Earthside – 1st ROAD BLOG from Soulfly’s “We Sold Our Souls to Metal 2015 Tour” with Soilwork Earthside – 1st ROAD BLOG from Soulfly’s “We Sold Our Souls to Metal 2015 Tour” with Soilwork
The progressive metal band, Earthside, just finished up their dates on Soulfly’s “We Sold Our Souls to Metal 2015 Tour” with Soilwork and Shattered... Earthside – 1st ROAD BLOG from Soulfly’s “We Sold Our Souls to Metal 2015 Tour” with Soilwork

The progressive metal band, Earthside, just finished up their dates on Soulfly’s “We Sold Our Souls to Metal 2015 Tour” with Soilwork and Shattered Sun. They did an exclusive blog for us while on this tour. You can check out their first blog from Jamie van Dyck, after the break.

October 16-19, 2015 – New Haven, CT – My iPhone Went *DING* And Everything Changed

It started like any other Friday for us, other than that we were exactly one week from the release of our debut album A Dream In Static, and there was a frenzy of activity surrounding its preparation. I woke up, worked out, ate the healthiest thing on the menu at the local Chinese place, and was on my way to teach my rock ensemble and songwriting students (think Jack Black in School of Rock only I’m nice from the beginning) at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven.

I was about to walk in the classroom when I get an email notification on my phone. It was from Björn Strid of Soilwork. Subject: Tour.

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This is very significant, you see, because Earthside had never toured before. With only two local CT shows under our belt, our first ever tour was to playing 600-700 cap rooms in support of Soulfly and Soilwork for two weeks worth of dates. Crash course, anyone?

With a few days of going back-and-forth with Soilwork’s management, Soulfly’s management, and the tour’s booking agent, Soilwork’s drummer Dirk Verbeuren texted me welcoming us and notifying us that we’d been confirmed for the tour! And that we’d be sharing the bus with Soilwork. This came less than 12 hours before we were to drive to NYC’s Gramercy Theatre for what would supposedly be our first gig as part of the package.

October 20, 2015 – New York City, NY – Gramercy Theater – Our Moment Would Have To Wait

With very little turnaround or preparation time, we hopped on in the middle of the tour. We gathered all our equipment, merch, and personal belongings into a rental van and embarked on a 90-minute drive into the city, both wide-eyed, and slightly terrified.

About 20 minutes before we’d arrived for load-in, Soilwork’s tour manager Roger called me for the first time and was in the unfortunate place of being the bearer of bad news regarding the Gramercy Theatre gig in NYC. By virtue of the promoter only learning that morning that we had been added to the tour, the promoter did not accept us as part of the package despite Roger’s best efforts to get us on the bill, and the tour debut we’d longed to make for years would have to wait yet one more day.

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Naturally we were very disappointed, not to mention fearful that this would continue to happen on future dates of the tour. Roger reassured us that this would not be the case, and so we put our faith in that and pressed on.

After a long day and long night, our rental van finally met up with Soilwork’s tour bus in Secaucus, NJ at around 1 AM that night. Upon greeting the band members and reuniting with Björn, the day’s disappointment quickly dissipated. We immediately felt very comfortable as they made us feel welcome and included from the get-go. We felt that they were genuinely excited for us to be sharing the bus with them on our first ever tour.

Roger oriented us to the rules of the bus and introduced us to Soilwork’s crew, whom they very graciously let us use on this tour as well.

The Soilwork tour bus had room for 15 bunks, 10 of which were occupied by the band members, their tour manager, and their crew. With that being the case, we decided to tour as the four of us plus our newly added FOH engineer Bill Anderson, whom we had met several years ago when he was interning at the same studio where our keyboardist Frank had recorded his solo album.

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I began practicing my French with Sylvain and we all were showing off what little Swedish we knew from having recorded there to Soilwork’s 4 Swedes. They were especially impressed with our pronunciation of their vowel sound å, which sounds like “oa.” You other Americans better re-think how you pronounce the name of Opeth’s vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt. ;)

We each took our picks of the remaining bunks, got situated, and passed the fuck out. We knew we had an intense, albeit very exciting, two weeks ahead of us!

October 21, 2015 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar – Earthside’s First Ever Tour Show

We arrived in Baltimore after one of the shortest overnight drives on the tour. Roger came back from Ottobar with a day sheet of all info including set times, and we were very relieved that we were on the bill! Ottobar was the smallest venue and smallest stage we’ve played on the tour so far. And it was a doozie of a day beyond that as there were four local support bands, making for eight bands total on the night. While this was a concern at the time, it ended up being a good thing to have four bands before us to get the crowd warmed up, and the venue turned out to be a very cool place for our first ever tour gig.

As not long ago, we were the band vying for local support opportunities ourselves, we tried to do the local bands the courtesy of checking them out as our own time and obligations allowed. We were especially impressed with the final local support group Luminosity who displayed strong musicianship and songwriting in their set before it was our turn to take the stage.

