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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mallman's Final Report

Night 7
Mallman on night 7 of 7. Photo by Dan Schultz -

The Mark Mallman 7 Day party ended last night with probably the best attendance yet this week, partly due to the large crowds that had shown up to see Vicious Vicious and Turantula Skulls. It was sad to see it end. You wonder how many nights Mark could have just kept on playing without either getting exhausted or seeing his audience start to fall off. There are literally dozens of people who went all seven nights, and that includes fan and members of other bands who weren't even directly involved in the show.

The HowWasTheShow MM7 Photo Gallery includes photos from every night but Monday. (If you have Monday photos, email them in to

Also, Dan Schultz of has put up his own gallery of photos from nights 4, 5 and 7.

Here's Mark's report from Saturday night:

"Sunday afternoon at 2 pm brings to me a van full of gear to unload in the summer sun. Alas, my concept has come to fruition. In ways this was an epic retrospective for me in the band I guess, but mostly it was a way for us and everybody who came and who played to have fun during the summer you know, for people just to drink cheap and see free rock shows. In many ways, it was a blissful week for me, and in many ways quite dark and empty. The times I spent on stage were glorious. Each night was an adventure that presented unique challenges 180 degrees from MARATHON 1 and 2.

Last nights show included mostly tracks from the SEVEN YEARS CD, but also some newer stuff, and some funny songs. It was a Saturday night set fitting for a warm summer corner bar on a warm summer evening. The Pooch came up and rapped again, but I accidentally hit him in the mouth -- oops. We rocked, we roared, we rumbled. The set finished with me tearing down the numbered backdrops and screaming about being a serious songwriter -- mostly truth, but the delivery was in jest. We played "7 Years" and finished with "Butchers Ballad." After the show, I signed stuff, and people were super nice. The energy was good, and I could tell we'd succeeded in all having fun times, which is what life is mostly about -- though I've found it hard to come by outside of rock these days. In the office of the bar, Chris Dorn said he felt like he might cry, we laughed at him. It's because of Chris that this whole thing happened. He booked the shows, let it be free, set the thing up. It was a lot of work. Now it's over. We had a party at the Idle Hands practice space, but all I drank was Fresca. It was a mellow evening, and my messy head hit the pillow at 5:30 after a long conversation with my ex about owhy it didn't work between us.

I dreamed about the ocean. It was calm and flat, like somebody covered it in Saran Warp and out it in a refrigerator.

This last week was a lot like being on the road only without the hotels and gas station food. Peter Anderson said to me, "My body feels like we're on the road, we should stop at a Pump and Munch on our way to the club, it would make sense."

Some people claim they know for what reason they were born. I guess it cannot be proved either way whether they're right or wrong. Some people live like insects and scavengers; I've met just as many in the white collar world as I have in nightclubs and record companies. Most of us, I think, just kind of go on intuition. We follow maybe what we think might be a good idea. I believe I fall into that category -- just a person who follows his intuition, with all the bag of tricks to be handed out along the way. Just like it's been an interesting/fascinating/exhilarating 7 years, it's been an exhausting/underwhelming/heartbreaking 7 years in the music industry as well. I've written a lot of songs since I was a kid. I don't know how many more I've got in me. I guess we'll just wait and see.

It's time now for me to go back into the lab, with a pen and a pad and get my damn piano off! There are more songs to be written. That's why I been playing this game to begin with."

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mallman's report on Day 6 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon

Eleganza at the Hexagon (3 of 3)
Photo by Joe Cline

I want to thank Joe Cline for submitting the photo of Eleganza from Friday night's Mallman party. In fact, I want to thank everyone who has submitted photos. There are now dozens of great user-submitted pictures in the Mallman Party Gallery. (Keep on submitting your photos to We'll leave that email active for a few days after the Mallman party ends, but due to the success of the "live photo" experiment, expect to see the gallery used again for future shows and events.)

Incidentally, while Joe was in the Hexagon last night taking these great shots, someone was outside breaking into his car and stealing his spare lenses. Joe tells me that someone broke out the back window of his 2002 Burgundy Dodge Caravan and stole a black Sony Camera bag with 2 lenses for a DCR-HC85 and an extra battery. It was parked on the east side of 27th Avenue about a half block south of the Hex/26th Street. If you have any info that might help Joe recover the lenses, he is offering a reward. Send him an email at if you know anything, or just to say you enjoyed his photos.

