In October-November 2006, Daylight Dies embarked on their first full North American tour together with Moonspell (Portugal) and Katatonia (Sweden). The band drove a van over 11,000 miles - from the furthest cities North, South, East and West. The tour diary below was written mainly by guitarist Barre Gambling while on the road.
Friday, October 20th
Poughkeepsie, New York
After staying two nights at Candlelight U.S. headquarters preparing merchandise and other elements for the tour, we headed to Newark, New Jersey where we were to meet up with Katatonia, Moonspell and the rest of the touring crew. While we would be traveling by van, the others would be in a tour bus which was over a day late and unable to pick up the bands and crew for the first date. Jonas and Anders of Katatonia hitched a ride with us while the others used a van to travel to the first gig in Poughkeepsie, New York.
The drive took hours longer than anticipated due to a tractor trailer wreck. We arrived many hours late to the "venue," or what turned out later to not really be a venue at all. This first date was to take place at "The Loft," the upper part of the venue "The Chance". It was obvious "The Loft" wasn't a venue at all, but a dance hall where someone had the bad idea of holding shows as well. To add insult to injury, the employees of the club were complete dicks. They made the experience of the first gig as difficult as possible. We were moments away from canceling the gig due to an ever-expanding list of problems caused by total incompetence. Thankfully Andrew, our tour manager, was able to pull things together just enough for the show to continue. In the end, we had a good time, but it was a much rougher start than anyone could have predicted.
Saturday, October 21st
Bedford, New Hampshire
With less than 4 hours of sleep, we made the beautiful drive to the rural town of Bedford, New Hampshire. Here we would play our second gig at a venue/strip club. Everyone was relieved to play a "real" venue, as well as take a peek in the neighboring establishment. The show went well, and the next morning we were on our way to New York City.
Sunday, October 22nd
New York City, New York
After a decent night of sleep we left the hotel in Bedford and began another 4 hour drive to Manhattan. We were to play BB Kings, and spirits were high. We played BB Kings in July of 2006, opening two sold out shows for Emperor, which was a great experience. The good omens began shortly after the bus and van were parked in front of the club -- no small feat on 42nd street -- and were greeted by the club sound crew. We were pleased to see it was the same crew we had worked with in July.
BB Kings was having an afternoon gospel show at the time the tour arrived for load in, which made for a hilarious scene. Aries from Moonspell decided to walk in the gospel show area to check out the club while wearing a huge pentagram shirt. Classic.
The show went well for all the bands. This was the first night Moonspell and their lighting engineer was able to take full advantage of a proper lighting rig, creating a really over the top experience.
We split NYC around 1:30 in the morning and made it to a hotel near Albany to sleep for a couple of hours. We were up early to deal with crossing the boarder into Canada, which is always an adventure.
Monday, October 23rd
I love Montreal. This was our third time playing that city, and the third time working with ace promoter Stephan. We got to Le Medley by mid afternoon, and immediately were brought a tray of fruits and veggies and given coffee and sodas. There is nothing more needed after days of little sleep, long drives and a pizza diet, than to sit down with some healthy food and recuperate a bit. The venue was a gigantic old theater complete with a balcony and an great sound system. There were no local openers this night, which allowed the touring package to take things at our own pace for a change. We stayed with an old friend of the band, whose room mate was rocking with the game 'guitar hero' when arrived late in the night.
Tuesday, October 24th
Quebec City, Canada
Wandering around Quebec City
It took a few hours, but when we pulled into Quebec City, it immediately felt like a foreign and wonderful place. We saw a beautiful waterfall from the road and crossed a huge river into the city, possibly the Lawrence River. The area around the club was quaint like a European city and very clean compared to most US cities. The venue was again at a gorgeous old theater in the middle of downtown Quebec City.
Fruit + veggies = thumbs up
Katatonia and Daylight Dies were brought to a signing session at a store called Pentagram smack in the middle of a suburban mall. It was cool, a real metal and rock boutique type place which also did tattooing. Certainly a cool store, but it seemed a bit strange that it existed in the middle of a mall.
The show again had no local openers and thus went smoothly. The crowd seemed young and passionate about music and all bands were warmly received.
Wednesday, October 25th
Opera House, Toronto
We hauled ass after the show back to Montreal and stayed the night with our generous friend once more only to wake up a few hours later and depart for Toronto.
Once again, Canada provided a beautiful theater/venue, this time called the Opera House. The backstage area could be compared to catacombs, or a maze. It was subterranean and had random rooms. But the important stuff was there - a case of beer and water for each band - heavy metal is thirsty work. Despite a few technical difficulties, the response was excellent and the overall mood was positive. Before we knew it, we were headed back to the US.
Thursday, October 26th
What the fuck?
