Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Curitiba
Those who don't actually know me very well would disagree, but those who I would actually consider someone dear to me would agree that I do not consider myself hot shit. Naysayers - naysayit till you're blue in the balls - I don't.
It's still mind-blowing to me that people like my band. I know this may come as a surprise to those of you who aren't someone who knows or who doesn't-wanna-know-me, but it is still quite spectacular to me every time someone says to me randomly on the streets: "hey! I dig your band!" The fact that people were due to show up to see the band I play in, in a country I've never set foot in - is nuts to me. 1000-plus pre-sale? What??
Our van pulls up to the gig, and there they are: hundreds and hundreds of some of the most devout Trivium fans on earth. We pull up close to the back entrance, and here is what I was waiting for: the kids rush the van and start pounding on the windows screaming excitedly at us, wide-eyed and smiling with frenzy. We flash em all the horns and head in.. They start chanting "Triv-youm! Triv-youm!" in their Brazilian-accents. I say to my guys: "boys... tonight's gonna be a good night."
Walking into the dressing room, I see three pastry boxes. I lift the lids and a shining light of glory is revealed from within... the beauty of the contents of the boxes has me floored. Marcos is a damn thoughtful guy. Within two of the boxes are assorted traditional Brazilian meat and/or cheese-filled pastries; the third box is loaded with what look like will be so disgustingly-good sweets. All around the boxes are traditional Brazilian and Sao Paulo snacks that Marcos hand-picked for us to have - Marcos is a Sao Paulo-native and knows what's good around these parts.
One is kibe/Lebanese-style with meat and bulgur, a chicken-filled fried ball that reminds me of Cuban-fried meat-stuffed soft pastries, meat-filled pies, cheese-filled pies - each more delicious than the previous. The soft, yet almost crisped texture of the circular chicken-ball is unforgettable. The sweets? Mama Luna (inside Trivium joke).
The orange-yellow circular guy was a coconut mini-flan-esque sweet - a consistency like harder jello and a taste so coconut-caramelly that I was knocked out. The chocolate-ball was beautiful, as was the other duder. I obviously am in love with the hand-held traditionals of all countries... it's the stuff you want.
Post-soundcheck, we try to pull the van out, and in comes the swarm. Trivium-friends pounding and yelling compliments, stuffing their hands into window cracks as the van pulls back. Insanity.
All the while we were enjoying the insanity, Ashley was napping away. These travel schedules are not for the faint of heart. Think this life is easy at our level? It ain't. Sleep is a privilege; your spine will be compressed and mangled by small airplanes and seats in the back of planes and vans and cheap busses that shake like boats in a storm across rocky terrain; sicknesses travel instantaneously via the fart-tube vehicular travel that merely connects you to another form of vehicular travel. Picky eater? Not anymore you're not - unless you prefer anorexia. My wife? I applaud her for being able to keep up with this run. Like I said before, it's early lobby calls to pack in 30-40 pieces of shite, stuffed in with 10-20 other dudes who are just as tired, cranky, sleepy, smelly, and hung-over as you. New to the crew? Be prepared to be berated and degraded. Your sexuality and taste in music and way of dress will be at constant ridicule. The main topic of discussion typically rotates between matters of the fecal, genital, rectal, and sexual-nature. Throw all political-correct-ness down the porto-hole and be prepared to be offended. Airport check-ins take a minimum of three hours. South American airlines? Four to five to check in all that gear - making deals and working out trades to lower the insane overage-charges. Me? I'm used to it. My courageous wife? She's a trooper amidst the chaos.
Don't get me wrong. It isn't all bad. Food is obviously what I always look forward to and what is constantly on my mind - encouraging me to tough through the rough spots of travel and keep optimistic.
Dinner time rolls around, and recharged from her sleep, Ash and I head into town to get some açai. Earlier, Marcos pointed out a local spot - Madureira. It does açai cream: where the berries are mashed, frozen, and served like ice cream. Marcos taught me that the açai (a berry that has to be picked manually out of Amazon-trees) is a wonder-food in Brazil (it is in the USA and worldwide as well) and that the Jiu-Jitsu fighters will eat a bowl of it as a meal when training and that it's all they need. Ancient warriors and Amazonian-tribes will eat a bowl of the berry and go work the entire day - being completely fueled by the super-food.
We have the açai bowl with sliced bananas (Brazilian bananas are smaller, super sweet and have a hint of lemon in the taste) and an avocado-papaya-banana-milk vitamins shake. I wish you could taste what I tasted that night. The açai was so wonderfully sweet, so beautifully tasty in its own natural state - it made me realize all it's magic in simply tasting it. It was somewhere along the lines of blue and blackberries with more sweetness, in a creamy sorbet-form. The lemony-sweet mini-bananas mixed in took it to another level. The vitaminas shake was actually on the savory side - if anything, almost tasting like it would have been salty, but it wasn't. All the ingredients mixed together to create its own flavor spectrum of healthiness. I appreciated that the drink felt as if it ought to have been the eaten meal due to its flavor, and that the eaten meal ought to have been the drink. It was a fun flavor-trade-off.
Fueled by the Amazonian wonder-food, we headed to the show and prepared to witness our first club-headlining, Sao Paulo crowd.
At that point, we had never witnessed anything like what Sao Paulo metal-crowds had to deliver. They were as much a show to us as we were to them. There was no awkward silence between songs, instead they'd take football chants and add our band name into them; the crowd sang our lyrics and our guitar parts louder than the P.A. Constantly in a state of organization chaos - the crowd took care of each other (something that the USA non-metal crowds have zero clue how to do (the last USA tour we did, the non-metal people would get into horrendous fights and people would consistently get injured)), the crowd would make their own cues to our songs and do some spectacular circle pits and jumping parts to our tracks.
There was a magic in the air in Sao Paulo that night. I will never forget my first experience of the Sao Paulo Trivium-crowd. I loved every minute of our new friends in Sao Paulo.
Post-show, I pulled a vintage-Heafy and ordered a room service club, a Brazilian soup of rice and chicken, and two caipirinhas. I gotta tell ya - prettayyy good. Every single meal or snack I've had in South America so far has been of decent to serious quality.
2-4 hours of sleep later - rinse and repeat.