Tony MacAlpine European Tour Part 15: The Neutral Zone

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We played on March 12, 2012, in Pratteln, Switzerland, at a small club called Galery. Here Agent Cooper turned in her best show of the tour so far, in a club attached to a Swiss PetCo. Go figure.

March 12, 2012

Pratteln, Switzerland

After a fairly short drive, we woke up in Switzerland parked next to a big venue called Z7. This is the big sister venue to the one we played, Galery Z7. Here we stayed till 1 pm, so we went in to use the bathroom and then Tony, Mike and I went exploring. We wandered into a Swiss Costco and were promptly redirected to the local IKEA, which suited us fine.

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We had a delicious lunch and got back into the bus, which then rolled to the venue. Galery is on the top level of a shopping complex, with a Home Depot situation on the bottom, discount clothing and some other stuff. We put the gear on a lift and went up to the venue, which shared a foyer with a Swiss PetCo and a Swiss BestBuy. We started rolling in gear and were immediately berated by the club manager, that the food was getting cold and we must eat NOW. We tried to reason with her, but it wasn’t happening so we gave up and ate. The food and hospitality here were good, but they didn’t wash the plates all that well. No restaurant in the US would serve food on those plates.

As we were setting up, we learned that we couldn’t soundcheck until after the aforementioned BestBuy and PetCo closed, which was 7 pm. Doors for the show were supposed to be 7 pm. We all just shrugged. After we set up, everybody just chilled for like 4 hours. I took a nap.

Dinner was at 6 pm, and then I got a shower. Soundcheck was very short, and Daniel started almost immediately afterward. Right before our soundcheck, Aquiles introduced me to the Paiste artist rep, Christian, who was very nice. We did a picture and all, Aquiles is really trying to get me a hookup. What a cool dude.

And then unexpectedly, Agent Cooper turns in a blistering performance. The crowd went nuts. It’s not like we’ve sucked this whole tour, but this was the show where we were finally ALL able to transcend the constant feedback, shitty mix, and crappy monitors and just serve it up. The opinion amongst the band was pretty unanimous. It felt great.

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Likewise, Tony and company hammered into their set. Earlier I’d noticed a large projection screen on the wall that displayed the dB of the room. Christian had explained that the legal limit was 100 dB. Both of our bands hovered between 102 and 106 dB the entire time. For you non-audio types, an increase of 3 dB sounds twice as loud as your starting volume. During Tony’s set, the venue manager (same lady that yelled at us to eat) freaked out on Mike so much, that he just left. I babysat the stage for the second half of the show, which was uneventful from a tech standpoint, but was ROCKING. They were really feeling it and kicking ass.

After the show I was just dragging ass during load-out. I pushed through it, but there was no long hang over booze in the lounge. We had a glass or two of wine and I went to sleep in my clothes. Uncharacteristically, I slept for eight hours before the bus stopped for gas in Montpellier, and I got some sandwiches at this squeaky clean gas station. The weather is GORGEOUS. Five more hours then the bus parks in Barcelona for the night for tomorrow’s show. That’s right, a day off in Barcelona.

Next stop: Barcelona, Spain.

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