Archive for the Travels Category

Typical British Weather

Posted in Travels, Uncategorized on November 12, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So the last day came upon us. Nathan went up rather early in the morning to catch his bus, which was well understandable. Already at 7, he left. Niki drove him to the busstation and then came back to sleep for another hour before we went down and had our last hotel breakfast for this time.

She was kind enough to drive me to the airport in Manchester, so we did spend a wee bit of time there. I went shopping, or more, looking for a specific item one last time, and then we had one last dinner at Pizza Hut before parting ways at the airport.

The flight was a little bit delayed because of you know, passengers being passengers, so I missed my bus by two minutes. Lucky me, there was another one in two hours, so I just sat down, had my favorite espresso house drink and then enjoyed a quiet and uneventful ride home.

This was a well needed vacation, and I can’t wait to do it again!

// Sara

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Alice Cooper @ First Direct Arena, Leeds, United Kingdom 11/11 -17

Posted in Concerts, Music, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , on November 11, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So it was time. It was the D-day. Lazy, I guess, as we were, we got up as late as possible to still make it to breakfast, although we made it in different… times. Niki was first down, then I followed and I really tried my hardest to make Nathan come, but he was too tired or something.

So, Niki and I enjoyed a nice breakfast, and we were indeed joined by Nathan at the time. He came last, but also left first so he could take a shower. You readers may remember, Nathan takes a few hours or so in the shower.

Once everybody was done and ready, we headed off to town to check out the city. There was a German christmas market going on, and as well as some additional shopping. We then settled for Wagamama for some dinner, which was delish! We made our way back to the hotel – even if it was a bit of a walk, it was a fairly easy way, gladly. In the elevator there were some people we thought were going to Cooper, so Nathan said “Let’s play a game, everyone seeing Cooper tonight raise your hands” and we got it confirmed. Was in fact a lot of Cooper people in the lobby.

Got a quick change and make up done at the hotel and then we headed back the same way toward the venue. The whole area surronding the venue was cut off, and it was extensive controls before getting in, but do you know what I love? The feeling of no rush or stress to get in. We had our seats, and we didn’t have to worry about a damn thing.

We headed straight for the merchandise and Niki and I picked up some merch before heading into the venue to find our seats and casually looking at the supportbands. I’m sorry, but I won’t be writing about them as I wasn’t really paying that much attention. The Tubes and The Mission was the support bands though!

Before Alice Cooper, or perhaps it was before The Mission, I did a Katy Perry and went outside to get popcorn and a cola. I mean, if I’m gonna sit here I might as well make the most of it right? Except on Katy Perry I didn’t have any seats, I just had the popcorn in front of me.

We saw the backdrop, or perhaps the curtain, for Alice Cooper being risen and we just got so goddamn excited. This show, we knew it was going to be one hell of a show.

And then.. the arena went dark and the intro “Spend the night” started echoing.

Alice Cooper

He opened up with “Brutal Planet”, much similar to earlier this year, and then continued into “Under My Wheels”. Seriously, Alice Cooper is indeed among the bands I’ve seen live the most, but for some reason I get childishly excited whenever I see him. Perhaps it’s because of the rarity.

Backdrop change, and next song “Lost in America” was delivered to us in a perfect way, and then continued with “Pain”, which was a bit of a surprise if you ask me! This was such a dream, this show. It is nothing but amazing to see Alice Cooper live.

We had seats quite high up, in the back, but I honestly didn’t mind. The seated people on the floor ended up standing up, so it was probably just as well that we were sitting this high up to be honest. “Department of Youth” and “The World Needs Guts” followed suit, by “Woman of mass Distraction”.

And after that, Hurricane Nita got to show off her skills, and seriously – this woman. She’s something else. I love her stage prescence and showmanship. She’s amazing. The guitarsolo wound up in “Poison”, and later one of the more amazing surprises for the night – “Halo of Flies”, which also featured a drumsolo by no one less than Glen Sobel.

“Feed My Frankenstein” was next on the list, followed by “Cold Ethyl”, and to my big surprise, and happiness I may say, “Only Women Bleed” was next. It was not yesterday I heard that song live, that is for sure.

“Paranoiac Personality” off the new album followed suit, and then “Ballad of Dwight Fry”. As you can see, a pretty normal setlist of Alice Cooper with some occasional easter eggs. “Killer” and “I Love the Dead” followed suit together with the execution… and then the arena went black.

And Nathan just hit my leg and was like “YOU WANT TO KEEP THAT CAMERA ROLLING” so I turned it on again. Which was great, because this was the entrance of the original members.

