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Lo! Tour Diary

Lo! Tour Diary Part 1 by Adrian Shapiro

Howdy, Lo! here checking in from Europe. We’re 12 shows into the tour and currently driving to Rome, Italy for our show tonight. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of the last few days and our journey through to this point.

Day 1.
We arrive in Zurich after that fun flight from Sydney, got through customs and were met by a chap from the van company to give us our van for the next month and all our backline. We then jumped in the van and headed off to La Chaux De Fond where we’re setting up for the next couple of days to rehearse and catch up before we start playing. Driving on the wrong side of the road in a manual definitely took a bit of time to get used to. Four hours later and a nice drive through some snowy areas and we’re there. We’re staying with a couple of the guys from The Ocean so we headed back to theirs and crashed for the night. We toured with The Ocean in Australia in 2012 and it was great to see the guys.

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Day 2.
First day rehearsing today and we’ve kindly been given the guys from Coilguns studio space to set up for the next couple of days. Carl and me played through some Emperor cabinets and almost lost it on how great they sounded.

Awesome day of practice and working out the set lists for the upcoming 25 shows. Our sets vary between 30-45 minutes depending on where the shows are so we sort a couple of options of songs we can pull in and drop out as we choose.

Jamie also practiced some punk jumps and some crabcore crotch bend moves. It all looked good.

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Day 3.
1st show of the tour. We started the day with a couple more hours of rehearsal and then started pulling our stuff apart to pack the van and head over to the venue. As we went outside lo and behold, it started snowing. We were like little children running around in the snow. The swiss people weren’t as excited as us.

Gig tonight was at a venue called Bikini Test and we play with The Ocean and a black metal band called Rorcle. Rorcle opened and almost gave the crowd a group seizure with the amount of strobes they had going. It was incredible. We played next and it was quite an intense and amazing feeling hitting that first note on European soil. We played a solid set and were well received. The Ocean were up next and played their new album start to finish to a very excited home crowd for them. It was a pleasure to watch and great to know we get to see them play another 20+ times on the tour.

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Day 4.
Monster travel day. Huge drive across Switzerland and France then a ferry over to the UK to spend the night with some friends and family in London. London show tomorrow night with The Ocean, Bossk, Empress and Shapes.

Day 5.
2nd show. Had a pretty disturbing message from Robin from The Ocean this morning. Their van had broken down somewhere in France with the engine completely fried. He said they were unsure they were going to actually make the show. We said we’d keep in contact over the rest of the day and see how they went. The show tonight was at a venue called Borderline in Soho where they hold quite a lot of metal and hardcore shows. We got there at about 2pm to load in after stopping at a Soho pub for a couple of pints. Robin was still checking and they’d picked up a replacement van and were rushing as fast as they could to get to Calais to try and get the ferry. The show was due to start at 5pm, and the last ferry across was at 4pm. All the other bands got to the venue and waited on the news. We were also all meant to be using the Ocean’s cabs for the shows. They also had all our merch in the back of their trailer so we had nothing for the show. It was all a bit of a stress. Then we got the call that the guys had missed the last ferry by 15 minutes, which was heartbreaking. A call was made to carry on and go ahead with the show with the remaining bands.

All bands played really well and even though The Ocean weren’t there the place was packed and the crowd was on fire. Check out Empress, Bossk and Shapes here.

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Day 4.
3rd show. We got up early this morning and heading back towards the white cliffs of Dover to jump on the ferry back to France. The show tonight was in La Havre, which is a small town near Normandy on the coast. We join back up with the Ocean and two local French bands for the show at a great venue at the bottom of a pub. The stage is on the floor, which we love. Show was great and a really good response from the French crowd. We stayed with The Ocean at a Formula 1 hotel and indulged in quite a few drinks to end off the night.

Day 5 and 6.
We said goodbye to The Ocean in the morning and got on the road for a loooooong drive over two days from La Havre, France all the way up to Gothenberg in Sweden. We split it up by staying in a little town at Hambhuren, which is near Hannover in Germany. Robin from the Ocean’s parents live there so we were luckily invited to spend the night.

Day 7.
4th show. Tonight we start the run of shows with Cult of Luna, which is extremely exciting and extremely daunting. Tonight’s show is at a venue called Pustervik and it is only Cult of Luna and Lo! on the bill. We get to the venue to load in and meet the COL guys and their crew. As we walk into the massive venue we realize how large this tour and what we’re due to expect over the next three weeks. There were close to 500 presales for the show, and realistically about 800 came through the door. We played a pretty solid set and hopefully turned a couple of the Swedes into Lo! fans. Cult of Luna hit the stage and played one of the most brutal sets over the next hour and a half. It was incredible to watch and we feel like the luckiest band in the world, not only to play every night with these guys, but also to be able to watch them every night. We left the venue about 1am and headed back to our hostel for the night.

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Day 8.
5th show. Only a short drive of about three hours to Copenhagen in Denmark for tonight’s show. We’re staying with a friend of ours Michelle, who has very nicely offered up some beds for us to spend the night. Again tonight’s show is just Cult of Luna and Lo! at a venue called Lilli Vega. We loaded in and heard COL soundcheck. Amazing. Such a show with both sound control and lighting. It is a thrill to be able to watch. Show started a little later tonight and there was maybe three hundred people there when we started our set. We played a really great set again, and I think very much starting to find our groove for the performances. Cult of Luna absolutely destroyed the place again tonight and it was an incredible thing to watch. Tomorrow we have another huge drive all the way back to Tilburg, The Netherlands to play the ridiculously amazing Roadburn Festival.