Also, just posted today is Cyn Collins review of Mallman Night #5 featuring Fort Wilson Riot, whom she called "riotous fun" and the Beatifics, whom she called "lucious, intelligent power pop."

And getting down to business, here is Mark Mallman's report from the Friday night show:

"95 degrees in the heat today, listened to Sugarhill Gang while driving from Maharaja's this afternoon. I feel like I was born in the wrong decade - even sun feels like it's rising sideways. Outside there is a crow cawing and an airplane flying overhead at the same time. That's funny to me.

Let me tell you, I'm having fun - these shows are great, and I'm so very grateful to every single person who has shown up to hear the material, and the band, and I hope you're all having fun.

Last night's show included new songs "Missed a Year" off of the Seven Years CD, and "Wheelbarrow" - which is actually a tune I wrote for THE ODD that we never used. "Midnight Man" was played for the first time since October of last year, and it was super fun. I bought some lemon juice to keep on stage in addition to my usual shot of tequila before I go on. The monitors at the bar are simply not very loud, and that's resulted in me losing my voice.

After the party I walked into the park behind my house. It was as if I could feel the world spinning beneath me - like standing on water. Sometimes I think I see ghosts in the park, But last night, It was just a blue shadow of some trees in the dark. My ears were still buzzing from the amplifiers. I went to bed, but I couldn't sleep - I kept thinking about the future. My ears were still buzzing from the amplifiers. I kept thinking about the winter, even in the midst of summer's night. Must have been the air conditioning on too hard."

Friday, July 29, 2005

Mallman's report on Day 5 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon

Mallman Wednesday
Photo by Janey G.

Here is Mark Mallman's report going into Friday night's show:

"It's Friday early evening as I type this, and it saddens me to see that the end is in sight. I wish I could play shows every night, and write songs everyday, and live life like other musicians. I don't know what or why it is the way that it is, and I'm grateful for the fans I have, and for this city. Do you ever lie awake at night and think about what could have been? I do. Some people have dreams, others have realities - most of the time I just feel like a ghost. Anyways, I guess that's hard for some to understand, so I'll just get on with it..

Last night was an opportunity for me to play some of my slower tunes - we had more on the set list, but the crowd seemed like they wanted the wild stuff. We managed to squeeze in "Romeo Daze", "I work Here, I Grew up Here", and "Simply in the Distance", but had to cut a few. I threw in "Humankind" when a certain 'difficulty' came up. I had this Dr. Dre sample to play with and an acoustic guitar - so I combined "The Hangman, He Grinned" with a new song called "the Devil is my co-pilot".

Someone asked me if I was playing these 7 shows as my last shows ever - she'd heard a rumour. All my life I've felt an overbearing darkness, a draining, force of sadness - music has been the only cure for me. I literally cannot face the day without music. I would rather be dead."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mallman's report on Day 4 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon

Mallman Wednesday night with dancing moose - photo by Dan Schultz (click photo for more)

I just read the Star Trib's report that the US Olympic Committee had threated the Olympic Hopefuls with legal action if they didn't change their name. They will henceforth be known as just "The Hopefuls." But what's next? Will the Mall of America sue Mark Mallman and force him to change his name to just "The Man?" See this thread over on for witty predictions.

Wednesday night's Mallman extravaganza at the Hex included Revolver Modele and DJ Jake Rudh's Transmission. Before Mallman even took the stage last night, I checked the internet to see that people had indeed started submitting camera phone photos to the Mallman photo blog, including one of a button or patch that said "Mallman kicks ass." Too cool. This morning I noticed a few great photo submissions from Dan Schultz of

Cyn Collins has a report on her blog from Tuesday's show here. (And it looks like she recounted the sides of the bar and renamed it appropriately.)

Also, If I Were A 16 Year Old Girl.... has a report of last night's show here.