“I’m Eighteen” is usually a song I have a hate love relationship to. Because this was the only song that I repeatedly rehearsed with my band. But tonight? With the original bandmembers? Magical. Absolutely magical.

“Billion Dollar Babies” was next on the set, followed by “No More Mr Nice Guy” and “Muscle of Love” before also the current line up joined the originals to end up an amazing show with “Schools Out”. What a line up, what a set up. It’s hard to grasp, you know?

Seriously… this was beyond magic. Hearing Alice Cooper introduce all the bandmembers, all the current as well as the OG’s…. that was just. I can’t believe I got to witness this. It’s beyond me, really.

After the show, we headed straight back home, had one last drink together in the hotel bar before going to bed.

// Sara

Blind and Frozen

Posted in Travels, Uncategorized on November 9, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So! On it again, and this time I headed over to the United Kingdom, it’s been some time since last. Or actually, it hasn’t. Only like nine months ago. Which is quite some time now that I think about it.

Got on the bus at five in the morning, got perhaps one or two hours of sleep, jumped on the plane around 10 – it was quite uneventful if you ask me. A bit ahead of time. The drama started once landed, in fact. First and foremost, Nathan and I struggled to find each other. Finally though, we did and headed off to our normal place to eat – McDonalds. It’s just, we always eat there. It’s that simple, really.

Nathan was a bit of a tight time schedule, as he was attending and playing an event, so sooner rather than later we made our way to our hotel. Or tried, anyway. Firstly, we took the tube all the way to Heathrow, as our hotel is located by Heathrow. So, we get there, and then we try to order an Uber after realizing it’ll be hell trying to get there with the bus right now. Said and done.

After ten minutes, the uber was still five minutes away, and then six, and finally, after 15-20 minutes he shows up, only to say he thought it was cancelled, because he got into an accident – an accident that left no visible marks what so ever on his car. He even tried to check the inside of the door to see if it was damaged, but honey, if your car isn’t damaged on the outside it’s not gonna be on the inside.

So, what happened is that he refused to drive us because of this – so we ended up taking a taxi instead. The driver has been reported to Uber though, so don’t worry about it. Taxi, checked into the hotel and then Nathan took off right away to the event, and I laid down to rest. I wasn’t feeling too well, sadly.

Once I started feeling better, I headed out to London for some very light shopping. Pretty much just stopped by two or so stores.

Firstly, I picked up a oven-glove or mitten or what you call it, which is something I actually lack at home. And two bottles of the face cleaner / make up remover. I need more of that stuff.

Secondly I got some christmas decorations. I need to start in time, so I don’t stress myself out too much.

The most purchases though, were done at Primark.

A smaller makeup bag to use when I got so shows that requires less make up and equipment to be brought, to optimize packing better, and second is tights with diamonds on it. How nice?!

Socks! And a lot of them. It’s different variations of winter socks, as well as a 7-pack of camo-patterend socks. Sabaton socks, also known as.

Plain blue top, my favorite color, and a cute tshirt with a penguin on it. I love it, really.

This is probably my personal favorite purchase. It’s a green/yellow knitted cardigan, and it pretty much has my name written all over it. How amazing isn’t that?

Once done, I found Nathan again and we picked up some late night food and headed home to the hotelroom for a drink and preparing for tomorrow, as we embark a seven hour journey to Leeds.

// Sara

Battle Beast @ Folkets Park, Huskvarna 3/11 – 17

Posted in Concerts, Music, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 3, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, back in the saddle and on it again. Or more like, back in my wonderful absolutely amazing little tourcar, and heading down toward Huskvarna. This is a city and a venue I’ve never been in before, but after driving to Sweden Rock so many times, I actually almost found my way to Jönköping by default. How amazing isn’t that huh?

The drive was quite uneventful to be honest, a lot of headbanging and just cruising to my destionation, which was a MAX hamburger restaurant in Jönköping. I had gotten a lot of those discount coupons, and for once, they arrived at the time when I was actually IN NEED of them – like actually going to use them. How amazeballs isn’t that?

After a quick food and make up break,  I headed off all the way to Huskvarna. You know, those all long five minutes it takes to travel from the specific restaurant in question to the venue.

Once at the venue, I was lucky enough to get a parking spot right at the venue and from there I was just very very confused. It has like a gazillion buildings, or well, three, so I had to send Jonathan photos of everything like “where do I go from here” and eventually I found the little house, where I found some people working that told me that that specific building was the venue, and that the doors open in two hours. So now we wait.

