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Home / Articles / Music / Music Articles /  Tour Diary: Salt Lake City's Subrosa take Europe by storm, and chocolate. Page 1
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Tour Diary: Salt Lake City's Subrosa take Europe by storm, and chocolate. Page 1

By Rebecca Vernon
Posted // November 5,2008 -

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hspace=5Salt Lake City dark-rock (don't call it goth) band Subrosa toured Europe in October, supporting their Swedish label debut Strega. The following is is singer-guitarist Rebecca Vernon's best recollection.

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Touring Europe has been my dream for years, and we finally did it: Subrosa toured for nine solid hellish-amazing days in Europe last month, making it through customs, six country borders and six gigs without any major snafus, and with four of us wearing the cutest boots imaginable. Don’t be too jealous, though; it was hard, weird and even scary sometimes, too. Here are the best and worst highlights of the tour for each of the 11 days we were gone.

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Thursday, Oct. 16

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Worst: One of Subrosa passing out on the plane to Brussels on the way to the bathroom. (Everyone got complimentary wine and it’s pretty potent at high altitudes.) One of the stewardesses rushed back to me, saying, “What is wrong with her? What did she take?” implying that she was on drugs or something. Well, if she was, it wasn’t crack cocaine, I wanted to say.

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hspace=5Friday, Oct. 17

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Best: Getting through customs without work permits. Bands technically have to have work permits to play shows in Europe. Work permits in England were offered to us for 600 pounds (about $1000 ). I had freaked out upon hearing the story of The Tremula arriving in Heathrow Airport without work permits, only to be turned back to the US immediately after customs opened their suitcases and found their merch and CDs. So even though mainland Europe is more lax, I shipped our merch to Fred from I Hate Records band Serpentcult a couple weeks before we flew over. But it turns out all the Belgian customs did was look at our passports and stamp them.

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Worst: Sneaking extra people into our hotel. The hotel clerk at our hotel was suspicious of the fact that only two of us were checking into a room, but we had a mountain of luggage that our “friends who were staying at another hotel” were helping us load. We spent the next 10 days sneaking into various hotels with more people than beds, stuffing people into rooms, some sleeping on the floor. And saved a ton of money, but it was nerve-wracking.

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Best: Belgian chocolate.

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Best: Spending Friday night in downtown Brussels. Late at night, Kim, Zach and I slipped out and went downtown on the subway. All the locals were getting drunk in the town square, breaking glass and yelling obscenities against America. Awesome!

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Zach and Kim got some amazing quality bottled beer at a Beer Mart for about 70 Euro cents (about $1). We stayed downtown till after the subway closed, so Kim and Zach peed from some scaffolding surrounding some venerable building or other and we walked back to the hotel.

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Saturday, Oct. 18

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Worst: Being four hours late for our first gig. Beneath the Frozen Soil (driving from Sweden) were badly delayed getting to our hotel to pick us up because of a huge traffic jam on the freeway. Being four hours late to the Aalst gig at Negasonic (like a Euro Burt’s) was so incredibly rude that it transformed into being really awesomely brash, if you think about it.

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Best: A dude from a cable channel in Berlin filming us with the promise of airing it. I’m stoked that?seven drunk housewives will see us in Berlin at 2 a.m. Guust, the organizer, also fed us homemade spaghetti. He forgot that 4/9 of the two bands were vegetarian, but they ate the noodles. (Most venues in Europe provide a meal and a place to sleep, even for small bands.) Fred from Serpentcult brought our merch and took awesome pics.

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Sunday, Oct. 19

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Worst: Loading the van. It was a Tetris challenge after every show and every morning. Nine people, their luggage, instruments and equipment can fit in a 9-passenger van, but I don’t recommend it unless you want to come down with Restless Leg Syndrome and a bouquet of airborne diseases.

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hspace=5Best: The cheesyfabulous decorations at our Black Forest guesthouse. There were ‘70s and ‘80s plastic décor, doilies, wild curtains and weird self-help and medical books, all in German, in nightstands next to our feather-deckered beds. Eating at an Italian restaurant called Francesca’s with BTFS really helped us soak up the whole authentic German experience.

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Monday, Oct. 20

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Best: This weird Milka chocolate bar with watermelon filling I found at a corner mart that had, like, Pop Rocks in it. I made everyone eat a square. Kim discovered the Pop Rocks exploded more when you drank beer after.

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Best: Bonding with Beneath the Frozen Soil. We had a lurking suspicion that BTFS thought we were all stupid, giggling Americans. That wasn’t our fault, though; there was a lot to giggle at. Tonight, though, they finally knocked on our door and we hung out with them for an hour. Getting to be friends with them was one of the best parts of the tour. They teased Zach a ton, calling him “Zachy” because his wife, Rachel, does, and helped us come up with song titles for our next album, Dragon Muff: “Covered in Ghost Poo” and “Basketlust,” among others.

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hspace=5Tuesday, Oct. 21

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Best: The gig in Slovenia. Marko, the promoter of the show in Slovenia, flagged us down on the main road of the small village of Pivka, where he had helped create a Youth Cultural Center with the help of some grants. The center had free Internet, a kitchen where he heated up some amazing homemade vegan soup for everyone (one of the best meals of the whole tour, hands down) and a room with nine mattresses and a space heater.

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The room where we played was a small basement room with paintings all over it, smaller than Kilby Court. About 25 people showed up, and even though we played bigger shows, this one was our favorite, because of how welcoming and nice everyone was. Everyone was very appreciative we’d come all the way to their village to play a show; some people hitchhiked from an hour away to attend. They also donated 110 Euro between all of them (usually Marko said the average was 30-40 Euro).

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Worst: Parking the van backed up with the doors against a wall because someone there was giving off I-might-steal-your-$350-pedal-for-pig-antibiotics vibes.

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Wednesday, Oct. 22

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Worst: Having to push the water button in the shower at our hostel in Vienna every 6 seconds (I counted). Also, their “breakfast included” meant a basket of bread with little jams, and a gigantic bowl of community yogurt.

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Best: Homemade goulash and an encore at our Vienna gig at club Escape. The goulash was made by the mother of the venue owner. For real.

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After our set, the audience wanted another song, even after I had told them twice we didn’t know more songs. Finally I said, “OK, you asked for it,” in a warning voice, and Sarah and I played “Isaac,” our acoustic ballad.

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