Twelve Foot Ninja Posts Third And Final Tour Diary
Band Photo: Twelve Foot Ninja (?)
Australian outfit Twelve Foot Ninja has just completed both a European and an American run of shows, which marks the band's first time conquering U.S. soil.
Twelve Foot Ninja has been teaming up with us at Metalunderground.com to chronicle the entire trek, and today the band releases a third and final tour update.
TFN Tour: Day 31 Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is an hour out of Chicago and tonight we'll be playing to Born Of Osiris’s home crowd so we're looking forward to a what could be a great night. The town is pretty desolate, and grey. There is a depressed energy around here. We walk to the nearest Starbucks, which is located in a huge casino called Harrahs. This town's last hurrah was probably when the casino was opened, draining everything around it of it's life force, and the towns-folk of their pensions. I reckon you'd find enough pensioners around here to make for an epic bingo tournament!
Soon it's time to head back to the venue for our set. The turnout is awesome, the room is packed. We come out to a rousing reception, and a great portion of the crowd get straight into it, singing along passionately. The set is over in a blink, and the response was amazing. We head straight over to merch, and a lot of people come over to purchase our gear. We do a few photos, signings, and have chat to the natives, set to a DLC soundtrack. They smashed it tonight. I head back to the coach to get changed, then return to the venue to watch BoO play to their home crowd, an hour away from home turf. They absolutely tear it up, and the energy in the room is electric.
After their set, I go upstairs for some drinks with them and their friends. Shots are ordered, and we all get a bit loose. I'd love to return someday and party it up again with these awesome people. We had a lot of fun. We soon return to the coach, fix a bite to eat, and retire for the evening. Many thanks, Joliet. I had a great time in you. Next stop, Minneapolis.
TFN Tour: Day 32 Minneapolis
Skyway is a big venue, the main room is a large amphitheatre-type room, with a sloping floor, towards the stage. This'll do nicely. Today is a mini-festival-type setup, with our tour joining a plethora of other bands. We prepare, and then jump on stage to a packed room. The energy is amazing, with a large group of supporters up-front, singing, pogo-ing, and moshing along to the set. It was definitely a highlight of the tour. Soon after, we head to merch for the usual meet and greet, and are shouted some drinks. We watch Dead Letter Circus rock the main stage, and are rounded up by a local dude, Blake Gardiner, who is interested in teching for us on a future tour. Blake takes us to a saloon bar (could have been called that), which is so saloon that it features a mechanical bull. We're shouted a shot, and watch Ro and a few others try and conquer the bull. Ro's first ride was definitely over 8 seconds.
I soon say my goodbyes, and make my way back to the coach. I drift off to sleep, only to be woken half an hour later to the rest of the boys mucking around in the front lounge. I stick my head out of the bunk for a look, and Stevic is standing in the lounge, bare-chested. That's all I need to see (what has been seen, cannot be unseen), to know they've had a good night. I soon drift back off. Nite Minneapolis. Next stop, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
TFN Tour: Day 33 Wisconsin Metalfest
Today is a big day. We are playing the first of 2 metal festivals, headlined by some big acts, Sevendust, Asking Alexandria (if she's of legal age), All Shall Perish, Veil Of Maya, to name a few. The weather is freezing, the wind is such that my face feels numb after standing outside for 5 minutes. The boys are feeling sore after last nights antics, and I have the sneaking suspicion that Russ is in a coma. We are being joined on the coach by Zach, who works for our US publicists 'The Syndicate', for the next 2 days. He's a really friendly guy who seems really into the band. His 'Angel Dust' t-shirt is an immediate pass for me.
We wake Russ up and he starts setting up the drum-kit. Not sure how he's going to get through the show, but knowing him I'm sure he'll most likely suck it up and smash through it. We're opening the proceedings today and it's not long before we have to go on. We walk out to a fairly large room for a second stage with a decent crowd waiting to check us out. From the intro of Kingdom, I can tell that Russ is on task. We bash through the set that today feels as if the tempo to our songs is 20 bpm slower than usual. The reception warms up, and more and more people stumble into the room out of curiosity. Was a good show, and Russ was exceptional, considering the circumstances. After the show I retired to the coach and went to bed. It was a good day. Next stop, Ohio.
