The Tour Blog - MONTH: June, 2012

Italy times three and Graspop Metal Meeting

Last week we made three club shows in Italy and then the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium. I'll spare you the boring negative rants about early flights, long drives in a minivan without a working AC and all that stuff…

Italy then: Well, one can say that Italy has a special place in the Nasum history as it was in Cremona the "last" Nasum show (with Miezsko, that is) was held. It was a good weekend together with Regurgitate and friends. Not too unexpected, some people who were at that show came to these three shows as well, and it is as always a joy to meet long time fans. It's fun to meet new fans as well, but some of you should at least learn my first name if you want to get my attention. I'm not called Jacobs or Andres! But never mind that.

As a direct support on these three shows we had the pleasure of having Singapore's Wormrot. These guys gave the audiences an aural bashing with their super tight and entertaining grindcore. I get vibes from both old Napalm Death and Assück when I hear them and they are definitively one of the best "new" grindcore bands around these days. I hope our paths meet again!

The two first shows in Milano and Rome were slightly disappointing when it came to the sheer number of visitors. They were far from packed, but obviously we were very happy about the people who showed up that were totally into it. This changed at the last show in Bologna which was held at a huge squat with a large yard and a smaller venue. Loads of people and the temperature in the venue even beat the legendary hot show at Maryland Deathfest! The overall temperature in Italy during these days was quite high for some frozen Northern grinders as ourselves, but it was nothing compared to the burning heat in that venue! We had to cut three songs towards the end to be able to finish the show without either passing out or bursting into flames. Too bad because it was one of those shows that could have kept on forever.

To close this part of this story, I'd like to say a sincere graze mille to our very punctual and secure driver in Italy - Gianluca.



The Graspop stage from a different view.

A flight later and we were in Belgium attending the huge Graspop Metal Meeting. This is one of those festivals that is almost too big, and although we played at the smallest stage, it still was bigger than what other festivals have to offer as their main stage. GMM is a festival that has been around for ages and the organization is top notch. No complains there. Brutal Truth played at our stage just before us so it was quite fun to see these guys again, all though just for a brief moment. After us Ihsahn played, which turned some people in the Nasum touring party into little fanboys when the very friendly ex-Emperor guitar player turned up backstage. I had a very unexpected brief meeting with someone from Agathocles, which really closed the circle on this 20th anniversary Farewell tour.

Some irritating technical glitches on stage made the show suffering a bit. Hopefully it wasn't that obvious for the audience, but I think we all felt that we could have performed better. As always it was fun, but unfortunately not one of the best shows so far.

Next up: Sweden's biggest festival in Borlänge and With Full Force in Germany, where we have an extremely late stage time at 02.45, so get some sleep during the day if you plan to see us there...

A swinish greeting from Nasum

Peace and Love wanted a video greeting from Nasum, so we recorded one backstage at Graspop and let a pig do the talking. English translation below...



"Hello! Here I am hanging out backstage - obviously - with Nasum. They are getting ready for Peace & Love, this coming Thursday. Yup. Then they will grind as pigs!"

Hellfest and Metaltown (updated with video link)

Although we had our first taste of the European festival season at the end of the US trip with the quick stop at FortaRock in Holland, it felt like we got into it for real during last weekend's visits to Hellfest and Metalfest.

The negative thing about Hellfest is that it's a fucking drag to get there! We took insanely early flights from Stockholm and Helsinki and landed in Paris, which is something like six hours away from Clisson. One quite uncomfortable van ride later and we arrived pretty much in time to our "riser access", which is a couple of hours before the show when we can set up the drums and amps and stuff behind the stage. Compared to a fifteen minute change over, this is luxury!

After the Mr and Mrs Gasmask stunt at the Örebro show our booking agent got flooded with requests from different promoters urging us to repeat it at their festivals. Hellfest was one of those, so we dressed up our tour manager in the male gear and had a French - I guess - girl, whose name I didn't catch, stand in as the bride. So they did their little play and then we went up on stage and did the biggest Nasum show ever (so far). We estimate that 10,000 people saw us (which is about 100 times the amount of people who saw us at Billy O's in Ventura). Amazing!



We were a little bit rusty due to the two week break, but we had lots of fun. Apparently Terrorizer Magazine liked what they saw as Lee MacBride wrote in their blog: "While Taake set the bar for the day's performance, Nasum followed it up with what could well be one of the best performances of the weekend. It was a full blown aural assault that left us physically shaken. We're still recovering!"

And then Olivier "Zoltar" Badin said some nice stuff about us in his "Video Croissant":



After chilling out for an hour and a half we got into the van again and repeated the six hour drive and ended up at an airport hotel at 03.30 or something, with an early lobby call next morning... Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll? No: van, grind and van again...

Update: Here's the ENTIRE show at Hellfest pro-shot with multiple cameras... Enjoy!

