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Skyclad Issues European Tour Recap

U.K. metallers Skyclad have issued the following European tour recap:

"Whilst contemplating this tour blog, I was reminded of a line from a Tom Verlaine song that says, 'the travels fulfils you but the distance it kills you’. It would be easy indeed to moan about the long distances, the aches and pains caused by too little sleep, too much alcohol and the rather variable nutritional intake – and don’t even mention the ‘excess baggage’ charges (budget airlines my arse). However, the clue is in the title, if you want to ‘tour’ you gotta travel and it aint a ‘9 to 5’ gig (man); and so we set off (at 4:30 in the morning) for the ‘In The East All Together’ Tour. Passing through nine countries (covering half of Europe) to play eight gigs in seven days.

"The first gig was in Oberhausen, Germany (Skyclad’s ‘second home’) at the Helvete Club. Good solid metal gig with a great crowd. It was also my birthday (cue jokes but thanks to all for singing ‘Happy Birthday’) and it was great to meet up with a lot of old friends; including the Dong Open Air crew and our friends from Carlisle (good effort lads) and thanks everyone for all the photos, videos, cards and presents – the Port will find a good home. We had gigged with Adorned Brood before but it was nice to meet up with a young Spanish band, Kathaarsys, from Galicia (another favourite haunt of Skyclad), who brought greetings from the TNT bar in Santiago (what a night). So far so good and it was a great start to the tour.

"I have to say that the band approached the second gig with a certain amount of trepidation – as well as an eight-hour drive from west to east. We don’t know what it is with Berlin but no one in the band can actually remember having a good night there – ever. Maybe it was because the promoter put six bands on the bill that were very, very different (good for him but maybe not for the bands). This sort of fragmented the crowd making somewhat partisan with each band having (to bring) there own little group of supporters (some of whom promptly left when their act was finished). The only bands that seemed appropriate as support where Fauns and Metal Law (check them out). Maybe it’s because it’s the capital and people are ‘spoilt for choice’. Whatever it is it is always seems hard work in Berlin, as if some people are a little ‘too cool’. That’s not to say that the Skyclad contingent didn’t enjoy themselves and in the end we did the gig for them (you know who you are). It just seemed a little more sombre/sober after the first night.

"This was made even more apparent when compared to the gig in Vienna. This was a different story altogether. From the moment the band arrived at the ‘Escape Metalcorner’ Club they were well looked after. The promoter was really enthusiastic and helpful, providing a great rider and the gig was very well organised. Again, the crowd were all really enthusiastic joining in with all the songs and jokes. 'Proper metal folk' and the crowd showed how a gig should be. A great Skyclad night (‘goodnight Vienna’ indeed).

"As we headed off for the next gig, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, there was a feeling that we were really going ‘into the east all together’ because we had played Berlin and Vienna before but the rest of the tour would take the band into new territories. On the way someone made a comment that it was like going back in time the further east we drove. To be fair the town itself was pleasant enough but the gig itself left a bit to be desired in terms of equipment and facilities – well there wasn’t any and the promoter was on holiday. This gig was switched from the ‘Tartaros Club’ to the ‘bigger’ Tirish Bar (which to us sounded like an Irish pub and indeed it turned out to be more like that). All the trademarks of a midweek gig here but it was no use complaining (and we did have fun in the Chinese restaurant with some of the translations; can anyone please explain what ‘ants climbing the tree’ could possibly be as no-one was brave enough to order it) and we decided to make the best of it. So after sorting out all the technical problems with our ‘sound engineer’ for the night we actually managed to have an enjoyable gig and, again, there were a few enthusiastic fans that made it all worthwhile. The support bands here (Tisic Let Od Raje and Nevaloth) are mentioning because they lent us some equipment but also because there was a very strange sort of S&M thing going on. Interesting. We then had the first of our ‘drives through the night’ back to the Czech Republic to stay in a small cottage that was owned by the family of our tour manager Marian; but as this came with its own wine cellar we were more than interested. As we got there at dawn, this, of course, meant having to sample the wine over breakfast – as you do.

