Steffen Jungersen


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Tall tales from the road with MERCENARY – part II


René Pedersen from Danish metalband Mercenary writes about the bands' trip to Spain on This second installment starts in the morning of the concert in Bilbao – capital of the Basque country – but somebody could've paid a bit more attention in school!

Over to you René:

Danish version

Read the first part of the adventure here

"I wake up with high hopes and take a long, lovely shower. Smelling nice and feeling re-invigorated I set the course for the hotel restaurant for breakfast. What I meet remind me of a late night on tour back in Denmark in 2008 where a former member of the band – having been met with pesto and parma ham sandwiches – exclaimed:

"Why the fuck can’t we just have some toast from the local supermarket and some ham and cheese rather than this fancy stuff!”

You’d think that they’d heard him in Bilbao. Because we get white bread with an option of margarine spread, peach marmalade and dry cake! In other words:

Just what a hungry heavy metal musician craves ... or something.

High on carbonates, amyloids and sugar we hit the city for a look around Bilbao. It’s actually great to have time for a decent look around and a taste of local culture. We had a long walk and returned to the Guggenheim Museum to see it in daylight. An impressive building with beautiful architecture.

Food ... again!
After a great mid morning downtown we set off for the venue Sala Sonora – located 15 minutes from the city centre. Great place. Good facilities and a nice big stage which is paramount when you have to swing your (lack of) hair aggressively around. After soundcheck we’re ready to face the Spanish fans and quench their thirst for metal music.

Before the show however, it’s foodtime. This is arranged as a "buy out”: the promoter hands the band a wad of cash and leave ‘em to their own devices to look for a restaurant in a city they don’t know squat about. Not a problem here though ‘cause there’s not a restaurant for miles around.

On the verge of desperation – well almost desperation anyway – we try and communicate with the locals which prooves rather difficult since none of them speak English.

Our guitarist Martin comes to the rescue. He took Spanish lessons in school AND he paid attention. So after Martin’s queries with a Spanish Lady of which I understood precisely nothing we’re sent on our way to a humble eaterie.

Basque not Spanish
Back to the venue where the show’s already on the road and there are quite a good number of people in the audience. We head backstage to warm up the ageing bodies and then: Showtime!

We hit the stage to cheers from the audience and open with "A New Dawn”. It’s obvious from the reception that quite a few quite like what they hear.

After two songs I greet the audience with a cry of "What’s up Spain!” but in my excitement I don’t hear a guy in the audience yelling back that "We are not fucking Spain!”. Being Danish and a complete ignoramus when it comes to Spanish culture and history I am unaware of Bilbao as a part of the Basque Country has wanted segregation from Spain and do certainly not want to be affiliated with Spain. Even if the Basque Country is formally a part of Spain.

My mishap explains though why people left the venue in rather a hurry after the show and why only a few wanted a chat with us when we went into the hall to say hello after having left the stage. Well, didn’t I just right there wish I’d paid better attention in school! Then everything might’ve been different-

Fortunately my ignorance didn’t dampen people’s enthusiasm for the music and as such I still regard the evening as a succes. People DID enjoy the music.

We decide on a quick exit and return to the hotel. As a singer I often have to forego aftershow partying and head for bed instead to make sure the voice functions 100 pct. the next day. So I leave the others to their "afterparty” ("drinking red wine in a godforsaken restaurant and wake up hungover” party more like!).

Next stop: MADRID!”

Part iii soon to follow. Watch this space.

Dagens Sang



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