Tag Archives: live music

May 26

So we spent the weekend in Paris and I couldn’t be happier about it. We arrived to Orly airport around 9pm, took a bus to the city centre, then a RER train to St. Michel-Notre Dame station and finally walked a couple of blocks to get to the place where we were staying: a small student apartment we found on Airbnb. The building was quite run down but the flat itself was cozy, clean, and had a very comfortable bed, which was pretty much all we needed.

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We dropped our bags and went to check out the little light show at the Eiffel Tower. As you would expect, it was packed with tourist and full of locals trying to sell you overpriced bottles of champagne and cheap souvenirs. Once the light show was done, we walked back to Notre Dame, all along the canals, marveling at the hordes of french hipsters drinking, raving and inhaling helium from colorful balloons on both sides of the river. It was amusing.

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On Saturday morning, we went for breakfast at La Caféothèque, a very nice coffeeshop I read about online. Good coffee, good cakes and friendly staff. We walked around Le Marais and then met up with my friend Laetitia and a friend of hers who was in town visiting, and the four of us went for a drink in a bar close to the canals.

At 5:30pm, I parted ways with them and headed to the Stade de France for the AC/DC show. Once I was inside, I decided to go all the way to the top of the stadium, just to see what it looked like. It was mind-blowing. I had never been in such a massive venue and it looked impressive, even half empty. As the opening acts played, the place got more and more crowded until it was fully packed, just before AC/DC hit the stage at 9pm.

Now, I really could write dozens of pages telling you all about this show, how much it meant for me and how excited I was, but I wouldn’t be capable to bore you with those details. Instead, I will just tell you this: if you ever have the chance to catch AC/DC on tour, please do, I promise you won’t regret it. If you have seen them live before, then you know perfectly what I’m talking about. They were fantastic and, even though Malcom is no longer in the band and that diminishes the experiences to a certain extent, the truth is that this has been one of the greatest concerts I have ever attended to. Just being in this massive stadium, surrounded by 80,000 crazy metalheads wearing red, blinking devil horns, all singing and dancing like one big family was certainly something I will never forget.

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I found myself looking at the crowd around me quite a few times, just amazed by the beauty of it all. By the end of the show, a dude next to me, with whom I rocked out throughout the show, was just standing in awe, tears of joy running down his face. Him and his dad had attended the show together and were both very excited. They sang every word, they played air guitar, they threw their fists up in the air… it was awesome. There was a sense of brotherhood that is difficult to describe but that anyone who has experienced it before can easily understand. As he was standing there, all misty-eyed, I gave him a metal hug, thanked him for being such a great concert neighbor (and for taking a picture of me with the stage in the background) and wished him farewell.

The next day, Kat and I jumped on a boat for a tour Seine river cruise and then spent the rest of the day strolling around the city and eating as much as we could. We flew home around 9pm and by midnight we were back in Copenhagen, exhausted but pleased with our trip.

I’m now counting the days to see AC/DC again at Roskilde, I really can’t wait…

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March 6

A lot is happening at the moment and, despite knowing things are probably going to be okay, I can’t help but feeling slightly overwhelmed; my brain keeps sending my heart mixed signals, of both fear and hope, and the process of sorting those feelings out is difficult sometimes. I have also been listening to “Comfortably Numb,” which for some reason makes me both melancholic and delighted. No idea why.

* * * *

Last Friday, I finally met Dorte, one of Kat’s co-workers, who invited us for dinner at her place. Dorte is 65 and her husband is 72, yet they come across as a joyful, cheeky couple the moment you meet them. They are good fun and they know how to treat their guests.

On Saturday, Kat and I went to check out a Chocolate Festival that sounded much better than it actually was. The venue wasn’t very exciting, the way the stands were setup was a bit confusing, and there were lines of people everywhere. We couldn’t be bothered to stand in line to get tiny pieces of fancy chocolate for free so we decided to try the less crowded exhibitors instead. I had a couple of really nice nougat and milk chocolate bars, a passion-fruit and ginger filled chocolate that was very interesting, an okay tiramisú ice cream, a pretty decent chocolate brownie and took home a couple of chocolate spreads: one with olive oil (which was pretty disgusting) and one of dark, bitter chocolate that was acceptable but certainly nothing to write home about.

