Radiactivo Tour in Deutschland 2003

Friday 5 September
After having driven 1800 km in a van full of equipment, Aviador Dro started their first German tour in Kaiserslautern. Alexis, from MetaWave Music, and I arrived there and the band was doing the sound check for the concert. The place was a small club for cultural events in the university, in Kramladen. There was a lot of uncertainty, specially for this first concert of the tour. Some of the German people who helped to organize the tour had warned me: "I know Aviador Dro, and perhaps two hundred people more in Germany know them too. Very few people might go to some of the concerts!". Would anyone come to the show? Jochen, the tour promoter, was confident. People started to come in for the show and, when we realized, the crowd was quite numerous: a bit less than one hundred people. It was time for Aviador Dro to perform in Germany, at last. And what a performance. Most people were static, but, after a few songs, some started to dance non-stop. The show worked well, combining classics such as 'Selector de frecuencias' and 'Néstor el cyborg' with new songs: 'Mi mejor retransmisión' and 'Gretchen en Dresde', and with special moments such as the performing in 'Carnívoro' and in 'Brigada de demolición', where the usual pamphlets thrown to the masses were also present, this time in German. 'Nuclear Sí' was one of the highlights as the crowd joined in for the singing: 'Nuclear sí ...', '¡Por supuesto!' replied the crowd. In between songs, some people even yelled song titles in the hope Aviador would play their requests: 'Programa en espiral', 'Telepatía'!!! The show was arriving to the end, after the encore, and by that time the crowd was fully converted to Aviador Dro, even the more reluctant ones. So another song had to be half improvised, as luckily they had the preprogrammed bases for a few extra songs. The fully energetic 'Godzilla' was the perfect end to the show. During the tour I was in charge of a small merchandising stall, and Kaiserslautern was the first place to see the new Aviador Dro single, in a limited edition special for the tour. That was a very special moment, as we had all worked very hard to have this single pressed, and we were quite unsure how the cover design would look when printed in a sleeve. The final result looked great! Very few singles were sold before the concert, but afterwards quite a few went, and a few Aviador Dro CD´s too. The show was over, and everyone was happy of the whole event: the Aviador Dro performance, the audience response, the organization, everything. One guy who only likes the old Aviador Dro music told me: "I understand why they don't do anymore the old stuff, and I must recognize I like them now". It was time to pack the Aviador Dro equipment and go to sleep in a peaceful hotel in the countryside, a few kilometers away from Kaiserslautern, in Otterberg. There was a small logistics problem though: all the Aviador Dro guys had the keys for their rooms in the hotel, but not me. We arrived to the hotel, which was in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere, and there was nobody in the reception. This was a very small hotel, run by a family (who did not speak English), and at 2:00 am everybody was sleeping. What we had was a telephone number of the hotel, so I rung to that number with a 'handy', and was able to explain, in my very basic German, that I was a friend of four people from Spain who had rooms in his hotel, that my friends had the keys for their rooms but I had no key, that I was sorry to call. Finally, the man got up and handed the key to me. I had been able to speak some German!

Saturday 6 September

A generous German Früshtück, with egg included, is the best thing you can have in the morning. After that, we were ready to hit the road towards the next place in the tour: Erlangen. We were all happy as the show had been quite a success. Erlangen was not too far from Kaiserslautern. We arrived there at about four, and Simon was there to greet us. The club had a small hall, and the outside was full of graffitties. It all looked quite punk. The guys who organized this concert were all very young and enthusiastic. Soon we were all working hard to put everything together ready for the show. The stage was decorated with flexible metallic piping, which had been inspired by the aesthetics of the Aviador Dro maxisingle 'Programa en espiral'. Some hours later, everything was ready and people started to arrive for the show, and some 'strange' things started to happen in the merchandising stall: people were very enthusiastic and eager to buy Aviador Dro CD's. Even more than one person bought all the different Aviador Dro CD's available. Copies of the official tour poster were also sold, and quite a few copies of the tour single too. Sometimes it was very difficult to keep up with people's demand for goods. The show started and everyone was in awe looking at these guys dressed in radioactive T-shirts and with strange helmets. The set was performed, with a few phrases in German here and there: Nuclear, Ja natürlich. Aktion gegen Tradition. Leben zum Sterben. Again, two encores where performed. One of the highlights was when Biovac N took the Kraftwerk cone and kept it away from Godzilla! Hilarious. In this show I talked to one of the sponsors of the tour poster. He told me that the first Aviador Dro records are of extreme importance for the minimal electronics scene. Quite an statement coming from someone who really knows a lot about minimal electronic music! Everyone was happy after a great show and a perfect organization. Again, it was time to pack the stage set-up and merchandising and go to sleep to the Kafka pension. And it was really kafkian!