Normally I get Mallman's reports in the afternoon. But the man is truly crazy. He wrote it after the post-show hot tub party and I had it in my inbox before I even woke up today.

Here's the Mallman Wednesday night report from the man himself:

"My hands are still shriveled from the hot tub as I type this, at 4:30 am - just arrived home from everybody's friend, FOXY'S place. About 8 of us sang the theme to Cheers in the water before a neighbor came to shut us the fuck up. Oh yeah, this is about the shows....

Well, we opened with "Kissing the Knife" and "Still Wasted" - and then into "Too Hot" from the Cd I did with my high school friends, Vermont. It's fun to play those tunes that people don't get to hear much. I showed the audience the prototype of a new toy Cabela's is making which I made the soundtrack for - it's a dancing moose. Ummm....yeah. Also, the harmonica came out during the encore - oooh, and during "Eagles Tooth", my good friend - and band roadie - THE POOCH, came up and did a stellar "rap" about Marco Polo. Wilson Webb fixed the lights and they're are just about where I want them.

After the show everybody kept dancing to Transmission, Sean Hoffman and I were singing the Cure, and it was a bit drunken. I swear, these are some of the best nights of the summer for me. I love this city, and these people, it's all so sweet - like a Cinnabon with buildings and a light rail."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mallman's report on Day 3 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon

Mallman at the Hex Tuesday night - Photo by Janey C. (Click photo for link to whole set.)

Mallman promises to send a report from each night of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon. 3 down. 4 to go. Tonight is the midway point. If Monday and Tuesday were supposedly "slow" nights, I can only imagine what the rest of the week will bring because it's been pretty busy each night so far and Mallman is just getting warmed up. Good thing they took many of the tables out of the band room to provide more standing space.

Lots of fun pictures from last night. View them in the photo blog.

Here's Mark's report from Tuesday night:

"Aha! Another one down swimmingly! Last night I was so happy with a number of things. We finally have the lights to a place that I'm happy with. Also, the bar moved the tables so that people could have more room. It's sad, the first 3 letters of LIQUORS have burned out on the Eastern portion of the Hex. So, last night, as we pulled the van up, we were greeted by a pink buzzing UORS sign...I pretended it said OURS.

My suit was tight and polyester - Peter and I both decided to wear a pink and blue element - We blazed through "Becoming a President" and "Dude is Dead". "Bulls eye" is always a painful song for me to perform, but I disguised it with humor. That's my trick, cause if you listen to almost the lyrics to any song of mine, you'll find sadness, emptiness, and isolation. So I always cover it up with humor - and everybody goes home happy. I guess one might call it low brow absurdist existentialism. But, if anybody actually came up to me and said that, I'd get em a drink.

I keep thinking of that Foo Fighters song, where he sings DONE DONE AND I'M ON TO THE NEXT ONE. ...DONE I'M DONE AND I'M ON TO THE NEXT."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My report from Mallman Day 3

Martin Dosh at Mallman Day 3I'm not so sure about this "live blogging" thing. I am at the Hexagon right now. We're kind of squashed into the corner by the door, but at least we have power for the laptop. Randy the sound guy is playing Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub, and that's making me very happy. We are between sets. Martin Dosh has just finished his short but sweet set (the photos are already live -- the photos were live while Martin was still playing his first song -- I love the internet).

Mallman will be going on around midnight like the vampire that he is. Tonight is somewhat more social than previous nights. As you can tell from the photos so far, we are kind of hanging out "with the bands."

Mallman's report on Day 2 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon

I didn't make it to Monday night's Mallman show at the Hex, and I'm still waiting for the first fan pictures to start showing up on the photo blog. (Read the other post for instructions on submitting photos, and will someone please submit a picture of The Pooch with that gorilla?)

Fortunately, I have one volunteer writer who will be at every single show, and that is MARK MALLMAN himself.

Here's Mark's report on Day 2:

"Damn, this is sooo fun! I can't believe how tight the band got between the first show and last nights show. I keep thinking how it feels just like tour, only easier cause we don't have to drive 7 hours between shows. PLUS, each night we get to practice - which is a blast.

