27.5.2018 – Sugar Factory, Amsterdam NE; BlackBoxRed; Screaming Females

We wake up in Paris and quickly hit the road. Our hotel is pretty different than a typical U.S. hotel. It’s more like a hostel, with shared bathrooms in the hallway. I’m a little freaked out by the bathrooms because each stall is in its own windowless closet, like an airplane bathroom.

I’m edgy about the bathrooms because recently I had gotten locked in the bathroom in my own house and had to break myself out. After attempting and failing to take the door lock apart using a set of doll-sized miniature tools that my friend Dawn had sent me (side note: I love miniatures), and that I had coincidentally displayed decoratively on a shelf in the bathroom, I ended up having to break the door down by kicking it. So I’m feeling a little claustrophobic, and also a bit worried that I am developing a phobia of bathrooms. A very inconvenient phobia indeed.

So, oddly enough, I am am looking forward to gas station bathroom stalls. Even though they usually cost 50 cents to use.

This brings me to something that has been on my mind for a while now. You see, every time we stop at a rest stop, all of the members of Screaming Females have a routine that has always seemed weird to me. They all just automatically go in, get whatever they want, and meet back at the van. There’s no discussion about this routine, or conversation about what food items look the most appetizing once inside the rest stop. Everyone just does their thing, with no dilly-dallying. I’m used to it by now, but it always has felt strange to me because I’m the person who always wants to wander and check out everything in the store and crack jokes about weird ads. But now I’ve accepted that this is the ritual of seasoned road dogs.

We arrive to the venue in Amsterdam early, but a fan is there waiting for us, and he came all the way from Slovakia! He explains that his sister lives in Amsterdam, so he is often here, but he is really excited to have made the trip this weekend to see Screaming Females. He brought gifts for everyone including a bunch of wooden tulips for Marissa!

We manage to get a little walking time in, and stop in a coffeeshop that is called “The Dolphin.” Its walls are completed covered in murals and 3D faux sea creatures. Good to be home in Amsterdam.

Back at the venue, the merch stand is poppin’ off before I even have a chance to finish setting everything up. I get things straightened out as the first band is playing their set. They’re called BlackboxRed and they sound cool. Just two people in the band, and they have teched-out drum parts and samples. The vocals are emotionally intense with a note of Sleater-Kinney in there.

Screaming Females take the stage after that, and ease into their set with It All Means Nothing. At first I’m not sure if this crowd is going to be as excited as the crowd has been at every other show so far. But by the time the song revs up to the chorus, people start boppin’ around, and then when Marissa rips into an extended guitar solo they are eating out of the palm of her hand for the rest of the set.

At the end of the night the promoter, Marijie, puts us up in her lovely apartment in Amsterdam. No late-night Amsterdam party life for us – we’re all passed out by midnight.