March 11, 2012
We rolled into the little hamlet of Mezzago, about 45 km outside Milan, with a couple hours to spare. Rested from our long boat ride, we were greeted with a sunny day, pretty and friendly people, and an easy, flat load-in with plenty of help. While we were setting up, we had access to unlimited proper Italian espresso, sandwiches, and the works. They had a great Belgian beer on tap that I loved. So far, so good.
Mezzago is a pretty little town of about 35,000. Bloom is a venue that seems to be part of a community centre. There’s an old movie theater and dance studio on top (where our dressing rooms were) and a little bookstore with cool Italian hipster-liberal selections and vegan snacks in the front downstairs corner of the venue. The vibe was great. Next door was some kind of gathering of senior citizens, lots of older folks standing around jawing it up and going in and out.
After we got set, Aquiles and I spent some time repairing the hi-hat again, and then we had plenty of time to kill, as we had a late start to the show. I took a nap, then hung around in the sun chatting with Mike and Eric over espresso. Not bad.
We all did a quick soundcheck and made way for the local band that was also on the bill. While they soundchecked, we tasted some of the brews they had on tap, and Tony’s and band played foosball loudly. I declined, as competing with Tony in any contest that involves hand-eye coordination is a losing bet. Eric, Mike and I had some brews and conversation with Paul and Gary (who doesn’t drink), our drivers (they are badass). They are both great guys, and a lot of fun. After the local guys (Luca Princiotta) finished soundcheck, we all sat down to dinner.
It was a family-style affair, and everybody in all the bands and crew sat down together. There was a delicious table wine, pasta, cheese, Italian meats, arugula and mozzarella (fresh), salad, you name it. We ate until our eyes bulged. It was really pretty cool to yuk it up with everyone.
The show went ok – Mike’s guitar had a bass head fall on it in the trailer, and it was giving him some problems. I had a hard time concentrating, but we had fun. The crowd really loved it. Tony and band had a tough night, but soldiered on with a good attitude. Afterward, we did a quick breakdown and shower situation, and a little of the lounge hang before bed. Overall, a fantastic day.
Next stop: Pratteln, Switzerland.