Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 24

I have realised that Kat and I are pretty good at making Sundays better than they already are by default. Seriously, we’re great at it. Last weekend, for example, we managed to get up relatively early and despite the crap weather we embarked on a journey to Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, for a day out in the wild. Kind of.

After spending half an hour at the main station trying to figure out what train to take, we finally did and half an hour later we were walking along Bellevue Strand, a really nice beach featuring a complex of apartment buildings, a restaurant and a theatre designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen. He designed the lifeguard towers, bathing cabins and kiosks, too. It looked beautiful, even with apocalyptic rain clouds overhead. We sat on a lonely bench for a while and just enjoyed the view. I like the sea, I could spend hours just staring at it.

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Then we walked all the way up to Bakken, the world’s oldest amusement park. I had been wanting to visit it since I moved to Copenhagen but never really forced myself to do it. I just couldn’t be bothered to go on my own. However, when I mentioned this to Kat, she thought it could be a great Sunday plan so we went for it, and you know what? I’m quite happy that we did. The place itself is not particularly amazing, especially if you compare it with modern amusement parks, or even Tivoli, but that’s exactly what I liked about it. It felt like stepping into a massive time machine, hidden in the middle of the woods, ready to take you back to an analogue era in which fun was uncomplicated and a ride involving a bunch low-tech, flying boxing kangaroos was thrilling enough to keep kids entertained for a few hours.

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In the age of immersive video games, 3D smartphones and curved OLED 4K TVs, I suppose most people would find an old amusement park like Bakken somewhat dull but I gotta admit it, I enjoyed walking around the park, taking it all in; the ride signs, the prizes, the game design behind certain attractions, the visitors… it was fascinating. I guess that having Kat telling me all about it from an historical perspective* and dropping a few funny childhood stories along the way might have helped, too. I would have happily gave away my kingdom for a chance to stand at a safe distance from the spinning teacups ride and watch her throw up all over the place.

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We walked around the park for an hour or so, and then went for a walk in the woods. The original plan was to visit some castle that Kat wanted me to see, but we couldn’t find our way so in the end we decided to sit on a bench and have lunch in the sun instead. It was lovely. Then we took the train back home, got some warm clothes on and took over the couch for the rest of the day, watching World Cup matches, eating pizza and drinking cola, just as it should be.

* * * *

Yesterday I bought 3 t-shirts from the Tenacious D website, just today I compulsively bought 10 shirts/t-shirts from ASOS and I somehow managed to fall in love with some Nike trainers I now desperately want to buy. I have no fucking clue of what’s happening but this is ridiculous! I mean, come on. Ten shirts? Really? The worst thing is that after I placed my order, I stayed on the website and saved 10 items I don’t really need to my wishlist, which I know I will end up buying sooner or later.

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Online shopping, I really HATE you.

(*) Get a girlfriend that knows a lot about everything, it’s damn sexy.

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June 17

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Yesterday, my friend Rafa decided to start a Facebook page entitled “Pelea de Tetas” (“Tits Fight”) to challenge Facebook and its unacceptable tolerance towards “Dogfights”, a page that shares disturbing pictures and videos of bloodied dogs, torn apart in illegal fights. Despite hundreds of complaints, Facebook has refused to shut down pro-dog fight pages, presenting the following argument:

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However, it took Facebook only a few hours to send Rafa four warnings demanding him to close down “Pelea de Tetas”, which had managed to get 20,000 likes within a few hours. He refused, of course, so eventually Facebook took it down and suspend his account for a day. Isn’t it mad?

A Facebook page that has the following description: “Legalize dog fighting. Pets are not people. They are your pet. something you own. If i’m not mistaken when you own something you can do what you want with it” and shows pictures of mutilated dogs… yep, thumbs up. That’s perfectly fine ;-)

Innocent pictures of beautiful women proudly displaying their God-given round, perky, mind-blowing breasts… WHAT? NO FUCKING WAY, YOU SICK PERVERT! TAKE THAT SHIT DOWN RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL SUFFER EVERLASTING ISOLATION AND WILL BE SHUT OUT OF MARK ZUCKERBERG’S MAGNIFICENT EMPIRE AND THE GLORY OF HIS MIGHT! >:(

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Fucking ridiculous. And a bit upsetting, really. I hope this can be taken further but even if it doesn’t, it has already made an important point and proved that simple, brilliant ideas spread quickly and with the right people backing them up, have the potential to become a major pain in the arse.