Last nights set included "Inside the Castle" and "7AM And Sober Again" from the now out of print Who's Gonna Save You Now EP - I fucked up hard night by singing the 3rd verse in place of the 2nd. The band gave me shit for it afterward! Also, since it was our roadie's, The Pooch's birthday, we covered his favorite Elvis Costello song - "God's Comic" - a really wierd version.

Also, The Pooch got this giant cut out of a Gorilla from who knows where, and was stumbling around all night rubbing its crotch. Pony told me after the show that Kubrick's 2001 is made for druggies. I laughed. Ryan is reading 2010. nerds in my band - sheesh - see what marriage does to people!"

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mallman's report on Day 1 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon

Mark Mallman just sent me his synopsis of Day 1 of his 7 night stand at the Hexagon. He's right on about how the room looks. The bedsheets with the numbers spray-painted on them draped with red velvet curtains give the room an especially cool look that makes it easy to capture striking pictures. So take your cameras tonight, folks, and email your photos to for inclusion in the howwastheshow Mallman photo blog.

Here's Mark's report:

"Well, we spent all Sunday soundchecking the room and getting the backdrop straight. I'm really happy with the way things look in there. It's so fucking street level, man - holy shit. Across the street from my favorite bowling alley.

We hit the stage around 12:15, opened with "B-sides." Basically we stuck to the set except I moved "Waking the Neighborhood" to another day, and we encored with "True Love". I've been spray painting my clothes before each night. No smoke machine tonight, it fucks with my mind. Each night, the band has rehearsal at 8:30 p.m. that fucks with my mind too."

Mallman 7 Day Marathon Begins

Mark Mallman 7 Day 1

Mark Mallman has begun 7 straight nights of free shows at the Hexagon to celebrate 7 CD's and 7 years of playing live. And howwastheshow will do its best to bring you relatively "live" coverage of the event through a special photo blog.

Automatically post your photos live to howwwastheshow's coverage of the event by emailing them to Your subject line will be you photo title, and the text of your email will be your description. (Hint: bring your camera phone and send photos directly from the show. And remember, the Hexagon has wireless internet access if you want to get fancy.)

email to:
Subject: your photo's title
Email body: your photo's description
Then view your photos at on the Mallman Gallery we've set up here. You and others will be able to comment on the photos in the gallery.

Ouija Radio was the opening band last night, taking the stage at about 11:15 to a rather full house for a Sunday night. Mallman took the stage just after midnight.

Here's the full schedule of who's opening for Mallman over the next 6 nights:
Mon 7/25 - Your Loving Tiger
Tue 7/26 - DOSH, Food Team, Chris Harrington
Wed 7/27 - Revolver Modele Transmission featuring DJ Jake Rudh
Thur 7/28 - The Beatifics, Fort Wilson Riot
Fri 7/29 - Eleganza, the Gleam
Sat 7/30 - Vicious Vicious, Turantula Skulls

Friday, July 22, 2005

Re-adjusting more slowly than normal to life in Minnesota

Central Line Train Near Epping
A photo of the deserted carriage of a train near the end of the line of a Central Line train bound for Epping outside London.

Ever return from a trip and feel you'd left yourself behind? I go to Europe every summer, but this year, even more than usual, I am having a bit of trouble re-adjusting to my "normal" life here in America. Maybe it has something to do with the events in London in recent weeks, or the fact that I felt more at home in Europe this summer than perhaps ever before. But I have found myself reluctant to re-emerge into the Minneapolis arts and music scene, though I have taken to paying close attention to the media again. Friends have left voice mails wondering if I'm even home yet.

I am back. And tonight I even plan to go out, to the Varsity Theater to see the stellar Idle Hands / Martin Devaney / Friends Like These / Annie Rossi / Robotboy lineup. Then maybe even a party afterwards. And of course the Mark Mallman 7 night marathon starts Sunday at the Hexagon, and howwasheshow has plans to cover as much of it as possible (details soon.)

Anyone lucky (or unlucky) enough to have seen me in the past week and a half at the two times I emerged from my house (briefly after the Peavey Plaza Polara show, and briefly at the Bastille Day Block Party at Barbette) may have noted I'm not quite my usual sociable self yet. But I am hoping this is a temporary affliction, and that howwastheshow will be back full force soon.

