European Festivals June 16 – July 3 2005

June 16

Kathleen: We traveled a lot to get to this first show and I have to say it was worth it. When we first arrived at the festival I was nervous it was more a rock thing and no one was gonna know who we were or like us for that matter. We played after this band Flogging Molly who played real instruments, had lots of people onstage and played Irish style punkish rock . The crowd went absolutely apeshit for them. As usual at festivals when we first looked out at the crowd, there was like, no one there, but as soon as we hit the stage the tent was packed, the video started and we were off. I fucked up some, having not played a show in like a month, but The Donna's and our friend Molly were there to cheer us on so we felt confident anyways. Afterwards we drove the long drive back to our hotel in Jonkoping which, incidentally is the birthplace of Pippi Longstockings, Which made me wonder, did Pippi age? Is she an old lady somewhere?

The label guys took us to dinner after we did a bunch of crazy press including a live internet chat with kids who asked us if we like strawberry ice cream and the new Black Eyed Peas single. We could hear the acidic midrange morse-code rhythms of Slipknot drifting through the magical woodland festival site as we walked to our back-stage tent and it brought me back to the wild days of our Australian festival dates.  After our set I took a bunch of tylenol and JD and I ventured out of the artists' area to check out Marilyn Manson. His handheld cordless spotlight was pretty cool, especially when he pointed it into the video cameras and the massive LED screens in the meadow flared white. Footage of Hitler looped behind him on stage and JD and I gave his low-concept show a big thumbs down. But we loved walking across the little wooden bridges with the plastered teens and admired the vendors' crazy-colored candy ropes rolled in sugar. We watched a minute of the M.I.A soundcheck before we had to head back to the hotel for an early flight to Barcelona!

JD took this picture from the plane as we were landing in Stockholm. 


June 17

Kathleen: I wanna say this show was in Spain, but our friends told us how most people in Barcelona don't consider themselves Spanish and don't really think of Barcelona as a part of Spain so I am not gonna say it. Also most people speak Catalán and also Spanish, but Catalán is the main thing. It's like in Bilbao how most people think of themselves as Basque not Spanish. I am definitely gonna find out more about this when I get home and have time for a library visit. Anyways our dressing room  at the festival was a huge super brightly lit room with bright red indoor/outdoor carpet that felt like a habitrail stop in a hamster maze. We were supposed to play at 3 am but got held back till around 4. A couple coffees cured everything though and the drugged out crowd was having such a good time dancing that my tiredness melted away as we cruised thru song after song. Deceptacon sent them over the fucking edge and reminded me to try and stay in better shape between tours! I felt like I was gonna pass out from all the singing! 

The next day JD and I walked around Las Ramblas and happened to run into a huge gay rights march! It was Barcelona's answer to the right-wing Catholic-led demonstrations in Madrid that were happening in protest of the new gay marriage legislation about to be passed by the left-wing government. We joined the march and met up with Kathleen, Amy and Thomas (our European booking agent). It was a really raucous parade with an impromptu vibe and it made us all super happy. JD and Jonathan (our sound engineer) and I decided to go back to the Sonar festival to see Miss Kittin and M.I.A. It was both fun and awful to be on the other side of the fence—an anonymous festival-goer paying for expensive drinks and standing on line for the bathroom.  We stayed out all night and had no idea how we were going to get back but luckily Alex's (from Chicks On Speed) boyfriend found us and drove us back to our hotel and we watched the sun rise over the skyline. Then, just to make myself totally insane, I woke up 3 hours later and hopped on the double-decker bus to take a tour of the Gaudí buildings in Barcelona with Amy and Thomas before totally collapsing in my hotel room.

Jo makes coffee back-stage/ Coffee kicks in, a photo-essay by JD Samson


June 22

Kathleen: So we arrive in Greece only to find out the festival has been cancelled. It is especially awkward cuz we came to Greece early so we could hang out and sight-see for a few days and we are the only festival band there. We ask the promoters to try and set us up some kind of show as we don't wanna leave Athens without playing.