Later in the evening, we signed up for a free month of Netflix and started watching “House of Cards” from the beginning. Kat hadn’t seen a single episode and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to watch the first couple of seasons again before jumping into the new one so we stayed in and got five or six episodes out of the way in one sit. Kat likes the series so we will be binging on “House of Cards” for the next couple of weeks.

On Sunday, the weather was so nice that we decided to go for a walk around the Botanical Gardens, a beautiful place I hadn’t visited before. It was nice and quiet. We had a look around the greenhouse and then sat by the little lake for a while, taking up the sun. Copenhagen looks fantastic on days like these.

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We got a bit hungry around noon so decided to try some hotdogs we saw outside Torvehallerne. Now, I’m not a big fan of hot dogs but the “Red Devil” by Pølse Kompagniet is probably the best hotdog I have ever had in my life. Seriously, it was perfect. If you live in Copenhagen, go check it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

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In the evening, Kat and I went to see Hayseed Dixie play in a shithole, in Kødbyen. The tickets were cheap and we had listened to some of their AC/DC covers so we decided to go check them out, just for the fun of it. The audience was mostly old men with receding hairlines and prominent beer bellies, some teenage rockers, a few girls, and a kid that most have been about 10 years old. Altogether, we were about 200 people on a Sunday night in a shitty venue hidden in a trendy meatpacking district. The right setting for a southern bluegrass cover band to work their magic and win some hearts over with blazing banjo lines and witty, political jokes. It felt like a stand up comedy show by John Wheeler with a few musical intermissions in between, and that combination worked pretty well.

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The band opened with “Hells Bells”, followed shortly after by “Ace of Spades” and “War Pigs.” Needless to say, they got me in their pockets right from the beginning. From there it only got better: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Eye of the Tiger,” “Paranoid,” “Highway to Hell,” “Hotel California” and, surprisingly, a really nice version of “Clandestino” by Manu Chao.

If it wasn’t because I had to wake up relatively early today to go to work, I think we would have stayed after the show and buy the band some beers. They were unpretentious, funny, and truly friendly with their audience. You simply don’t get to see that very often…

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April 16

A very slow start of the week. Most people at work are off for the Easter holidays so the agency is empty, quiet and there’s not much to do, really. It’s a real shame to be stuck in a desolated office doing nothing when outside is so bright and sunny; I could be laying in a park, enjoying a nice coffee in a terrace or cycling around town but instead I’m sitting at my desk, bored. To make things worse, I have read that AC/DC might be retiring very soon due to Malcom Young’s illness; there has been no official announcement yet but there is rampant speculation about the band calling it quits during the next few days, which means I might never get the chance to see them live. Just the thought of it brings tears to my eyes.

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What’s really sad is that I could have seen them play at least a couple of times in the last few years but, for one reason or the other, I just couldn’t get my shit together and missed them. The first chance I had was in 2009, when they played River Plate stadium in Buenos Aires, one of my favorite cities and one in which I have many friends. If I had planned in advance, it wouldn’t have been hard or expensive to fly there, I just heard about the show when it was to late to sort something out. I know, I’m a fan and I should find out about these shows way in advance but I simply didn’t. When a friend told me about it, just a week or so before the gig, tickets were sold out and flights fully booked or overpriced so in the end I didn’t go. What did I miss? Well, just have a look:

Mind-blowing, isn’t it? Argentinians are the best crowd in the world, period. I went to see Pearl Jam in Buenos Aires back in 2005 and that has been the craziest audience I have ever seen at a music show, it was insane. Having the chance to see AC/DC there would have been absolutely fantastic. I mean, look at all those maniacs jumping and screaming and bursting with joy! That was a one in a lifetime experiences and I missed it.

Then it was the “Back In Black” anniversary show at Donington, in 2010, which I missed because I was too busy sorting my visa, packing things up and getting ready to move to London. This was just bad luck and there wasn’t much I could have done about it. My visa was still being processed and I had a flight ticket for July, a month after the show. This was a major blow, not only because AC/DC was playing but also because Rage Against The Machine (whom I might not get the chance to see again either) was on the bill too! It’s probably been the best Download Festival in years and I was stuck at home, wishing teleportation was a reality. If it wasn’t because I knew I was going to move to London, I think I would have spent the rest of my days sobbing in the bathtub, naked and curled up in the fetal position, thinking of all that could have been.

