Atlas Road Diaries - Episode 2
What the f*ck is happening right now... These 7 words have quickly become the most frequently spoken phrase of the trip. With of course the exception of asking our no bullshit taking, death metal blaring tour manager heavy d if he likes fish sticks. Which he finds funny roughly 5% of the time. I'm not sure what he finds more annoying, the question or the contagious giggling from the peanut gallery that follows. Actually I take that back... "Where's Bryce?" Is still crushing it at the number one spot but that mark is set so absurdly high that even "is there any more wine?" doesn't stand a chance. Your boy is safe Mrs. James I promise!!!
Leading up to this European adventure, the five of us would frequently spend time in the van pondering or better yet, fantasizing what we were getting ourselves into. Of course our imaginations would run rampant with the images of gorgeous blonde bartenders, identical to that little smoke show on every bottle of St. Paulis beer. Or the locals taking us in as their own, teaching us their drinking songs as we sling back cold frothy beers in an elegantly painted, over sized stein. But we kept our expectations subdued and realistic. Warnings of; the French are snobs, the Germans are tough to crack, helped remind us that we're going to be a long way away from our bourbon soaked frat ragers we've become all too familiar with. Fortunately for us the reality has been much much better.
Yes, the Germans are very stoic. There's not much dancing. None to be exact. But for that 5-10 second window between songs you would think we're plum in the heart of Oktoberfest. They clap and whistle with such power and unison it's a little intimidating at first. Walking off for a set break you wonder if they're on the verge of starting a riot. Seriously, what the f*ck is happening right now?! Autographs, pictures, the merchandise is flying. Not a single seat has been empty so far. The hospitality has been nothing short of amazing. Every meal is better than the last, paired with what seems to be a never ending bottle of red. I don't think our standard request of a couple pizzas and a case of Miller lite is going to cut it in the states anymore. Sorry frat Bros, our palates have grown to Olive Garden and espresso. And don't forget the sparkling water.
On average we get one chance a week to go out. And being in the club environment every night is like taking a golden retriever to tennis camp, but keeping him leashed up as the drool builds from watching hundred and tennis ball fly through air. Well, Thursday night outside of Hamburg was our night off the leash. At dinner, the group of elderly women across the room were drinking and singing, celebrating a couple of their birthdays. We wave and laugh with them, but when those frauleins started zinging French fries at us, we knew something was about to happen.
It was a very small pub that we played in, but again every seat was filled. Surprisingly we had 5 people come from the previous nights show for round 2. There was a young couple with whom we had mutual friends with in college, and then of course the golden girls showed up. Locals rounded out the audience. After the show our old high school buddy jägermeister took center stage. We took shots with everyone. One being the daughter of the promoter, a hairstylist who could easily be the triplet of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Who promised us that she would give Dave a haircut when we got back to the apartment. Never happened. Another being a very large German guy who showed us his iPhone recordings of The Wind Cries Mary, and his Johnny Cash sounding original, It's Raining in Georgia. It's getting late and the bar is closing, so we set off to find a place for a night cap. The only place left open is Interpol, or Metropol... Something like that. It reminded me of that one bar in every neighborhood. The one where you never see people walk in or out of, but the glowing neon sign lets you know that someone's paying the power bill. So, we file in. The five of us, Justin-Miley and German Johnny Cash proceed to take shots followed by more beer and more shots until the regulars and the bar tender, donned in a track suit and Chicago Bulls SnapBack, ask us to tone it down. We have an early wake up call and drive so we decide to start the trek, apparently forgetting that we're in Germany and don't have wifi or data. But who cares! We're in Germany, with a strong buzz. We're singing in the streets and laughing only pausing to practice our hardcore parkour. Just as Bryce is leaping over a bike rack, performing his signature gnar gnar narcolepsy grab the entire block lights up. A German squad car has been following us the entire walk home and they blast us with their spotlights. We thought for sure we were heading downtown or atleast be questioned, but luckily all they did was stalk us for the rest of the walk home lighting up the path. Sorry officer were just 5 guys practicing karate and singing 'fat bottomed girls', what's the problem with that?
And on that note, the sun has popped out for the first time this week. And before you can say schnitzel our shirts are off. I'm almost positive I just heard big bad D bone utter... What the f*ck is happening right now