30 Nights of Bushweek - Prague

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We had no choice. About an hour into the drive Von Cuddles started showing clear signs of fatigue. Slow reflexes, impaired judgement, uncontrollable giggling ect. 

He hadn't slept a wink at Janos' haunted mansion in Zurich because of what he described as "a sub-human wailing noise" that at times seemed to be coming from outside his window, at others from beneath his bed. Then in Munich he´d stayed up until 5am drinking reisling with the Soft Nerds and passed out in his filthy clothes on the kitchen floor.

The poor fucker was spent, his reserves of creepy, inhuman stamina finally drained. He pulled the Galaxy over at a frozen rest-stop and slumped into the back-seat like a laundry bag full of broken tent-poles.

The cruel and devious Andy Inglis (pronounced Ingles) took the wheel.

Andys' behavior while driving was nerve-shreddingly erratic.
Pointless bursts of acceleration, swerving at invisible obstacles and wandering like a bumble-bee between lanes, all the while fiddling with the mirrors, the stereo, his cuff-links...anything he could get a free hand on. 

The man has as much calm, focused assurance behind the wheel as a weasel on cheap speed, so I just kept reaching back into the hamper for fresh beers so that when the crunch came I would be nice and relaxed for impact.

But the only really dicey moment came late in the drive when we were passing the scene of an accident on the highway. Andy had just started slowing down when an ambulance...a fucking ambulance...lurched onto the road from behind a parked fire engine no more than 15 meters in front of us.
Here´s a team of top-dollar actors re-creating our pant-shitting terror. Isn´t the Baaron cute?

Andy instantly mashed the brake pedal to the floor and the Galaxy lurched and slid and swerved to a halt about 3 feet from the now stationary ambulance. That was when, through a fog of adrenaline, I saw the ambulance driver staring at us. It was a fucking kid, a teenage Czech hillbilly with eyes like cigarette burns in a boiled turkey.

Yep, that kid from Deliverance could sure pick a tune, but would you let him drive you to hospital?

He continued to stare dumbly at us as we passed him, howling abuse and threats and beating the dashboard with our fists. We were all incoherent with rage at this filthy little hay-seed and even more at whatever mind-boggling rural bureaucracy put his drooling arse in the drivers seat of a fucking ambulance!!!

Welcome to the Czech Republic.

Once we hit Prague we drove straight to our hotel. The Baaron and I dealt with reception while Andy drove in circles looking for a parking spot. The Barbie doll behind the desk seemed to be gunning to be the sleaziest receptionist in the entire global hospitality industry.
"Hello boooyyyys." She said with heeeavy emphasis. "Are you the Rat-a-tat?"

A profound question, mademoiselle. Let's retire to my quarters with a bottle of something sweet and get to the bottom of this "Are you the Rat-a-tat" business.

Oooh, ooooh, did I forget to mention our gig was a support for Ratatat? At a massive converted meat factory that housed two concert stages, an art gallery and a community centre? Maybe I did.

But that wasn't why The Baaron was sweating and fidgeting while our room-keys were being doled out. Doctor Yasmine T. Lanbert, his brilliant but trouble prone lawyer fiancé, had flown into Prague that afternoon and was already upstairs in their room, getting hammered on miniature Johnny Walkers and watching ancient Soviet porn on the tube.

Two weeks of bottled up lust was raging like a tornado through Von Cuddles' whip-like frame, and I assume the receptionists' crude, cleavage splaying come-ons were not helping. So once he had that key in his big, sweaty palm he rocketed into the elevator like a burning rat and we didn't see him again until we saddled up for sound-check.

Welcome to The Meet Factory.

Well, I'll spare you the usual blather about the routine confrontations, humiliations and barely averted violent episodes that seem to constitute every soundcheck we've ever had. Suffice it to say that we did, in fact, make it onto the stage and that this gig went straight into the "Top 5 Shows of the Tour" list and stayed there. 

The crowd didn't pull any of the cautious, reserved bullshit that young, fashionable people tend to throw at unknown support acts. They were curious. They wanted to hear what we had up our sleeves and they wanted it to be fun. In other words, they were Czechtastic and we got on like a house on fire.

Baaron Von Cuddles tweaks it for Satan as the crowd screams in ecstacy.

Who could blame them for their curiosity when the Meet Factory flyer described us thus...

"You  gentlemen have created. If  you want to convince our ears, stops on Thursday 18 November to MeetFactory  where reckon receive its Czech premiere. They will be younger number two in Europe Civil  Civic naturalized Australians with post-rock fusion guitar!"

That kind of copy can get even the most jaded scenester out of the house.

Now, I am an angry old man and find todays pop music both frightening and confusing, so I'd never listened to Ratatat before. But I'd seen them used as a point of reference in several articles about us. So I was eager to see them do their thing and make my own comparisons. I already knew they
had their Stare-At-Laptop-Ignore-Existence-Of-Support-Band chops honed, but what about the tunes, bru, the jams!?!

Well, they hit the stage to hysterical applause and screaming and weeping from the crowd and ripped into their Dungeons & Dragons infused IDM with great verve. It sounded like an epic battle between Goldfrapp and Manowar, and if I'd had a broadsword at my side (or a big fluffy owl on my head) I would have brandished it aloft during every soaring, harmonised guitar solo. 

Their disturbing, druggy bird-fetish visuals were pretty cool too. Nice work.

Just for the record, I really don't think we have that much in common with them, musically. 
I just can't see anyone storming a castle to one of our "joints".

We are more of a bumper cars/awkward kissing sort of act. 

In summary, it was a good night at the meat factory and did wonders for team morale. The only grumbling came from Inglis, who had fiendish sexual plans for the venue production manager (a tall, elegant, yet strangely vacant young Czechitta) but was brutally "cock-blocked" during the crucial chat-at-the-bar by one of the Ratatat boys. 

And the angels wept.

Non stop fun-times on the Civil Civic express!

1 comments30 Nights of Bushweek - Prague

  1. Unknown says:

    Ha ha. Too funny. Yes.

    February 8, 2011 at 3:59 PM

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