HOLD ME TIGHT
A Song From Yesterday Seen Today
The Weight of Honesty
As with every other city we stopped in on that first-ever YFE tour, everything was as inspiringly new to us as it was frighteningly scary. Berlin was gloomy when our tour bus parked on the side of the Magnet Club, where we were playing later that night to a sold-out place… It was still early enough for me to go for a walk, which is now something utterly important before communing on the stage of any city. The images from that day are as foggy as the weather was, but the emotions are still vivid. The excitement, as much as the lack of understanding… “What am I doing here?”. I stopped by a little restaurant that had an “If you are scared for your life, come in and we’ll protect you” kind of anti-racist sticker on the door. I was most definitively scared, but it was more about the potential collapse I could experience in a few hours in front of a packed live house. Speaking with the amazingly friendly staff members helped me focus on the moment, people so nice that I even added them to the band’s guest list that night… it made me smile to think I now had friends in Berlin!
One special and fond memory I have from that singular Berlin concert is related to the song “Hold Me Tight”, a song we haven’t played much in the span of our whole musical journey, probably because it pretty much clashed with the rest of our songs at the time, but also because it was some sort of an anomaly during that very particular concert compared to the rest of the songs we were “demolishing” one after another that night. The vibe changed dramatically and I told myself that maybe we should have skipped that one. But since we didn’t have many songs to play at the time, we went for it. Much to my dismay, people had their eyes closed, slowly moving from one side to another. To see people, from goths to metalheads, punks, all the way to people in suits and whatever in between, just being contemplatively alive and musingly one was incredibly touching for me. Even though I wasn’t confident enough to keep that song going and going like I would have loved, nor did I have enough courage to call the rest of the band in doing so, it was just enough of a spark for me to realize that it’s never how high I jump or how loud I scream that really defines what I call a “heavy” moment. Heavy as honest. Heavy as real. Heavy as closing your eyes and losing yourself to the waves of the sound. Heavy as whatever too heavy something pure is for anyone to dwell in. Heavy as hope.
Therefore, even though we haven’t played “Hold Me Tight” more than 5 other times after that night, I will forever identify that song as the instant I wanted my prayers and whispers to be “heavy” enough to be confessed in a moment of courage that wouldn’t be dictated by my everlasting fear of failures.
Excerpt from the Tour Bus Confessional
First Day in Berlin
Opening up the eyes through the rumbling sound of the engine, the whispered words of everyone trying to find their way in the tiny corridor… We are in Berlin and Alex has one question this morning: “Have we been trapped somewhere?” We are in the middle of four walls, there are metal fences, everything is dark and falling apart, but we’re actually behind the venue and everything is getting restored and renovated. Is it part of all the little insecurities that are popping up when you are tired and living emotionally and physically intense moments every day? Who knows, it was just funny.
Getting out of the ghetto-looking parking, it’s now time to find internet cafés where we will be able to keep in touch with the family and get the feel of the city, the people. Doing this we found a place called Marco Hinze gastronom & bibliothekar. After spending hours working from there, we had the privilege to get to know Carolyn who made this café feel like home.
The day is planned… who’s doing what, what videos are going to be done and most of all we’re getting prepared to go at the rendezvous we have with some of our friends from the German YFE community.
The hours are passing by and it’s now 3:30 pm, it’s time to go back to the venue where the crew is waiting for us for the soundcheck. But today is the Berlin Marathon, and so many trams are not running. It’s then a very quick 20-minute walk to go back – under the rain!
11:30pm: It’s time to get prepared for the show. Everyone is talking at the same time about their day being all frantic about what is coming up. As we go to the band’s dressing room, we’re having a glimpse at the crowded venue and Rumble in Rhodos performing and warming this amazing crowd that is responding in the rockiest way I have ever seen.
1am: It’s only minutes before YFE goes on stage, Ben and Jeff and I are jumping around pretending to fight together a bit, it’s our own little way of preparing our bodies and minds for the upcoming show. In the very last five minutes, we’re all holding each other strongly, the backstage curtain opens, and here we are, in front of all those eyes… Curious ones, wasted ones, passionate ones, all searching for something. All cranked up, we’re hitting the first songs and sincerely we’ve been carried away by these people, they were into it and by feeling the floor moving, the mosh pit, the body surfing and the ones singing every single word of the songs, the least we can say is that they totally rocked us out. Not too long after the end of the show, we were talking with them, which was great.
6am: On our way back to the bus, still carried by this night, no one feels like going to bed, except for Ben and Sef who are sick, their first German cold. We talked and shared until almost 7am. 5 hours later, the bunk beds curtains open up on a second day in Berlin… But where are Alex, Ben, and Jeff? Those guys are crazy!