Almost all pics by Timka Seppänen ( &Karolina Pankova)
Finally in Shanghai:
13.5 Day 1, 97 Livehouse, Wuxi
After cancelled flights, changing company and being awake for 30 hours, in China. Tour Manager was to meet us at the airport, and off we go to the city with metros. The city is unbelievably big, 26 million people and fast, very beautiful. We wait at the train station and eat noodles and beer. Two hour train-trip to Wuxi, which is also a big city, over million people. Straight to venue, 97 live house is a cool club, load-inn and soundcheck straight on. There is big banderolls and posters with my face around the street, people stop to take pictures of us. Showtime 22.30 exactly, seems like Chinese are very punctual in general, very nice for us, we feel like we are very well taken care of. Good show, full house, happy mind! After show chinese dinner on the street restaurant, Pig ears, Blood soup and chicken joints. Exotic! Happy mind and off to sleep.
14.5 Piston Livehouse, Wuxi
Hotel breakfast, luxury! Being very used to sleeping in the nightliner, these mornings with shower and breakfast seem luxurious.
Beans, tofu, coffee, noodles. Our tour manager is very fast and he organises us quickly to taxies and other hotel. Still in Wuxi, do some shopping and walking. The venue is a very cool small metal club in the old town, riverboats, dogs, red lanterns, just like in the movies! We also saw a glimpse one the local opera playing traditional Chinese music on the street. The locals take pictures, we got wonderful presents! We tour with only guitars and symbols with us, so it is a bit exciting to see what kind of backline and drums, but there is no worry. The equipment is very good, we are happy. Show is good, stage diving and jumping, wonderful crowd. We play 1 hour and a half, somewhere Henkka end up playing guitar behind his neck in the crowd, and people were dancing in a crazy circle around him! Awesome crazy and funny! Chinese audience is great!
15.5 Travel day
In the night the Tour Manager changes, Mr. Zang in leading us now. He is the fastest man we have ever met! “Gogogogo” he says and we almost fly with our bags in the crowd :D Morning good sleep till 10, then off to train. Noodles and at the train station, coffee can be self-made from instant powder and getting hot water from the public tap. A public teawater tap, of course. People carry their own teabotles and noodles.
We spent all day in the train, amazing cities rolling by. Train has got beds in tree stories, beds are very small for big Finnish people, lights go out exactly at ten and it is quiet.
16.5 Moon River Bar, Liuyang
Wake-up in the train at 4.30, the waiting in a line for an hour on the trains corridor, seems like its never sure when trains arrive. People were really interested in us, since there is hardly ANY westerners around, so “can we take a picture” and selling t-shirts and cd´s started immediately there, 5am in the crowded train corridor, the “hässäkkä” like it does everywhere. People in China look at us everywhere very long, close and carefully; for a Finn it is first very strange, but the look is totally just open and friendly, so we get used to it very fast. Warm and wonderful people. We get out of the train, jump into SUV:s waiting for us with local promoter and his help. 1 hour sleep in the car, then hotel. This city is famous of firework, our host Michael tells us that this city provides 90% of the worlds fireworks. We hear the noise of the fireworks being tested often. Then nap, excellent Chinese dinner, lovely song by a local singer Tia who performed with our Matti! Then us and off to stage. It is crowded, full house again, even babies in the audience. We play exactly the time it says on the advertisments. local press people are there too. Great show, great afterparty and sleep. Thank you our lovely hosts Michael an Tia! You rock<3 p="">3>
17.5 Luyoao Livehouse, Zhangijiajie
Take-away breakfast in the sun. Funny incident happens on the train station when we were hooraying for finding KFC; not because of the food, we love Chinese food, but because of the coffee! It is not easy to find coffee here, Chinese prefer tea. Well, we tried to order 5 coffees with milk, and they gave us 5 coffees and five large cups of hot milk. We tried to say we don’t want 1 litre of hot milk to the train, and tried to leave it on the desk, (AFTER we had payed payed for it, of course), but the lady yelled us back! SO there we were, in the very crowded train, with all music instruments, merchandise and our bags with 2000 passenger with a hell of an amount of hot milk with us, and no trash bins hahah. Karolina tried to drink most of it, but it was impossible. It is, btw, very neat on the streets in most places, people do dot leave trash around. In the train we are not sure if we have a show tonight since the venue has moved to a new, bigger location yesterday. Local crew is at the station to meet us, play Manzana in the car, so there is a show after all! Good. The venue is great, many student girls of english language from the university to help us around as interpreters. Soundcheck, hotel, fast dinner and off we go. Press people around, pictures, good show, selling lot of merchandise. Excellent night! We hear that there has been no western rockbound ever in this city before, what an honour. During the show I step on an electric cable, and off goes the computers and guitars. Oops…in a second I manage t fix it, but we have do do one song without the computer, since it takes time to load again, but no problem. Full house again. Thank you!
