Euro Trip (Part 1 of 2)

I’m back at home now and slowly unpacking. I’ve just returned from two weeks in Europe. It was a crazy time with a lot of ups and some downs. We left on June 1st. Though, the first of our shows wasn’t until the weekend of June 5th and 6th, we wanted to make sure that we arrived and had enough time to adjust to the new sleep schedule leaving enough time to allow our driver to make his way from the UK with the van and our equipment. We always fly with our guitars but everything else from drums to amplifiers are rented. And it’s always a bit weird adjusting to new equipment. We spent three days in Cologne, Germany. We did what we could to kill time. Cameron, Konstantine and I took a long walk to the Chocolate museum which was overrated. I expected to taste WAY more chocolate. We also visited the cathedral for the 2nd time. One of the things we noticed on the first night was that there were only about 5 hours of darkness each night. It wouldn’t get dark until about 10:30PM and it would start getting light around 4 AM. The weather was perfect and we spent some late evenings hanging out in the “biergarten” at the restaurant next to our hotel.

The days of leisure went by pretty fast and before we knew it, the weekend was upon us and we were making our way to the Rock Am Ring festival. This is said to be the biggest German festival. It would be our first experience with European style festivals. All we knew is what we played of The Warped Tour and Bamboozle. This was entirely different. The first sign that we were close is the cluster of tents. Several small tent cities pop up in the name of rock ‘n’ roll on the grounds surrounding the festival. The festival is impressive and very well-organized. We are directed by knowledgeable people to dressing rooms, which we didn’t expect at a festival. We are scheduled to play one of the smaller stages around 5PM. As we hadn’t even tried out the new equipment, I spend most of the time between arrival and performance turning nobs and getting the sound right on the amp I’ve yet to use. I was also very excited to unveil the new backdrop we bought. It’s large enough to be seen at the largest of festivals but small enough to be used at mid-sized venues as well. As I was waiting at the side of the stage to go out, it put the biggest smile on my face to see the bright, detailed and very large “Rose-Skull” hanging behind the stage.

Playing festivals is always a weird experience for me. They can be fun, but I don’t feel like it’s the ideal way to see Dommin. I’m a very visual person and I really dislike the absence of lights and prefer the visual overload that is experienced in a controlled environment like a club or indoor theatre. It feels very naked and exposed playing outdoors in the daylight. It’s not what I would prefer, but it is what it is and we go out there and do what we do any way. After we perform, we made our way to the Main Stage where we caught the last half of 30 Seconds To Mars’ amazing set. I started to feel tired and uncomfortable in the large packed in crowd. I left the rest of the guys to watch Muse’s set and I made my way back to the dressing room. Their sound was amazing and as I reached the dressing room, I was also getting the sounds of Slayer clashing in the air with Muse. The next day we play three hours away at Rock Im Park. It’s essentially the same festival as Rock Am Ring just different bands on different days. The one thing we find as we arrive on location is that this stage is indoors. I immediately feel much more excited to play when I find this out. Since I didn’t have to spend my time adjusting nobs on my amp head, I spent a lot more time loitering. I started to really take in the environment in which I was surrounded. For example, while I was picking at the catering, I noticed that at the table adjacent to mine, the entire band of Alice In Chains was digging into their dinner. It was really nice that the guys in We Are The Fallen came around our stage to check out our set. It was good to see them again. They are pretty fun to be around. We also got the pleasant surprise of having Tim and Tomo from 30 Seconds and his fiance, Vicki, to pay us a surprise visit and catch our set as well. I am really so grateful that we not only have the support of our fans but also the support of our peers. I feel so grateful towards Tomo and Vicki. Any chance they get, they are telling people to check out Dommin and have really turned a lot of people on to us. I am eternally grateful to have such friends and as they say, “fans.” Tonight was extra special though. We got invited to enjoy their performance from the side of the stage. As we walked on stage, they were already mid-set. I immediately felt weak in the knees at the sight of the sea of 60,000 people. It was pretty intense. I can only hope Dommin gets an opportunity like this in the future.

Ahead of us we have three shows before the next festival called Download in the UK. The first two shows, we have the opening spot for Bullet For My Valentine. I’m skeptical about how the crowds for Bullet will react to Dommin. But as we take the stage in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, I’m reminded of the successful show we had in Amsterdam. We walk out to screams and cheering. It was a packed room and a very warm welcome. The following show had my skepticism revisited, though. Maybe it had to do with the crowd of Germans chanting “Bullet” for 45 minutes straight before our set. I was slightly worried they’d chant right over and through our set. But as the lights went out and we took the stage, we were greeted again by a very respectful and music loving audience that took very well to Dommin. The third show we would play was a single headlining show with local openers in a city called Bochum, Germany. We arrived a day early with a day off. Cameron and I used the day to do our laundry while our tour manager, Reno, and Billy went to go stock up on some gear we needed for the upcoming festival. I try walking back to the hotel from which we were just driven while Cameron tends to the laundry and suddenly find that I have no idea where I am. Eventually after walking around for about an hour, I stumble upon our hotel. I’ve gotten myself lost once before and it was in Cologne, Germany. The one nice thing about getting lost is that, in some ways, you feel like you’ve really had the chance to take in the city in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise. Sure it may be accompanied by a bit of a panic, but nevertheless, in hindsight, it usually ends up being a pleasant experience.

The Bochum headlining show started off great but ended up pretty horrible…(to be continued)

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