“What would you like for breakfast, honey?” Michl inquired, holding two robust melons up to his chest like boobs while leaning down towards me. McHale snored quietly beside me on the floor. I’m in my underwear. My neck is sore. That’s how our first full day in Europe starts and how day two of tour begins.
Amsterdam last night. A solid inaugural show for this 12-day jaunt. “We’re the Night Birds from New Jersey” and the set kicks off. The NY-Suburbia-Morons trifecta of intensity opens things. The rest of the set list draws from their prolific sprawl of full-lengths and EPs. Jet-lagged, but tour tight already, they drive through their performance like punk work horses where rare breaks punctuate five and six speedy numbers in row. A few kids attempt some limited moshes. That guy who came from Russia with a Night Birds dagger on his arm stands close to the stage bopping along. An occasional punk stomps across the room beer in one hand, fist in the other.
The Winston offers an intimate setting for a rock n roll band to show their chops. 100+ kids fill out the space. The merch area in the back is even tighter. Michl and I have to divide responsibilities in order to effectively handle the crush of would-be, could-be buyers when their set wraps. I attempt to handle differently –sized Euro bills while fishing 1 and 2 denomination coins out of my pocket. Michl dives under the table for shirts, LPs and promo posters.
The guys take DIY walking tours of the adjacent Red Light District. Gross-ass bachelor parties roam in packs. The coffee shop doesn’t take credit cards, nor should you use your credit card for purchase, as a tip. The author takes advantage of the vegan ice cream with chocolate magic shell down the block. PJ sees a man exposing himself. Friends in Vitamin X use their bikes to ferry gear down the cobblestone block so we can load out. Joe returns from the District, describing it with a single word, “ghoulish.”
The first day of tour ends with junk food, soda, beer and vigorous negotiations over Ryan getting a tramp stamp of The Beatles logo for 1,000 bucks out of Brian’s bank account. Dumb stories that bring the room to stiches abound until one by one we drift off. Eventually someone hits the light.
Tonight: Hamburg! Come out!