Jonathan and his friend showed up rather quickly, and we hung around for a bit. They went in to check out the merch, some more friends joined in and we had a jolly good time before the doors opened. Once the doors opened, we ran, well, more walked in and took our spots in the front row of this tiny little venue.

It is like one of those vintage dance halls in facts, round in shape and all in wood. I loved it. Time passed quickly, and Rexoria stepped on stage.

Rexoria

Rexoria is a local band from the area, Jönköping to be more exact, and they delivered a pretty good set. You could kind of tell they were from the area as they had quite som fans in the crowd. I enjoyed their set a lot, and on top of that they played a new song from their upcoming album.

After this, the wait began and sooner rather than later, Dynazty took the stage.

Dynazty

They opened up ever as energetically with “Run Amok”, and the response from the audience was pretty good if you ask me. They followed rather quickly with “The Northern End”, which, as you know, is my personal favorite song of them. I could seriously travel all over just to see them play this song. Over and over again.

Just as previously “Raise Your Hands” followed suit and then “Roar of the Underdog”. The energy and mood seemed to be quite a little better today if I may say so, as “Incarnation” roared out of the speakers. I love this song no less as I did a few days ago – perfect for live.

Artistic break followed by “The Human Paradox”, “Titanic Mass” and then wrapping the set up with “Startlight” ended the, for me, last show with Dynazty for this tour. I can’t believe it’s already over. I wish and hope they start touring a little more soon. I can’t get enough of this band.

And once they were done, they started shifting the gear, which was a little bit smaller today, which isn’t so weird – smaller venue you know. What I really hated this time, was the douchebag who showed up about when Dynazty was done, and started pressing in, almost squeezing Susanna out of her spot. COME IN TIME PEOPLE. The people in the front has usually waited hours, so leave them be!

Battle Beast

In estimated time, they came on stage and opened strongly, probably stronger than in Stockholm, with “Straight To The Heart” and then launching us into “Bringer of Pain”.

And there was a very, very good vibe in the audience, already from the start, and it got even better for “Familiar Hell”. Stockholm got nothing on these Jönköping-people.

“Into the Heart of Danger” was the next song, then followed by “We Will Fight” which seemed to be quite the crowdpleaser, before we lost pretty much all of the control we might have had in “Let it Roar”. The audience was a bit.. well, drunk I guess. A lot of annoying people, but I guess you just have to live with that right?

“Black Ninja” was next song to be ripped off, and seriously, this song live is nothing but amazement. There’s nothing quite like just stopping for a moment and the absolutely losing it in a deep headbanging beat. There’s a few bands who has songs like that, but there’s nothing quite like it.

Beautiful little moment in “Far From Heaven” before returning to seriousness in “Lost in Wars”. This song has come to grow so much on me, the more I hear it. Not only live, also just at home really.

And you know… you know how some bands, when you hear that one note or tone, it’s like everything inside you simply explode? That is the case for me when the keynotes of “Iron Hand”, after toying around with some Abba, echoes through the speakers, and you could tell and feel on the audience that I was not the only one… holy hell what a song it is!

“Bastard Son of Odin” was next on the list, and it is very true that for once in a while, they actually don’t speak bullshit when they say this is the song about us. Real vikings. And then…

So, as I might have mentioned in my previous post, Robert was set to host the afterparty with Battle Beast after the Stockholm, and in Huskvarna it was my turn. I even had to say my name in the mic and everything, which is very much a first for me. This was of course the intro for “Touch in the Night”, which STILL, is not the same without Laura there… but soon enough I’ll be seeing them with her!

They wrapped up the set with “Out of Control” and it was good to be at a place with people who did go out of control. I was a bit, hm, how do I put it. Not amused perhaps? Upon noticing how I’d been levitating more and more to the right. I started out in the middle in front of Noora, and now I was more and more on the right. Oh well.

The band returned to the stage with “King for a Day” before ending the entire set with “Beyond the Burning Skies” The band thanked for the evening and left the stage.

Jonathan managed to catch a drumstick as well as a setlist, and he was kind enough to give me the setlist. Which was so sweet of him, he didn’t have to do that.

After the show, we got ourselves some refreshments, headed to the merchbooth and then hung around the venue for some time simply to hang out, getting to know each other and for Toivo to get all the signatures from the bandmembers.

Once we “disbanded” I headed back to the same MAX restaurant in Jönköping for some travel food before embarking on the three hour drive home.

This show was pure amazement. Thank you Battle Beast, Dynazty, Rexoria, Jonathan, Toivo, August and Susanna for an amazing evening! Until next time!

