Mit The Ocean, Lo! und Cult Of Luna auf Europa-Tour

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Lo! Tour Diary by Adrian Shapiro

Part 2 (Teil 1 siehe unten)

Part 2 Lo! tour diary.

Day 16.

13th show. Tonight’s show was meant to be in Zagreb, Croatia but due to concerns on the border crossing for all the bands and the possibility of having to pay a large amount of tax for all our gear and merch, there was a decision to cancel the show and reschedule it in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ljubljana is about an hour and a half drive from Zagreb, and as people there got really upset that the show was cancelled Cult of Luna organized a bus to take people from Zagreb through to the show tonight. Amazing gesture from Cult of Luna and I really am continuously in awe of how they operate and behave with their fans. We roll into Ljubljana around 5pm. The show tonight was in an old army barracks that has been set up with a few different venues, bars, and art installations everywhere. The room is probably the smallest there will be on the tour with a max capacity of 220 people. We started up around 9pm and the place was packed! Really great show and we were well received. Seeing The Ocean and Cult of Luna on such a small stage was an absolute treat and the energy in the room was ridiculous. One of the most fun on the tour so far.

Day 17.

Day off. I write “day off” and imagine us having a sleep in and lazing around for the day. Nope. Today was a monstrous driving day as we had to make our way from Ljubljana to Bucharest in Romania for a show tomorrow. In discussions with Mattias, Cult of Luna’s tour manager last night, we decided to follow their route up through Hungary avoiding Croatia and the possible issues at the border. This would add three hours to the journey but was a safer option. We plugged Budapest into the GPS and headed off. After an hour we arrived at a border crossing which didn’t really make sense. Next thing we see is that we’re at the Croatian border. Shit. We kept cool and handed our passports over to the officer. They had a look ,asked where we’re going and then waved us through. Unbelievable! We reset the GPS for Bucharest and got rolling. The next 14 hours was spent driving through five countries. From Croatia, we crossed into Serbia, then from Serbia into Bulgaria, then a ferry across to Romania. At each crossing we had to get out, open the back of the van, hand over passports, get stamps, pat the local street dogs and then get back in the van. At the Serbian border and the Bulgarian border the guards were really cool so we gave them each a copy of the new album. I’m sure they’ll love it! We finally crossed into Romania at about 11pm, and decided to head to a town about an hour and a half away called Craiova where we looked for a hotel along the first road we came in on. Ended up at a quaint little place on the main road where a couple of guys in reception made us have a couple of beers with them on arrival. Finally crashed at 2am to sleep as long as we could before we get on the road again tomorrow.

Day 18.

14th show. Last night was possibly the longest sleep we’ve had since starting the tour. A healthy 8 hours! Tonight’s show in Bucharest is at an amazing venue called the Silver Church. We arrived around 3pm after a very bumpy drive from Craiova. We loaded in and then decided to go for a bit of a sight see as The Ocean were still sound checking and we’d have to wait around until our turn. Went and

saw an amazing palace about 20mins walk away then headed back. We’re due on at 8 tonight and have a 40 min set so added one more longer song into the half hour set we’ve been playing and we were good to go. The place was packed out about one song into our set and there was a really intense energy in the place, which we fed off and in turn the crowd started getting really fired up and excited. It was one of our best shows of the tour in my opinion and I’m psyched we’ve still got 11 shows to go. Not sure if it was just my mood tonight but I got really emotional watching Cult of Luna. It was such an intense show and they just brought the roof down on the place it was incredible and one of my best experiences seeing them this tour. We’re staying on the floor of a Romanian friend of the promoter tonight so we headed back to his around 2am with a couple of excited Romanians and had a couple of delicious 2 litre beers before crashing.

Day 19.

15th show. Tonight’s show is in Timisoara. We expected a 7.5 hour drive to get there, but that was highly unrealistic. After an 11.5 hour drive, through some of the worst roads I’ve ever seen we arrived at the venue. A couple of things that scared us on this drive was the fact that people really don’t seem to have any road sense and overtake and speed like absolute idiots. We saw three over turned trucks and found out when we go to the venue that there had been a number of fatalities on the road too that day. Brutal. So back to the show, we arrived at 7.15pm after the drive and were due on stage at 8pm, so did the quickest load in in the history of the world, and then a quick sound check to be ready for 8pm. We played really well and so did Cult and The Ocean. We got put up in a hotel for the night and finally retired there about 2am. As fun as the Romanian shows were and as awesome and excited as the crowds were, I think we’re looking forward to getting off these roads.