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I have played the entire “Live at River Plate” show today in the office. People gathered and watched in awe.

However, after I moved to Europe, I always thought I would get one more chance to see them live; they just had to go into the studio (which they were supposed to do this May), record a new album and hit the road again. Then I could plan my way around the continent, maybe catch them on tour in a few cities, and finally tick that box off my list. But now, in the face of all these rumours, hope fades and a light feeling of sadness settles in. It’s strange how music can affect us in such ways. It’s not a tragedy, and there are definitely way worse things one could go through but still, I’m sure I will always look back and wish I had seen these fellas on stage and experienced their music live. To me, it’s like having a dog, living in London or dating a girl with big natural boobs; you know, it’s just one of those things anyone should get the chance to enjoy at least once in their lifetime. Right now, the odds are against us but maybe the Gods of Rock will give us one last chance to see the mighty AC/DC smashing it on stage. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I’m off for a massage. I sure need it.

* * * *

UPDATE: There might be hope…

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January 12

After a week of being back in Denmark, it seems like my body clock is finally going back to normal. I’m sleeping better and feeling less tired, so much so that I decided to go out last night for a bit of live music at Christiania’s Jazzhouse, a really cool place I hadn’t been to before. Milda, a Lithuanian girl I met a while ago, told me that three bands were playing so I thought I’d be nice to drop by and see what it was about.

The first band was FANTASTIC; they are called Captain Casanova and are one of the most groovy bands I’ve seen live in a small venue. They have a great stage presence and are full of energy, particularly Rasmus, the guitar/singer. In a way, they reminded me of Nirvana, not musically but in the way they performed. Maybe it has to do with that massive dive Rasmus took into the drums at the end of the show. The audience was in awe. I’m really glad I went to see them and I look forward to catch them live again. The other two bands, Mount Rushmore Safari and Metal Ghost, were good but not as good as Captain Casanova. It was one of those occasions in which the support act totally kicked the headliners little arse. Very nice.

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During the show, Jonas – Milda’s boyfriend – kept buying shots of tequila, vodka, gin and tonics, and a few beers. I, of course, accepted it all, which resulted in me getting slightly tipsy before it was even midnight. After the gig, we (Milda, Milda’s boyfriend and I) went outside and had a chat with Rasmus, who told us a story about their tour vehicle: a red van they bought from somebody, and because it had “danceon.dk” written in big letters all over the caravan, they decided to buy the domain too (which luckly was available) and turn it into their official website address (you can also find them at www.captaincasanova.com). Funny that a band with a Nirvana-like onstage presence has a tour van that says “Dance On”.  I promised to get him in touch with my mate Gonzalo in Barcelona, whom I think will like the band a lot and who knows, maybe they can team up and schedule a few gigs together. That would be really cool. Rasmus gave a Captain Casanova CD and we agreed to stay in contact.

We went back inside for another drink (and a bit of dancing) and, around 2am, I decided it was time to go home. Got my gloves on and pedalled away to Rådhuspladsen, stopped at Burger King to grab a bite, locked my bike nearby and took the bus home. It’s a fact: after midnight, I can’t be bothered for more than 5 minutes.

Woke up this morning, took the bus back to Rådhuspladsen, picked up my bike, went for a coffee at Sort Kaffe og Vinyl and then came back home to help out Mark (along with some of his friends) to move some of his stuff out of the office and into our basement. We ended up the evening eating cheap pizza, watching “Bad Grandpa” (which is pretty funny, particularly the Lady’s night scene) and some random videos on YouTube.

Afterwards, some of them went out for a drink and I decided to stay home to Skype with my family and watch “World War Z”, which I’m about to do now.

Goodnight.

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September 11

I had seen Soundgarden twice before the show on Monday (Hyde Park and Shepherds Bush Empire, 2012) but in both shows I was quite far from the stage so when I heard they were playing Copenhagen, I thought this could be a good opportunity to get a bit closer. The possibilities to do so got greatly improved once I lost my job a couple of weeks ago as that meant I had absolutely nothing to do during the day and could just go sit there really early and wait until the doors opened. Which is exactly what I did, sad as it sounds.