Basically all of us did a whole lot of tourist activity over the few days we had in Athens. We went to the Acropolis and ate some delicious food like garlic sauce, which was actually garlic with a little bit of potato to soak up the garlic. Too bad we had bad breath all day!! Then we went to this fun lesbian party at this new bar called Eyeland. There we hung out with a bunch of super rad lesbians and trannies from Athens. We even met someone from Ohio!!! Le Tigre hit the dance-floor and we really got em going. It was so fun to hang out and dance with a bunch of Greek lesbians. Our show was really great after a whole lot of trouble tracking down transformers and backline (our rental equipment). The power went out two times during the show including the one time the air conditioner dropped a load of water on the mixing board. WOW. It was a dramatic night, but the crowd was super fun and we got sooo hot and sweaty which always feels really nice.

Kathleen & DJ Olive at EYELAND

Jo & The Parthenon

JD & Athens


June 23

JD: Today we had a photo shoot with a famed female photographer who is making a book about women icons. Well well well, what can I say about today besides, it was an experience... Lets just say Chanel women's line, eyeliner, 'making love to the camera' and a bottle of vodka and some orange juice.

Kathleen: Have you seen that part in Fame where Coco is at a photo shoot? That was kinda the vibe.

Jo: Then we went to dinner with our beautiful friends Phillipe and IQ. In this picture you can see the remnants of our extreme eyeliner.


June 24

Finally we got our bus today. It was waiting for us at the festival, and when we got inside we realized that this bus had the smallest bunks we have ever had. It felt like we were getting buried alive. Oh well. You can't always get what you want. The festival was way out in the country with a lot of little ponds and frogs talking all night and LOTS of bunnies everywhere. It was nice to be out of the city. Then we had a super fun show and hung out with LCD Soundsystem for a bit before getting a midnight snack and heading to the bus for our first night of bouncing to sleep.

Kathleen: All I remember about this festival is that the cook made an incredibly stupid, racist comment to our friend, and as if that wasn't bad enough, the food sucked.


June 25

The Populario Festival ended our run of beautiful weather. Thunder, lightening and torrential rain could not deter this German crowd from watching band after band in a field out in the middle of nowhere in eastern Germany. We hung out, ate pasta, and watched The Ark – fake-gay glam rock from Sweden, but then we had to deal with some tech drama. This was the night our emergency back-up plan would be put to the test: we ran our backing tracks off of JD's iPod (we were afraid of plugging our DVD player into a dodgey European-to-US power transformer). It worked! People started moshing during "I'm So Excited" and didn't let up until we were back on the bus, going to the hotel to gargle with salt water before heading for Vienna.

Here's a picture of Kathleen doing a Stevie Nick's impersonation in the woods outside of our trailer.


June 28

Prague was great even though I lost my fucking blackberry charger and we couldn't get on the internet at the hotel. I did touristy stuff, I'd just sort of attach myself to a tour group and go where they were going. I got super excited and texted everybody when I heard Nanny Nanny Boo Boo on the radio in the corner store while I purchased a box of "fitness" cereal.

Kathleen: My friend Kathi told me like ten years ago that Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and she wasn't lying. I would've kept walking around all night if I wasn't so tired, but I was, so I retired to the hotel and settled down to finally watch Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 911'. I must admit I cried a couple times in the beginning, tears of anger and confusion as to how the fucking evil conservatives stole both the elections and maneuvered for the richest families of the world to get even richer at the expense of poor peoples' lives. I think it's a good thing this movie exists but I have to say I find Moore really emotionally manipulative. It's sorta like he just delivered a huge liberal hallmark card to the
world, which I am glad for, I just wish there there were twenty different filmmakers talking about this same stuff in all different, more complicated ways. The next day we went to the club for our show and it was this super tiny punk club (see picture) Even though the place was tiny and packed everyone was being super nice and courteous to each other. Like while we were playing I saw people apologizing for bumping into each other even though it was unavoidable. It was just so nice to see people looking out for each other in what could've been a stressful situation, which just reminded me how happy I am such cool people come to our shows, in almost every city we play in, the people who come always try and make the show great for everyone, not just themselves. It makes me feel really hopeful.

