Huntress Euro Tour Blog #4: Scooters, Marijuana + Donuts (PHOTOS)
From Jill Janus:
The last time I wrote, Huntress was being detained at the Swiss border due to some shady tour bus protocol. Luckily, we made it to Komplex in Zurich just 30 minutes before the opening act started. Shred it, behead it. This tour with DragonForce has been an amazing experience for us to learn about European touring, the odd regulations, taxes and strict timing of a big budget production. Not only are we stronger performers due to the repetitive set list night after night, but we've also become more business savvy.
After Zurich, we split for Florence, Italy where we spent a day off. It was breathtaking. I wandered into the center of town by foot and showed up at the venue the following day. During my getaway, I climbed to the top of the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) and was stunned by the beauty of Florence and the Cathedral ceiling art. My favorites include a triple mouth monster eating three sinners, plus devils penetrating a man in his rectum and a woman in her vagina with spears of fire. Brutal.
(View from my cheap hotel room in Florence, Italy)
I checked into a cheap hotel right next to the Cathedral and spent the night eating pasta and drinking cappuccino. I adore the late night energy of Florence. Power vacationing at it's finest! Huntress slayed three shows in Italy: Florence at Viper Theatre, Treviso at New Age Club and Milano at Alcatraz. The audiences were wild, I have never experienced such fanatic behavior before. Italians love their metal! I cannot wait to play Italy again.
The tour moved on to Soloturn, Switzerland and Marseille, France. Both solid shows. Then we arrived in Barcelona, where we spent another day off. Of course we arrive on the very day the Austerity Riots began, November 14. First of all, let me say I would absolutely move to Barcelona. I fell in love with this city instantly. To keep with my theme of power vacationing, I rented a scooter with Blake Meahl, our lead guitarist and took off on an adventure. We drove to the top the hill overlooking the city, hiked to a castle, ate tapas and cruised the narrow streets on our rented motorbike all day long.
We met up with the Huntress boys and some of the Dragonforce crew for beer at night, in the city center as the riots were just kicking into high gear. Why? Because the bar only charged 1 Euro per beer. Just as it was getting weird on the streets, our pal handed us a ridiculously massive bag of weed, and we all smoked a joint outside the bar. Now shit starts to get really weird. Keep in mind we're from California, land of epic marijuana. Rarely do we get blazed to the point of paranoia. As we stood on the sidewalk, the weed man starts to tell us how he cares for his pot plants and goes off on this tangent about how he has a babysitter for them when he's away, how he speaks to them and cares for them like children. That rules, but for some reason, it got a little too David Lynch for us, a little too real. The monologue lasted for ten minutes (2 hours in the stone-zone) amidst gun shots, or more specifically, riot guns used to control crowds.
We scurry back int the bar, hoping we mellow the fuck out. After waiting it out for an hour, Blake and I decide to bail and head back to the hotel. As we're leaving the bar, a man warns us to not leave. "You'll be safer here. Come drink more beer." Fuck it. We have a scooter! And we're high! As we walk out of the bar, a dumpster is engulfed in flames. There are 10 people trying to move it away from a car while burning. Smoke starts to fill the streets and we both walk quickly towards our rented scooter. White and nerdy, Blake and I get back on the scooter and drive along smoke-filled streets, often going the opposite direction of traffic. We had no clue where we were, so we pulled over to look at a MAP. Really? Like it can't get anymore obvious that we are tourists lost in the Barcelona riots. Finally, we realize the safest place is near the ocean and head out of the smoke-filled city center. Power vacationing wins again!
The next few shows were in Spain, with one night in Portugal: Barcelona at Salamandra 1, Libson at Cine-Teatro de Corroios, Madrid at Sala Arena and Bilboa at Rock Star Live. Spain and Portugal, you blow my mind! After an amazing run of shows in Italy, Spain and Portugal, I wasn't sure how France would react to Huntress. They lost it and gave everyone a run for their money. Bordeaux was the most rowdy crowd on tour, they literally crowd surfed during every song and had the biggest mosh pit I've seen so far. Wall of Death! Toulouse, Bordeaux, Paris, Strasbourg and Lille were ultimate. And the catering was to die for. We ate like kings. Our buddy Fred Leclercq, bassist for DragonForce joined us onstage to play 3rd guitar for "Spell Eater" during the French shows -- it was badass. Fred is immensely talented and funny, I'm going to miss him like mad.
Our tour with DragonForce was coming to a close, with Amsterdam and Esch, Luxembourg as the final cities. What better place to end a tour other than Amsterdam? There is no better place -- Amsterdam is another city I would move to in a heartbeat. Such beautiful energy, architecture, people and of course, drugs. We arrived in Amsterdam to play Melkweg, and within in 30 minutes found ourselves buying a gram each of spectacular weed and hash at an internet cafe around the corner. We walked the streets seeking out the Red Light district (amateurs, I know), but found the BEST donuts ever!!! I'm a donut maniac, always on the hunt for fried dough. I swear, Amsterdam owns it bigtime. We didn't find the sketchy part of town, but ate everything in our path and made it back in time to slay the stage. After the show, I went on vocal rest and crawled back into my little bunk on the bus. The boys went out trolling for the Red Light and found it. They watched a live sex show, tried to buy more drugs, but failed, and were hissed at by several tranny hookers. Good times!
Next day: Luxembourg and the final show with DragonForce. A silent sadness takes me over every time a tour ends. It first began when I was ten years old, on the final night of my very first opera. I cried in the wings, clinging to my mother after curtain call. I never wanted the show to end. I never wanted to go back to the real world; life on stage is always happier. We bond with the performers and crew, a little traveling family of show folk. I don't cry anymore, but that heavy sadness weighs on my heart as I step offstage and walk back to the dressing room to pack up my things. You learn to shake it off faster and move forward. Because there really is no going back. Thank you DragonForce for bringing Huntress along on your journey. We are forever grateful.
Heading home to the States tonight, with only one day to drive from Los Angeles to Tacoma, WA where we join 3 Inches of Blood on a 2 week West Coast run. No rest for the wicked! Yeah, I'll be writing another tour blog during the 3IOB tour, so y'all come on back to Noisecreep soon!