We wake up in Amsterdam, say hello to a floppy cat, and before we know it, breakfast is before us. Our host has set us up with a lovely meal of various types of bread, jam, Dutch gouda cheese, and homemade espresso. The generosity of the people who have been putting us up has been wonderful, and we are so grateful!
Then we’re off, headed to Köln for our first of three shows in Germany. I take the wheel again for a little bit. After accidentally peeling out in a Belgian parking lot, I am good to go. I have the hang of highway driving now, at least.
Our drive to Köln is one of our shorter ones so far, and we arrive to the venue with plenty of time to set up and for soundcheck. After that, we have some free time to hang out at the venue and have some snacks and beers from the green room. It feels like the first time I’ve had down time all tour, and I immediately feel relaxed.
By the looks of it, the venue could easily be a new hip bar in Philadelphia. It’s very clean and nicely lit, with exposed brick columns and designs on the walls made of reclaimed wood that tow the line between interior design and art installation. One of the walls has a projector facing it that projects outlines onto the pieces of wood that are attached to the wall. Every once in a while, the outlines wiggle.
Screaming Females is playing with Moaning, a band that is coincidentally enough from Los Angeles. They are a friendly bunch, and we all hang out in the backyard of the venue. The bands have the whole backyard area to themselves, and the green room is a separate structure made out of reused ocean containers. It’s all very well-put together, the food is amazing, and our host Ben is super nice. Köln the city has a similar vibe. Everything seems very organized and tidy, but there is lots of art and graffiti everywhere. Köln satisfies something deep within my psyche, but somehow, it all seems too perfect. Add “things that seem too perfect” to the list of things that freak me out, right after “bathrooms”.
Once the doors open, fans are streaming in with surprises. One fan brings an amazing painting on canvas of Marissa that his mother made, and he wants to ask the band to sign it. I hold it behind the merch stand for him and people ask me if it’s a poster we have for sale. Some fans from Russia show up as well! Then, someone shows up with a vat of strawberries, hands it to me, and walks away. It all happens too fast for me to say “Danke,” so all I come up with is “thank you!”
Moaning opens up the show with their set of gothy indie rock/pop songs, with guitar, bass, and drums, and also synth and drum samples.
Next, Screaming Females play to a packed room. The crowd seems rather polite but are still grooving and cheering. I finally succeed in taking some decent Polaroids of the show, so I am satisfied. The crowd chants for an encore, and the band obliges with Hopeless. We have a great night of selling merch even though we are almost completely out of T-shirts. People really want to collect as many Screaming Females LPs as possible.
At the end of the night we hang out with Ben a bit and tell stories about Death By Audio, a beloved DIY venue in Brooklyn that was forced to close after Vice Magazine turned their building into its headquarters. One time, Screaming Females played a Halloween show at Death By Audio, and the show organizers had turned the entire venue into a maze that people had to find their way through in order to reach the stage where the band was performing. Finally, by the end of the night, people went rogue and tore down the maze. The band was worried that the artists who built the maze would be upset, but it turned out that destruction was all part of the master plan.
At the end of the night, we walk through Köln with Moaning to our hostel. It’s a nice, tidy little spot. Have I mentioned those adjectives about Köln yet?