I assumed that being back in the US after such wonderful treatment in Canada would be a bummer, but when we arrived and set up and played, I felt at home in the Cleveland environment. We're used to playing dirty clubs and smaller stages. This club - Peabody's - decided it was a good idea to have numerous bands on a side stage in a different room playing while the tour package was playing. I stuck my head in the side room while Katatonia played their set tonight, and saw a grindcore band with about 3 people watching. Not the best idea to set any kind of vibe for the show.
I met Jack Owen from Cannibal Corpse tonight, apparently he was touring with Deicide and Canada wouldn't let him in the country, so he was hanging in Cleveland for a few days.
Friday, October 27th
The lovely backstage in Detriot. Not uncommon.
The view of Detroit we saw on our drive into the city looked like the cover art of Obituary's "World Demise". The club I-Rock was on a scary looking street, and it was 40 degrees and raining. Perfect weather for the Nocturnal Mourning Tour. The club owners decided not to turn on any heat all day, but did feed the tour a pizza once an hour, while we circled like wolves in anticipation. The club was chock full of rock-n-roll memorabilia. Every wall was covered in signed guitars, drum heads, pics, sticks, and photos of every rock star imaginable. An extremely nice guy took half of Daylight Dies and half of Katatonia out to eat at a Mexican restaurant before the show. We were so thankful for the first real meal in several days -- thanks again Reece. The show was fine, despite a slightly disappointing turnout for a Friday night. On to Mokena (a suburb of Chicago).
Saturday, October 28th
On stage in Mokena
The Pearl Room was one of the nicer venues of the tour, it was brand new and obviously had a fairly huge capacity. Tonight about 800 people came out, one of the bigger audiences Daylight Dies has played for.
Highlights of this night included seeing some old friends; Matt Golombisky, who played upright bass on 2 tracks of Dismantling Devotion, and Dima, a PhD grindcore fanatic we knew from Raleigh. All the bands had an awesome time on stage, the audience was quite receptive.
After the show there were a few other rooms of the massive club to explore. Downstairs held a Halloween costume party, and an adjoining room hosted a KISS cover band, in full makeup. Quite surreal but fun.
Sunday, October 29th
St. Paul, Minnesota
We drove for what seemed like an eternity, only to get to the club by 5pm or so. The club was intimate and the promoters friendly. At show time, we took the stage with a relaxed attitude, feeling little pressure from the smaller venue and crowd compared to the night before. This was the 10th consecutive show for the tour, a new record for the band and the last show before a day off. Love and appreciation for the tour was thick in the room all night, and we met some truly unique people, one of which showed me a photo collection of tornadoes and lightning storms he had taken himself.
Tuesday, October 31st
Setting up in Aurora
HALLOWEEN!! Tonight's show had already been moved twice. The final venue was a sports bar with a corner stage called Hubba's Pub. The venue was kind to us and the promoter even took some of the tour to his house for much needed showers. The club lacked an extensive PA system, but we made due, and had an OK Halloween show. Nathan, Egan and Jesse were unfortunately fully weighed down with a cold and cough that wouldn't quit. Thankfully, a much needed evening of sleep and cleaning up at friend and producer David Otera's house was awaiting us after the show.
Thursday, November 2nd
Cascade mountains, driving to Seattle
The tour routing gave us a day off to get from Denver to Seattle, a trip over 1,000 miles. The drive into Washington state was beautiful, we saw snow capped mountains, and northern evergreen trees along the mountainous route. Nathan drove the van over a few miles of snow and ice, the only we'd see on the tour.
The venue was called Studio Seven and it also housed a number of individual rehearsal rooms for local bands. Rumor has it that Nevermore practices there. The venue was gracious and treated the bands to lasagna and salad. During the Katatonia set, Fernando told us backstage that Moonspell had won the MTV Portugal award for best band from Portugal. Congrats Moonspell!
Friday, November 3rd
Charley with a rare guitar
After a few hours of driving in the unrelenting northwest drizzle, we arrived in Portland. Young people seemed to own the town and the night we played there were multiple rock shows going on within blocks of each other. Very cool place. While walking around the town, we found an Ibanez Les Paul copy. It was such a rare and beautiful guitar, I took a picture of Charley holding it. The local opener of the night was Agalloch, and they had many fans in the crowd. The only bummer of this gig was that the PA system was high school level, and the local sound guy wore fucking ear muffs while running the sound. Fortunately, the multitalented tour manager Andrew ran our sound tonight. The stage felt like 100 degrees and as soon as we were done, I passed out in the van for the rest of the night - the rigors of the tour caught up with me.
Saturday, November 4th
This was one of the best nights of the tour for me, hands down. After the depressive cold and drizzle of the northwest, the bay area warmth was a welcomed relief. Some members of Daylight Dies had family in the area that we got to catch up with after the show. After the Katatonia set, we got our first introduction to a Katatonia backstage ritual called the ice bang.
