LEAVING PARIS

The van is silent. From the cancellation of last night’s show, which was cancelled for ridiculous and questionable reasons, to rising tempers w/ some of the crew, tensions are high. Maybe the 8 hrs to Hamburg will be just what everyone needs. I guarantee if everyone was 10 years younger, fists would have flown a long time ago, and we’d have lost someone. Already, we lost Sebastian (DJ Urine) to a much needed visit to the hospital in Parish for a look at his foot. It looks as if someone took a bite out of it, but he’s not sure what it is, possibly a skin infection. I think I may get one of those if I don’t shower soon. I think we all might. It’s been since Bordeaux.

The drive out of Paris is too foggy to see anything but the fast approaching skyline, as we race NW towards Metz. I had a feeling this part of the tour would be like this: driving all day, getting to the show at load-in, playing/partying, then waking up and repeating. Except the only thing we are seeing from the vans body odor and tobacco caked windows is a foggy/rainy landscape of the fading French countryside.

We pass signs like Chateau de Chantilly and Abbay de Raymont, foret d’Hermenonville and in the distance see spires of old cathedrals and ancient structures waiting to be explored. These old castles and churches are littered upon the rolling hills like you’d see Exxon’s or run down BP’s along the US Interstate system. I’d rather look at churches.

The more and more I travel outside of the US, I come to respect New Orleans, and love her and hate her more. Love her for her uniqueness and ability to let you create your life the way you want it in an old city, but hate her for being so damn reluctant to change. It’s the double-edged sword of this amazing city. And it’s not the city; it’s the ones in power positions. It’s the ones who shrug their shoulders and say “that’s just how it is” or “eh, it’s New Orleans” when talking about backwards politics, the prevalent “good old boy” system still alive and well, and rampant racism and reverse racism that prevails.

After a well-needed rest in the big bed, I awaken to blue German skies. The countryside is very similar to that of France, but here with the occasional wind-power generator, grazing fawn and lederhosen laden farmer. We stop at a gas station, and I realize that in France, we could all put together a complete sentence and get what we need. In Germany, we don’t know a lick of this language. At least the weather is great. We are going to be staying in Hamburg for the next four days, and the duration of my stay.

HAMBURG 88KM

Trying not to give tonight’s club or promoters any ammunition to cancel the show, Trach is hauling ass in the monster Mercedes van trying to beat the clock. Through narrow construction two lane highways, and GNR”s “One in a Million” Blaring on the surround sound, we are coming w/ in inches of cars that we could easily crush or run off the road. We’re already half hour late with another hour to go, due in part to a GPS machine that keeps freezing up every few hours.

Coming up on Hamburg, we begin to see a very industrial type of town, think Lake Charles but more spread out on the countryside. Hamburg has been described as a rough port town, maybe like what New Orleans was 100 years ago. My last run in w/ a “rough” port town was Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. It was as if the booze and lowdown women had claimed many a sailors careers, and they weren’t happy about the reality that was forced upon them.








From the van I see what looks like now as the San Francisco skyline of Lucas inspired AT-AT Walkers from the Star Wars series. Glorified container movers they are. We arrive at the HAFENKLANG right in the middle off port town Hamburg. There’s barbecue outside, and we are welcomed by open arms and popping champagne, a far cry from last nights hello/goodbye. Its one of J’s good buddy’s birthday parties tonight, and to be honest, the reason why this tour could even happen.




Tonight will be a special night. The marquis reads that SABOT, a local group, will open and then followed by Ratty Scurvis Singularity. It’s a surprise to even Ratty. And although it’s a surprise, nothing less of a special occasion: he just put on pants.

The crowd surrounding is mostly in black, some silver metal studs, but much of what you’d expect from a German port city metal club.