Day 20.

16th show. Only a short drive over the border into Hungary and to Budapest today. Apparently the show tonight is on a boat and is being filmed and recorded for the 10 year anniversary of the venue. As we pulled into Budapest we were all blown away by how beautiful this city is. With the massive Danube river running through the centre and some stunning architecture we all immediately noted this as a place to come back to for a holiday. We arrived at the venue and sure enough it was a boat! A bloody big boat but a boat none the less. We loaded in and as Cult were still sound checking we decided to go check out one of the historic baths that are dotted around Budapest. We found one about 20 mins walk away and headed off. The baths were incredible. It’s water full of minerals, and there are different pools at different temperatures. A couple of the guys got massages and we had an overall relaxing and refreshing time. We all had dinner together tonight before we went on stage. One thing that has been pretty amazing on this tour is that Jamie has been jumping up on stage nightly with The Ocean to sing a song from their new album Pelagial. It’s incredible to see and Jamie just sounds like a ferocious monster! In turn, Loic from The Ocean, has been jumping on stage to sing the final part of “So Below” with us which he actually did a guest vocal for on our album. Tonight was an amazing night and all bands destroyed the place.

Day 21.

17th show. Bit of a drive today but not too bad over to Innsbruck in Austria to play at a smaller venue called PMK. I think capacity was about 200 and it was incredibly packed from the beginning of the show. Innsbruck is a pretty town surrounded by massive snow capped mountains. It’s truly a sight to behold and again would loved to have had more time to explore the place. We’re all starting to run fairly thin on cleanish clothes. In fact, we’re all starting to recycle back to the front of dirty stuff. The van has a smell about it now that is oppressive and just gross! One of my most exciting things today was I bought a new 5 pack of socks! We were all feeling really exhausted tonight so actually ended up leaving to our hostel before Cult of Luna finished playing to be able to get some sleep as we have a 1,000km drive tomorrow to Wroclaw, Poland for Asymmetry Festival.

Day 22.

18th show. Really long drive today over to Poland, but we were on freeways pretty much the whole time so splitting the drive between the four of us and we got there in good spirits. Asymmetry Festival was a late add for us, as originally it was just going to be Cult of Luna playing. We were invited to play about two weeks before we left Australia, and it was quite an incredible festival. Bands like The Melvins, Amenra, Mayhem and a heap of others play and it was a pretty electric vibe at the venue. The funniest thing about tonight is that we were closing off one of the stages and were due on stage at 1.40am… There were many calls as to if we should go to our hotel and have a sleep before we go on or just charge on through. We ended up going to the hotel for showers and then headed back in to the venue to check some stuff out. Cult of Luna destroyed the place as per usual and it was great to see them on such a monstrous stage again. We went on after a German band called Throwers who were killer so check them out if you can. Being 1.40am, there were a great deal of very drunk people in the crowd and we got them very fired up and excited. It was an amazing show and definitely one of the most fun of the tour without a doubt. Would definitely recommend Asymmetry Festival and would be keen to play again in the coming years.

Day 23.

19th show. Today we play our first German show so headed off from Wroclaw early to the town of Marburg. Marburg is a pretty little medieval town that wasn’t bombed during the war so has some really stunningly beautiful areas. Tonight was going to be a very BIG night as the Cult of Luna guys and The Ocean only leave on their bus at 7am which means we could all go out on the town. The show was killer and a really responsive crowd for all bands. We had no accommodation tonight so made an announcement on stage and sure enough we were picked up by a dude named Chris who offered up his floor. Pretty much everyone went out tonight after the show till the early hours and at various levels of disgustingness! At one point Griff and me were sleeping in a doorway as we waited for the others to come home. That was after I’d had a sleep on the couch in the absinthe bar we were in. It was great to finally have a good blow out with everyone and I feel like we’ve all made some really great friends on this tour.

Day 24.

