Day X+30 – Music is therapy


 (pre-written on 24th September)

Now the second day of the Hamburg Metal Dayz is over and…I still don´t realy feel any better when it comes to my photography, because the light was only a tiny little bit better, and thus the fun was kinda limited. But at least I really tried to be more social, and it seemingly worked – at least I wasn´t all alone amongst the photographers anymore.

During the shows in the main hall they all used strobe lights, and when I look into those for a bit longer I tend to lose my sense of orientation and get slight migraine attacks. So there I was standing in the photopit, having to look right into those, hoping they at least might brighten up the stage for proper photos.

After each and every show or rather after each and every time in the photopit I just had to get out of the main hall to sit down and sit there (if I found anywhere to sit…) to have my eyes and head relax again. Not really pleasant to say the least, and that really started to be tiring and annoying after a while. Because I really wanted to watch the bands more than just for a few minutes at a time, going outside, then going inside again…but if I would´ve have just remained inside, I´d have not gotten through the day.

Still feels really funny to see all my former work colleagues form my internship back in the days again, but I still prefer to stay in distance most of the time. And sometimes I am even being a fan, shame on me. Nah, not really fan but for the sake of it I went to get myself a signed card from The New Black, and it felt hilariously wrong to be doing that xD But amusing at least 😀

I also ditched the main ban on this evening to watch the full set of The New Black – sometimes you are forced to put priorities, and I did this. I wanted to have fun and listen to music I enjoy a 100% and just rock out, and headbang and forget my press job for a bit. The camera was always on, but  was in “enjoying mode” 😉 And that was right what I needed (plus some uplifting words) – music is therapy and medicine for me, and so important right now. And it helped. Though I don´t know for how long this good effect will last…

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A trip down memory lane and a “hole in my ass”

Backdrop // Borrowed with permission

It still fascinates me that I am all back into Apocalyptica and am travelling around for them – so yeah, another day, another show and another trip for me it was.

Apocalyptica were playing in Cologne on 21st of October and having grown up there, it was a natural thing to go there – for the show but also for seeing my family again.

(First off – check the setlist and you will know why I chose that title for the blog entry…)

Borrowed with permission

So it was Hamburg, 8am, when I hopped onto the train to Hannover where I had to do quite some running to get my connection train – at least that one had also been delayed so I was still arriving in Cologne on time.

My dad picked me up and at my former home I still had some time to plan my days and have a quick bite before I rushed to the venue (my dad drove me, again – so luckily no public transport for me). And surprise – opposite to what I expected, I´ve been just the second fan that had been showing up in front of the empty venue. I felt pretty stupid to be fair, because I dislike standing there like an idiot or/and a groupie or whatsoever. I am not, I am not even someone anymore I´d call a “hardcore fan” anymore. I am someone who appreciates their music and has a connection to them, and that´s why I am doing all this madness (yep, it is madness in other people´s eyes, and that´s totally fine for me as not everyone needs to understand all of my actions).

And this time it was pretty good to be there early – singer Franky had been doing

Borrowed with permission

sightseeing all day and nearly walked past the venue without realizing it´s the venue. It is soemthing I truly appreciate – someone who takes time to really go and see things. If you wanna see the stuff he photographs on those trips – go and check out his Instagram page! he´s got an eye for amazing stuff, details and angles and moods. I love the photos!

Anyways, it was cool meeting him pre-show, and before the fans slowly started coming to the venue. Still surprised how long it actually took until it got more crowded, I am used to the old days when everyone was eagerly queuing for hours (which I always disliked). I also met a long-time friend finally again – and it was kinda cool to be attending a show of this band together again, after we had met back then thanks to a show of Apocalyptica. And it was frontrow, and right where I wanted to be once more to have fun, to laugh, smile, and this time to not shed a tear.