TFN Tour: Day 34 Ohio MetalFest
We wake up in the car park of the venue. I walk around the site shaking like a leaf and decide that the best place for me is the coach. I head to the venue to check out the stage. The room we're playing today is quite small, but I suspect it will make for a nice intimate show. I check out a couple of bands, then go back to the coach to get ready for our set. When we finally get up, the room is full and due to a lineup change most people are expecting a different band. We smash into the set, and the crowd are receptive. After experiencing a whole day of frontmen telling people what to do yesterday, I decide to make light of it, by starting a circle pit during our most reggae-infused song, and it worked. A skank pit! (Was far better than it sounds! Err..) We finish the set and the response is passionate. I meet up with a couple of the guys from Vildjarta and have a beer. Nite Ohio. It's been real.
TFN Tour: Day 35 Toronto
We wake up at 4am for a border crossing. This time it takes a little longer than previous crossings. After the night we had, we must have looked a sight to border security. Back to bed. I can feel the coach rolling down the road, and with every corner, feel myself rolling with it. It's like I get a workout every time we're travelling whilst in our beds. My body tends to involuntarily brace for turns. I'm quite used to it now. That also includes walking on the bus while it's moving, and fighting minor g-forces. However, disembarking is like the sensation of sea-legs, after a long voyage. It's disorienting at first.
We wake up just out of Toronto, outside a restaurant south of the city, and it is fucking cold. I go in to the restaurant and grab some breakfast, then head back to the coach. The others have woken up, so Rob drives us to the local Asian Supermarket to stock up on supplies. We get back on the coach, and head towards the city, soon finding a park for the coach. We go and check out the venue, and it's a lovely old theatre-styled room. The sound seems pretty good in here, nice and warm, unlike the weather. There seems to be a decent crowd tonight. We jump on stage, and punch the set in the guts, right in 'em. Haha! I'm getting serious déjà-vu writing this, as now, night after night, we are living ritualistically, and there have definitely been consistent patterns, night after night. Next stop, Quebec.
TFN Tour: Day 36 Quebec
I awake to Damon exclaiming, "It's fucking snowing dudes!" and like a kid at Christmas, I leap out of the bunk, and go have a look out the window. It is fucking snowing! I get dressed, and jump out of the coach. It's bitterly cold (obviously), but such a beautiful sight to wake up to. I decide to go have a look around. Such a beautiful part of the world. I'm definitely coming back here someday to explore. After hanging out for a while, we begin loading our gear into the venue. The room is probably the strangest room we've seen on this tour. It's soon dubbed 'The Peach Pit', as in the venue synonymous with Beverly Hills 90210- Replete with weird 50's diner-type decor, two small bar-stations in the middle of the floor, and one up the back.
It doesn't seem like the right venue for any of the acts on the bill. We get up to a decent reception. For most of the show, it feels like we're a bunch of zoo inhabitants, being observed through glass. There were a handful if people there to see us, who were loving every minute, but the rest are standing, scratching their heads, trying to figure out if they liked it or not. Their attitude is perhaps reflective of the climate. Afterwards, we load out and help DLC load their gear out. Will, DLC's tech for the tour, informs us of a bar around the corner, so we all make our way there for a few drinks. Somehow I make it to the coach and hit the bunks. Quebec is a great place. Next stop, Montreal.
TFN Tour: Day 38 Day off/Montreal
Montreal. We wake up rolling into Montreal. It looks like a beat-up city, from the outside looking in. We find out that we have to park a few blocks away from the venue making loading in a hassle as we have to walk all of our gear way further than any of us are up for. We load in and the venue is awesome! Another theatre-styled venue with a really high ceiling, and ornate architraves. Tonight's going to be cool, I can feel it. We hang out in the green room for a while, then Damon suggests we go purchase some beer, as the venue hasn't provided a rider. We go to a local supermarket, and purchase a slab. We walk back to the venue, and the security guard at the back door won't let us in with it. So we end up having to hide it in the alleyway out the back, and prey that no-one discovers it.