20th show. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever felt as hung over as I did today in my entire life. No driving duties for me. We headed off around midday towards Munich which was about a 2.5 hour drive. One of the shortest between venues on this tour. We arrived and headed into the venue. Everyone is very hung over and dusty! The show tonight is in a pretty large space, about 500 capacity. The place was packed from early and we played a solid set, and had one of our best nights of merch sales. The Ocean destroyed the place and Cult of Luna trampled it and shook it to the ground. Really great show tonight from everyone. We stayed at the venue tonight in the band apartments upstairs. Ocean and Cult guys were not leaving till about 9am so ended up being another large night with a bunch of Munich locals.

Day 25.

21st show. Today was a pretty heavy day. We only had a couple of hours drive to get to Stuttgart so we decided to go visit the Dachau concentration camp which is pretty close to Munich. The first thing that hits you when you walk through the gates is how massive the camp was. It was frighteningly large and as we walked through it towards the crematorium and through the barracks it made us all feel quite ill. Atrocious that something like that could actually have happened in such an organized and merciless fashion. We spent a couple of hours there then headed to Stuttgart. The venue was actually really difficult to find as it was under one of the main road accessible through a stairwell that snaked below. Cult were still sound checking so we grabbed cameras and went for a bit of an explore. Pretty town and many university students milling around. Another packed show tonight. The Germans really do love their metal and some quite enjoy leather pants too it seems! All bands destroyed tonight so was a really great vibe backstage. Stayed at a hostel pretty close to the venue as no one took us up on our offer of merch for a floor to stay on!

Day 26.

22nd show. 500km drive today, which on the autobahn is a piece of cake. The roads in Germany are really amazing. Show tonight is a town called Bielefeld which is a smaller town, but the venue was massive. We loaded in and a couple of us almost lost it with excitement when we saw there was a washing machine at the venue. It could have been close to one of the happiest days on the tour. My shirt and jeans I’ve been playing in could actually stand up by themselves and had a smell that I could not really put into words. It has to be smelt to be understood. Multiply that by four of us in the van and you can imagine how vile we and our clothes were smelling! Played a great show tonight, possibly one of our best of the tour I think. Cult of Luna destroyed the place and I think it was actually the loudest show they’ve played. We made a call out for a floor and one of the barmen offered up his place which was great. Only problem was he wanted to party and only at 4am did we finally convince him to go home so we could sleep! Brutal!

Day 27

23rd show. Slept until midday today and after a bit of breakfast and possibly the worst coffee I’ve ever had in my life we jumped back into the van and headed off to Koln for the show tonight. It’s getting a little sad that there are only three shows left and even though we’re all exhausted, we could play on forever. Had a delicious Thai dinner that the venue made for us all. Tonight was actually sold out so the place was buzzing from well before we opened up proceedings with our set. Every band was on fire today and the crowd was really responsive to everyone which is killer. We stayed on the floor of a lovely girl named Carol, who responded to our note at the merch desk. I love this about Europe and we’ve been really lucky most times we’ve put up the notes only having to resort to hostels a handful of times.

Day 28.

24th show. Koln was completely hammered in the war and one area that was of interest to see was the large gothic church in the middle of town. Everything was flattened except for two massive spires of the large gothic church. Pretty amazing to walk around. For some reason we had ice cream for breakfast today which was just foolish. Tonight’s show is the second last of the tour and is in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We headed off from Koln for a 3 hour drive and pulled into Rotterdam around 4pm. It’s a really early show tonight. With doors at 6pm and us going on at 6.30. It was another sold out show and the place was pretty packed before we hit the stage. I think we smashed it tonight and it was definitely one of the most fun shows we’ve played. We loaded out straight after we played as we’re going to drive 5 hours tonight to knock off some kms on the way to Berlin. One thing that sucked tonight was during The Ocean’s set, Jamie was at the back of the crowd when they called for him to come through and jump on stage to sing the song with them. The crowd actually wouldn’t let him through so he missed the start and came back to the back of the room all dejected and angry. He should have covered himself in butter then he could have just slid through. We left just before Cult of Luna played tonight to set off to Hambuhren to spend the night at Robin’s parents place again. We arrived a bit after 2am and went quietly into the house. We were pretty stoked to find a bottle of water and a toblerone on each of our beds. Good people!

Day 29.