Update: apparently, the “dog fights” page has also been taken down but someone else (or the same asshole) has started a new one with the same sick pictures so, if you fancy supporting this noble cause, feel free to use the hashtag #TetasVSPerros and jump on the TeamTits bandwagon. Together, we can heal the world and make it a better place, for you, for me and the entire human race… ok, I’ll stop now.

Go back to what you were doing, I’m off to have some lunch.

* * * *

I have been doing some progress on my holiday planning. Just yesterday, I managed to book 5 nights in a 4-bed room at Bergen Vandrerhjem Montana and bought some hiking boots I will need for some of the tours I’m planning to do in Iceland. One is “The Original White Night Hike”, which was suggested to me by one of my co-workers, and the other 2 day trips I found through KEX, the hostel I will be staying at in Reykjavik.

There are a couple of tours they offer that I’m quite interested in but going through their website today, I noticed something suspicious.

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Do you see it? No? Look a bit closer.

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I wonder if this is Kexland’s unusual marketing strategy to win some costumers over or if it’s just a cheeky webmaster having a little bit of fun behind their client’s back. In any case, signing up for a tour provided by a travel company who has decided to group all its offerings under the “tourist trap” category doesn’t make me feel particularly reassured.

In the end, I’m sure I will go ahead and book the tours anyway, they are relatively cheap and quite convenient as they depart and return to the hostel I will be staying at but I think I will send Kexland an e-mail with these print screens, out of curiosity, just to see what they say about it. I will keep you posted.

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June 15

I have just came back from The Color Run, an event created back in 2011 to promote “healthiness and happiness by bringing the community together to participate in the “Happiest 5k on the Planet.” I must say, Kat and I were not particularly happy this morning when we were on our way to the park where the run was taking place, we would have loved to stay in bed sleeping for a little longer, but once we got going, it was good fun.

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To join the run, you had to sign up as a team of four people so we were: Marisa, Carlos, Kat and yours truly. Right from the beginning, we decided we were not going to run (an imperative demand for me and Kat to join) so we took it easy and spend most of our time taking pictures and trying to get as much of that colourful powder down each other’s exposed cavities. At the beginning, we were a bit shy with the powder but half way through, Carlos was rolling on the floor trying to get as much color on him and I walked into the Pink stop at one mile per hour, an unspoken invitation to the working crew, who didn’t hesitate to throw considerable amounts of fuchsia dust right at my face. Some of the action was captured in this POV video, have a look.  

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Once we completed our 5K, we walked towards the little stage the had set up and joined the rest of the “Color Runners” (that’s how they call it, apparently) for a bit of dancing. It was great. Especially the atmosphere, which was quite joyful, as you would expect. We had some hotdogs afterwards, laid in the sun for an hour and then we all decided it was time to go home; we were all exhausted and in serious need of a shower so that’s what we did. In our own bathrooms, separately, just in case you were wondering…

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June 14

Right, so let’s pick up when I we left off.

When I decided to go to Berlin to see Black Sabbath, I knew Ross had put me on the guestlist and only expected to get in for free so finding out he was shooting the show and was going to bring me into the photo pit was a pleasant surprise. All of a sudden, there I was, just a meter away from the stage, waiting for the mighty Sabbath to rock out.

At 9pm, an air raid siren blasted through the PA and shortly after the madman screamed: “Let me hear you!”, and the roaring crowd obeyed. Then there were drums, followed by War Pigs’s emblematic opening riff. The black curtain that was covering the stage was raised and so a memorable heavy metal evening began. I was standing in front of the stage, on the right side, taking care of Ross’ gear, which meant I was perfectly positioned to see Toni Iommi shredding the guitar, up close. It was humbling to see him play; always smiling, giving occasional thumbs up and sympathetic nods to the awestruck fans in front of him, their eyes sockets beaming with joy.