By the time I arrived, around 4pm, there were already about 12 people outside, including a Dutch lady in her 60’s and her daughter (granddaughter?), a guy from France and a bunch of Danes surrounded by bottles of beers, snacks and cheap junk food. I sat next to the Dutch lady and asked them if they had seen the band before and they said they had seen them a few times, including a recent show in Stockholm, which had been great and very loud. The French dude, a very quiet man, mentioned he had come to Copenhagen especially for the show and was planning to Amsterdam to see them today, too. I soon discovered I was surrounded by very dedicated fans, which is kind of cool.

Shortly after, a tall and thin girl with very pale skin, all dressed in black, arrived and joined the line. For about 10 minutes, she stood there, checking her phone without saying a word. She was wearing a really nice Soundgarden t-shirt, though, so I took that as an opportunity to start an exchange. WHAT A FUCKING MISTAKE. Turns out this girl, who’s name I didn’t even ask, was the biggest Guns N’ Roses fan I’ve ever met in my life and would go on and on and on telling me how great Axl was, how much she loved him and how amazing the new band sounded. You see, I don’t mind talking about music, I actually enjoy it, but this wasn’t a nice music fan to music fan conversation, this was a full-on unsolicited GNR evangelization.

For two and a half hours, I endured nonsense stuff like this:

“People complain because Axl makes them wait four, five, maybe six hours before the show and I just don’t get it. I mean, I went to see him once and I was lucky, I only waited for two hours, but in any case, I don’t think Axl wakes up in the morning and asks himself: “how can I shit on my fans, today?” – I think he gets onstage late because all his personal dramas, he’s a very complex character, you know? Too many things going on and people don’t understand it. I actually feel sorry for him.”

What? A millionaire self-centered twat makes you wait for 5 hours, gets paid a fortune for it, and YOU feel sorry for the guy? What the fuck are you talking about?! I mean, come on. I couldn’t help it and told her I thought Axl was a complete arsehole which, of course, sent her on a never-ending rant about how he was always misunderstood, about how the media always manipulated his words and about how much of a victim he actually was.  She went on to explain me that her friend Alex, who had met Axl several times, told her Axl was always a really nice and funny guy who was a pleasure to have around; a charming and thoughtful individual who never compromised his beliefs and has always been overwhelmed by his talent, or some bullshit along those lines. I don’t know, I couldn’t give a single fuck about it. At some point, I was so fed up by all her obsessive jabber that I stood up, took my bag and sat somewhere else while she was still rambling.

Shortly after the doors opened, we got our tickets validated and we all ran to the barrier in front of the stage. In the process, I lost the people I was with but managed to secure a place in the first row, between the spots where Kim and Chris usually stand on stage. Killer location, I tell you. I’m standing there, looking at the stage, thinking I now had to wait 2 hours for the support band to go on, and suddenly Miss “Axl, please fuck me in the arse” shows up next to me. I tried to stay silent, looking into the distance and avoiding any eye contact, which worked for about 10 minutes but then the inevitable happened: “The stage is quite small, don’t you think? GNR had a bigger stage when they played Denmark.” Bloody hell, I should have asked her if she actually had any guns with her, that would have put me out of my misery. She talked about Axl for another 20 minutes and then she dramatically changed the subject and told me she loved killer whales and that they were her favourite animals ever. I thought to myself: “Well, I don’t give a shit about that either but at least we’re not talking about Axl anymore.” She explained how much she loved killer whales and how much she hated aquariums because they put the whales in tiny pools and then their fins bend over and that was a sad thing to behold. At this point, she was on the verge of crying, I kid you not.

I stood there, telling her everything was going to be OK and that there was hope for killer whales. She looked me in the eyes and after a few seconds of silence, she said:  “You know, I discovered Michael Jackson through “Free Willy”. I loved Michael Jackson, I can’t believe he’s dead. He was the greatest musician on earth. I’m so angry at that doctor… I mean, why did he do that? I know Michael asked for it but come on, he’s a doctor! And did you know that he’s going to be released from jail next month, without even completing half of his sentence? It’s ridiculous. How can somebody get more time in jail for downloading music than for killing someone? It’s hearbreaking.” Now, she might have had a point on that last bit but fuck it, I was tired of it. Then, when I thought everything was over, she said: “Did I tell you that I got into GNR because of Michael Jackson? You know, because Slash played with him.” Give me a fucking break, already! That was it. I turned around, sat down and ignore her for the rest of the evening.

