After seven years of being a band, Tacocat finally went on our first European tour! “We’ve been talking about wanting to do this for yearrrrs,” we would say to each other, like an old married couple who never had a proper honeymoon.

Finally, after many weeks of planning shows, bouncing e-mails back and forth with our Euro booker, applying for permits, renting gear and then trying to cram it into boxes under 50 lbs with our merch, we are in the airport and on our way. Coincidentally, Emily [Nokes] and I are seated next to a really nice drunk Canadian Prog band called Bend Sinister, and their bassist and I congratulate each other on having avoided checking our instruments.

Show #1: Vienna, Austria

We decide to wander the cold sunny streets in the morning to try and get back on schedule, and realize that we are slightly unprepared for Austrian November in contrast to Seattle in November. Lelah brought her tiger onesie pajamas as a Halloween costume, but since they are the warmest clothes she has available, she ends up wearing them, much to the amusement of the Viennese children who gape in delight and disbelief at the grown woman dressed like a tiger.

We meet up with our rented van/gear and driver, Albrecht, a shy German vegan who we will spend every waking hour of the next three weeks with. We are super nervous to play the show due to our dilapidated, jet-lagged state, and wonder aloud about whether anyone will even show up. Luckily, the venue soon fills up and the opening band, Tirana, is super awesome (we had seen another incarnation of the band when they were in Seattle on tour with Grass Widow some years before.) Also, the two ladies DJing are playing hits directly from the inside of my heart—all songs by Cub, Chastity Belt, Slutever, Bratmobile…my soundtrack of choice.

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Show #4: Nuremburg, Germany

The hospitality in Europe is really knocking our socks off. Promoters make sure you have a place to stay, delicious meals to eat for breakfast and dinner and have a general appreciation for touring bands—it kinda puts the two measly PBR drink tickets system to shame. We are set up at a super nice hostel called the 5 Reasons-perhaps Nuremburg’s answer to the Four Seasons?

At the Green Room, we pig out on an extensive spread of vegan treats, Club Mattes (a German energy drink we soon become severely addicted to) and fruits that are laid out for us before someone knocks on the door to inform us that dinner is ready. And then we move on to an even more delicious meal. In the venue guest book we spot really old sign-ins from Seattle bands like Tiny Vipers and the Pharmacy.

The first band is the YooHoos, a local 3 piece who we immediately fall completely in love with. The bass player “Vanilla Yoo Hoo,”was extending her bass strap to a shockingly low point when we arrive. We highly recommend this band to any serious connoisseurs of authentically ’90s pop punk.

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Show #11: Barcelona, Catalonia

We early in Barcelona on our only day off! In honor of actually getting time to see the finer tourist points of the town, we take the train down to the Sagrada Familia. We all take in the beautiful weirdo cathedral that Gaudi designed, in our opinion, to look like the beautiful bedroom of a rainbow space princess (Eric [Randall] got discouraged by the long ticket line and goes to the McDonald’s to get what he deems a better Big Mac than the States can offer.)

Lupita is the coolest bar ever, located within the maze of Barcelona alleyways and tiny, charming streets away from the more rambunctious parts of the rowdy Ravel neighborhood.

The DJ is wearing a Beat Happening t-shirt and spins all the hits from 90’s Olympia mixed with local punk I hadn’t heard before. After the show, we meet amazing ladies who bring us flowers and CD’s of their own music, and Emily hides a secret note for our friends the Intelligence who will play the same spot a few weeks after us.

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Show #12: Madrid, Spain

The three promoters for the show are all named Nacho, and we are met by the first two charming Nachos. We eat at an all vegan Chinese food buffet and they tell us that they had brought the Coathangers there the previous week. We get into a healthy food coma and head back to the show just in time to see His Majesty the King slay (a two piece that Nacho #1 plays drums in it.)

We say “hola” to Madrid and are totally blown away by the crowd in this city we had never been to-it’s pretty exciting to realize that a lot of people there actually knew the words to our songs! Some lovely ladies that had interviewed us earlier gave us a first issue of their zine, “Sisterhood,” with Reyenne Graff and Angela Chase on the cover. The show evolves into a nonstop dance party that goes on until about 5am.

At the dance party, our normally very shy german driver gets pushed into a dance circle. We freeze to see what his reaction will be and are blown away when he starts dancing like crazy in the center of the circle as people cheer him on. Eric starts skanking to the Special’s like I had never seen anyone skank before, and we all drink a shocking number of energy drinks. When we get home, I accidentally throw my phone against while telling Emily a story with too many arm gestures. Oops.

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Show #14: San Sebastian, Basque Country

San Sebastian is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. But since it’s our very last show it’s bittersweet, and our hotel is appropriately called Hotel Terminus. We play at a place called Dabadaba, which ends up conjuring up a slew of Scooby Doo jokes for a good 10 minutes.

The club owners of Dabadaba are wonderful and play fusball/kicker with us. Tthe crowd is lovely and embrace us even though we had gotten too drunk during kicker and messed up a bit. Even though we are so tired, experiencing all these beautiful cities with my best friends has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life so I’m so sad it has to end. According to our band vision board, we will be returning to Europe on tour in the bus the Spice Girls rode in the movie Spice World. If anyone has a lead on how to get a good deal on buying that vehicle used, please let us know.

But now for the worst inevitable part of touring-the final inventory assessment on everything that you have lost along the way.

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Things I lost on Euro tour

Leopard Beret-Iceland airport
Left custom mold earplug-Vienna
Witch hat-Brescia, Italy
One hoop earring-Paris
Conditioner-San Sebastian
14 Picks-spread between 7 different countries
Euro adapter-bathroom in San Sebastián airport
One sock with pineapple graphics: whereabouts unknown

A few cool bands we played with!

Almanaque Zaragozano (Spain)
Violeta Vil (Spain)
Tirana (Vienna)
Exit Earth (Leeds)
Rose Mercie (Paris)
The YooHoos (Nuremburg)
Rainbow Resevoir (Oxford)
His Majesty the King (Madrid)
Brabrabra (Berlin)