I can’t speak for my bandmates, but I was certainly a bit nervous. For one, we’re the oddball band on the tour as all the bands on the package as well as the locals that night were all METAL bands, whereas we’re more of a cinematic/progressive rock band with a heavy gear we can go to amidst our melodic and atmospheric sensibilities.

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One thing that may have helped curb my nerves a bit was having a handful of people in the crowd we knew would be energized for us. I had a couple close friends in the audience, Michael and Julia. Each had each collaborated on a project of ours recently and are friends of mine going far back. We also had a high-schooler named Sam in the audience who had messaged us about our orchestral arrangements and the Luminosity guys with whom we were bonded at this point. One thing I know from previous experience is that crowd energy is contagious, so if we played well, having a handful of them psyched from the outset could spread to the whole room.

We took the stage for the first time on tour, and very quickly my worst fears were alleviated. Our gear was working well; after our first song “The Closest I’ve Come” the crowd clearly seemed to be into us. After four straight bands’ frontmen screaming, “what the fuck is up Baltimore!?” I think they found our more musical focus and pleasant disposition a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the acts that night. We continued our set with “Crater” (explaining to the audience our collaboration with Björn Strid whom they’d later be seeing on stage with Soilwork) and closing with “Skyline”.

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When our set was over, Gloria Cavalera (manager of Soulfly and Max Cavalera’s wife) congratulated me on our set and told us that she found our music interesting and intriguing. Very cool! Walking through the venue, numerous people told us “good set” or “what was your name again? I wanna check out your music on Spotify” or came up to the merch table and bought our debut album right then and there (two days before its official release date).

All in all, it was a memorable and wonderful experience. As I told the crowd at the conclusion of our set, it was an honor to play for them and to have them forever be part of our first ever tour show.

October 22, 2015 – Knoxville, TN – The International – Enjoying the Company

We arrived in Knoxville still high off the buzz of the previous night. Our first night had been a success. However, we had learned that our load-off had not been up to the standards of the tour the previous night and that we’d need to become more efficient getting off stage or our set time would have to be cut by 5 minutes to account for longer transitions.

We also wanted to be able to get off the stage faster ourselves so that we could interact with new fans in the audience very soon after our set ended and see the other bands for the first time.

I went out to grab Lunch at a cool place nearby called The Hill bar & grill and immediately dig my best to ingratiate myself to them by mentioning my lifelong diehard following of their golden boy Peyton Manning, which in University of Tennessee country is not a bad first introduction for a CT native to make.

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I returned to the venue with a bounty of food for my mates and soon after began schmoozing with the local support band Scent of Remains on the bill. I was especially impressed with the clean jazzy chord voicings (think Tosin of Animals As Leaders in the tamer, pretty parts) during sound check of their recently acquired guitarist Brandon Anderson who was donning a Deftones shirt. Instant bromance. Their music itself was much less so up my alley as the music they played was mostly written before Brandon joined…but his playing portends positive things for the future!

We were in and out of the venue for their set as we prepared for our own. We took the stage and immediately felt a similar confidence and command of the audience carried over from our debut gig on the tour.

We played the same set as in Baltimore (“The Closest I’ve Come”, “Crater” [feat. ‘invisible’ Björn Strid], “Skyline”) and to similarly very positive results.

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After our set, we were much more efficient in loading off and were thus able to enjoy carousing with the Tennesseans and watching our new tour-mates do their thing. I had never heard Shattered Sun’s music before and was immediately impressed with their energy and their consistency. I had seen Soilwork before and a bit the previous night in Baltimore, but this time we got to enjoy their set from beginning-to-end in all its majesty while hanging with some of our new fans/friends who also were also mouths agape at how massive, tight, and dynamic these dudes are on stage. I had never gotten to see Soulfly before, but damn, what a unique experience! Max has an aura about him that’s infectious and has the room at once captive and captivated.

The rush of adjusting to the tour life had finally subsided for a moment; it was nice to sit back and enjoy other musicians who’ve been grinding for so much longer than we have, doing their thing.

October 23, 2015 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade – Road Blocks Are No Obstacle For Atlanta Metal Fans

We arrived in Atlanta well before we actually were able to access the venue. Roads surrounding the venue were all closed off due to the Red Bull Soapbox Race that would be a major event in town the following couple days. This ended up forcing one of the local openers to drop off the show and another to play a very compromised set, both due to missing members/instruments.

This tour features many bald, bearded men and one person came up to me asking for my autograph mistaking me for Marc Rizzo of Soulfly (formerly the guitarist for Ill Niño) and another mistook me for Björn from Soilwork.

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We feared that the audience would also be very limited by the closed-off roads, but this was not the case. Atlanta metalheads found a way! And their passion extended to their reaction to our and the other bands’ performances. The crowd was warmly receptive and had the best energy yet we’d experienced on the tour. Our set on this bill was such that we only had time to play two songs due to the singer who’d arrived late in the local band before us babbling on in a woe is me manner for minutes after their set had been cut. We also had difficulties with the frequencies in the venue with our in-ear wireless setup that delayed our set’s start time. Therefore, we cut “Skyline” and just played “The Closest I’ve Come” and “Crater”. No matter – from the moment Frank busted out the keytar in ‘Closest’ our set was a hit with Atlantans, and they a hit with us!