The following day we shared "gates" at the Paris airport with both Integrity and Turbonegro, but that was quickly shadowed by sharing the flight from Copenhagen (where we had a lay over) to Gothenburg with Slayer! Totally absurd! Anyway, Metaltown is thankfully actually in Gothenburg so the van ride was considerably shorter and we even had some time at the festival before the riser access. Yet again we did the Mr and Mrs Gasmask thing with the original couple, but it almost didn't happen. Virtually two minutes before the intro started we realized that one of the gasmasks were missing, but Janne did an Usain Bolt impression and quickly ran back and forth to the backstage tent where the missing gasmask was located!

The beginning of the show got struck by some technical difficulties as Jesper's bass suddenly was out of order, despite working perfectly at the line check just ten minutes earlier. So we had an unfortunate break just after the first song, and when we got cracking again Urban broke a string... Shit happens, but then we rapidly got back into the grind groove again.

From a personal point of view I had a tough time during the first half of the set. My left arm was very tired from the night before (again - that two week break is to blame) and I had aching calf muscles, which I never get from drumming. In hindsight I blame the 12 hours in the van where I had to sit in a very strange position due to some weird table riser in the van floor...

Anyway, yet again it was a fun show in a packed tent. We met a lot of friends and other bands. For instance, we exchanged some words with Bill and Brann from Mastodon, who both were present - as Today Is The Day members - during the first Nasum tour in 1999. The press were also present and Sweden's biggest newpaper Aftonbladet gave the show four out of five. Not bad!

Although the big festivals have their charm, we all feel quite good about doing three club shows in Italy next along with a stop at Graspop in Belgium. But that's to be expanded on another time.

Behind the scenes: Creating a setlist

During the preparations for this Farewell tour, creating the setlist was one tricky problem to solve, which demanded trial and error in the rehearsal room, endless email discussions, a minor genocide of darlings, a democratic vote, an Excel document, and ultimately post-it's and a window before we felt satisfied.

We rehearsed something like 40-45 songs, which were trimmed down to about 32 which we kept on rehearsing without having any particular order. In time an order materialized but it was obviously a way too long set for a grind show. We needed to get rid of a few more songs and had a vote in the rehearsal room where we all picked our 20 favorites. The ever so industrious Keijo did some of his Excel magic and we felt not particularly grindcore staring at a lap top with some titles and numbers. But it was electronic democracy and we got rid of a few more songs.

We kept rehearsing and got closer and closer to a final setlist, but still there were things that didn't work and I took some initiative and made a few suggestions between two rehearsal weekends. This really got the ball rolling and we got to the final setlists by going old school:



When I created my suggestions I wrote our different blocks of songs on post-it notes and stood by my window and shifted the notes. I left them up so we could do the final shifts together. And so we did. Finally we had one 45 minutes setlist and one for 60 minutes. They are basically the same with some smaller differences.

The longer one was played at the first show, and the shorter on the other gigs with some encores. But just a few shows into the US tour we started to alter the setlist, so apparently what worked so fine in the rehearsal room didn't really do it live.

Early on in this project I expressed a wish to have multiple setlists that would use songs from a buffer of 50 songs, to make each and every show a little unique and to keep things interesting for me. Well, I was the only one with this wish, but we've done some ad-libing and variations already so even though we have a "written" setlist, it's not entirely set in stone.

I've kept track of the variations so far, and after the tour is over I will post the setlists for ALL shows...

As for the content of the setlist, i.e. the songs, we've made sure that the entire career of Nasum is covered, at least when it comes to the albums. We play a few songs that have never been played before live, and although we probably disappoint some fans by not playing their favorite tracks we feel that we have a good collection of songs to play each night.

Videos, videos, videos and more videos!

I hope you all haven't missed the video page where we have collected all the YouTube clips from the shows that we've found so far.

We started with individual clips but as that rapidly became quite a hassle, we have collected the clips in playlists sorted by show, and we add stuff to the playlists all of the time.

Unfortunately we lack clips from a few shows, to be exact:
• May 19 @ Now That’s Class - Cleveland, OH (US)
• May 24 @ Europa - New York, NY (US)
• May 26 @ Highline - Seattle, WA (US)
• May 27 @ Branx - Portland, OR (US)
• May 29 @ Billy O’s - Ventura, CA (US)
• May 31 @ Chaos in Tejas - Austin, TX (US)

So if you have any - upload them and send us the links, or if you find any - send us the links @ farewell@nasum.com.

Update one hour later

A clip from Billy O's came in the mailbox and we really need to share it. By all means the most intimate Nasum show ever... (Songs are "Scoop" and "Bullshit")

Part two of week two of the US/Canadian tour ...with an European bonus

The first part of the Farewell tour is over. We've been back in Sweden and Finland for a couple of days, catching up with the normal life and getting rid of the last traces of the jetlag. We are obviously recharging our collective batteries for next weekend when we start the European festival season for real with Hellfest in France and Metaltown in Sweden. But enough about the future now, and back to the US...