Sunday 7 September
After a good breakfast, we went back to the Omega club where Simon and his friends were waiting for us. We put everything in the van, said good-bye to all with the hope that we would meet again in a future Aviador Dro tour, and set for the next Radiactivo Tour stop: Zürich. That was really far from Erlangen. On sunday we arrived to Ulm, the hometown of Einstein, where we spent the evening.

Monday 8 September
On Monday morning we headed for Konstanz, near the border to die Schweiz. That was a very long journey and it seemed we would never arrive. We stopped in Meersburg, a little old town by the Bodensee, facing at Konstanz at the other side of the huge lake. In Meersburg we could recover some strength after a strenuous journey. In the afternoon we took a ferry and crossed the Bodensee to arrive in Konstanz where we had rooms in the Zeppelin Hotel. We had a small walk around Konstanz and ate something before going to bed. At the hotel I talked on the phone to Jonas, the organizer in Zürich. He had good hopes for the show in Zürich.

Tuesday 9 September
After leaving the hotel, we arrived immediately to the border and were going to cross the so convenient Euro-zone. At the border, we had to show identification documents, open the van for inspection and declare all goods. How quick we all get used to this common space in which we share currency and are free to circulate! We arrived to the club at midday. The place was really cool. It was a large club, with opaque red glass on the windows in the wall, red lamps hanging from the ceiling, small leather sofas around glass tables. It looked as if taken out of the Kubrick film 2001! Apparently, the club belongs to Miss Kittin. After unloading the van, we went for a small visit in Zürich. The organizers had worked very hard to promote the concert: hundreds of tour posters were stuck on the streets in Zürich, even though it is illegal to do so and you can be fined with around 30 Euros, special flyers had been printed, the concert had been announced in the local newspapers and was included in every single cultural leaflet from Zürich. When asked were we would like to go in Zürich, it was obvious we wanted to see the Cabaret Voltaire, the cafe that was the place for dadaists to plan for their provocative actions! It had been a private place and has been closed for lots of years, but after many requests it will be open to the public very soon, after having been heavily restored. What a pity it was still closed! After a quick lunch, it was time for the sound check. The Toni Molkerei club is a huge place and the sound was not the best of all, but still reasonably good when the audience was standing close enough to the stage. The organization in Zürich was very professional, and we were treated almost like pop stars. We went to have dinner to a very special place with exotic biological food and our hotel to sleep after the show, a very comfortable and spacious one, was near the club in an industrial area in Zürich. Time for the show was approaching and the support band, Der Widerstand, had to go quickly to the club. They spoke Spanish quite well. In fact, many people in Zürich could speak in Spanish to us quite well: at the bank counter to exchange money, at the tourist office, at the hotel reception, ... This was a surprise. After finishing our dinner, we went to the club and not many people was in. Perhaps it was because tuesdays are not the ideal day to go out clubbing? Perhaps Aviador Dro did not raise much interest over there? The truth is that about 70 people were there, but the place was very cold as it was too large. Maybe the same people in a smaller place would have worked better? Anyway, the show was very cold as the audience did not connect, except for a few fans. Sales in the merchandising stall were very few also. However, the effort put in the show and the professionalism showed by the organizers were out of doubt. What a pity it was not a more attended show.

Wednesday 10 September
Wir fahren fahren fahren auf der Autobahn. From Zürich to Berlin auf der Autobahn... This was the longest trip in the tour, and a very tiring one! The Autobahn to Berlin was not like from Frankfurt to Darmstadt, where there are four lanes per direction. A lot of times it was two lanes, and with lots of repairings being done. We stopped twice in the Autobahn to have some quick bratwurst and stretch a bit. Berlin was the place to arrive soon as Aviador Dro had never been in Berlin before. After an endless driving, we arrived exhausted to meet Marko, the organizer in Berlin, and Alexis from Metawave Music was also there. Specially in bad condition was Biovac N, whom could hardly walk as he had a lot of pain in one of his legs. Would the show have to be cancelled? A very nice hostel near the Alexanderplatz in Berlin was our place. After checking-in, we had dinner in a near-by cafe. The rain and the exhaustion invited us to go for an early sleep. We would start the next day quite early as Berlin was waiting outside.

