Twelve Foot Ninja Checks In From North American Tour - Part II
Band Photo: Twelve Foot Ninja (?)
After recently completing a European run, the Aussie outfit Twelve Foot Ninja has now officially invaded the U.S. for a first-ever North American tour.
We've been keeping up with the band as vocalist Kin checks in with daily updates from the road.
You can check out the last road report right here, or see what kin had to say about days 18 - 30 of the tour below, and find out how he explains to fans that he doesn't actually have ninja powers.
You can also keep up-to-date on the latest Twelve Foot Ninja activity and tour routing at the band's Facebook profile here. If you were at any of these shows, be sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you thought!
TFN Tour: Day 18 San Diego
We wake up in the coach, to a very foggy San Diego day. We soon head to the venue and park the coach. We come out on stage, and the room is fairly full. There is an opening in the middle of the crowd to accommodate a circle pit, with a wall of people facing us at the other side. Weird vibe. We get going, and the people up the front are digging it. Occasionally the pit starts up, only to be completely ruined by our Reggae and Latin stylings. I attempted to encourage them to keep going, they didn't. I think we did fairly well, as the reception at the end was really good, and unexpected given the interactivity (or lack thereof) during the set. Sometimes, audiences stand motionless, just taking it in. "Do I like this? Is it ok to like this?". I believe that was the case in this instance. Still, it was a decent show. We hung out later with DLC, and BOO, had a few drinks, then got on the bus, and pretty much went straight to bed. Jet-lag is catching up. Nite, San Diego!
TFN Tour: Day 19 Next stop Santa Ana
Our venue tonight is The Observatory. We load in and check it out, and the room looks awesome - a bigger capacity than the last 2 shows. After shooting some hoops out the back of the venue, we meet Jose Mangin of Liquid Metal and Octane (Sirius XM satellite radio) fame. He’s hosting the show that night at the Galaxy. Super nice guy, who is a huge fan of the band and has played our song 'Coming For You' about 450 times, among other tracks on his radio shows! Our manager Dave is in town also and arrives with Karise Eden. Karise is now a label mate of ours, and has been in the States writing her next album.
That evening, we take the stage to a warm reception. It's still kind of surreal to me, that we're half way around the world, and people have come specifically to see us, and sing along to our songs, some drive a really long way. I feel incredibly humbled by that. We played a good set, and I feel like we're warming into the tour. As I walk to the bus, there are already a heap of people lining up for the another show that was booked for the same room. The act for the next show, some rapper called Tyga, rocks up in a silver Ferrari. He’s immediately surrounded by scantly clad girl punters. He has a hit called 'Bouncing On My Dick'. Inspired genius. We get back on the bus. Spencer from Periphery joined us and we got to hear some of their new tracks! All I'll say is, woah! Ro and I stayed up and had some drinks with Spencer, heaping praise upon each other, so in other words, three-way verbal blowjobs. He is a super-talented legend. And I feel privileged to watch him and the Periphery boys smash venues every night! Next stop, San Francisco.
TFN Tour: Day 20 San Francisco
We wake up just out of the city, and soon arrive at the venue. The venue we’re playing that evening has a cafe/pizzeria attached, so we rock in for a coffee and some free Wi-Fi.
I love San Francisco. The last time I was here was in 1990, and it left quite an impression on me. It has a deep undercurrent of arts culture, bubbling beneath the surface, and a vibe that I definitely feel inspired by. I'd heard that the scene here was thriving, so I was looking forward to playing and witnessing for myself what Frisco had to offer. We load in and the venue looks interesting. High stage and an upstairs balcony area overlooking the floor. The mixing desk on a little mezzanine directly opposite the stage, accessible from the second level. Seems like an interesting place to gauge a mix.
