Report from Europe, November 2006

I’m writing this from the plane on my flight back to Seattle. Why isn’t this technology available on all flights? …And remote highways, city centers, truck stops, hotels (especially hotels), and every venue we play for that matter? Most importantly – just like it is right now – WIFI should always be FREE. We just finished our European tour. John dropped Nabil, Eric, Jared (our beloved sound guy), and myself off at the Brussels airport this morning. I’ll give you a little wrap up of the European tour:

We played a few shows by ourselves the first week. Utrecht and Hamburg were definitely highlights. Utrecht is vastly underrated: think Venice, but Dutch. An absolutely gorgeous city. Most everyone was riding bicycles. I was so happy to see entire families biking each other to their respective jobs/schools during the morning rush hour. In Hamburg we serendipitously happened upon the music shop where the Beatles bought all their gear when they were doing the infamous gigs at the Star Club.

The second week, we joined up with Keane. Our first gig with them was also our first gig in Paris. The show went wonderfully. The crowd’s reaction was better than anything we could have asked for and the show set the pace for the entire tour. It was a treat to introduce our music to so many new people each night. Keane and their crew were so accommodating, gracious, and fun we really didn’t want our time with them to end. Did I mention the catering? Well, every venue should have a juice bar: rock and carrot-ginger-apple juice go hand in hand. A massive thank you to Keane and their fans for receiving us so warmly.

We left the comfort of the big stage for our own shows the final week. Someone must have spiked the sauerkraut in Munich because it was quite possibly the funnest, most-rockin show of this particular L-dubs lineup. Don’t let anyone tell you German crowds are docile. I think there was some kind of unspoken dance-off between the band and the audience. Well, Nabil won, but the audience really tore it up. Vienna will go down as having the most ingenious club of the tour. Flex is below street level and directly on the Danube river canal. The back of the stage is composed of a cube of 20 or so television screens. The soundboard is craned from the main floor to a little cubby in the ceiling – to make space on the dance floor on DJ nights. Take Mad Max and combine it with a Kraftwerk video, a little bit of ‘City of Lost Children’ and you’ll get an idea for the interior. All brushed steel and glass. Oh–and the subway runs along the backside of the club (the roar of the trains as they pass providing ever more industrial ambience). It’s killer. We didn’t get to play in Prague, but we did make a stop there, and I’m telling you – go. Really.

Thanksgiving we spent at a Chinese restaurant in Utrecht. Peking duck is a mighty fine sub for turkey. We also discovered a kick-butt game you can play with a video camera and a lazy Susan. It’s been 4 months of touring for john and 2 and a half months for the rest of us. I can genuinely say that having your smiling faces in the audience, saying hello to us after the shows, and sending us Myspace and email love really helped us keep going. Truly, truly. A massive thank you to each and everyone one of you. Now we get to rest. Well, there’s one more show, but it’s a hometown thing at the University of Washington. Be on the lookout for new tour dates in late-winter, early-spring. Happy Holidays! –Jonathan