Where were we? Oh yes, last time we were in Portland, Oregon. We left the Northwest and our driver Jeff and his dog and took a short flight down to Oakland, California where we were met by our next driver, Jeremy, who had a mohawk and the skinniest legs I have ever seen. Apart from being a solid driver with a squeeky van, Jeremy doubled as our merchguy for the California dates. In Oakland our tour manager Greg had gotten us a really nice hotel down by the water just a few minutes from the Metro venue. This magnificent setting was only slightly disturbed by a loud honking train that passed through the city just a few yards away every ten minutes.


Setting up at the Metro in Oakland.

Anyway, at the Metro we were joined by our next main support band, Landmine Marathon, who generously shared their backline with us. The venue was a huge warehouse and apparently a little bit large for us this evening. The show was good, but not one of the best on the tour. In the crowd was a girl from Örebro who lives in Oakland now, which was quite odd but obviously fun.

The following day we had a monstrous 7-8 hour drive along the coast to reach Ventura. By this time in the tour we've gotten quite accustomed to long drives and particularly to sleep through them in some odd and inconvenient position. I don't remember much of the drive apart from a really nice stop at Refugio State Beach. Very nice and definitively something else that a damp venue in some slightly seedy part of a town.


A drummer at a beach. Inge krångel.

Well in Ventura we were somewhat stunned by Billy O's which was nothing else but a bar with barely any room for people and the smallest stage ever. No back room or anything so the bands had to assemble their gear on the sidewalk OUTSIDE... Why on Earth were we booked at this place? In the end the actual show turned out to be one of my personal favorites on the tour - small and very intimate, but most of all fun as hell! To say the least - the US tour took us to all kinds of venues.


Intimate show at Billy O's. Hey, that rhymed!

After the show we drove down to Long Beach, Los Angeles and stayed at the same hotel for two nights with a show at The Black Castle between the nights. Now, I don't know how many people told us to be very careful at The Black Castle... "It's a scary neighborhood - don't bring any valuables..." That sure made us paranoid to say the least. I left everything but a few dollars at the hotel room and hoped for the best but expected the worst. But the neighborhood wasn't particularly scary. Nothing happened and we could do the final show in California without any problem. In fact, the scariest thing that happened was when I accidentally dropped one of my hi-hat cymbals so it ended up UNDER the stage, impossible to reach by hand. In the end I had to crawl in some nasty shit and use a two-by-four to reach it. Yuk!

On this final show we were joined by the legendary Nausea which was really cool and our show was good. Jon barfed two times on stage without missing a note, a rare talent indeed. By that our time with Landmine Marathon and Jeremy was over and we thank them a lot for their help.

One early domestic flight later and we were in Texas and were met by yet another driver, this time the lovely Maggie. Texas was as expected hot but fortunately the hotel was nice and cool and the Red 7 venue was just a few steps away. Little things like this makes touring a lot easier. But the heat cooled off in time for our gig and the stage was covered in fans (the mechanical ones, that is...) so Maryland Deathfest remains the hottest show on the tour! Chaos in Tejas became something of a reunion as our merchguy from the first week, Jamie, returned, but this time as a stage manager, and Massgrave also played and after the show the guys from Dropdead had arrived. Nice to see some familiar faces again. Massgrave's singers Lenny and Woody joined us on stage and did "I see lies" by themselves leaving Keijo free to do some crowd surfing and during "Inhale/Exhale" their drummer Hesher came up and helped out with the vocals. A good ending to an exceptionally good US/Canadian tour!

A bunch of thank you's are in order, so first and foremost thank you Greg and John who were with us during the entire run as tour manager and sound guy, and thanks Jamie for your work and the improvised tour of Philadelphia, and thanks Erik, Jeff, Jeremy and Maggie for your driving skills, and thank you Brutal Truth, Dropdead, Massgrave, Black Breath, Landmine Marathon and Nausea and all you other bands that shared the stages with us. We love you all and will miss you!

...but the trip didn't end there. We had one stop left before we got home. After a hellish day of traveling - a domestic flight to Washington, and then a long continental flight to Amsterdam we got to Nijmegen, Holland at 10:30 in the morning (after loosing half a day in timezones) and tried to gather some strength for the first of many European festival shows. The show at FortaRock was scheduled at 3 in the afternoon and four and a half hours earlier none of us were in a particularly good condition to play some grind for the Dutch people, but it was just a matter of getting some rest, some food and bring forth the last drop of energy. One refreshing factor was that we were joined by our all Finnish crew Janne, Hannes and Antti, who were all nice to see again. The actual show was large in a packed tent but not 100% on the Nasum performance scale due to some mishaps and a terrible stage sound.


Dressing room door at FortaRock.

Shortly after the show we packed up our stuff and went back to the Amsterdam airport and traveled home. All in all we spent only half of a day in Holland. Weird.

That's it - the first part of the tour. 16 shows done and still many more to come... Stay tuned for more postings in this blog...

One final note though: I'm not lying when I say that there obviously has been some worries in the band before the tour started. Have we made the right choice, will people accept Nasum 2012? Well, judging from the reception so far, people seems to like us and one comment on Facebook really nailed it: "It was a good call to do the tour". Spot on!

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