Swans’ Jarboe Teams Up With Hull
Jarboe has been exceptionally busy over the last six months. The Atlanta-based vocalist contributed vocals to A Storm of Light’s latest record, ‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses’ and has also been touring constantly, though she is not part of the reformation of her old band, Swans. She and her band took off to Europe for a tour this month only to find themselves stranded by the volcano. Bassist Nick Palmirotto, who normally plays guitar in the Brooklyn metal band Hull, teamed up with fellow live band member Fade Kainer (Inswarm, Batillus) to put together a recap of their tour experience with Jarboe before the volcano hit.
“Finally! We arrive in Oslo,” said Palmirotto at the very end of March. After a six-hour flight to London and an eight-hour layover, the band explored Camden and Picadilly Circus. A bit shocked by the currency exchange rate between the US dollar and the British pound, the crew fueled up on Red Bull and hopped on their two-hour flight to Norway and headed straight to a Reverend Horton Heat show on zero sleep in an over-24-hour period! “Talk about feeling in a different world,” he added. “Also, I didn’t think it was possible for an entire country to look like an Ikea! Very aesthetically pleasing, I must admit.”
After some shut eye and a good Norwegian breakfast with Gaahl from Gorgoroth, whom Nick described as “just as one would suspect … solemn and quiet,” Jarboe played at the Victoria, at one point collaborating with Attila from Mayhem, who opened the show with his solo project, Void of Voices. After breakfast with Jimmy from Eyehategod the next morning, they checked out Oslo as authentically as they could. “We figured, ‘Hell, we’re in f—ing Norway, let’s go see some Viking ships!,” which included taking a ferry across the fjord.
On her MySpace blog, Jarboe had added that the warm and rainy Oslo weather came as a nice surprise, and from her hotel room, she could hear men loudly singing in the street below, which was “melodic, ancient and medieval.” After meeting up with Nachtmystium, the band headed off to Sweden to begin the long and rigorous tour of Europe. Starting in Gavle, Sweden, Palmirotto says that “Maxim [venue] reminded us of a school talent show. Jeff leaves back to the states after a drunken brawl and Nachtmystium continues on as a three-piece.” On to the Pipeline in Sundsvall, Nick and Fade resisted the urge to steal an autographed Refused poster and, the next morning, the carnivores of the group ate pig legs for breakfast the following day.
Crossing the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Finland, Jarboe played at a venue called Lutakko. “It’s an art commune with a hostel on the top floor for bands.” Drunken Nachtmystium members were naked in the sauna with the promoter, and everyone eventually went out to Finnish karaoke. Their visit to Helsinki was short-lived since their stay involved sound check, their set and a quick exit — a ferry across to Estonia. “I felt like I was on the set of Encino man!” said Palmirotto.
After a gig at Nabaklab, a new venue in Riga, Latvia, the band moved on to Vilnius, Lithuania and a venue called New York. “A weird city — one street will be huge buildings of finance and business, whereas the the next street over reminded us of favelas in Rio de Janeiro of the utmost poverty.” The outside of New York seemed a bit sketchy, but the inside “resembled a beautiful opera house dinner hall, with a great stage and sound system. We played an awesome show to a very large, seemingly unimpressed crowd while playing, who also ironically gave us quite the gargantuan applause when we finished the set. Later in the evening, we were told that eastern Europeans ‘smile with their eyes.’”
Onward to Wroclaw, Poland, the band immediately noticed the abundance of beautiful women, but were quickly snapped back to reality when they found out that they had to choose between opening or closing the night due to a battle of the bands competition that was thrown in the mix. “We opted to open, rather than play at 4 AM to no one,” Nick recalled. The next morning, the quaint bed-n-breakfast owner that served everyone breakfast took advantage of a confused payment situation and the tour manager, so each band member and even Jarboe herself all paid for everyone’s breakfast. “Looks like the ‘nice’ Polish woman wasn’t so nice after all. The new term for being f—ing over was dubbed Polish Breakfast.” Soon after, the volcano erupted and various members were stranded, like many others, in Europe. Jarboe’s Union Pool (Brooklyn, NY) show with Hull and Bezoar has been rescheduled to May 25th.