Monday, July 11, 2005

London 1, terrorism 0

Check out the rest of the images from this brilliant site.

A recent headline in a London paper read, "A message to the terrorists from the people of London: 'Go to Hell!'"

Oxegen's over - I'm back in London - I am coming home!

I got burnt to a crisp yesterday at the Oxegen Festival, but I did manage to catch a few prime acts, including the full set by the Magic Numbers. (There need to be more portly folk in rock and roll.)

The Beautiful South put on an inspiring main stage show early in the afternoon. The Killers, who had disrupted our Cure experience on the main stage during their stint in the nearby Green Room, this year disrupted my La's experience in the Green Room. (Somehow, after putting on a god awful show last year and proving just how bad they are, the Killers were promoted to a main stage act this year and considered a "must see act" by many festival goers.

I missed Alalabama 3, but you know my luck. I ran into their tour entourage on the swift ferry back from Dublin to Wales.

London is definitely back to normal now, though it seemed a tad more people were crammed onto the Central Line heading west during rush hour tonight as I believe the Circle Line is still closed.

I'd write more, but it's such a beautiful evening in London and all I want to do is have a nice dinner at my favourite Greek Restaurant, The Halepi (18 Leinster Terrace - said by some to be the best Greek restaurant in the world), go back to the hotel to bed, and fly home bright and early in the morning.

That's not a plan though. Just a hope.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

You know what they say about the show

You may have heard that last night 30,000 people were evacuated from the downtown bar and restaurant district of England's second largest city, Birmingham (along Broad Street and vacinity). They now say the parcel that was found, that they blew up in a controled explosion, turned out not to be a bomb after all.

I am now in Dublin, but watching Sky News ongoing coverage of this ongoing saga has been a very poignant experience. People are going on stoically about their daily business. But the cloud hanging over Great Britain right now is so heavy you can still feel it here, all the way across the Irish Sea.

Today I go to Oxegen to try to play makeup on any bands I've missed so far that I wanted to see. On the docket are Maximo Park, The Beautiful South, The La's, James Brown, Brendan Benson, the Magic Numbers, and a few others. I didn't have the energy to go out to the festival last night. I didn't have the energy to go down to Cork and visit my friends. But I am determined to recover the gusto needed to finish up this trip and come home. Of all the terrible things terrorism is, we all now how just plain exhausting it can be.

Tomorrow I go back to London to spend the night. And I fly out of London on Tuesday morning. Headed for Minneapolis!

Friday, July 08, 2005

My report from London - Bombed but not beaten

I ended my last post saying, "At least that is the plan."

Lew Welch once said, "The funny thing about a plan is that that never actually happens."

The plan was to save time by flying into London yesterday morning instead of taking the train and Eurostar via Brussels. Delays are commonplace while traveling, but what happened yesterday was beyond belief.

By 10 a.m. I was on the Stansted Express headed for Liverpool Street Station in Central London (near one of the bombing sites) when news reports started to trickle in about what might be going on. The biggest problem was that no one really knew what was happening; there were as many rumors as valid information flying all around.

First we were told (without being told why) that our train would terminate at Tottenham Hale instead of Liverpool Street. No bother. We could take the Victoria Line into Euston Station, where many of us planned train connections.

Next we were told the London Underground had been completely closed in Zone 1 (most of Central London.) This was a problem. Euston Station is in Zone 1. Someone on the train got a mobile phone call, and shared the discouraging word that the reason for the Underground shutdown was that "bombs are going off all over London." It was at that point that I did begin to feel as if I was on a train headed straight into a war zone.

But not headed that way for long. Our train was stopped at Tottenham Hale (a Zone 3 Victoria Line stop on the tube system), and we were told to go up and over to the other platform. International businessmen who had flown in like me from other parts of Europe were arguing with train personell, worried they would miss their meetings in London. Other people were talking of getting busses. But by now the busses had also been stopped after the bus bomb went off. What about taxis? Reports were coming in that it was taking 3 hours to go one mile.

For all practical purposes, London was closed.