That’s probably the only “downside” to be in the photo pit with Ross: I need to behave. It’s not like he would be pissed off if I sing along or cheer every now and then (that’s perfectly fine) but I certainly can’t go nuts as I would if I was behind the fence. You know, I’m suppose to be professional about it. After all, I was in the pit with one of greatest rock photographers ever, I had to keep my cool. It was keep myself from going all metalhead in front of Toni, though. Especially during the guitar solos. Maybe it was because I was aware of how delicate Toni’s health is, maybe I was too self-conscious of the fact that that was probably one of the last shows he would ever play, I don’t know, but there certainly was an extra layer of sentimentality that encouraged me to throw my devil horns in the air and celebrate that glorious moment with rapturous chants. That was hard to restrain.

Joe Perry was at the show too, watching from a side of the stage. After shooting a handful of songs from the pit, Ross joined Joe and I followed, which means I watched Black Sabbath, from the side of the stage, next to Joe Perry. It was only for about 40 seconds but still, I take pride in these little things. Ross, Joe and John (Aerosmith’s tour manager, I think) left shortly before the encore but The Master made sure I was given a Black Sabbath pass to stay on stage after he was gone. He really looked after me this time around, bless him.

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I watched most of the show from the left side of the stage, the first time I’m ever on that privileged position, and I have to say: it’s pretty amazing. Not so much because of the whole VIP treatment thing but because of the view you get from there: thousands of fans, singing every word and headbanging to every riff as the sun went down. It was a beautiful thing to behold. I shot a few videos but my hands were too shaky and I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to make videos at all (some bands are bit funny with that) so the result is not particularly exciting, it’s all pretty blurry and doesn’t quite capture the magnificence of the moment. Blame Apple and their shitty phone cameras for it.

After the show was over, I met with Ricky and we left the venue with the last riffs of Paranoid still ringing in our ears. On our way to the Metro station, we stopped to get currywurst and a hot dog, bringing a wonderful evening to a deliciously fatty end.

* * * *

Let’s talk about Copenhell. Considering I spent 90 minutes waiting for the girl at the box office to find my ticket, the name of the festival felt really appropriate. Originally, the idea was to leave the office a bit early, get to the venue, get my pass and go straight to to backstage to meet my friend Andre before Arch Enemy went on stage but things turned out quite differently: I left the office early, got to the venue, spent 30 minutes in line and when I finally got to the ticket window, they told me Arch Enemy hadn’t sent their guestlist yet. “That’s weird”, I thought; it’s 5:30pm, bands have already start playing, the guestlist should have been sent long time ago. However, I step aside and decide to wait a little longer. After a while, I go back into the line and 40 minutes later I’m once again in front of the box office, asking for my pass. “I’m sorry but the band hasn’t sent the guestlist yet, come back later. Or give them a call” said the blonde bitch overseeing the box office. Give the band a call… what a fucking idiot. That’s the whole point of having a guestlist in the first place, to avoid having to ring busy people to let you in.

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I decided not to call Andre the first time they said the guestlist was not there because I really didn’t want to be a pain in the arse but after the second time, I thought that reaching out was the best thing to do. I sent him a whatsapp message.

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With the phone in my hand, I walked to the blonde bitch who quickly dismisses me with a patronising gesture. I politely asked her to come closer, which she did after rolling her eyes. By now, I just felt like punching the fucker in the face but I remained a gentleman: “Look, I just spoke with Arch Enemy’s tour manager. He says all his guests are in. There SHOULD be a guestlist, somewhere. What don’t have a look again?” She took my ID and 2 minutes later she came back with a wristband: “You were under a different name. Here you go, have fun and sorry for the confusion”. She didn’t said it nicely, though. She was condescending and that really pissed me off. At the moment, I thought of going all bombastic on her but then I thought: “what for?”. She clearly didn’t give a shit and my complain wouldn’t have made a difference so why even bother? Besides, I was getting in for free, that was already good enough, right? I took the bracelet, got in and went to look for Andre backstage. Only that I couldn’t go backstage at all. Turns out that the blond bitch not only made me wait for almost 2 hours but also gave me the wrong fucking wristband. I should have gone bombastic on the useless fucker, after all.