// Sara

Ascension

Posted in Travels, Uncategorized on October 20, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, up somewhat early. This hotel, or hostel, actually had a later check out than the others. Yay! And the way they dealt with breakfast was also different – what you did is that you prebooked your breakfast, and then it was left for you in the kitchen. This way, you could have breakfast any time you wanted in the day. This is so smart and perfect. No hours to check or anything! I loved it.

After this, I checked out and headed off to the train station to get toward Sjorven’s place. It was gonna be a couple of changes, and once I reached Brussels I took a quick stop to get changed and ready, and we decided we’d meet up in Gent rather than me getting all the way home to him, as I wanted to stop by at Primark. We don’t carry that shit in Sweden you know?

And being on the train to Gent, getting myself ready, reminded me of some of the things I love the most about tourlife. Getting changed in a trainstation, putting on your makeup on the train and just waiting for the arrival to your destination.

Once in Gent, I waited for Sjorven to arrive, which he did, and then we started making our way to Primark. Since it was on pretty much the opposite side of where we were going, he took the opportunity to show me around as well, while we were at it, you know.

So, Primark. I got in, got a pair of pants and a travel mug only actually. While in there, miraculously, Sjorven managed to arrange a table at the restaurant we already thought were full, but apparently someone cancelled. Halleuljah for us!

The place is a ribs place, and it’s an all you can eat kind of place. So whenever you finished your ribs, you just order in a new round. I finished one set personally, no idea for the other one.

After dinner, we walked around the city playing a bit of Pokémon… and we did this raid alright. I sacrificed my hardworking Abra’s for him, so he could get an Alakzam.. and it’s funny. Because I caught my Alakazam at 20.59, which means, I caught it right before the Halloween event went down, whereas Sjorven caught his 21.01, which means he got the benefits. On the other hand – I probably became one of the first people in the world to catch a generation 3 one! I guess it’s something.

After this, we finally went home to his place, watched an episode of “Zoo” before pretty much dying of exhaustion. It had been a long day, for sure.

// Sara

Twilight Force @ Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium 19/10 -17

Posted in Concerts, Music, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 19, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, up in the early morning… well, around 9. The practical thing about packing before you go to bed is that you don’t have to give a shit about that when you get up in the morning. And for someone like me, who isn’t really a morning person, this is golden.

So, off I went at 10, went to the trainstation to lock up my bags and then I hit the shopping streets. What I was looking for in fact, were soles for my shoes. Something in them has broken, and because of that, they give me blisters UNDERNEATH my foot, and it just got worse and worse. So I walked up and down the shopping street without finding anything reasonable. I hit H&M quickly to pick up some small items before ACTUALLY heading off to Turnhout. I was going to stay at a hostel there, which is just like a busride from Vosselaar.

It was a pretty nice trainride. One straight ride until I ended up in the little town on Turnhout. I did the same walk here – trying to find somewhere until I, at last, ended up in a pharmacy and got one of those pricier gelsoles. Hopefully, this would solve it!

It got close to check in time, so I headed off to my hostel and was greeted by the owner. It’s a cute little restaurant and hostel with only four rooms, the most precious ever! It’s called Resto BnB in Turnhout. Very central, too.

Once there, I placed the gelsoles in my shoes and my god. That was HEAVEN. I could walk, without feeling anything – actually, it was more painful walking without the shoes than with them! With that said, I rested a bit before starting to get ready for the show, and then took my little walk down to the bus.

Of course, this scared the hell out of me. Sounds weird to say perhaps for little me, but really. Going on a bus, in a foreign city without anywhere really to know when to get off or so – and even worse, the bus was ahead of my maps. Aaah.

But gladly, I managed to figure it out, and even better so, there was a fellow metalhead on the bus which I could take following with. So, I got off the stop and started making my way to Biebob. Once here, it wasn’t too hard to find. Actually, just walk straight.

I arrived about an hour or so before doors were being opened, so a small line had started to form. Which wasn’t weird. However, I was completely alone. All the people I knew of going there had gotten stuck in various forms of traffic, so I stood there, in my loneliness, until a woman started talking to me. Appears she had been working at Graspop Metal Meeting for many years, and was very excited for the show tonight. Oh the people you meet.

The doors opened at 19 as expected, and as I got inside, I found Alexandre at the front, unexpected but on the same time not surprised, so I went over to him and remained by his side. I noticed a few of the people from Sabaton Open Air, Ivan and Piggy, was also there, and said hi to them, but since Alex had front row in the middle kind of spots, I simply remained.

After some wait, that was longer than I expected it to be, Twilight Force entered the stage.