JD: Prague was amazing. We showed up and my cousin who was living in Prague working at an English bookstore called, Anagram, and teaching English all over the city took me on a private tour of the whole city. It was absolutely amazing!!! He took me to the castle and to the Jewish Quarter and across the Charles Bridge and to the old square. it was so beautiful. Then I met up with Mia from Electrelane and we got psyched about going on tour together in a couple of weeks. I can't wait! I love Electrelane.

Jo at the Prague Castle

Jonathan and Mary setting up the tiny stage

June 29

Jo: Unfortunately we stayed in the same hotel in Copenhagen as a lot of
(low-level) Bush staffers in town for GW's visit. The place was
crawling with cops and at the free breakfast buffet in the lobby loud
American men in pleated pants crowded the ham tray. I spent most of my
time in my room reading Prisoner of Love while JD pounded the pavement
looking for a blackberry charger. We met up with Jeppe and Jesper from
Junior Senior in the evening to listen to their new record. Last
December in New York we sang on a bunch of their tracks and we've been
dying to hear the finished mixes. It's the huge-sounding, party record
we've been waiting for!


JD: Today we arrived to the festival but weren't allowed to get food or
get into our backstage for a long time. So we hung out in the grass and
entertained ourselves for a bit until we got access. We had some press
to do which was pretty painless and I got to meet a girl named Emily
who is working on Ladyfest Sweden! It was a beautiful day and we had a
nice time suntanning and chilling out together. Timbuktu played before
us. He is this really cool rapper from Scandanavia that really hyped up
the crowd for us! We got dressed in the sunlight for the show and then
played to thousands of drunk kids who were having a really rowdy time
at the festival. It was really fun to be back in Denmark!!!


July 2

Well, I have one thing to say, and that is... I am moving to
Montreux!!! What an amazing place! The water was fresh and blue, as Jo
later expressed, it is just melted snow that came dripping down from
the Swiss Alps that sit all around the lake. A beautiful place in the
summertime. And a wonderful place for a hugely incredible music
festival. The festival lasts a couple weeks in July every year and this
year sooo many great bands played. The day we played so did Billy
Preston, Queens of the Stone Age, DJ Hell, Isaac Hayes, and a lot more
bands. In one huge building!!! It was really cool. We ran into our
friend Jean Grae who was playing the next night too! Jo and I and our
monitor engineer Mary took a long walk on the shore of the lake and saw
a duck building a nest. We also saw a statue of Freddy Mercury that
reads: A lover of life and a singer of songs. Apparently he came to
Montreux and fell in love with it and built a studio there... hmm... I
am getting lots of ideas about Montreux.



Kathleen: This was our last show of the European leg of our tour and I must say
it was thee perfect last show. Assuming no one would know who we were we hit
the stage with our specail brand of nervous confidence. It only took a few seconds to realize the crowd was “thru being cool” and just wanted to have a good time.After the show we did a bizarre press conference in a tent where the moderator asked us all these really specific musical questions about our was nice, but a little weird cuz all these other journalists just sat in folding chairs looking at us like they were too nervous to ask us anything.Then we went and watched Sonic Youth play for a bit which was fun. They seemed to be having such a good time together and it reminded me that all that fake sounding bullshit about band comeraderie and your band being your chosen family and stuff really is true sometimes. I love Kim and Thurston. They were genuinely nice to me when not many people liked me very much and they gave me a lot of support and confidence in terms of being a musician (or whatever) .Plus Free Kitten changed my life.

Kraftwerk's awesome robots!


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