It was too late to go back and ask for the right bracelet so in the end I just decided to give up on meeting Andre and just wandered around before taking my spot in front of the main stage for Iron Maiden. I saw a little bit of Anthrax, who played a nice cover of “TNT”, then saw Arch Enemy, got something to eat (some horrible pork and potatoes thing) and waited for Maiden to take the stage.

Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter t-shirt, very nice.

Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter t-shirt, very nice.

This was the first time I had been to Copenhell and I must say, it was LOUD. The stage was small compared to the average size of a festival main stage but the sound was powerful, so much so that I gave up on my spot at the second row and decided to go a bit towards the back instead to avoid having to go to the doctor the day after and say: “doctor, Iron Maiden destroyed my hearing.” If you are an proper Maiden fan, you will know what I’m talking about.

And so, at 9pm, the show started. I managed to prevent myself from looking up the setlist online in advance so I didn’t know exactly how different the song selection from this tour would be from the one they played last year. Turned out to be quite similar to last year’s setlist, only with a few minor changes. I will save you the details because if I get started and go all metal geek on you, this will end up being the longest, most boring blog post on the Internet; just know that after 30 years, Iron Maiden still put up a great show. There was fire, explosions, a walking Eddie and the massive “Seventh Son” Eddie during Iron Maiden, a guy (Michael Kenney, I assume) dressed up as the Phantom of the Opera during the homonymous track, killer guitar solos…the whole shebang, it was fantastic!

Got a bit nostalgic after the show so I dug these pics from 2009

Got a bit nostalgic after the show so I dug these pics from 2009

A very intoxicated Dave Murray and Nicko McBrain in Caracas. I remember staying until 3am drinking beer with Dave and Bruce at the hotel bar until we dry it up. Dave paid for my drinks <3

A very intoxicated Dave Murray and Nicko McBrain in Caracas. I remember staying until 3am drinking beer with Dave and Bruce at the hotel bar until we dry it up. Dave paid for my drinks <3

I especially noticed a few things on this show: Steve Harris’ bass is sounding better than I have ever heard it before, “Wrathchild” is still an amazingly powerful song, Adrian Smith is giving everyone else in the band a run for their money when it comes to soloing, and Nicko is clearly getting too old to be behind the drums: he’s still better than your average drummer but he was quite sloppy at times. However, when you look at the big picture from a hardcore fan perspective, they still deliver and I will be happy to see them live again whenever I have the chance.

Up the irons.

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June 11

It’s hot in Copenhagen today and I’m not sure I like it; it’s not even really sunny outside, just cloudy, rainy and very warm, which means you either wear a t-shirt and get wet or wear a rain jacket and sweat a lot. It’s stupid.

The good news is that I’m seeing Iron Maiden tonight. My friend Andre, who works for Arch Enemy, has put my name on the guestlist for the first day of Copenhell, which will also have Anthrax, Black Label Society and Monster Magnet taking over the stage this evening. I’m quite looking forward to it, especially because it’s been a while since I saw Andre, a guy I met back in 2001 on that same heavy metal trip in which I met Ross. Last time we met, four years ago, we got drunk at Crobar in London and I remember going back to my place at 2am and spending the rest of the night and part of the next day throwing up, sweating and shaking. So, here is a piece of advice: do not drink with people who spend most of their time touring the world with a heavy metal band, they cope with the intensity of the life on the road by consuming large amounts of alcohol between gigs, which results in them developing an overwhelming tolerance to it. Consider yourself warned.

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Here a few pictures I took in Berlin:

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Reunited with my friend Felix after 2 years, drinking fine german beer and remembering the times in which we used to make offensive jokes in the most inappropriate places

Reunited with my friend Felix after 2 years, drinking fine german beer and remembering the times in which we used to make offensive jokes in the most inappropriate places

I still have pending to write about the Black Sabbath concert, I will try to get that done over the weekend and will try to upload some of the pictures I took in Berlin, too. Hopefully, I will be able to throw in something from tonight’s shows at Copenhell and make it the most heavy metal blog post ever.

Trust me, I have the fire. I have the force. I have the power to make my evil take its course.