After routine preparations, it's our time to get up. We hit the stage, and the venue's packed. So many people were there to see us, and as soon as the set starts, they get involved, and we watch as the reception spreads out, rippling through the audience. Montreal is a great place for us. The audience was warm, and appreciative, and definitely let us know that they we're having a good time. Great show! After the set we went to merch to meet people. The amount of people that made time to see us was a bit overwhelming. It was a great nite, one of the best of the tour. Next stop, Ottawa.
TFN tour: Day 39 Ottawa
We wake up on the outskirts Ottawa, making our way to the venue. It's another smallish, basement-type room with a small stage. I like these types of venues they make for intimate shows. We go to the stage for change-over, and experience some technical difficulties with some of our gear. We end up having to cut 2 songs. It's going to be short set. We start to a fairly packed room, and launch into Kingdom. There is a swell of people up the front singing along from the start, and enjoying themselves. The set is over in a blink, much to the dismay of a few punters. The reception overall was great! Afterwards, I get changed, and go back to the main room for a beer, I meet a guy who asks me if I've had Poutine (essentially chips and gravy, with curds, rather than cheese. Has to be curds) whilst in Canada. I tell him I hadn't, and he directs me to a place around the corner, 'Smoke's Poutinerie', and that I can't leave without trying it. I decide to go and check it out.
It's a cool little joint, with depictions of 'Smoke' (reportedly a dude stuck in the 80's, who lives in a Lego cabin in the woods), adorning the walls. I inform the guy at the counter that I'm a Poutine virgin, and he recommends starting with the 'Bacon Cheeseburger. So that's, chips (fries), gravy, curds, ground beef, and bacon, all mixed up in a cacophony of culinary guilt. It was amazing! I wolf it down, and thank the guy for putting me onto it, to which he said "you should start a franchise in Australia. Then you could eat it all day!", my arteries hardened at the thought. I head back to the venue and start loading gear out. We hang out in the coach for a while, and then I decide to call it a night, as the Poutine has caught up with me and I'm falling into a food coma. Nite Ottawa! Next up, Worcester, Massachusetts.
TFN Tour: Day 40 Worcester
I wake up pretty early today, as we're rolling through Massachusetts, about an hour or so from the venue. I go into the lounge, make a coffee, then sit up the front with Rob the driver. The scenery is beautiful. Deciduous trees shedding their burnt, auburn leaves. Forests of pine, and homes that look like something from 'Little House On The Prairie.' Soon, we enter Worcester. The buildings are grey, financial district looking. The streets are quiet, eerily so.
We get a prime position park, right out the front of the venue. We disembark, and Russ, Ro, Damon, and I decide to go looking for breakfast. We find a little 'home-style' food joint, and order bacon and eggs. They hit the spot. We walk back, and check out the venue. It's another big theatre styled venue, however, we're playing in the intimate front room. The main room is massive, and way to big a capacity for this tour. It would be more suited to opera, or musical theatre. We meet the BOO boys, who couldn't be in Canada with us. Awesome to have them back on tour! Missed those dudes! The crowd looks good tonight, the room is jam-packed. We come out and the venue erupts. There is a mass of people up the front singing and moshing, and the energy is electric. We smash the set, to a great reception. What a night, Worcester! Next stop, Philadelphia.