18.5 A day-off in Zhangijijajie
Sleeping late, tofu, tea and cherries for breakfast, shopping, ping pong. Wonderful, “small” city, only two million people they say. Yep. Still only one western person seen on the whole trip so far. The traffic in China is pretty hectic, nobody seems to care much of the red lights, horns play loud, scooter drive wherever they want, a bit scary actually. But we survive.
19.5 All day in the train
Sleeping, drinking, eating noodles, reading. Mountains are unbelievably beautiful, feels like being in TaoTao movie from the childhood.
20.5 Guiyang, jam & meet and greet
Arriving 5am from the train to the tomorrows Venue, food, beer, unreal feelings, lots of laughter. This city is said to be a bit poorer, dirtier the the other cities nearby, already at the train station we noticed, it was absolutely good to have a Chinese guy with us, we might not have gotten away from there easily otherwise…Anyway, we waited at the venue until six, then finally got hotel rooms from the upstairs. Great to sleep in bed till afternoon. At six we go make a soundcheck, get everything ready, but then the promoter comes to tell us that our gig is actually tomorrow, and today we should hung out at jam that takes place at the venue, a jam where all local rockers go, meet people, take photos with them and jam. Ok. Than we did! Was a great, fun and crazy night jamming till 3am.
21.5 Guiyang, The Power Livehouse
Wonderful, hot morning. Hippie clothes on and out on the street to eat. A bit risky, but at least me as a vegetarian still have not managed to catch anything to make stomach go bad (knocking wood). Awesome beans, tofu, chilis and cabbages everywhere. Great day of wondering around, eating dinner with locals. We are being called for lunch and dinner every day, water, beer, everything comes in front of us all the time, we really are well taken care of, people are so friendly everywhere. I am really falling in love with them. Powerhouse owner is doing a lot of work to help local kids to train rock and metal, he is letting them practise at the venue, gets them guitars and there is even a little recording room. There is really much people who like rock music, but the ones who do, are really enthusiastic. We meet awesome hc kids and metalheads, so cool! Soundcheck at seven, show at 9.30, half and hour pictures, press, autographs, the sadistic run to the train straight from the venue. 1am we sleep, sweaty and happy, and the train goes even deeper south. Quite close to the Vietnam border already. At least on the map…
22.5 Kunming, Mao Livehouse
7am to the hotel in the smalls Chinese strange van, we don’t believe that they can fit us and the equipment in it, but the local older taxman is a miracle maker, and off we go. Traffic is unbelievable in all places, I thank all spirits and Goddesses that we don’t have to drive. People yet and play horns non-stop, there is even a street sign for not honking the horn, but they still do, all the time. Morning sleep at hotel from 9 to 2, then off to venue. Mao Livehouse is very punk, yet it looks a lot like a motorcycle club in Poland. Big place. Local help is there, carrying our bags in the rain. We all are totally wet, and ready to rock at 9pm. After show photos, talking with fans, and a very, very fast departure to make it to the night train.
23.5 Dali, Spray Music Market
Dali, formerly known as Tali, used to be an own country somewhere in the history, and it feels like its still has its own soul. All along the way many Chinese people had said that it is the most beautiful city in south China, and it really is. We arrive 6 in the morning to the hotel with the local promoter, and go luckily back to bed to sleep a bit more. The mountains are unbelievable in Dali, I climb to the roof of the hotel in the morning, looks like I´m in a TaoTao cartoon or some other unreal movie. Dali used too have a hippie community for years, so it is unlike many other towns, western band coming to town does not stop people to stare so much of us on the streets. The showplace is on the fields, they grow their own vegetables, goat walking peacefully by the stage. Soundcheck. awesome food. It is lovely and fresh up in the mountains, and it has been raining for two months, so it feel great to wear sweater and a leather jacket on stage. The night is crazy, wet, and the local punk and metal kids take all the fun out of sliding in the mud, stage dicing. Just awesome, almost magical atmosphere! Off to the Old Town for afterparty with locals, dogs, guitars, punks, pool, food, everyone eating with everyone. I love Dali!