25th and final show for the tour. We set off around 9am for a 3.5 hour through to Berlin for our last show today. It’s Pelagic Fest, which is our record label’s festival. Pretty amazing festival and 800 presales already so we knew it was going to be a cracker. Bands on the bill were Earthship, Abraham, Kruger, Khoma, EF, The Ocean, Cult of Luna and Lo!. Amazing bill and we felt so proud to be playing with such a crew of great bands. One other thing that was amazing about today is that all the guys in Lo! that have wives and girlfriends were being met today by them in Berlin. We got into the venue around 1pm, and after loading in, all went our separate ways to see our loved ones. Saw my wife and one year old baby for the first time in a month which blew my mind! They’re both coming to the show tonight. My little one with a pair of pink protective headphones! Doors were at 4pm, and Earthship started off proceedings at 5pm. We were due on stage at 5.45pm with a furiously fast turn around in 15 mins after Earthship were done. We started on the dot and I do think this was actually our most intense show of the tour. Last show and all, we were all on fire and I think we gave Berlin a great show. All bands after just got better and better till Cult of Luna finally took the stage around 12am. It was incredible. The sound was massive, the crowd went nuts and it was the perfect place to see them play the final show of the tour. There was an after party after the show for all the bands which went on till the sun was peaking it’s little head up on the horizon.

To sum everything up, this tour was an amazing experience for all of us in Lo! and we’ve made some really great friends in The Ocean and Cult of Luna. We’ve learnt a million things as a band from these guys, and about ourselves in this band. We’ve also realized we want to come back to Europe for another tour as soon as humanly possible. Thanks to everyone involved for looking after us in the crew, bands, people that let us stay with them and generally anyone who came to a show and went nuts with us.

We’ll see you back in Europe real soon.

Part 1

Howdy, Lo! here checking in from Europe. We’re 12 shows into the tour and currently driving to Rome, Italy for our show tonight. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of the last few days and our journey through to this point.

Day 1.

We arrive in Zurich after that fun flight from Sydney, got through customs and  were met by a chap from the van company to give us our van for the next month and all our backline. We then jumped in the van and headed off to La Chaux De Fond where we’re setting up for the next couple of days to rehearse and catch up before we start playing. Driving on the wrong side of the road in a manual definitely took a bit of time to get used to. Four hours later and a nice drive through some snowy areas and we’re there. We’re staying with a couple of the guys from The Ocean so we headed back to theirs and crashed for the night. We toured with The Ocean in Australia in 2012 and it was great to see the guys.

Day 2.

First day rehearsing today and we’ve kindly been given the guys from Coilguns studio space to set up for the next couple of days. Carl and me played through some Emperor cabinets and almost lost it on how great they sounded.

Awesome day of practice and working out the set lists for the upcoming 25 shows. Our sets vary between 30-45 minutes depending on where the shows are so we sort a couple of options of songs we can pull in and drop out as we choose.

Jamie also practiced some punk jumps and some crabcore crotch bend moves. It all looked good.

Day 3.

1 show of the tour. We started the day with a couple more hours of rehearsal and then started pulling our stuff apart to pack the van and head over to the venue. As we went outside lo and behold, it started snowing. We were like little children running around in the snow. The swiss people weren’t as excited as us.

Gig tonight was at a venue called Bikini Test and we play with The Ocean and a black metal band called Rorcle. Rorcle opened and almost gave the crowd a group seizure with the amount of strobes they had going. It was incredible. We played next and it was quite an intense and amazing feeling hitting that first note on European soil. We played a solid set and were well received.  The Ocean were up next and played their new album start to finish to a very excited home crowd for them. It was a pleasure to watch and great to know we get to see them play another 20+ times on the tour.

Day 4.

Monster travel day. Huge drive across Switzerland and France then a ferry over to the UK to spend the night with some friends and family in London. London show tomorrow night with The Ocean, Bossk, Empress and Shapes.

Day 5.

