On The Road Again: Direct Hit’s European Vacation, Part One
DIRECT HIT! are currently on their first-ever European tour, and vocalist Nick Woods will be sending us dispatches from across the Atlantic. Download free music from the band here. Their full-length, Domesplitter, is physically available from Kind Of Like Records.
About a year ago, I got an e-mail from someone in Belgium asking when Direct Hit! was going to come play in Europe. My answer was, “probably never.” None of us had really ever left the US before--Robbie had been overseas a couple times at ages five and 12, and Danny and I had been to Mexico, but those were straight-up vacations, with hotel rooms, and beaches and shit like that. I had no idea how to even start putting together a tour outside of the US without putting myself in 15 years of credit card debt, and likely all of us in prison. So, it’s sort of hard to believe that I’m typing out this stuff at a bar in the UK right now, trying hard to sing through a chest cold with the help of a bottle of vitamins, a box of tea, and an every-10-hours dose of nasal spray.
We flew out of O’Hare Airport in Chicago one week ago, each of us carrying a backpack, an instrument, and a suitcase full of merch. All of us were pretty nervous--the trip had been booked by a guy none of us had even talked to on the phone, and despite being assured many, many times that there’d be a van, amps, and driver waiting for us when we landed in Amsterdam, too much shit had gone wrong on every previous tour for us to be entirely confident. But almost a week later, I can say this is without a doubt the best trip any of us has taken--we’ve met a lot of new friends, and played great shows every night in a place thousands of miles away from home.
So far, we’ve played four shows in Belgium, and one in France. Most have them have been at venues called jeudgheuis-es, which are youth centers supported by the Belgian government--a resource that I wish was available to every band back in the States--and run by and large by the kids that come to shows here. We haven’t learned much in the way of new language, besides “doe die broek oat” which means “take your pants off” in Flemish. Everyone in Belgium speaks awesome English anyway, and French people are so good-looking that you feel like an asshole trying to make them speak the way you do.
The beer, bread, and chocolate here are also leagues better than in the US. We eat bread with every meal with basically nothing on it, because it tastes like cake compared to what we get at home. Beer in Belgium is especially incredible--a bottle of Leffe costs just a euro or two, but it’s the kind of stuff snobs pay eight or nine dollars for back at home. Everyone’s home is also gorgeous in Belgium (at least the ones we’ve seen), with well-trimmed lawns and sometimes a pen full of chickens and hutches full of wood out back that fuels a wood-burning stove for most of the year. We didn’t get to see a lot of the French countryside, but the apartments make you feel like you’re attending a harpsichord concert every time you walk into one. It almost makes you wish you could spend less time sweating and screaming onstage, because seeing less of the town means missing out on the best part of the trip.
We play our first UK show tonight, and will be here for another week. I’m sure there’ll be lots more to talk about then! High five! alt