The icebang is where the participant sticks his/her head in the empty beer tub, when only icy water is left, then head bangs, flinging water everywhere. It sounds retarded (and it is), but its actually quite refreshing, and hilarious.
We stayed the night with some rockabilly mechanics in San Fran that Nathan knew. They made us the best breakfast of the tour the next morning. How did we get so lucky? On to LA, and the much anticipated Whiskey show.
Sunday, November 5th
Los Angeles, California
Like many gigs on this tour, the promoters of the Whiskey had promised entirely too many bands an opening spot on the bill. I believe five openers was the original schedule of the night, and this plan cut into the set times of each band on the tour package. It's frustrating two bands traveled from Europe just to be told to cut their set times so the locals could play. A strong tour manager is worth his weight in gold, and once again Andrew saved the day by getting the tour bands almost full sets, and cutting the local's times -- even arranging for one local to play after Moonspell.
By showtime, the club was packed to the gills. We were all in awe to be on the same hallowed stage that had been the stomping grounds of every 80s metal band from the west coast. The show went off without a hitch, and afterward Daylight Dies got to spend time with more friends and family at the Rainbow Room. Not mention our previous vocalist Guthrie Iddings, who now lives in the LA area, who came out to the show as well. We crashed with another old from from North Carolina tonight.
Monday, November 6th
First off, no one warned us that the House of Blues is IN DISNEYLAND! Getting our van into the complex was far more complicated that crossing the border into Canada or flying into Amsterdam back in 2003. After an hour of missteps, wrong turns, inspection gates, and fuck yous to other drivers, we were finally granted access to drive into the loading dock of the Magic Kingdom.
House of Blues is the nicest club I've ever been in, not to mention played in. The lights and sound were impeccable. The turnout wasn't great, but it was enjoyable to watch everyone perform with high end lights and sound. On a side note -- "surreal" is the only word to describe the view of the happy bright Disney scene from the upper deck of the House of Blues, juxtaposed with the random groups of metalheads in black wandering around after the show. It was like a scene from Fantasia.
The tour had a few days off, and Daylight Dies spend some of the time at Guthrie's apartment. We left LA on Wednesday night and started the trip to Tempe.
Thursday, November 9th
Blue skies and mild temperatures helped us shake off the haze and hangovers of a fun time in California. At some point on this drive, Charley, a big Danzig fan, said, "If I see a cow skull, we're pulling over and picking that motherfucker up." Fortunately we did not. The Clubhouse was good to us, the stage was large and comfortable. Some of us got pretty wasted this night, due to the Arizona law that allows liquor to be bought at any convenient store, which is quite different from what we're used to.
Saturday, November 11th
San Antonio, Texas
This gig had been moved two times, and was finally booked at the Sanctuary, a multi-roomed venue with multiple shows at the same time. The looks of the club, PA, stage, lack of water, beer, or food, and general nonchalance of the staff indicated it could be a terrible night. Thankfully the enthusiasm of the crowd pulled it through.
Daylight Dies signed more and took more photos with fans than we're used to -- the level of support and enthusiasm was extreme tonight.
After the show ended, we hurried to pack up and leave because a ska show was loading in to take the same stage at midnight. What ensued was a cluster fuck of epic porportions.Fans were talking to the bands, while our tour was moving gear out, while a ska band was moving gear in, all through a 10x10 room that doubled as the ticket booth!
We were glad to finally get the hell out of that mess and into our Motel 6 of the night, which by this point had become the 'official' lodgings of Daylight Dies. All in all, this was a very fun show.
Sunday, November 12th
The club tonight was brand new and the staff extra friendly. We arrived early (for a change). This club had wireless internet, so we got to kill time on a laptop. Someone found a hilarious remix of a diabetes commercial on youtube; we all got a chuckle. Our good friend Alejandro even came out to the show tonight, making it extra special. The turn out could have been better, but the quality of the venue the company of friends made it most enjoyable.
Monday, November 13th
Ft. Worth, Texas
We made the short drive into Houston and were there around 2pm. The bus finally arrived barely an hour before doors were to open, and every person on the tour busted ass to set up the stage as soon as possible. All the amps, cabs, drums, backdrop, and everything else were in position within 20 minutes. Its a good thing we got to practice the high speed stage set-up, because it would be necessary to do this for a few more shows to come.
After the show all in the band headed to a bar to get some late night food with the guys in Moonspell and a few fans. It was a unique opportunity to step away from the trappings of the tour and relax with good company and food.