We go on stage to a pumped crowd, with a great collective of punters there to see us. We thunder through the set. The energy in the room is palpable, and a great number are singing along, and thoroughly enjoying themselves. I feel we've hit our mark. This was the best show for us on the tour, so far, and I can't wait to return. Afterwards we have a beer, and then head into the crowd to listen to DLC. They were on fire tonight. I love those cats. I love San Francisco even more after today. I will definitely be coming back here to explore it more thoroughly. Goodnight Frisco. Next stop: Grants Pass, Oregon.
TFN Tour: Day 21 Grant's Pass, Oregon
We wake up in the car park of a hotel in Grant's Pass surrounded by a Vista of mountains, and fast-food chain signs. Damon, Ro, and I head to McDonalds for McMuffins. Really poor choice. I'm convinced that the eggs aren't eggs and the bacon is some poor, processed substitute. 'I'm loathin' it!'
We don’t have a gig today so I use my time off to go for a wander and find a laundromat, which is akin to striking gold on tour, as I've discovered. I inform Ro and Damon, and we head over. It’s relief to have a stack of clean clothes! We hit the road again that night- Next stop, Seattle.
TFN Tour: Day 22 Seattle
We wake up 5 minutes away from the venue. We roll up, and there is an area cordoned off for the coaches. We park, and step off the bus to a bitter cold, but the skies are blue. There is a great vibe here in Seattle. The city reminds me of Melbourne. There is some beautiful architecture, and some really interesting shops and curiosities. We head to the Public Market and have a look around. As we're walking past a stall, a lady asks us to try her special chocolate spaghetti. It's amazing, and would be right at home with a couple of scoops of ice cream. We then make our way to 'Serious Pie', a serious pizza restaurant, and the makers of the best pizza I think I've ever had! It's one of several restaurants owned by 'Iron Chef', Tom Douglas. Amazing food!
We jump in a cab, and head back to the venue. We have that familiar white noise going on with the in-ears. So I opt for stage monitors. We come out, and half the crowd immediately get into it. The energy is good, but the monitor situation weighed on my thoughts for majority of the set, and i spent most of it, struggling to hear myself over the stage sound, forcing me to push harder. I punch through it though, and the reception was great. Afterwards we have a beer with DLC, and load out. We're then joined on the bus by DLC, some of the Periphery boys (turns out it's Misha's birthday), and a couple of the boys from BOO. We smashed it up! It was as if we were forced to drink all of our alcohol before crossing the Canadian border! Great night!
I dig Seattle, another city on my 'must return' list. Nite all. Next stop, Vancouver.
TFN Tour: Day 23 Vancouver
We awake at about 4am, albeit still drunk, for the border crossing/inspection. We had thought that it would take hours, as we had heard some other bands explain to us how difficult it can be. There were two border patrol guards, and fortunately for us, they were really friendly, so the inspection only took 20 minutes. Back to bed. We wake up in a car park a few miles out of Vancouver. We look around a bit and then hop back on the coach, and make our way to the venue. We arrive and have to unload the coach that is precariously parked in the middle of the road as cars rush past the right hand side. We're playing at the Tom Lee Music Hall. And the room seems interestingly dull. Someone tests the system, and it sounds huge and warm.
Vancouver seems like an interesting city. It has a vibe like Melbourne, and the people seem friendly. We have been warned to avoid the downtown area as it is a hub of junkies and vagrants. Apparently it's not uncommon to see someone shooting-up in the street in broad daylight. At this end of town, every corner is bathed in the aroma of dope. It's starting to get a bit brisk, and rains lightly as we walk back to the venue. I meet a guy who asks me about the words to 'Shuriken', particularly the words in the middle-8. I explain that they are the nine mudras, or seals, of the spiritual (more supernatural, really) discipline of the Kuji-in. He asks me if I practice it and I tell him that I wouldn't want to meddle in it. He seems highly disappointed by this, assuming that I am a practicing Shinobi. While I may lean towards the spiritual principals of the Shinto Buddhists, I want no part in the shadowy belief structure of Ninjutsu. I inform him that the Kuji-in is a practice by which the Ninja becomes a vessel for ancient spirits, who use the body to perform super-human feats. It is said that those that practice this, however phenomenal their abilities, are left fractured, and broken of spirit, and soul. I have about as much desire for this as I do to become a eunuch, which is zero. He looks at me as if to say, "And to think, I believed you were a Ninja!". Yep, and I also brush my teeth with a Katana, domo arigato!