Mr. Kim Thyil

Mr. Kim Thyil

Two and a half hours later, after the supporting act (a band call Graveyard, which wasn’t that bad), Soundgarden finally hit the stage and every trace of GNR-induced annoyance disappeared in a second. I was hoping to get “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” as the opening track but they chose to start with “Flower”, which is not really one of my favourite tracks. However, in general, the setlist was fantastic: “Pretty Noose”, “Rhinosaur” (!!!), “Burden In My Hand”, “Blow The Upside World”, “Blind Dogs” (first time live in Europe) and “Beyond The Wheel”, which was mind-fucking-blowing. Just watch this:

Amazing, isn’t it? Those last chords kept ringing in my ears for 12 hours; I woke up the next day and I could still hear a minor beep in the background. It was also pretty cool to be so close to Kin Thayil and having a great view of Matt Cameron, who’s probably one of the most underrated drummers out there. It was real pleasure to see him beating the living crap out of those drums. The GNR loonie had asked me if I wanted to wait for the band outside the venue but by the end of the show, the last thing I wanted was to stand in the rain with an obsessive fan waiting for a band that might not even show up so once the show was over, I just took off and went to grab a bite at a Turkish place that is just around the corner from where I live.

The next morning I was looking for my wallet and couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere in my bedroom and there was no trace of it but then I remember I had put it in my bag, during the show, so I looked for the bag and couldn’t find it either. I mean, my room can be a little mess every now and then but not to the point in which a bright green bag can’t be found. After 10 minutes looking around like a maniac, it hit me: I must have left the bag at the kebab shop last night. Fuck, fuck, fuck. My ID, CPR card, debit cards, everything was there. I took my bike and rode there right away. The shop was closed but there was a guy inside, doing the cleaning, so I knocked on the glass door and asked him to open. He didn’t want to. I motioned him to come to the door, you know, pretending to be talking (even though I wasn’t producing a single sound) and using my hands to point at the door knob. He eventually agreed and I explained him I had left a bag there last night and was wondering if they had it. He hesitated for a bit, asked me what my name was and then asked me again what exactly was it that I was looking for. I explained him again and he looked blankly at me. Fuck me. I explained him the situation again, very slowly, and just when he was about to enquire again about the motive of my visit, I saw my green bag squeezed under some boxes in a table behind the counter (pretty good sight, I know).

I told him that was my bag so he asked my name and compared it to the one on my ID. It took him a couple of seconds to realize it was actually me the guy on the picture of my Venezuelan ID, which I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing. He gave me back my bag and asked me to check my wallet to make sure everything was there. It was all in there. I thank him and just when I was about to leave he tells me: “You know, when people find things like this, people buy presents. What are you going to get me?” What? Why should I buy him anything? He didn’t even find the fucking bag, he just happened to be there when I went to see if they had it. He continued: “Come on, buy me something. I just gave you your bag, that’s very important. What are you going to buy me?” I stood there, not really sure of what to do. Should I run away? Should I tell him to fuck off? What if he was a cleaner by day and a Turkish Mafia  drug lord by night? I didn’t want to find out so I just shrugged my shoulders and told him I didn’t have much money to spend on rewards. He replied: “You can buy me card. Phone card. Lyca card. There, in the shop. But only if you want to, ok? Now go.” He first tells me that only if I want to and then he tells me to go buy it, great. I crossed the street, got the fucking phone card and went back to the shop. “Thank you. Are you happy? I will only take the card if you’re happy.” Who cares if I’m happy or not, I already bought the goddamn card. Just take it and shut the fuck up.

I walked out of the shop, got on my bike, and rode away…

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Today I took Hannah (a girl from Australia) and Alice (a girl from Sheffield) to Sort Kaffe Og Vinyl. I met Hannah a while ago through Couchsurfing and last night I met her friend Alice, who she brought along to the weekly meeting. I told them about this amazing coffeeshop near my place so we decided to meet up today for a coffee and they loved the place. We all agreed we should do this again.

After I parted ways with Hannah and Alice, I went to the Immigration Office and applied for my new work permit, which means I’m ready start working at Advance, an independent Danish agency best know for their work for LEGO, a client they have been working with since 1976. I’m really looking forward to get started.

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