I was surprised how things in my life changed and how I seemingly feel so much better

Borrowed with permission

now, because songs that usually broke me and made me cry did not make me cry but made me just enjoy and sing along. One of those examples is “Hope Vol. 2” – a song that brings back sad memories, and killed me in Hamburg and Bielefeld. This time I felt like it was different – I felt like it was comforting me, like this song was “licking the wounds from the past” instead of ripping them open again. And this is something I never thought to happen and also not that fast. Maybe it is because Franky sings it and has made it his very own song, and that his voice just comforts me. I don´t know, sometimes things do not need words – cannot be put in words. it just is the way it is, and it´s fine that way, too. I cannot believe how much I´ve fallen in love with Franky´s voice and him being in Apocalyptica and at the same time I so fear he will be around just for this “album cycle” – and that´s probably the biggest compliment I could ever give a singer that is with Apocalyptica.

I really enjoyed the show once again, yet I still don´t like all the stuff that is projected on the backdrop – my brain explodes, too much going on, and I cannot really enjoy that. Sure, closing eyes is a good way how to escape from all this, and it´s what I´ve been doing, but in the end I wanna watch the show and not just listen to it.

At the end of the show, Paavo handed me his setlist – I haven´t had one for ages, it´s been years. And at the evry same time as stating that, I also gotta state that there´s been probably fans out there that would´ve loved to ahve it even more than me. I am realistic, material things will never be able to come close to the experiences, and all this, that a show and everything gives me.

After show I waited for the band with my mum (she and my stepdad had also been at the show) and my friends – but in the end and thanks to an asshole security we were chased off the venue grounds and couldn´t get anywhere near the exit and the bus so we just left. This security was probably the most frustrated human being on earth, looking at how desperately he was using his “power”. nearly a reason to feel sorry for this guy – but just nearly.

Do you remember me? the kid I used to be?

The amazing girls I met at the show

Do you remember me?
The kid I used to be?
Not the same as I used to be!
Oh, do you remember me?
[Apocalyptica – “I´m not Jesus”]

This song quote kind of shows what connects the band and me – they´ve seen me grow up over the past 10 years. And it´s a songline that makes me grin because of this, and I know I am not alone with this.

Where FlixBus dropped me off

The Bielefeld show (October 3rd) – man, what a stressful trip. I had gotten up early to catch my Flixbus bus from main station in the late morning, but well…that never happened, because the bus engine blew up even before it reached Hamburg, so everyone had to be rebooked onto a later bus, but fun fact: that later bus what not even that full, i just ended up having a delay of nearly 2 hours when arriving at the venue. But let´s talk about that later. So yeah, the bus trip was pretty relaxed, I mostly slept and was daydreaming to gain some power and strength before arriving somewhere in the fucking middle of nowhere – still Bielefeld, but far off the center. So I still had to take a train to the center, and then walked to the venue – at least the sun was shining. That was making it all really bearable, though the 2km walk was somehow annoying, even though I had stored much of stuff in a locker at the main station to have food and drinks later on.

One of the old trains in front of the venue

When arriving at Ringlokschuppen, I was positively surprised – a nice building, and also nice and old trains close to it. One old train was being moved there and it was pretty interesting to actually watch the whole specatcle, so time was passing by rather fast until a girl I had met on the internet showed up. Also before I teamed up with some fans that already were there, and one of those guys that came really early still had no ticket – and I had a spare one, so I gave it away for free. You might wonder why I give away 30 Euros just like this – I am grateful and really lucky to be able to work as press and even if not, I would have the chance on guestlist places. And because this is something not everyone has, I wanna do something good in such cases. And I think it´s nothing bad, right? I know we live in a selfish way, where such things hardly happen, and it´s why it was the right thing to do – and look into this totally amazed, stunned, speechles and extremely happy face of this person who couldn´t believe it and couldn´t stop thanking me.

Then on last second I actually went to do the interview with the support band, Tracer, in the backstage. Was a fun time, and I still need to type it all down for it being published. Afterwards I went to pick up my press pass, as I was working as a photographer and was really excited about it even though my neck and shoulders were giving a hell of a time because they were stiff and giving me pain.