The boys return, and Periphery start sound-checking. There is a band opening the proceedings tonight called Ninjaspy. We have been accused by some of their fans, on a couple of blogs, and YouTube, of ripping them off. Until we read said comments, we had no idea who they were. I'm really keen to see and hear what they are all about. They give us copies of their EP 'No Kata'. It comes with a graphic novel, which is time-marked to be read with the music, which strikes me as a great concept. There is obviously a synchronicity between bands, given that we too have a graphic novel, fuse different genres of music, and draw upon similar imagery to tell a story. They all seem like really friendly guys.
I'm starting to get a good feeling about the show tonight. There is a guy here dressed as a Ninja Turtle! Cowafuckingbunga! Doors open, so I go out front to see Ninjaspy. They are erratic, tight, and unique. I really dig it. They all have a great stage-presence, and as brothers, their 3-part vocals sound is amazing. They do have a ska-like style, but our music seems like a completely different beast. The next band start setting up, which is my cue to get ready. It feels like only 5 minutes have past before change-over. We get up, and rip through the set. The crowd, although a bit stationary at first (probably on account of the event being alcohol-free), start warming up, and soon the reception is fantastic. There is a pocket of dudes up the front singing along, making up their own words. Good on 'em! Haha! It is over within a blink. I catch up with the Ninjaspy dudes, and there is a mutual love of each others sets. We packed down and head back to the bus. Next stop, Ontario.
TFN Tour: Day 24 Ontario
We wake up in Ontario, Oregon. We have a day off today. It's Halloween, and already, we spot some people dressed up for the festivities. We have a stroll around and grab some supplies, the others join us, and we go shopping for groceries. Steve finds a .177 Cal BB gun. We return to the coach and start shooting. For a toy gun it's got a bit of force, enough to break bottles.
Steve gets his recording setup running, and we commence work on one of our new tracks. Steve has recently been converted to Axe Fx and has a new custom guitar. The tones are incredible! The ideas are flowing, and the track starts taking shape. Everyone is agreeable on the parts and feel good about where it's heading. I'm getting excited about the new material!
We have a couple of beers, shoot some more bottles, and then retire to the bunks. Nite Ontario. Next stop, Salt Lake City.
TFN Tour: Day 25 Salt Lake City
We awake on our way to Salt Lake City. My ears are popping on account of the elevation in altitude. We roll in and park the coach. There is an interesting energy here. Just outside of town, there are boarded-up homes, cars on bricks, and shopping trolly's. 5 minutes away, clean streets, but a lot of homelessness. There is a homeless camp-out, right next to the central train station. We check out the venue, and it seems ok. Quite a high stage for a small room. DLC rock in, so we help unload their gear. Within a blink, it's time to get up.
We launch into it, and there is a group of people up front, getting involved. Despite being shorter of breath than usual due to the start of a flu coming on, the set goes well. We made a lot of new fans tonight. After getting changed, I meet up with a couple of guys from a band called 'Adjacent To Nothing'. The guys are heading to a bar down the road, so I join them. It's a pretty quiet bar, with a couple of people in Halloween costumes, awkwardly dancing to Fantomas, and KMFDM. We briefly meet one if the guys from Norma Jean, and after a quick drink, depart for the coach. All in all, it was a good night. Next stop, Denver.
TFN Tour: Day 26 Denver
We wake up in the car park of a Super K-Mart, surrounded by the superb vista of Colorado's various mountain ranges. We hang out for a little, then make the journey to Denver.