Twilight Force

The intro started echoing in the speakers, Blackwald marching on stage first followed by the rest, and they kicked off the set with “Battle of Arcane Might”. I was very glad and happy to see that there was quite a lot of Twilight Force supporters in the crowd, despite them being “only” the supportband. It was an energetic start, and Tommy delivered!

“To The Stars” was next on the setlist, followed by “Riders of the Dawn”. “Flight of the Sapphire Dragon” was next song on the setlist – and it was about this time that Sjorven and Stephen FINALLY arrived. So at last, all my friends were gathered. And right at the climax of this amazing piece of a song… the electricity died. Like, literally, in the most critical moment… power shortage. Oh well, that happens, right? Awkward moments are coming in.

Once the power was back, after a bit of fizzling, they moved on to “There and Back Again”, and then the normal duel between singer, in this case Tommy, and Blackwald emerged.

This was an interesting moment. As Tommy was getting his crowd to cheer, he yelled out “for the unborn children of Sara Kohler”. And I just stood there like “what on earth did he just say?”, because quite frankly – I have never in my life, and I mean never – interacted with any of the people from Twilight Force, or Tommy more than the signing sessions. Which made it all a bit weird and funny.

I have no idea what side actually won, but “Gates of Glory” emerged before they wrapped up the whole set with “The Power of the Ancient Force”. The band thanked for the show, and left the stage. While I want to congratulate Tommy on his amazing performance, I want to ask what the hell was wrong with the sound? I could barely hear ANYTHING, let alone even try to engage in the show. Some times it was better, but other times it was like, is there even a band here? I can see them, but I can’t hear them? I don’t get it.

After Twilight Force, we made our way out of the pit as well, we were dying from the heat, and truth to be told, I was going there primarily for Twilight Force, so we figured being a bit in the back wouldn’t hurt us. The others went outside, and I stayed sitting down listening to Dragonforce played until I went out myself to catch some air. It’s not like me, I know.

The rest of the show Stephen, Sjorven and I spent by the bar, casually watching the mainband play before it was time for us to get going. We went to eat at some street kitchen, and then Sjorven dropped me off at my hotel and went home again. And same procedure as every time – I start packing and getting ready for the next day.

// Sara

Wacken Open Air: Thursday (Part 2)

Posted in Concerts, Music, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , on August 3, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Alrighty! Time for the first official day of the festival, at least for me anyway. It was in fact only one band on the billing I cared to see – which is Accept. So I spent most of the day exploring the area and in the camp. How exciting huh? And it actually was.

For the first time in a very long time, I had a good camp. A camp where you woke up with a smile on your face every day, and you know you’d be sore from all the laughing that was taken place. After all, to begin with, it’s me and Thomas together in one spot. And the rest of the crew – Jörgen, Jonathan, Johan, Mina, René, Anja, Martin, Nicolai, Maria and Sandra made it even better. Because that’s what camps are for, right?

Funny thing. Maria and I went to go shower and pick up food for her. The showers at Wacken are for free, and they are WARM. Unlike the pay-per-shower at Sweden Rock which is cold. Right after we got out, towels on our heads and everything, we felt a few drips come down so we decided to go inside the food tent in order to put on our ponchos.

And just as we got in, the rainstorm from hell broke lose. It was an absolute disaster, and despite standing long inside the food court, we still could feel some of it. We waited out the rain, got food for Maria and then headed back to the camp only to find that one of our partytents had given up and died. But apparently it had been quite the fight to keep it up.

It cleared up, gladly, so we could sit down and enjoy ourselves before we headed inside to catch a bit of Status Quo. After Status Quo, I went over to Accept to catch them.

Accept

As you know, Accept is a band I only very recently started to grow fond of, thanks to the Sabaton tour. I was really excited to see them, and the response from the audience was massive. I was actually far, far in the back because you know, PEOPLE! But it was amazing to see them nonetheless.

What I had missed out on though, was the use of the orchestra. I guess I should check these things out better in the future, but it was quite interesting to see them perform with an orchestra on stage, and “Princess of the Dawn” just became even better with the orchestra.

The show lasted for two hours, and it was two well enjoyable hours. Thank you Accept, for a great evening!

After Accept I headed off to the merchandise to pick up some rainboots. The mud had really done the work with my militaryboots, and I simply gave up. So I got myself a nice pair of Wacken rain boots. Handy, huh?

Got back to the camp and hung out for a little while before I crashed in bed. It had been an exhausting day, despite the little activity.

TO BE CONTINUED

// Sara