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June 10

As written yesterday in the early afternoon:

I’m at the reception of the Waldorf Astoria in Berlin, waiting to meet Ross for lunch. He flew in yesterday to shoot Soundgarden and Black Sabbath at Wuhlheide, something I didn’t know about until a few hours before the show. Once he got to the venue, he rang me and asked me to meet him in front of the stage. What for? Oh, nothing. Just to assist him in the photo pit, no big deal.

He handed me an Access All Areas Black Sabbath Pass, I jumped into the pit and spent the whole Soundgarden show drooling at Ben Shepperd and just enjoying the view from such privileged spot. Last time I was in the photo pit was back in 2012, at Slash’s show in Stoke on Trent, which was being filmed for a DVD/Blu-Ray release (if you look closely, you can see me a few times during the concert – that is, assuming you know what my face looks like). Fast forward a couple of years, and there I was again, next to The Master, watching him do his magic behind the lens at a sold-out show where two of my favourite bands were bound to make sweet love to the ears of 20,000 crazy metalheads in a beautiful venue surrounded by trees on a warm, sunny Summer day. It was surreal.

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My friend Ricky happened to be in Berlin too so I brought him along for the ride, too.

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The view from the photo pit

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Soundgarden played a short set, mostly focused on Superunknown. They sounded great and put up a good show but as any hardcore fan would tell you, one hour just isn’t long enough for these guys; there were no songs from Down On The Upside and only one from Badmotorfinger, which left me desperately wanting for more, especially when I was only a meter away from the stage. However, I think most people were there to see Black Sabbath so I reckon 90% of the audience was perfectly fine with the way things were; only me, my friend Ricky and a french guy whom I had met last year in Copenhagen at a Soundgarden show and that coincidentially was at last night’s show too (behind me, oddly enough) would have loved to see a bit more…

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At this point, Ross called me up so I put my iPad down and we went for a wander around the Berlin Aquarium and Zoo, then stopped for a 6-piece bucket at KFC and returned to the Waldorf. It was kind of funny to walk into that luxurious 5-star hotel holding a bucket of fried chicken.

Steven Tyler outside the Waldorf Astoria

Steven Tyler outside the Waldorf Astoria

Ross went up to his room, got his cameras ready and left to the O2 where Aerosmith was playing that night while I took a train and a bus to get to the airport, not before running into Steven Tyler outside the hotel, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Ross actually invited me to stay for the night and offered some passes for the Aerosmith show but I had to decline, considering I had a few matters to take care of at work today. It was nice to see the old man again, it had been a year since we last hung out together.

When I got to the airport, Kat was waiting at Arrivals holding this sign:

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Wish I could tell you what all those inside jokes the lovely blonde managed to pack in such small sheet of paper mean but I think I better keep that to myself ;-)

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June 6

I feel better now. Since I got back from Barcelona, I have tried to relax as much as a can to let my old muscles go back to normal and it seems to be working; my feet don’t hurt anymore and my right leg feels much better now (I fractured my tibia in the world’s most stupid bicycle accident a couple of years ago and it still bothers me from time to time). However, the fact that my legs were killing me just because I spent a few days walking around a festival site is a strong indication that I need to exercise a little bit more. I thought that cycling on a regular basis will keep me relatively fit but clearly that’s not enough so I’m considering to start doing yoga or anything else that can help me recover my flexibility and strength in my muscles without having to spend hours in a gym. We’ll see what I end up doing (hint: probably nothing).

Now, let’s talk about Primavera Sound, shall we?

The festival in itself is great but, in my opinion, it really isn’t the role model described by The New York Times in this article. Yes, there were twelve stages showcasing music from a wide range of genres but to me, the festival lacked a bit of that atmosphere that makes festivals like Roskilde a truly amazing experience. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Primavera Sound takes place in the city, which means there is no need to camp and that, although very convenient, slightly diminishes the experience. Camping can be a nightmare, I’ll give you that, but if the weather is decent, spending time on the grounds of a festival for a few days can actually turn into one of its highlights.

