Twelve Foot Ninja Checks In With New Road Report
Band Photo: Twelve Foot Ninja (?)
Twelve Foot Ninja has been on tour throughout Europe and now has officially hit American shores for a string of U.S. shows, starting with the band's first-ever U.S. appearance in L.A.
Vocalist Kin has checked in with a road report for Metalunderground.com, chronicling the European dates (including Euroblast) leading up to the L.A. show with Periphery.
You can find the band's upcoming tour itinerary at the Twelve Foot Ninja Facebook profile, or see what Kin had to say about recent shows below. Be sure to check back in again next week as the band provides more updates from the road.
TFN TOUR: Night 1
After a long journey we finally made it to Berlin. Last night we had a German feast at the Hofbräu München. The atmosphere was traditionally German (derrr!) and amazing! There was a trad German trio punching out the hits of a bygone era. Ro and I ordered the meat platter, with every colour from the pork rainbow, with sauerkraut, and gelatinous potato, that would bounce like a superball if you threw it. It was awesome, and we both struggled to finish it. While eating, the dance floor became crowded, and the participants were having a ball, including some buxom waitresses' (I wonder if they get paid for that? They should!). Everybody knew every word, singing, clapping, and dancing with abandon, and it was great to watch! We left for the hotel soon after, where I crashed pretty hard. Great night!
TFN Tour: Day 2.
We headed to the venue K17 where we will play our first of 4 euro shows. Pretty cool place, and probably the most dead sounding room we've played, from memory. It was basically a giant cube. We met the guys from Skyharbour, Ever Forthright, and The Omega Experiment, and they all seemed like lovely dudes and easy to get along with, which is always good.
Leading up to our set I was really nervous. I came down with the flu at the end of the Oz Shuriken Tour, and after a long haul to Germany, the last remnants of it were clinging to my throat. I could tell it was going to be an up-hill struggle, and I wasn't wrong. Pretty much 2 songs down, my sinuses sealed over, and I lost the top end of my register, and mid-level growl, which I use for a heap of our songs. I finally got through the set, by the skin of my teeth. The boys however, were awesome as always! I'm so blessed to be playing with these talented dudes, and it's times like these, when I need to lean on them the most, that I appreciate just how good they are. We packed up, while chatting to a few locals who seemed to have really enjoyed the set. Then jumped in the van and headed to the hotel. I was glad to be out of there, and straight to bed. Hamburg tomorrow! Zzzzzzzz.
TFN Tour: Day 3
This morning I woke up feeling charged. Had a awesome cooked breakfast, packed the van and set off for Hamburg. The country-side in Germany is beautiful. It's a bummer that we only really get to see it out of a van window. Hamburg is one of those places that I've had a drawing to since I was a teen. The architecture is beautiful, especially the modernity of the floating houses, along the Eilbek Canal. We were playing in the red-light district of Hamburg, called Reeperbahn. It has a very bohemian feel to the area, much like Fitzroy, or St. Kilda (Melbourne).
We loaded in. After sound check, we hung out it a cafe called 'May', with free wifi, and great coffee, to provide more info for our interviews at the US consulate. What a mission! It took us 3 hours to finish. After finishing our consulate task, we had about 40 mins to spare before we had to go on, which is really no time at all. The show was far better than in Berlin, and the turn-out was greater too. We had a couple of girls dancing like flower children, and a few metal dudes, head banging. Most of the audience were singing along with their own lyrics, which I love. If you don't know them, pretend that you do, and sing anyway! We then piled in the van for a 4 hour trip/sleep to Cologne, to get ready for our flight to the UK. Exhausted, and excited.
TFN Tour: Day 4
We arrived in Cologne at 4am, and piled into the Euroblast band lodgings to sort out our luggage for the UK, and review our visa questionnaires. We then returned to the van and headed to Frankfurt to catch a flight. We flew with Easyjet. It's like the Tiger Airlines (Australian budget airline) of England. The stewards and stewardess' were awkward. The powdered Starbucks coffee was rubbish. I was way too tired to care.
