The Special Showstoppers: At the back of the bus

The nomadic lifestyle of the band on the summer festival circuit is both a blessing and a curse. While such movement adds exponentially to both industry cred and the rock ‘n’ roll allure, the effects on both sanity and hygiene can be much less desirable. Whether struck by stress, boredom, the sense of imprisonment, or a severe and unexpected upset stomach (after all, fast bands sometimes need fast food), our music special showstoppers will help to ease tour bus pain.

Photography Ulrike Biets

Thanks to Rolo Tomassi for letting us hop on their tour bus.

PSP

01.

Production, pocket-sized

The ever-growing portability of music production and performance is clear. Many musicians-especially DJ’s-can throw the majority of what they’ll need for an upcoming show in a bag, jump on an Easyjet flight from Berlin to wherever, and entertain eager listeners by the hundreds. The Play Station Portable—or PSP—helped to revolutionise portable entertainment, combining into one tiny object the services previously offered by both gameboys and home entertainment systems. And now, PSP and Rockstar games (and hip-hop producer Timbaland) have united to create the new program Beaterator. It is not just a video game, but a musical tool, a means to produce tracks electronically, professionally and portably. It’s a pocket studio.

Sony (€ 69,99) sonycenter.be

Beaterator (€ 12) rockstargames.com/beaterator

Nail Polish

02.

Hard-as

Berlin-based Uslu Airlines’ nail varnish appeals to us on so many levels – every shade is named for an airport code – LAS (Las Vegas, USA) is a chunky blue glitter, WWI (WoodieWoodie, Australia) is cerise, while KNO (Knokke, Belgium) is appropriately old gold – the colours are ace, and they produce special varnish for DJs. So far they’ve collaborated with Headman (ZRH, pale blue), Ed Banger (PSG, lime green), Rollerboys (JMK, lilac) and Fetisch (THF, metallic steel – named in loving memory of Berlin’s Tempelhof). It seems almost a waste to lavish such care on fingers in an era when they’re more likely to be tapping the keys of their computers during a set than touching actual vinyl, but we must admit that we’re dead jealous.

USLU Airlines nailvarnish, (€ 21) available at Princess Blue (Antwerp) and Colette (Paris).

usluairlines.com

Earplugs

03.

You were saying ?

It seems ironic that a career in music can do such damage to the very organ that allows you to hear, but take it from us – the downside to heavy gigging in your 20s is damaged hearing in your 30s. Made-to-measure earplugs can cut out ambient noise when you listen to your iPod, or let you sleep on the tourbus. They block hazardous noise, but allow you enough hearing to have a conversation, and are (apparently) comfortable enough to wear all the time. Molded from rapid-setting silicone, the earplugs are produced and tested in just one 20 minute session, ensuring that your ears don’t go the way of Pete Townsend’s. Hello? Hello!

Sonomax bespoke headphones (€ 95+VAT) including fitting and testing.

astbelgium.be

Freak out Requiem

04.

Freak Out Requiem (I-IV)

There’s pretty much nothing that we can say about Krautrock that wouldn’t get some nit-picking obsessive chasing after us with an arm-length list of corrections (the suggestion that Krautrock attracts nit-picking obsessives is probably enough to get the antagonistic ball rolling). So we’ll keep it brief. This is a book about late 1960s-70s West German experimental music, coming out of the commune movement, influenced by radical electronic composer Stockhausen, free jazz and general futuristic craziness. Not a genre so much as a diverse movement (the British press came up with the Krautrock tag), championed in the UK by DJ John Peel. Proponents may or may not include Faust, Can, Amon Düül I, Popol Vuh and Neu!. This looks at Kraturock’s roots and influence, with great visuals and contributions from muso bods including that unbelievably cool chick from Add (N to (X)), which, frankly, does it for us.

Krautrock, Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy (2009) by Ed Nikolaos Kotsopoulos – Black Dog Publishing

soapwithoutwash
Team Dream Hygiene

05.

Teen dream hygiene

The sanitary fixtures of the summer festival circuit are enough to reduce the toughest of bands to squeaking hysteria – and frankly, who among us hasn’t been psychologically scarred by the sight of mountains of ick rising above the level of the toilet seats, and the total absence of loo paper and washing facilities? No tour bus should be without ample supplies of bog roll, and a stack of Imodium to make sure that you don’t cut through your supplies too fast. Lack of washing facilities can (kind of, just) be made up for with wetwipes and antibacterial wash – tourbus etiquette also demands we mention that your FEET also need to be washed. And your socks changed. No, really. They do.

Wetwipes, handgel, lavatory paper and Imodium available in all good pharmacies.

vodkaredbull
06.
We don’t recommend doing this
As every classy barkeeper knows, the correct
vessel in which to serve a Vodka Red Bull is a
disposable plastic glass. No straw, no ice, no
umbrella. Classy barkeepers, to be honest, are
pretty snotty about Vodka Red Bull – usually
it’s easier to purchase to the two fluids separately
then mix them yourself – but we’ve discovered
that it does have a name (‘Birch’, apparently,
although ‘Heart Attack’ was cited as an alterna-
tive), which makes it a proper cocktail, no?
Definitely not big, or cool, or clever. But for
the purposes of documentary accuracy, we felt
compelled to include it in our tourbus lineup.
Absolut Vodka and Red Bull, both available in nightshops
across Europe. Prices may vary.
   Visit thewordmagazine.be/dribbles/
theshelf for more tour bus antics and
products purchase links.

06.

We don’t recommend doing this

As every classy barkeeper knows, the correct vessel in which to serve a Vodka Red Bull is a disposable plastic glass. No straw, no ice, no umbrella. Classy barkeepers, to be honest, are pretty snotty about Vodka Red Bull – usually it’s easier to purchase to the two fluids separately then mix them yourself – but we’ve discovered that it does have a name (‘Birch’, apparently, although ‘Heart Attack’ was cited as an alternative), which makes it a proper cocktail, no? Definitely not big, or cool, or clever. But for the purposes of documentary accuracy, we felt compelled to include it in our tourbus lineup.

Absolut Vodka and Red Bull, both available in nightshops across Europe. Prices may vary.