I also would have loved to see at Primavera more non-music related attractions, you know, to keep you entertained between shows. I spent quite a lot of time wandering from one stage to the other while I waited for the concerts I wanted to see but it would have been nice to have the chance to spend that time doing something else. Again, I can only take as an example a handful of festivals I have actually attended to, like Roskilde, which has skate ramps, cinemas, art installations, a naked run, a tent where you get tips on having sex in tents and shitloads of other stuff to do while you’re there. Considering Barcelona prides itself as being one of the most arty, cosmopolitan, innovative cities in Europe, I just can’t understand why that doesn’t permeate the festival in a much more relevant way.

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Gaudí would be proud, I know.

Gaudí would be proud, I know.

Finally, the girls. I don’t know if Scandinavia broke me but I didn’t see that many hot babes in the festival crowd and the ones I spotted, didn’t flash their boobs. Which is a shame because, ultimately, as the picture below eloquently explains, that’s what festivals are all about: music and bouncing tits. Know that.

However, I must say that all the bands I was looking forward to see didn’t disappoint me. Queens of the Stone Age were fantastic, playing a perfectly balanced set featuring several songs from the latest album, which felt like long-standing classics despite being only a year old. It was also very nice to see the show with Rafa, especially because last year he was supposed to come to Copenhagen for the band’s concert at Forum but in the end he was not able to so it was nice to finally tick that box together. However, the highlight of that first night was seeing Rafa take out of his bag what I originally thought was a sandwich but that in reality turned out to be plastic bottle full of vodka, which he had cleverly disguised by cutting the tip of a baguette, placing it on top of the bottle cap and then wrapping the whole thing up in foil to the point in which you couldn’t tell the difference between the plastic bottle and a real sandwich. Fucking genius.

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Nine Inch Nails was the other highlight of the festival; Trent and company got on stage and masterfully started a sea of sonic waves that crashed against the tiny lifeboat that is my mind for no less than 90 minutes. It was incredible. The sound, the lights, the way the setlist was structured, everything was perfect. It shouldn’t come as a surprised, though; just by watching the video below you get a clear idea of the ridiculous amount of work that goes into putting a NIN show together and, although the set up for this tour is much more simpler than last year’s, it becomes evident that Trent Reznor is a brilliant Creative Director and that is inevitably reflected in the shows, no matter how big or small. It must be an absolute pain in the arse to work for the guy but as a concert goer, that painstaking process really pays off once you’re in front of the stage.

Apart from those two main shows, I also enjoyed Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Mas Ysa, Loop, The Ex, Kendrick Lamar (who was surprisingly good), Television, St. Vincent, Slowdive, Caetano Veloso (another pleasant surprise) and Slinth, who blew everyone away. All in all, a great festival that was partly shadowed by shitty weather but that ultimately became a very entertaining experience, which also gave me a good excuse to go back to Barcelona to catch up with a few friends, including Kleber, whom I hadn’t seen in two years. This trip also made me realize I’m really enjoying being in Copenhagen at the moment, maybe more than I thought.

* * * *

It’s Distortion week in Copenhagen and I pretty much missed all the action, on purpose. On Wednesday I couldn’t be bothered to go out and yesterday I met with Kat for dinner and a drink, then wandered into Vesterbro together to join the party but we were quickly overwhelmed by the multitude, especially the drunk teenagers who wouldn’t stop screaming and acting stupid, which I guess is what you’re suppose to do when you are drunk and young. After a while, we decided it was better to invest our energy in more enjoyable matters so we went back to her place for a bit of Thursday night fun.

The blonde, making funny faces on our way to Distortion

The blonde, making funny faces on our way to Distortion

Speaking of fun, I’m off to Berlin to see Soundgarden and Black Sabbath; Ross managed to get me on the guestlist so I’m jumping on a bus tomorrow morning and flying back on Monday evening. A bit of a caprice, really, but I haven’t been to Berlin since 2006, I have never seen Black Sabbath live and I have a few friends in the city that I would love to catch up with so I’m quite looking forward to this last minute trip, even though leaving Copenhagen this weekend comes with a major compromise I’d need to make up for when I’m back. With short shorts, apparently…

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June 2

I’m back in the Copenhagenhood with aching legs, a slight tan and NIN still ringing in my head.

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Once I recover from my Primavera Sound experience, I should be ready to catch up with this diary. In the meantime, I’m off to catch up with someone in the real world…

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