Me & Franky Perez

The light were somehow not really making me happy, and I felt unsure if my photos were any good – to be honest, I think that those photos I took that are the best ones, are the ones of Apocalyptica singer Franky Perez – but I also really enjoy photographing him because he is so full of gestures and singing with soul and body…it is amazing to look at! Generally the guys are amazing to look at and the show is just mindblowing, but I am just struggling with handling the lights and many of the venues lack proper lights from the front – unless you wanna take shadow shots, which can also be pretty fancy, of course. But yeah, the show was really good once more, even though Franky´s voice sounded a bit weaker than the day before in Hamburg, and that made me a bit worried. But when waiting together with the girls I had met when waiting before the show, Franky came and ensured me he was doing good. I really hope it was true, and that he doesn´t get sick like me – as I

Old tower close to the venue

already knew when standing outside in the cold, that something was aproaching.

Waiting was worth it, it was a nice time again and afterwards I hopped onto a cab with the girl I had met via the inetrnet, as she offered me a warm and dry place to stay at until my train was leaving at 6am in the morning. She had a hotel room close to the train station and there we went, chatting, laughing, shariny stories…it was a sweet time, and time really passed by quickly. Then I hopped onto the train to Hannover, and there I had a 40min delay of my train to Hamburg – it was terrible, even though I had grabbed some breakfast. I was feeling totally exhausted, dead tired, was shaking and dizziness was taking over. In the end I had been up and running without sleep for around 30 hours I think, and then when home, I just dropped into bed and slep until the afternoon. When waking up I already felt a tad sick, hoping it would not get any worse…

Shadowmakers? No more!

Photo taken by my friend

You choke out the light like a cloud hanging over me
You’re dragging me down with your suicidal symphony
Shadow maker
[Apocalyptica – “Shadowmaker”]

I am starting off with this quote from the song, as it´s become a really important song to me during my time in the US, smply because I found a deep connection to this song, and to every word in it. And for many more reasons, the word “shadowmaker” has been a term that I used a lot during the past half a year. Don´t get it wrong, for me it is no depressing song, it is a song of motivation for me in some strange way.

Anyways, Apocalyptica ame to Hamburg on October 3rd, and of course I had to be there. But first I met up with a good friend of mine, who I met through the band like 7 years ago. We had a lovely time at Vapiano (restaurant) and then went to some signing session of the band at Saturn. I was surprised how few people actually showed up, and also surprised that singer Franky was not there, but no can do. The signing session had been advertised to be also coming with some little acoustic session, but that didn´t happen – I don´t know why, but it was not much of a disappointment for me anways.

It was sweet to see the guys again, and I can say that realizing that people are happy to see me still makes me all fuzzy and warm inside. Especially with these guys. It partially felt like…coming home in some sense. I was immediately calm, and it just felt good to be chatting a little, handing over some good news and looking in a relieved face of someone who´s not only someone who gave me inspiration for the past ten years, but also so much hope, strength and who believed in me and kept on telling me that every fucking time (no, I am not getting emotional here whilst typing this…where´s some tissues?). But – no more details for you ^^ If you´re eligible for details, you will get them anyways…

Then after the session, we headed to the venue that was not yet that packed, so we got a nice spot on the right side (yes, it is “my” side for so many years already) on some higher part so even little me had an amazing view on the stage – and the people on stage on me, as I figured pretty fast. It is not surprising me anymore that some of the guys search for me in the crowd, but somehow this time it felt…different. There´s been a lot of little gestures towards me, and that made me terribly emotional. I knew I was gonna be emotional but did not expect it to be that much.

Especially with some of the songs they played – I mean, I was happy to not hear “Nothing else matters” because I had to handle painful memories connected to this song for the past around 27 out of 28 shows I´ve seen of them. And it didn´t come. It wasn´t played. Instead (for me it is a “instead”) they played “Hope Vol2” – which did not kill me as much as the other song would, but also really cracked me – especially because I really did not expect that song to be played. And during the first tunes I was like “okay, really?”. Aaaaand there came the tears. Like so often during that show. I felt like I was a permanently halfway sobbing mess. But a happy emotional mess. It felt really good to see all this power on stage again, and I just love Franky´s vocals – I never guessed I´d be saying this, but this man really kills it and is THE perfect match for Apocalyptica. I really hope that he´ll be staying much longer with the band.