We arrived at Gatwick Airport, and hopped on a bus for a 5 minute trip to Travelodge Central. First impression? Disinfectant, strong disinfectant. We arrived in Camden, and my energy shifted. This was more my kind of place. Bustling, bohemian, with a presence of art and culture, a dollop of hipster, future sailors, and Noel Fielding, lookalikes. We loaded in, and then I took a walk to soak it all in. It was overcast, cold, and raining lightly, which seemed perfect to me.
We walked on stage that night to a roaring, packed house. Camden was ready, and they danced, pogo'd, skanked, and sang at the top of their lungs. Personally I thought it was one of the best crowds we'd ever played for. So passionate! I was truly humbled in their presence.
Afterwards we met a heap of beautiful souls who expressed their gratitude for us having made the journey to play for them. There was a group who called themselves the 'Bananas Of Anarchy', who had printed these great t-shirts to commemorate the gig, and I was given one. I loved that they would go to the effort, just for an hour-long show! I met some guys who had made the journey from Italy, and Spain, just to see us, and we signed a the arm of a school teacher from Norway, who went and had them tattoo'd the next day! What is happening? This is becoming more and more surreal, the further we travel. And I am thoroughly enjoying it. I cannot wait to go back to London, and we will, soon. We loaded up the van, and headed back to the air conditioned nightmare that were our lodgings. Goodnight England, fair thee well.
TFN Tour: Day 5
Euroblast! We board the plane, and arrive in Dusseldorf in what seemed like 20 minutes. We are met at Dusseldorf airport by our driver, Leo. Leo is a lovely guy, from Wyong NSW. We played Wyong once, I think it's on one of our tour videos. Strange show! After an hour and a half, we arrive at the venue. Now, from the outside, you would never know that a Prog Metal festival was in session. Deceptively low-key frontage, right next door to what looks like a megalithic wheat silo.
We drop off the gear, and then Steve and I made our way to the press area for a few interviews. Afterwards, I wandered around a bit to get my bearings. I was still nervous at this point as I still haden’t kicked my virus and drugs I was taking did nothing to clear me up (they very rarely do), and the moment of our initiation is drawing closer by the second. Finally It was our turn to hit the stage. We huddled, and Stevic gave us his usual style of motivational speech, which is always hilarious! We walked up to side stage, and the crowd started gathering. Bands, and crew hanging out side-stage gave us back-slap encouragement. The intro track kicks in, and here we go!!
I come out to a big crowd, Stevic reckons it was one of the largest we've played to. We had a crew of fans down the front, ready to get busy, getting straight into it as the opening groove of 'Kingdom' kicked in. We charged through our set, and the appreciation from the audience grew progressively louder. I was able to improvise some of my melodies on a lower register, and as much as I don't like having to do it, I think I got away with it. The boys were on-point, and on fire! The reception at Euroblast was magnificent. I definitely want to come back as soon as budget will allow. This has been a wild ride so far, and I don't want it to end. Back to the 'Hotel Ass' (that really was the name), we go. Meshuggah tomorrow! Boom!
TFN Tour: Day 6
Euroblast Part 2. I woke up in 'Hotel Ass' aka 'Hotel Ace', after what was the best night sleep I'd had in a while. Today was going to be a good day, no major pressure, no performance, just hanging out with our new friends, checking out some killer bands, and having a few cheekies (have had only a couple of drinks in 3 months, I'm going to allow myself a few today, I'm going to be a cheap drunk!). We were accommodated to a late breakfast by the hotel manager. I had no idea that Germans ate processed meat in the morning, as there was a platter of processed meats and cheese. I wonder if health insurance companies make a truck-load of money in this country! I opted for Corn Flakes, and muesli. I haven't had Corn Flakes in a long time, and had forgotten that it was one of my comfort foods. Sugary goodness! Thank you, Dr. Kellogg. We head back to the Euroblast venue for another round of interviews and to check out the other acts playing that day. There is some amazing talent here, feeling excited to be rubbing shoulders with them.