I hung around the venue after our set and met numerous really cool people, many of whom are aspiring musicians themselves – definitely a town we’ll have to come back to on tour ASAP!

We caught word that The Masquerade will, unfortunately, be closing or at least relocating soon. This is a real shame. I very much enjoyed the setup, the architecture/aesthetic from the outside, and the cool lifting floor to bring the equipment up from ground level to the stage and back down. I hope the new venue when they relocate is at least as sweet!

October 24, 2015 – Fort Lauderdale – The Culture Room – We Were Due For A Dud

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale and were immediately hungry and all grabbed some delicious Pollo Tropical together. The sauces were all awesome. Our favorite was probably the cilantro garlic, which reminded us of the vitlök (Swedish for garlic) dressing we loved when we were recording our album in Stockholm.

We got to the venue, The Culture Room, which was this cool, relatively smaller place with a neat layout and patio. The screens behind the stage were awesome. They had our logo behind us as we played, which was a nice touch of production design on the house.

As much as the venue and the local food chain were really cool, we were pretty disappointed by the fans. Part of it was that for the first time there was no local support band to get them warmed up, but this was a tame and immovable audience to work. Other than our buddy Roly from his own Miami-based band A Victim A Target who came to support us, the crowd was dull and disinterested.

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We, however, had to take some of the blame for this show being a disappointment. We did not take full advantage of the lack of local support during our soundcheck to make sure every aspect of our live setup was working, so when we took the stage, we were scrambling to figure out why my guitar rig wasn’t responding properly. It took us several minutes of panic on stage to sort this. The crowd probably picked up on this and it was their first impression of us. Still, from then on we played the music as well and actively engaged the crowd on our end as well as we had at previous dates on the tour, and they simply weren’t having it…

We came away from the show initially a bit down in the dumps, and soon after resolute to fucking kill it the next day in St. Pete.

October 25, 2015 – St. Petersburg, FL – The State Theatre – Redemption Tastes So Sweet…Like Peanut Butter On A Burger

We arrived in St. Petersburg for the final show before our one day off. We certainly wanted to head into our break with positive feelings and momentum on our side for the longer, second stretch of the tour. With the bitter taste of the previous night as a motivator rather than a detractor, the day immediately had a different and very positive vibe. We were gonna put on an amazing, undeniable show tonight.

One thing on our side was that we had several friends coming to the show who we were very excited about seeing and meeting. Several of these friends were people we’d never met in person, but had reached out to us online about our music well before the tour and had bonded with us quite early in the pre-album rollout of our songs and awareness campaign.

These friends arrived and we got lunch with them at the Acropolis down the street, which had very solid food and our waitress was super cool and nice so the vibe for meeting these friends and all hanging out was very positive. When we got back to the venue our old buddy Doug was there whose smile is infectious and just totally gets me pumped.

The local bands had loaded in and when we got back the first of them was playing – a band called Aionios. Their music was some of the most adventurous, melodic, and technical of any band we’d played with on this tour. Very impressive local support act and they are all very nice, talented guys to boot. Their vocalist hit some super high notes with power, emotion, and conviction. Perhaps they are a band to watch in coming years out of Florida!

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The crowd reaction to the locals was already much warmer than the reaction that tour package bands had gotten the night before in Miami.

We took the stage feeling as confident as we’d felt all tour. Other than the goofy heckling dude in front of me saying, “I bet you guys are gonna be emo” and “you guys smell like meatballs,” we were certain this crowd was going to love us, and we were going to love them too. Immediately the energy was intense and the connectivity was there from the outset of the first big section of “Closest”. I told the audience “Y’all are awesome – so much better than Fort Lauderdale,” which I think played into their intrastate rivalry nicely and further bonded them to us. “Crater” and “Skyline” were met with progressively more enthusiasm, and we had made our mark on the St. Pete crowd. Immediately as we were coming off the stage, there were audience members telling us how much they loved it.

One of our new friends from the Interwebs, Stoutmeister, whose YouTube show The Great American Demise we had earlier participated in had his car towed away after he had helped us out in a big way by letting us ship extra CDs and a kick drum head to his house that he then brought to us at the show. No good deed goes unpunished, but we all piled in another friend’s car and went with him to retrieve the vehicle and pitched in some money to help cover the stupidly expensive towing cost — instant bonding experience.

Our FOH sound engineer Bill told me excitedly that he felt that he had finally nailed our sound. As I had a very intimate, profound conversation at a local bar with one of our other new Internet friends over a Peanut Butter and Bacon burger of all things, the feeling fully started to sink in. It was a wonderful feeling of redemption to have our best show of the tour follow our worst. We had earned our day off.

Keep up with the band on Facebook and Twitter!

Joshua Weidling Owner/Founder

I'm the owner & founder of Digital Tour Bus. I started the company in my dorm room during my freshman year of college. I have a degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Outside of music and going to concerts, I'm a big fan of stand-up comedy, playing board games, trying the most amazing unhealthy food, and watching really mediocre comedy tv shows.