TFN Tour: Day 41 Philadelphia
We wake up, cruising through Chinatown. We drop off the gear, and park a couple of blocks away from the venue. I'm feeling pretty heavy-headed, so I stay in the coach for most of the day watching crap tv, reviewing new tracks, and eating tuna and rice. We head to the venue at about 5, and it's already dark. We're hit by so many smells, both of the street, and the numerous amount of Asian restaurants, that it's quite a confronting, heady mix. We go in through the front of the venue, greeted by several punters shouting "Ninja!!" The venue is quite large, if not the biggest we've played on the tour. Theatre-styled, with really high ceilings, and stage, with a huge second level, crescent balcony. I start the tea infusions, and warm up. I poke my head out during the opening band, LÖR, and the room is filling quickly. They finish, and we commence change-over. Then in a blink, it's time. I come out to a big crowd, and the reception is already raucous. Like men possessed, we kick the set in the balls, and trample the stage with a ferocious energy. This is aided by an awesome crowd. Tonight, they brought it, and we sent it straight back. Great show! We retire to the green room for a quick beer. We the load out. Say our goodbyes and hit the coach, and head off into the night. Nice meeting you, Philly! Next stop, a day off in upstate NY.
TFN Tour: Day 43 Poughkeepsie
We walk up the street and it's obvious that Poughkeepsie has been hit pretty hard by the recession. Boarded-up shop-fronts, and collectives of guys, hanging out outside convenience stores. It has a stabby/shooty vibe around here. We spend most of the day on the coach and do a bit of laundry at a laundromat around the corner. The day flies by, and soon we're getting ready to hit the stage. The venue is theatre-styled, yet small and quaint. The first band play, even though their bass player is running late. He joins them on the second last song of their set. We changeover, and get up. The crowd is lukewarm, but we fire up regardless. The set goes well, and by the end the reception is decent. We quickly get our gear off the stage, and unload it in the carpark.
We then hit up KFC, and Damon and I go back to the coach to eat and watch 'Switchblade Sisters' - a B-Grade film part of a Tarantino 3-feature collection that I picked up at another truck stop. It's bad, but so bad, it's good! 1 show to go! Goodnight Stabbyshootyville! Next stop, NYC.
TFN Tour: Day 44 NYC
We wake up a few blocks from Times Square. The boys are on the move to a bagel joint, I stay on the bus and make a coffee. Dave, our manager, boards the bus and soon after we walk to meet up with the others. Feeling a mixture of emotions at this point. The tour ends tonight, and I wish it wouldn't end, but I can't wait to get home. Couple that with the realisation that we are in New York, and that our music has brought us here, and I am a conflicted mess. NY is just as I'd imagined it. Big and bold. We find the bagel joint, and I order the breakfast bagel. It is freaking heavenly! And the coffee is decent too. We're off to a good start.
I keep hearing Frank Sinatra singing, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere, It's up to you, New York..New York!", over, and over in my head. This goes on all day, and no matter what song I sing to counter it, it continues. We hail a couple cabs, and drive to Times Square to check it out. Times Square is a daunting place for me. Surrounded by advertisements, blasting out at your psyche, a myriad of colours, and typography. Amazing place, but I get a headache from it all. We look around a bit, and take some photos, then hail cabs and head back to the coach to grab our gear, and make our way to the venue. We're playing the Gramercy tonight, and the show is sold out. I am really looking forward to it. We rock up to the venue. The room is awesome, another old theatre style, with a modern coat of black paint. The stage is large, and high, and after being able to soundcheck for the first time on this tour, I notice that the room sounds amazing.
We hang out backstage, and I acquire a Periphery poster for all of the bands to sign. Within a blink, we're getting ready for our last US show, and I'm feeling a bit emotional. We have a group powwow, and Stevic delivers one of his awesome motivational speeches. The intro kicks in...and here we go! We launch furiously into the set, the room is full, and the crowd is immediately grooving, and singing. Ro and my monitor mixes were all out of whack, but before we could think about it, the set was over. Such a great crowd tonight, and such a fitting way to finish! We depart the venue for an after party at a bar a couple of miles away. It was about here that my memory draws mostly a blank. From the tidbits I remember it was a great night with members from DLC, BoO, and punters who had attended the show all drinking on into the morning.
Well, it's been a magnificent couple of months for me. Great shows, weird and wonderful destinations, fatty foods, alcohol, parties and new connections. A truly awesome learning experience which I won't forget and if I do I shall consult these here memoirs. Thank you, America! Thank you, Europe! And thank you, for reading, and sharing the tour with me. Adios amigos! 'Til next time.
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