We again woke up to an airplane landing and now found ourselves in Sweden, which was less cold than Helsinki and less wet. The VGL crew had rented a van that was larger than they needed so instead of taking a series of trains we got to simply ride with them to the venue, the Annexet. We arrived at the venue early (a first) and sat back, napping as the crew (made up of extremely attractive men and women who dwarfed Kit and were capable of lifting objects ten times their own body weight!) put the stage together. The crew gave me an idea for a song about Valkyries, which I wrote the lyrics to the following flight.
|The stage being built|
|All color drained from the room|
Somehow, despite being in a warmer environment than Finland, the Annexet in Sweden was the coldest part of our journey. It was so cold in there that it pulled the color out of the room (just look at the pictures)! We had a warm breakfast with the crew, and spoke with the owner/manager of the Stockholm Concert Orchestra, who happened to be an old school punk rocker from the 80's who utterly loved hearing that we were living the rock life and touring Europe! He was friendly, extremely candid, and I wish we could have talked with him more. During the sound check one of the crew asked me personally if I could play random VG songs I happened to know on accordion, and I was able to deliver seamlessly, making a friend in the process.
|Kit taking a double take on his guitar for the night|
Henrik is not without humor!
|Fun times in Sweden!|
It was about that time that Henrik, aka Motherpluckin' B, aka Killed by Koopa arrived! He'd admittedly gotten a bit lost and I had to ask the security guard (who was extremely friendly and reminded me of the Jarl of Whiterun from Skyrim) for directions to help Henrik get to the right building. Henrik showed up and it was as if we had been friends in real life for a very long time (as opposed to internet acquaintances). Seriously, Henrik is a cool guy and he looks like a total undercover rock star. He drove a few hours to hang out and lend us his guitars for the night and we did our best to make him feel at home and hung out with him during the down moments of the sound check.
|The door guy from the Annexet was a badass|
|Kit making final preparations on his guitar|
Toward the end of the sound check there was a second treat as my friend from Moscow, Sergey arrived! I've been good friends and pen pals with Sergey for a few years and it was fun getting to meet him in person for the first time. I helped him get in touch with Tommy, who he had a scheduled interview with, and after the sound check we all went out to get a bite to eat at a Swedish pizza place, which apparently was the least Swedish restaurant we could have possibly eaten at besides McDonald's. When questioned about life in Sweden, Henrik or one of his friends (who joined us for dinner) informed us "it's horrible. Every day I am surrounded by beautiful women and none of them will talk with me." It's apparently not easy being handsome in Sweden.
|Sergey, so stoic!|
|Drinks and pizza with friends in Sweden|
|Fantastic show that night|
Between having friends in the audience (including a genuine Random Encounter fan we met during the intermission who had no idea we were going to be at the VGL show and who got really excited when he noticed our flyers on the seats), being wireless again, being in one of my favorite places of all time (Sweden), and knowing this was our last performance between us and sleep in a bed, we put on a solid performance. It was my personal best for the tour as I was literally able to jump off the stage, run 1000 feet into the room and rock out with folks in the audience. The meet and greet after the show was fun too! We signed a guy's back, met some interesting folks, and eventually said our goodbyes.
|We signed a baaaack!|
|Our view from the stage|
Just like that we found ourselves in a hotel lobby-bar at 1AM, trying not to get ourselves kicked out, with the promise of a ride to the airport when the sun came up. In retrospect, I'm pretty positive that the VGL staff arranged for their extra van to be there just for us, though they didn't mention it because we'd have felt bad inconveniencing them. They're pretty awesome like that. In the early hours of the morning we drank coffee, chatted with the VGL crew who didn't want to sleep, avoided a creepy but silent guy who we were pretty sure was on some pretty intense drugs, we drank beer, and we enjoyed the 8bitX album premiere Listening Party for our good friends: the Returners, until about 4am. We caught a ride back to the airport and Emmanuel, Konami and I chatted at length about music theory, theorized how left handedness might affect musicians, and philosophized over a slew of really deep music-related topics you wouldn't expect to come coherently from such sleep deprived people. To give you an idea of how sleepy we were, Kit literally fell asleep sitting up and very nearly fell on the person next to him. That's how utterly beat we were. At the airport I bought as many coffee and soy hot chocolates as I could hold to keep us awake for the final sound check of the tour.
|Album Listening Party or Ring Wraith listening party?|