The Swedish band, INVSN, is currently on a North American tour with Minus The Bear and Slow Bird. While they’re on this tour, Dennis Lyxzen (vocals/guitar), will be writing a blog of his experiences on the road. You may recognize Dennis from his work in Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy. You can check out his second blog, after the break.
Tour blog part 2
So we travel. Music and art is freedom but also demands attention and repetition. Routines are required to be able to function. I have routines that I follow every day. We follow some sort of logic that is somehow separated from the rest of the world. It is an old cliché but life becomes a bubble. We live in our van. 7 people always in each other’s laps. We live in backstage rooms and cheap motels. We pack in 7 people in 2 rooms. That is all we can afford.
America is a country full of contradictions and a logic that does not work. A continent that desires freedom and individuality so much that it believes that the internal logic will make that happen. But instead it gets replaced by strip malls and chain stores. Everything ends up looking the same, smelling the same and tasting the same. Traveling across the country is a strange sensation. America is vast and beautiful and then comes the strip malls. Then we pass another KFC and another Taco Bell. And right there. In between the magnificent landscape, the vultures, the billboard ads and strip malls are America. It was only a short while ago America was rural more than city-life.
We exist on a different plane. Always observing and always looking but just as spectators. This is not our country, not our culture, not our world. Sometimes people wonder why we talk so much about America and its politics and its foreign policies. The truth of the matter is that even though we are spectators and we are just guest here. We are everyday affected by the everyday decisions of this country. It is still the most powerful economy in the world even though that is changing. It is still our number 1 source for pop culture. It still produces music and art and film that we consume every day. Of course the political landscape will be of concern to us!
Cleveland feels dark and dangerous but the venue is very professional. Almost to a default. Which makes sense since it is a House of Blues. But it is a nice change of pace from disorganized punk clubs and squats. The show is good. People are confused by our appearance which I think is a good thing. This might be one of the first shows where I can actually move around a bit. The songs are still tricky to move to. I have to find the rhythm and the movement of some of the songs. I have to harness the energy and make the songs mine in my body. That’s the only way. In Grand Rapids the room is huge and there are scattered groups of people. We play well and the local lighting guy is nothing short of amazing. He is on point and he follows the music like he’s heard us a 1000 times. It is impressive. The music we play is so set on moods and the light adds so much to what we are doing. Turns out that when he is not working at this venue he is working with the UFC as their lighting guy. So, he is a pro.
Chicago is great. It is one of my best cities in the states. We hit the Chicago Diner for lunch. Cruise for records and we end up getting no soundcheck. I’ve played the Metro 3 times before and I have nothing but fond memories of it. INC did some amazing shows here. Tonight is not one of them. The line-check is a slight disaster and I end up playing the entire set without hearing any vocals. But people seem to be into it and I meet Joe from Rise Against and get to shoot the shit for a while. The first time I came here, to Chicago that is, we ended up at the Pick Me Up cafe and after the show me and Sara and Kajsa goes there. It is a nice tradition to uphold.
Detroit is a great show. The house is packed and we play with power and purpose. I manage to rant about what capitalism looks like and connect it to Detroit without shooting down the people there. I think in reality I never really know what the fuck I am talking about. I just open my mouth and shit comes out. Half of the time I am just improvising on the spot. But after the show a bunch of people come up to me and say that they are glad that I spoke out and I tried to tell it like it is. Well, one can only try.
Niagara Falls is a strange show. The tickets say that the show starts at 7 and Slow Bird goes on a 6.45 or something. So before doors are supposed to be open. To be the first band out is just hard. It is hard work and you need all the support you can get. Once we get started people have trickled in and we do a good show. Everyone plays really well and it is fun to hear how quickly we are becoming a tight unit.
Toronto is also one of my favorite cities. I wish that I could spend more time here. It is like veggie-heaven. Too bad that the great record-store Hits and Misses closed down. I played the venue before with INC. I just remember doing a knee drop and Lars that played guitar kneed me straight in the face. Years and years of pent up aggression I guess. He claims that it was not on purpose but I am not so sure. It gave me a wicked black eye though. The show is great even though there are some issues with the monitors, again. No ones fault just bad luck. It means that I have to talk more than usually. Not sure that’s a good thing. Also, we are trying to figure out just how much I can joke when we play the type of music that we play. Time will tell I guess. After the show the others end up partying on the Minus the Bear bus. I am old and my body aches and I feel strangely excluded from the beer-drinking routine. I don’t drink beer so when that happens I bow out. I party once in a while. But all in all I am here to play.
I love bands that are touring and it is a big party and everything is great and fun but we are not like that. We’ve done this before and we are here to play music. Period. Sometimes we come off as a bit anti-social and awkward, which might also be true, but in reality it is just a matter of focus. We have a purpose and we are on a mission.
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