Thursday 11 September
We met early in the morning with Alexis, who knows Berlin well. Unter den Linden, Brandenburg Tor, Die Reichstag, Pergamonmuseum in the Museumsinsel to see the Gate of Isthar, Checkpoint Charlie and the Mauer, Potsdamer Platz. In the area of Checkpoint Charlie there was a shop selling souvenirs, and they had a piece from the Mauer, as big as about 40 x 20 cm, and they were selling it for around 200 Euros. What a bargain! That was the quickest possible visit to Berlin, which is in the middle of a full restoration and reconstruction process. We also visited Das Drehmoment record shop. In the afternoon, we met Marko and drove to the club with all the equipment. Kato is a bit outside of the center but a nice club. People there were very helpful. Aviador Dro did their sound check and I set up the merchandising stall as usual. During the sound check, the guy from the club told me: "the drumming is so good that people will not believe it's being played live! How will I explain that the band is playing live and it is not a pre-recorded sound???". After a quick pizza, Alexis and I headed to take care of the merchandising stall. A bit later, Aviador Dro arrived to the hall, in which quite a few people had already arrived to see these "Spanish pop" guys. The warm-up band played a short set, and then it was time for Aviador Dro. Biovac had recovered quite well from his aching legs and, although he did not move a lot on the stage, he acted quite well. The audience knew the songs, and some people were dancing like mad to the Aviador Dro set. The performance was one of the best of the tour, and again Godzilla had to be played as a second encore. It was a special night. Standing in front of the stage, with Aviador Dro playing in Berlin, and such a good performance...

Friday 12 September
After a night rest and a quick breakfast, we went to the club to load the equipment into the van and hit the road to Bochum, which is quite far from Berlin. The club in Bochum, Zwischenfall, seems to be well known. To tell the truth, when we arrived to Bochum, it seemed quite a small town and we thought not many people would come to the show. I remember Biovac N saying "if more than 30 people come to the show, I'll convert to (I don't remember which one) religion". He had to swallow his own words later on. While the band was doing their sound check, I talked to some friends of the organizer and they were fans of Aviador Dro. They told me this was the "old club" in town, in which they kept faithful to the old electronic music scene, to differentiate themselves from other clubs in the town. The Zwischenfall had a huge room for the band, very comfortable with chairs, sofa, TV, a nice fridge, showers, and even a bed. The room was covered with posters of bands that had been playing in this club, some of them quite famous. Jerry, from Metawave Music, luckily came to the show, as we saw an unforgettable performance that night. The entrance to the club was downstairs, where the merchandising stall was placed. There were some guys selling their records and they took care of the Aviador Dro records too. After having dinner in this magnificent changing room, it was time for Aviador Dro. The crowd was quite numerous, just below one hundred, and they were all dispersed in the bar and the stage. "Gutten Abend. Wir sind El Aviador Dro". Biovac N was in full shape and was moving a lot on the stage, even though  it was a small one. The audience was enjoying quite a lot and Nexus, ATAT, Arcorisi and Biovac N too. It was an intense performance. Some people would ask for certain songs and two encores where performed. During the last one, Godzilla, the climax was so intense that Biovac N, being attacked by the radioactive monster who had escaped from one of the Japanese movies, fall on the stage. When he stood up, it was clear to the audience that Godzilla had hurt Biovac N, as blood was coming out of his right eyebow. "This are impressive special effects" thought more than one in the audience. The song was near the end and after being finished, the band walked off the stage to the changing room where Biovac N had to have a first cure of his broken eyebrow. Some fans were waiting for autographs of the band and there was one guy that had lots of the old Aviador Dro vinyl, even the ultra rare maxisingle "La TV es Nutritiva". Biovac N had to sign lots of records while keeping some ice with his other hand in his eyebrow. He was later driven to a doctor where he had some stitches. The merchandising was selling very good. All the CD's were sold out and lots of tour singles too, together with copies of the tour poster and even one comics book. It was clear people had enjoyed the show a lot and this was the highlight of the tour, where more fans had come to see the band and get some of these difficult-to-find-in-Germany CD's. After having packed the equipment, the promoter gave us a small map of the town, the address of the hotel and some intructions to get the keys of the room. After some wandering, we arrived there quite late. Perhaps it was already 3:00 am. Not without some small problems, we were finally able to enter the hotel and go to our room.