"The next gig was in the Czech Republic in Brno. Skyclad had only played in the capital, Prague, prior to this gig but in some respects this was the gig of the tour. Completely different from the night before, because the venue itself was great in terms of its, stage, equipment and sound guys, who did a great job. They had to because there were five bands on that night (yes, again five bands and no it wasn’t a festival). This included a tour package of three bands from Sweden that included a very bizarre group of guys who got absolutely hammered (as you do) and then improvised some ’depressive/suicidal’ doom metal, dressed as monks. Again the crowd were great for Skyclad and we even met up with some old friends and I personally have to thank one of them for buying the Jagermeister that saved my voice that night. After a thoroughly enjoyable night it was back to the wine cellar (‘it’s a dirty job’ etc).

"The next day there was the fairly lengthy drive to Budapest, Hungary. The venue was a rather odd club that was furnished in 1970s décor (unless they just forgot to decorate) but the gig itself was okay (if a little ‘ambient’). Actually there were two gigs going on and so there was rather a strange mix of folk there and some were a bit taken aback by the ‘folk-metal’ contingent. The support band here were our friends Sacra Arcana from Pecs (who actually played ‘Parliament Of Fools’ in their set). They seem to enjoy their gig in the capital and were well supported (oh, and thank you for the excellent Hungarian wine). Skyclad too was also given a warm welcome and the crowd seemed to know the new material very well, singing along with ‘The Well-Travelled Man’ in fine style. The city itself looks very grand but despite having been there twice we still haven’t had time to investigate any further than driving over the bridge and going ‘wow Buda and Pest’

"The same thing, unfortunately, happened with Ljubljana. We were really looking forward to going to new places but as soon as we came into the city the gig was there and it was dark so we didn’t see very much. Such is touring. The gig itself however was well worth the travel. Very clean (and smoke free for a change), well organised and with a great rider. We also had good support from a young folk metal band (again, for a change). Skyclad got another great response from the crowd with a good ‘jig-pit’ going on and it was a great way to spend a Friday night (yes, it was Friday – I’m sure) and this is another place we would definitely go back to. The only unfortunate thing was we had to head off straight after the gig and ‘drive through the night’ again because we had a horrible twelve-hour drive to Sophia, Bulgaria in front of us.

"This drive actually took us out of the EU and for the first time in ages we had to make ‘real’ border crossings to get through Croatia and Serbia. Not that these were particularly bad experiences (and you do get your passport stamped) but the road (single track) just seemed to go on forever (though the mountain passes were very impressive). So we were very pleased to finally get the Sophia, the last city on the tour, in the afternoon and we went directly to the hotel to a bit of rest. The gig was another venue really suited to the ‘hot’n’sweaty’ vibe – very metal, with a good PA and very helpful crew. After the soundcheck we headed off to the restaurant (Chinese again) and only then discovered that we were in fact another hour ahead of CET (which is why the promoter was hanging around waiting for us). This meant that we only had an hour to digest our food before the gig (not a good thing). We also had to do a couple of interviews – for ‘TV’ and Internet radio – before we played. We actually did a few interviews on this tour and it was nice to do more in the way of promotion.

"The gig in Sophia was excellent and a great way to finish the tour. The crowd were fantastic from start to finish and it would be a very close thing between this gig and the one in Brno as to which was the highlight of the tour. We had the jig-pit; we had crowd surfers, we had headbangers and a Halloween party afterwards. What more can I say, except we want to go back sooner rather than later. My poor voice just about lasted but I was worn out and headed back at the respectable time of 2:00 am – leaving the rest to party on (in Acheron) till dawn.

"Some were perhaps a little worse for wear as we headed off to the airport and the long trip back home but we were all happy with the tour and commented that it was the best we had done for quite some time. On the way back we were discussing which countries we hadn’t been to in Europe and found that there aren’t many left for us to visit (look out the Baltic states) and how, after the ‘In The East All Together Tour’, it appears that Skyclad are now truly European civilians and a well-travelled band."

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