TFN Tour: Days 7-10
Frankfurt. We were woken at 6am, to be picked up by our driver, Leo, to make the journey to Frankfurt. Leo took great delight in our post-Euroblast hangovers. I slept part of the way, but my brain had fully woken up, making a snooze impossible. As we drove through Frankfurt, we passed the red-light district, Leo advised us that it was the heroin capital (of Europe, Leo?). We arrived at our accommodation, The Leonardo Hotel, on the fringes of the district, with an abundance of strip-clubs, porn stores and desperado dives, a minute away.
We check in, and the rooms are comfortable. I'm bunking with Ro. This is to be our indefinite home, until our interview and approval, for our US visas. We are currently in limbo, and the vibe of the band is pretty sombre, but we're staying optimistic for the most part. We really want to be there. We are missing shows, and have received msg's of disgruntlement, and some encouragement from our fans, on FB. This situation is out of our control, and is incredibly frustrating. I really wish some Americans would understand that it was their government that prevented us from coming sooner, not mismanagement. We've been put in an awkward predicament.
On the Thursday we had our interview at the US consulate. I think it went well, and hopefully we'll be out of here, on our way to the states, to join the tour, by Monday. Frankfurt is a strange city, and all of our days here are rolling into each other, seamlessly. I am enjoying every moment.
TFN Tour: Days 11-16
We're still in Frankfurt, hoping that the applications will be approved for delivery by Saturday. They didn't arrive. I've spent most of my days wandering. The days are all blending into one… On the Wednesday our visas came through. Yes!! We were all so relieved, and absolutely stoked. Well, it's been great Germany, you were generously abundant with experiences, exchanges, and self reflection. But now, America beckons, so I bid you farewell. Stay awesome!
TFN Tour: Day 17
Helloooo America! We woke up at 6:45 this morning, eager. Not to leave our hosts, but to get on the plane, and get to the US. Flying Lufthansa (thank my lucky frigging stars!), and it didn't really seem like 10 hours. Watched a couple of movies, and the in-flight food was great. It would be good if all flights were like this. We landed in LA, and were met by our manager, Dave. We made our way to the pick up area, and there she was, rolling towards us. A big, blue, and fucking beautiful coach. I'd always dreamt of this, but never expected it to happen. What a way to see the states! She is the epitome of comfort, with 2 lounge spaces, one of which will become a makeshift studio, and the other, the hang-space. TVs, stereos, kitchenette, bathroom, 12 bunks that are really comfortable, each with a personal DVD player. We hopped on-board, and none of us spoke a word. Our bus driver, Ron, made note of the fact we were really quiet. We were all too busy taking it all in.
We rolled our way through LA, making our way to the first venue, the legendary Roxy, on Sunset Boulevard. We arrive, and unload, and are met by a guy in a ninja suit, and his girlfriend, who had come specifically to see us. We then caught up with Mark, Matt, and Jake from Periphery, who were glad we made it. Soon after, we met the guys from Born Of Osiris who seem like a great bunch of dudes, then Dead Letter Circus rocked up. It was so good to see them, and hear their homely, Aussie accents.
Ro and I walked down the boulevard for a bit, then went and had a beer at the bar next door. We grabbed the boys, and walked across the road for some sushi. We went back to the venue and ate our dinner, then met with a few of the VIP's who were there to meet Periphery before the show. We had some photos, and signings, and I started feeling good about the night ahead.
Soon after, the doors opened, and we went up stairs to prepare for the set. Nerves started kicking in. We set up on stage, the intro kicks in, curtains open, and from the get-go, the room starts moving. We punch through the set, and the reception grows from song to song. We manage to pull it off, and for a first show, we all felt pretty good about it, despite a few technical issues. We are the second, or third band on the bill most nights, so we only get a quick line check before we start. Unfortunately we have no time to iron out the technical creases. But we'll manage to figure it out over the course of the tour, hopefully. It's so good to be doing a show here, especially a first show!
We met a heap of people after the show, who were thoroughly impressed. Dino from Fear Factory picked me out of the crowd and gave me a big hug. He'd missed the show, but it was great to see him. I also noticed Tosin Abasi from Animals As Leaders. The guys from DLC met, got to hang out with Danny Carey, at his house! We were all spent, so after chatting for an hour or so, we hop back on the bus, to make the trip to San Diego. So, so tired. Goodnight LA!
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