A train arrived going the other way. Where should we go? Back to the airport? No, the airport had been closed too, people were saying. "Where is this train going then?," someone asked. Train personell waved their arms in the general direction of Cambridge and said, "That way. Away from London."

I got on and headed back the way I'd come. A few stops out at Harlow Town I got off and found the last room at the local Travelodge. It was only shortly after 10 a.m. I was on the first train into Central London that had been stopped. Soon thousands of stranded travellers would be getting off trains between London and the airport looking for a place to wait out this chaos.

For the next 8 hours, I watched the bloody mess unfold on live television. Pretty much all channels, all day, the same gory images being shown over and over.

I have more details, but you'll find many in the papers. I can only say it was a very exhausting day. At 1pm I called my parents from the hotel to tell them I was okay. (Remember, it was only 7 a.m. in middle America, and all this had already happened.)

This morning I tried my trek again, and entered Central London by train. Everything seemed to be back to normal other than the fact that Kings Cross Station was still closed (I passed through it, but the doors did not open) and people were a little quieter than usual and looking around a bit as train doors opened, checking out the new passengers who were getting on.

I made it to Wales this afternoon, and it's a beautiful sunny afternoon. I only want to have a few beers and relax before even thinking about moving on with the rest of this rock and roll tour.

Other news, I haven't had the time to catch up on yet. I know that Har Mar had a show in London Wednesday night, so he was likely in Central London as well when all this happened as well.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A romantic candlelight wine and cheese canal tour through Amsterdam alone

The afternoon canal trip merely whet my whistle. I decided to go back again for the evening one, the so called "Candlelight Cruise" complete with wine and cheese.

They were surprised to see a soul male boarding the boat. "You are alone, then? I'm afraid I don't have any single females to seat you with."

That was quite okay, of course, because I was in for quite a bargain for my 25 euros this evening. Being alone meant a table to myself, and each table was set with a full plate of cheese, bread, grapes, nuts, and of course a full bottle of wine. And yes I drank the whole thing during the two hour trip which took a different route than the afternoon one, through the Red Light District where the ladies were displaying their "wares" in the bordello windows. Amsterdam is quite lovely and romantic at night.

The bottle of wine almost did me in though, having had several beers before boarding the boat, so after having a solitary beer by the side of a quiet canal (and making a couple drunken calls home from my cellphone), it was an early night.

Not wanting to travel by train for another full day, I've opted to fly to London tomorrow morning (yes, I'm totally backtracking now, and it won't be the last time.) I arrive in London in late morning, then board a train to Wales to visit my friend Norma and her boyfriend. Two nights in Wales, then off to Dublin for the Oxegen Festival. Then BACK to London to fly home.

At least that is the plan.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Pretending to be German in Copenhagen to hide from the marines and why I am now a pimp

I have a rather interesting tale to tell (that I will flesh out later) of my last night in Copenhagen out with the Danish girls and running into 3 marines from Rhode Island and Texas. Not wanting to talk to Americans, especially American marines who voted for George Bush, we decided to pretend I didn't speak English, and the story began. It was a rather exhausting two hours, but probably less exhausting than carrying on the arguments about culture differences and such which were left to the Danish girls. I just sat and sipped my beer and listened in the way one only can when people think you are not understanding what they say.

On the way home I directed 3 drunk German men to the hookers on the corner by the train station who had approached me unsuccessfully a few moments before. The men were quite excited and appreciative that I was able to help them. I believe this means I am now a pimp. 'Course I work for free.

My penance for pretending to be German was spending the balance of the next day in Germany on part of the 11 hour train ride to Amsterdam.

I am now here in the Venice of the North, rested, and about to set out on an exploration of the canals and what not.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

It's all part of your rock and roll fantasy

My first full day at the Roskilde Festival reminded me of why I do this every year. I mean, you really can't force a good time. You can't plan fun. You can't intentionally create those special moments that make you glad you are alive, with legs to walk around on, a stomach big enough to hold pint after pint of lager, and on and a shirt to take off and bask in the sun.