24.5 Dali, acoustic show & jam
Sleeping late, a piece of luxury on the road, or should I say on the rails…Off to venue where we met a local very cool Rock Chick Mem and off we went to the old town to her place to drink tea. Bad Monkey bar is a great venue for rock and metalhead in the old town, off there to get the funniest daytime drunkeness on. Back to the venue with a Moped-Ricksha special vehicle. It has happened to us many times on this tour, that we think that we will not “fit” into some moving thing, and there comes the Chinese guy who packs us in it. It happens again, we are afraid of being too heavy, but the Asian master of tetris packs us in off we go. Back to the venue, crazy dancing, food. Acoustic set, locals play non-stop on the stage, in the evening back to Bad Monkeys where the Manzana guys play a few songs, I´m off to bed.
25.5 Travel day
All day in the train, sleeping, drinking ,reading, quick food at Kunming.
26.5 Maoming, MMO
Arriving Maoming at noon, very, very hot, 30 Celsius and humidity unbelievable. Station seems to stop when we arrive after 27 hour train-ride, we are being looked at a LOT, pictures taken. Dali sure was different in this part. We get a hotel room for four hours, shower, nap, folding dirty clothes back to the back-bag imagining they turn clean that way. To the venue, soundcheck, then food. Finding vegetarian food in China is quite easy, since they eat a lot of soybeans, tofu, peanuts ect. but this city seems pretty hard. Looks like every food place has a head of a goat in front (a real head), living fish in the buckets, crawling grasshoppers, living chicken walking in the streets, living goats waiting their turn in the cars. Cool, original atmosphere, we finally find great food too. Showtime 9.30, 40 degrees warmth backstage already when waiting for our turn, I think for a moment that leatherpants were a very good choice haha. Good show, pictures, autographs, very, very fast departure to make it to the midnight train. Sweating like pigs we pass out in the train beds after eating instant noodles in the corridor, train moving. Beautiful sound of the miles passing, the rails lulls us asleep.
27.5 Dongguan, 8 Livehouse
Wake up at six, taxis to the hotel, breakfast, more sleep. It´s been raining like mad all day, still it´s hot outside. We get luckily a room with air conditioning, almost guilty for such a luxury….
Around five we´re off to the Venue, Livehouse 8 is a great, new rock club, it has been opened a month ago. The owner leads us for a walk to get food. He takes us to a traditional Chinese place, we eat on the roof, outside. Beautiful view, whole chickens with heads, cabbage for me. A nice crowd has gathered to the venue, and on we go. Good show, more partying, photos, selling merchandise quite a lot.
28.5 Festival at Zhenjiang
Surprise wake-up at 6.30, some of us dints sleep up all…off to the airport, a surprise festival gig had appeared, and tour plan changed. Sleeping all the way, then to a hotel, almost straight to the venue. Thea happening is built in the middle of the city, on a square, and once again, we worry about the rain. We seem to be as much of a performance already making the soundcheck, and the square fills up with people. Hot night, wonderful to feel the wind on a face on stage, great night! In the evening we have a little party for our great tour manager Mr. Zang who leaves us in the morning. Great guy! The fastest running manager I have ever met,: two telephones open 24/7, taking good care of us.
Thor in action. Timka Seppänen.
29.5 Shanghai, Inferno
At noon off to Shanghai with a bullet-train, 300km per hour is pretty fast! This is so far from the China we were still yesterday at, taller people, surroundings super-modern, all western stores in a row. Shanghai feels like home after southern exotic views. Not that I still can imagine the huge number of people living there. Yet somehow Chinese move so smoothly, there is hardly any arguments, pushing on the streets, crossing lines, shouting in trains, they sleep quietly when the light go out: they somehow dance the ballet of millions of people in a way that is rare in Europe or Us. Shanghai show is good, we play at 8.45, suitcases and back-bags on the stage, and ten o´bloc sharp arrives the taxi to the airport. Off to Moscow and home….