Tuesday, November 14th
Driving to Florida
The tour bus was planning on stopping in New Orleans on the way to Florida to see the Melvins play, and to show the Europeans what the French Quarter was all about, but the our van could not afford to lose the time considering we were driving ourselves. We trucked across Louisiana, Mississippi, and through a part of Alabama and stayed the night in a Motel 6 near Pensacola, Florida. The air was heavy and humid, the clean desert air was far behind us now.
Wednesday, November 15th
St. Petersburg, Florida
On the way we passed through the town of Clearwater, which is the home of Jane Schuldiner, mother of the late Death guitarist Chuck. Approaching the legendary birthplace of American death metal known as "the Tampa Bay area," I searched for signs of death metal activity, but mostly saw religious billboards and strip clubs every mile.
Stormy and humid in Florida
We beat the tour bus to the club again, and again did the ultra quick set up when the tour bus arrived. But today was different. There was a leak in the roof of the trailer being towed behind the bus, which housed all the gear for all bands on the tour, and rain water had gotten in. Egan's Aguilar bass head, while in the case, was sitting in a few inches of water, as was one of Jesse's toms. Egan found a hairdryer and tried to dry out his gear, but it still wouldn't work.
We later learned the head had been knocked so hard a tube was dislodged, but at the time it appeared to suffer water damage. We used Moonspell's bass head for the rest of the tour. The sky poured all night and we worried about further damage after the gig, while we headed toward Atlanta.
Thursday, November 16th
After all the warm weather, we were reminded it was November as we got to Atlanta. The gig was to be in the ground level section of The Masquerade, which is a three story building. The top level is referred to as Heaven, the middle Purgatory, and the bottom Hell, which, appropriately, was where our tour was booked. We had a few friends drive down from Raleigh to see this show, which is always cool.
Friday, November 17th
Live at Jaxx
This was the last highly anticipated show of the tour for Daylight Dies, because we've played and seen shows at Jaxx many times before, and always had a great experience with the club. This night topped them all. All of our girlfriends were at this one, as well as longtime friends from North Carolina and elsewhere.
Live at Jaxx
An alcoholocaust commenced directly after we finished our set and loaded our gear off stage. Paula Hogan from Candlelight was there, and gave us $100 to drink with - it was gone instantly. Thanks Paula! The band stayed with Alejandro, who provided us with couches, pizza, and a loaded kegerator. You rule!
Saturday, November 18th
Troy, New York
The trip was an exhausting 8 hours long drive. The club, called Revolution Hall was killer and brand new. It had a state of the new sound system, finely tuned by the audiophile club owner himself. The stage was a bit unconventional - it was quite high but not deep, so all the bands ended up being spread across the front, which is not good for stage sound. I feared falling off the front of stage a few times during our set, especially during A Life Less Lived when all the house lights were off for 90% of the song. Playing in the dark is the true test of how well you know your songs!
After the show Egan got pulled over in the van for swerving slightly out of his lane, which is hilarious because he doesn't drink. It just so happened he had misplaced his license at the time, which made for a nervous moment, but luck was on our side and we were let go.
Sunday, November 19th
Last night of the tour. The Webster Theater was a porn theater in its previous life, according to the club employees. The stage was tall, deep, and wide, and all the bands actually got a decent sound check. The room sounded good. The most opening bands of the tour award goes to this club, with a record 7 openers.
The back stage area was the entire basement of the enormous theater, a catacomb of rooms and hallways, littered with graffiti and band stickers. The last night of the tour is prank night we were warned. Scotty the roadie and Andrew the tour manager/sound guy had a few tricks in store for us.
Last night of the tour - antics on stage
First off, there were porn pictures taped to our gear when we took the stage. Then, Andrew said "Stand by for your intro music". But we don't have intro music. He proceeded to put on some sunshiny slap happy 70s children's music sounding shit to set the mood for us.
Next prank - every time Nathan spoke into the mic between songs, the chipmunks voice came through the PA. Andrew had pitch shifted Nate's voice up a few octaves! The performance was a blast and there was a good bit of headbanging, not to mention laughs.
During Katatonia's set, they pitch shifted Jonas down to monster voice level between songs. During the Moonspell set, there was a plan hatched backstage to mummify Mattias with a brown paper towel roll, and join Moonspell on stage during their last song "Full Moon Madness", as the grand finale and final prank. (Watch a video of this here).
Last night of the tour - ice bang
After the show we all said our goodbyes to our new friends in Moonspell and the road crew: Andrew, Scotty, Shawn, and Manuel, and our old friends in Katatonia. It was a truly unforgettable tour, and certainly the longest and most intense we had ever been on. It seemed to last an eternity during those long hours in the van crossing the country, but looking back it seemed a brief moment. We came out stronger as a band in many ways.
Here's to a long winter of normalcy in our own homes and routines!
Deepest thanks to all the fans of all the bands that came out to support the tour across the US and Canada. We're already looking forward to doing it again in the near future.