Day 9.
6th show. This was a serious day of driving. It was about a nine hour drive from Copenhagen to Tilburg. Three of us have been sharing the driving but it’s pretty taxing on the energy and the body. We finally pull in to Tilburg around 4pm. From the moment we drive through to the backstage entry we are in awe. Roadburn is a pretty exclusive festival. They only sell around 3,000 tickets and the festival runs for three days. The only thing that sucks about today, is that we play at the same time as High on Fire who were one of the bands I really wanted to watch! We go into reception and are given our passes and escorted down to our room that we’re sharing with Cult of Luna and The Ocean. We played a great set and the room was packed when we hit our first notes. Great festival and I would definitely go back as a punter in the years to come. We stayed in a hotel that Roadburn put us up in for the night and got some well needed rest.




Day 10.
7th show. We headed into France today to play another festival called Impetus Festival in a town called Audincourt. The festival had been going for a few days already, with bands like Bohemoth playing earlier on. We opened the show to a really good response from the French. We then got our stuff off stage and headed backstage for an amazing dinner the promoter put on for us. It’s one of the best things about touring over here. The meals that you’re fed at all the venues. Feel like we’re getting spoiled! Cult of Luna and The Ocean destroyed the place tonight too. Bit of a drive tonight after the show as we headed back into Switzerland and spent the night back at Luc the drummer from The Ocean’s house in La Chaux Da Fond. We got there about 3.30am and crashed.

Day 11.
8th show. Fribourg, Switzerland. This was probably one of the most amazing drives we’ve done yet as far as scenery goes. We crossed through the Swiss Alps and were blown away by what we were seeing. So much so that we had to pull over into one of the small towns and get some touristy shots. Fribourg is a really pretty town and actually the home of our sound engineer Christoff. We loaded in, had something to eat and a few of us went for a bit of an explore before sound check. Show was really killer tonight with lots of people and a generally well received set. My power source to my pedals decided to completely stop working tonight which was boring. Had to get some batteries and borrow some adaptors to power up. Christoff gave us the key to his apartment so we could crash on the floor for the night. Tomorrow into Italy for show 9!




Day 12.
9th show. Long drive today to get to Mezzago, Italy. As soon as we crossed the border into Italy the roads deteriorated to a bumpy mess. Not much more possibility of sleep! Mezzago is about 45mins out of Milan and the venue was a pretty awesome space. Cult of Luna were sound checking when we rolled in and the room sounded pretty massive. The Italian promoter put on a big stew for dinner tonight. Bloody delicious! We played a pretty killer show tonight and the Italians went nuts for it. COL’s merch guy hooked us up with one of his friends who said we could stay on his floor in Milan, So after load out at 2am we jumped in the car and drove over to Milan. Turns out when we got to his apartment we couldn’t wake him up to let us in! Pretty brutal at 3am in the morning. Ended up finding a cheap hotel just around the corner and crashed out for a couple of hours. Griff and Jamie slept in the van and looked pretty haggard in the morning. Woke up to missed calls and texts from the Italian guy saying he’s slept through the phone and missed all our calls and messages. He felt terrible, but we sorted it out so no problem.

Day 13.
10th show. Feel like we’re starting to become a driving, playing, eating, drinking machine now. Long drives every day and a general tiredness falling over the band. We had another long drive today to Rome. As soon as we get to the outskirts of Rome we hit some big traffic which slows us down a fair bit. The venue today is a bit smaller then Mezzago, but I think it will be a good one. We unloaded our gear and then Turtle and I did a mission to a music store to see if I could find a new power source for my pedal board. Music store didn’t have one, but eventually we found an electronics store and I bought a couple of power sources to run pedals individually. Got back and get on stage for sound check. Now my OCD pedal has died! I’m dropping pedals like crazy. So I repatch and have one less distortion level which will still work. It was an early show tonight which is kinda weird for Italy as everyone goes out late. Doors were 8.30. We went on at 8.45 and started playing to about 5 people! By the end of the set the room was pretty full but this was the smallest show we’ve played so far. After load out, Robin and Chris from The Ocean decided they would stay with us as we were going to go into Rome and do a bit of sight seeing for the morning. Jamie decided he wanted to jump on the tour bus with COL and The Ocean so we left him and headed off to a hostel in Rome where we had a couple of late night whiskeys.




Day 14.
11th show. Got up pretty early and we headed towards The Coliseum. What an amazing place to visit and see. We didn’t go in but walked around the outside and then headed up towards the Italian parliament to see the other ruins along the promenade. Amazing! We had a delicious lunch of pizza and calzone and then jumped in the van to head over to Ravenna for the show tonight. Show was packed out from our first note on stage and the people got really into it. Jamie had a few issues with his voice tonight and ended up dropping quite a few lines. 11 shows down and a shit load to still go so he did get a bit of a fright. Hoping he’ll come right for the next couple of shows. We put a note on our merch desk and did a shout out asking for a floor to stay on. The Italian promoter offered up his place so after the show we headed over to his place a couple of towns over. We had to leave pretty early so after about 4 hours we woke up to get back on the road.

Day 15.
12th show. The start to each one of these days seems to be the same thing. A long drive today! We headed towards Switzerland for our final Swiss show. We’re playing in a town called Winterthur on the other side of the Alps so the drive was really beautiful through the snow. Venue tonight is huge and they’re expecting a big crowd. We’re also spending the night at the venue, which is great so no driving after the show. We played well but it was definitely the most exhausted we’ve been on stage. They have a free flowing beer tap back stage, which is cause for some nasty hangovers tomorrow!




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