2 show. Had a pretty disturbing message from Robin from The Ocean this morning. Their van had broken down somewhere in France with the engine completely fried. He said they were unsure they were going to actually make the show. We said we’d keep in contact over the rest of the day and see how they went. The show tonight was at a venue called Borderline in Soho where they hold quite a lot of metal and hardcore shows. We got there at about 2pm to load in after stopping at a Soho pub for a couple of pints. Robin was still checking and they’d picked up a replacement van and were rushing as fast as they could to get to Calais to try and get the ferry. The show was due to start at 5pm, and the last ferry across was at 4pm. All the other bands got to the venue and waited on the news. We were also all meant to be using the Ocean’s cabs for the shows. They also had all our merch in the back of their trailer so we had nothing for the show. It was all a bit of a stress. Then we got the call that the guys had missed the last ferry by 15 minutes, which was heartbreaking. A call was made to carry on and go ahead with the show with the remaining bands.

All bands played really well and even though The Ocean weren’t there the place was packed and the crowd was on fire. Check out Empress, Bossk and Shapes here.

Day 4.

3 show. We got up early this morning and heading back towards the white cliffs of Dover to jump on the ferry back to France. The show tonight was in La Havre, which is a small town near Normandy on the coast. We join back up with the Ocean and two local French bands for the show at a great venue at the bottom of a pub.  The stage is on the floor, which we love. Show was great and a really good response from the French crowd.  We stayed with The Ocean at a Formula 1 hotel and indulged in quite a few drinks to end off the night.

Day 5 and 6.

We said goodbye to The Ocean in the morning and got on the road for a loooooong drive over two days from La Havre, France all the way up to Gothenberg in Sweden. We split it up by staying in a little town at Hambhuren, which is near Hannover in Germany. Robin from the Ocean’s parents live there so we were luckily invited to spend the night.

Day 7.

4 show. Tonight we start the run of shows with Cult of Luna, which is extremely exciting and extremely daunting. Tonight’s show is at a venue called Pustervik and it is only Cult of Luna and Lo! on the bill. We get to the venue to load in and meet the COL guys and their crew. As we walk into the massive venue we realize how large this tour and what we’re due to expect over the next three weeks. There were close to 500 presales for the show, and realistically about 800 came through the door. We played a pretty solid set and hopefully turned a couple of the Swedes into Lo! fans. Cult of Luna hit the stage and played one of the most brutal sets over the next hour and a half.  It was incredible to watch and we feel like the luckiest band in the world, not only to play every night with these guys, but also to be able to watch them every night.  We left the venue about 1am and headed back to our hostel for the night.

Day 8.

5 show. Only a short drive of about three hours to Copenhagen in Denmark for tonight’s show. We’re staying with a friend of ours Michelle, who has very nicely offered up some beds for us to spend the night. Again tonight’s show is just Cult of Luna and Lo! at a venue called Lilli Vega. We loaded in and heard COL soundcheck. Amazing. Such a show with both sound control and lighting. It is a thrill to be able to watch. Show started a little later tonight and there was maybe three hundred people there when we started our set. We played a really great set again, and I think very much starting to find our groove for the performances. Cult of Luna absolutely destroyed the place again tonight and it was an incredible thing to watch.  Tomorrow we have another huge drive all the way back to Tilburg, The Netherlands to play the ridiculously amazing Roadburn Festival.

Day 9.

6 show. This was a serious day of driving. It was about a nine hour drive from Copenhagen to Tilburg. Three of us have been sharing the driving but it’s pretty taxing on the energy and the body. We finally pull in to Tilburg around 4pm. From the moment we drive through to the backstage entry we are in awe. Roadburn is a pretty exclusive festival. They only sell around 3,000 tickets and the festival runs for three days. The only thing that sucks about today, is that we play at the same time as High on Fire who were one of the bands I really wanted to watch! We go into reception and are given our passes and escorted down to our room that we’re sharing with Cult of Luna and The Ocean. We played a great set and the room was packed when we hit our first notes. Great festival and I would definitely go back as a punter in the years to come. We stayed in a hotel that Roadburn put us up in for the night and got some well needed rest.

Day 10.

7th show. We headed into France today to play another  festival called Impetus Festival in a town called Audincourt. The festival had been going for a few days already, with bands like Bohemoth playing earlier on. We opened the show to a really good response from the French. We then got our stuff off stage and headed backstage for an amazing dinner the promoter put on for us. It’s one of the best things about touring over here. The meals that you’re fed at all the venues. Feel like we’re getting spoiled! Cult of Luna and The Ocean destroyed the place tonight too. Bit of a drive tonight after the show as we headed back into Switzerland and spent the night back at Luc the drummer from The Ocean’s house in La Chaux Da Fond. We got there about 3.30am and crashed.