We arrive at the venue, and take a look. It seems like a great room. I really like the vibe around here. The people are friendly, the streets are clean, and there is a plethora of up-market eateries, and bars. At the venue I order what was the best grilled cheese, bacon, and Roma tomato sandwich I have ever had. I go back to the coach to get changed, and warm up. Over here, they have a tea called Throat Coat, which you can't import into Australia on account of the slippery elm bark. I've been drinking a cup while warming up, and I fill a water bottle with it, to have on stage. It's great stuff. I'm going to try and smuggle some back with me.
I head back, and it's not long before we're on. The crowd was awesome tonight. A circle pit erupted, and the front tiers of punters were singing, and grooving. The boys were in fine form, and I was feeling charged. It was a good set. This is a good town for us. Stevic filmed some of DLC's set with a Go Pro from the centre of the pit. Hilarious to watch! I meet a few people for signings, and photos at the merch desk. BOO are next up, and the crowd are pumped. They too decimated the stage with a high energy performance. Love those dudes! I watch a bit of Periphery, and the response to their tight set was awesome. This is such a good, solid lineup, and a great, passionate crowd. We get back on the bus for a couple of drinks, then walk to a bar called 'The 1up'. They have an awesome collection of old-school arcade machines. It took me back to my childhood. Great place! The rest of the night is a blur. I dig Denver, and have added it to 'the list'. Next stop, Kansas.
TFN Tour: Day 28 Lawrence, Kansas
We arrive at the venue, and we are met by a follower of the band, from MySpace days (many moons ago!), Josh Enos. It was so good to see him. Lawrence is a great town, old American-styled homes, quiet streets, falling autumn leaves. Picturesque. We go to the venue got ready for the set. We took the stage, and the crowd seemed receptive. Within 2 songs, some guy had been knocked out cold.
There are conflicting stories as to how it happened. One guy down the front said he got kicked in the face, to which I reasoned with the crowd "You don't kick someone in the face...it's very unsavoury behaviour," making light of a strange occurrence. The crowd laughed. Another account of the situation was that he was head-banging too close to the stage and hit his head. 2 more songs in and Rusty had snapped a drum-stick. He threw it out front, and this girl and guy started fighting over it, the guy was pulling the girl by the hair, and others were jumping in to break them up. I don't know how, but she managed to acquire the stick, gesturing to the guy, "Yeah, that's right...I got it!". Pretty weird thing to watch while playing a set.
As I was walking back to the coach, the BOO guys had a little marquee set up. This dude had brought some home-made moonshine, and offered me a sip. I had some, and it made me shudder. You probably could have fuelled a vehicle with it. It was apparently 94%. We had a couple of drinks with Josh and his wife Mandy. Things got pretty blurry from there. Too much moonshine. Strange night. Well, goodnight Lawrence. It's been a real slice! Next stop, Sauget, Illinois.
TFN Tour: Day 30 Sauget, Illinois.
We wake up, rolling into the venue car-park, situated in an industrial district, replete with refineries and bars, just out of St. Louis. The venue looks like a punch-up palace. The only thing missing was chicken-wire, to protect the bands from projectiles. May be a great opportunity to play our rendition of 'Stand By Your Man'. We load in, and then go back to the coach to chill out. Feeling sluggish today, there is a lergy travelling through the coach, and my immune system is putting up a good fight, but draining me of energy. After a while, I walk back into the venue, and play a bit of Ms. Pacman. Before long, we're in preparation to get up.
The crowd looks good tonight, and is virtually full when we walk out. We punch the set into submission, and although most of the crowd seems relatively idle, the reception between songs is deceptively enthusiastic. Good show. Afterwards, I head out into the crowd, and meet a lot of people of whom, although they hadn't heard of us, really enjoyed our performance and declared themselves fans. I get shouted a beer called 'Natural Lite'. It's more like a can of water with a bit of beer mixed in. I got through a quarter of it. After loading out, a couple of us go with the DLC, BOO, and Periphery boys, to a bar for a drink. The group of us take residence over one side of the bar, where we have a few shots, and toast the tour. After saying our good-bye's, we leave, and I head back to the coach to get some much needed sleep. I add St. Louis to the 'list', and drift off. Nite Sauget!
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