Saturday 13 September
We got up quite late and were already walking out of the hotel as, to tell the truth, it was too late for a breakfast service. To our surprise, we could have breakfast seating comfortably. After that, we hit the road again to Hamburg, where Aviador Dro had to play in the Advanced Electronics Festival. We arrived in the afternoon to the club. It was a huge place with a capacity of over 500 people. The hall and stage were great, with proper acoustics for a concert too. The sound equipment was also brilliant. The promoters were very helpful too and helped us in getting the equipment in the stage. Sono, the band heading the festival, were finalizing their sound check and in theory Ascii.Disko had to do their sound check afterwards. Unfortunately, Ascii.Disko were not playing, apparently due to some health problems. Donna weren't playing either as the vocalist had no voice. Lots of problems. Price for the tickets was very high too. Things did not look well. Would many people come to the show, even though Ascii.Disko, the local electroclash heroes, would not be playing finally? Sono, also from Hamburg, seemed to be the highlight of the festival, but to tell the truth, they did not sound to me as "Advanced Electronics". For instance, they were using all sorts of acoustic percussion and acoustic guitars. Aviador Dro did their sound check and decided to do a different set in Hamburg. They would not be playing some of the songs, and instead play the first encore, all together. If there was need to play one encore, they could play 'Programa en espiral', for the first time in the tour. We went to do the check-in in the hotel, which was in the red quarter in Hamburg. Back to the club and after having dinner there, we made some time before the show. Lots of people were outside the club in all sorts of extreme dressing you could imagine. It looked like a night fashion show. A few records were sold in the merchandising stall and it was already time for the show, after Donna had played without vocals. The hall was far from being very crowded. Only a sparse audience, with some people here and there, was present. Perhaps 100 in total, but the atmosphere was very cold as the empty space was dominating. "OK, guys. Let's imagine this is just a rehearsal. Because of the lights we will not even see if there is audience or not. Let's go for it". The stage lightning was great, the sound was crystal-clear and the show was on: 'Aviador Dro, ¿dígame?', from their latest tour single. The show was well performed and Biovac N moved a lot, as the stage was huge. A few fans had gathered not too far from it  and applauded to every song. Not the best show as far as connection with the audience goes, but the sound was, no doubt, one of the best achieved by El Aviador Dro ever. Sono did their show and afterwards congratulated Aviador Dro for their great performance. After loading the equipment in the van, we drove to the hotel. It was perhaps near 2:00 am and there was a huge crowd on the streets, full of all kinds of bars, discos, clubs, sex shops, cinemas of all sorts, etc.

Sunday 14 September
The Radiactivo Tour in Deutschland was over. All the local organizers and promoters had been very helpful, kind and professional. It had been very enjoyable for the band and for us the organizers, and it had been a success in a country in which supposedly Aviador Dro was a completely unknown band. It was not the case: they aren't very well known, but they are not complete unknown either. Some eager people keep searching for their CD's and will wait for more tours to come hopefully. Aviador Dro were now facing 2200 Km. to go back to Madrid.

Thanks to:
Der Widerstand, Guido from Odin's wald, Jerry und Alexis from MetawaveMusic.net, Jochen, Jonas from fierbertanz.de, Marko in Berlin, Milch,
Pedro from hoersturz.de, René from livingdead.de, Silvio from membrumdebile.de, Simon, das-drehmoment.net, geneticmusic.de, and all the people at Kato in Berlin, Kramladen in Kaiserslautern, Markthalle in Hamburg, Omega in Erlangen, Toni Molkerei in Zürich, Zwischenfall in Bochum, and all who helped to organise this tour.

Details of the aftershow parties have been omitted ;-)


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