Christian "Chrism" Pulkkinen, Eden's Curse keyboard player reports from the band's tour in the UK, where they are supporting Michael Schenker. These stories are shared with INFERNO, where you can read them in Finnish.
PART 3: Chro
A drop back to earth tonight! We are playing at a regular 200 capacity venue. But it has never been about the size of the venue do I have a good time. A good show for me is about the audiences energy levels, our energy levels on stage and the reactions you can see on people's faces when we are playing a song. Not a long drive today. About two hours worth of driving, during which I was mostly asleep. If I had to give advice to a musician starting off his carreer, I would say that good sleeping skills are essential! You should always sleep when you have the chance, because sometimes you get to bed very late and you have to set off again early in the morning to get to the next venue. Tomorrow thank god we are setting off at 9:30am, so maybe if I have a good feel I can party a little tonight after the gig.
So the venue is smaller this time around. The Michael Schenker band and crew is having a day off before the Hard Rock Hell festival, so Paul bookes us a headline show for tonight in Cardiff, which is in Wales. Our warmup band is called Traitor's Gate, which is maybe one of the less known 'New Wave Of British Heavy Metal' bands. Actually they were really good and the singer was phenomenal with Ripper Owens type screams and soulful interpretation to the mid tempoed heavy metal riffs. Me like! Our show was this time 80 minutes and we had the brilliant Stacey Kane (Kane'd) singing two songs. The venue was just half full, but actually I had just as much fun as I did at the Birmingham show the previous evening. Once again proved, that a good gig isn't just about the size of the crowd. I felt happy when I saw on people's faces how happy they got from our performance. Wireles energy transmition from the crowd to me! Since we had a longer set, we also played my favourite Eden's Curse track called Jericho. It is such a cool track, that I will link it here for you guys to check out. I get a strong 80's Black Sabbath vibe, but with modern sounds!
Breakfast call was at 9:30, but it was supposed to be eaten downstairs at the cafe, so I let Paul know that I will skip breakfast and meet them at the minibus at 10:30. The extra hour of sleep came in need, since I have to admit, that I have been going to bed far too late. We have set off pretty early each morning for the next venue so I have some sleep deprivation. It's OK for a week, but for longer tours I would prefer a nightliner bus with beds. It is just at minimum around 5000€ a week, so it has to do with audience estimates is a bus a good idea or not. Our van, which fits 7 people and all of our gear in the back was only 300 pounds for the whole tour.
Today we are performing at the Hard Rock Hell festival, which is held in Pontypridd, Wales at a holiday center. It was really nice scenery when we drove along small windy roads through little villages with the bombastic mountains in the background. There are sheep everywhere and I heard that Britain has also wild sheep heards roaming at a certain area taking care of the earth in a natural way. After four hours of driving we arrived at the festival area. From a Finnish point of view it was a pretty strange place. Great Britain is full of these kinds of holiday resorts, that consist of a perplexing maze of lightly built boxlike houses. Kinda also reminded me of Florida since there were palm trees planted around the resort, but with dismal weather. The houses were basically like caravans, but you can't pull them anywhere because they don't have any wheel on them. Pfffffft... What's the point?!?
The hall was large, but it had that holiday resort or cruise ship feel to it, so not as atmospheric as some of the other venues we have played on this tour. The sound was brilliant thoug, so the hall did suit live concerts very well acoutically. Because of the matted floor, the acoustics were pretty much reverbless naturally. The festival was opened by a group of erotic dancers, who did a fire show and we went directly on after them as the opening band of the festival. Towards the end of the set the hall was absolutely packed with people and I have heard that it was sold out, so close to 3000 people present. It was really nice to play to such a crowd, but I kinda had low energy levels for some mysterious reason, so I didn't do such an energetic show as I usually do. The rest of the band put on an epic show though, so it didn't matter much I didn't headbang at every turn. We hard the amazing Helen Hurd on stage with us performing Angels & Demons and I have to say this girl can perform! Taking everything into consideration, I also played very well and I smiled a lot watching the audience enjoying themselves. I even heard some positive feedback of my own playing after the show. I heard that someone in the Schenker team had complimented that I sound like John Lord of Deep Purple. These are the moments I have been working so hard for!
After the show we drove to the festival's accreditation office, where we had four interviews to do from different webzines and radios. Paul took care of two, Nicola & John took care of one and me & Thorsten diid one audio interview. I'm not quite sure, but I think it might have been for totalrock.com. When we managed to get the interviews done, we drove back to the holiday shack village for the night. Because the numbering of the houses was really confusing, we desceneded into a dead end at the bottom of a hill. The van is large enough that we had a really hard time getting the van turned around in total darkness. Firs Paul tried to back the van up the hill, but we soon gave up on this when the clutch started smoking. At the end we managed to turn the car around and we drove to the parking lot. I stood into a puddle of mud. A couple of glasses of wine and I dozed off as soon as I went to bed. At 6 am the adventure continues towards the O2 Academy in Newcastle.
Eyes criss crossed I got up at quarter to six... To be honest I can't tell you much about the trip to Newcastle. Once I woke during the trip and I managed to get this awesome shot of the sunrise on a seaside road!
I was woken up near Newcastle and we cruised to the venue soon after. Pro stuff! The roadies were present to carry our gear, ramps up the stairs to make the job easier and a wonderful old hall with a big stage to perform on. The backstage is small but homely and it is catered the same style as the previous O2 venues. Small things to eat and beer and wine. Showtime was already at 6 pm, but at the time we started we had a good audience. Maybe about 1000 people by my estimate. The show was really good. I'm totally played in by now and I have no stress whatsover on stage. My playing is great and if I make a mistake that is OK also. This is just rock'n roll... And besides musical interpretation, the chance of mistakes is the thing that makes a live show interesting and dangerous. If a musician sounded every show exactly the same as the previous, what would be the thrill in that? Rock is live music to me before anything else...