The surprise highlight yesterday was French electronic act M83, at the same time as Snoop Dogg at 5PM. I had watched Snoop's risque short opening film, caught a bit of the first few songs "with my mind on my money, and my money on my mind" and then walked the short distance from the big stage to The Pavilion where I found a spot to stretch out on a big long wooden box and catch some sun and take in M83 far enough from the stage I didn't need earplugs, yet close enough that the music was at the perfect volume. A recent Pitchfork review of M83's Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts reminds us that "the power of music to seemingly construct, alter and distort space can be staggering." And this is what I experienced. I was happy to just lie there a short distance from the tent letting the music and sun waft over me, eyes closed, beer in one hand cigarette in the other, feeling freer than a goddamned bird.

And that's why I come to Europe for my festival experience, because for some reason I feel more in tune with the world in a crowd of 150,000 people who don't know me than I do even alone. And the interruptions of conversation in the English language are further between. It's indescribable, really. I consider myself very, very lucky to be able to experience this.

Speaking of my anonymity, no one knows I'm American here -- unless, that is, I open my big mouth. Some Swedish were having a conversation in English with some Danes right next to me as I sat later having a pint on another one of the many wooden constructions that litter the festival as places to sit or lie down.

Dane: Don't you all drive Volvo's in Sweden.
Swede: No. You get that from the commercials. The
Americans think we have polar bears walking down the street.
Dane: Americans believe anything you tell them.
Swede: They all drive Volvos there, don't they?

I even caught their eye at one point. The point being, it's assumed I am not American at Roskilde. Maybe Danish, maybe German, probably English. But American? Not many of those around.

My feet were killing me, but I managed to tough it out long enough to catch a bit of The Tears at The Arena. Having been a big Suede fan, I wish I could have stayed longer, but I needed to pace myself if I was going to last long enough to catch a bit of Ozzy.

At 10 PM, with the sun still basically up, a veritable Tsunami of people started pouring towards the Orange Stage where Black Sabbath was just starting to perform. I had to duck behind a tree and a bin to be on the forward side of the rush, otherwise I would literally have been swept all the way to the front of the crowd. I have never witnessed such a a reverse diaspora. It was like watching footage of September 11th if all the people were facing the other way and heading towards the World Trade Center, although with less horrified looks on their faces and less (though at times not a lot less) debris covering their bodies.

Ozzy and co. had opened up with a short medley of their songs and really ripped into their set. They were just as tight as the program had promised (this was apparently Black Sabbath's first appearance in Denmark.)

But it really was time to head back to Copenhagen for me, so I caught the rest of the show after the first three songs during my long walk to the bus.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Roskilde Festival - Dry as a bone - Sabbath at 10PM

Logged on from a free terminal at The Roskilde Festival. A brilliant, but not too hot, sunny Friday afternoon. Let's hope I don't curse the festival after last year's mudbath. (My travelling companion last year, Sean Hoffmann, will remember that well; our shoes were so caked with mud when we left they were worthy of photographing.) This year's festival, on the other hand, is even a tad dusty.

I stayed in Copenhagen last night to have a few drinks my friend Caroline who is out celebrating her graduation. Apparently a tradition in Denmark is to sign the inside of the school caps, and I took my turning, signing Caroline's with some sense and nonsense in Latin, not wanting to spoil the inside of the cap with English: Carpe diem. Semper ubi sub ubi. Both excellent pieces of advice for a young person heading out into the great big world.

Passing into the festival today I caught a bit of Canada's Be Good Tanyas, rustic goth-folk that's a bit on the alt-country side. And the Warsaw Village Band (from Poland) is right up Cyn Collins alley, I am sure. The band's bio on their website asserts that as a part of their mission statement, they are "a result of response against narrow-mindness and surrounding us mass-culture, which in fact leads to destruction of human dignity." They play violin, suka ( unique polish fiddle from the Sixteeth Century), cello and various traditional polish drums.

Staying in town yesteday meant missing Velvet Revolver, who I am told were phenomenal. But today I will make up for it with Audioslave, Black Sabbath, and in just over an hour, Snoop Dogg. Arf.

Also on tap for the day are Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler's (Suede) new band, The Tears and Montreal's The Dears (ironically scheduled at the same time.)

I know that in Minneapolis right now it's just before 9 AM. And that means it's time for me to have another beer.