After the show, I ran into one of the guys and had a quick chat before my friend and I nearly went home because of massive stomach pains I had – those faded, and so we went for a drink in one of the bars close to the venue. It was the perfect way how to end this evening, before I started my way home. Still had to pack some last things for my trip on Saturday, shower, bed – and it was already 2am then…

Hamburg Metal Dayz (25.09.2015)

Hamburg Metal Dayz…4th edition this year. And it still feels like yesterday that I had been part of the first edition of it, doing guestlist and accreditations. Last year I had been out there with crutches and as VIP, this year I was planning to be a part of it as press and photographer for my friend´s magazine Tempelores.

After work I straight away rushed to Markthalle to not be that late, but of course the programm had already started – which makes me wonder why it all starts at like…before 5pm on a Friday. I don´t get it, but it´s not my business but the organizer´s.

Press pass and everything picked up, meeting my former work colleagues, having chats here and there – somehow it always feels like coming home when being there, like a travel back in time.

Already during the first band I had to face the fact that me being in the photopit (that was, additionally, pretty full) was maybe not the smartest idea I ever had. And then I managed to move my neck/head ina  stupid way to catch a shot, and I felt how my muscles and everything felt like ripping all of a sudden. After that, my neck hurt. Hurt a lot. I struggled myself through the whole evening, not wanting to give in and not really wanting to admit that I simply am not fit enough for such things.

In the end I had to admit it to myself: it isn´t working, I am calling the quits for concert photography until I am fully recovered, which is probably gonna be at least in November. I will be cancelling all accreditations to make sure that my neck problems get better and not worse again just because I want to work like a robot. I need to set priorities.

Same goes for Hamburg Metal Dayz day 2 – I would have loved to go, but I had to pass. Instead it had been a day on the couch. And in bed.

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Hamburg Metal Dayz…4. Auflage dieses Jahr. Und es fühlt sich an wie gestern, dass ich bei der ersten Auflage mitgearbeitet habe, zuständig für Gästeliste und Akkreditierungen. Letztes Jahr war ich als VIP dort unterwegs, und dieses Jahr hatte ich geplant als Presse und Fotograf unetrwegs zu sein- und zwar für das Magazin “Tempelores” von einer Freundin.

Nach der Arbeit bin ich direkt zur Markthalle gefahren m nicht allzu spät dran zu sein, aber natürlich hatte das Programm schon begonnen – und das bringt mich zu der Frage, wieso das Ganze vor 17 Uhr schon beginnt, an einem Freitag. Ich verstehe es nicht, aber das ist ja nicht mein Problem, sondern das von den Organisatoren.

Dann habe ich meinen Pressepass und all das abgeholt, habe hier und da mit meinen ehemaligen Arbeitskollegen gequatscht – irgendwie ist es, als würde ich nach Hause kommen wenn ich dort bin, wie eine Zeitreise.

Schon während der ersten Band musste ich feststellen, dass es keine gute Idee war im Fotograben (der richtig voll war) zu stehen. Und dann habe ich auch noch eine blöde Bewegung gemacht als ich einen Winkel einfangen wollte und ich habe sofort gemerkt wie meine Muskeln und alles sich anfühlten als würden sie reißen. Und danach hat mein Nacken richtig wehgetan. Und zwar extremst. Ich habe mich durch den Abend gekämpft, ich wollte einfach nicht aufgeben und wollte mir auch nicht eingestehen, dass ich für siwas einfach nicht fit genug bin.

Am Ende ging es dann aber nicht anders: es funktioniert nicht, ich lege die Konzertfotografie auf Eis und zwar bis ich wieder vollkommen fit bin, was wohl frühestens im November sein wird. Ich werde all meine Akkreditierungen stornieren um sicherzustellen, dass meine Nackenprobleme besser und nicht schlimmer werden – und ein Roboter-Dasein hilft da nicht. ich muss da Prioritäten setzen.

Gleiches gilt auch für den zweiten Tag der Hamburg Metal Dayz – ich wäre gerne hingegangen, aber ich musste passen. Stattdessen war es Tag auf der Couch, und im Bett.