Day 11.

8 show. Fribourg, Switzerland. This was probably one of the most amazing drives we’ve done yet as far as scenery goes. We crossed through the Swiss Alps and were blown away by what we were seeing. So much so that we had to pull over into one of the small towns and get some touristy shots. Fribourg is a really pretty town and actually the home of our sound engineer Christoff. We loaded in, had something to eat and a few of us went for a bit of an explore before sound check. Show was really killer tonight with lots of people and a generally well received set. My power source to my pedals decided to completely stop working tonight which was boring. Had to get some batteries and borrow some adaptors to power up. Christoff  gave us the key to his apartment so we could crash on the floor for the night. Tomorrow into Italy for show 9!

Day 12.

9 show. Long drive today to get to Mezzago, Italy. As soon as we crossed the border into Italy the roads deteriorated to a bumpy mess. Not much more possibility of sleep!  Mezzago is about 45mins out of Milan and the venue was a pretty awesome space. Cult of Luna were sound checking when we rolled in and the room sounded pretty massive. The Italian promoter put on a big stew for dinner tonight. Bloody delicious! We played a pretty killer show tonight and the Italians went nuts for it. COL’s merch guy hooked us up with one of his friends who said we could stay on his floor in Milan, So after load out at 2am we jumped in the car and drove over to Milan. Turns out when we got to his apartment we couldn’t wake him up to let us in! Pretty brutal at 3am in the morning. Ended up finding a cheap hotel just around the corner and crashed out for a couple of hours. Griff and Jamie slept in the van and looked pretty haggard in the morning. Woke up to missed calls and texts from the Italian guy saying he’s slept through the phone and missed all our calls and messages. He felt terrible, but we sorted it out so no problem.

Day 13.

10 show. Feel like we’re starting to become a driving, playing, eating, drinking machine now. Long drives every day and a general tiredness falling over the band. We had another long drive today to Rome. As soon as we get to the outskirts of Rome we hit some big traffic which slows us down a fair bit. The venue today is a bit smaller then Mezzago, but I think it will be a good one. We unloaded our gear and then Turtle and I did a mission to a music store to see if I could find a new power source for my pedal board. Music store didn’t have one, but eventually we found an electronics store and I bought a couple of power sources to run pedals individually. Got back and get on stage for sound check. Now my OCD pedal has died! I’m dropping pedals like crazy. So I repatch and have one less distortion level which will still work. It was an early show tonight which is kinda weird for Italy as everyone goes out late. Doors were 8.30. We went on at 8.45 and started playing to about 5 people! By the end of the set the room was pretty full but this was the smallest show we’ve played so far. After load out, Robin and Chris from The Ocean decided they would stay with us as we were going to go into Rome and do a bit of sight seeing for the morning. Jamie decided he wanted to jump on the tour bus with COL and The Ocean so we left him and headed off to a hostel in Rome where we had a couple of late night whiskeys.

Day 14.

11 show. Got up pretty early and we headed towards The Coliseum. What an amazing place to visit and see. We didn’t go in but walked around the outside and then headed up towards the Italian parliament to see the other ruins along the promenade. Amazing! We had a delicious lunch of pizza and calzone and then jumped in the van to head over to Ravenna for the show tonight. Show was packed out from our first note on stage and the people got really into it. Jamie had a few issues with his voice tonight and ended up dropping quite a few lines. 11 shows down and a shit load to still go so he did get a bit of a fright. Hoping he’ll come right for the next couple of shows. We put a note on our merch desk and did a shout out asking for a floor to stay on. The Italian promoter offered up his place so after the show we headed over to his place a couple of towns over. We had to leave pretty early so after about 4 hours we woke up to get back on the road.

Day 15.

12 show. The start to each one of these days seems to be the same thing. A long drive today! We headed towards Switzerland for our final Swiss show. We’re playing in a town called Winterthur on the other side of the Alps so the drive was really beautiful through the snow. Venue tonight is huge and they’re expecting a big crowd. We’re also spending the night at the venue, which is great so no driving after the show. We played well but it was definitely the most exhausted we’ve been on stage. They have a free flowing beer tap back stage, which is cause for some nasty hangovers tomorrow!

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